Oyster’s Opinion

“Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk to you again…” 

Normally I associate this Simon and Garfunkel song lyric with Frank the Tank drowning in a pool after shooting himself in the neck with a tranquilizer gun in the 2003 movie Old School. This week however, it reminds me of the indefinite postponement of the 2020 AFL season. COVID-19 is a cruel mistress in many ways. As saddened as I am, the right decision was made to ensure the safety of the wider community. Much like a Glenn Maxwell cameo innings for the Aussies, the shortened one round season we got to watch had some great moments.

It was quite an eerie sight seeing an empty MCG last Thursday night as Richmond smashed Carlton in the first half. Feeling sorry for the Old Dark Navy Blues, the Tigers stopped trying as hard in the second half and the scoreline truly didn’t reflect how dominant Richmond was. Riewoldt, Rioli and Bolton kicked 3 snags each. Patrick Cripps must feel like Atlas on a weekly basis having to continually carry his side on his shoulders. More than half of his 32 possessions were contested. Add the 10 clearances, 9 score involvements and 7 inside 50’s he also collected on the night and you have 2 guaranteed Brownlow votes from the umpires. 

Collingwood flogged the Western Bulldogs by 9 goals at an empty Marvel Stadium. Chris Mayne must’ve read my article a few ago because he had an impressive 29 touches from the wing while Heath Grundy had leather poisoning after 37 hit outs, 19 touches and 1 goal in a BOG performance. For Luke Beveridge and new captain Marcus Bontempelli, there weren’t too many positives.  

New recruit Jacob Townsend, formerly from GWS and Richmond booted 3 goals from full forward as Essendon edged out Freo by a solitary goal. Another former Giant Dylan Shiel had a 77% disposal efficiency from his 35 possessions. For Freo to improve, Justin Longmuir needs at least 7 more Nat Fyfes and 4 more Michael Waters in his side. 

The Sydney Swans arguably were the most impressive in my opinion beating Adelaide Crows in Adelaide. Yes, I’m giving the Swans a compliment. The Swannies were missing Buddy Franklin and Sam Reid in their forward line and still came away with a narrow victory. Isaac Heeney was superb with 4 goals while Josh Kennedy’s legendary status continues to be cemented within the footy club. Luke Parker was also a star on the day with 30 possessions and 12 clearances. Sadly for Crows stalwart Rory Sloane, his 200th game for the club couldn’t end with a win. Crows coach Matthew Nicks needs to get the best of this talented group of players who haven’t recovered since the 2017 Grand Final loss to Richmond. 

The Greater Western Sydney Giants were far too good against my beloved Geelong Cats. After a close first half, the sheer leg speed of the younger Giants was clearly evident and they ran away with a 32 point win. Not only did the Giants surpass their largest score against Geelong, it was the Giants largest winning margin against the Cats in 11matches to date. The Pest Toby Greene and Harry Perryman scored 4 goals a piece whilst Nick Haynes was outstanding with his trademark intercept marking repelling many of the Cats attacks in their forward line. When you think that there’s still Callan Ward, Tim Taranto and Zac Williams to come into the side, it’s a scary proposition facing the Giants when the season restarts. 

The other winners of the round were:

Port Adelaide Power over Gold Coast Suns

Hawthorn Hawks over Brisbane Lions

North Melbourne Kangaroos over St Kilda Saints

West Coast Eagles over Melbourne Demons

A few questions spring to mind with the last four matches. 

Which midfield will be able to stop Elliott Yeo, Andrew Gaff, Tim Kelly, Dom Sheed, Luke Shuey and Nic Nat? Wowsers! The WCE have had some great mid fields in the past and the 2020 version are right up there! WCE along with GWS are my flag favourites if they can get their best 22 on the field for the remainder of the interrupted season. 

Will Chad Wingard have a breakout season in 2020? The young man can certainly play and I think the extra preseason with Alastair Clarkson seemed to have made a difference. Add a fit Tom Mitchell and The Worpedo James Worpel in the guts and the Hawks will be there or thereabouts again! Sean Burgoyne doesn’t age. 

Will the North Melbourne Kangaroos be the biggest improvers of 2020? Ben Cunnington is a contested possession machine and rightfully deserved his Big V call up. Ben Brown can destroy teams with the right delivery and with Rhyce Shaw as full time coach this season, see The Shinboners climb the ladder in leaps and bounds. 

Will Brandon Ellis regret his decision to move up to the Gold Coast Suns? He’ll need to do more of the heavy lifting in the midfield without players like Prestia, Martin and Cotchin to help him out. The Suns losing Alex Sexton to injury didn’t help matters. Port Adelaide’s talent should see a much improved effort in 2020. Travis Boak, Tom Rockcliff and Robbie Gray are too good not to see September action again in 2020.

Although it was a fleeting moment, it was great watching some footy again. With the world climate the way it is at the moment, I am thankful for a lot! Mrs Oyster and I still have our jobs, we’re healthy and so are our families. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. If we practice self isolation and social distancing seriously, the footy will be back before you know it! 

From next week on wards, Oyster’s Dozen will be filling your footy fix until the curve flattens. Until next time, wash your hands, cough or sneeze into your elbow and watch reruns on Kayo Sport! 

Oyster #77

1990 Hills District U’11s Representative Player

1991 U’13s Hills Hornsby Representative Player.

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