The featured image is from page 14 of The Age on July 23, 1949. R.I.P. Lou Richards.
The title of this post translates as ‘Welcome to China’.1 And indeed, it’s a big welcome to the players from Gold Coast and Port Adelaide, who will become the first 44 players in AFL history to venture north of the equator, the first to play in a non-English speaking country,2 the first to play in a Communist country, etc.
Let’s hope this round isn’t as ridiculous as the last one was, with every winner coming from the lower position on the ladder. Sure it was fun, but I got one tip right.
St Kilda v GWS Giants
The Giants were ahead at every break in this match, but never by much – ten, five, and seven points respectively. The last quarter gave St Kilda opportunity to shine through, kicking six goals to one to pinch a win that shows potential for the future. Nick Riewoldt had a quiet night (13 touches), but that didn’t matter thanks to the young Saints. St Kilda 16.12 (108) d GWS Giants 12.13 (85)
N Melbourne v Adelaide
The perception was that this match was going to be a massacre. It was, but for the wrong team. North kicked ten goals in the first quarter for just the sixth time in history, and Adelaide were scoreless for the third – a massive upset, the kind you get in fiction. Jarrad Waite kicked six of the goals in addition to being suspended. N Melbourne 22.13 (145) d Adelaide 13.9 (86)
Collingwood v Carlton
Collingwood celebrated their 125th birthday a day short in a game against Carlton. In 1892, Carlton won 3 goals to 2. In 2017, the Blues won 12 goals to 8 (so it’s of the same proportion). The Pies wound up with egg on their face after claiming last week’s win as season-turning, only to dish out more of the same this week. Carlton 12.7 (79) d Collingwood 8.8 (56)
West Coast v Pt Adelaide
This taught us that West Coast is only rubbish east of the border between South Australia and Victoria. Having won five of six games in Adelaide, and having great form in Perth, they just need to get the wins in Melbourne. Port Adelaide were close throughout, except for conceding four consecutive goals at the start of the third. LeCras kicked four goals. West Coast 15.7 (97) d Pt Adelaide 12.15 (87)
Gold Coast v Geelong
Out of all this round’s upsets, this was the full blown meltdown. Geelong hadn’t lost all season, but have now lost two in a row to Collingwood and the Suns. Considering Gold Coast’s form, Gary Ablett might not want to leave. Geelong kept making mini-fightbacks, and the Suns kept getting the margin back. A win this week and the Suns are 4-4. Gold Coast 18.16 (124) d Geelong 15.9 (99)
W Bulldogs v Richmond
The Bulldogs got off to a sluggish start, Richmond kicking six of the first seven goals (including Jack Riewoldt’s 500th). The Bulldogs fought back over the next two quarters, taking a lead early in the fourth. Got a two goal advantage, Richmond replied, but the Dogs hung on for the win. Smith kicked 4; Bontempelli 29 touches, 9 tackles; Stringer was injured. W Bulldogs 11.14 (80) d Richmond 11.9 (75)
Sydney v Brisbane
Sydney finally got themselves off the bottom of the ladder, but the fact it took until Round 7, against Brisbane, will trouble John Longmire and his players. The match started with a Lance Franklin goal, finished with one, and had six of them in between. Another issue for Sydney is that Aliir Aliir missed a training session on Saturday and was dropped. Sydney 20.15 (135) d Brisbane 12.9 (81)
Melbourne v Hawthorn
Hawthorn raced out of the blocks, but that almost wasn’t enough for them to win the match. Melbourne kicked one goal to the Hawks’ five in the first quarter, and the second was even, but Melbourne got back to one point down at three quarter time. The Hawks took the advantage in the last before defending excellently. Lewis kicked the last goal. Hawthorn 14.10 (94) d Melbourne 14.7 (91)
Fremantle v Essendon
The last game of the round was also the first one that my aunt tipped right – that’s how crazy this round was. The Dockers were, at one point, 27 points down, but they countered to be two points down at three quarter time. They then kicked 6.4 to one behind to take a lead over Essendon. Daniher kicked no behinds this week. Fremantle 17.14 (116) d Essendon 11.13 (79)
West Coast v W Bulldogs
These teams are far further apart than the ladder positions would suggest. On the ladder, they’re just 3% separate, but West Coast has played better opposition than the Dogs, whose game against Richmond was probably the best they’ve played against the best opposition. The Bulldogs are returning to the scene of their elimination final victory last year, but miracles don’t happen twice. West Coast by 26.
Hawthorn v Brisbane
One of these teams was expected to be at the bottom of the ladder, the other was definitely not. Hawthorn’s Launceston fortress is no longer invincible, but it’s still very, very hard to beat them there, and Brisbane haven’t won over the Hawks since 2009. It’s hard to imagine Hawthorn losing this game – they’ll get two consecutive wins, first time since July. Hawthorn by 22.
St Kilda v Carlton
Carlton have been doing better than the preseason perception of them, and a win over the Saints will get them to a 4-4 record. St Kilda will be hoping for another performance like their upset win over GWS, which would push them further up into the eight. St Kilda has a better ability to overwhelm their opponent, which will be an advantage. St Kilda by 37.
GWS Giants v Collingwood
Collingwood are one of two teams that GWS has never beaten (the other being West Coast), but I strongly doubt that’ll continue. Both teams had disappointing losses last week, but GWS played better than the Pies. Collingwood have the second worst offence, and GWS the fourth-best defence, so this could end up being a very bleak day for the Collingwood cheer squad. GWS Giants by 48.
Essendon v Geelong
Geelong have lost their last two games in upsets, but surely it’s third time’s the charm. In addition to being the ‘Country Week’ game, James Kelly gets to play his 300th game against his former club. Essendon’s only win against Geelong in the last eleven years was an upset in 2011, and the lopsided record between the two clubs will likely continue. Geelong by 32.
Adelaide v Melbourne
Adelaide are no longer undefeated, after turning out one of the most unexpected performances in history. Melbourne also tanked it in the first quarter against Hawthorn, before almost getting the win. Combined, these two teams scored 7 to 98 in their first quarters, but Adelaide has form both against Melbourne and this year, and there’s no way there’ll be a repeat performance. Adelaide by 38.
Richmond v Fremantle
Richmond would, a few weeks ago, have chalked this up as a certain win, but their form has gone down the drain at the same time Fremantle’s has swung upwards. Richmond were in with a chance against the Bulldogs, but couldn’t hold on, while the Dockers’ only loss in the last month was to high-flying West Coast. This match should be interesting. Fremantle by 22.
Gold Coast v Pt Adelaide
There are plenty of questions about this game, but it should be interesting to watch how this Chinese voyage will affect the teams throughout the rest of the year. Preseason the Suns were rank outsiders for this, but their form has surged at the same time Port’s has shorted.3 Gold Coast haven’t beaten the Power since 2011, but should do it again. Gold Coast by 14.
N Melbourne v Sydney
The Kangaroos and Swans got more wins last week than in the first six of the season, and one of them is hoping to continue the winning streak. North absolutely demolished Adelaide last week, and will fancy their chances of going three in a row, but Sydney haven’t been thrashed every week, as their percentage shows. The Kangaroos’ form edges this contest. N Melbourne by 20.
North Melbourne’s big win over Adelaide gave them the biggest attacking increase, and West Coast’s defending against Port helped them move up a lot in a crowded field. Lots of teams were moved down by four in various positions.
Port Adelaide and GWS are the only teams in the top four for both categories, while Essendon and Hawthorn are the only teams in the bottom four.
And another thing…
If you haven’t seen it already, I’d like to share a stat that, last I checked, had recieved 32 retweets – more than any tweet I’ve ever made.
Adelaide has been kept scoreless in the first quarter three times in their 26-and-a-bit seasons in the AFL. Every single time, the opposition has scored 22.13 (145).
Here’s the proof:
Cut, paste, and find a way to remind yourself of this next time the Crows start scoreless.
1If you object to me anglicising it, here. 欢迎来到中国. Is that better?
2Insert joke about New Zealand here.
3Every week Gold Coast has won this week, Port has lost, and vice versa.