Thoughts and observations: Gold Coast vs Essendon

This whole game-every-day festival of footy isn’t too dissimilar to Falls Festival. It’s just that I crack my first beer like clockwork at 7pm, not 7am.

Sadly, Gold Coast have gone and dropped the most watchable player in the AFL. No, not Izak Rankine. Not Ben King. Not even senior assistant coach Matt Rowell. The man himself, the safest bet for anytime goalscorer since Peter Hudson, the prince of medium forwards. Alex Sexton. No-one loves a snag more. Maybe Tom Papley. Maybe. I’m assuming he’s been dropped because he just loves burning teammates and having pot shots anywhere inside 60 metres. Fingers crossed he’s back next week.

Fortunately there’s still some good viewing out there. The world’s biggest man, Sam Collins, will be doing his best imitation of a brick wall in both expression and ability to deflect opposition forward thrusts. Seriously, next time you see him play check out how jacked this bloke is. He’ll likely square off against Shaun McKernan, who fluctuates between being dropped in a team with very few key forward options to cameos where he looks like Warren Tredrea.

The first quarter is fairly underwhelming. McKernan hitting James Stewart on the lead for Essendon’s first goal is reminiscent of Dermott Brereton to Jason Dunstall, Ashley Hansen to Quinten Q-Stick Lynch. Connor McKenna is playing forward again and (shock horror) it’s a lot harder finding the pill than when you get it given to you across halfback.

David Zaharakis of the Bombers handballs

(Photo by Chris Hyde/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

Levi Greenwood has been a super pick-up for the Suns, but does any player get more clearances and gain less meterage? Mostly it’s because he’s got two players hanging off him at any given time and he ends up toe-poking it five metres forward, but context is irrelevant when you’re discussing useless, immeasurable statistics.

Does anyone else think Jack Bowes would’ve been school captain? I think Jack Bowes would’ve been school captain. Speaking of appearances, is Brandon Zerk-Thatcher actually Cruella de Vil?
Is it really fair that ‘infringing’ on the mark costs a 50-metre penalty? Blokes regularly get clubbed across the head for sitting in the hole at local level and the punishment is generally the same.

Well, maybe not in the VAFA, where you’re more likely to get done for white-collar crime on the field than off it. I’m more talking the Yarra Valley, where blokes get bitten and the free kick goes against them for retaliation. Not even kidding.

Is it half-time already? Apparent yes. Gold Coast by 19 points.

Gee, Jordan Ridley is good. Gold Coast might want to reassess their current tactic of kicking the ball straight to him.

Jesus Christ. Tarzan Collins just decapitated Kyle Langford, who is basically Essendon’s full-forward now despite being a midfielder.

Everyone froths Rankine because he kicks sick goals and takes hangers but his ability to read the ball off hands and shark contests is downright visceral. It’s like footy purist porn.

Tom Cutler won a holding-the-ball free kick and did the AFL equivalent of NBA players congratulating themselves and dishing out high fives for drawing a foul. Unlike most NBA players, he went back and missed the shot, which in itself is a weird flex but okay. While we’re on the NBA theme, Jarrod Harbrow is channelling Allen Iverson with that elbow band.

The final quarter is underway and it’s really gone up a notch. Poor Josh Corbett went full NEAFL running into an open goal and then male model/good footballer Lachie Weller got his head ripped off before kicking his second snag.

I hadn’t really watched much Fox Footy prior to COVID-19 but now that I’m familiar with the product I feel qualified to say (a) the average punter doesn’t care as much about the pressure gauge as you think they do and (b) if you could actually explain how this pressure is measured, maybe they would.

Far out. Essendon are in front. You turn your head for a second and David Zaharakis has three goals. He squares up the ledger then Langford puts them in front by six points.

And now it’s level again. Gigantic Ben King turns on the cheat codes, baulks three blokes and kicks a belter.

Wowza. King has marked 35 metres out. And he’s missed. Gold Coast up by a point with a minute to go. Drama.

Rankine marks outside 50. Of course he does. Now he’s lining up for a shot. He shouldn’t. There’s no way he’s going to make the distance. He doesn’t. It falls well short, there’s a mad scramble, and it’s a draw. Outrageous. I wish they’d show the pressure gauge again!

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