Strange days for AFL fans

Jack Darling of the Eagles marks the ball against Michael Osborne of the Hawks during the round four AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Hawthorn Hawks at Patersons Stadium.
Jack Darling of the Eagles marks the ball against Michael Osborne of the Hawks during the round four AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and the Hawthorn Hawks at Patersons Stadium. Paul Kane - Getty Images

WHAT a strange few days.

While round 4 had many fans rubbing their hands together in anticipation of the clashes on offer, many of the results left them scratching their heads in all corners of the country.

First case in point, Hawthorn and West Coast went toe-to-toe in a battle for competition supremacy in Perth, but looked like two heavyweight boxers on the take, neither willing to land any telling blows.

In fact, the clash produced the first goalless opening quarter since 2006, while the Eagles played their first goalless opening half since 2004.

They kicked two in two minutes at the start of the third term, but finished with 5.21 to the Hawks' 5.16. There were more behinds on show than at a Spencer Tunick photo shoot. Strange.

Hawk Lance Franklin had seven scoring shots - for 1.6 - and gave away as many free kicks.

While the raucous 40,000 fans willed the Eagles over the line, for the majority of the Q Clash, the Gabba crowd resembled that at a tennis match as Brisbane trounced Gold Coast in a lacklustre offering.

The biggest roars were saved for Lions skipper Jonathan Brown. He had as many disposals last week against Fremantle as he's had head injuries in the past year (3), but turned back the clock to kick three goals, including his 500th, the 49th player to do so.

The most telling stat though was he actually came away from another game with his face still in one piece. Strange.

The AFL may have 'bought' Karmichael Hunt's services to promote the game on the Gold Coast but the ex-rugby league convert is certainly buying into game.

He notched a career-high 21 possessions and was the real shining light on dark night for the Suns. They lost and have now lost skipper Gary Ablett with a shoulder injury.

God help Gold Coast without him, but time for a few kids to stand up. Afterall, it's not healthy for one player to be picking up over 40 disposals in a game.

While it may have been their first match, there was no love lost when Adelaide hosted GWS, the side that snatched its prize young defender Phil Davis last year.

It was another ex-Brisbane Bronco who stole the show though, with Izzy 'A Footballer or Isn't He?' Folau actually doing something.

Big Izzy claimed eight possessions - as many as he's had in his first three games - with one even resulting in his first goal - a boomer from 50m. Strange.

If he had kept up his average of three disposals a game throughout this season it would equate to him earning 15,000 a touch. Eight a game and it comes down to $6000, and a better figure for the AFL to reconcile.

Lastly, down in Victoria, on Friday night, Fremantle actually won in Melbourne - for the first time in its last 17 attempts. Strange. It provided a 'happy homecoming' for coach Ross Lyon against his old side St Kilda.

Then, on Saturday, Carlton, which had just been installed as flag favourite, was trumped by the underrated Essendon, which somehow remains undefeated and sits second. Strange.

Topics:  afl, opinion, round 4



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