HPNXmas – The Worst AFL Games of 2016

The 12 days of HPNXmas is our way of giving back over the holiday period, and providing a place for some of our thoughts that didn’t get run for whatever reason during the year.

HPN’s Worst AFL Games of 2016

GWS v Richmond

GWS scored as many goals as Richmond did all day in the first 13 minutes, and outscored them completely by the 17 min mark. The game was almost conclusively over by quarter-time, and definitely so by half-time. Richmond were only four games out of the eight before the game; after it, they were about 3 years from finals football.

Carlton v Essendon

Essendon vs Carlton in round 6 was never expected to reach any great heights. Carton didn’t score a goal for virtually a half of football, with a drought between the 25th minute of the 1st and the 23rd minute of the 3rd quarter and they still won. That’s mostly because Essendon also went goalless for a half, between the 14th minutes of the 1st and 3rd quarter.

This wasn’t a desperate, titanic defensive struggle of the kind Ross Lyon, Paul Roos or Neil Craig might have appreciated. Tackles were 67 apiece, below the average of thirteen teams this year. It was more a matter of incompetent attacks sputtering out to nothing, back and forth, for about an hour of game-time. Carlton eventually made more of their greater number of inside-50s and carried the day.

Gold Coast v Carlton

Remember when Gold Coast were sitting in second place on the ladder? This game had everything, and by everything we mean inaccurate goalkicking, more clangers than clearances and one team not being able to score.

West Coast v St Kilda

St Kilda nearly made the eight this year, but they seemingly didn’t make the trip over to Perth for this game. At half-time they were 1.9, and 62 points behind. The Saints couldn’t buy a mark inside 50, and it probably (unknowningly) doomed their season.

Gold Coast v Sydney

This game almost resembled Australian Rules Football. While it was a close game for much of its length, it was utterly terrible to watch as monsoonal rain hit the Gold Coast. Four thousand brave souls turned up to watch this slopfest at a ground that resembled a swimming pool more than a footy oval and saw the reserves curtain-raiser abandoned. This game had the third most tackles of all time, as well as the 7th most clangers.

Adelaide v Brisbane Lions

It’s hard to pick which Brisbane Lions smackdown to pick, but this one was particularly impressive. This is probably the game that contributed to Daniel Merrett’s decision to retire ten days later, with Adelaide piling on the goals all day against a weary Brisbane side. Adelaide had 14 different goalkickers on the day; the Lions just 6 goals total.

Melbourne v Gold Coast

This was without doubt the worst thriller of the year, the classic example of a mid-table team keeping a lower-ranked team in the hunt with poor skills and worse decision making. The game was exemplified by the last moments. HPN spirit animal Jack Watts kicked a goal to put the Dees in front, then marked in the goalsquare to protect the lead. A few seconds later Bernie Vince (with his seventh clanger) stuffed up a kick out of defence, finding Tom Lynch on the boundary, who missed a difficult shot after the siren to let Melbourne escape with a win.

Fremantle v Western Bulldogs

The last game of the AFL home and away season was probably the most meaningless to the end standing, with Fremantle (locked in 16th) playing against the Bulldogs (locked in 7th) with little more than pride on the line. In Matthew Pavlich’s last match, Fremantle didn’t trail after the halfway mark of the first quarter, and kept the Dogs to just two Tory Dickson goals in the second half. As such, the Dockers were the last team to beat the eventual premiers in 2016.

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