Acres Yielded Hectares
Fremantle fans had understandably been pointing out the lack of prime time positions the club had received from the AFL. Some have even kept records and regularly update their ‘number of days since’ clocks. So, when your campaign ends up bearing fruit and you land a Thursday night big national stage timeslot, your team has to be prepared to the minute and when that initial siren sounds, it must have its head in the game.
Considering what was at stake, being the potential of finals, the celebration of a little Fremantle girl taken from this world far too soon and being on the national stage, it was imperative the focus and the concentration was front and centre from the outset.
It was always going to be an extremely difficult task against the powerful Geelong side and expectations of a victory weren’t high. Most reasonable fans can cope with getting beaten on their merits, we understand our skills aren’t elite or even where they need to be but when you fail at the very basics, the aspects that don’t require extreme skill, supreme talent or brute force, that is when supporters get a bit uppity.
Analysing a catastrophic result such as last night, you can make the mistake of tipping a bucket on too few and unfairly singling someone out. Like so many of the purple patrol, Blake Acres didn’t have anywhere near his best game but he unfortunately has to wear some criticism if only because it was the ultra-important intentions setting first 5 seconds of the game. Win, lose or draw, the tone for the night had to be emphatically and instantly set. Sadly’ Blakey Acres’ musical ear may have needed tuning.
I want to reiterate Acres wasn’t on his Pat Malone last night. He had a shedload of mates who were off the ball and anything but switched on. Rightly or wrongly he often cops a barrelling and is somewhat seen as the whipping boy, but for someone who is 26 years of age, been in the AFL system for eight years and coming up for his 100th game in a couple of weeks, it was fair to expect a bit better from him.
At the first bounce he lined up on the far wing on Geelong’s Zach Tuohy. Take nothing away from the smart and crafty Tuohy, but Acres allowed himself to be maneuvered goal side, leaving Tuohy with the proverbial and literal paddock. The result of this one action is highlighted in the video below.
There is the old saying ‘You give someone an inch, they’ll take a mile”. Acres gave Tuohy a paddock and he took the farm.
Now in the grand scheme of things it wasn’t necessarily a definitive moment of the game and there’s a never-ending list of other, some similar, some horrendously worse incidents from almost all players to point out. But, considering what then unfolded over the night, it showed the boys weren’t mentally there, they weren’t ready for the fight and didn’t have their collective heads in the right space.
And if you take a second look but this time lower the eyes to the other wing, you’ll see a young future captain Andrew Brayshaw, with the awareness of the positioning, not allowing the 29 year old Sam Menegola the same opportunity. To be fair, it didn't exactly appear Menegola was trying it on though.
Its often said that a large percentage of football is between the ears. You cannot bring that mindset to an AFL game against a quality opponent and expect to play finals. We all subscribe to the theory that inaccurate goal kicking is highly contagious, attitude can also present as a contagion.
As we pointed out in the Divine Intervention Contention article recently, we’ve had second and third chances this year through results outside of our control. We’re always hopeful but it’s difficult to think a fourth chance is coming.
It’s simply not only our physical skills and goal kicking accuracy that requires sharpening up.