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21 Seconds Of Madness That Prove This Is An AFL Season Like No Other

Anything can happen. And did.

15/05/2017 12:56 PM AEST | Updated 15/05/2017 1:01 PM AEST
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Somewhere in that ecstatic huddle is David Mundy, the veteran Freo Docker who kicked the winning goal against Richmond.

Round eight of the 2017 AFL competition will be remembered for the first match in China, which for the record was won comfortably by the Port Adelaide Power over the Gold Coast Suns. By a lot.

In fact, the winning margin was almost as large as the crowd was claimed to be.

But there was a moment which said much more about the current state of the AFL than its experimental foray into China -- which we now know served Port Adelaide FC's bottom line well through sponsorship and other deals, but will likely do little to help make the "national game" truly international.

That moment came in the Richmond vs Fremantle game, and it emphasised just how close the competition is this year. It's worth watching the full two-minute clip below to get a handle on the mood at the end of this cracking match. Richmond weren't gonna, then they were, then... oh dear.

In short, we have not seen an AFL season remotely like this. Any team can beat any other. Well, almost. The Brisbane Lions are stretching that argument. But apart from them, this season is a tipster's nightmare and a bookie's dream.

In Round 7, something happened that had never happened before and probably never will again. Each of the nine matches was won by the team lower on the ladder. Repeat, the lower team beat the higher-placed team in every match.

That sort of unpredictability just hasn't been the pattern in the AFL over the years, where despite measures like the draft and the salary cap, the competition has tended to polarise into the same old haves and have-nots.

But not this year. As though ushered in by the drought-breaking premiership of the Western Bulldogs last year, anything can now happen in the AFL. Anything.

Anything can happen on the field, as this ridiculous goal in China proved.

Here's another example. Just when you thought Collingwood had done enough to win a game the week club icon Lou Richards died, along came ageless GWS superstar Stevie J to mock the Magpies' pain.

But it's the big picture which is most fascinating here, as decade-long patterns disintegrate.

The Swans lost their first six games after playing three grand finals in the last five years. Hawthorn has fallen off a cliff. The Melbourne Demons beat ladder-leaders the Adelaide Crows by 41 points on the weekend. Richmond won its first five games before losing its next three.

What happens next? Don't know.

Who wins the flag this year? Buy a dartboard and a set of darts.

About the only thing we can all bank on is that China is unlikely to abandon its obsession with ping pong for the game which is disparaged by heathens from non-AFL states as "aerial ping pong".

Not if this slightly confused match report in the Shanghai Daily is any guide, anyway.

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