Dusty was a little rusty on Thursday night.
Dusty was a little rusty on Thursday night.

‘Insane, mayhem’: US reacts to AFL

Australia was feeling flat after footy returned to the MCG on Thursday night but the AFL's second favourite American was in a cheerful mood.

Collingwood and Richmond both kicked 5.6 in a 36-36 draw in the lowest scoring match since 1999 as fans complained about being robbed of entertainment because of the shortened, 16-minute quarters.

Collingwood's US import Mason Cox, who didn't play last night, summed up the mood.

"Did that game just feel like 2020 in a nutshell," he tweeted. "No one wins. Everyone is frustrated."

But Cox's countryman Pat McAfee had a much more optimistic outlook.

The former NFL punter discovered AFL during quarantine and described it in March as "my favourite sport I've ever seen". Craving the return of live sport (he must have missed the NRL's comeback two weeks ago), McAfee was just glad to have the chance to wake up with his new-found love.



A Pies supporter because of his connection to Cox, McAfee admitted he found it a little too difficult to accept his alarm clock going off an hour-and-a-half earlier than usual, so hit the snooze button but managed to roll out of bed for the second half of last night's game.

And while it's said a draw feels like kissing your sister, the former Indianapolis Colts star turned podcaster drew plenty of positives out of the night.

"I got yelled at for calling it a tie - it is actually a draw," McAfee said on his show after full-time. "'Have some respect for the sport, McAfee', is what I was told.

"All of Australia is talking about how bad of a game it was. Australia kept tweeting me, 'This is such a bad game'.

"For me, I don't know much about it. I thought it was intense, I thought it was insane, I thought it was absolute mayhem.

"I had no idea that was a trash, cr***y game until once in a while the commentator would say, 'That's the worst kick he's had in his life'.

"I don't think it's a terrible game because I haven't been jaded long enough to know what great games look like."

The season was suspended after just one round in March because of coronavirus and some of the players were, understandably, a little rusty.

McAfee would fit in well in Australia as he showed off his rhyming slang when referencing Richmond superstar Dustin Martin's performance. "They're coming off a three-month quarantine, they might be a little rusty, like old Dusty was for the Richmond Tigers. A little rusty Dusty this morning," McAfee said.

"But if you don't know any better like we don't, and most of America doesn't, those last five minutes were insane.

"That second half they were saying it was rusty, they were saying it was bad Aussie rules football but for me I enjoyed the hell out of it.

"There were some big hits, there were some missed kicks. I saw no torpedo kicks … it was all end-over-end. I thought there were a couple of times some of the mates could have opened up with a little bit of a torpedo style punt and maybe hit it from long range.

"It was an awesome game in my eyes.

"All the Aussie rules fans in Australia are like, 'This stinks, this stinks', for me I don't know … I thought it was a great game."

McAfee liked what he saw, even if much of Australia didn’t.
McAfee liked what he saw, even if much of Australia didn’t.

Apart from his wish to see players channel their inner NFL punter and deliver more spiral torpedoes, there was one other aspect McAfee thought could be improved.

Coming from America where overtime is used to break deadlocks in multiple codes, the 33-year-old admitted he would have liked to someone walk away a winner.

Similar to a penalty shootout in soccer, McAfee suggested players line up from 50m out and try to nail set shots for goal if scores are level after the final siren.

"When it ends as draw or a tie, that's when my tide started to turn a little bit. There has to be some sort of way for these guys, who just gave their lives for this entire time … there should be a chance for them to win this thing outright," McAfee said.

"Just do penalty kicks, just have them line up from 50m.

"When that game ended in a tie, it was literally set up for people to go in there and have five people do it.

"I feel like walking away from that this morning, my only grudge was … nobody ended up winning."


Originally published as 'Insane, mayhem': US reacts to AFL

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