May 12, 2023
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Nine
The only guide to the round that admits it’s completely unhelpful. What it lacks in insight, it makes up for with wild theories and detours onto unrelated topics.
It’s your unhelpful guide to Round Nine.
Richmond vs. Geelong (MCG) 7:20pm Seven/Fox
It’s Friday night and we get both Richmond v Geelong AND West Coast taking on Gold Coast!
I mean the AFL do spoil us sometimes.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this game is if the Tigers supporters boo Tom Stewart.
Richmond have asked if they could refrain from doing so as they say they ‘hold no grudge’.
To be clear, you now can’t boo someone just because they knocked out one of your players.
Soon they’ll be telling us you can’t boo someone because of their race. What a nanny state!
The Tigers finally got a win last week, against the after-work, touch footy club the West Coast Eagles.
This will be harder, as Geelong, who started the season with a massive hangover, have now eaten some Maccas, drunk a fair bit of Coca-Cola and have started to feel good enough to consider going out again.
The Cats will be without Patrick Dangerfield but should win.
West Coast vs. Gold Coast (OS) 8:40pm Fox Footy
I suppose we better cover off this game. I mean, barely any of us will watch 14th play 17th, but there may be a few Eagles fans still maintaining an interest in the season.
Like a Japanese soldier on an island, not knowing that the war is over.
And there are Gold Coast Suns fans, too, in fact, I met one as recently as this week.
Sure, they got a bit upset when I touched their face to see if they were real, but overall, they were really nice.
This week we learnt Matt Rowell eats grass before every match. Now that’s new.
I had an Uner 16s coach who smoked grass before every game.
He was the most chill coach I ever had, and the only one who sent the runner to the servo in the second quarter to grab him a few snacks.
At three-quarter time once, he gave us a speech about how we need to switch more coming out of defence, that the CIA were listening to everything we said, and how our minds were all connected by invisible string and that this was string theory. He then told us he loved us, and we never saw him again.
Still the best coach I ever had.
Suns to win.
Sydney vs. Fremantle (SCG) 1:45pm Fox Footy
It’s been a week debating whether you can boo or not at the footy, and as debates go, it’s been a stunningly stupid one.
Some people say there should never be any booing, others say you should be able to boo all the time.
Like all things, context is kind of important, and each incident requires people to engage their brain to assess what is going on.
For instance, Carlton fans booed their own team last week. Rather than this being mean-spirited, I thought the Blues fans have shown enormous restraint to not boo constantly for the last twenty-plus years.
I know we are meant to be nice to everyone all the time now, but this is professional sport, and winning is the main reason it exists. You can’t have all the glory with no risk.
You also can’t expect people to sit there clapping and telling you how great you are while you make them miserable and ruin their weekend.
Trust me; I learnt that lesson doing my live shows.
But when it comes to booing Buddy, there’s a bit of context there that goes back, well, a few centuries, and more recently with Adam Goodes.
It’s hard to argue you’re booing for other reasons when there’s more baggage lying around than at Heathrow.
It might be unfair it’s perceived as racist, if you are doing it for pure reasons, but hey life is unfair.
One thing I do know is the AFL telling people not to boo will probably be as effective as when Nancy Reagan told kids to ‘just say no!’ to drugs.
I went out and took drugs that very day in response.
It was Panadol, as I didn’t know where to get illicit drugs and plus, I had heard they are dangerous, but I like to think I made the point that no one tells me what to do.
Swans to win.
North Melbourne vs. Port Adelaide (BA) 2:10pm Fox Footy
It’s been revealed North Melbourne coach Alastair Clarkson texted Jason Horne-Francis to say there are no grudges between the club and the No.1 draft pick.
It’s typical Clarko; always the peacemaker and the one trying to calm any situation.
You are also not allowed to boo Horne-Francis apparently. What’s next? I can’t boo the kids at the playground who are too scared to go down the slide?
Well, technically, I can’t go to the playground, but that’s for other reasons, but the point still stands.
North last week took part in a match that was an affront to not only football but common decency.
I rang the police several times to report a crime against football, and while the police were broadly supportive of the points I was making, they said they wouldn’t be ‘breaking out the tear gas’ as I’d suggested.
The Power players said this week they will get around and support Horne-Francis this week, but I’m not sure from what, this is in Hobart.
He should be able to handle the four North supporters booing him.
Junior Rioli will miss this game after being suspended, despite using the ‘he ran into my arm’ defence, which in a stunning development, didn’t work.
Power to win.
Hawthorn vs. Melbourne (MCG) 4:35pm Fox Footy
When I was a younger man, Nelson Mandela was freed from jail, proving once again the wheels of justice turn slowly but they do turn.
Last night, was no less a momentous moment for global justice, with Jacob van Rooyen’s sentence being overturned.
The verdict preserves the fabric of the game, which is a rather stained piece of fabric, but it’s preserved; that’s the main thing.
The great thing about the AFL Tribunal is it makes no sense, even to those on the Tribunal.
Was the first verdict on van Rooyen correct? The second? The third?
The wonderful thing is, in the AFL world, they are all wrong and right. Truth is relative; there are no absolutes.
It’s just shades of grey.
The great thing is people will now debate these decisions like there is some structure behind them.
But it’s not like that.
It’s like debating if the blindfolded monkey throwing darts was right to hit triple six.
That all aside, van Rooyen is now free to face Hawthorn, a team more predictable than the Tribunal.
Demons to win.
Brisbane vs. Essendon (G) 7:25pm Seven/Fox
Essendon have been falling faster than most people’s super balances, but at least your super has a chance to go up again.
The Bombers are on a three-game losing streak, but if I’m being fair, which I am known for, they’ve all been somewhat close losses.
It’s not all doom and gloom. There have been some steps forward at Windy Hill.
The problem is for every step forward at Essendon, there is usually two self-inflicted disasters waiting around the corner.
A loss here though, and you can just sense the ‘We need to bring back James Hird’ columns being updated.
No matter what, Essendon seem to reach that point every year, like the leaves turning brown, or the chirping of the cicadas, its seasonal.
A win here would certainly hold that off, but Brisbane have been in very good form.
Ever since everyone got stuck into Joe Daniher for being hopeless, he has been very good. You’re welcome, Joe!
One thing Brisbane do have to keep an eye on is their injury list. Here it is in its entirety:
Daniel Rich- Calf- 1-2 weeks
Can the Lions just get a bit of luck?
Brisbane to win.
Carlton vs. Western Bulldogs (Marvel) 7:30pm Fox Footy
Carlton have piloted their season to the point where going to watch them is more like a trip to the dentist than a fun thing to do for their fans.
But there’s no point in getting down; why, just two weeks ago the Blues defeated a very impressive West Coast outfit.
Now they face the Bulldogs who sit one spot above them on the ladder and are on a three-game winning streak.
There was news this week that Sam Darcy will be out for a while due to a small hole in his lung.
He even played a few games like that, which is amazing. I don’t think a hole in your lung would be very helpful in a game and I hope he has a rapid recovery.
A few decades ago, it probably wouldn’t have been such a problem. Back then players smoked in between quarters. A hole in the lung wouldn’t even have been noticed. Ahh, the good old days.
Carlton are apparently looking unlikely to get many primetime games for the rest of the season, after sucking in them recently.
I doubt it will happen, somehow, no matter how bad they get, the Blues still always seem to be shown in primetime. They are like The Project.
Despite all that, I’m tipping the Blues.
Adelaide vs. St Kilda (AO) 1:10pm Fox Footy
To be honest, I still haven’t forgiven the Saints for their role in last week’s travesty against football, it’s going to take some time in fact to get over that.
Hopefully, facing the Crows, they have a better dance partner, and we see the high-scoring, free-flowing football we’ve come to expect under Ross Lyon.
In fairness, it’s easy to criticise Ross, but his style does almost win premierships.
The Crows have hit the skids recently; their problem? Playing some good teams.
It’s deeply unfair that the AFL are making them do this.
The good news is against St Kilda, you are always a chance. They might be better than you, but the Saints are always tempted to ruin their own fans lives, rather than defeat an opponent.
They are like a guard dog that is more likely to attack its owner than an intruder.
Saint Mattaes Phillipou will hopefully have a less weird game this week, after Jy Simpkin last week ripped out his GPS tracker and threw it away.
Those GPS trackers can be tricky. I remember once a player accidentally left theirs on after a game on a trip back to Melbourne after playing in Geelong.
The club couldn’t work out how they ran so far in the game.
I’m tipping the Crows.
Collingwood vs. Greater Western Sydney (MCG) 4:40pm Fox Footy
Collingwood could probably allow the Giants to start playing now, and the Pies would still chase them down in the fourth quarter.
Not since Super Impose have I seen so many come from behind wins.
Collingwood fans have been a big talking point this week with the booing.
Personally, I think the AFL could fix this easily. Just introduce a booing permit that you fill out ahead of the game.
You just tick who you are planning to boo, write a short essay on why, answer seventy-three questions, get four references, have a police check and a working with children check, lodge the permit with the AFL, and then wait three weeks to see if it’s approved.
Knowing the AFL, they’d charge you about $80 to apply, and they’d get it sponsored too.
“Yes officer, I have my Hostplus Booing Permit right here.”
Pies to win.
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