Jul 21, 2023
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Nineteen
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 Nineteen.
Essendon vs. Western Bulldogs (Marvel) 7:50pm Seven/Fox
It’s seventh versus eight as we get down to business of working out who is going to play finals.
If it was up to the AFL, everyone would get to play finals, like this is some modern game of pass the parcel where everyone gets a prize.
Incoming AFL boss Andrew Dillon is apparently keen on a wildcard round, which the AFL has floated before.
It’s such an obvious money grab, and you know that because they say it would be ‘exciting for the fans’, and we all know the AFL never worries about something like that.
Essendon have not performed well against the Doggies in recent years, but this year is different for them, or it was until that rather unpleasant trip down to Geelong.
Recovering from that won’t be easy, but the good news for them is the Bulldogs have been about as convincing as the accents in House of Gucci.
That makes tipping this almost impossible; both sides make strong cases for missing finals.
I’m tipping the Bulldogs.
Saturday, Jul 22
Richmond vs. Hawthorn (MCG) 1:45pm Fox Footy
There was a lot of talk this week about Maurice Rioli Jr refusing to take a phone call from Andrew McQualter while sitting on the bench after being subbed out.
This was the least surprising thing ever; millennials don’t take phone calls. What was McQualter thinking? Just send a text.
This would have been a story if Rioli Jr had taken the call, ‘Twenty-year-old Answers Phone’ the New York Times would have plastered across their front page.
The Tigers are a chance to make finals, not a good chance, but a chance, and a huge win over Hawthorn would be just what they need.
The good news for Hawthorn fans is there’s not long to go now in the season. It’s tough watching this happen to them.
I can’t think of any group of fans who have suffered for as long as Hawthorn fans.
Tigers to win.
Carlton vs. West Coast (Marvel) 2:10pm Fox Footy
The Blues will be without Patrick Cripps, Adam Cerra and Harry McKay, which could mean their winning margin could be just under one hundred.
Sure, it would be beyond funny if Carlton lost this, but it’s not going to happen. This West Coast side is one of the worst sides of all time.
They then had to spend time this week addressing claims Harley Reid doesn’t want to go there.
Reid denies this, but again, the story would only be interesting if he did want to go there.
No number one draft pick wants to go where they will be drafted because it will be the worst team.
That’s just the way it works.
If anything, Reid is probably overwhelmed at the idea of going to an AFL team and already being their best player, and knowing he’s going to have to teach these guys the sport.
Blues to win.
Brisbane vs. Geelong (G) 4:35pm Fox Footy
Brisbane are coming off a Houdini-like escape from winning last week, and now they face the team that stole the soul of Essendon.
The Lions did everything right last week except the winning bit, which is fairly key.
They’ll want to be a lot sharper this time, as the Cats are hitting some form after a rather bumpy first half of the season.
Geelong are a good side, but it’s hard to know how much stock to put into last week’s game. The Bombers looked defeated from the opening bounce.
It’s easy to dominate a side who look more out of their depth than the Kendall Roy.
Brisbane may be able to blow last second leads, but they will put up a much bigger fight than Essendon did.
I’ve felt for Geelong this week. With the Commonwealth Games being cancelled in Victoria, where will their next bit of government funding come from? It may be weeks until another politician throws millions of dollars at the Cats.
I’m tipping the Lions.
Fremantle vs. Sydney (OS) 7:40pm Fox Footy
In a week of meaningful games, here’s one that means nothing.
Both these sides have had incredibly disappointing seasons. Sydney probably overachieved last year, and learnt a harsh lesson, overachieve and you get belted by Geelong and don’t recover the next year.
It’s why I’ve never come close to overachieving. Even just achieving is something I avoid.
Fremantle have shocked the entire football world, except for their fans, with their performance this year.
But I’d argue the Swans have been the more disappointing team.
The good news is that in this game we get to settle it.
Forget the wooden spoon or the premiership, there should be an award for most disappointing team.
We can call the award ‘The Crystal Skull' in honour of the most disappointing Indiana Jones movie.
I’m tipping the Swans to win The Crystal Skull, which means Fremantle wins this.
Port Adelaide vs. Collingwood (AO) 7:40pm Seven/Fox
Now this is a game. A potential Grand Final preview, two sides that until recently have fought over clothing design more than the pinnacle of footballing excellence.
The Power have gotten the loss they had to have out of the way, and get Jason Horne-Francis, Charlie Dixon and Trent McKenzie all back from injury.
Willie Rioli also returns, while the Pies get Brody Mihocek back.
Both these sides have tons of young talent and play fast and exciting football, making this, hopefully a great game.
It’s a shame it’s up against Freo and the Swans.
When you analyze these two teams, the Pies have a clear advantage in one key area, the amount of Daicoses.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Port, who have a massive advantage in a stat I value highly, players with hyphenated names.
They have Jason Horne-Francis, Sam Powell-Pepper and Darcy Byrne-Jones.
Collingwood have none, with Will Hoskin-Elliott out injured.
It basically means these two teams are even, the amount of Daicoses and players with hyphenated names basically cancelling each other out.
I’m tipping the Power but it’s a coin flip.
Greater Western Sydney vs. Gold Coast (Manuka) 1:10pm Fox Footy
The Giants sit in ninth spot, and with every chance the Bulldogs or Essendon will lose this week, and it’s not beyond St Kilda to lose to North.
Which makes this a must-win and given the Suns have done their normal thing of only playing the first half of the season, they’re a real chance to move into the eight.
While the Suns have struggled in the AFL, the good news, according to Gillon McLachlan, is they’ve completely won over the state of Queensland to AFL.
This is so true. Whenever I’m in Queensland, and the media is awash with League stories, I think, ‘the AFL are dominating this state.’
That’s the thing about being a powerful CEO; you don’t worry about reality, you just say what you want to be true.
To be fair, the Suns did sell out a game recently when Collingwood played there.
Therefore, the way to win over the Gold Coast is to move Collingwood there. Simple. I’ll send my consultant fee to Gillion.
Giants to win.
Melbourne vs. Adelaide (MCG) 3:20pm Seven/Fox
Adelaide really didn’t need that loss to the Giants last week, and another here and those dreams of a top eight finish will disappear faster than my dreams of making a living from modern dance.
The Dees have spent a lot of the week being discussed in terms of what they are going to do with Brodie Grundy.
I know what they’re going to do, whatever gives them the best chance of winning.
Football teams are fairly simple like that. If the team works better without him, that’s what they’ll do.
All the rest is just talk.
It’s a shame. I’ve always wanted to see a team of all rucks, but no team has ever been brave enough to try it.
It’s hard to know what has happened to the Crows. They were travelling along so well, actually, they have not been travelling that well, but they were winning at home.
Then they lost to the Giants at home, which was careless.
A win here would change everything, but I can’t see it happening.
I’m tipping the Dees.
St Kilda vs. North Melbourne (Marvel) 4:40pm Fox Footy
With the Saints struggling to maintain their position in the top eight, facing North couldn’t come at a better time.
And North are very bad. They only look a bit better than they are because they are standing next to West Coast.
Like when I used to stand next to Jeff because, after his industrial accident, I looked like a member of One Direction in comparison.
Yet we all know St Kilda could easily blow this. They struggled against West Coast after all.
It’s no great surprise. If Ross Lyon is the answer, you’re asking the wrong questions.
Off the field, former coach Brett Ratten shot back at claims by Nick Riewoldt that training standards had been sub-par.
"The only time he (Riewoldt) came was for free physio, that's the only time he was at the club, so I don't know where he saw those standards," Ratten said.
My condolences to Riewoldt’s family after that drive-by.
To be fair, standards have obviously risen, what with the free fall they are currently in.
Surely though the win this? Right? RIGHT?
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This week’s Sports Bizarre episode is The Footballer Who Wasn’t, available wherever you get your podcasts.