Jul 06, 2023
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Seventeen
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 Seventeen.
Richmond vs. Sydney (MCG) 7:20pm Seven/Fox
Such has been the noise of the English meltdown coming from far off blighty that it’s drowned out a lot of other sports news this week.
Not that I mind. Watching the English have a collective existential crisis is one of my favourite things, right up there with a cold pillow at night and an open bar.
Of course, it’s all just cover for the fact their team talked themselves up so much before the series and now they trail 0-2 in their own country, making them the losingest losers that ever losered.
The hypocrisy is just so delicious. Either the English players know they’re being hypocrites but just don’t care, or they have the lowest level of self-awareness since The Age once ran a Wayne Carey column where he wrote about the importance of culture at a footy club.
Personally, it’s all the inbreeding in the English aristocracy that caused the issues in the members.
We’ve seen it before. Charles II of Spain, born in 1661, was inbred to the point where his mother was his dad’s niece, and his grandmother was also his aunt.
Charles suffered from numerous disabilities and congenital defects. He didn’t speak until he was four, couldn’t walk until he was eight and was barely able to chew due to his deformed jaw.
Among the Marylebone Cricket Club members, he would appear one of the more robust specimens.
Richmond to win.
Western Bulldogs vs. Collingwood (Marvel) 7:50pm Seven/Fox
Word this week that some Collingwood fans are considering protesting the treatment of Jack Ginnivan after a VFL melee last week against Frankston.
It’s not an impressive threat. Firstly, they are only ‘considering it’.
I’m considering a lot of things. Going to the gym, reading fiction, and caring about issues that don’t affect me directly.
But everyone knows I’m not going to do any of those things.
Secondly, they say the protest would occur at the MCG. Considering this game is at Marvel Stadium, that seems odd.
Look, I get it; no one wants to go to Marvel. It’s soulless, partly because AFL House is there. Protesting at an empty MCG doesn’t seem that effective, but I get it, the G is just so much nicer.
The Bulldogs will face a Collingwood side missing Brayden Maynard, Brody and Mihocek but Jordan De Goey returns from his suspension.
The question is, given De Goey does something silly about every four to six months, can he delay his next scheduled brain fade to after the finals?
I’m tipping the Bulldogs.
Brisbane vs. West Coast (G) 1:45pm Fox Footy
The Eagles showed some fight and even some light footballing skills against the Saints last week.
They still lost, but winning is not something we’re asking the Eagles to do, we don’t ask a toddler to drive a car. We need to judge them based on their stage of development.
I judge the Eagles on the following criteria this season:
· Do they run through the banner without injuring each other?
· Do they have their boots on the right feet?
· Are the kicking the ball in the right direction?
· Are they having fun?
· Did they all get a chance to touch the ball?
Brisbane, I’m sure, are not getting ahead of themselves and are taking this game very seriously, I can just see the pre-game interview.
“They’re struggling at the moment, but they’re a good team, and you misjudge them at your peril.”
Brisbane to win.
Greater Western Sydney vs. Hawthorn (GS) 4:35pm Fox Footy
The Giants caused an upset last week against the Dees in a freezing-cold Alice Springs.
Cold in Alice Springs? That’s enough evidence to disprove global warming for me.
I should add I also believe assassins from Jupiter killed JFK, and Tupac is still alive and works as a ticket seller at Giants Stadium as it allows him to avoid people.
The Giants can’t rely on their opponent kicking for goal like they’ve downed a bottle of Grange each before the game.
They can rely on the fact they’re playing Hawthorn.
Giants fans should be proud this week, given their inaugural captain of the GWS Giants in the Under 18 TAC Cup, Alex Carey’s heroics this week.
Carey said it was Kevin Sheedy who told him footy wasn’t going to be for him and to pursue cricket.
I had a similar conversation with my under-18s coach.
“You should pursue another path other than football.”
“What other path?”
“To be honest, I was just saying that to be nice, there is nothing in the breadth of human endeavor I can see you being good at.”
I’m tipping the Giants.
St Kilda vs. Melbourne (Marvel) 7:25pm Seven/Fox
Footage of Clayton Oliver arguing at practice with a trainer because he couldn’t keep training showed just how far the Dees have come.
Under Mark Neeld, the players didn’t want to train at all.
Still, his absence is being felt and the news Bayley Fritsch is out for eight weeks is a below both in a footballing sense and in a hairstyle sense.
The Dees can’t really drop this one. They’ve been destroying teams in every stat except on the scoreboard, which contrary to popular opinion is the only stat that matters.
Apparently, Melbourne are working harder than ever on their goalkicking, which might be the problem.
Just tell them to try to kick a behind each time. See, fixed.
The Saints have their own problems, that being they almost lost to Eagles.
That’s really hard to do and takes a team effort.
The good news for the Saints is that they’re back at Marvel, where the Saints defensive game works a lot better.
Combine that and the Dees goal intolerance and I’m tipping St Kilda.
Port Adelaide vs. Gold Coast (AO) 7:40pm Fox Footy
Two teams currently heading in opposite directions.
Like Parker Lewis, Port Adelaide can’t lose.
Even when they probably should lose, like last week, they win. They are a reverse England Cricket team.
The Suns however can lose, and against Collingwood they lost big.
Stuart Dew was angry at the speculation he could be sacked this week, but to be fair, when your team hangs you out to dry like that, there’s going to be speculation.
One way to avoid speculation that you are going to be sacked is to win. A win here would see everyone shut up for at least a week.
Being a senior AFL coach and being annoyed people are speculating you’ll be sacked is a bit like being a firefighter and being annoyed you have to keep going to fires.
Ken Hinkley knows all about that, and apparently, he is on the verge of a contract extension, which was unthinkable even back in about round three.
Coaching is all or nothing, you’re either a genius or hopeless, and that can change week to week.
Port to win.
Sunday, Jul 9
Geelong vs. North Melbourne (GMHBA) 1:10pm Fox Footy
I wish Geelong would make their mind up and decided if they’re going to play finals this year.
Last week’s draw wasn’t ideal, but they probably should have lost, so it was a win of sorts.
Jeremy Cameron is likely to return. No word yet if he has asked Gary Rohan to play in defense.
“You just go down the other end of the field Gary. No, no hard feelings; I just think you’re a great defensive player.”
Alastair Clarkson has returned to Arden Street but has not yet taken back the senior coaching role.
I’m not sure what he’s up to. Maybe he’s doing stationary, making sure people don’t steal any pens. I can’t see him having the patience to be doing Excel spreadsheets or dealing with expense claims.
Cats to win.
Essendon vs. Adelaide (Marvel) 3:20pm Seven/Fox
This is a game with huge ramifications for the finals. Huge! Ramifications!
Both sides are so close to playing finals but neither group of supporters would be confident to clear their September schedules just yet; it could jinx things.
Essendon fans are pretty used to their team getting out of playing in September like they all own timeshares on the Gold Coast.
No matter how certain it seems, they find a Houdini-like move to escape.
Two losses in a row, and that kick after the siren have opened wounds that are not even old.
Adelaide fans are a little different. They are still adjusting to their club no longer just producing laughs for the rest of the league.
Now they are a high scoring, free-wheeling side that play exciting footy. It’s so weird.
For either side a win here means their fans can dare to dream, a loss makes things harder due to the ramifications and all that.
I’m tipping the Bombers.
Fremantle vs. Carlton (OS) 4:40pm Fox Footy
Carlton have lulled everyone into a false sense of security as they lurk dangerously in fourteenth position, perfectly positioned to launch their run to the finals.
In recent weeks they’ve shown power club Gold Coast and Hawthorn whose boss and now it’s Fremantle’s turn.
The Dockers are all over the shop this year. They can match it with the best and the worst.
Their performance against the Giants makes me question any chance they have of playing finals.
Surely, if they’re a chance they win here? They’re at home, it’s against Carlton and a loss almost certainly takes them out of contention.
If they need any more motivation than that there is something wrong with them.
Yet, readers of this column know what high esteem I hold Michael Voss in as a coach. I’m sure the mastermind has war-gamed this whole season.
He knew being in the eight at this point of the season would just draw too much attention.
Like a crocodile waiting for the herd to cross the river, he lies in wait, and the herd is about to arrive.
But yeah, I’m tipping Freo.
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