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 Eleven.
Sydney vs Carlton(SCG) 7:50 PM
A lot has been made of all the terrible Friday night games and their impact on ratings.
This is a crisis I can relate to, given unlike many of you, I have no other options on a Friday night but football.
No dates, no drinks with friends, no invitations.
Just me and bloody Carlton.
Not that it’s the Blues fault the AFL have handed them a bunch of prime-time slots but it’s fun to blame Carlton even if it’s unjustified.
Apart from the terrible games, perhaps Channel Seven could hire some commentators and ‘special comments’ people who don’t spend half the game congratulating each other on what a great job they are doing.
I notice Stephen Quartermain is now free and what I’d give for him to end up on Channel Seven calling games, he is light years ahead of what they currently have.
Anyway, this is 4thplaying 18th. Not a lot of analysis needed, Swans to win.
Western Bulldogs vs Melbourne (ES) 1:45 PM
In a week where the Demons won the AFL Premiership, it’s strange they have to play again.
My tattoo hasn’t even healed.
Bulldogs fans will be hoping their team is fresh after taking the second half off last other week.
Contrast the firepower of both sides, in the past fortnight, Melbourne have kicked 48 goals, the Bulldogs just 11.
And while the Demons kicked 23 goals against the Crows, the Bulldogs booted just two (although in much worse conditions).
The big question is what has happened to the Bulldogs since their Premiership? At least it’s fun to constantly refer to it as a fluke. Doggies fans love that.
This is Melbourne Captain Nathan Jones’ 250thgame, an amazing milestone considering Jones has had to play in some of the worst teams the AFL has ever seen.
So often it’s been Jones who has been the only player putting in anywhere the required effort, like someone stuck in the worst group assignment ever.
Consider that since he started in 2006, he’s played in 74 wins, 172 losses and three draws.
Even worse, he had to play for Mark Neeld.
Finally, Jones is surrounded by other AFL players and is actually happy, a new experience he and Demons supporters are still coming to terms with.
He is the heart and soul of the Demons and is owed a win in this game from the entire club. Yes, I do love him.
I can’t see Melbourne losing here, the Bulldogs just can’t score enough.
Hawthorn vs Port Adelaide (UTS) 2:10 PM
This is actually an important game with 9thplaying 10th(although Port have played one less game).
The Power have gone from playing in China to playing in Tasmania, which is quite a change, although China has as many AFL sides as Tasmania and is probably more likely to get one first.
In fact, not first, just likely. Perhaps Tasmania could change their name to ‘China’ to entice the AFL.
A Chinese AFL team could play their home games in Tasmania, it would attract the same amount of Chinese spectators.
Port had the bye last week so should be rested from their overseas jaunt, while Hawthorn’s shortcomings were highlighted by the Eagles.
The Hawks come into this on the back of three losses. I’d forgotten they were even allowed to lose that much in a row.
Hawks fans must be looking at each other saying, ‘Is this even legal?’
Sitting in tenth, this is a must win for the Hawks or suddenly Hawthorn fans will be wandering the streets in September wondering what to do.
Really, there should be an app where they can connect with Demons supporters who won’t need their numerous vacation homes for the first time in more than a decade.
I’m tipping Port here.
Gold Coast vs Geelong (MS) 4:35 PM
Tom Lynch is back for the Gold Coast, which means I know one of the Suns players names.
That might not last for long, given all the talk he is going to leave.
Why would he want to leave the Suns? Perhaps he wants to play in a professional team or something. Who knows with these modern-day footballers.
This is the first game the Suns have played at home all year, because the primary school athletics carnival that is the Commonwealth Games was being held at Metricon.
Gary Ablett returns to the Gold Coast too, after rewarding the huge piles of money they threw at him by getting out of there as fast as he could.
I’m sure he does have some fond memories of the money he made up there.
Unfortunately, his fairy tale return to Geelong (what a fairy tale, guy leaves you for more money and then comes back at the end of his career) is not going to plan.
I hope he’s ready to be booed by dozens of Suns supporters.
Cats to win.
Essendon vs Richmond (MCG) 7:25 PM
Dreamtime at the ‘G, one of the great moments of the season and looking like an entertaining game with the Bombers no longer being horrendously awful.
This will be a special moment in the Sir Doug Nicholls Round which celebrates the game’s Indigenous players and culture.
And there’s a lot to celebrate, with Indigenous people making a huge contribution to Australian Football. Imagine if we worked so hard to get them involved in other parts of Australian life?
Essendon’s rebound will be tested here, Richmond may not be playing at their best but are still very good.
Last week against St Kilda, they played poorly in parts but still ran over the top of them and Essendon will have to face the sort of pressure they didn’t get from the Giants.
This is Jake ‘Watch How Bad My Tattoos Can Get’ Stringer’s 100thgame, at least 20 of those games begin really good.
Essendon haven’t beaten Richmond since 2014, that’s the last six games, quite a streak.
I don’t expect that to change here.
West Coast vs St Kilda (OS) 8:10 PM
St Kilda weren’t painful to watch last week, not once did I feel like pouring salt into my eyes for relief, it must have been a nice change for their remaining fans.
This one is a little more difficult, traveling to Perth to play the red-hot Eagles.
It’s perfect timing for Jake Carlisle to get suspended given they now face Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling.
I’m sure they have other people to play on them. Well, fairly sure.
I actually feel sorry for Saints supporters, imagine being put in the position where the Ross Lyon years are the highlight of your life?
Eagles fans are more excited than an AFL executive near a pile of money. They’ve passed every test set them and if they win here it’s ten wins in a row.
And they will win.
North Melbourne vs Brisbane (ES) 1:10 PM
North have not only proved everyone wrong, think of all the jokes they’ve ruined.
We could have been really enjoying this season but no, they had to go and get good.
Now they face the ‘not as bad as you think they are even though they’ve only won one game all season’ Lions.
It does make this a somewhat interesting game, as Brisbane have started to fit some of the pieces together, but against North you’d want to be good.
They do all the things coaches talk about doing but teams really do. They tackle, defend and are disciplined. They also don’t make many mistakes.
Waiting for your opponent to shoot themselves in the foot is a surprisingly successful strategy in this league.
Not that North can’t create their own opportunities, their midfield is underrated, and Ben Brown is a star.
Just one lock of his hair can heal broken bones and broken hearts. It also smells like cinnamon.
Collingwood vs Fremantle (MCG) 3:20 PM
Collingwood have injuries, Jeremy Howe (bone bruising), Ben Reid (leg) and Travis Varcoe (hamstring) have all been added to the list. I didn’t say this was earth shaking news.
On the plus side for the Pies, Aaron Sandilands is out, meaning Bucks might only need to send Brodie Grundy out to win this.
Fremantle have only won one of their past five games, instead preferring to focus on off-field HR issues this season.
The last time the Dockers beat Collingwood at the MCG was 2006. That’s a long time ago and their scoring options haven’t improved since then.
Collingwood are a real chance to win here and I am slowly coming around to the uncomfortable realisation that they may play finals.
Chris Mayne will face his old side for the first time since his wildly successful move to the Pies.
This year he’s been OK and despite things being awkward at times at Collingwood, there’s nothing like facing this Dockers team to make him feel good about himself.
Pies to win.
Adelaide vs Greater Western Sydney (AO) 4:40 PM
Two injury plagued teams face off after disappointing showings last round.
The Giants are at the point where any more losses and finals become impossible.
They’ve lost four on the trot, and the effort shown over that period would be causing outrage if anyone cared about them.
Luckily the Sydney media are still unaware there’s an AFL team in Western Sydney. They’ve heard rumours but haven’t bother to send anyone out to check.
The Crows were embarrassed last round and Don Pyke has been weirdly staring at them all week. I’ve heard he’s often just stood outside players homes staring at them watching TV through the window.
“You want to come in Don? No? You’ve been there an hour. OK. This is weird now Don. My girlfriend has called the police. Don, she really has, you’d better go. Don, I didn’t even play last week, I’m injured remember? Here are the police Don. Answer them Don, don’t stare at them.”
I’m tipping the Crows.
I have two new dates to announce for my show A Thoroughly Unhelpful History of Australian Sport. Exciting!
The first is 7.00pm Wednesday 6 June The Comic’s Lounge in Melbourne.
The second is 8.00pm Thu 7 June Arkaba Hotel Adelaide.
The last ten shows at the Melbourne Comedy Festival sold out so get in early.
Tickets for both shows available here:frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
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