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 Twenty One.
Essendon vs St Kilda (ES) 7:50 PM
The Bombers loss to Hawthorn last week means finals are now just a ‘mathematical chance’.
We all know what that means.
I love the term ‘mathematical chance’, why just yesterday I used it in a non-footy scenario, when I said, ‘I guess what I’m saying is that I have only a mathematical chance of finding happiness in this life’.
The shop assistant looked at me for a second before gesturing to the line that was building up behind me and politely asked if I had any intention of purchasing something or was I finished with the blow by blow account of all the mistakes I’d made in my life.
With the benefit of hindsight, St Kilda didn’t even have a mathematical chance of making the finals this season before it started, we all just thought they did.
Last week, they managed to fade out to the Western Bulldogs, the surest sign a team is tanking.
Jake Carlisle will face his old side here, he must be thrilled he jumped ship from the basket case that was Essendon to the basket case that is St Kilda.
Essendon to win.
Hawthorn vs Geelong (MCG) 1:45 PM
To think that technically, Carlton and Hawthorn are both in a ‘rebuilding phase’. Yet here are the Hawks, sitting fifth on the ladder.
In fairness, rebuilding Hawthorn is like rebuilding a mansion whose maintenance staff had a week off, when rebuilding Carlton is like rebuilding Chernobyl. The decontamination alone takes decades.
Geelong’s loss to Richmond last week means they are now in ninth place and another loss here could see them miss the finals altogether.
Gary Ablett’s miss in the dying stages could prove costly. If he didn’t want to play finals he could have just stayed at the Suns.
The Cats effort though showed they should be able to match it with anyone, but they don’t seem to be able to produce that regularly. Like these columns, the difference between their best and their worst is huge.
Tipping this one is a nightmare, but I’m going with the Hawks who are in good form at the moment.
Gold Coast vs Richmond (MS) 2:10 PM
The Richmond Football Club will be holding an open training session at Metricon Stadium this Saturday at 2.10 PM.
All welcome, food and drinks available for purchase. A great day out for families.
Port Adelaide vs West Coast (AO) 4:35 PM
It’s been a busy week for the Eagles. There’s been playing games of phantom games of golf and trying to portray Andrew Gaff as a victim, while not appearing to try and portray him as a victim.
The Eagles pulled out all the stops to help Gaff, even using a character witness the former Carey Grammar school principal Phil De Young, who was principal when Gaff was a student there.
There’s no greater power play in Melbourne than mentioning the private school you went to. Melburnians love an old school tie.
It’s the first question they ask you when they meet you. If you don’t say a major private school they give you a look like you’re a poor street urchin, even if you’ve gone on to have an incredibly successful and fulfilling life.
Calling a private school principal in Melbourne is like calling a cardinal to a witch trial.
It would usually get you an apology and immediate release.
Unfortunately for Gaff, even such a powerful advocate couldn’t stop him being rubbed out for the season.
Who knows how the Eagles will respond. They could have an ‘us against them’ mentality the spurs them on, or they could be distracted from football altogether.
Port had their own controversy last week, losing the Showdown after a Crows’ goal was reviewed for an entire 23 seconds and the grainy footage revealed that there was perhaps a ball and goalpost in the frame, but it was hard to tell.
A lot of people accused the Power of being serial whingers after the game, causing a lot of Power fans to whinge about this accusation.
I’m tipping the Power here.
Collingwood vs Brisbane (ES) 7:25 PM
The Pies have now lost three of their last five games and almost all their players.
How Worksafe haven’t declared them an unsafe workplace is beyond me.
Now they face the Lions who are coming off a disappointing loss last week where Cam Rayner missed a shot with thirty seconds to go that could have secured the win.
The Lions may be 16th on the ladder but don’t be fooled, they play more like a team that’s 13thon the ladder.
The last time these two met was a great game, with both sides not bothering to defend and the Pies winning by just seven points.
I’m tipping the Lions in an upset.
Greater Western Sydney vs Adelaide (UNSW) 7:25 PM
The Crows victory in the Showdown has cruelly kept their finals chances alive. It now falls to the Giants to show some mercy and end the false hope last week’s victory provided.
It’s been a horrible year for the Crows and worst of all, a lot of it seems to have been self-inflicted.
There was their divisive pre-season camp, then their denials that the pre-season camp was divisive, then admitting their pre-season camp was divisive and who can forget their ‘let’s injure everyone’ fitness regime.
An end to the year may be just what the unqualified ‘mind strengthening coach’ ordered.
The Giants have had their own problems with injuries, even thrashing the Blues last week with just 16 men on the field for large parts of the game.
You couldn’t get away with that against an AFL team, but it was still mightily impressive.
Giants to win this.
North Melbourne vs Western Bulldogs (ES) 1:10 PM
The Bulldogs messed up their tanking last week with a come from behind victory against the Saints. In the end, St Kilda just wanted the loss more.
It came down to self-respect, the Saints don’t have any, so they felt they had nothing to lose when they stopped playing altogether after quarter time. It turned out the Bulldogs do have some self-respect and they should at least try for a half against the Kangaroos.
North have to win all three of their remaining games to make the finals. They have this game, then they’ve got Adelaide in Adelaide and then they play St Kilda.
So, they just have to play well against the Crows and they should be in.
Knowing they have to win this of course makes Kangaroos fans terrified but I’ve seen the Dogs play live a lot this year and North will be fine.
Melbourne vs Sydney (MCG) 3:20 PM
The Demons haven’t beaten any side currently in the top eight this year and they have lost to the ninth place Geelong twice this season.
It’s not an ideal track record ahead of finals, especially when their next three games are against top eight competition.
This record has a lot of people accusing the Demons of being flat track bullies. While I understand this is meant to be an insult, in the recent dark past, I dreamt of Melbourne being flat track bullies.
It’s a lot better than previously when we were a track so flat we could have been the pitch in the Boxing Day Test.
Sydney had a miraculous win last week but their form of late has not been confidence inspiring.
Was last week a return to form or a Collingwood side running out of puff?
Quite simply, the Dees can go a long way to clinching a finals berth if they win here, their first since 2006 (not a typo).
I think they can do it, but I am deluded.
Fremantle vs Carlton (OS) 4:40 PM
While that’s the end of my preview of the AFL round, I thought I should mention that for some reason the Dockers are going to play the Blues on Sunday afternoon.
No word yet if the Dockers plan to field a full side.
Someone might want to watch this game. Maybe the lost a bet or they’ve got to for work.
Either way, I’ll be watching it wearing welding glasses and main lining whiskey into my veins.
I don’t want to be too harsh, but this is a crime against football and the loser should have to leave the AFL forever.
Dockers to score more points than Carlton, let’s not call it a win.
Titus has a new live show ‘Manifestly Inadequate’.
They are his traditional bye round tour wrapping up the 2018 season and previewing the finals.
The dates are:
4 August- Hobart
27 August- Canberra
29 August- Perth
31 August- Sydney
1 September- Melbourne
2 September- Adelaide
5 September- Brisbane
Ticket available here:http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
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