It’s 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.
Geelong v Western Bulldogs (SS) 7.50pm all times AEST
This will be at the newly renovated Simonds Stadium. The Cats home ground gets more work done on it than a Hollywood star.
It’s the benefit of being in the middle of a bunch of marginal seats. The Cats can barely get out of bed without some government offering to fund something for them.
Perhaps more useful would be some government funding for a TAFE course in tackling.
Right now, the Cats are reinterpreting the sport as non-contact, the problem with that is no other team is.
The Bulldogs don’t mind tackling; it’s accurate goal kicking they seem allergic to. This week there were a few hot takes that the Bulldogs can’t go back to back. That’s a brave call considering the season we’re having.
Right now, an argument can be made for every team about how they can’t win the premiership. There aren’t any you’d feel comfortable betting your house on to be premiers. I think betting your house on the premiership is a new feature on the app of the AFL’s official gambling partner. Bless.
I’m tipping the Bulldogs here.
St Kilda v Sydney (ES) 1.45pm
Great. Now the Swans are suddenly not the easy beats of the first six rounds, meaning our tipping gets harder. We all burnt a few tips on them early, and now we risk doing it again for the opposite reason. I wish teams would make their minds up on what they are this year.
There’s a heap of teams that seem to be able to go from best in the league to a national embarrassment within a fortnight.
Are the Swans back? They’ve beaten Brisbane and North, so it’s probably worth taking talk of their resurgence with a grain of salt. This being at Etihad Stadium means you can at least take it with a pinch of three different types of salt.
St Kilda have spent the week under fire for sledging, which is fine to do against the English, Pakistanis, Indians and New Zealanders but a bit rough against other Australians.
Despite the Saints being the AFL equivalent of New Idea, they’ve been playing very good footy and should have no problem with Sydney.
The Saints players though would do well to remember the lyrics of Australia’s national anthem:
We're all someone's daughter
We're all someone's son
Greater Western Sydney v Richmond (SS) 4.35pm
It’s been a strange week, watching Richmond fans walk around town in a daze. It’s been like the aftermath of a big thunderstorm, with many not being able to find their way home.
I found a lost Richmond supporter wandering around in my street. Poor fella doesn’t know where he lives.
I'm nursing him back to health with a few longnecks of Melbourne Bitter every hour, but all he says is ‘get back, everybody back,' repeatedly.
Jack Riewoldt has spent the week pointing out the problem last week wasn’t the last 20 seconds but the first three-quarters. I think the problem is both; they’re not mutually exclusive.
This Tigers team may be the only team in history capable of not playing the first three-quarters, still ending up in front with twenty seconds to go and then manage to lose.
The Giants were very lucky to win too, almost losing to a very average Collingwood side. Considering GWS are meant to be in the premiership hunt, they’re doing a pretty accurate impression of a team that isn’t.
What they seem to lack is the ability to impose their will on other teams. The great sides can do that, but the Giants seem just to take what their opponent gives them.
I’m tipping the Giants here, and if the crowd looks low, just remember their all off getting food and drink.
Brisbane v Adelaide (G) 7.25pm
The Crows bought an eSports team this week for a six-figure sum. Esports, for those that don’t know, is competitive computer games.
After seeing Adelaide’s performance in recent weeks, I can understand their desire to move away from contact sports. It does concern me though that a team base in South Australia would invest in a sport that relies so heavily on electricity.
I like my footy clubs to focus on football, but that makes me old-fashioned in the era when clubs are conquering new markets, sports and businesses.
The Crows need a game against the Lions desperately. Seeing Brisbane on your schedule is like seeing an oasis in the desert for a struggling team.
Adelaide’s recent weeks have had a real knock on their confidence. If my love life has taught me anything, the best way to deal with a lack of confidence is to stay at home and only have human contact with your UberEats driver. This may not work for a professional football club though.
Brisbane have been consumed all week by talk that Josh Schache will return to Victoria at the end of the year. Even more worrying, is that he’s considering going to Richmond.
If Tigerland is a more appealing destination than the Lions, then the AFL need to give the Lions a retention fund in the billions.
Next time the Victorian media bang on about all the advantages the interstate clubs have, just remember the difficulty of retaining talent, the travel and the fact the Premiership is decided on the MCG.
Adelaide to win this.
Collingwood v Hawthorn (MCG) 7.25pm
Collingwood’s problem is Nathan Buckley is well respected and well liked. So well liked by many in football and the media that despite a wealth of data showing he is not a great coach, people keep trying to convince themselves he is.
Mark Neeld never had this problem. In many ways, Buckley is the climate change of the AFL. Despite the overwhelming evidence, many people just don’t want to believe the facts.
Hawthorn’s somewhat mild improvement in recent weeks has seemed to have hit a few hurdles in the form of injuries to Cyril Rioli, Ben Stratton and James Frawley.
It’s a real shame, as I think we were all hoping the Hawks were on the verge of having some long-awaited success.
Collingwood are certainly due one of those pressure relieving wins that keep them stuck in this twilight zone they’ve been in for years, so I’m tipping the Pies.
Essendon v West Coast (ES) 1.10pm
For the first time, Essendon have passed 65,000 members, a fair effort for a club with its recent history. It’s further proof that your footy club is like your child, you’ll always love them, no matter how much they go off the rails.
Like a child, they also take up a lot of money and time and provide you with some of the highest highs and lowest lows of your life. The only difference really is your footy club can’t provide a source of organs when yours fail.
The Eagles have certainly steadied since their embarrassing loss to Hawthorn a few weeks ago. They face an Essendon team that disposed of Geelong, so they will need to avoid the Cats mistakes.
The best way to do that is not to be afraid to make physical contact with their opponents. Essendon are not as good when they have opponents who actively try to stop them.
I’m tipping the Eagles.
Melbourne v North Melbourne (MCG) 3.20pm
Jesse Hogan’s illness put’s footy in perspective this week, and thankfully it appears Jesse’s outlook is bright. He’s certainly had a terrible time of late, and I hope at some point he has a corresponding period that is as positive as this has been negative.
Last week, Melbourne were so good they’ve given me an unrealistic sense of how good they are. I’m being set up for an enormous disappointment this week, aren’t I?
I just get nervous when people use ‘season-defining win’ and ‘Melbourne’ in the same sentence. It usually means a ‘season defining loss’ is just around the corner.
Melbourne have a good track record against the Roos though, having defeated them as recently as 2006.
Letting North win the past 15 contests has lulled the Roos into a false sense of security and the trap is ready to slam shut on Sunday night. Suckers!
The Kangaroos do get Jarrad Waite back after suspension. He must certainly be due an injury if his history is any guide.
Melbourne to win.
Fremantle v Carlton (DS) 4.40pm
Ross Lyon has been getting a lot of praise for playing the kids, but the truth was, what choice did he have after the way the Dockers started the season?
Fremantle are improved but they’ve still got their problems and last week would have been a loss against a competent AFL side.
That all said, Dockers fans will be happy to be 5-3 at this point of the season, considering they were expecting a footy season as harrowing as Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.
Carlton fans are in a similar position, given they were completely written off before the season started and have been good for where they’re meant to be.
So much of life is expectation setting. It’s why if you’re going on a date, say you’re going drive through but then take them in and upsize their meal. Show them romance isn’t dead.
Fremantle to win.
Byes: Gold Coast, Port Adelaide
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