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.
Hawthorn v Sydney (MCG) 7.50pm All times AEST
Both teams started the season like it had caught them by surprise. Sydney didn’t even realise it had started until about round seven.
Hawthorn beginning wasn’t much better, losing to the Suns twice, which is theoretically impossible to do.
In round ten these two met, and Hawthorn beat Sydney by a goal. It was a sign that Hawthorn’s season was turning.
It was also the moment the Swans woke up and decided that they were no longer in the business of losing.
These sides are always competitive and have a close rivalry since the Hawks gave Sydney their forward line and the Swans gave Hawthorn their midfield.
This is Josh Kennedy’s 200th game. He is a true superstar of the game but is less known because he does one media appearance for every 3 million Patrick Dangerfield does.
I’m tipping the Swans here.
North Melbourne v Melbourne (BA) 1.45pm
This week Brad Scott had to defend himself against claims the team was tanking.
I’m leaping to the defence of Brad here; you don’t need to cite tanking to explain this train wreck of a season. The Kangaroos were awful last year too, even though they did play finals.
Since June last year, North have seven wins and 23 losses. To think there was a recent flood of ‘Brad Scott is a coach in demand’ stories.
You’re not tanking if you’re just terrible.
Melbourne knows all about the dangers of tanking, not only does it lead to a terrible culture, it's the only crime in the world that you get punished for being either guilty or not guilty.
It’s taken Melbourne years to get over that period, but finally, they are playing like a real AFL side.
Last week, they made the Power look awful (maybe because that’s what the Power are) and this is a game they should certainly win if they want to play finals.
In 2016, Melbourne couldn’t beat Carlton to clinch a finals spot; this is a chance to show the world that they’ve changed.
Melbourne to win.
Greater Western Sydney v Fremantle (SS) 2.10pm
The Giants’ recent struggles have caused CEO Dave Matthews, and former coach Kevin Sheedy lash out at critics. They’ve been acting like everyone hates them, a massive overreaction to the fact everyone hates them.
Toby Greene will miss this game due to suspension. That’s probably the least surprising sentence in the history of the English language.
At least they get back Jeremy Cameron and Stephen Coniglio, and more importantly they get to play Fremantle.
Playing Fremantle is great, it’s like boxing someone without a knockout blow or even a light jab.
The Dockers have so much trouble scoring, that I feel a certain kinship with them.
It’s hard not to get bitter in those circumstances, which explains why Ross Lyon seems to hate football.
The Giants to win.
Port Adelaide v St Kilda (AO) 4.35pm
In some ways, Port’s loss to Melbourne last week was a relief. No longer do the Power have to pretend to be a good team.
Pretending to be something you’re not is exhausting. I remember once spending a few months trying to impress a girl by pretending I liked physical activities like camping and hiking.
So bad did it get, that I actually had to go camping and still didn’t get the girl, possibly the biggest own goal of my life.
Instead, I slept alone in a freezing tent while the source of my interest hooked up with a guy named Greg, who unlike me, actually enjoyed hiking to the point he had muscle definition in his calves.
St Kilda stopped pretending to be a good team when they played Essendon and last week the Swans showed that if the Saints do by some miracle make the eight, it won’t end well.
The Saints aren’t even sending Riewoldt over for this one, suggesting they’re as confident as the rest of us about their chances.
Power to win.
Gold Coast v Richmond (MS) 7.25pm
This week, Tigers supporters got upset they could miss out on tickets to their loss to Geelong in Round 21.
The good news is that there are 25,000 spare tickets left for this one.
While tickets won’t be a problem, injuries will, with Jack Riewoldt to miss with an eye injury.
Riewoldt got the injury at training, which included a cut to the cornea in his right eye and bleeding at the back of the eye. This is why you should never eye gouge a work colleague, no matter how much you want to.
Dion Prestia is also an out. Apparently, he plays for Richmond now, not the Suns. I hadn’t even noticed, and I’ve watched every Richmond game this season.
The Tigers do get back Bachar Houli who could experience some intense booing from the seven Suns fans in attendance.
Gary Ablett and co-captain Steven May return for the Suns, but really who cares? The only thing of interest about the Suns is watching how they’ll stuff up their next rebuild.
Richmond to win.
Carlton v Geelong (ES) 7.25pm
With Carlton putting the cue in the rack, putting the cover on the table and locking up the pool room until next year, this should be an easy win for the Cats.
Chris Scott obviously thinks so, using this week to drop a bunch of underperformers and sending the message that last week’s performance was unacceptable.
Interestingly, Steven Motlop will not play as he is being ‘managed’. I imagine the conversation between him and Scott went like this:
“Steven, we’re managing you this week, so you won’t play.”
“Smart move coach, rest me for finals.”
“Actually, it’s because you’re a massive disappointment to me.”
“Sure, but also resting me for finals, right?”
Geelong to win.
Western Bulldogs v Essendon (ES) 1.10pm
It’s the last chance saloon for the Bulldogs, who have defended their premiership with the enthusiasm most people reserve for root canal surgery.
Perhaps the Bulldogs didn’t like winning a flag, after all, they’ve shown an aversion to them over their history.
This won’t be easy either, with the Bombers showing some disappointing good form in recent weeks. The idea of the Bombers getting hot at the right end of the season would be terrible.
Imagine James Hird presenting the Norm Smith Medal to an Essendon player? No longer would Meatloaf be the worst moment at a Grand Final.
Memories of the Bulldogs of last year makes me think the Bulldogs win here but that’s my mind playing tricks on me.
The Doggies of 2017 have been a shadow of last year’s team. Like when you have fond memories of the Dexter before remembering it turned into a parody of itself in later seasons.
On form, the Bombers are in much better shape, and I think they’re going to win here.
Collingwood v Adelaide (MCG) 3.20pm
Eddie Betts will miss this due to him having his appendix out this week. In a thrilling and skilful operation, that saw the assembled medical interns watching on spontaneously launch into several standing ovations, Betts’ surgeon literally thread the needle when he sewed him back up.
It’s been an eventful week at Collingwood too, with Gary Pert resigning to ‘spend more time with his family’.
You know what’s the best cure for that? Spending time with your family. It’s a big loss for us opposition fans, and we can only hope the Pies botch their selection of a new CEO on the same level of Gubby Allen’s appointment.
Despite missing Betts, Adelaide should have more than enough firepower to defeat the Pies.
West Coast v Brisbane (DS) 4.40pm
Brisbane are resting a lot of young players this week obviously of the view that visiting Perth is just too exciting you.
The Lions don’t really have a full-strength side, but they’re not even sending a close approximation of that.
It means the Eagles are in for the novel experience of winning at home.
I spoke to a few Eagles fans this week and their despair over last week was palpable. It was so enjoyable I rang every Eagles supporter I know.
The general theme was that they didn’t deserve to play finals but here’s a chance to get a win and pile on an obscene amount of percentage.
It’s been revealed today that Sam Mitchell will retire at the end of the season.
He’s been a wonderful servant of our game and a tireless campaigner for the importance of immunisations. Even once going out of his way to remind Essendon players of the importance of them mid-game.
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