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.
St Kilda v Essendon (ES) 7.50pm All times AEST
After winning the premiership last week, St Kilda now face two harsh realities, there are still months to go in the season, and you can’t always play Richmond.
The Saints have certainly got better in recent weeks, but they were coming off some pretty awful performances. Let’s just see how they go for a few more rounds before we all award them the premiership cup.
St Kilda will play debutant Josh Battle, who is 18 and currently doing year 12 at school. Amazing. In year twelve, I wasn’t even doing year twelve.
Personally, I hate people that achieve success early in life, but as a middle age man who hasn’t accomplished much, I can’t wait to abuse Battle over the fence and then demand an apology to make myself feel alive and powerful, however briefly.
The Bombers either got there season back on track last week or just played Collingwood, it’s hard to tell.
Essendon will rest Jobe Watson this week due to his intense workload as both an AFL player and internationally renowned barista.
This is also Brendon Goddard’s 100th game as a Bomber, against the side he left to chase a premiership. I know; it’s still funny.
That’s 100 times saying, ‘I’ve made a huge mistake’ in a Gob Bluth voice.
I’m tipping the Saints in this one.
Geelong v Hawthorn (MCG) 1.45pm
It’s Luke Hodge’s 300th game, and with the announcement of his retirement, it’s got the football world looking back fondly and marvelling at his achievements.
Of course, it’s appropriate to acknowledge the career of one of the all-time greats, but we can’t forget all the terrible things he has done.
That’s right, his significant contribution to four Hawthorn premierships can’t simply be overlooked.
Hawthorn has improved a lot since starting the year with the energy and enthusiasm most of us greet Monday mornings. It’s taken a lot of hard work and Alastair Clarkson doing some of that coaching stuff, and the Hawks are now looking much better.
Tom Mitchell continues to do most the heavy lifting in the centre and to our knowledge has not bought about any police investigations, two big ticks for Hawthorn’s maligned recruiting staff there.
Are they good enough to beat the Cats? I don’t think so.
Geelong just spent a relaxing midwinter break up on the Gold Coast with a nice training run with the Lions thrown in. They should be fresh, and Joel Selwood hasn’t been hit in the head for almost a fortnight now.
Port Adelaide v North Melbourne (AO) 2.10pm
The Power had a nice victory over the Eagles last week and could lock in their top four spot with a win here.
Port Adelaide’s strategy on just beating the bad teams is paying dividends although it’s a strategy that may have limited success in finals, although it could work against Richmond.
Kangaroos fans had a tough week, what with another close loss and news Brad Scott is committed to staying at the club.
North may be putting together the most frustrating season in the history of the game. I spoke to a Kangaroos supporter this week, and she said this year’s team was like all the terrible boyfriends she’d ever had rolled up into one. Disappointing, misleading, hurtful and often coming up short.
Scott said this week that ‘no one enjoys close losses, but there are such valuable learning opportunities.’
There have been so many learning opportunities at Arden Street this year that the players should all get their masters.
Port to win here.
Gold Coast v Collingwood (MS) 4.35pm
The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the footy media that Brad Scott is an amazing coach. Collingwood fans, who have watched the botched handover to Buckley continue for two more seasons than necessary, are now reading that Scott is their preferred target to replace Nathan.
It’s enough to make you almost feel sorry for Pies fans.
Collingwood have rushed back Daniel Wells ahead of schedule. If there’s one thing you want to do with injury prone Wells, it’s fast track his return from injury.
It’s a weird time at Collingwood, what with CEO Gary Pert calling a special meeting with the player to tell them Nathan Buckley’s future hadn’t been decided.
I’m told by players in the meeting that the more Pert spoke, the longer his nose grew, until it hit Daniel Wells, almost injuring him.
The Suns get back Gary Ablett which will be welcomed by Rodney Eade.
Eade was asked this week if he was a dead man walking.
That’s so disrespectful to ask that.
It’s ‘dead person walking.’ Eade is a dead person walking, let’s not continue to reinforce entrenched power imbalances around gender.
I’m tipping the Suns.
Greater Western Sydney v Sydney (SS) 7.25pm
Earlier in the year, this would have seemed like an embarrassing mismatch, with the younger brother expected to dominate the older in a fashion not seen since Serena and Venus.
The Giants though have been beset with injuries, which have decimated them to the point where they only sit a lowly second on the ladder. It’s tough being a Giants supporter I guess.
Toby Greene and Steve Johnson, will both return this week, adding niggle and firepower to the Giants. Now we start the clock and see how long it takes for one of them to get injured or suspended. I’ve got ‘within a quarter.’
Sydney’s turnaround has been well documented, with them going from laughably embarrassing to scarily intimidating.
An all Sydney Grand Final would send Melbourne into such a meltdown I almost want it to happen. I guess some men just want to watch the world burn.
A win in this game will almost certainly see either side named as the next premiership favourite, causing Crows fans to look at each in disbelief.
I’m tipping the Giants.
Melbourne v Adelaide (TIO) 7.40pm
The Crows are the Rodney Dangerfield of the AFL; they get no respect. One of the reasons is a few blowouts earlier this year, and one of them was against the Demons.
The Demons played that game without Jesse Hogan and Max Gawn, this time they’ll miss Nathan Jones and Jack Viney.
They’re bigger outs in my opinion, and the Crows have to win this if they are to be taken seriously.
Adelaide have never played in Darwin before, and they’re probably wondering why they have too. In that respect, they’re like every Demons supporter.
Melbourne got lucky last week, if you can consider someone breaking their leg lucky. I think they’ll be competitive, but there are so many big outs to cover.
There’s no list in the AFL that can cover the absence of Tom Bugg.
Crows to win.
Richmond v Brisbane (ES) 1.10pm
After last week’s terrible (even for them) performance, Damien Hardwick spent the week focusing on sorting out his issues with Kane Cornes. It’s a laser-like focus down there at Tigerland.
Tigers fans after last week instantly looked at this game and thought ‘oh dear.’
Deciding how to tip this one is hard. Let’s try some logic. Brisbane are bottom of the ladder for a reason, but that means the humour potential of them defeating the Tigers is off the charts. The footy gods, who treat Richmond supporters worse than the Old Testament God treated Job, would be tempted by that.
On this basis, it would be sensible to tip the Lions.
Yet, Richmond's cruelty to their fans is based on a heady mixture of uncertainty and hope. Last week once again almost emptied Richmond fans reservoir of hope, so it would make sense for the Tigers to start refilling ahead of September, to set up a truly soul-crushing outcome.
To me, the second scenario is far more likely, so I’m tipping the Tigers here.
Carlton v Western Bulldogs (MCG) 3.20pm
With Patrick Cripps out for the rest of the season, Carlton’s dreams of 15th spot may finally be over.
Cripps’ importance to the team was evident when he went off last week, but this is hardly a doomsday scenario for the Blues as nothing is on the line, and Cripps can settle in and start to get his mind right on the arrival of NBA2K18.
The Bulldogs seem to have already begun focusing on things other than football. A loss here would certainly spell the end of any potential finals appearance.
Consider this; the Bulldogs have only won two of their last eight games. I’m not one of those fancy footy commentators that find deeper truths through statistics, but that seems to be an indicator of a team in a slump.
In fact, it may even suggest the Bulldogs are a bad team. Did that Premiership happen or was it another of my fever dreams brought on by eating several packed of Jaffas before going to sleep at night?
Bulldogs to win this and if they don’t, well they may be in rebuild phase already, which would be a world record.
Fremantle v West Coast (DS) 4.40pm
Is there anything more exciting than these two going head to head?
Probably the goings on at AFL House. Typical AFL executives, overshadowing the Western Derby.
It’s a strange world when AFL executive are being held accountable for things. It’s also now going to be hard to fill that Manager of Football Operations role.
“I was just reading this ad for the role of Manager of Football Operations. Am I reading it right when it says you can’t have inappropriate relations?”
“Yes, that’s right sir.”
“OK. Thanks. Bye.”
Eagles fans lost a lot of hope last week, and this looms as an unpleasant afternoon for them. There’s no real upside, they’re expected to win this, but there’s huge downside.
A loss here and playing finals start to slip away into the distance, like my chances of not dying alone.
This will be the final derby played at Domain Stadium, with the new Perth Stadium starting up next year.
That is if they can build the footbridge to it in time. There have been significant delays and cost blowouts over this, to the point the stadium may be difficult to access.
Building a stadium that people can’t access seems a bit silly. I would say accessible is one of the key things a stadium needs to do.
We’ve experimented before with difficult to access stadiums, Etihad comes to mind, and hard to leave the stadium, Waverly Park, but never one you just can’t get to.
Anyway, let’s wait and see, it wouldn’t be like an infrastructure project to be delivered late and over budget.
I’m tipping the Eagles here.
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