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.
Geelong v Sydney (SS) 7.50pm
It seems unfair that the Geelong Football Club has to play this week, considering they’ve had the greatest injustice in the history of time just occur at their club.
Oh, the crying in Victoria from the media has been something to behold. At first, I thought Patrick Dangerfield had passed away, but it turns out he’s just been suspended.
In fact, some research has revealed it was Matthew Kreuzer who was the player that required medical treatment. An argument I guess could be made the Kreuzer was the victim in this situation but I guess a medal is a bit more important than someone’s brain.
It does mean we get to see the Cats without Patrick Dangerfield, which is like seeing Queen without Freddie Mercury, which weirdly, some people do.
While losing Dangerfield is a big loss, on the plus side for them, Sydney will be without Josh Kennedy.
The bad news doesn’t stop there for the Swans, Kurt Tippet is back in the side this week too.
Sydney were poor last week and a trip to Geelong even with Dangerfield is a tough ask but the Cats have a lot of outs, and I’m tipping the Swans.
Greater Western Sydney v Melbourne (MO) 1.45pm
Melbourne will debut Corey Maynard this week.
Corey used to play basketball for the Cairns Taipans and the Townsville Crocodiles. Can you guess how many times the commentators will mention he has a basketball background?
Did you guess infinity? You are correct.
Footy commentators seem to place a huge amount of value on a basketball background, an obsession no one else in the community seems to share.
In your next job interview, mention you once played basketball when they ask you what your strengths are.
“You know this is an accounting job right?”
Imagine if an NBA player ever decided to take up AFL, they would have to put all the commentators on medication to calm them down. They should do that anyway.
Melbourne will need more than basketball backgrounds; they’ll need football backgrounds to beat the Giants, who get Steve Johnson, Shane Mumford and Brett Deledio.
With all these players coming back it’s time for the Giants to get moving after plummeting down the ladder to…third. For a team apparently having a terrible season that seems rather high.
Giants to win.
Essendon v Carlton (MCG) 2.10pm
In the 90s, I remember games between these two being big games but in this century, they’ve both been known more for their administrative incompetence than on field success.
Perhaps the AFL should bring in an award for incompetent administration? The Cameron Schwab Shield could provide some recognition to those who work so hard to run clubs into the ground. My tip for this year? Well, the Suns deserve some recognition for several years of hard work.
In round three, Carlton beat the Bombers, a result that seems far-fetched these days. Carlton gives Fremantle a run for low scoring, with Bolton’s team seemingly having an aversion to reaching 100 in a game.
The Bombers should have no trouble here and desperately need to win this if they’re to keep their finals hopes alive.
Brisbane v Western Bulldogs (G) 4.35pm
There’s a general sense that the Bulldogs have returned in recent weeks to their best form or at least a rough approximation of it.
Their wins though have come against Carlton, Gold Coast and Essendon, hardly a murderer’s row of teams.
Now they come up against Brisbane, a game they should easily win. Taking advantage of a good section of the draw is exactly what the Doggies needed but let’s hold off on this talk of them suddenly being back to their premiership form.
As I predicted this time last year, they’re no chance of winning the whole thing.
Brisbane have probably done enough to secure the number one draft pick this year and have managed to avoid the tanking claims North have faced. That’s insulting.
Accusations of tanking are a bit like a mate saying, ‘Come on, we all know you’re better than this.”
In Brisbane’s case, no one is saying that.
“We all know Brisbane’s not up to it, leave them alone.”
Accusations of tanking are a compliment, and no one is complimenting Brisbane. Bulldogs to win.
North Melbourne v Collingwood (ES) 7.25pm
What a terrible Saturday night of footy. This and the Suns-Dockers games is almost enough to make me wish I’d invested in a social life.
Depressingly, I’m going to probably end up watching both of these games. At least this one has the potential upside of seeing Collingwood lose, although there is an appeal in them having a big victory.
Another win and the decision on Buckley will be made all that harder for Eddie. It must be hard to fire your hero. I’m just glad I’ve never been put in the position to fire my hero, Hotdogs.
Mark Thompson said of Brad Scott this week ‘he’s done an average job at an average club.’
Now I’m not sure if Bomber meant that as a compliment or not. It depends if you think of Scott as a below or above average coach.
Being a Melbourne supporter, I think North is an above average club, but you have to think that if your experience of them is 17 losses in a row.
I’m tipping Collingwood in this one.
Fremantle v Gold Coast (DS) 7.40pm
Gary Ablett has decided to grace the Suns with his presence this week. Well, he’s been named at least.
Ablett’s been good when he’s played, but it’s hard not to get the feeling he’s mentally already moved back to Geelong.
That’s the lure of Geelong. A town of such appeal it lures stars like Patrick Dangerfield and Gary Ablett. If only it had that level of appeal to manufacturing.
I can’t see Fremantle losing here, but you can never tell. They’ve been poor at home, and their inability to put points on the scoreboard means they’re always a chance to get beaten, which is hardly the excitement you need if you’re a Dockers fan.
St Kilda v West Coast (ES) 1.10pm
Even now that the Saints players are back in Melbourne, they are still about as close to Robbie Gray as they were at the end of last week’s game.
That loss basically put an end to the Saints’ season, although it never really got going with any serious intent.
Perhaps the imminent retirement of Nick Riewoldt might be the motivation the Saints need to grasp their mathematically still possible chance.
Riewoldt has been a champion for St Kilda, and you’d expect Saints fans to turn out to say good bye. One thing that many people don’t know about him is that he can run all day. It never gets mentioned, and I thought you’d appreciate that insight.
West Coast are in the eight and who knows, maybe they’ll start playing like that soon.
I have my concerns about this game considering they lost to Collingwood at Etihad a few weeks ago. That was when they let an undermanned Pies outfit run over them in the final moments.
The Eagles are in an interesting phase with both Matthew Priddis and Sam Mitchell announcing their retirements. It’s not every often you lose two Brownlow medallists in the same year.
Saints to win.
Richmond v Hawthorn (MCG) 3.20pm
Richmond have the chance to close the door on Hawthorn’s surprising finals charge. I don’t normally barrack for the Tigers, but I do if it’s to end this clear and present danger.
The Hawks have been winding the clock back on their form, even having Luke Hodge suspended reminds us of their recent glory days.
Richmond fans will get a chance to see what they’ve been missing out on this season, Ty Vickery, who makes his way back into the Hawks’ side.
With Jack Riewoldt out again and Vickery in, this could be a nil all draw.
I’m tipping the Tigers because I’ve lost trying to get tips right this season.
Adelaide v Port Adelaide (AO) 4.40pm
There’s nothing like the Showdown.
Well, perhaps a drunken fight at a family Christmas is similar.
The Power haven’t won a Showdown for a few years now and given their inability to beat top sides; it could continue here.
The Crows could be without Eddie Betts, Brad Crouch and Jake Lever, with all named but subject to fitness tests.
Lever is probably just exhausted from reading all the articles guessing where he could play next season. Someone is going to guess right because every guess has been made at some point.
He could hire someone full time to do that for him, and that person would be busy.
Can the Power surprise us all here? It’s certainly possible. Anything can happen in season 2017. A team from another sport could win the Premiership this year, and I wouldn’t be that surprised.
In this case, I’m going to tip the Crows. You’re welcome Power fans.
I'm touring my new show 'Insufficient Intent' around the country. Come see me in the bye weekend before the finals. Brisbane date just added: All the details are available here.
You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. My aim is to keep as much of my stuff on this site and available to everyone and not behind paywalls. Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus