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-three.
Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs (ES) 7.50pm
The final round of the season is always bittersweet. Eight teams to go on and ten to head off into a summer of discontent.
Spare a thought for Hawthorn fans, who are still coming to terms with the fact their team won’t feature this September. Like Colonel Nathan Jessup in the moments after admitting he ordered the Code Red, the reality of their situation hasn’t completely sunk in.
Bulldogs fans are a bit more prepared for missing finals, having had a fair bit of experience over the years.
This will be Luke Hodge’s farewell game and is also likely to be Bob Murphy’s and Matthew Boyd’s too. That’s a fair bit of footy talent walking out the door.
Hodge’s farewell is peak AFL, a Hawthorn home game not at their home ground.
I’m tipping the Doggies.
Collingwood v Melbourne (MCG) 1.45pm
Collingwood don’t do finals at this stage of the season anymore, instead they have their annual ‘will Buckley get sacked’ speculation.
It’s in full swing at the moment and surprisingly, it’s still hard to pick which way Eddie, sorry, ‘The Board,’ will go.
For Melbourne, the situation is simple, win this and they are in the finals for the first time since 2006. That’s a long time ago.
To give you an idea of how long, the Xbox 360 and the PS3 came out around the time the Demons last played finals.
A whole generation of games consoles have come and gone in that period, which is how I judge eras. For example, the Brisbane Lions were the most successful team of the sixth-generation era of video game consoles, covering Sega Dreamcast, Sony PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, and Microsoft Xbox.
A loss here and the Dees will have to wait on other results. This isn’t an easy game for them by any stretch. Last week’s performance against the Lions was stressful enough to have Melbourne’s upper classes more concerned than a call to get rid of negative gearing.
They should be able to get it done here but it will be the most stressful day for Dees fans since the global financial
Brisbane v North Melbourne (G) 2.10pm
Like an eclipse, it’s recommended you don’t look directly at this.
While we’re not on the subject, the recent social media activity across all Taylor Swift’s social media platforms has certainly reignited the Swift/Kanye, Kim Kardashian, Calvin Harris, Katy Perry divide.
It’s a sober reminder that frivolous issues like the North Korea situation distract us from real events that affect people’s lives.
Let’s just hope all the people involved keep cool heads or we could be in a war the likes we haven’t seen since the Blur-Oasis Feud in 1995.
I lived through that and while they were heady days, I look back now and think, was ‘Country House’ and ‘Roll with it’ worth getting carried away about? All those unnecessary deaths.
What were we talking about? Oh, Brisbane to win.
Sydney v Carlton (SCG) 4.35pm
Just the idea that we’ll get to see Liam Jones take on Buddy Franklin has me more excited than a Daily Mail ‘journalist’ finding the perfect article to steal.
Now, I’ve checked and the Swans haven’t won the Premiership yet but they do seem to be favourites. Every team is desperate to avoid playing them on the SCG in the first week of finals.
The Swans relentless winning has been built on the best defence in the game. They’ve kept opponents to only 75 points per game.
That won’t worry the Blues, that’s more than they score on average this year. You can’t restrict an offense if there isn’t one. Clever, hey?
The Blues did beat Hawthorn last week but they’ll be no miracle this time. Sydney to win.
Geelong v Greater Western Sydney (SS) 7.25pm
I can’t tell you how supportive I am of the campaign for Cats fans to turn on their cars’ headlights to ‘light the way home for Gazza.’
Steal a car if you must Cats fans.
Suns fans should respond by printing out copies of Ablett’s legally binding contract and displaying them around town. ‘Put your legally binding contract out’ has a nice ring to it.
Last time these two played, it ended in a draw, when Tom Hawkins missed a goal after the siren. Hawkins also got suspended for hitting Phil Davis.
Hawkins is back this week from another unrelated suspension. These days, if you punch someone, two things happen, you get suspended and the person you hit gets accused of staging.
There’s an easy way around this, don’t punch anyone. I know it’s a difficult concept to grasp but some players manage to get through their whole careers without punching anyone.
A win here for the Cats and they’ll jump the Giants into second spot.
The Giants get Stevie J back this week and a bit of research reveals he once played for Geelong.
GWS will be relying on North Melbourne’s/Essendon’s/St Kilda’s/Carlton’s Josh Kelly to continue his good form if they’re a chance to win at Simonds Stadium.
I think the Cats have got this at home.
Port Adelaide v Gold Coast (AO) 7.40pm
The Suns ended their season months ago, but this will be a nice tune up for the Power ahead of the Finals.
One team going into the finals with no pressure is Port Adelaide. No one expects them to do anything. Just relax and enjoy it. Who knows? They could get Richmond and then they would just be one win from the Grand Final.
This could be Ablett’s last game as a Sun or ever, or he could not even play on Saturday. I love a good relationship breakdown.
The Suns-Ablett saga reminds me of a break up I once had with a woman named Barbara.
Barbara also complained of hamstring troubles for months before finally telling me she was returning to her ex-boyfriend who lived in Geelong. I can still remember the day her ex pulled up to pick her up. The idiot had his headlights on in the middle of the day.
Anyway, Port will win this.
Essendon v Fremantle (ES) 1.10pm
Essendon needs to beat Fremantle to make finals a certainty, so Essendon are a certainty for finals.
Just imagine the night out the Freo boys have lined up in Melbourne after this. It probably has more planning from them than this game has.
I’m going to really enjoy not watching Fremantle after this Sunday.
These teams haven’t played each other in Melbourne since 2010. That was back in the Matthew Knights era, the good old days for Essendon fans.
Every game since then has been at Domain Stadium. More evidence for Essendon supporters that the AFL hates them.
I don’t want to jinx it or anything but the Bombers definitely playing finals in 2017.
Richmond v St Kilda (MCG) 3.20pm
2017 premiers Richmond take on St Kilda at the MCG in Nick Riewoldt’s last game.
Technically, St Kilda could still make the finals but involves a scenario more implausible than the murder in season 2 of Friday Night Lights.
Riewoldt goes out a St Kilda great and should be admired for dealing with the terrible luck of being coached by both Ross Lyon and Grant Thomas. No wonder he rarely smiles.
The Tigers are getting ready again to play finals and a win here gets them a top four finish and possibly a home final if other results go their way.
While a double chance is important, the idea that Richmond could lose two finals terrifies me. I’ve bought a small farm outside of Melbourne and stocked it with canned food , a generator and access to drinking water, all in preparation for the riots that could follow.
The same farm will also shelter me if the Tigers do win the premiership, as the resulting chaos will appear much the same.
Richmond to win.
West Coast v Adelaide (DS) 4.40pm
A strange game. West Coast could have finals on the line if a combination of Melbourne and Essendon losing occurs. If both those teams win, the Eagles are out and this will have less heat than the nuggets I got from the Maccas drive thru last night.
After eating twenty of them, I went back and complained and got another twenty. It was great, apart from the terrible night sweats I got and the stabbing pain in my stomach I currently have.
West Coast are a good chance to lose this regardless of finals being on the line.
For Adelaide, if GWS have lost, they have nothing on the line at all, so expect them to employ a ‘nobody get injured’ game plan.
I’m tipping the Crows but a lot will depend on whether this means anything at all to anyone by the time it’s played.
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