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-one.
Adelaide v Sydney (AO) 7.50pm
A good Friday night game! Exciting stuff, although the absence of any Victorian sides makes you wonder who the Channel Seven commentary team will barrack for.
I’m sure they’ll work Patrick Dangerfield into the coverage by mentioning he used to play for the Crows a few thousand times.
I fondly remember a time when commentators appeared neutral and didn’t go over the top trying to inject their ‘personality’ into the call.
What surprises me most is the commentators that try the hardest to inject their personalities, have the worst ones.
There’s obviously some natural law that the worse the personality, the more it will be displayed. I call this the BT Equation.
Adelaide and Sydney have been the most consistent teams in recent times, and this could be a preview of the Grand Final. Although, given this crazy season, it just as likely isn’t.
I’m tipping the Crows.
Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide (M) 1.45pm
The Bulldogs are playing this home game in Ballarat, which stretches the ‘Western’ part of their name a fair bit. Almost as much as the ‘Western’ bit of Greater Western Sydney is stretched to include Canberra.
The Bulldogs agreed a few years ago to play two to three AFL matches every season at Mars Stadium and who wouldn’t want to visit Ballarat in winter? All that wind and cold.
Why are the Bulldogs playing in Ballarat? I can only assume it’s the result of a drunken bet, that’s how most people end up in Ballarat, or they couldn’t get into their first seven university preferences.
It will be an emotional game for the Bulldogs with Bob Murphy announcing his retirement this week.
There’s a bit of backlash about the media’s canonisation of Bob, but that’s not his fault. The fact is, over a long career, Murphy has been a great player and an interesting commentator on the game. He’s managed to do all this without being a horrible person too. That’s a rare feat.
Port last week steadied the ship with a win over Collingwood. While good in patches, they’d want to be a lot more convincing here. Their challenge this week is to focus on the game and not get carried away by the excitement that comes with a visit to Ballarat.
Bulldogs to win.
Collingwood v Geelong (MCG) 2.10pm
Collingwood are a dangerous team when there’s nothing on the line. Since being out of finals contention, they’ve won consistently.
This is the false hope they produce lately. The sense Collingwood are about to turn the corner is the greatest trick the devil ever pulled, even better than convincing people he doesn’t exist.
They’re especially dangerous when they play Geelong, who they’ve beaten the last three times they’ve played.
Geelong’s big issue is they are still without Joel Selwood. Would you be surprised to learn Joel Selwood receives the most frees in the competition? You wouldn’t?
Oh. OK, what if I told you Patrick Dangerfield got the second most? No?
Well, I guess that’s the only predictable thing this season.
Geelong to win.
Greater Western Sydney v West Coast (SS) 4.35pm
Anyone that saw how difficult it was for the Eagles to shake off Carlton would have little faith in them beating the Giants.
West Coast are currently clinging to the top eight with the desperation of a contestant on The Bachelor.
Like anyone on The Bachelor, this will not end well. In fact, the cast of The Bachelor have shown more intensity than the Eagles have this year and better skills.
The big question about this game is what part of his body will Toby Greene use to strike an opponent this week? You don’t see the knee used a lot and apparently, you can do anything if you are ‘protecting your space’.
That’s the excuse I’m using with the tax office for why I’ve never paid taxes. Just protecting the space around my bank balance.
Giants to win this.
Gold Coast v Essendon (MS) 7.25pm
Essendon are still in the hunt for finals and must win this. Luckily for them, the Suns lost to Brisbane last week, and I mean lost. They got belted.
If the Bombers don’t win this, they don’t deserve finals.
The only thing the Suns are in the hunt for is a new coach. If you were a new coach, would you want to take this gig?
On the negative side, you’d have to deal with that board. What a nightmare. They could ruin your career before it even starts.
On the plus side, you’d really be working for the AFL, and they’ll be pouring resources into that club for the next few years.
If there’s one thing that club needs, it’s more resources, after all, they’ve shown they use them so well.
Talk about pouring water into a leaky bucket.
Gary Ablett continues to phone in sick, like anyone in the last few weeks of a job. What a shame he’ll miss his farewell game at Metricon Stadium. Oh well, it would be quicker to pop around to all the Suns member’s houses and say goodbye anyway.
Bombers to win.
Carlton v Hawthorn (ES) 7.25pm
In a surprise move, the Hawks have named Jaeger O'Meara. It seems a weird decision, but I suppose the Hawks have a small percentage chance of making finals.
Playing finals is a slimmer chance than O’Meara doing his knee again, so I don’t get taking the risk. I am willing to recognise that Alastair Clarkson knows a little bit more about football than me.
Carlton hasn't won a game since June 17. In that time, we’ve almost been to war with North Korea twenty times, and we’ve discovered everyone in Parliament is a plant by a foreign government. The Australian Parliament has more foreigners in it than the English Cricket Team.
Can Carlton win here? No.
Melbourne v Brisbane (MCG) 1.10pm
The Demons have named Jesse Hogan in a quicker than expected return from a broken collarbone.
I’m a bit over the criticism of Hogan. He’s had a terrible run, and the illness and death of his father has obviously been a huge weight on his shoulders. Add to that cancer and a broken collar bone, and I’d like to see anyone else handle it any better.
I expect nothing from him this season and the fact he’s coming back so quickly after injury shows this is a guy who is keen to play.
Melbourne simply must win this game. Finals are within reach, and a win here and against the Pies in Round 23 makes them certainties to make it.
Every Demons support knows, finals on the line plus playing a bottom side equals a recipe for disaster.
The Lions are coming off a win too and have been showing some signs of moving off the bottom. Let’s not get carried away though; they won last week against the Suns.
This is another game where if the Demons don’t win, they don’t deserve finals, that’s the problem with life, you have to earn things.
Melbourne to win.
St Kilda v North Melbourne (ES) 3.20pm
The only reason to go to this game is to see Nick Riewoldt play his last game at home and you imagine that will get a few Saints fans down there.
Apart from that, this is only interesting if you’re one of the few people still with a chance of winning SuperCoach or are dating a player, or both.
North’s season has been a disaster but it’s all about expectations, everyone thought it would be so there’s not a lot of heat.
The Saints though, this was meant to be the year they pushed forward into finals. They’ve been poor, and annoyingly, they’ve occasionally shown they have all the ability.
Technically, the Saints could still make the finals, but a lot of things have to go right for them to do so. They have about as much chance of making finals as Adam Sandler has of winning an Oscar.
Saints to win.
Fremantle v Richmond (DS) 4.40pm
While nearing the end of the footy season is a sad time, the fact I’ve only got two more Fremantle games to watch fills me with a joy usually reserved for the phrase ‘free beer, wine and spirits.’
I was going to call Fremantle’s performance against the Swans are a dumpster fire, but at least a dumpster fire had some heat about it.
The Dockers should try this week, it is good to try new things.
The Tigers are nearing their favourite time of the year, finals. That means you know they need to finish top four so they can at least play twice.
In Round Eight, the Tigers lost to Fremantle, in that horror stretch when they pulled losses out of the most amazing situations like a defeatist Houdini.
They’ll want revenge here, and I think they can do it.
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