Round 9 AFL Preview

Last Week 9/9    Season Total 54/72


If there’s one thing for sure, the AFL never disappoints to create a headline.  This week we saw/heard a booing controversy and a perplexing tribunal decision.  I think enough has been said on both subjects, but in case you were under a rock for the week, the summary is…if you intend to boo someone, make sure your heart is in the right place and if you’re going to spoil the ball, make sure your bicep is in the right place.  What’s happening in this week’s matches to distract us from the AFL soap opera?


Richmond vs Geelong   MCG      Friday Night

Richmond returned to the winners’ circle after a win over the West Coast Eagles.  It wasn’t one brimming with confidence though as Richmond had only just pulled away from West Coast in the last quarter.  They’ll want to be better against the 5-in-a-row Cats who are now entrenched in the top 8 and all those doom and gloom stories of the first three weeks are but distant memories.  Geelong have beaten Richmond in the last few matches, but then, this season Geelong has not beaten a team inside the 8.  There’s a big clue in that sentence in that Richmond are also not inside the 8, which makes this a winnable match for Geelong so I’ll pick them.  Geelong by 23 points.


West Coast vs Gold Coast            Perth Stadium   Friday Night

East meets west in the battle of the two coasts.  Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse for West Coast, one of their star recruits does a season-ending knee injury.  Pressure continues to mount, and the West Australian fans are running short of patience, which was something the WA media ran out of a couple of weeks ago.  I just hope that West Coast holds true and don’t rush their long-term stars back when they might be underdone.  The season is done, unpack the cotton wool wraps and have the arthroscopes poised to roll over the various knees and shoulders.  Gold Coast on the other hand were painstakingly close to Melbourne on the weekend.  Perhaps it’s their new diet?  Well, Rowell’s diet anyway.  Hannibal Lecter would be happy to see evidence that he is grass fed and a bit of cud seems to do him well.  Importantly we need the media to understand that the crowd at this game will be yelling “Moooo” and not “Boooo”.  Gold Coast by 19 points.


Sydney vs Fremantle     SCG        Saturday Afternoon

Speaking of Booing, Franklin and his Swans will return to the sanctuary of the SCG this week and I expect the heavily Sydney focused crowd will get around him and we’ll see a real outpouring of love.  I gotta say, watching a replay of the match I was little confused as to why the crowd were doing it last week, but I wasn’t there and will come up short on answers if I try to understand it.  I hope Lance gets to use the rest of the season as a tour of champions and gets a warm welcome wherever he goes.  Fremantle also won last week, but again it was against poorer opposition on their home deck.  The win will, however, quell the dissent for another week until they have to explain their loss to Sydney.  Sydney by 26 points.


North Melbourne vs Port Adelaide         Blundstone Arena           Saturday Afternoon

I don’t think this game will be much to write home about.  After bursting out of the blocks, North Melbourne have returned to some sustained rubbish and Port seem to have turned things around a bit albeit against mediocre opposition.  It is really the sideshow to this one which is of interest.  The first game in Tasmania since the announcement so they may want to put on a good show, and I expect to see many people turn out (My big tip is that the headcount will be an even number).  The question in the crowd though will be around the expected booing of Jason Horne-Francis.  The consensus was that this kind of ‘pantomime’ booing gets the tick of approval, but in the light of the week’s discussions, maybe it will be dulled a little.  We’ll have to wait and see.  It won’t affect the match scores though.  Port Adelaide by 37 points.


Hawthorn vs Melbourne              MCG      Saturday Afternoon

Here is another dose of pain coming up for Hawthorn.  I can’t see any good coming from holding this match and they should all just go and arm wrestle in a pub.  About the most interesting fact I can come up with is that this will be the 169th meeting of the two teams and that it was in the year 169 when Marcus Aurelius became Emperor of Rome.  He was a key figure in Russell Crowes Gladiator movie which involved the Colosseum which is one of the many nicknames for the MCG…But then, pulling out facts like that can easily be construed as clutching at straws and poor filler for a proper in-depth review of what will be a one-sided affair.  Like the Colosseum of old, this will be like watching the Lions and the Christians, although Christian Petracca will have a day out.  Melbourne by 65 points.


Brisbane vs Essendon    Gabba   Saturday Night

Essendon were rather competitive against Port Adelaide in Adelaide last week and it is a double on the road for them now to go up and take on Brisbane at their fortress.  Brisbane was clinical in their disposal of Carlton…but I’ll get to them later.  Brisbane’s home ground advantage is just too strong.  In fact, they have 5 wins from their last 6 starts.  Or more accurately, 5 wins from 5 starts, depending on how you want to report your historical statistics.  In fact, you’d need to go all the way back to 2018 if you want to see Brisbane lose with any regularity at that ground.  But one of their more recent losses at the Gabba was in fact to Essendon so let’s hope they can at least make it an interesting contest.  This is indeed a battle for supremacy at the ground as the record between the two shows 35 games played at the Gabba with 17 wins a piece and one draw.  Brisbane by 16 points.


Carlton vs Footscray       Marvel Stadium               Saturday Night

I was able to watch the Carlton match.  They were poor.  What I saw were system issues.  Players downfield, being stationary with their back turned to the kicker.  Being a bit more than a kick away from the kicker and now their players are coming out in the media and saying Finals aren’t important.  They need a right kicking in the gentlemanly parts so expect them to come out having resolved some of those issues and with an attitude change to see if they can get over the mighty Footscray Bulldogs.  ‘The Bont’ as he’s affectionately known led the charge on the weekend to down the Giants in the cold of the nation’s capital.  Ice baths not required.  I’m expecting this to be a hot match and as such put this into my statistical simulation engine and ran over 10,000 simulated matches under different weather conditions to see who would win.  Then I realised that they will be under the roof and that I had wasted hours of my time but proceeded to waste even further hours to run another 10,000 simulations in perfect ‘under the roof’ conditions.  For the record the statistical simulations came up with 5,000 wins per team and no draws in 10,000 matches which was amazing really but still doesn’t help me at all.  So, I went and played a match of the ages between the two teams on my dart board and finally got a winner you can take to the bank.  Footscray by 3 points. Please note the dartboard is no basis to build a betting empire on so any use of the preceding information is at your own risk and a flagrant display of mis-placed trust if you ask me.


Adelaide vs St Kilda       Adelaide Oval   Sunday Afternoon

Adelaide was struck by that vicious Damian Barrett curse of “the week after the Pies match” and went down to Geelong in their picturesque city.  So abysmal was the Saints v North match that I had forgotten it was played at all and had to look up what happened there.  It appears that Saint Kilda won…yay them.  This match should be a corker with Adelaide showing some free-flowing ball movement and Saint Kilda basing their game around stifling just that kind of movement.  The AFL have presented this (and the other Sunday game) as a great way to treat your Mum for Mother’s Day.  I’m a little skeptical that this would be something my Mum really wants.  Getting dragged to the footy and watching her son drink 6 to 8 beers while yelling ‘Booo’ at random people before my inevitable arrest wasn’t anything I saw on her list this year…but there’s always next year, I guess.  The fact this is at Adelaide tips the balance of this match in their favour.  Adelaide by 9 points.


Collingwood vs GWS     MCG      Sunday Twilight

Last weekend’s Pies match really gave me the irrits.  Not so much the match, but the aftermath and analysis.  For 6 weeks we had the analysts telling us how you have to tag Daicos and now 2 weeks later they come out and question why you would even think to do it!?  The analysts have very short memories about the things they say and even the footage they had to back their argument didn’t seem to support the tag either way.  Maybe, as a casual observer of footy, I should stay out of this (which has been raging through the week between Kane Cornes and anyone with an ounce of sanity).  Anyway, the tagging is a conundrum to be faced by Adam Kingley and his men this week and they’ll be sweating on the fitness of Toby Greene.  The Pies will lose a few more on the way…but not this one.  Collingwood by 21 points (by 10 points if Toby plays).


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