Round 12 AFL Preview

Last Week 2/9     Season Total 67/99

What a round of football that was.  Scoring a 2/9 was so shameful that I have dared not show my face around the office this week.  COVID whipping though our house this week is no excuse for poor tipping, although it may be the cause for some brevity in this preview.

 I trust that like most people I know who read this, you don’t follow a word of it and were able to avoid the shame of scoring a 2.  Luckily, it was such an ugly round for tipping in general that, for the most part, scoring a 2 only dropped you back in the field by a single stroke.  To continue Ross Lyon’s mantra, I’m going to allow myself a mulligan on that one and strive to get a birdie on the next.  At least that’s what I can say publicly.  Behind closed doors there was heavy analysis, harsh reviews and I’ve kicked my own arse amongst other methods of self-flagellation.  But after all those reviews, I was able to come to the conclusion that it was not my fault.  Blame mostly lies with Carlton.  And a little bit of blame to Melbourne, Richmond, Geelong and Footscray…but mostly Carlton.  Fool me once, Carlton, shame on you, fool me 5 or 6 more times though…

 Anyway, lets see if I can pull a rabbit out of the proverbial here this week.

 Melbourne vs Carlton   MCG      Friday Night

An Open letter to the Carlton Football Club:

Dear Carlton,


Yours sincerely,

The people of the world.

I started to watch the Carlton match last Friday and about halfway through, I just felt an overwhelming depression and melancholy overtake me.  I had to change the channel otherwise I’d need to take some mental health leave along with Dimma and Clarko.  I watched a reality show.  I think so anyway.  It’s hard to tell.  These days they are so heavily scripted and manipulated that they are pretty far from reality.  Watching Melbourne, the next day was not a great panacea.  Both teams will be looking for redemption this week with Carlton on a 4-game losing streak and Melbourne also losing their last 2.  As far as Carlton and their backs being against the wall, I have come to the conclusion that Carlton are more of the outdoorsy type and simply don’t believe in walls.  What bothers me the most about this is that Carlton has the potential but are yet to show it.  Maybe it will take me tipping against them for them to show their abilities.  That will infuriate me even more.  Melbourne by 17 points.

Port Adelaide vs Hawthorn         Adelaide Oval   Saturday Afternoon

Just how good are Port Adelaide?  At home, I would say they are potentially unbeatable (except by Adelaide), but they’re yet to face a premiership fancy away from their home deck and beat them.  It’s hard to put something together around that form and they may warrant a deeper investigation when I do my mid-season review on them.  Hawthorn have hit a rich vein of form after a fantastic come from behind victory.  Sicily had a field day to rout the Saints in much the same way that Michael Corleone had a field day at the end of Godfather Part I which is a nice connection back to Sicily.  But Hawthorn, without Sicily and his thoughtless elbows, will not be able to overcome Port Adelaide on their home ground.  Port Adelaide by 28 points.

I can’t let Hawthorn pass without a comment on the off-field issue.  The AFL stepped in and just wiped it all clean.  It was a pretty puzzling statement put out by Gillon.  It turns out if you don’t go looking for anything, you don’t find anything (a fact my wife reminds me of constantly).  This is something that is not going to sit well with the media.  Saying ‘there’s nothing to see here’ is like giving the media a microscope and pulling your pants down in an act of invitation.  But we’ve covered dacking this year already.

West Coast vs Collingwood         Perth Stadium   Saturday Afternoon

It’s tough to make a case for West Coast against Collingwood.  A team that was beaten by the then bottom team by 20 goals up against the top team in the competition, albeit without champion midfielder Steele Sidebottom who has now played 299.125 games.  But West Coast did beat Collingwood last year in one of their two wins in the last 30 matches.  This was a game where West Coast, desperate for a win to kick start the season, rolled out a bunch of underdone senior players…they got the win, but the senior players have never been able to get consistently on the park since then.  However, I think Collingwood are taking an extended mid-season break to rest up for the back end of the year.  They’ll do enough to control the match and get the win, but don’t expect any records to be broken.  Collingwood by 59 points.

Footscray vs Geelong    Marvel Stadium               Saturday Night

This is one of the games to watch this weekend.  Footscray will be stinging from their narrow loss up in NT.  Equally, Geelong will be keen to atone for a rare home loss.  Still question marks over Geelong with all their wins coming over the lower parts of the ladder and their losses against the form sides continue to mount.  Even with all their home games on the run to the end of the season, making finals will be a tough assignment now…but if they get there, the potential to do some damage will be high.  Footscray by 11 points.

Gold Coast vs Adelaide TIO Stadium       Saturday Night

A great victory against Footscray up in NT last week.  For some reason, Dew has become the focus of Hardwick speculation by the media, even though both Simpson and Voss are struggling.  If they continue to chalk up the victories, this speculation will soon abate.  Adelaide equally had a great victory against Brisbane, albeit at home.  Both teams have a good record at Marrara, and this is a true 50/50 proposition when looking at this one.  It’s great inside work versus silky outside skills.  I think the conditions and the Dew (is that a double pun) will be the difference.  Gold Coast by 9 points.

Greater Western Sydney vs Richmond  GIANTS Stadium              Sunday Afternoon

Every week I check a teams record at a ground to give me an inkling of how it might play out.  That is except for teams playing at Kardinia Park, no one wins there with regularity, except Geelong.  It turns out except GWS too.  My tips suffered from making such a bad assumption.  Future note.  Richmond was a bit lack-lustre and couldn’t get the job done against Port Adelaide, in what was billed as the Hardwick Handover.  GWS are certainly a different team when Toby is up and about, and he could very well be the difference in this game.  GWS by 23 points.

Essendon vs North Melbourne  Marvel Stadium               Sunday Afternoon

North Melbourne had their moments last week, but Collingwood always seemed to be able to keep them at arm’s length.  Meanwhile, it was Essendon’s turn to get in an extra training session when they took on West Coast.  Again, it has been hard to make a case for North Melbourne although they have a game that might trouble Essendon.  North are a great clearance team and this might give them enough impetus to be close enough to strike.  A danger game for Essendon looms.  Hopefully we see a game like Round 17, 1999.  I still remember that game.  Essendon won 158 to 132.  Lloyd kicked 7 and Carey kicked 10.  It’s sad to think most of the people playing in this game would not have even been born.  Great, now I’m feeling old and depressed again.  Essendon by 11 points.


We have entered the bye rounds.  I’ll take this opportunity to do a quick mid-season review of the teams.  This means I get to peer into my statistical model.  This model rates the way games are played and won or lost and where they were played, what weather they were played in and who played in them.  So sometimes a win by a team might just become a loss in the model.  For example, only narrowly defeating an injury depleted side on your home ground might not be a win when we try to evaluate the strength of a side.  The model also uses a reward and penalty process.  So, losing to a team with a lower power rating to you will incur a penalty rather than rewarding points.  Lastly, this model will take into account games you’ve played and games you haven’t played.  Let’s take a look.


Brisbane have had a barnstorming start to the season sees them with an 8-3 record in reality but a 9-2 record in The Model (I should give The Model a name…other than Frankenstein).  They have been a very efficient team in both attack and defense, but their body of work is built mostly on playing the better teams at home.  The losses they have suffered this year are twice in Adelaide (Port and Adel) and Footscray down in their kennel.  Brisbane’s run home is slightly easier than their pre-bye matches so you would say, they had a good draw and are destined for the top 4.  A double home final is probably on the cards which could see them slip straight through to the big dance.

Saint Kilda

St. Kilda had a great start to the season but have cooled a little in recent rounds.  A 7-4 start looks more like a 6-5 start when some penalties are applied.  A miserly defense has proved them well, but they will need to settle quickly to maintain their spot in the eight.  Saint Kilda had one of the best draws coming into the season and still have the best run of all teams coming home.  No excuses for the Saints and they should scrape into the 8.


Sydney has had a year to forget initially.  A spate of injuries, especially to key defenders meant that getting traction in the season has been the realm of gutsy efforts.  A 5-6 record is about par for them with few adjustments happening in the model.  Sydney’s run home is more difficult than the run up to the bye.  Sitting just outside the 8 means someone in there will have to give way, but his could be difficult.  They get some cattle back and they make the right moves and Sydney will be pushing for contention.


Fremantle also had a poor start to the season.  Bad enough to catch the ire of the media.  But underlying their 6-5 start is some good potential which has created a 7-4 start after adjustments.  However, they have a very tough run home, especially in comparison to their matches up to now.  On the verge of the top eight they will need to play some very good football indeed in order to make the 8.  But of those just outside the 8, trying to get in they will be competing against Geelong, Sydney, Gold Coast and maybe Carlton for a spot.  Who will drop out from here?


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