Here we are in February already and the smell of deep heat is making its way to our nostrils. The blood on the floor from Shamar Joseph’s butchering of the Australian Cricket team has barely congealed and footy is already making headlines. It seems only a short few weeks ago that Collingwood were crowned for the 2023 season after a gutsy 4-quarter effort over a challenging opponent in Brisbane. Did this banish the demons of 2002 and 2003? I doubt it. Technically the Demons were banished in the Semi’s last year, by the Blues.
In their infinite wisdom, which shall not be questioned, the AFL has moved the start of the season to March 7th so this is officially a reminder that there are but a few weeks to go to set up your tipping competitions, pay for your tipping software licenses, nag the office co-workers/friends/family/rivals to pay their tipping money and start thinking about the season ahead and where your beloved team will finish and where your head says to tip for or against them?
As stated, the AFL have come up with the crazy notion of having Round 0. While software developers will argue ‘till they’re blue in the teeth that this is a great move and that everyone should start counting from zero, to soften the blow and not have to educate the masses about ancient Mesopotamian economics, they are calling it “The Opening Round.” Then they go and give over half the teams a bye in that round. Confused? It might be easier to read up on a complete history of the Mesopotamian economy from the Uruk period through to the Akkadian empire. But for sure, by the end of “The Opening Round,” 14 teams will have a zero in the premiership points column so it kind of fits well…I guess. It’s enough to make one retreat to the sanctity of one’s ziggurat.
It's been a real mixed bag for teams during the off season. Adelaide called for an ACCC inquiry into Ben Keays goal being awarded a behind, but instead of “Ben Keays” the ACCC heard “ten peas” and started to look into grocery prices instead. All Collingwood wanted was an off-season that didn’t include any controversial headlines. Then they laid turf on the recently deceased Netball grave and put a work experience kid in charge of social media moderation. Geelong finally shook the tag of ‘oldest team’ and are now the second oldest. And the West Coast Eagles landed their top recruit who doesn’t want to be there. History says WCE have a pretty good track record at keeping their cattle. It’s a simple recipe…great weather all year ‘round and the impression (and reality) that you’re royalty in town and you have a culture that any Harley Reid will find it difficult to turn away from.
Damien Hardwick gets his first pre-season with Gold Coast. Alastair Clarkson will be looking at an uninterrupted season and Adem Yze starts his tenure at Richmond. Who will be the first coach under pressure in 2024? Ross Lyon has apparently been launching far from bloodless coups and rolling any upper management in his way, if the stories are true. Coup leaders are often short-lived.
With about a month to go, it’s time to start thinking about your tips!