Round 2 AFL Preview

Last Week           6/9           Season Total      8/13 

An odd thing happened to me this week.  I placed a bet that Vladimir Putin would win the Russian election, which by all accounts he just snuck in.  I should have checked the odds though as the bookie had him at negative 10:1 odds so now I owe him 10 times the amount I bet.  Those bookies really know their stuff.  Given his name was Alexey, perhaps I should’ve known better.

The biggest attended Round 1 in history.  It’s all good news for the AFL.  But nobody tell them that technically it was the second round.  How can they keep making it bigger?  Maybe add another team and we can fit more games in.  Enter Tasmania, who launched their team this week despite the spectre of elections hanging over their head which could set footy back another 100 years.  But the team already has 100,000 members so nothing short of a 150,000-seat stadium will do, if you want to win an election under democratic rule.  Tasmania…Van Diemen’s Land…Trowunna.  Call it what you will, but with an astute political campaign, you might just see the Tassie Devils at a ground near you soon.

When I was a younger man, say in my early 20s, I remember (sometimes) just how much piss I could drink and get up the next day and be rather chipper about the day and sometimes be out at work in the hot sun by 7:30am.  However, now as an older (whether I’m any wiser is questionable) man, if I tipple a little too much, and by too much I mean three beers instead of two, I’ll be rather ill and lying on the couch at least until 4pm and am not really 100% better until about 5-days’ time.  The only difference is age.  Perhaps this is the problem we see with Collingwood and Brisbane.  Collingwood being the oldest team and Brisbane being the fourth oldest team, perhaps they had an extra beer after the Grand Final and are in the midst of a hangover that their age is not up to processing.

Saint Kilda vs Collingwood          MCG      Thursday Night

It’s not panic stations after one loss.  It’s not quite panic stations after two losses either.  But panic stations are now visible over the horizon.  Statistics are a funny thing, and they do funny things to people.  Losing your first two matches seems to make everyone write a team off.  But I would submit that 2 losses in a row, regardless of where they occur in your season will have the same effect. Both Collingwood and Brisbane had two losses in a row last year and they faired ok in the end.  Collingwood’s big problem at the moment is they don’t really look interested enough to win.  But the game against Sydney was additionally difficult because they played most of the game with one less player.  Of course, I mean their much heralded 19th man, who took it upon themselves to get up and leave part way through the second quarter.  They’ll be lucky to be selected again this week.

Things don’t get much easier for the Pies with a St. Kilda outfit who move the ball fast and are looking to score.  Very uncharacteristic for a Ross Lyon team.  St. Kilda nearly stole the chocolates from Geelong on the impenetrable non-oval-shaped ground.  Completed grandstand and all, it still looks more like Oumuamua than a football ground.  So, this leaves us the question…give Collingwood one more chance, or flush them down the 2024 toilet?  It’s the toilet for me.  St. Kilda by 13 points.

Adelaide vs Geelong     Adelaide Oval   Friday Night

The Crows will be happy to come back to their home ground after kicking the last 5-goals of the match against The Suns, just to fall agonizingly short.  Geelong had a last gasp effort to get over a slick St. Kilda outfit.  These are the games I find tough to pick at the start of the season where form can be patchy.  Adelaide are still a few Crows short of a murder but are a mighty powerful side at home.  Geelong is pretty good anywhere but less so away from Oumuamua.  And with an exact 50% success rate at Adelaide Oval, the job of deciding if Geelong will win or not is even more difficult.  When in doubt, turn to the statistical leviathan is my playbook…or at least a hat, or dice, or a coin…Adelaide by 21 points.

North Melbourne vs Fremantle                Marvel Stadium               Saturday Afternoon

I’ll admit, I didn’t get to watch much footy last weekend.  I feel like the season is too early and I have other stuff that needs to be done.  Mostly that other thing was lying on the couch watching The Players Championship at Sawgrass.  It’s a great skill I have learned to do that while making it look to the wife that I’m busy.  Perhaps I should start a YouTube channel to teach people how to do it and make a killing.

Anyway, as a result, I didn’t see any of the North Melbourne match and I saw the first 5 minutes of Brisbane flogging Fremantle so turned that off to clean my clubs and dream of hitting that Island Green on the 17th.  Imagine my surprise when I glanced at the score later on!

Some key injuries for Fremantle and a trip away from the sun-drenched beaches of the west coast make this a more difficult match to tip than one first thinks.  I’ll wait for more evidence from North Melbourne first.  Fremantle by 11 points.

Hawthorn vs Melbourne              MCG      Saturday Afternoon

Another clash of Victorian titans.  As suggested in last week’s missive, Oliver did Shake Off the Anti-Hero tag and played a blinder.  I did a few song references last week and I wasn’t sure if you, the reader, would get them.  I’m guessing the demographic is more of The Beatles and The Animals than of Tay-Tay and Pink. Anyway, I have a wide and varied catalogue so don’t be surprised if the future sees some rapping, blues, funeral dirges, sea shanties and funky piano concertos.

Si-silly will be sure to only kick the ball this week after a close shave with the Tribunal.  I’m starting to get the feel for the tribunal in 2024 already.  Don’t bump the head, don’t tackle too hard, but a swift kick up the backside is greenlit.

For this match, Hawthorn have about as much chance as a one-legged Sicily in a McGrath kicking contest…or so the saying goes.  Melbourne by 33 points.

Sydney vs Essendon       SCG        Saturday Night

The Swans were good last week.  And the week before.  Their pressure rating is way up and at the SCG will simply be too much for The Bombers.  Sydney by 42 points.

Footscray vs Gold Coast         Mars      Sunday Afternoon

I love a game on Mars.  It means I can roll out tired old jokes about the planet and its inhabitants.  Yes, that’s right, I said it, inhabitants.  Life on Mars as Bowie said?  We’ll see who’s in the crowd and be the judge for ourselves.  It could be a veritable who’s who of Martian celebrities.  I’d like to see Marvin the Martian from Looney Tunes origin.  But why would he be taking in a game on planet Earth when he constantly wants to destroy it because it obstructs his view of Venus?  Anyway, if you see someone walking around with an Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator, then run!

Of course, Mars Stadium is really named after the edible bar which constantly attacks my waist line, which is in turn named after the planet, which is in turn named after the god, who was named by Jupiter.  All of this is super important and gives an incredible insight into the machinations of this match (or at the very least an insight into my deranged and procrastinating mind).

Footscray were well beaten last week and looked a little restless.  With Longmuir getting a contract extension, maybe Beveridge could be first on the chopping block.  They will enjoy playing on Mars and its cold and desolate landscape.  It will be quite the opposite for Gold Coast who will venture away from their sun-kissed (with occasional torrential downpour) stadium in the North.  Who will tame the Rowell beast?  Who can stop King?  Will The Bont stand up, if he hasn’t already.  All will be revealed in this clash on the Red Planet.  I heard Mark Watney was going to be there.  Footscray by 22 points.

Richmond vs Port Adelaide         MCG      Sunday Afternoon

I saw the last 10 minutes of Thursday Nights’ match and while a close encounter, I never felt Richmond were a chance.  Honourable in defeat and with a raft of serious injuries to come from it, one might not think they stand a chance against Port Adelaide who ran riot around the West Coast Witches Hats.  Although Port Adelaide has a varied history at the MCG with 3 visits to the venue last year for 2 wins and a loss.  The loss was to the eventual premiers and one of the wins was against Richmond, so history won’t hold any fears for them.  The key to Port Adelaide is to get Charlie Dixon angry.  When he gets angry, he gets a look in his eye that says, “Get out of my way, kind sir” (but a bit more colourful language than that).  I often think as they come out through the race before the game starts, his own teammates should just trip him over and jumper-punch him a few times…instant win.  Port Adelaide by 31 points.

West Coast vs GWS        Perth Stadium   Sunday Afternoon

The last match of the round will be West Coast’s first home game of the year.  One where their supporters can come out and still be hopeful of a successful season ahead.  Unfortunately, they will be playing the 2024 eventual premiers.  There was a bit to like in West Coast last week with Harley Reid playing well enough to secure the next 15 newspaper back pages and a few others bobbing up in support roles.  And they have improved on last year, seemingly turning regular 100-point drubbings into just 10-goal shellackings.  News this week that Captain and main spearhead Oscar Allen will be out for a few months tips this match slightly in favour of GWS who will continue to build into this deluxe season start they have been provided.  GWS by 82 points.

Byes:     Brisbane, Carlton

The luxury of byes early in the season.  Do the rest of the teams who did not play in Opening Round consider that round their first bye or just a later season start and then they seemingly get only one bye instead of two?  For Brisbane, who need a win, maybe the bye is good for a reset.  For Carlton, on a roll, nothing stops momentum as efficiently as pausing.


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