Round 3 AFL Preview

 Last Week           7/8           Season Total      15/21 

Here we are into Round 3, the fourth round of the season.  I’ve barely had time to catch my breath.  So full is my life with goings on that I haven’t been able to sit and watch much footy.  I forgot the Grand Prix was on and there were probably numerous other sporting events I missed.  I think the world Tetris championships have come and gone and I was catching up on events on the weekend and noted that Australian Andrew “The Annihilator” Ngai won the Excel World Financial Modelling Championships for the third year in a row.  I think I caught some of the action and was blown away by a blistering utilisation of the VLOOKUP function.  It was compelling viewing.  Congratulations Annihilator.  And don’t laugh…guaranteed these eSports competitors probably earn more than you.  Western Australia won the Sheffield Shield again proving to Collingwood that dynasties are still a thing.

This week the AFL has had its own battles with what to do about bracing that becomes a bump and how to effectively manage an illicit drug testing program.  Staggering that the best option they could come up with around a boardroom was “Porky Pies.”  Anyway, we’ll all get over it.  What we may not get over is that, in their unquestionable wisdom they have only scheduled 8 matches over a 4-day weekend.  Luckily, I have a mountain of yardwork and house maintenance to undertake, otherwise I might be in danger of actually enjoying the Easter break.

I hope you all have a Happy and Safe Easter and get some tips right…maybe this will help…but probably not.

Brisbane vs Collingwood              Gabba   Thursday Night

I’d like to talk about holes.  There are many kinds of holes that frequent our universe.  There are pinholes, which can be great to look at an eclipse without burning your retina.  There are sinkholes, an excellent example which can be found in my own backyard.  There are hellholes, which contain 10 levels and were written about beautifully by Dante.  There are black holes, which are the second biggest type of hole in the universe, so nasty that even a massless photon travelling at about 300,000km per second can’t get away from it.  But the biggest type of hole in the known universe is a “Collingwood are the favourites but lost three in a row” hole.  These holes are so vast that you can’t see all of it at once and yet there is nowhere to hide in it.  But strangely enough, for such a big hole, the preferred way to scrutinise its victims is with a microscope.  A very odd hole indeed.  One thing you can do is go to a place where there is an almost the same sized hole…Brisbane.  You can escape the scrutiny for a bit, but when two massive holes meet in the field of battle the result will be one place to put a marker for the year and one even bigger hole.  Could this be a moment for Collingwood to extricate themselves from the hole?  Much is said about their backs-to-the-wall efforts, but I would argue their backs were against the wall last week.  This week they have chiseled some indentations into the wall to get a more snug fit against it.  Brisbane on the other hand would be keen to exact revenge for the grand final defeat (if a round 3 match were to compare with that) so it will be no easy de-holing for the Pies.  The Pies are lucky 2 metre Peter did what he did, so the microscopes are pointing elsewhere for a few days.  I think the hole can be made a little wider.  Brisbane by 25 points. (but imagine what the combined hole looks like if it were a draw!)

North Melbourne vs Carlton      Marvel Stadium               Friday Night

The Blues took a well-earned rest last week after a blistering start to the season.  Now a potentially soft kill arrives for them on Good Friday.  Do you remember when Good Friday was an untouchable space on the AFL calendar?  Now we have two matches scheduled.  This is the kind of insidious way that AFL bleeds into your world.  First, they crept into the Northern States, then they snuck into Good Friday and soon they will tiptoe into Tassie.  Before you know it, all 200 matches of the season will be played on Good Friday on the Gold Coast and in Hobart, and you’ll cry a little bit inside.  Enough nonsense…Is North Melbourne any chance to win this one? No.  Carlton by 35 points.

Fremantle vs Adelaide  Perth Stadium   Friday Night

The Dockers are fast becoming the ‘come-from-behind’ team in the AFL.  First, they let Brisbane get a start on them before running them down and then they let North take a small lead before chasing that down too.  Surely there are better ways to motivate yourself?  If I were Adelaide, I’d let Freo get a 4 or 5 goal lead in the first few minutes as they might not know what to do!  But this is the conundrum for Adelaide.  The last two weeks they have let their opponent get a lead and failed to chase it down, so this is clearly a tried and tested method that does not work.  Given both teams have settled into this rhythm, we might see a record number of own-goals…if such a thing existed.  Fremantle by 17 points.

Essendon vs Saint Kilda                Marvel Stadium               Saturday Afternoon

Saint Kilda were pretty good last week, not that Craig McRae informed us.  Caroline Wilson certainly thought so and seemed quite aggrieved about the whole thing.  But I’m not sure if her problem was that McRae didn’t acknowledge the Saints or that no journalist asked a question of McRae about the Saints.  In any event, Ross the boss has the team up and about and playing a game style that can only be described as “not-belonging-to-Ross.”  Max King will take a rest for the week. After a clumsy bump.  Speaking of Which, Peter Wright will take an extended break after protecting himself.  It’s a tough position that the AFL find themselves in.  Players seem to find a way around things, and I fear the best method now is to go into a contest and hope you yourself get concussed, that should absolve you of any blame.  But it was not just Peter in trouble.  The whole of Essendon were made to look a bit silly by engaging in various off-the-ball rough incidents and then claiming it was their brand.  When you do that and you don’t win, I suspect you need to discuss your options with the marketing department and realign your brand messaging.  I think Essendon will get another dose of that this week so they should schedule that meeting with Marketing sooner rather than later.  Saint Kilda by 14 points.

Port Adelaide vs Melbourne      Adelaide Oval   Saturday Night

Collingwood will also be thanking Melbourne for this week putting the spotlight away from their hole.  And what a great way to do it, by having a minister use parliamentary privilege to expose drug problems.  This, of course was not something confined to Melbourne though and given the AFL and their secretive illicit drugs policy, they were able to come out and say it wasn’t really a story anyway and yes it was all part of the plan to get doctors to tell players to lie about injuries.  Nothing to see here.  It’s a good thing that there is no betting industry attached to AFL or one may think they have some integrity issues.  Port Adelaide have kept their nose clean, so to speak, by winning their first two outings and with a game on their home patch are sure not to let this one drop either.  Hinkley continues to impress Kochie, but that sword of Damocles continues to dangle dangerously above.  Safe again this week though.  Port Adelaide by 9 points.

Footscray vs West Coast               Marvel Stadium               Sunday Afternoon

The Doggies were certainly impressive last week with a solid win on Mars.  This week back to Marvel Stadium though where gravity is at least 2.6 times that of last week, but with some superhero strength to assist.  Although Batman was just a normal guy.  But then he was in the DC universe so he doesn’t really exist as far as Footscray are concerned.  Is anyone else really confused about all that?  Superman didn’t exist either, but Harley Reid does.  I’ve not seen hype like this since Clark Kent kicked a football into orbit.  Newspapers in the West report not only the astonishing feats he performs, but also the mundane everyday happenings in his life.  The good news for Reid is that when he turns 50, he won’t need to do the bowel screening poo test as journalists are up there running full inspections daily.  But West Coast would need some of that astonishing stuff from him this week for them to take a win.  He would need to be faster than a speeding Ugle-Hagan, more powerful than an Aaron Norton and able to leap tall Bontempelli’s in a single bound.  Footscray by 42 points.

Richmond vs Sydney      MCG      Sunday Afternoon

The Tigers were in it for a while last week, but Port kicked away in the third and were not headed from there.  At 0-2, one must ask if they are any good?  They look so in patches, but then as some great coach once said (me, at Auskick) …” patches don’t win matches.”  Richmond are suffering the 1st year teething issues of a new coach.  Sydney on the other hand have a long term coach who got a few key positions filled in the off season and copied a manic, pressure, corridor game style and advanced it even further.  Don’t be fooled about this one being at the MCG.  Sydney has a good record there…except when playing any of its tenants, then I would say their form comes in patches.  What’s that saying again?  Sydney by 12 points.

Hawthorn vs Geelong   MCG      Monday Afternoon

The Easter long weekend comes to an end with the traditional Easter Monday Hawks v Cats clash.  In years gone by it has produced some absolutely riveting contests but not on this occasion.  And not on the previous occasion either where Geelong won by 82 points.  If you want to pump this up like a great marketing person would, you could say that the average margin in the last 11 matches is just 28 points!  Why 11?  If I did 10, the average margin is more than 30, which doesn’t sound as good.  You can then use statistics even further by saying you have to remove the outliers.  In that case the average margin of the last 10 matches is only 16 points!  Now it’s getting exciting.  But wait, since we’re picking and choosing our data population, if you look at all of the Hawthorn v Geelong games in all of space and time that were decided by less than 10 points, then the average margin is less than a goal!  Hold on to your hats folks, this game will be a belter!  Geelong by 32 points.

Byes:     Gold Coast, GWS

I guess you would call this an Expansion Bye?


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