Round 4 AFL Preview

 Last Week           4/9           Season Total      19/30 

Last week was one of those disastrous rounds of tipping where everyone tips the same because it was so obvious, but then the results don’t go that way.  There’s always one smug tipper who wins that week, usually from Canada, who often asks questions like “why do they get six point for putting the puck through the tall poles?”  The results on Easter were somewhat of a shock in some cases but provided some levelling in the competition.  Although maybe not when you look at it.  There are still four teams undefeated and 5 teams without a win.  That just leaves 9 teams that have evened themselves out.  It’s hard to say by looking at the ladder what with the vagaries of the Opening round and the early bye period.

This week though we are without a bye as all teams head to South Australia for Gather Round.  I like the way the AFL have accepted that the draw is compromised and so just leant into it and compromised it some more.  But with a forecast for clear skies and delightful weather, why wouldn’t you.  Melbourne, it seems is just full of lightning at the moment.  I can’t make it to gather round this week as I’m certain I will be continuing my effort of yardwork and house maintenance.  The Easter weekend meant I didn’t see a lot of footy, but I put in a solid performance around the house which should snag me a nomination for husband of the year.  But let me tell you, building retaining walls and digging out stumps is definitely a caper for younger men.  My back is complaining today, and if it weren’t for the deafening roar of my tinnitus, I might just listen to it.  I also had to dig a giant hole to put a soak well in.  I recall the roof plumber telling me that often when people go digging around in these old properties, they often find tins of buried money and other treasures.  It gave me the impetus I needed to dig with zeal.  I did find something though.  But it was not something I could plunder.  Instead, it was a bunch of reticulation control solenoids, now damaged from my zealous digging and will require expensive repair and relocation.  Another weekend job.

Let’s take a look at this weekend’s games before I depress myself.

Adelaide vs Melbourne                Adelaide Oval   Thursday Night

One of those teams without a win is Adelaide.  To say they need one is an understatement.  A team which showed much promise last year, have been cruelled a little by injury and now they come up against a team who seem galvanized by off-field issues enough to roll Adelaide Oval’s co-tenant.  Did Melbourne just stay In Adelaide for the week?  It might make sense?  Or at least it definitely would if Melbourne wasn’t just a short jaunt away.  Melbourne has a positive record at Adelaide Oval and also seems to have the wood over Adelaide in recent times winning their last three.  Melbourne seems up and about so I may as will stick with that…although see where that got me last week!  Melbourne by 19 points.

Brisbane vs North Melbourne   Norwood Oval  Friday Night

Last week we discussed Collingwood and their hole, and that Brisbane was perhaps on the precipice of their own.  Now they are entrenched in their hole and once the microscopes start crawling all over you, they turn up many wonderful reasons for being in there.  WhatsApp seems to be the main culprit according to the media.  Mostly I think this is because it is a very salacious story.  What Happens in Vegas not really staying in Vegas and the demise of relationships as a result is what the marketing department of news agencies like.  The stories being pushed by sports media belong more in the pages of New Idea than in the sports pages.  On the field there are a few problems.  The loss of Coleman does look like it has a bigger impact than expected.  But when you need a win to get you out of your funk, what you need is a match against North Melbourne.  Time for Brisbane to stand up or lose their season.  Then it’s off to The Parade for dinner.  Brisbane by 35 points.

Port Adelaide vs Essendon          Adelaide Oval   Friday Night

And with this game, both Adelaide teams will be done before the weekend.  An unexpected loss for Port at home last weekend and an unexpected win for Essendon to kick their season off.  I recall last year that Essendon gave Port Adelaide a scare in both of their matches.  Less than a kick in it.  With Ports loss last weekend, Kochie will have been sweeping through the offices pushing stacks of paper off desks in fits of rage while he looked for Hinkley to threaten with contract talks.  At the Essendon offices on the other hand, they all would have been sweeping though offices pushing stacks of paper off desks in fits of rage as this is their brand now.  No matter the rage or its source, its hard to tip against Port Adelaide at home, even if they lose sometimes.  Of note is their propensity to lose two-in-a-row at home at least one time each season.  Could this be the time?  Port Adelaide by 6 points.

West Coast vs Sydney    Adelaide Hills, Mt Barker            Saturday Afternoon

Not even superman Harley Reid could stop the Bulldog onslaught last weekend.  If only Lex Luthor thought of that! Reading the feeds while preparing an Easter Sunday Lunch it seems the locals are getting restless.  And when the locals get restless the pressure comes on the coach.  The locals thoughts are that while having a mix of old and new players is usually good, if you’re getting thrashed regardless, maybe you just try to get more games in the new and grow from there.  The problem with this thinking is that 9 of their 10 most prolific ball winners on the weekend were the old.  Or, more appropriately, 9 of their 9 most prolific ball winners were old guys.  The response from the Marketing department has been epic.  They have decided that an auction of Harley Reids first game jumper will appease the members.  How can the marketing department at West Coast turn this season around?  Sydney hit a speed bump on the weekend themselves.  What was supposed to be an easy win over Richmond turned into a loss.  Is this just a blip in their otherwise blistering season start or is it the start of a rot?  Against West Coast, in a match cleverly hidden away in the hills of Adelaide we won’t establish any new information on either.  Sydney by 72 points.

Fremantle vs Carlton     Adelaide Oval   Saturday Afternoon

A flying Fremantle flurry finally finished their foe fully.  A 3-0 start to the season is just what Longmuir ordered and puts them in contention early in the season already.  But this week they come up against fellow undefeated team Carlton looking to continue to crush opposition on their way to a record number of flags.  The fear for Fremantle is their record against Carlton is rather poor of late and their record at Adelaide Oval is even worse.  It will be an interesting match to watch and hopefully, moving the reticulation will be a quick enough job that I can sit with a beer and watch this one.  Carlton by 22 points.

Footscray vs Geelong    Adelaide Oval   Saturday Night

After a slow start last week, Footscray put the pedal to the metal and steamrolled West Coast.  Geelong initially burst out of the blocks and then were challenged, then responded then took a break for Lightning, were challenged and then responded.  This match is the second of a double header at Adelaide Oval after the Freo v Blues curtain raiser and it should be a doozy too if you’re looking for something to settle into on a Saturday Afternoon/Evening/Night.  Tom Hawkins has been issued with a please explain after using a phone during the extended 3qtr time break.  Not that it will mean anything.  He'll just have to write lines on the blackboard a few hundred times.  I think this game will be close and the highlights will be Naughton and Ugle-Hagan at one end versus Hawkins and Cameron at the other.  That lineup alone is enough to bring some eyeballs.  Geelong by 2 points.

Gold Coast vs GWS         Adelaide Hills, Mt Barker            Sunday Afternoon

This is where marketing departments confuse me.  I’ve been in companies before where they are bringing a, shall we say, sub-optimal product to market.  At this time, you have a choice; kinda hide it so it doesn’t attract attention or market the crap out of it, so it seems so much better than it really is.  Gold Coast are on the rise and GWS are flag favourites (in my book anyway) and these are the AFL products in their expansion.  So why did they hide this match up in the Hills of Adelaide?  Not that it’s a bad spot.  Smart marketers would not say “hiding” they would say “isolating” or “highlighting.”  Come and watch the game of the round up in the Adelaide Hills, visit a winery or one the fine establishments on Gawler St before the match and release your tension at the Rage Cage afterwards.  Let’s hope the marketing approach is the right one.  GWS by 16 points.

Richmond vs St Kilda     Norwood Oval  Sunday Afternoon

A stirring victory for Richmond against Sydney but one that came at considerable cost on the injury front.  Tom Lynch will be off for surgery on a hamstring tendon while Liam Baker won’t be travelling to Adelaide after catching the eye of the match review panel.  He used the “Maynard defence” at the tribunal in an attempt to get off.  Unfortunately, he forgot that in the off-season, they created the “Anti-Maynard Rule,” so it was quashed quite quickly.  No Tom Lynch will, pardon the pun, leave Richmond rather hamstrung in attack.  St. Kilda had a shock loss against The Bombers but will, like the peons of Gondor, welcome the Return of the King to bolster their attack.  Saint Kilda likes speed on the ball (I still struggle to comprehend this for a Ross Lyon team), but this might suit the chaotic game style of Richmond.  The dirty duo (Grimes and Dusty) missed last week and Yze will hope they are available this week on an unfamiliar ground for both teams.  It’s a tough one to call…St. Kilda by 18 points.

Collingwood vs Hawthorn           Adelaide Oval   Sunday Afternoon

In classic backs-contiguous-to-the-wall style and in need of extraction from a very large hole, Collingwood got the win they so desperately needed.  Hawthorn is still winless for the year but would fancy themselves against Collingwood who they seem to enjoy beating when not expected to.  This is pretty much the only case one can make for Hawthorn.  They like beating Collingwood and it could be said that Collingwood aren’t playing at the level required to win these kinds of games.  The Pies played better last week but it turns out the team they played might yet be in a bigger hole than they were.  Ginnivan will be the watch for this game.  To add spice, the umpires were derided for not paying high tackles for him last week, so he is sure to get extra ones this week.  I can’t wait for the crowd reaction.  The case for Collingwood is about the ground.  Should they win here they will stand alone as the one team with the biggest winning streak at the Adelaide Oval, including its tenants.  That’s impressive.  But it guarantees nothing, especially with an average winning margin in the last 5 games there of just 4 points.  With a bye after this, Collingwood would sure like to be 2 and 3 rather than 1 and 4.  Collingwood by 5.


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