Round 6 AFL Preview

 Last Week           5/8           Season Total      33/47 

The AFL has a habit of throwing up a lot of stories every week that can be written about.  And certainly, they get written about…a lot.  But perhaps not as much as the stories that don’t require being written about…journalists seem to write a lot about those ones too.  I imagine journalists have KPI’s about how many articles they write so they have to find stupid stories to write about.  I recall I had a job where the number of social media posts I did was a KPI.  I failed that KPI a lot.  The one time I achieved it I wrote a bunch of posts about ants.  My job has nothing to do with ants, I just know much about them, nevertheless, I wrote the posts, and they ticked the box that I achieved my KPI’s which kinda makes you wonder what businesses REALLY care about.  And journalists ask some ridiculous questions sometimes.  The other week a journalist, waiting patiently to ask his one question, finally got his chance with Andrew Dillon regarding the Jeremy Finlayson issue and came up with the gem, “Is the AFL prejudiced against LBGTQI people?” (or something to that effect).  Really?  That was his hard-hitting question?  What answer was he expecting?  Now what can he report about that?  “When asked if the AFL are jerks, CEO said no.” 

Anyway, this week the headlines everywhere (except on the AFL website) are about the number of Goal Umpire Reviews or GUR which have a similar meaning in golf.  I remember a time when video replays were not required.  Umpires made a call.  Maybe they got it wrong sometimes and maybe that’s why we spent an hour in the kitchen on Monday morning at work talking about it, postulating what might have been and claiming your team would have won if not for those rotten umpires.  Now we only spend a few minutes talking about the review and what we saw on Tik Tok so you could argue we might be more productive.  Apparently, it turns out that the umpires have been directed to do more of it as it adds suspense.  What a crazy world we live in.  I get my daily dose of suspense by not putting my breakfast plate in the dishwasher against the wife’s instruction…you never know when that storm will hit!

To this weeks games.  This is the last week where our premiership table is beset by teams having played a different number of games…until the next set of byes anyway.

Saint Kilda vs Footscray                Marvel Stadium               Thursday Night

I didn’t expect St. Kilda to get so close to GWS last week so I feel lucky I got that tip correct.  The Bulldogs, on the other hand were dominated by Essendon.  I didn’t really see the match, just the stories around Tom Liberatore and his delayed concussion.  And as proof that journalists will write about anything is the report that Stringer is exploring the Islam faith.  Is it news?  Does it matter?  Does this change his ability to play in some way?  Lots of people explore different faiths every day so I’m not sure what the story is bringing to the football landscape?  By writing this missive each week, am I a journalist?  I hope not because then I would be sullying my own name.  Anyway, to the football and I want to bring up something that Footscray supporters won’t like to hear.  Your team does not like physical football.  There, I said it.  They prefer free moving, bruiseless footy and if a team puts a bit of physical heat on them, they crumble like an over-cooked Danish.  There could be a couple of coaches under some duress in coming weeks and Beveridge may be one of them.  He will need to find a spark to overcome a fast moving St. Kilda on a fast moving deck like Marvel.  Saint Kilda by 21 points.

Adelaide vs Essendon   Adelaide Oval   Friday Night

I told you I smelled an upset and now, with the smugness wiped from the faces of Carlton supporters, I can wear the grin of smugness for a few days.  To be honest it was a see-sawing and enthralling affair and could have gone any way and luck played a major part in my feeling of smugness.  But please don’t tell anyone as I need to make it look like I know what I’m doing.  Essendon meanwhile blew Footscray off the park in a mostly unexciting affair.  I was in a pub during that match and was three-sheets into the wind for the most part of it so can’t really make much comment on that game.  What I do know is there are beers out there that cost $35 for a pint and are no better than Carlton Daught so the ornate glass it is served within is filled with nothing but regret.  Should I talk about this game though?  I guess so.  The wins last week added a bit more spice to this match.  The location may hold the key.  Essendon haven’t won at this ground so far this decade (except against Melbourne in gather Round but that doesn’t count) but they also haven’t played Adelaide at this ground since 2020 either.  I think Adelaide were sparked last week and will keep it rolling.  Adelaide by 11 points.

Collingwood vs Port Adelaide   MCG      Saturday Afternoon

The battle of the black and white stripes.  Kochie will no doubt begin his annual prison bars platform speech again this week as Ports fixture heads towards the Showdown in a couple of weeks’ time.  They had a lucky escape against Fremantle last week who didn’t quite manage the finals moments of the match and Collingwood are coming off a bye.  Port is on a 3-game losing streak against the Pies with two of those at the MCG, but they have the midfield speed and engine to seriously trouble the Pies.  The Pies on the other hand can look good if they get their team pressure up but have not managed that for the most part this season.  Maybe a bit more to play for for them if they feel they owe one to Murphy who was medically retired during the week after a number of concussions.  Prediction is the “medically retired” will become a new marketing buzzword around the concussion issue into the future.  It wouldn’t surprise me if the Pies won this, but I need more evidence of that pressure before I back them in.  Port Adelaide by 6 points.

Carlton vs GWS                Marvel Stadium               Saturday Twilight

The Giants are one of only two teams that remain undefeated.  They were well in control of the match in Canberra before giving Saint Kilda a sniff by letting them kick the last 6 goals of the match.  Carlton also has to stump up after a close loss, letting Adelaide kick the last 3 goals to win the match.  And if things aren’t bad enough for Carlton, they have also received a few soft tissue injuries to make things a bit harder for them.  Carlton still have their main two weapons in Curnow and McKay, but they will be taken care of by Nick Haynes and Sam Taylor…oh wait, Taylor is out with concussion protocols, and it looked like a nasty one too when I saw that on the TV.  I can’t wait for the team sheets on this one, although both teams will be weakened.  Despite the Marvel Stadium location, I expect that the Giants will win this one, unlike the Frost Giants in the Marvel movie Avengers.  GWS by 19 points.

Brisbane vs Geelong      Gabba   Saturday Night

For the first time this season, Brisbane looked like a team that wanted to play in the finals.  How much of that was because Melbourne were playing their third game in 13 days, we’ll never know.  Not much could be taken as sage advice about Geelong’s form based on their match at home against North Melbourne.  This match will be Geelong’s first test for the season.  This is also Brisbane’s first chance for the year to win a home game for their fans.  Although I’m not sure if the fans in Brisbane come along to watch their team or just engage in a bit of Karaoke when a goal gets kicked (can’t say I’m a fan of that marketing concept).  Anyway, they can happily sing along to Sweet Caroline now that Charlie Cameron is clear to play after running a successful “But, he’s a good bloke” campaign at the tribunal.  I expect everyone will try that on now and the bigger the reference the more chance you have.  If you’ve not heard of the website “Cameo” you can get a famous person to say whatever you want (within reason).  The future will be the tribunal deliberating, “he almost ripped the guys head off and put 3 others in hospital, but Chuck Norris says he’s a good bloke, so I say let him play.”  A grim future indeed.  So how do we take in this game to see who should win it?  While Geelong have played well, they have played some of the least powerful teams in the league.  Brisbane is at home though, and look like they are something else now.  The Stats Leviathan says Brisbane is better.  Brisbane by 13 points.

West Coast vs Fremantle             Perth Stadium   Saturday Night

Geez what a win will do for you.  Within the space of a week the commentary around West Coast has shifted from the need to get a priority pick to a 2024 premiership tilt.  Led by Harley Reid, newly installed as Alliance Chief of State for the Rebellion (Rising Star) after success in round 1 of the fend off off.  Yes, as predicted, Reid did in fact fend off Dusty, but as Dusty was not fending off at the same time, we must turn our attention to the Large Hadron Collider to discover any new particles.  Let’s give West Coast their moment in the sun though and not mention the issues with the age of their top players from last week (let’s just say it was more than one standard deviation away from the mean).  A win brings hope and hope is something West Coast supporters have been starved of and with Fremantle faltering by a goal or so in their last two outings it means that the Western Derby will be well attended by the hopeful masses.  However, the match could be a bit like watching an X-Wing against a Death Star.  But if I know my Star Wars lore correctly, “Rebellions are built on hope.” And an X-Wing with a well placed torpedo into a particle exhaust vent will do the trick.  Young Jedi Trainee, Reid will have to take the shot as only he has mastered the use of The Force.  Fremantle by 36 points.

Sydney vs Gold Coast    SCG        Sunday Afternoon

The Swans took a week off last weekend while Gold Coast steam-rolled a lack-lustre Hawthorn.  In looking into who could win this, it’s important to take in ALL the stats.  The biggest discrepancy I could find was housing prices.  The median price on The Gold Coast is $850K versus $1.4M in Sydney.  For that reason alone, it is hard to see Gold Coast winning this one.  But like any Sydney property, for your $1.4M you’re getting a much smaller ground than at Carrara and Sydney are too good on that small acreage.  Sydney by 22 points.

North Melbourne vs Hawthorn Marvel Stadium               Sunday Afternoon

And so, it has come to this.  With West Coasts win last week, these are the last two teams for the year yet to win a match.  North looked like puppies against wolves at Geelong and Hawthorn were beaten badly in the midfield by a slick Suns unit.  There’s not much else to say about this game although importantly we should consider the ants.  The biggest ant (super)colony ever found was greater than the width of mainland Australia!?  Hopefully that ticks off my KPI.  Who will come out on top in this match?  Not North Melbourne, that’s for sure.  Hawthorn by 31 points.

Byes: Richmond, Melbourne


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