Round 12 AFL Preview

 Last Week           7/9           Season Total      64/100 

The byes start this week, and we get a curious look at how the inequities of fixturing really affect the season.  We’ll find out because some teams (those that played in Round 0), had a bye sometime between Rounds 1 and 5 and now will get another one.  Those that didn’t play in Round 0 will be getting their one and only bye.  Of course, the AFL will roll out their “to the letter of the” speech as they did with okaying the Freo/Pies decision.  Those that didn’t play in Round 0, “technically” had a bye then.  Most of us would say they started the season a week later, but you could look at it as a bye. 

I was wondering on the history of the bye, so I looked it up in the dictionary.  Turns out a bye is a run scored when you don’t connect with the bat.  Naturally the game has changed a lot over the years as early footy matches were quite hazardous when everyone was carrying a bat.  But, as they say whenever referring to matches in the past, it was a different game back then. 

Winter will start during this week’s round, and this is the second last Thursday Night game of the season with the concept being scrapped because, my understanding of the analysis is, that it was just too darn popular.  We’re also closing in on the Paris Olympics which will affect rounds 20 – 22 when our eyeballs are competed over for watching sports.  You’ll have those difficult decisions to make like watching a really good game of footy or seeing Emma McKeon re-write some history books.  Or the reverse of that decision tossing up whether to watch Rachael ‘Raygun’ Gunn and Jeff ‘J-Attack’ Dunne in the Breakdancing, or watch your team get destroyed by a finals-bound team.  Some tough choices ahead.

Let’s have a look at what Round 12 has to offer as the injury crisis continues to worsen for some clubs.  Never has the game required so much depth and never has the talent pool been so shallow.

Port Adelaide vs Carlton Adelaide Oval                Thursday Night

After a stirring come from behind victory against the Hawks, Port consolidated with a 10-goal thumping of North Melbourne to entrench themselves in the top 8.  An inebriated Carlton, sobered up long enough to walk a straight line when it counts to make everyone believe they are right to drive again.  So, this week, we have two teams starting to rise again meeting each other to send one back into the roiling maw of teams sitting in positions 2 to 9 on the ladder.  Voss had some words to say last week about tacking and holding the ball decisions with the general gist of it being that the umpires should hurry up and blow the whistle.  Back in my junior footy coaching days, when the 14-year-olds would come out and nervously umpire the game of 6-year-olds, my pre-game advice to them was much the same.  Just blow the whistle quickly…I don’t even care if you make the right call, just stop all the kids from piling in and getting hurt.  I wonder if that would work…just blow the whistle and randomly choose a team to award a free kick to.  Surely no-one would get upset by that?  Anyway, this promises to be a good match, but you would think that history is in favour of Port Adelaide here.  Carlton have played at Adelaide Oval 8 times in total and have only won once there.  And do you know who that one team they beat was?  Fremantle.  With that tid-bit in mind Port Adelaide by 35 points (which might be generous as Carlton’s average losing margin there is 63 points).

Collingwood vs Footscray            Marvel Stadium               Friday Night

Speaking of randomly assigned free kicks… “Don’t Mention the War!”  Collingwood re-framed the discussion around how great it was for their debutants to play so well.  Which it was but coughing up a 4-goal lead with 10 minutes to play will be a hot topic of conversation behind closed doors, I’m sure.  Footscray meanwhile were soundly Sydney’d last week like so many teams have been thus far.  Some of Collingwood’s cattle will start to return this week, but also some other cattle will be put out to pasture for a few weeks while Footscray will be Naughtonless for a few weeks after a misadventurous tackle appeared to rip his leg clean off.  Fortunate not to be more serious in my opinion.  The Collingwood system should keep their current run of “not-losses” going for another week, but the fast deck of Marvel is like a wonder-drug to Footscray.  Of course, now with two draws, Collingwood have to worry about their percentage again.  Collingwood by 21 points.

Hawthorn vs Adelaide  MCG      Saturday Afternoon

Did I not say that footy can be a great redeemer?  One week after playing it safe for too long, when the pressure was on again, Hawthorn just double-down on the attacking and blew the Lions away.  A lesson well learned.  Also, apparently Adelaide played West Coast.  I say apparently because, despite kicking 21 goals, the video highlights I watched did not include any of them…the highlights were just of Superman Harley Reid whose britches are getting so big now that he’s stealing other teams glory.  It was clinical by Adelaide who had the match squared away by about the 4-minute mark of the first quarter to set up this exciting dual between a couple of teams in good form.  A few weeks ago, I scheduled something else to do as this match looked a bit of a yawn-fest, but this could be match of the round.  It’s been an alternating win/loss record between these two sides for the last 5 years and if patterns are to be followed then this will be a Hawthorn Win.  This one’s a true 50:50. Since they are all the rage…  A Draw

West Coast vs Saint Kilda             Perth Stadium   Saturday Afternoon

When you beat Melbourne at home…and convincingly, and then lose on the road…very convincingly, the term flat-track bullies usually raises its head.  It’s not a term that teams like but is usually an important phase in a team’s development.  This also makes it very difficult for us punters to lay down a tip with any degree of confidence.  Which West Coast will we see?  The West Coast Wreckers or the West Coast Witches Hats?  One things for sure, Harley should probably tone things down a bit.  The AFL Players Association will soon vote to kick him out of the league for stealing all the limelight and making the rest of the competition look a bit ordinary.  Or, more importantly, when it comes up, he’ll be taking 80% of the salary cap (and deserve it) while sending the rest of the team to the poverty line.  Saint Kilda still have their woes and look in dire need of a functioning forward line and a midfield to give it to them and maybe grab a back line while they’re at it.  About the only thing functioning well at Saint Kilda is the Ghost Train at Luna Park.  And so, we enter the tippers dilemma?  Which West Coast turns up and what if the Saints get their sh…stuff together?  Keep your arms and legs inside the carriage at all times, West Coast by 16 points.

Geelong vs Richmond   Kardinia Park     Saturday Night

I certainly had that little niggle in the back of mind when I tipped Geelong last week and GWS went ahead and made it 4-in-a-row down at Kardinia Park.  Four weeks ago, everyone was working out what a Sydney versus Geelong Grand Final would look like.  Now this seems like an unachievable dream as Geelong cling on to a spot in the 8 by half a win.  And with Richmond winding the clock back a bit and showing that Tigers aren’t as endangered as we thought they were, we might get ourselves a bit of a contest.  But, in all seriousness, actual Tigers are pretty darn endangered so if you’re buying powdered Tiger Penis…stop it!  It doesn’t help.  The last time Richmond won at Kardinia Park was way back in 2006 and all in-all a win down there is a pretty rare feet.  Even if you go back to the pre-Kardinia era, they didn’t win a lot at Corio Oval either, so it is probably more the climate than the ground.  I’ve swum naked in the ocean down there and let me tell you, that temperature thing and males…maleness bits, is absolutely true.  So cold I actually lost them for a while there.  Hmmm…two references to ‘penis’ in the one preview tells me it’s about time deliver the tip (see what I did there?)  Geelong by 34 points.

Melbourne vs Fremantle             Traeger Park       Sunday Afternoon

The Dockers scrapped to a draw last week and made it unfamiliar territory for Pies supporters when an opponent is the one who comes back to steal (at least 2 points in this case) it in the final minutes.  Melbourne on the other hand were a bit upset about their performance against the Eagles and took it out on the hapless Saints.  If this match was at the MCG, I’d settle for Melbourne on this one, but this is being played out at Traeger Park in Alice Springs.  Some familiarity there for Melbourne but this is a new ground for Fremantle which makes it hard for us tipsters to study a form guide.  But, given Melbourne is above them on the ladder, have a higher percentage and have played there before, I think I’ll back Melbourne.  Of course, Fremantle have shown they don’t care about those kinds of stats.  Melbourne by 9 points.

Gold Coast vs Essendon                                Carrara Sunday Afternoon

Once removed from Fortress Darwin, Gold Coast was always gettable.  Meanwhile, Essendon sit in second place, feeling pretty darn happy with themselves.  But, with the worst percentage in the top 8 and only two losses from not even being in there, this is no time for complacency.  A trip to the dewy heartland of Gold Coast, where the surf is always up, the meter maids wear bikini’s (or at least they used to) and the Nightclubs will take your career in an instant, is a nervous game for Essendon.  The chaperones will be working overtime while the Bomber psychologists will be trying to work out how to unseed the seed of doubt if they drop this one.  Which they will.  Gold Coast by 19 points.


Now we have started the season of Byes.  Maybe some crappy poetry will help pique your interest if your team is not playing this week.


It’s the kind of season that Brisbane supporters should forget,
Or at least start a mid-life crisis and purchase that Corvette.
But form can be reversed with that familiar melodious tone.
Country Road, Country Road, why don’t you take us home?
Injuries and poor form have them languishing near the bottom
When you look at their lengthy list, it’s the knees that really Got ‘em.
The back-half of the season is one that’s filled with promise.
But no finals for the Lions, if I’m really being honest.

North Melbourne

Forgettable seasons happen to be North Melbourne’s bread and butter
It’s been the norm since older players were turfed out with the clutter
A recent spate of high draft picks netted them many Ones
But it’s a shame the rest of the team are a bunch of lazy bums.
A couple of games of recent note have shown a bit of spark
Yet when I speak to their supporters, they’re mostly shouting ‘faaaarrrk!”
I’ll challenge myself by rhyming something with Luke Davies-Uniacke
It’s too hard, I’m such a loony (who drives fast), does it make me a Hooniac?


To be the best, you beat the best, which only Richmond have done.
Which no one can really tell me, how the heck they won?
Is Grundy in the middle the key to their success?
Or is it the way they share it round, over which they obsess?
The premiership is all but theirs unless they get the staggers
But everyone will try to stop them, especially the Baggers
My money is on the Swans to win this whole damn show
Because most of the teams they play from now are down the bottom, you know.


My pre-season favourites were all the rage but have hit on some hard times
But a form reversal before the bye has them ringing out the chimes.
From the West of the Town, it’s a Big, Big Sound
And it’s a noise that will be heard at every ground.
Unless you count the games they lost, no sound was there for sure
Because there are times when it doesn’t gel, and they play rather poor
To keep my tip, I’d like to say the Grand Final’s a certain lock
But to manage that, the coach will need to keep Leek Aleer off Tic-Toc.


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