Round 8 AFL Preview

 Last Week           7/9           Season Total      42/64 

Last week was a much better week than the previous one.  A score of 7 is respectable, but in a week where most got 8 or 9, I am left ruing my decision to trust Carlton, but was ok with the draw.  No one tips a draw and depending on your competition rules, you either got that as a win or a loss.  I was only one point off in my tip there and if Langford had’ve kicked straight, I would have been a classic smiling smug bastard.  But then if Jamie Elliott could take a mark, maybe the Pies would’ve won.  Ok, ok, I agree, Jamie Elliott can take a mark.  It was a good effort and reminded me a lot of myself (yeah, right!)  Of course, this brings up the age old debate about whether the AFL should allow draws or use extra time.  Golden Point was also touted as a solution, as was a good old game of DONKEY.  I found the debate interesting as it seemed to me that everyone (after the dust settled) was ok with having draws in our system and it seemed the media were the ones driving the case for extra time.  I found this interesting because I would think there was more to write/speak about in a draw than there was in a result, but I guess the extra drama carries a lot of articles.  If they do abolish the drawn match, I’d like to see players square off in an epic match of classic marbles to determine the winner.  That might make coaches think a bit more about the skillset of their super-sub.

To this week…

Adelaide vs Port Adelaide           Adelaide Oval   Thursday Night

Is it Rivalry round?  It feels like it?  Showdowns, Bridge Battles, Clashing Q’s.  But then the Derby has been played already.  For this showdown, I can say that I’m not all that convinced of Port Adelaide.  And now with some injuries to key players this opens the door for Adelaide, who have been even less convincing.  The ledger on The Showdown is 27-27 with no draws…maybe they’re due.  But there is something about The Showdown that brings out the best in Adelaide.  They have won the previous two encounters (and by comfortable margins) despite being a much worse team than Port Adelaide.  This will go down as a lamentable decision, but all my stats say Adelaide is better.  Adelaide by 9 points.

Carlton vs Collingwood MCG      Friday Night

If it is Rivalry Round, this one is the classic for AFL pundits. The working class versus the Privileged is a war that has raged for the ages, and it manifests itself in many different ways.  Does anyone remember the French Revolution, I do…fondly.  Privileged heads were rolled, literally as the working class rose up.  The cause for most of this was that the economy was in the toilet and there was a significant increase in living costs.  Does this sound familiar?  I’ll stop short of inciting you, the masses, to rise up and storm the capital.  We can leave that to American politics, and I also don’t want to be added to any watch lists.  But, like the French Revolution, this match could have a profound impact on society as a whole and might usher in a new era of political, societal and economic reform that might just establish a new Nirvana or at least a period of enlightenment.  Or not…who can tell?  Certainly, Carlton is up and about with a minor hiccup against Geelong last week and Collingwood has been building into the season and looks ready to take on such a task as Carlton.  If we dive into the match ups, we have Curnow and McKay being handled by Moore, Howe and Frampton.  Collingwood’s forward line is a bit more difficult to wrangle as it is more of a mobile, small, many contributors affair but Carlton seem to have a good handle on defence this season.  Both midfields are stacked with talent and Carlton have the Blues Brothers in their corner while Collingwood have their 19th man.  It’s a 50-50 match for sure although we hope the scores will be higher than that…and the media knows we don’t want another drawn game.  For the winner, I say, “Let them Eat Cake” and I hope I don’t lose my head during their Reign of Terror.  Carlton by 2 points.

Sydney vs GWS                SCG        Saturday Afternoon

Speaking of battles, there is this one about a bridge.  I’m assuming they are talking about the one that Paul Hogan painted and not the Boothtown Aqueduct in Greystanes.  Although I’m not sure if the Sydney Harbour Bridge is worth fighting over?  As victor, you would just inherit a tonne of traffic issues, maintenance problems and disgruntled users.  Although with the right marketing and some deft Business Consulting, you could probably turn it around.  Maybe the Tunnel is a better prize.  Call this match the Tunnel Tiff?  I don’t live in Sydney though so the Tunnel just might be beset by the same, or even worse issues than the bridge.  Am I off track again?  What is this match about?  Oh yeah, two primed teams in what I think will be the best match played in NSW this weekend.  GWS are expecting a host of stars back and Sydney are rocking the state with their ball movement and commitment to the season.  It’s well documented that the teams dislike each other, and the sideshow will be as good and brutal as the football.  Both teams enter a difficult period of matches though so wins will be a premium.  I’m still on that GWS bus and am not ready to get off just yet. I think the sum of their talent is slightly higher than the sum of Sydney’s talent.  GWS by 23 points

Saint Kilda vs North Melbourne                               Marvel Stadium               Saturday Twilight

If this is Rivalry Round, I’m struggling to connect these two teams.  They have only played a single final against each other in their history, in 1997.  And they haven’t had a draw in 44 years either.  The total ledger is Saint Kilda 82 wins and North Melbourne 81 wins with 2 Draws.  From that you could say there is a lot on the line for North Melbourne.  If St. Kilda get 2 wins ahead, they might never catch up.  Jack Higgins will be taking a tackling break for a few weeks after the Tribunal deemed his effort “not good.”  North Melbourne has a host of youthful stars that don’t seem to be taking the next step.  They need to stand up and be counted as the pressure will keep rising.  Those tough decisions to unceremoniously dump some of their old fellas a few years back has been very costly.  Sorry to say, the youth will not stand up this week.  Saint Kilda by 36 points.

Melbourne vs Geelong MCG      Saturday Night

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment a rivalry formed between these two teams.  It could be that match on 15th May 1897, which was the first game they played against each other.  That was a 45 point thumping by Melbourne at a time when 45 points is what your team would kick over about 15 matches.  In more recent times, Geelong booted Melbourne out the finals in 1989 and 2005, but then Melbourne saw Geelong out the door in 2018 and 2021.  None of this really matters and the AFL for sure will come up with some spiteful footage from time gone by that shows a reason for this rivalry.  Geelong proved themselves against Carlton last week and this is another chance to prove themselves.  Melbourne have also had some easy kills so far this season and if they want the competition to take them seriously, they need to win this match.  They have the cattle and the key positions to out-point Geelong, but it comes down to what they have in between their ears and the effort they put in.  These are not generally strong areas for Melbourne.  For some reason though, I’m not quite on the Geelong train yet, which is a perilous place to be when they are 7-0.  Melbourne by 8 points.

West Coast vs Essendon               Perth Stadium   Saturday Night

So, the Derby has been played and we are left with the rivalry that started all the scarf and jacket waving.  Or perhaps it comes from that time in 2000 when Sheedy made a throat-slitting gesture to Mitchell White and then claimed a seagull flew into Mark Johnson’s eye.  Sometimes I miss Sheedy and his antics.  Last week, Essendon fought out a draw as discussed earlier.  I like to imagine that somewhere in a windowless room underneath the MCG a final winner was decided over some marbles and the circle of death and that there is a “real ladder” being kept somewhere by the illuminati or lizard people.  Meanwhile, the Eagles went to Movie World without Harley Reid.  They lost because of it, but they are playing the long game, I’m sure.  I believe the plan was to let Reid go back to Victoria so he could meet with all 10 clubs there and get their best offer.  West Coast have the Harvey Norman Clause in his contract which allows them to take any offer and beat it by 10%.  But word on the street is the offers were creative to get around the hard cap (is that a helmet?)  Geelong included the Cape Otway Lighthouse in their bid and Dane Swan said he can have one of his pubs for Collingwood.  Carlton included part ownership in a Pizzeria on Lygon St and Melbourne made a very compelling offer by waving the waiting period for full MCC membership!  The ace that West Coast have up their sleeve is called the Beach Boys Effect.  Because as we all know, for a 19-year old Reid, East Coast girls are hip, he really digs those styles they wear and the Southern girls, with the way they talk, knock him out when he’s down there.  But he can’t wait to get back in the West to the cutest girls in the world.  All this means Essendon by 24 points.

Richmond vs Fremantle                                MCG      Sunday Afternoon

It’s hard not to like Fremantle, they are sooooo non-threatening. And this fact makes it impossible to have an appropriate rivalry for them.  Since Richmond are doing so poorly, it may as well be them.  This match provides one of those rare opportunities for Fremantle to play at the MCG in a season where they might just squeak into finals and need some MCG practice.  Richmond has some pride so if Fremantle can break their will for long enough, they should get the chocolates.  Fremantle by 16 points.

Footscray vs Hawthorn Marvel Stadium               Sunday Twilight

Another game that has a tenuous rivalry connection.  I’m going to call this one the Matthew Suckling Cup after that player who played for both teams.  He was medically retired from the game after doing his Achilles.  I told you “Medically retired” was going to be a new buzz word.  In days gone by they would say, “body’s not up to it.”  Now everyone is getting medically retired.  Murphy and Sloan are the trail-blazers.  I rolled my ankle the other day and am hoping for medical retirement so I can access my Super!  Anyway, Footscray are a fast and lethal side at Marvel Stadium, and I don’t see Hawthorn getting the better of them in the Suckling Cup.  Footscray by 28 points.

Brisbane vs Gold Coast Gabba   Sunday Night

The final match of the round is the Queue Clash, so named because all the other teams are pushing in in front of these two in the ladder queue.  The game is at the Gabba which has normally been a happy hunting ground for Brisbane, but not so much this season.  In fact, they are yet to win there.  Gold Coast does look improved but needs a decent scalp and Brisbane might just count for that.  Weather will also be a factor with some rain forecast and this might play into Gold Coasts hands.  But surely Brisbane can’t be this bad…can they?  Brisbane by 15 points.


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