Round 14 AFL Preview

 Last Week           4/8           Season Total      70/115 

News of my death is greatly exaggerated.  But there were times last week when it felt like a close thing.  I had some serious action from most of my orifices and I’m glad to say that things have returned to a state of relative normalcy this week.

Last week’s action was good from the couch (footy action that is).  While some of the skills and game style left a little to be desired the action was tense and close and I did note that all three Saturday games were decided by the umpire.  When you find yourself confined to the couch for the better part of a week you can find yourself in some dark places.  For me it was deep in the bowels of reddit where I found the “AllUmpiresAreWrong” subreddit.  If the 50m penalty defining the Hawthorn win didn’t do it, or the dubious call on Elliott Yeo didn’t do it then the clearly incorrect decision on Mack Andrew certainly got the moderators fired up.  In there I found someone who had kept track of umpiring decisions that determined the result of a match and rejoiced to find that someone had created a ladder with “Umpires” as a team and they were sitting just outside the top 8 with 6 wins for the season.

Of course, these decisions will have all been ticked off as correct by the AFL, but this is also something that the AFL needs to be careful with in these days when information is so readily available.  After the Collingwood vs Fremantle free kick, the AFL said this was ok and claimed the free kick had already been paid 5 times this season alone.  It seems that redditors, as they are known, have a lot of time on their hands and one intrepid disgruntled fan has gone through the footage of every game prior and cannot find one.  In fact, they claim, while the free kick has been paid for not giving the ball back to the player, they have continued to search back in time and cannot find a single instance of the free kick being paid for not giving it back to the umpire – ever!  The unflinching investigator currently has a GoFundMe running to raise enough money to research time travel to continue the investigation into an era when matches were not broadcast.  I suspect a fair amount of piss-taking happening, but such research is a way to fritter away the hours when you’re sick.

If you’re looking for other distractions, then this is the week to have them.  If footy doesn’t have enough water for your liking, you could watch the Olympic Swimming Trials.  If you don’t like the ellipticalness of a Sherrin, you could watch the NBA Finals.  If there’s not enough willow in footy, then you can watch the Cricket T20 World Cup.  If you’re missing the draft, you could watch the Tour de Swisse (think about that one), or if footy is just not frustrating enough, you can watch the US Open Golf this weekend and wonder how they make a good shot look so effortless.

Hooray!  No more Thursday matches!  This is good for someone who has to get a weekly preview out as I get an extra day, which naturally is not available this week due to the Monday game.  C’est la vie.

Brisbane vs Saint Kilda  Gabba   Friday Night

Just like Moad’Dib, “the sleeper must awaken.”  Were Footscray just unlucky and they happened to get Brisbane at a time when they decided to wake from their 2024 slumber?  They looked a bit more clinical last week in their dismemberment of the Dogs and this week they return to fortress Gabba where, after a series of unusual losses, have started to string together a few wins there.  Saint Kilda won for a second week in a row for the first time this season so one wonders if they are starting to improve after what has been a disappointing season to date.  But St. Kilda hasn’t beaten Brisbane for some time now and containing Daniher and suddenly in form Hipwood will be a tough ask in front of a boisterous Gabba crowd baying for yet another refrain of Country Road.  Brisbane by 34 points.

Footscray vs Fremantle Marvel Stadium               Saturday Afternoon

After such a Marvelous effort against Collingwood, Footscray turned in a less than Marvelous effort against Brisbane and will look to turn it around and put in a Marvelous effort against Fremantle at…Marvel.  Probably because I said he was on fire, The Bont had a disappointing showing after a hard tag was put on him and will need to be at his best to defeat a rested Fremantle midfield who the week prior took apart the much-heralded Melbourne midfield like they were loose blocks in a Jenga stack.  When I look back at my tipping, I haven’t had a lot of faith in Freo this year and now I feel a bit like Admiral Motti in the briefing room on the Death Star (Google it if you don’t know what I’m talking about).  So, who wins this one?  Footscray play Marvel like Doikk Na’ts plays the Dorenian Beshniquel (Reddit really is a dark, dark place) and Fremantle don’t mind Marvels likeness to Perth Stadium themselves.  A fleet of speedy midfielders and some forwards that are now hitting their targets and I’m inclined to say, Fremantle by 18 points.

Richmond vs Hawthorn                MCG      Saturday Afternoon

Dusty gets his 300th game at a ground he has made his own on the biggest of occasions on three separate tries.  There will be much fanfare for a normally very private guy who has as much to say as a Storm Trooper, but with Jedi-like skills when it comes to a final.  Richmond may have turned the corner last week with a grand victory over Adelaide, in Adelaide no less but they will come up against a juggernaut who seem to be playing above themselves.  I think this week is cause to reflect on what a wonderful player in the big game that Dusty is and hopefully see him stiff-arm a few and snag a couple of goals.  As for the winner of this encounter though…I’m going to poop all over the party and say Hawthorn by 16 points.

Adelaide vs Sydney        Adelaide Oval   Saturday Night

How low can Adelaide go?  If I remember rightly, I had Adelaide as ladder leader this year?  Where did I go wrong?  They have been awfully disappointing and now they face a Sydney team that has more momentum than a Rhinoceros on heat.  Sydney just keeps rolling on and more and more meat gets spoon-fed to them which they simply chew up and spit out.  Sure, Premierships aren’t awarded in June, but I can’t see a scenario where anything different will happen in September (or is it October these days?)  Is the rest of this season just a waste of time?  Should I spend my weekends working on my golf or spending it with family?  The answer is “probably.”  Which is not a yes.  My golf swing can wait and my family…well, let’s just hope they don’t read this.  Sydney by 11 points.

North Melbourne vs Collingwood           Marvel Stadium               Sunday Afternoon

They finally won a game.  Let’s not squabble over Yeo free kicks or wayward West Coast kicking.  Instead let’s celebrate a well-played game which was lousy to watch for three quarters followed by a steely resolve to win in an exciting final quarter.  A win is good for the soul and a win is nourishment to sustain the great unwashed in the stands watching.  Collingwood demolished Melbourne, whose season is quickly unravelling.  If Melbourne has a nemesis, it is probably Collingwood who, in the last two encounters with them, have medically retired a player and sent another to hospital with a punctured lung and lacerated spleen!  On the surface of this match, you would say Collingwood for sure, but does anyone remember that time when North Melbourne, who were still terrible then, were 26 points up against The Pies at three-quarter time?  The Pies still won though with one of their trademark comebacks so maybe it's just a footnote to history.  On the surface you would say Collingwood…and underneath you would too.  Collingwood by 40 points.

GWS vs Port Adelaide   Showgrounds    Sunday Afternoon

The Giants missed a crucial win by the skin of their bumps, and it’s been so long since Port Adelaide played that I had to look up the fact that they lost to Carlton at home.  These teams don’t play each other at the Showgrounds often.  In fact, not since 2013 which is practically a career ago.  But there are outlier careers aren’t there?  Callan Ward and Travis Boak played in that game and Toby Greene and Lachie Whitfield were there too so they could re-live old times.  Other than that, it kinda means that history has no bearing on the outcome of this game, a bit like Superannuation returns.  There’s really only a game separating these two teams on the ladder as GWS try to work their way out of a form slump and Port’s form has been patchy.  Port coming off a bye could be a factor and for lack of any other input, I’m going to go with that as the basis of my decision…how’s that for science?  GWS by 8 points.

More byes.  More poetry. 

Gold Coast
Each year for the Suns, things just seem to get tougher
Always in the pack, unable to create a buffer
But 2024 is a season with just a hint of glimmer
Via the Amalfi Coast, they managed to secure Dimma
With Rowell in the guts and Mack Andrew down back
And a pseudo-home in Darwin, some teams they shellack
They don’t play tapes, 8-tracks or old Vinyl’s
But maybe this is the year they get to play finals!? 

Their last premiership was almost 24 years ago
But now they have a midfield that could fill a Toyota Tarago
Cerra, Walsh and that beast called Paddy Cripps
And Curnow upfront, with McKay minus the Yips
Could this be the year they climb the highest peak
Or will Sydney go BANG! And make them look weak?
Time will tell in a season that still has half to play
But one things for sure when picking a winner, Carlton will have a say. 

Everything was going well right up to round number nine
But it turned out, under the surface, things were far from fine
Revolution Number Nine, was a song causing a stir
The song was crap, and so was Geelong, but should we blame “her”?
For The Beatles it was Yoko Ono and her pesky art-friends Cartel
For Geelong perhaps the cause is white-powder-crazed Nadia Bartel
This one’s not the year so maybe the next one fulfills their dream
And like the Beatles, the next one was Yellow Submarine 

Many moons ago a controversy caused by the humble peptide
Has seen this club so long out of the eight to reside
Barnstorming is a word to describe the season so far
But to stay in contention they’ll need to raise the bar
A tough run home but one made easier by frequency of MCG
Might just have Bomber fans unable to contain their glee
Or could it be disaster befalls this once proud foundation club?
And Bomber supporters console themselves, at the local pub? 

The Demon midfield once was described as a well-oiled machine
Now all is undone by a punctured lung and a lacerated spleen
With or without, the body can function with a half-baked lymphatic system
Which Melbourne must do now, rather than play the bloody victim
Should I get back to footy or continue exploring human biology?
I mean this preview ranges from movie quotes to cosmology
Footy it is and Melbourne needs to weather this terrible storm
Playing hard and tackling hard is the way back into form

West Coast
Do we care about the rest of the team or just the movements of Harley Reid?
By movements, I mean his whereabouts and not what he poo’d and wee’d.
Let’s face it, for West Australians there’s been little else in the news
So why not analyse his urine, his faeces and his spews?
The focus for ‘The Coasters’ is to secure Harley’s signature
Perhaps call in the Godfather with his piano-wire ligature.
Or maybe build the team around that plucky Jakey Waterman
And return the team to the position of West Coast Slaughtermen


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