Round 18 AFL Preview

 Last Week           4/9           Season Total      90/144 

I’m writing this week’s preview a week ahead of schedule because I’m taking a pilgrimage to Melbourne to actually go to a game at the MCG.  It’s a trip I don’t do often enough anymore but having young kids comes with responsibilities apparently.  I’m taking the kids, one who will see their first game of footy so why not expose her to 80,000 rabid Collingwood supporters and expand her vocabulary.  Don’t worry, the trip is actually about the kids, and we will be doing loads of stuff for them.  This is the one Dad activity for the trip.

As I don’t have last week’s results to share with you yet, I can instead tell you a couple of things not to do with your tipping.  They can be summed up as ‘don’t look back.’  I took a look back at my tipping to see if I could learn anything given my penchant for a bit of data analytics.  Looking back, you’ll find the team that you get wrong the most.  Normally this is because of entrenched biases, you convince yourself of some reason to tip or not tip them and when you look back you can’t help but first despise the team and then despise yourself.  Taking a long hard look at yourself is not something I recommend.  I usually go for quick soft glances. 

The other thing you absolutely should never do as part of your analysis is to see what your tipping score would be if the losing team of each game just scored 6 more points.  There have been 26 games that have been decided by a goal or less so far this season, which means 26 tips that your result will change.  Some of them you got right and some of them you got wrong and would now get right.  Some of them would now be a draw and you get them wrong.  Doing this analysis (in my case anyway where my score would be much higher) makes you resent football in general.  And it makes you resent tipping.  Unless you’re mentally strong enough to cope with alternate histories.  If we want to convert this learning into a better way to do tipping, then we enter the realm of quantum mechanics.  We have to perform a sum over histories to resolve what the probable outcome of a match will be.  Let’s give it a try, shall we?  Channeling Richard Feynman and using our best knowledge of path integrals, let’s science the shit out of this tipping thing…  Or, as Albert Einstein might say, “Mach wissenschaftlichen Scheiß.”

Collingwood vs Geelong              MCG      Friday Night

Another Friday Night blockbuster and the stands will be filled with supporters of hoops and stripes.  To science this one properly, we need to do the sum over histories which means we need to consider all possibilities, no matter how absurd.  For example, it is possible for Tony Lockett to sneakily put the boots on and run out there and kick a lazy 16 goals.  But it is also possible for Stephen Silvagni to put on the boots and sneakily run out there and restrict Tony to just 2 goals.  Things get interesting from there as we have to introduce imaginary time to solve the path integral equation.  Imaginary time is either a bizarre construct by Feynman to resolve these kinds of problems or is those few seconds where the umpire forgets to blow time on.  Now this all sounds very fanciful and complete nonsense, but quantum mechanics works.  It really does.  All we need to do is open the box, collapse the wave function, resolve the superposition and see the result…the Cats are dead.  Collingwood by 19 points.

Hawthorn vs Fremantle                                York Park             Saturday Afternoon

The best science we can do for this one is empirical observation.  That is, we make a hypothesis and then form the experiment and directly watch what happens.  My hypothesis here is that a Hawk can’t fly when tied to an anchor.  I know.  I’ve seen it.  The anchor is just too darn heavy, and the hawk gives up pretty quickly.  I suspect the same in Tasmania.  But given down there the normal laws of nature don’t always apply, it’s always good to test the hypothesis.  Fremantle by 11 points.

Sydney vs North Melbourne      SCG        Saturday Afternoon

I’ve said “I can’t see any scenario where a team beats Sydney,” so many times now, it’s lost all meaning.  But I honestly can’t see any scenario where North Melbourne beat Sydney.  So, we might make the assumption that Sydney will beat North Melbourne as a fact. And on Monday we will have proof that it happened.  Or will we?  You see, in science there is no such thing as proof.  Even though we have replays of the event, 30,000 people were there at the time watching it and all agree on the same outcome and so do the 1 million people who watched it unfold on their TV at the time, we can’t be 100% certain that it happened…according to science.  Any margin of error, no matter how small, is enough to undermine our stance.  All we have is evidence.  But the great thing for North Melbourne is, scientifically speaking, it cannot be proven that any of their matches in the past 3 years really happened.  As far as they are concerned, all that evidence being flagrantly waved in their face can go and take a flying jump.  Sydney by 49 points.

Footscray vs Carlton       Marvel Stadium               Saturday Twilight

Now this will be a game worth watching.  I wish I could, but I won’t be able to.  How do we address this match in a scientific method?  Footscray are Bulldogs and Carlton are Blues?  Can a dog play a blue?  What is a blue?  Colloquially it is a fight, but can you play against a fight?  Can a Bulldog find a way to win against a piece of 470 nanometre wavelength electro-magnetic radiation?  Maybe the following is the important bit of research we need.  Dogs are Red-Green colour blind which means they can only see in hues of Yellow and, you guessed it, Blue.  So, there is the answer.  Given Carlton are Blue and Dogs can see them coming, they’ll be all over them like a bitch in heat.  Footscray by 12 points.

Adelaide vs Saint Kilda Adelaide Oval   Saturday Night

The scientific method.  What an invention.  Is it the single most important invention the world ever created?  Probably not.  We could bumble along fine without it…maybe.  How does one scientifically determine the winner between a Crow and a Saint?  Especially if the Crow is from the city of Churches.  It breaks down like this.  Crows are smart.  They can use tools.  On the country highways, try and run one over in your car…you’ll miss.  They’ll do what it takes to avoid being dead.  A Saint on the other hand, makes a living out of being dead.  In fact, the main pre-requisite for being a Saint, is death.  These days there is a Patron Saint for just about everything.  In today’s inclusive world, even Arms Dealers have a Patron Saint.  Dancers also have a Patron Saint, and, in my youth, I’ve been to a few clubs where they refer to the ladies as “Dancers” and I suspect they would be a very big disappointment to their Patron Saint.  I understand the Patron Saint of Vigilante Protectors is Roger Moore.

To confuse things further, Crows are supposed to be the harbingers of death, and this is exactly what Saints want?  Are these two teams in cahoots?  How can you run a double-blind experiment if both parties are collaborating to screw the results!?  I guess just go to the pub and get double-blind.  Adelaide by 35 points.

Melbourne vs Essendon               MCG      Saturday Night

We just dealt with Saints, now we are working with Demons.  I’d hate to be working in this laboratory.  Can Bombers defeat Demons?  Evil begets Evil.  Maybe a Bomber can defeat a Demon if they are being piloted by their Patron Saint, Quentin of Amiens?  By the way, I think I’m pretty damn far away from science at this point.  If you’re in a lab, trying to conduct an experiment to see if Bombers can defeat Demons, I think you need to re-assess your skill set.  Melbourne by 7 points.

Gold Coast vs Port Adelaide       Carrara Sunday Afternoon

Now this is a science experiment we can get excited about.  The Sun versus Power.  From a purely science perspective, the Sun is a giant ball of gas pouring out photons at breakneck speeds in numbers that can’t even be written on this page.  To summarise, the amount of power output by the Sun is 3.86 x 1026 Watts.  That’s a lot of Watts.  But here on Earth we only see a tiny fraction of that.  If you call 1.75 x 1017 Watts tiny.  To make life simpler we boil this down to the amount of power received per square metre here on Earth, which is 1370 W/m2.  This is known as the Solar Constant, which, curiously enough, is variable.

So, the Power that we know here on Earth, also known as the Port Adelaide Power, is but a small fraction of the overall power of the Sun and so in conclusion, Gold Coast are way more powerful than Port Adelaide.  Or so it would seem.  But, to generate usable power we need to convert those tricksy little photons into electrons, and we do that using photovoltaic cells.  These usually provide a pretty poor outcome with only about a quarter of the photon power being converted to electrical power.  It’s a problem worth more scientific research than who will win a game of footy, I can tell you that.  Why I bring it up, I don’t know, but if you need solar panels, I know a guy.  Gold Coast by 26 points.

Richmond vs GWS           MCG      Sunday Afternoon

Just when I think I have finished trying to resolve experiments on mythological creatures such as Demon’s, here we have the Giants and they’re playing an endangered species.  Driven to the brink of extinction because a percentage of our population like to grind their special bits into powder because we think it is good for our own private bits.  Maybe we could start with a bit of science on that.  The science has been done and it has a large amount of evidence and a very low margin of error.  So just stop it.  If you’re eating tiger penis so you too can have a penis as awesome as them, then your logic is perhaps better applied to the Giants.  Hmmm, maybe that’s why Sam Taylor had his testicle ruptured?

In a stand up fight, science tells me that a Giant would win, just based on size and muscle mass alone.  But then this doesn’t include encountering a Tiger Mum.  When they come around you just sit down, shut up and do what you’re told.  GWS by 13 points.

West Coast vs Brisbane Perth Stadium   Sunday Twilight

The Final game we need to apply some science to is between an Eagle and a Lion.  This is not an easy battle to gather evidence on.  If I look at neighbourhood cats as a reference point and our local Dove population, cats win hands down.  They are sneaky bastards and Doves are, how shall we say, not the most cunning of birds.  I don’t think my neighbours tabby would take on a Wedge-Tailed Eagle though.  The size and the claws would convince the tabby to look the other direction but do it in a very nonchalant way that shows it’s total disdain of every other lifeform.  But a Lion is no tabby and size wise restores the tabby/dove relationship.  Eagles are slow.  It takes quite an effort to get their considerable bulk off the ground.  Here’s a story I shouldn’t tell…I was in the car driving country roads with someone who had never driven country roads before at the wheel.  Up ahead a couple of Wedge-Tailed Eagles were browsing the road-kill buffet.  The drivers experience was on suburban roads where the birds fly away in ample time (usually) so the driver did not slow down one bit, expecting said pair of Eagles to just flitter off.  But the closing speed of 110km/h on an Eagle whose attention is more on the buffet than the vehicle needs a fair amount of lead time to pump those wings and get going.  More time than is afforded at highway speeds anyway.  Don’t fret, it was a happy ending as I yelled very loudly, and two Eagles were missed by millimetres and cleared a bit of room in their bowels for more of the buffet.  I too cleared a bit of room in the bowels as we nearly careened off the road and the driver got an important lesson about Australian fauna.

Anyway, that was a distracting story with a happy ending for the Eagles concerned.  These Eagles will not get a happy ending this week.  They will be eviscerated by the Lions.  Brisbane by 46 points.


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