Since I’ve flown east for a few days, this week’s previews will contain little to no analysis, and consist of the teams playing for imaginary trophies that I have created, featuring a player who played for both teams!
Some can consider themselves stiff to miss out.
Richmond vs Collingwood @ The MCG
Playing for: The Brian Taylor Cup
Also known as the Raines-Cloke Gift.
At Richmond, the mustachioed Brian Taylor was stuck behind Disco Roach, and even got dropped for the 1982 Grand Final (No wonder the Tigs lost), but eventually Bristle made his way to Carringbush in 1985 in the midst of the petty trade wars between the clubs, and kicked 100 goals the next year and won the Coleman Medal.
Here are some of the antics we know Bristle for!
Of course it’s a rematch of the Prelim Final in which Mason Cox turned the season on its head and demolished Richmond in the 1st half…. so will Bucks stick his Big American Cox in Richmond’s backline again, now without Alex Rance and Bachar Houli? I think at some point, yes.
Sydney vs Adelaide @ The SCG
Playing For: The Ryan Fitzgerald Trophy
By far and away, the great Ryan ‘Fitzy’ Fitzgerald is the most well-known former player of both teams (Who was that Kurt guy a few years ago?), playing a grand total of 18 games before an ACL tear finished him off and consigned him to one of the worst fates possible… Living in the Big Brother House.
The Battle of the Birds has thrown up some mixed results, like last year, when the Crows came off a thrashing to win by 10 points at the SCG, despite being considerable underdogs.
For as long as the Swans have been good (And it’s been a long time), the Crows have somehow usually found ways to beat them… Except when the finals come around.
Both teams are coming off a loss, the SCG turf is in a shocking condition, whoever loses will be 0-2 and in a deep hole for 2019… which is probably what the surface will look like after 2 hours of footy.
Essendon vs St Kilda @ Marvel Stadium
Playing for: The Brendan Goddard Pretzel
BJ left the Saints after a solid 10 seasons of service between 2003-12, which included a number of near misses in the 2009-10 Grand Finals (Who can forget that hanger he took to put in front in 2010!)
And then of course he went to the Bombers looking for success, but all he got was a massive drugs scandal, and some poorly placed pretzels.
Can the Dons take off in 2019 after that utterly horrific performance against the Giants, if it can be called a performance? From what we’ve seen of the Marvel surface, they’re more likely to hit a divot and crash badly… again.
Port Adelaide vs Carlton @ Marvel Stadium
Playing for: The Craig Bradley Elixir Of Eternal Life
Craig Bradley played in approximately 500 games of SANFL, VFL/AFL, International Rules and State of Origin football, and throw in a few games for South Australia in the Sheffield Shield, it almost makes you forget that he’s in Port Adelaide’s Team of the Century.
For better entertainment value, this game should’ve been called ‘The Barnaby French Oar’ thanks to his rowing background, but to be honest, Frenchy and Braddles are the only two Ex Port & Carlton players that don’t have a criminal conviction that I can think of.
Justin ‘The Hoff’ Westhoff has kicked 5 goals in each of his last two games (Round 23, 2018 + Last week), and this week he’s appearing in his 250th game!
Hoff would say thanks to the Port faithful, but that beard has impaired his speech, so he can only point.
Geelong vs Melbourne @ GMHBA Stadium (Aka Party Drug Stadium)
Playing for: The Clint Bizzell Torp
The two oldest professional sporting clubs IN THE WORLD (That is a fact and you can look that up) set up for a rematch of the Elimination Final in which Melbourne discombobulated Geelong to end their finals drought, and of course the last time they played down in Sleepy Hollow, it was the game the Demons had shot to pieces… only for Zach Tuohy to goal after the siren.
For those of you too young to remember Clint Bizzell, in the year 2000, he nearly pulled off the greatest end of game torp seen since Malcolm Blight, ironically, against North Melbourne.
Port had plenty of success getting physical with Max Gawn, even their first gamers were throwing their considerable weight at him, which led to the Demons asking the league for clarification on just how much is enough.
Wouldn’t surprise me if Chris Scott wound back the clock and took out Big Maxy at the quarter time huddle, just to send a message.
West Coast vs GWS @ Optus Stadium
The Jono Giles Journeyman Trophy
The Eagles unfurl their 2018 premiership flag against their age old rivals, as they now face off for the coveted Jono Giles Journeyman Trophy, named after the bloke who played in just 12 wins from 63 games, and was once the Eagles’ finals saviour in 2016 when Nic Naitanui went down… but they lost anyway.
Jono’s last mugshot in 2017 has to go down as one of the best ever.
The Giants are coming off their Round 1 bye, and for the Eagles it’s milestones galore; Josh ‘Worst Trade Ever’ Kennedy plays his 200th Eagles game, Chris Masten plays game 200, and the great Shannon ‘Bunga’ Hurn plays game 250!
Ah, what a leader, and one of the most aesthetically pleasing kicks of the ball I’ve seen.
North Melbourne vs Brisbane Lions @ Marvel Stadium
Playing for: The Martin Pike Stubby Holder
In my list of all-time favourite Pikes, Martin Pike would have to rank a very good 2nd, just behind William.
Pike bounced around between 4 clubs in his AFL career- first at Melbourne and then to the struggling Fitzroy, and then to North Melbourne where he played in the 1999 Premiership, then got sacked and joined the Lions in 2001, and played in their Three-Peat, thus giving him more premierships than the Swans have won in the last 100 years.
As for the game itself, it would not shock me one bit if the AFLW Grand Final got higher ratings and a larger crowd. Considering the women are on Channel 7 and it’s a major final, they probably will.
Hawthorn vs Western Bulldogs @ The MCG
Playing for: The Terry Wallace Plough
Several famous names have played for both Hawthorn and the Bulldogs over the years, like Plough, Paul Hudson, his cousin Simon Minton-Connell, and recent Hawthorn premiership players Brian Lake, Matty Suckling, and Taylor ‘Doctor’ Duryea.
Funnily enough, every player except Minton-Connell won a premiership at the Hawks.
It’s funny to think that back in 2004, the Hawks originally sought Terry Wallace as coach, only for him to sign with Richmond and Rocket Eade to go to the Dogs, forcing the Hawks to ‘settle’ on Alastair Clarkson.
How will the Dogs go without Thor to inspire them? It’s still too early to find out.
Gold Coast vs Fremantle @ Metricon Stadium
Playing for: The Greg Broughton Cup
Lachie Weller may have been traded to the Suns for the seemingly ridiculous Pick 2, but it still wasn’t enough to name the trophy after him- That honour goes to the almost forgotten Greg Broughton, who once made Champion Data’s Team of the Year twice in a row, recently left Mines Rovers and is now somewhere in the South West of WA.
Anyway, it was a shock to the system to see Fremantle play such attacking and exciting football against the Roos, since we’re so used to them scoring 8 goals a game and sucking the fun out of the universe like a Dementor.
My only conclusion can be that Ross Lyon was abducted and is tied up in the bowels of Cockburn, while the Dockers are now being coached by his exciting, exact double, Ssor Noyl.
The lowly Suns team have embraced the spirit of Big Coxes, and have a Two-metre Peter of the Wright variety, who is certain to blaze away at goal every time he marks 50m out on the boundary after setting one up at the teeth of goal instead of having a shot- No surprises, the Suns lost by a point.
I’m backing the Dockers to bring home the ‘Broughton’ to sit next to the Minor Premiership and the Derby Trophies.