AFL

JT’s Useless Previews: The AFL, Round 3

The Grand Final Rematch is this Saturday night! (Photo: AFL Photos)

Alright, let’s get down to business, it’s another searing hot round of footy, as a majority of Australians get set for the most anticipated event on the calendar every year- The end of Dayight Savings.


THURSDAY

Radelaide vs Geetroit @ The Adelaide Oval, 7:20pm ACDT

Unfortunately for Crows fans, there’s going to be a shortage of Sauce at the Adelaide Oval tomorrow night.

That’s right, Sam ‘Sauce’ Jacobs has been ruled out due to a knee injury, bringing in something called a “Reilly O’Brien”, a phrase when translated from South Australianese means “Forgotten ruckman”.

The Cats have been swinging the handbags in the first 2 rounds to sit on top of the ladder, edging past Collingwood at the MCG, and then belting the living crap out of Melbourne by 80 points at Kardinia Park, in a performance so woeful from the Demons that it looked like they were back in the good old days of 2007-15.

Despite the Cats’ fantastic (Some would term it historic) winning run, they’ve hated playing the Crows in the City of Churches- When you combine the head to head record from games at Footy Park and the Adelaide Oval, it’s 17-6 in favour of the Crows, including the last 3 in favour of the Crows, including that Prelim Final in 2017 (137 to 75), which could best be summed up with this photo.

Photo: Michael Willson & AFL Photos

If a picture ever told 1000 words, this is the one.

Adding to further fantastic scheduling by the AFL, the Crows, in addition to the confines of the AO, come off a 6-day break, and the Cats travelling on a 5-day break, so don’t be surprised if the Pivotonians get a bit tired in the final quarter and the Crows get the ascendancy.. assuming they’re not 10 goals down by that point in time.

Oh, and did you know that Patrick Dangerfield used to play for the Crows?


FRIDAY- THE DISAPPOINTMENT DERBY

Melbourne vs Essendon @ The MCG, 7:50pm AEDT

The Disappointment Derby, The LOLBowl, The 0-2 Boogaloo, Spoon Bowl 2019- These are just some of the names we’ve thought up for this game on the AFL Reddit, as the entire country eagerly awaits this epic clash, primarily to see which team falls to 0-3 and cops the wrath of the Fourth Estate.

The last time Melbourne played a ‘home’ game against Essendon was all the way back in Round 15, 2010- In fact, since 2006, that’s the only ‘home’ game the Dees have had against the Dons. Weird.

That day, the Demons won by 19 points, Essendon’s season went down the toilet, and they eventually sacked their coach (Matty Knights) at the end of the season.

After 2 rounds of 2019, the Dons on track to repeat that achievement.

As part of the club’s “Round for Reach”, the Dees are doing something different for their banner- They’ll be running out of a banner filled with negative tweets they’ve received throughout their careers.

The umpires would run out through a banner of all the negative tweets they’ve received, but I don’t think there’s enough crepe paper in the world to make a banner that big.

Melbourne’s Stephen May will miss the game due a groin injury against Geelong, which is unusual, because I would’ve thought the Cats were the ones with groin injuries after the way they aggressively treated the Demons.

As for Essendon, it’s deadset laughter all round- If the Giants loss was bad enough, they set themselves for a big rebound and ended up getting blown away in the 1st Half by a St Kilda team, who are at best, slightly better than mediocre.

And now with this crap start, the spectre of James Hird is apparently rising over John Worsfold and Tullamarine, because absolutely nothing wrong happened the last time Hirdy was in charge of the Red & Black.

Yes, nothing that I can think of.

Can the Bombers win this game? Probably unlikely, but then again, according to the great one, Mark Robinson, when two planes fly into the World Trade Centre, anything can happen in this world.


SATURDAY

Carlton vs Sydney @ Marvel Stadium, 1:45pm AEDT

Here we have Sydney, up against Carlton.

A team of rank amateurs… against Carlton.

Can the Swannies do the unthinkable, something they haven’t achieved since Round 23, 2017…. and kick more than 9 goals in a game?

I wouldn’t be shocked in the slightest if Carlton cracked it for their first win since the Ice Age.

Imagine the headlines in the Sin City tabloids if the Swans do go down to the lowly Blues- Not that anyone will see them, since they’ll be smuggled in behind some story about Latrell Mitchell discovering pottery, the Warathahs struggling and the A-League results.

GWS vs Richmond @ GIANTS Stadium, 4:35pm AEDT

The 2019 Dustin Martin Tackle Count: Zero

The last time Richmond played a game of footy without Alex Rance or Jack Riewoldt in the team was Round 9, 2009. That night, they were slapped around by Essendon in the Dreamtime game, fell to 1-8 and sat 15th on the ladder.

If a team like Collingwood can have their way against the Tiggers on their own dungheap, imagine what could the Giants at GIANTS Stadium (The Ground Formely Known As Spotless) do to them, given Richmond haven’t won there since 2014, and the only game they won interstate last year was against a Suns team that finished 17th.

On the flip side, the Giants went to Perth and had a second up letdown against the Eagles to the tune of a 52-point loss, although Toby Greene the troops are coming back; Josh Kelly is likely to play his first game this season for the Giants, and we could see the return of the Terror of Western Sydney- SHANE ‘MUMMY’ MUMFORD.

Here’s a reminder of what Mummy does when he’s not playing in the ruck… poor Mitch never saw it coming.

It’s still 3 days to the game, but Richmond fans are already rubbing the rosary beads.

Brisbane vs Port Adelaide @ The Gabba, 6:25pm AEST

Brissy 2nd on the ladder, Port 3rd on the ladder- The last time I can recall a Lions-Power game being this anticipated was the 2004 Grand Final!

Speaking of the ’04 Grand Final, this game is going to be on Fox Footy… That means Alastair Lynch can come down from the commentary box and punch the suitcases out of whoever Port now have replacing Darryl Wakelin.

This will be the first visit to the Gabba for ex-Lions captain Tom Rockliff, and expect all 16 Lions fans in attendance to give him the sort of reception usually reserved for a New South Welshman at Lang Park.

If there is one knock on the Lions, it’s that they’ve started slow against the Eagles and Roos, but their last 3 quarters have been befitting of their ‘Boom Team’ tag, finishing right over the top in both games, and they’re the only team to kick at least 100 points in both Rounds 1 & 2.

For Port, it’s been built on maintaining the ball and grinding down their opposition. The ‘Pear’ have averaged a league-best 433 disposals per game (+93 in both games), and they’re also ranked 3rd in tackles at 72 per game, just behind Geelong & Melbourne.

If Recruit of the Year was awarded after 2 games, then Scott Lycett would probably just win it from Lachie Neale (What a shock, they’re playing in this game!) for the way he’s taken a huge load off Paddy Ryder and turned Port’s ruckwork from a blunt steak knife into a teal lightsaber.

Expect that Lions bandwagon to double from 16 to 32 if they can get up, and move on up to 3-0 for the first time since 2010!

GRAND FINAL REMATCH

Collingwood vs West Coast @ The MCG, 7:25pm AEDT

Screw it, here’s the moment West Coast felt the need…

THE NEED, FOR SHEED!

After yet again kicking Richmond to the kerb, Pies fans had their Coxes out once they found out that Mason Cox was back in, after being cleared of intentional conduct on Dylan Grimes and instead being fined $3000 for a lesser ‘careless’ charge.

It took the jury all of 6 minutes to make the decision; 1 minute to clear him, and 5 minutes laughing at Michael Christian’s original decision.

Taylor Adams, who just about Collingwood’s best player

While Collingwood’s Big Cox is in, West Coast’s Little Willie is out- His pre-season foot problem has sent him into another injury-enforced break.

Although I remember watching, and to quote Billy Birmingham, it didn’t look like a foot to me, it looked closer to 8 or 9 inches.

Although that should be offset by the return of Andrew Gaff, who should help the Eagles midfield pack a punch against Collingwood’s elite midfield, and the absence of defender Liam ‘Lena’ Duggan is going to be filled by the return of Will Schofield, who’s going to have a rematch with Jordan De Goey.

If the game goes down to the wire again, expect Bucks to run out on the field and crash tackle Dom Sheed and pin him down for the last 2 minutes.


SUNDAY

Western Bulldogs vs Gold Coast @ Marvel Stadium, 2:20pm AEST

Alex ‘2019 Coleman Medalist’ Sexton celebrates his 100th game for the Suns on Sunday, and doesn’t he look happy about it!

No wonder his surname has ‘Sex’ in it.

Bizzarely enough, this is the first time the Dogs and Suns have played in Melbourne since Round 3, 2011- The Suns’ second ever game.

Since then, aside from the Suns’ home of Carrara, they’ve played in locations like Darwin, Cairns, and last year in Ballarat, due to the Dogs selling home games.

Both teams are coming into the game off remarkable comeback wins- The Dogs were 5 goals down twice in the final quarter against Hawthorn, before riding the crest of one of those giant-arse waves you find in Nazare, Portugal, kicking 8 goals in 25 minutes to win by 19 points.

Umpires, what umpires?

Meanwhile, while the Suns fell 17 points down in the final quarter against Fremantle thanks to their woeful goal kicking, before kicking the last 3 goals to win by 3 points, their second game in a row decided by under a kick.

The Suns could easily be 0-2 or 2-0, but importantly, they’ve been competitive in both games, and don’t be shocked if they’re competitive again, despite once again being rank outsiders.

Liam Picken will get a deserved farewell from the Dogs faithful after his distinguished 198 game career, which included his epic performance in the 2016 Grand Final.

I love Picken A Winner every Saturday, and so did Doggies fans.

Hawthorn vs North Melbourne @ The MCG, 3:20pm AEST

The once epic rivalry of the 1970s, in which they played in 3 Grand Finals and a record 30 games against each other, has now been reduced to two teams claiming to represent parts of Tasmania.

It’s a national game indeed.

The Hawks losing from 5 goals up at 3/4 time is almost unheard of, especially under Alastair Clarkson, although an exception would be if they were playing Geelong prior to 2013.

But that’s exactly what happened against the Dogs, which ended up being the perfect storm of a cock-up.

The Hawks were first hamstrung by the loss of key midfielders Shiels and Burgoyne for the final quarter, stretching their already shallow midfield and allowing the Dogs to completely dominate in the centre, and then throw in a few soft umpiring decisions, my beloved Poos and Wees melted like an Englishman visiting Florida.

The natural enemy of the Hawk: A man in a green uniform.

As for North, it wasn’t much better, as they also blew a lead to fall to 0-2.

Thanks to the efforts of Ben Cunnington, who if the Woolies ad is to be believed, grew up in or around a Dairy Farm, the Roos led by 22 points early in the 3rd quarter against Brisbane, only for the young Lions to gain the ascendancy and lead by 3/4 time, and then dominate the final quarter to win by 20 points.

Coupled with that belting from Freo, North are stuck in 16th, barely above Essendon and Melbourne… which for some reason, nobody cares about, but then again, nobody really seems to care about a team that’s the AFL’s equivalent of vanilla ice-cream.

I will tune in and watch this on Sunday. I don’t know why, but I will.

Fremantle vs St Kilda @ Optus Stadium, 3:20pm AWST

After that eye-catching win against the Roos that I mentioned above, Freo brought back Jesse Hogan, flew up to the Gold Coast a few months early for Toolies, and as a result, suffered a shock loss to the Suns, after they had eeked away to lead by 3 goals in the final quarter.

Skipper Nat Fyfe found himself in the gun sights of Paul Roos and Mick Malthouse, with Roosy describing Fyfe’s defensive abilities and his two-way running as “Bottom end”.

This sort of criticism doesn’t surprise me- After all, ‘Nathan’ was once dropped to the Aquinas 3rd XVIII footy in Year 10 for “Being a FIGJAM”.

Fortunately, he did learn from that lesson, so he may learn from this one.

Meanwhile at Moorabbin, the Saints have stunned themselves again by going 2-0 after sinking the Bombers, which could easily have been wrapped up by half time, were it not for poor goalkicking under a bloody closed roof at Marvel.

Apparently this game is also the one earmarked for the unveiling of Nicky Winmar statue outside the ground, so the great man will be flying in to cheer on his beloved Sainters.

That day in April 1993, Winmar gave the finger to racism, and the Saints will have the chance on Sunday to give the finger to me and everyone tipping against them, yet again.

Of course, I didn’t even mention all the weird crap that goes on when Freo and St Kilda get together- Umpires marking kicks, kicks after the siren, hits off the ball, sirens giving up, Ross Lyon moving clubs in the middle of the night- So in parting, here’s the magic of ‘Sirengate’ from Round 5, 2006!

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