AFL

JT’s Useless Previews: The AFL, Round 8

Ken Hinkley gives the send-off to the Crowies after winning Showdown 44 last year.

The best rivalry in the game takes place this weekend..

And Carlton vs Collingwood.


FRIDAY

Sydney Swans vs Essendon @ The SCG, 7:50pm AEST

Accounting for injuries and poor form, this 1-6 Sydney team is not as good as the last 1-6 Sydney team, which was apparently the best 1-6 team in the history of organised sports.

Putting Sydney on Friday night footy this year is like putting Carlton back on Friday night footy, only if the Blues wore red & white and were actually successful before 2019.

Of course, it was this time last year that Sydney played Hawthorn on Friday night without Buddy, and then some random midget called Ben Ronke popped up to kick 7 goals and win the game off his own boot.

But Buddy is still struggling with injuries, and Ronke has fallen into a giant hole, and his 2018 season is looking like the greatest one-hit wonder since Daniel Powter released ‘Bad Day’ in 2005.

Crikey, wasn’t that a hit.

Meanwhile, the Bombers are back loitering in 11th after two losses to Collingwood and Geelong (Who are both apparently good), and the Cats really gave them a wet willy after quarter time, although the one Gary Ablett gave Dylan Shiel was a bit more aggressive than most of us were anticipating.

But, in the weird pattern of the Worsfold Bombers, they are playing a straggler, so they should win by at least 40 points.

The Swannies haven’t lost to the Dons in Sydney since 2009, which was also the last year the Red & Whites won a game at the SCG, having their worst run at the ground since the good old days of 1992-94.

The’re just waiting for this run of away games to end, so they can get home to the confines of the Lake Oval after 38 years.

SATURDAY

Western Bulldogs vs Brisbane Lions @ Mars Stadium, Ballarat, 1:45pm AEST

Elton John warned us way back in 1972, that Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids… in fact, it’s cold as hell.

Well, apparently Mars is the kind of place to export your footy games, even if it is cold as hell.

After losing four straight, the Dogs are back on track after smacking Richmond, thanks to the majesty of Aaron The AstroNaught-on, with his 9 contested marks and 5 goals decimating the Tigers after quarter time, and we can’t forget the efforts that the Dogs backline had on Tom Lynch, holding him goalless and virtually unable to get a look at the ball.

The Lions said 10 Hail Fagans after Collingwood smashed them on Easter Thursday, and it’s worked, winning the Pineapple Grapple against the Suns and then defeating the Swans for the first time this decade, which they should’ve won by a metric crap-ton more than 22 points, given how much they dominated general play.

As a result, they’re back up to 4th spot.

It’s funny when you look at Brisbane’s rebuild compared to Carlton’s- The Lions brought in very decent senior players (Hodge, Cameron, Neale etc) to help guide the youngsters, whereas Carlton brought in Larry, Curley & Moe and just let their youth get beaten up every week in the hopes they’ll grow.

The Lions will experience the wonder of the frozen, barren wasteland that is Ballarat for the first time, but then again, they play at The Gabba, so they have plenty of experience in the barren wasteland thing.

Carlton vs Collingwood @ The MCG, 1:45pm AEST

A rivalry once so grand that SBS made a Viceland documentary about it, as the Blues & Magpies meet for the 257th time, the only time this season, as the all-time ledger only just favours the Blue Baggers- 127-4-125 their way.

The Blues are celebrating 40 years since the famous 1979 Grand Final against the Pies, which was also the first Grand Final in which the Norm Smith Medal was awarded, and was fittingly won by Smith’s nephew, who provided one of the more dramatic moments in footy history and won the Blues the flag.

Wayne Harmes.

“That was out of bounds! That was out of bounds! THAT WAS OUT OF BOUNDS!”

A Moore played in that game for Collingwood, and a Moore will play for Collingwood in this game.

Last week, Carlton got a classic case of ‘fat heads’ after blowing a 6 goal lead against a Hawthorn team that lost to Melbourne, and they subsequently got smashed to pieces by a more physical ‘Roos team who were struggling down in 17th, while the Pies made it four straight wins and settled in to 2nd spot with a convincing win over the fake Magpies, Port Adelaide.

Given this is a classic rivalry game, I expect the Blues will try and drag the Pies down to the seventh layer of hell of skill level, and then attempt to beat them with experience, which means instead of being some 70+ point blowout, it’ll probably end up being a 4 goal win to the Pies.

If the Magpies do win, as the laws of physics predict, then they’ll come within 1 win of equaling the Blues on the all-time win/loss mark, something they haven’t sniffed since 1984.

In fact, the last time the Maggies were ahead of the Blues was all the way back in 1981.

Considering the winner gets the Richard Pratt Cup, does this mean the best afield receives a medal made out of recycled cardboard and 20 grand in a brown paper bag?

Gold Coast vs Melbourne @ Metricon Stadum, 4:35pm AEST

This was due to be the game where all 17 Suns supporters were going to rock up to Carrara and boo the hell out of former captain Steven May and Kade Kolodjashnij for joining the deserters list, but Kolo is concussed, and May is injured and too busy getting pissed at a Sunday Sesh.

Ah, the classic ‘Injured Player Drinks Beer’ story.

Melbourne are apparently back in 2019 after winning the cripple fight against Hawthorn, and the Suns are heading back to Know Your Role Boulevard on the back of three convincing losses.

It’s the Suns, it’s the Demons, whoop-de-doo.

St Kilda vs West Coast @ Marvel Stadium, 7:25pm AEST

The Saints are slowly slipping back to the pack after that 4-1 start, being on the receiving end of emphatic losses to the Crows and Giants, leaving them hanging on to 8th spot by the proverbial bee’s diaphragm.

The Eagles aren’t going much better, looking far from convincing in beating the might of the Gold Coast after getting smashed to bits over the previous fortnight, and they now sit just 2.5% behind the Saints and looking to seriously kick-start their premiership defence.

If you want to get technical, the last time the Eagles lost in Melbourne was all the way back in Round 20, 2017, against none other than St Kilda at the Ground-Formerly-Known-As-Etihad.

Assuming he doesn’t trod on a ball in the warm-up, Eagle Jamie Cripps will play his 150th game against his former team.

Speaking of Jamie, he and Mark Hutchings (Who never played a game at St Kilda) are one of 22 players who have left the Saints and won a Premiership.

St Kilda only have 20 in their history.

SHOWDOWN XLVI

Port Adelaide vs Adelaide @ The Adelaide Oval, 7:10pm ACST (7:40pm)

Kenny celebrates the win last year

Just a fortnight ago, Port were certainties to come into the Showdown ahead of the Crows on the ladder.

How the turn tables.

I absolutely love the Showdown, seeing Crows fans go on about the Port Power being formed in 1996, and Port fans going on about how the ‘Camry Crows’ are the only club to be created thanks to a court order.

And then there was the Ramsgate punch-up in 2002, and the fact that the Showdown ledger is next to even; 23-22 in favour of the Crows.

It’s pettiness and hatred at its wonderful best.

The Crows are starting to play some footy that half resembles a finals team, with well earned wins against the Saints on the road, and then overcoming a dogged Fremantle team in one of the more interesting games we’re likely to witness in 2019.

Those wins have seen them jump into 6th spot, just above their uncouth rivals from Alberton, who made another play for the Prison Bars ahead of the Friday night game against Collingwood, and had the door slammed on them by quarter time.

Port now go into this Showdown without Ollie Wines, who apparently played with a broken ankle (Explains all the handballs), Brad Ebert, Robbie Gray, Tom Jonas and throw in the long-term injuries like Hamish Hartlett and Charlie Dixon.

Which, based on history, means they’ll win by 3 goals.

If the team can find a way to top the epic battles of last year- Motlop’s goal in the final minute in Round 8, and the Jenkins goal that was/wasn’t in Round 20, then I’ll be discarding the Saints/Eagle game like a used stick of Strawberry Extra… which I’ll be doing anyway.


SUNDAY

Brad Scott vs Chris Scott @ Marvel Stadium, 1:10pm AEST

What a fantatsic way to celebrate Mother’s Day- The Scott sisters Brothers fighting off for their parents’ love!

Brace yourselves for epilepsy.

The winner will be showered with praise, and the loser will be taunted and booed until my throat is sore!

Anyway, the only major thing of note from Geelong’s lazy Sunday afternoon win was Gary Ablett’s shock one game ban from the MRO, leading to this classic observation.

So he went to a higher power, deployed the ‘Good Bloke’ defence, and got it downgraded to a fine.

Anyway, I’m skipping the analysis and penciling in the Scott Bowl as a loss for North, as they are destined to become the latest victims of the Carlton Curse- Every team to play the Blues this season has lost the next week, with Hawthorn the latest victims against Melbourne.

Hang on, that means Collingwood will lose to St Kilda next week!

Hawthorn vs GWS @ The MCG, 3:20pm AEST

The Hawks brace themselves for the 2nd leg of the ‘Tom Scully Played For This Team’ Double, and I imagine all the Giants fans will descend on the MCG with their ‘$ellout $cully’ placards and giant money bags.

If having to watch the Hawks play Melbourne wasn’t painful enough, then the inevitable arse kicking from Jezza Cameron and the Giants should finally burn down our crapshoot of a season, which was done the moment Tom Mitchell was tackled on January 11.

I think that Clarko calling them a “Middle of the road team” was actually a compliment, especially without Titch.

Meanwhile, the Giants are sitting pretty in 3rd place, in spite of their usual key injuries, and the man of the hour is Jeremy Cameron, with his 30 goals in 7 games having him in a massive battle with Daylight in the Coleman Medal, which will be discarded and renamed the Cameron Medal in honour of Jezza’s services to goalkicking, given he’s on track to come closer to kicking 100 goals than any other forward this decade.

The Giants have only won twice in 15 attempts at the MCG in their short history (R21 2014 and R2 2018), and if they don’t make it win No.3 against this Hawks team, then I’ll write some article in the Herald Sun about how Leon Cameron is an average gaffer and he’s been handed the keys to the AFL’s Ferrari.

Actually, I’ll leave that to Robbo.

Fremantle vs Richmond @ Optus Stadium, 3:20pm AWST (5:20pm)

Congratulations Richmond, you’ve once again racked up 100,000 members, which apparently doesn’t count dead people, pets or Auskickers!

Remember when getting 50,000 members a decade ago was like Neil, Buzz and the third guy reaching The Moon?

Those were heady days.

Freo were sitting in 2nd going into Round 7 against the Crows in Adelaide, but old habits die hard, and the Dockers got caught up in one of the more brutal defensive battles you’ll see, and ultimately shot themselves in the foot thanks to a pair of 50m penalties and Eddie Betts doing his Eddie Betts thing.

The scoreline of 51-34 resembled a quality game of rugby, which if you know your history, was the more popular sport in Freo until the Gold Rush came along.

Anyway, it’s a time of celebration at Punt Road, as Richmond have been returned to their fabled home, after getting smacked around by the Bulldogs.

Say, I hear a song coming on!

Ah, old jokes.

All 100,000 Tigers members will be praying to whatever deity they believe in; Francis Bourke, Royce Hart or the SEN Talkback lines, that David Astbury’s ankle is right by Sunday, because if Aaron Naughton can get a hold of the Tigers’ backline, then good golly Miss Molly, Jesse Hogan or Rory Lobb are going to get played into form.

And then there’s Freo’s backline- If the Dogs, who hadn’t won in a month, can get a hold of Tom Lynch, Ross Lyon probably will.

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