AFL

JT’s ‘Previews’: The AFL, Round 15

Matt Guelfi avoids punishment for striking plastic chair

It was fantastic to see Tribunal Chairman David Jones back at his best last night with the McGovern and Walters cases.

There’s no Tribunal Chairman like David Jones.

THURSDAY

Essendon vs GWS GIANTS @ Marvel Stadium, 7:20pm AEST

It’ll be very disappointing not being able to see a player who has given both clubs such fine service in front of the probable 25,000 strong crowd at Docklands.

Jono Giles.

Devon Smith will also be missing, but Dylan Shiel will be out there, kicking the ball to his former teammates all night, as if he’d never been traded.

If you cast your mind back to Round 1 of this season, it was the Giants that made us all realise that the Dons once again weren’t quite the Top Four chance they built themselves up to be, as the Oranje smacked them silly by 12 goals.

The Dons are also lucky that 12 goals wasn’t the margin last Thursday in Perth, thanks to the Eagles’ deplorable kicking in front of goal.

22 behinds… It’s a crime against football.

Meanwhile, the Giants sat back on their bye week, which can be marked as a relative success, considering the only player they lost to injury was Matt de Boer for 2 months with a fractured shoulder, suffered in the win against North in Hobart.

Now which Brownlow medalist is going to hit him off the ball?

Who the hell knows which Essendon team will show up- Either the one got ripped to shreds last week, or the one that actually resembles the mythical team they’ll apparently become after every trade period.

FRIDAY

Geelong vs Adelaide @ GMHBA Stadium, 7:50pm AEST

Adelaide defender Jake Kelly thinks that Port may have ironically given the Crows the blueprint to beating Geelong, which is apparently based on pressure.

Bad luck Jake, the only chance you had of beating the Cats is if they were coming off a bye, and plus, it’s at Kardinia Park, where the Crows haven’t won in 16 years.

This game is as good as done.

Hawthorn vs West Coast Eagles @ The MCG, 1:45pm AEST

You know, I didn’t even know this until I saw Tom Scully speaking yesterday- This game being played for the Beyond Blue Cup, instead of Hawthorn vs Geelong.

I always assumed the two teams played off for the “Brendan Krummel Cup”.

Anyway, on the back missing out on seriously annihilating the Bombers on the scoreboard, the news gets better for the Eagles, with Nic Nat all set for his AFL comeback on the very ground where he wrecked his ‘good’ ACL last year, but on the negative, the Eagles’ “Chair defence” failed to overturn Jeremy McGovern’s rough conduct suspension at the tribunal, seeing him miss this game, and the Eagles’ apparent intra-club game on Saturday.

The last time I heard this much about a “Chair defence”, the chairlift had just been banned in netball.

A bad blow for Hawthorn as well, as we lose our number one forward target.

On that note, despite playing quite possibly the worst brand of footy south of the Riverina, the Hawks continue to lose games by a 19 point margin, with the loss against the Swans in Buddy’s milestone 299th game completing the hat-trick of 19 point losses.

Without Tom Mitchell racking up 65 touches a game, they just continue to look like a fundamentally broken team from head to toe… who amazingly, still haven’t lost a game in 2019 by more than 40 points.

I imagine that’s going to change in the next fortnight, given we’re playing the Eagles… and then Collingwood.

The Hawks might defy the laws of quantum physics and win, but deep down, nobody wins watching this Hawks team attempt to play footy.

Sydney Swans vs Gold Coast @ The SCG, 4:35pm AEST

In Round 18 of last season, Sydney played the Gold Coast at the SCG, who were minus Tom Lynch, and had lost 11 consecutive games.

At Quarter Time, the Swans led 6.4-40 to 1.5-11.

They had never lost to the Suns in 8 meetings.

To paraphrase Mark LeCras, you know what happened next.

Anyway, Buddy’s done his hamstring and postponed the 300th game firecrackers, so apparently the Swans will have to suffice with the “Will Hayward- 50 games” party poppers.

Collingwood vs North Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium, 7:25pm AEST

Queensland coach Kevin Walters and Nathan Buckley were really pissed off on Sunday evening, and yet they had polar opposite results.

The Maroons got wiped out 38-6 in Perth, which left Kev swearing like Kevin Rudd in his presser, and Collingwood were smashed in general play against the Dogs, yet still managed to win ugly, thanks to some very good goalkicking.

Goalkicking matters, DON’T MUCK WITH IT.

Further proving how much of a hard taskmaster ‘FIGJAM’ is, Brodie Grundy literally had a HISTORIC game for a ruckman- 25 disposals, 2 goals and 50 hitouts- And yet he couldn’t even crack a 5 vote performance in the Coaches’ Votes from his own coach.

Then again, FIGJAM didn’t rate Tom Mitchell’s first 50 disposal game against the Pies back in Round 9, 2017, probably because it made no difference to the result.

On the flip side… wait a minute, who the hell are North Melbourne?

Port Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs @ The Adelaide Oval, 7:10pm AEST

I watched AFL 360 on Monday night for the daily slermon from Mark Robinson, and The Great One asked Ken Hinkley what the Power were planning on doing to stop Charlie Cameron on Saturday night when they play Brisbane.

Of course, Kenny had to remind Robbo that the Power aren’t playing the Lions for another fortnight, and we all had a laugh at another classic Robbo moment.

But having said that, if the Power play like they did against the Cats last weekend, they’ll probably pistol whip the collective disappointment they’re playing this Saturday.

The Bulldogs continue to underwhelm, especially after pretty much beating Collingwood in every facet of the game on Sunday…

Except the hit outs, and the scoreboard.

10.13 from 59 Inside 50s, compared to the Pies’ 13.4 from 44.

“Oh but give them time, they’re a young team”- Is the same frikkin’ line that’s been trotted out since they won the 2016 flag, from which they’ve consistently gone backwards, to the point that they’re going to equal Hawthorn from 1979-81 as a premier who missed

Although if you think that’s bad, Melbourne won the 1964 flag, and then missed the next 22 finals series.

Apparently it had something to do with sacking the Coach of the Century… which Luke Beveridge could well be for the Bulldogs, given he’s their only living Premiership coach.

SUNDAY

St Kilda vs Richmond @ Marvel Stadium, 1:10pm AEST

It’s the 4th annual Maddie’s Match, and for the first time since Round 16, 2005, a Riewoldt won’t be on the field for a game between the Saints & Tigers.

A strange stat that I didn’t even have to ask SirSwampThing on Twitter to dig up.

Although, based on last week’s ‘effort’ against the Lions, Nick Riewoldt could come out of retirement tomorrow, and slot straight into this St Kilda line-up, because my goodness, they are trying their hardest to make sure Alan Richardson gets the arse.

It would be such a St Kilda thing to remove a coach after improving on last year’s record by the halfway point of the season.

As for the injury riddled Tigers, they were bent over the injury barrel and begging for mercy by Round 13 after three consecutive ball-tearings, and the bye could not have come any sooner for Dimma’s broken, charred remains of a team, who now find themselves in their storied home of 9th, with their percentage by far the worst of the teams sitting between 1st and 10th.

But either way, based on the results of the weekend, they probably won’t be 9th come Sunday evening.

Brisbane Lions vs Melbourne @ The Gabba, 3:20pm AEST

Two teams coming in off impressive wins last weekend, which is very rare to say about a Demons game in 2019, but here we are.

The Lions honoured the Birthday of Chris Fagan by demolishing the non-believers from Moorabbin, to the tune of a 9 goal 3rd Quarter- Their best quarter in a game THIS DECADE.

The Lions hadn’t beaten the Saints since 2014, and they hadn’t beaten them at Docklands since 2000- Further proof of Fagan’s powers.

On the flip side, it was harder to tell what was more impressive in the Dees’ win over Freo- The fact that they won, or the fact that they kicked straight for four quarters.

Although in my worthless opinion, Jay Lockhart’s out-of-nowhere appearance at the Tribunal on Tuesday evening to get Michael Walters off was even more impressive than either of them.

He’s a confirmed good bloke.

Another drought for Brisbane to break here, having lost their past four encounters against the Demons, and just highlighting how weird this season is, the Lions could be as high as 4th on the ladder after Round 15, or as low as 9th.

It is the Lions, so 9th seems more likely.

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

Despite the loss to Melbourne, Freo had another last minute win, once again courtesy of Sonny Walters at the Tribunal, getting off that aforementioned ‘intentional headbutt’.

We should remember that the whole reason that Sonny lost his marbles and started belting Dees players was because of Jack Viney annoying him into submission.

Carlton used to employ an annoying flog just for that purpose- Jed Lamb.

Bachar Houli, James Sicily and Brendan Goddard can attest.

On the subject of the Blues, last weekend had to be their 3rd best weekend of the year this season, purely for the fact that they couldn’t lose.

Although having said that, this is Carlton I’m talking about, so the Bye has probably sucked away all their momentum.

Regardless, we’ll all find out at 6pm on Sunday evening, if the New South Wales State of Origin team can remain as the only Blues to win at Optus Stadium.

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