I was only 3 months off the Nicky Winmar Statue being unveiled, and when you look now in hindsight, it makes perfect sense for it to bookend NAIDOC Week.
It’s just a shame they couldn’t get it done when the Saints were in town!
Hawthorn vs Collingwood @ The MCG, 7:50pm AEST
When the fixtures were released back in October, the megaminds of the AFL envisioned this game as a marquee clash between two Top 4 teams of 2018.
Instead, we’ve got the lemons playing the oranges.
After pissing away a huge chance at a win against the Eagles last Saturday with crap kicking, the Hawks have been flicked down to 15th, having lost 4 games in a row, and only now have the Fourth Estate realised that our season might be over.
Because apparently it wasn’t over when the guy who won the Brownlow had his leg bent to a right angle in January.
On the bright side, Big Boy McEvoy racks up his 200th game, and I couldn’t believe it when I saw it, but Luke Bruest has also reached his 200th game, the second-quickest to the mark in VFL/AFL history behind ‘Schimma’.
The Pies’ ordinary form was brutally exposed against North, scoring a mere 5.7 in their worst statistical performance in 24 years.
Just for context, even Tony Shaw’s Magpies didn’t score 37 points in a game… And they won a Wooden Spoon.
1420 games of experience on the Injury List, Dayne Beams speaking up and going on personal leave, which all means that Isaac Quaynor will finally debut for the Magpies (Their first debutant this year), finally giving the Black & Whites the Heretier Lumumba lookalike they’ve been searching for since Harry O’Brien mysteriously disappeared in 2013.
Surely the Pies can achieve their second win against Hawthorn in 7 years… If not… ho ho ho, they’re screwed.
Essendon vs Sydney Swans @ The MCG, 1:45pm AEST
The Dons and Swans playing each other at the MCG for the first time since 2004.
That’s the weirdest venue choice since the All-England Club sent World Number One Ash Barty onto Court Two on Thursday evening.
The big news this week, if the AFL website use FACTS and LOGIC, is that the Dons are ready to say Fanta-See-Yah to Orazio, who apparently wants to make the conscious decision of moving to South Australia.
Port are apparently in the box seat to pinch ‘Disney’, although I’m certain Adrian Dodoro will hold the Power to ransom for three 1st Rounders, and they’ll be dumb enough to oblige.
In the meantime, the Dons are still alive in 2019, after a possibly assisted 19 point final quarter comeback against the Giants, which was particularly hilarious because Tommy Bellchambers went off the ground, leaving the Dons with one on the bench and Shane Mumford pretty much unopposed… only for Mummy to run out of gas.
The Swans also aren’t quite dead in 2019, taking advantage of not having to leave the SCG for a month and racking up three wins on the bounce, mainly thanks to the rise of Nick Blakey, which has offset Buddy’s papier-mache hamstrings.
It’s all part of Horse’s scheme to wreck the Swans’ draft prospects, before he abandons ship and rows to Arden Street.
It’d be the most Essendon thing possible to come off such a morale boosting win like last Thursday… and then lose to the Swans again.
Gold Coast vs Richmond @ Metricon Stadium, 2:10pm AEST
When we think of Richmond playing the Gold Coast in Queensland, apparently one moment always gets brought up.
Karmichael Hunt capping off the worst 40 seconds of footy ever played.
The Suns faithful will be rocking up in their hundreds to boo Tom Lynch on his return to the retiree capital of Australia, and the playing group are probably all preparing to rub one out on Tom before Saturday evening comes around.
A situation like an ex-teammate coming back to town after walking out on the club is where Steven May could’ve been used his elbows as sledgehammers… If he hadn’t done the same thing as Tom.
The last time Richmond were up on the Gold Coast, Jack Riewoldt defeated the Suns by 15 points, 10.6 to 7.9.
That probably won’t happen again, on account of Jack being injured.
But Mabior Chol or Sydney Stack, they might pull it off.
Adelaide vs Port Adelaide @ The Adelaide Oval, 4:05pm ACST
The latest edition of footy’s bitter-erest rivalry, and we’re back to bagging Port Adelaide because they can only win games when Kenny Hinkley drugs them with emotion.
It was evidenced perfectly when they pulled off that rousing win against the Cats, only to come out and drown themselves against the Dogs last week in the driving rain, kicking 5.11 from 69 Inside 50s, only for the Dogs to kill them with what few chances they had, kicking 10.6 to win by 25 points.
Power and water don’t mix at the best of times, and apparently that was proof.
Westhoff and Ryder will apparently come back, as is Tom Rockliff, who racked up 57 disposals in the SANFL, but it is Tom Rockliff, so he probably gained approximately +5 metres from those disposals.
The Crows haven’t gone to Kardinia Park with confidence in a good 16 years, and that didn’t change last week, as the Cats spotted them a 20 point lead before storming over the top in the 2nd Half, just to deepen their eventual humiliation.
Fortunately, they’re playing their younger brother, who they’ve beaten 7 out of 8 times, and embracing the spirit of NAIDOC Week, they’ll be whipping out their ‘Bungie’ McLeod Indigenous guernseys again!
That’s the impetus to get Eddie Betts back in form, and out of Jed Bews’ back pocket.
Western Bulldogs vs Geelong @ Marvel Stadium, 7:25pm AEST
The House Pet Cup has the unfortunate honour of trying to follow on from the Showdown, but for all we know, the former will be a fizzer, and the latter a doozy.
The Dogs have been used to dominating general play in games this year before frustratingly losing (Best example being Round 14 against Collingwood), but last week in the driving rain against Port in Adelaide, Bevo changed things up, and allowed Port to dominate general play, but they kicked a mere 5 goals from 69 Inside 50s, while the Dogs finally clicked, and made the most of their chances to win by 25 points to get reward for effort.
Meanwhile, it sure was a big week for WA fast bowlers, with Jason ‘Dorffman’ Behrendorff taking 5 wickets the Poms and then claiming another 2 against the Kiwis, although the crowning moment came when Jordan Clark was named as the Round 15 Rising Star on Monday evening.
And apparently the Cats are also 2 games clear on top, and with 8 games to go, they should pretty easily win the minor premiership, and then probably win the flag by default, as the only consistent team in the league.
“Oh, but surely 2016, 17 and 18 have shown us that anything can happen!”
Hey Jim Beam. Can it.
WESTERN DERBY L
Fremantle vs West Coast Eagles @ Optus Stadium, 6:10pm AWST
What a week for WA teams and last-minute goals, first the Eagles, then the Dockers, and now the WA Under 18s wrapped up the National Championship thanks to Regan Clarke’s goal in the last minute.
But that’s now ancient history.
After 25 long years, we’ve finally reached the 50th Western Derby, alternatively known as ‘Western Derby L’, which could alternatively be a phrase to describe the recent history of Fremantle in Derbies.
The Dockers have now managed to lose the Bottom 3 teams of 2019, after rather epically blowing a lead to Carlton at home in the final minute, in a performance on the same hilarity scale as Melbourne’s season.
Of course, the Eagles were also involved in a last-minute thriller against the Hawks last weekend… the only difference was, they won.
It’s just another sign that the universe hates Dockers fans- Losing a close game to the worst team in the league, and the Eagles winning a close game.
Like most Derbies, my prediction is that Dockers fans will bag Eagles fans on Facebook, and Eagles fans will simply respond with an inane post ending with “4-0”.
Wait a minute, if Freo have knocked off the teams in 2nd, 4th and 5th, and lost to the teams in 16th, 17th and 18th… the Eagles might want to look over their shoulders on the weekend.
Carlton vs Melbourne @ The MCG, 1:10pm AEST
Here’s a picture of David Teague, after allowing Melbourne to rocket away to a 5 goal lead in the 1st Half.
One of my finer pieces of work, especially with how his hands seem to have changed colour.
North Melbourne vs St Kilda @ Blundstone Arena, Hobart, 3:20pm AEST
Much like Taylor Garner during a weekend in Sydney, North physically belted everyone in sight last Saturday against the Pies, and held them to their lowest score in 24 years.
It was yet more proof that Rhyce ‘Megamind’ Shaw is the Chrome Dome Christ, Ben Cunnington is an All-Australian, and capping off the great news, Majak Daw is back in the VFL this weekend!
Meanwhile, the Saints are still trying to get Richo the flick, after they played pretty well for 3 Quarters against Richmond in Maddie’s Match… Before kicking 2.7 in the final quarter, and losing comfortably.
Apparently the only thing Saints fans can now gloat about now is the fact that ruckman Rohan Marshall is officially the highest rated player in the league over the past month.
But of course, St Kilda will be St Kilda, and instead offer $450,000 a season to Sam Draper, who still hasn’t debuted, and is out for the year with a knee injury.
The Saints have never won in Hobart, and that will probably continue.
GWS vs Brisbane Lions @ GIANTS Stadium, 4:40pm AEST
The last time the Giants and Lions clashed, Harris Andrews ran into Jeremy Cameron’s flying elbow, in yet another case of Full Forward thuggery.
Not surprisingly, Jezza copped 5 weeks, and Harris was concussed and missed a month.
The Giants could be leading the three-way tie for 2nd spot right now, but instead, they threw away yet another winnable game against the Bombers.
Sure, they should’ve been leading by 5 points with 90 seconds to go, if Channel 7 actually invested in high quality cameras, but if you blow a 19 point lead in the final quarter, you deserve to lose.
As it stands, they’re 9-5, and repeatedly suffering from a bad case of the pretenders.
The Lions are also 9-5, having cemented the Gabbatoir as a fortress once again, and last week’s performance against Melbourne was yet another reminder of that fact.
The Lions had kicked 4.13 and trailed by 10 points early into the 2nd Half, before Rafael ‘Eric’ Hipwood warmed up for Wimbledon by kicking 5 goals in 15 minutes, and the Lions finished the game kicking 11.4, which the Dees had no answer to.
With a performance lke that, he should be known as Eric The Exorcist.
Because he destroys Demons!
A game such as this presents yet another chance for Lord Fagan’s disciples to take another big stride, and do something they haven’t quite had the chance to do this season- Beat a so-called contender on the road.
The big downside is that ‘Eric’ won’t be avaliable, since he’ll still be recovering from having his brain cells sucked out by Nick Kyrgios in their 2nd Round deathmatch at SW19.