AFL

JT’s ‘Meaningless’ Previews: The AFL, Round 18

I once thought that Garry Hocking changing his name to ‘Whiskas’ for $100,000, or slipping off a trailer was the dumbest action ever committed by a Hocking brother.

Then Steve Hocking tried to crack down on tackles.

Surely that proves he was adopted.

FRIDAY

Adelaide (7th) vs Essendon (8th) @ The Adelaide Oval, 7:20pm ACST (7:50pm)

Just highlighting how utterly weird the fixture is, this is the first time the Crows and Bombers have played each other in 16 months.

That’s like, a full season ago.

After that Deliverance style loss in the Showdown to Bipolar Adelaide, the Crows were widely mocked by Australian society for kicking one goal in a half against their arch rivals, but as Richmond showed, all your problems can be fixed with a simple trip to Carrara to regain that lost percentage.

If that wasn’t enough of a boost, apparently ’10 Goal Tom’ Lynch is set to make his return tomorrow night.

Get ready for mentions of “Link up plays” all night.

The Bombers have the magical ‘Top 8 Run’ juices flowing through their veins, which have been ticked off by WADA, unlike the last time they had juices flowing through their veins.

A record 5-1 in their last 6 games to leap into the Top 8 for the first time all year, and those last 3 games could easily have gone the other way, especially last week against the Roos, where they were saved by Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti being very good at footy.

It covers up the fact that Michael Hurley had his shoulder wrecked by Cam ‘You Don’t Mess With The’ Zurhaar, which leaves Cale Hooker and… The Other Guy, to match up on the two tall neanderthals in Tex and Josh Jenkins.

On paper, the Crows look the likely winners, but this is Essendon making a finals push, so expect chaos to prevail.


SATURDAY

Richmond (5th) vs Bipolar Adelaide (9th) @ The MCG, 1:45pm AEST

If the almighty cycle wasn’t an indicator that Port are going to randomly bounce back, here’s another KPI.

Richmond haven’t defeated Port at the MCG since Round 10, 1998.

You just get the feeling that they’re about to become Bipolar Adelaide again, don’t you?

Carlton (17th) vs Gold Coast (18th) @ Marvel Stadium, 2:10pm AEST

Start warming up the ‘Carlton To 16th’ banners, boys and girls.

GWS (6th) vs Collingwood (2nd) @ GIANTS Stadium, 4:35pm AEST

The Orange Soviets are out of the Top 5, Coniglio is gone for the year, Kelly is still out, Cal Ward was toast back in April, which means that once again, the beginning of the Giants’ 5-peat has once again been ruined by crippling injuries.

Up until this year, all of their horrible injuries used to be front-loaded, before everyone returned for September, but now they’ve been back-ended and caught out Leon Cameron & Comrades by surprise.

Meanwhile, Collingwood unexpectedly delivered the response that Bucks had been searching for- In a Grand Final rematch in Perth of all places- waiting until the Eagles reached the magical 75 point barrier to pull the rug out and beat them to a pulp, holding them goalless in the final quarter, and had the Pies not kicked 2.8 in the final 40 minutes, that game would’ve ended up being far greater than the thrilling one point win it turned out to be.

Now they face another 2019 Finals rematch, and the doubt lingers around Scott Pendlebury, after broke his finger and underwent surgery, but he could still be able to play, provided the protective glove the Pies ordered from Nintendo arrives by Friday.

A team with no midfield versus a team with a midfield… I think the Pies might prevail.

Brisbane Lions (3rd) vs North Melbourne (12th) @ The Gabba, 7:25pm AEST

Yes, Brisbane are 3rd on the ladder, at this time of year, at this time of day, in this part of the country.

No, Vossy is not the captain, and Aker is now terrorising golf clubs across Victoria.

Speaking of terrorising, Kenny Hinkley’s strategy of “terrorising” Lachie Neale went as well as a fart gag at a comedy festival, but if you ask me, Port achieved exactly what they set out to achieve, and that was give Neale a bloody eye, which Dermott Brereton enjoyed like he was a kid watching a cat video.

He looks like The Mountain (Instagram)

The problem with Dermie is that unless you’ve been smashed in the ribs in a Grand Final and courageously pulled yourself up, he thinks you’re a softcock.

In the meantime, Lord Fagan’s disciples achieved what they wanted to achieve, and that was to win the footy game, which they accomplished inside 20 minutes by kicking 7 goals to zip, planting a nice splattered egg on Hinkley The Heretic in the name of their leader.

As it stands now, the Lions are just a win away from sewing up their first finals appearance in a decade, and the only soul to have endured through all of those barren times, Daniel Rich, plays his 200th game this weekend.

In celebration, the Lions have plans to maim Ben Cunnington, after he attempts to land a gut punch on Mitch Robinson.

Meanwhile, North fans had a bad case of Vietnam-esque flashbacks to 2013 last weekend, after Tippa kicked the winning goal with 20 seconds left.

There’s just something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy watching the Roos blow a lead with no time remaining, like a yearning back to a simpler time in life, when footy had substitutes and unlimited interchanges.

Anyway, the Lions will secure their spot in the finals on Saturday evening.

Fremantle (13th) vs Sydney Swans (14th) @ Optus Stadium, 6:10pm AWST (8:10)

On current estimates, 2019 will be the first finals series since 2007 to feature neither a Ross Lyon or a John Longmire-coached team.

Just writing out that piece of information makes me want to burst into dance.

Speaking of which, Ross The Boss has been in the wars of late- He powered up the deflector shields and focused on Nat Fyfe’s lack of ‘Superstar Protection’, and then he was brutally attacked by a camera flash from a photographer on Wednesday, who was then devoured after Ross turned into his lizard form.

As a self-appointed body language expert, I believe he’s fully aware of his impending doom, which will probably be coming in the next week, considering the Dockers are playing the Bulldogs in Round 19.

Meanwhile, Horse became the the latest person to laugh at North’s WAR CHEST as he re-signed with the Swans, which the team celebrated by losing to Carlton at the SCG for the first time in 8 years.

The Swans’ season is done, and Buddy probably won’t reach 300 games until the next decade, based on his latest setback.

We are going to expect nothing from this game, because we won’t learn anything from this game.


SUNDAY

Geelong (1st) vs Hawthorn (11th) @ The MCG, 1:10pm AEST

Ah yes, the annual “Why isn’t this game being played at Kardinia Park?”

In case you’re wondering why the ol’ Hawkers have once again avoided a trip to ‘The Toilet’ for the 12th year in a row, here’s your answer.

A performance so crap, even Richie Vandenberg polled a vote.

No wonder they haven’t been invited back.

The Cats restored their 2 game margin on top by knocking off the Saints at KP without having to be spectacular, which was apparently enough for Alan Richardson to see the light and jump before he got pushed by the Saints board.

Forcing a coach to resign= The Cats’ finest achievement since 2011.

Meanwhile, the Hawks are apparently still not absolutely positively completely 100% finished in 2019, after winning consecutive games for the first time all season, mainly because every Freo player except Nat Fyfe didn’t bother getting off the plane after they landed in Launceston.

Coming off a Perfect 10 in the Coaches’ Votes, James ‘The Worpedo’ Worpel now gets another crack at noted hard man Joel Selwood, following their epic encounter in Round 21 last year.

WASTED.

Being realistic, the Catters will probably keep winning these kinds of games for as long as Selwood’s head is still held together by Elastoplast, primarily because of the hemorrhoids they still suffer from as a result of Stewie Dew’s 3rd Quarter in the 2008 Grand Final.

Melbourne (16th) vs West Coast Eagles (4th) @ TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs, 2:50pm ACST (3:20pm)

The Dees return to the Top End, where they were predicted to be on the ladder in 2019, before Australian society realised they’d made the mistake of predicting Melbourne to consistently play well.

The latest loss to the Dogs was punctuated by Max Gawn being repeatedly punished for excellent ruck craft by an umpire known as “Big Boy”.

I wasn’t aware that Ben McEvoy had become an umpire, so thank you for teaching us all something new, Big Maxy.

Checking out their opponents, and in hindsight, it’s no shock that the Eagles chocked against the Pies and kicked as many goals in the final 45 minutes as Perth Glory and Leeds United combined.

They were 2nd on the ladder, after all.

Capping off that Friday night that ruled them out of Premiership contention for the 5th time this year, Nic Nat managed to hurt himself again, and there’s a high chance he’s gone for the year.

I’d go around bandying big statements like “The Eagles are screwed without Nic Nat”, but after last year, that line has lost all meaning.

If West Coast can regain Josh Kennedy by Sunday, they’ll probably win and win well.

St Kilda (15th) vs Western Bulldogs (10th) @ Marvel Stadium, 4:40pm AEST

Alan Richardson has defied the history of the St Kilda Football Club, and resigned before the Saints had the chance to officially ‘sack’ him come Mad Monday.

Forget about having the 2nd fewest wins after 126 games as a coach in league history, that was the high note to go out on.

As a result, Brett Ratten becomes a caretaker for the second time, following his time at Carlton when Dennis Pagan was sacked by Jonathan Brown in 2007, and really, it was either Ratts or Billy Slater for the job. although if The Kid had have been appointed, then we could’ve seen the Saints break the record for shoulder charges, run too far free kicks and chip and chases in a game all in one.

Meanwhile, the Dogs are roaring back like Australia II on the waters off Rhode Island in 1983, putting up 4 wins out of 5 (And that loss could easily have been a win), finally displaying the sort of form they’ve been threatening to produce with a modicum of consistency.

They’re now a far cry from the Dogs team that lost to the Suns and Carlton in April, but alas, they now face an even greater challenge than a ladder-leading Cats team (Who they disposed of easily), and that’s once again having to face a team on the ‘Coaching Change Bounce’.

North after Brad Scott revealed he was leaving, Carlton after David Teague morphed into the Hydra, and now the Saints.

Of course, Saturday (Sunday, if you count the time difference) is the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landings, so I’m expecting a big performance from the Astro-Naught, who will hopefully put up one or two giant leaps for mankind on the back on some poor Saints defender.


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