AFL

JT’s Meaningless Preview: The AFL, Round 23

Ross Lyon in 5 seconds… Farewell to a truly unique individual.

What a rough week it’s been for Australians named Ross.

Ross leaves Australian Survivor after brutally busting his ankle, and then the Bell tolled for Ross The Boss in Cockburn… and Steve Rosich, who was apparently the set of sacking steak knives.

I suppose the big difference between the two is that Ross from Survivor was still reasonably popular when he had to go.

Anyway, the last round of the Home & Away season is upon us, and while so many greats of the game farewell us, the ‘Bunker’ makes its debut, and we’ve got scenarios where everyone as low as 11th can still make the Top 8, 5 teams can still make the Top 4, and all of the Top 4 can still finish on top!


Friday

Collingwood (5th) vs Essendon (8th) @ The MCG, 7:50pm AEST

The brutal rematch of ANZAC Day, and ahead of the biggest game of Collingwood’s season to date, Steele Sidebottom paid tribute to the retiring hard nut Scotty Thompson, by busting his nut in training, directly leading to him being ruled out of the game.

I imagine this was the scene when the Ball of Steele came back to life.

If that wasn’t enough from Collingwood, something even more funny than a man being kicked in the nuts occurred when the Pies played 5D checkers with the AFL, after they realised Jaidyn Stephenson’s betting suspension ends after Friday midnight, allowing him to play in the VFL on Saturday, because it was an off-field suspension.

Trust Collingwood to know precisely when someone’s sentence is going to end.

Of course, Stephenson’s reappearance does beg the question….

The ol’ 1-2 gag there, well executed gents.

Of course, Essendon managed to go a week without doing an Essington, and their reward was a guaranteed return to the finals, where in accordance with recent tradition, they’ll be belted in an Elimination Final.

It’d be completely normal if the Bombers turned up on Friday and got revenge for ANZAC Day, and the Pies conversely kick themselves in the balls and lose their chances of a Top 4 spot, before they even had the chance of being disappointed with a Richmond win.

Given it is the ANZAC Day rematch, I wonder if Rabbit Terrine will be on the menu in the MCC Dining Room…

Saturday

The Pride Game

Sydney Swans (15th) vs St Kilda (14th) @ The SCG, 1:45pm AEST

Stuff Buddy’s 300th game, the big milestone the people of Sin City will randomly come flocking back to the footy to see, is Sam Rowe’s debut for St Kilda, which is enough to finally bring up his 100th game!

Of course, he didn’t get there by training the house down… It was thanks to winning a quiz.

They sure do have some unusual selection choices at Moorabbin… The Super Nerd from The Chase almost debuted against Carlton last week after he won the quiz.

On to the other big milestone that more people might just be talking about, and after a lengthy delay, the Big Bud has finally cracked 300 games, and it continues a hilarious coincidence for Buddy’s century games milestones.

His 100th game: vs St Kilda in Round 19, 2009.

His 200th game: vs St Kilda in Round 21, 2014.

And now his 300th: vs St Kilda in Round 23, 2019.

No wonder the Swans held it off until now!

Anyway, the ingredients are all there for a big end to the season.

It’s the farewell for Jarrad McVeigh and Kieren Jack.

Buddy plays game 300.

Hanners is back in town for the first time since he was traded.

Mad Monday will be only two days away.

Simply put, this is going to be one hell of a game, followed by one hell of a bender.

North Melbourne (12th) vs Melbourne (17th) @ Blundstone Arena, 2:10pm AEST

Before Jeremy Cameron even sets foot on Carrara this Saturday night, the Coleman Medal race will just about be done, after Ben Brown drops another bag of 10 goals on the Demons’ defence, extending his lead out past 14 goals.

Although Jezza is playing the Suns, so he could easily kick 15.

The season may be done, but there’s still a few things for the Roos to play for- Feeding Big Ben’s push for the Coleman, in front of his native fans, reigniting ‘THE STREAK’ that the Roos had on the Dees for 12 years, and of course, Scotty Thompson’s last hurrah.

He’d give his left nut for Megamind to play him up forward and kick another goal, just for a laugh.

On the other hand, I’ll spare you all the ‘Dee-saster’ puns, because I’ve got one real positive that Simon Goodwin can take away from this game.

Melbourne’s season is over at 5pm on Saturday evening.

Geelong (2nd) vs Carlton (16th) @ GMHBA Stadium, 4:35pm AEST

For the first time since Round 1 heading into Round 2, Geelong aren’t on top of the ladder heading into a weekend, after coughing up a 3 goal lead in the last quarter to lose to the Lions by a point, and that would’ve pissed off many Cats fans, for the simple fact that they had them on toast, only to realise that despite Scotty’s insistence, Charlie Cameron was having an impact.

On the bright side, they once again have the chance to rediscover that early season form, by downhill skiing into the finals with a win over those lowly Blues, who pose absolutely no threat to anyone.

The Cats better hope Scotty doesn’t openly declare that Patrick Cripps won’t have that big of an impact.

Of course, the Bluebaggers might be odds-on to finish 16th on the ladder, but they end a season that started with misery and sadness with something resembling genuine hope, thanks simply to their greatest coach since David Parkin, and ahead of the big finale, they carry the combined weight of Queensland (And to some extent, WA) on their shoulders.

It’s going to be a medical miracle if Patty Cripps’ shoulders are functioning on Sunday morning, given he’s going to be carrying 2 states, to go with his usual quota of 21 teammates.

Even if the Cats do win and win easily, it appears they’re skewered when September starts- If the balance of probabilities does manifest into reality, then they’ll win the minor premiership and get no home ground advantage due to facing Richmond (Or Collingwood) at the MCG, and if they lose, they’ll probably have to go to interstate and play either the Eagles or Brisbane (Again).

That said, it is the AFL in 2019, so fate still has a few batshit crazy results left in the armory.

Gold Coast (18th) vs GWS (6th) @ Metricon Stadium, 7:25pm AEST

Full credit to the Gold Coast- They were typecast in the role of the ceremonial punching bag against the Hawks, and it was a role they performed superbly.

Of course, they were handsomely compensated… with their second wooden spoon in their short history.

Speaking of messy expansion clubs, here’s another fact- the last time the Giants kicked a 2nd Half goal, this blog was an irrelevant mess.

Well, at least one thing hasn’t changed since then.

There’s quite a lot at stake for GWS- Jezza Cameron becomes the 2nd Giant to reach 150 games, a win allows them to fall arse-first into 6th spot, they then get a bunch of players back for an Elimination Final, win that, and then promptly do nothing in a Semi Final.

West Coast Eagles (3rd) vs Hawthorn (9th) @ Optus Stadium, 6:10pm AWST

Roughy’s last great act of sacrifice as a Hawk was to rule himself out of Saturday, and officially end his career with a 6 goal bang, instead of Jeremy McGovern playing the role of Darth Vader and slicing him in half.

Last Sunday will go down as the stuff of legend among farewell performances, alongside David Cloke’s 8 goals, whatever Kobe dropped on the Jazz, and Dizzy’s unbeaten 201.

Still, thanks to that cheap win, the Hawkers have reached the magical 10 win mark, and they’ve still got an outside hope at finishing 8th, which seemed impossible after Tom Mitchell’s leg resembled a question in a Year 9 maths exam in January.

The Eagles would probably be in 2nd spot right now if the game last Sunday had stayed dry against the Tiges… It didn’t, and they simply had the misfortune of playing the best pack of mudlarks in footy right now.

Still, the Big Birds pulled out plenty and lost by a mere goal in one of the games of the year, which is still their biggest loss since the bye, and cause for concern for Simmo and the Eagles’ chances of going back to back.

Since you definitely aren’t wondering, yes, I did earn a ticket in the members ballot (As did The Rocket), and it’s right in the Hawks cheersquad… which at Optus Stadium, is of course, an alcohol free section.

As a certain Canadian said back in the ’90s, “It’s like a no-smoking sign, on your cigarette break.”

Actually, that’s not ironic, that’s just unfortunate.

Sunday

Western Bulldogs (8th) vs Adelaide (10th) @ Mars Stadium, Ballarat, 1:10pm AEST

Remember that point in the year when the talking heads were going on about how the Dogs were going to become the first premiers to have a hat-trick of missed finals appearances in 38 years.

I’m sure the Crows would prefer to go back to that happy time, because they were still in the Top 8, and carrying a reasonable level of respect.

To put it mildly, these Dogs have rediscovered themselves, mated with Seagulls and sprouted wings, and are low flying into September for the first time since the 2016 flag, and the good news is the Bont will be playing, after he dodged a suspension, thanks to making Nick Haynes sound like a 30-year smoker.

Of course, he ‘got away’ with a $2000 fine because Michael Christian was hamstrung due to the GWS medical report not being completed.

It’d be fitting historical symmetry: A Dogs player loses a Brownlow because of a suspension, and now a Dogs player will probably go on and win a Brownlow after dodging a suspension.

Chris Grant must be turning in his grave, giving the finger to Ian Collins.

The Crows are dead and decaying, although they received a 400 volt shock to the heart, when Richard Douglas dropped the massive bombshell that he’s retiring after this, his 246th game.

Wait a minute, Richard bloody Douglas played 200 games?

Bloody hell, South Australians really are weird…

Anyway, he did win a Best & Fairest and he managed to survive 14 consecutive years in Adelaide, so on that note, bravo Richie on a career.

It’s a big dilemma for the Crows- If they give an effort and somehow win, they probably won’t have enough percentage to jump the Dogs (I think it’s around 5 goals), and they’ll be a sitting duck for their psychotic younger brother, BUT…. if they lose, then they’ll fall into the maw of hell with the other 2019 failures, and most importantly of all, take Port with them.

I think they’ll pick the latter.

Richmond (4th) vs Brisbane Lions (1st) @ The MCG, 3:20pm AEST

Another week, and another Rumble In The Jungle between two of the league’s big cat teams, and this one will decide the fate of the minor premiership, assuming the Cats do win on Saturday.

In future revisions of the Faganism Bible, Chapter 22 shall thus be referred to as “The Big Ride”, a line which could also be used to describe the parable of the 2019 Lions.

In this grand journey of hoodoo destroying, this Sunday presents several more destined for the dustbin of history- The Lions have lost 12 straight games against the Tiges (Last win: 2009), they haven’t won at the ‘G since 2014, and as has been publicised, Fitzroy’s last minor premiership was 1913.

Of course, Brisbane being on top heading into the last Round of a season has occurred before, without much success.

In 1996, the old Bears were on top after Round 21, and only had to beat the lowly Collingwood at Victoria Park to win their first minor premiership before the merger- They lost… badly.

In 2002, the Lions were on top after Round 21, and took on Port in a straight shootout for the Minor Premiership at Footy Park- Roger James kicked a goal at the death to win that forgotten epic, although the Lions won the flag.

And now of course, we’ve reached this juncture in the history of the universe.

The Tiges may be on a 8-game winning streak (Not even the best winning streak for a team in this game), but highlighting how weird this round is, they could be as low as 5th on Sunday, if the Pies win on Friday night, and yet, if the Cats and Eagles lose, they’ll be playing off for 2nd spot.

But, if Lions fans are nervous about their biggest game in a decade, then they can simply ease their nerves by repeating the Faganism mantra quietly to themselves- TRUST THE PROCESS.

Port Adelaide (11th) vs Fremantle (13th) @ The Adelaide Oval, 4:10pm ACST

The 207th and last game of the Home & Away season, and it sees a club contemplating knifing their coach, versus a club who quite literally just did slip the knife into their coach, and out the other side, taking out a few vital organs along the way.

Ross The Boss’ tenure as Freo coach ended the same way that it started back in September 2011- In a blindsiding shock.

It really was a hell of a journey for long suffering Dockers fans- They came from nothing, and they’ve gone back to nothing, so what have they lost- Nothing!

As a result of all this upheaval, the forecast for Sunday in the City of Churches looks very grim, and all residents are advised to stay indoors… because there’s a HALE coming from the West!

Hale, Richie! Hale the great mean, Hale!

Of course, as for the team actually hosting the game, Port’s season, especially after Ben Brown defeated them on his own on Saturday, can once again be summed up perfectly by a very angry Gennaro Gattuso.

That video could also be used for Essendon’s season.

Anyway, who knows what could happen- For all we know, this is Ken’s last game as coach, before Kochie emotionally overreacts to missing the finals and sacks him.

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