AFL

Meaningless AFL Preview: Round 2, 2020

And just as I was beginning to enjoy my 11th consecutive week of not having to look at how pathetic my tips are.

PREVIOUSLY, ON ‘AUSTRALIAN FOOTBALL LEAGUE’…..

Gillon shut down the season in response to St Kilda choking away a 5 goal lead:

Eccentric former Colts punter Pat McAfee discovered this obscure oblong ball sport, and that some giant Texan was playing it:

Good job getting him that USAFL ball, Mr Barrish

Twice over the legal limit Lachie Hunter briefly took the title of ‘COVID Lockdown Lord of the Idiots’, cleaning up 4 cars in mid-April, equaling Buddy’s non-DUI performance with a Jeep in 2014, before fleeing the scene:

And this was published by News Corp:

It was also worn by a bride who married a bald man regarded as a legend of his sport.

What will happen next in this crazy series?

Tune in Thursday… then the other 3 days after that.


Thursday


Collingwood vs Richmond at the MCG, 7:40pm AEST

Even amidst all the fixture changes, one thing didn’t change – Collingwood are still playing Richmond on Thursday in Round 2.

Despite seemingly having a full squad to choose from (A rarity for Collingwood by this time of year), the Pies still don’t want to take a punt on Jaidyn Stephenson, who missed Round 1, electing to gamble on former Swan Darcy Cameron to make his Magpies debut.

In fairness to Jaidyn, he still made as much of an impact on that Round 1 game as 3/4 of a pitiful Bulldogs team.

Cameron is a straight swap for big Mason Cox, who isn’t 100% ready, and the other facet to an AMERICAN not playing is that Fox Sports 1 are broadcasting the game to the small portion of the USA still awake early on Thursday morning, and fair to say without the Telescopic Cox, they’ve lost at least 90% of the audience.

With the complete lack of activity, most of the action at the Pies has revolved around Eddie McGuire doing his best to revive Eddie Everywhere, continuing his usual anti-Victorian agenda, fighting on-air with Chompers on Channel 9 about membership refunds, continuing the Hundred Years War with Kochie & Port Adelaide about the use of the Prison Bars, battling Tamsyn Manou and Morgan Mitchell about using the Holden Centre, urging Geelong be transparent about Jack Steven, leading to another feud with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell after Neil called him out, and now, Eddie has made his big American debut on SiriusXM with Aussie Football Rules America.

I’m amazed his head hasn’t gone cherry red and completely exploded.

In an event that feels like a lifetime ago, Richmond won the premiership last year, and they also come in riding a club record 13 game winning streak, thanks to that traditional Round 1 beating of Carlton.

Remember when Shane Edwards kicked the first goal of 2020?

10 weeks on, that wouldn’t even crack the Top 10,000 weirdest moments of 2020.

Other than Fox Footy’s GoFundMe campaign to help Marlion Pickett, the Tigers have been dead silent in hibernation, which can only be a good thing in my eyes, and the team news is immediately good – Bachar Houli is all set to go for his first game since the Grand Final, and also making a return to the elite level is the excitable, but barely legible Jack Higgins, after he underwent BRAIN surgery last year, and looked set to miss most of 2020.

I have no idea why I thought it was heart surgery… Still, it would’ve been a great chance for Jackie to test his repaired ticker – Getting as happy as a dog with two dicks after he kicks a comeback goal.

Donning my Captain Obvious cape, the Pies would’ve been much more confident playing the Tiges if the game had gone ahead after their Round 1 performance, so if you ask me, if the Pies want to get at least one win against the Tiges, they should go chips in with that Reserves scratch match tonight.


Friday


Geelong vs Hawthorn at GMHBABCDEFG Stadium, 7:50pm AEST

The first Geelong-Hawthorn game in Geelong in 14 years, after the Hawks were unofficially blacklisted from the ‘Cheap 4 Points At Kardinia Park’ List way back on Easter Saturday 2006, for sending Geelong’s promising 2006 season into a death spiral with a 52 point win.

Things can get pretty boring in Sleepy Hollow, and when you combine it with a pandemic lockdown, not much changes.

First, it was all about Joel Selwood using his missus Britt as a mop in a TikTok video gone awry, and for the last 2 weeks, it’s been a flurry of articles about Jack Steven’s wild night out at the end of May, which have mostly involved the phrase ‘Taking a stab at what happened to Jack Steven.’

Two more memorable stories to enter the annals of the Geelong Football Club, like Steve Johnson drinking sunscreen and breaking both his ankles jumping over a fence in Torquay, Tom Hawkins growing up in or around a dairy farm, Gary Hocking changing his name to Whiskas, Billy Smedts filming himself driving with a GoPro, and Gary Hocking slipping off a trailer.

As someone who regularly cleans, Joel should’ve known better – Keratin-based products are awful for cleaning floors.

The Catters’ disgraced skipper will play, as will Brandon Parfitt, while the boy from Lorne might sit this one out, and down at Waverley, the Hawks carried on a recent trend of injuring key midfielders in training incidents.

Jaeger O’Meara won’t play thanks to a facial fracture in late May (Apparently it wasn’t a botched high five), which was the sequel to Tom Mitchell getting his leg broken last year, although a potential positive is the return of vital defender Blake Hardwick, who was set to miss half the season with a ruptured pec, but luck’s a fortune, he’s only missed one game.

The other news from the beloved Mayblooms is that Jeff Kennett announced he and the other faceless members of the Hawthorn board wouldn’t attend games until Hawks members were allowed to attend games, a touching gesture of solidarity with the regular ‘bogons’ who pay their cash to the club.

“We can’t be arsed going to Geelong, can you blame us?”

Oh my god, he’s talking about me!

Well, it is a welcome change from Jeff’s go-to rhetoric about rugba leeg being boring, Dan Andrews getting in bed with China, and the apparent double standards of the State Government during the lockdown.

It’s also Patrick Dangerfield’s 250th game, although you wouldn’t know it, given he’s too busy being the AFLPA’s leader in a crisis, and copping a barrage of clickbait from Fox Footy.

I have no expectations for this one.


Saturday


Brisbane vs Fremantle at Woolloongabba, 1:45pm AEST

Scheduling a game in Brisbane at 1:45pm on a Saturday afternoon is definitive proof that the AFL don’t want anyone from the general public turning up to this game.

Also, given Fremantle were punted to the Gold Coast, and they’re playing the Lions, does this game TECHNICALLY count as a Pineapple Grapple?

And, in order to attract local support, should Fremantle, aka Gold Coast, rename themselves Southport?

After all, it’s the closest thing the Gold Coast have to a port.

As they sit and wait for the season to restart, Lord Fagan’s disciples have used the break to heal their wounds after many months of journey across Australia, which has resulted in a near full-list to choose from.

Marcus Adams will definitely miss as he recovers from a foot injury, but assuming he doesn’t injure himself getting knocked over by a stiff breeze, Grant Birchall, who took the Luke Hodge path to Brisbane via Hawthorn, will finally make his Lions debut, after being a late withdrawal in Round 1, just as he was about to face his former teammates.

Having been relocated to the Gold Coast and forced to live with their arsehole of an older brother, Freo have definitely copped a mixed bag in the shutdown.

Cam McCarthy collapsed in a worrying incident at training, landing him in hospital before returning to run laps a few days later, with the club already ruling him out, while the pandemic has basically revived Jesse Hogan’s Freo career, allowing him to return to training and fly to the Gold Coast with the team, after he sat himself out from the game in January, and had to deal with Kim Hagdorn’s attempt to end his career in early February.

Neither Hogan or Stephen Hill will play due to a lack of match fitness, but another positive is that David Mundy is looking good to play after breaking his leg while riding his bike in early December (Modern medicine – 1 game out with a broken fibula), Nathan Wilson will return to the team, and new recruit Blake Acres will become the latest addition to the fabled ‘Played for St Kilda and Fremante’ club, joining the likes of Adrian Fletcher, Craig Callaghan, Heath Black, Brett Peake, Dylan Roberton and Zac Dawson.

The team obviously being coached by Ross Lyon.

Carlton vs Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, 4:35pm AEST

The positives keep flying in for the Bluebaggers.

First it was ‘We can only lose 17 games in 2020’, and 2 months later, without having to lift a finger, it’s mutated to the stage where they’re guaranteed an appearance in September for the first time since 2013.

That’s the awesome power of David Teague – A year into the job, and the Blues are already scheduled for an appearance on the last ‘weekend’ in September for the first time since 1995.

Time to Wikipedia edit the Carlton Team of the Century and boot out David Parkin as coach…. Assuming he is the coach.

The Blues will have to make a few changes from their latest Round 1 defeat to Richmond – The typically luckless Matthew Kreuzer broke his foot, bringing in ex-Hawthorn ruckman Marc Pittonet, Zac Fisher’s ankle isn’t 100%, and David Cunningham is out because he’s David Cunningham.

Charlie Curnow is also still missing with his dodgy knee, but the INs are BIG – Harry ‘The H-Bomb’ McKay, and back in navy blue at last, the most popular Eddie on the ‘Australian Eddies’ power rankings, just ahead of Eddie Charlton…

EDDIE BETTS.

As that banner before the 2010 Elimination Final said: YOUR GOODES IS GOOD, BUT OUR BETTS IS BETTER.

Meanwhile, Melbourne have made the sound decision to relocate to Casey Fields, after realising Cranbourne is devoid of intelligent life, meaning there’s no chance of starting a community spread of COVID-19.

Since then, instead of focusing on finding some real positive from Round 1, they’ve been captivated by Angus Brayshaw’s passion and devotion to ‘Barbie Onions’.

The perfect chance to wear a helmet and he buggered it up

Cutting up onions, watching Melbourne play – Either way, you’re left uncontrollably crying.

After getting delisted at the end of 2013 and ending up on the rookie list, ace small defender Neville Jetta plays his 150th game, and I didn’t even realise that he’s Kosi Pickett’s uncle.

We’ve recently seen the unique situation of Willie Rioli playing against his nephew Dan, but Melbourne went one better and had an uncle and nephew playing together.

Still, you’d be hard pressed to top Allister Pickett playing with his son Alliston for Subiaco in the WAFL 2010.

After Kosi debuted in Round 1, the Dees have lined up 2 more debutants for Round 2 – No.3 draft pick Luke Jackson and his mate from WA Trent Rivers, who has earned his selection by putting in the work on the training track, but even they couldn’t hold a handle to a fellow Sandgroper set to debut for his 3rd AFL club.

After playing 2 games in the last 1700 days, and none in the last 1000, Harley Bennell, picked up for peanuts in the February supplemental draft thanks to having the calves of a 95-year-old, is all set to line up for the Demons, assuming he doesn’t suffer some cruel calf blowout between now and Saturday.

Getting Harley Bennell to play – Already a big tick for Darren Burgess.

This game is at Docklands, and history will tell us that Melbourne couldn’t win at Docklands if they were only team on the park.

Showdown 48

Port Adelaide vs Adelaide at Adelaide Oval The Portress, 7:10pm ACST

The first Showdown without Bob Hammond, and while South Australian football mourns the man who helped North Adelaide become Champions of Australia, briefly coached Sydney and later helped steer the Crows into the AFL, things a haven’t been this positive for Port Adelaide since 2004.

What a terrible choice of transition, I know.

Guaranteed the 2020 premiership under the leap year prophecy by finishing on top after Round 1, the gang from Alberton succeeded in bringing back the Prison Bars, making a vocal Broadmeadows bogan melt in the process, and the cherry on top was the South Australian Government allowing 2,000 fans into the ground for the last AFL game in South Australia this year.

I think they settled on 2,000 to help the teams reacquaint themselves to the average SANFL crowd…

Or the average Port home crowd at Football Park, circa 2012.

Aside from having to trade barbs with Eddie about black & white vertical stripes, Kochie also got involved in a battle with Mick Malthouse about Port’s Shanghai deal, during which Kochie got a bit too emotional and said Malthouse, if it was up to him, would bring back the White Australia Policy.

Quite ironic that Kochie would state that, given he hosts a show that pretty much revived Pauline Hanson’s career.

But, Kochie did realise that comment was out of line – Just because Mick is old and white, doesn’t mean he’s a racist.

The other major news is that skipper emeritus Ollie Wines, Riley Bonner and Charlie Dixon are all back to full fitness, and one would assume they’ll go straight into the team.

Meanwhile at the Crows, it’s been dysfunctional business as usual – Tyson Stengle went for a boozy drive in an unregistered car, which the club slightly neglected to tell everyone, then there was that slightly illegal group training session in the Barossa Valley that got Ben Hart suspended, and last week, Andrew McLeod SLAMMED the club’s culture and said he didn’t feel comfortable going back to West Lakes.

I completely forgot Tyson Stengle was nabbed for drink driving in an unregistered car, mainly because it occurred in Adelaide, and it was rammed off the news reel by Lachie Hunter.

The latest highlight in the Adelaide story arc had to be the minor punch-up between Billy Frampton and Kyle Hartigan during match simulation last weekend, which thankfully didn’t end with one of them going all Setanta Ó hAilpín on the other.

Attaboy Billy – You can take the boy out of Port Adelaide, but you can’t take Port Adelaide out of the boy.

Anyway, in the peak of their 150th anniversary year, this a big chance for Port to level the Showdown ledger after losing the lead in 2017 – 24 wins to Adelaide, 23 to the Power.

Hopefully it’s a good one.

Gold Coast Suns vs Gold Coast Eagles at Metricon Stadium, 7:40pm AEST

The highlight of Super Saturday – The first-ever Gold Coast Derby, or as it shall be known for this year, the Lightweight Pineapple Grapple.

The Eagles were relocated to Royal Pines on Monday evening, and their welcome could not have gone any better – There was an electrical fault that started a fire in the elevator before they’d even taken flight from Perth Airport, and yesterday, someone unrelated to the club had a health scare and forced another appearance from the Ambos.

And there wan’t a Metre Maid in sight.

While the Eagles have been robbed of their huge home ground advantage by a pandemic and Mark McGowan’s anti-Victorian bias (He’s bloody well got my vote), the positive is they’ve barely got any injuries, and they’re playing their limp-wristed crosstown rivals, who are still anchored to the bottom of the ladder.

Out of all the unknown players on the Suns list, Stewie Dew has singled out some bloke named Sam Flanders, Pick No.11 in the 2019 draft, as a player who could debut on Saturday evening.

I imagine this was Flanders’ reaction to finding out which club had picked him on draft night last year:

That will probably be Dew’s reaction after the game on Saturday, because the Eagles are looking pretty good.


Sunday


GWS vs North Melbourne at GIANTS Stadium, 1:05pm AEST

This is one of the four games on Fox Sports 1 this weekend, and I would not be surprised if there was at least someone in the US who sees the name ‘GIANTS Stadium’ and assumes they’re playing this game in the New Jersey Meadowlands.

The key difference is Jimmy Hoffa isn’t buried at Sydney Olympic Park.

A rare matchup of teams who both saluted in Round 1 – The Giants ended up knocking off Geelong fairly comfortably on the scoreboard, thanks to some top notch goalkicking with 17.3 (The best performance of Round 1), and the Roos looked set for a belting at half time against St Kilda, only to hold the Saints to 1 goal in the 2nd Half and win by 2 points.

What a way to christen Ben Cunnington’s new rug – 25 disposals and 2 goals in the last quarter to get the boys home.

In a minor milestone for the history books, Giants co-captain Phil Davis becomes the 3rd player to play 150 games in the orange & charcoal, and to make it all the more special, his co-captain Callan Ward is set for a comeback after his 2019 was ended with an ACL tear way back in Round 4.

Zac Williams is another key in, meaning that Dan Lloyd and Round 1 debutant Tom Green are on the outer, mainly because this Giants team only has room for one player whose name roughly resembles ‘T.Greene’.

As for North, Nick Larkey is a confirmed out with a foot problem, while Jack Ziebell hurt his knee in Round 1 and was on the sidelines for 2 months, but the Roos set about making sure he wouldn’t miss a game, and wouldn’t you know it, he’s fit as a trout, ready to crack heads with Ward, who is the AFL’s No.1 cement head.

The two of them colliding could set off a sonic boom that brings down the Opal Tower.

Sydney Swans vs Essendon at the SCG, 3:35pm AEST

This is the Dons’ first game at the SCG since that fateful night in Round 8 last year, when Basil Zemplas reignited the Orazio Fantastia pronunciation debate, and Dane Rampe humped the goal post padding trying to stop David Myers’ unsuccessful kick after the siren.

Your friendly neighbourhood Spiderman

Just another colourful moment in Dane’s memorable career… Someone should’ve just told him that Myers physically cannot kick a torpedo on account of him missing his left middle finger below the first knuckle.

The obvious disappointment for the Swans is that Buddy Franklin’s paper mache hamstrings disintegrated again, putting him on the sidelines for another 2 months, while his 2021 replacement Joe Daniher is still out for the Dons, as are Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti and Oraaaaaaazio Fantasia.

That’s left the Essendon forward line looking like Jacob Townsend (Who brings up 50 games on Sunday) in a Pagan’s Paddock scenario.

On the flip side, skipper Dyson Heppell, Conor McKenna and Cale Hooker are all good chances of playing.

But, Buddy isn’t playing, so, like certain Sydney sports fans who love attaching themselves to names instead of, ya know, teams, I’ll be giving it a wide-berth.

St Kilda vs Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium, 6:05pm AEST

Playing games at 6pm on a Sunday.

If crowds were allowed, it’d be like trying to make fetch happen.

The Dogs were hot crap in Round 1, suffering the biggest loss of anyone on that fateful weekend, and St Kilda suffered the inevitable hilarious spectacular bubble bursting against North Melbourne.

It may be Round 2, but this is already genuine old-fashioned 8 point game.

If the Saints lose, they’ll be 0-2, and facing Collingwood followed by Richmond, after pumping copious amounts of hot air up their arses all summer.

Then again, St Kilda starting a year 0-2 isn’t some earth-shattering event.

Conversely, if the Dogs lose, they’ll be a 0-2 after flying home to a really flat finals appearance at the end of 2019, without Lachie Hunter, and they’ll have to deal with GWS coming at them with a mix of Kung-Fu and eye gouging in Round 3.

Still, this guy should be playing this week:

Back on the subject of crowds, in these troubled times, the Saints have decided to think outside the box, and organised a way for their members to meet up and watch the game.

By broadcasting the game live on all 3 bigscreens at the Dromona Drive-In.

Drive-In theatres and the St Kilda Football Club – Two things that enjoyed their heyday in 1966.

The members will come for the footy, and stay for 2nd Half horror movie.

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