AFL

Meaningless AFL Preview: Round 3, 2020

After watching the Suns (and Lions) win last weekend, the Queensland government have clearly jumped on the Matt Rowell bandwagon, allowing 2,000 fans inside Carrara this weekend to watch him single-handedly defeat the Crows, which, based on last weekend’s demolition of a clearly better West Coast team, should be a piece of piss.

On that same note, we can probably expect 2,000 fans at The Gabba to witness first hand the Lord Fagan’s latest footballing sermon against the Eagles.

There’s also a significant historical anniversary today – June 17 marks 25 years since EJ Whitten’s rather memorable final tour around the MCG before he passed away 2 months later, and you can notice at 1:45 in this video, Mr Football, despite being blind, starts giving the timeless “Stick it up ’em” gesture to that section of the crowd.

It’s because Ted Jnr told him they were driving past the MCC Members.

He was a Western Suburbs boy through and through.


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

Make no mistake – This game has the potential to make a 36-all draw look high scoring.

Richmond, who ran all over Collingwood in the 2nd Half for a draw in football’s answer to trench warfare, versus a fourth-rate Hawks team who couldn’t even touch the ball in the 2nd Half against Geelong.

There could be 4 goals kicked in total – Especially if Tom Lynch can’t play.

What an enticing key forward battle we’d have if Lynch was out.

Jack Riewoldt, who considers 35 metres as a long distance shot at goal, versus a half-fit John ‘The General’ Patton.

Get around it.

Elsewhere, Premiership Tiger Liam Baker has been forced to head back to WA for a family matter, which means Josh Caddy stands a real chance of playing, while the Hawks’ shallow midfield is in danger of becoming…

Shallower?

Even more shallow?

Yeah, one of those, with Tom Mitchell having problems with his right shoulder, although it appears he will play, as will Jaeger O’Meara looks like he will play, with a complementary Batman mask to avoid another facial injury.

Jaeger was definitely missed in that midfield belting the Hawks copped from the Catters…. if he was there, they’d probably have lost by 60 points instead of 61.

Shaun Burgoyne is also making an appearance, thanks to Michael Christian being screwed so badly by his own sling tackle guidelines that the AFL had to make an emergency change to the rules.

Shame they couldn’t get their heads out of their arses and give another change that people actually want… like considering going back to 20 minute quarters at a later date.

I did previously mention that there could be 4 goals kicked in total, and considering the Hawks are completely incapable of playing against Richmond, I will tip Richmond to kick all 4 of those goals.

EDIT: Dusty Martin is out – Better make it 3 goals.

Just think – This will also mark 10 years to the day that Buddy Franklin did this in Brown & Gold:

With the state that Buddy’s hamstrings are in, we’ll probably never see him attempt it again without giving everyone in red & white a heart attack.


Friday


Western Bulldogs vs GWS at Marvel Stadium, 7:50pm AEST

Another gripping edition of the first genuine rivalry the Giants have developed (Outside of Sydney) in their short history, and both teams come in having barely raised a whimper last week.

This is actually the first time since Round 21 of 2017 that the Dogs and Giants have played at Docklands, a game best remembered for Toby Greene going wax on wax off on Luke Dalhaus’ face.

Another wild fact about that game – The Bulldogs led the Inside 50s by a whopping 65 to 34.

The Giants won by 48 points.

This is also the first meeting between the teams since last year’s Elimination Final, in which the Giants, a mere 3 weeks after the Dogs went to the Showgrounds and held them goalless in the 2nd Half, turned the tables with a 58 point hammering, and it’s as if the Dogs haven’t been the same team since Toby Greene symbolically burst their bubble with an alleged eye gouge.

Based on the Bulldogs’ opening two games, Luke Beveridge is heading down the Alan Joyce (Look him up kids, he wasn’t just an Irish Qantas boss) path to a midseason dumping, so I’ll take the Giants.


Saturday


North Melbourne vs Sydney at Marvel Stadium, 1:45pm AEST

Kicking off the Saturday slate is Rhyce Shaw’s first meeting against the club he won a Premiership with in 2012, and also served as an assistant at for a few seasons after he retired in 2015, before he went to North after 2018, and was promptly appointed head coach after Brad Scott decided that the coaching caper wasn’t really his thing, a mere 9 years into the job.

What a move that’s turned out to be, because the Roos clearly buckled down during their mini pre-season, didn’t whinge about having to share a flight to Sydney with Essendon on Sunday morning, and beat the highly fancied Giants around the ball, and on the scoreboard.

Once again, Todd Goldstein, the All-Australian Hebrew, was superb in the ruck, and 2 games into the season he’s racked up enough hit-outs (78) to lead all clubs on his lonesome.

They’re an unlikely 2-0, and the last time the Roos started 3-0 was 2016, which ended with them falling off a cliff, and effectively sacking Boomer Harvey (Plus all of their 300 gamers) 2 weeks out from the finals for no apparent reason other than “You’re old.”

This time around, Shaun Atley will probably be the experienced player offered as a sacrifice to Imhotep, because he’s reached what could be considered the most low-key 200th game ever seen.

It was so low key, I had no idea Shaun had even reached 100 games, let alone 200.

Meanwhile, the Swans were always on the back foot after conceding the opening 3 goals against the Bombers, but despite trailing all day, they never let the Dons get out of reach, ultimately losing thanks to Darcy Parish invoking the spirit of Dom Sheed as the Bombers led by a point with 30 seconds remaining.

The Roos haven’t defeated the Swans in Melbourne since 2007, and it’s a good thing they aren’t playing in Tasmania, because North can’t beat them there, either.

Still, hoodoos are created to be broken eventually.

They’re also created to make music.

Collingwood vs St Kilda at the MCG, 4:35pm AEST

After overrunning the Tigers in the season restart, the Pies went stone cold after kicking 4 goals to none in the opening term, and yet, despite kicking 1 goal for the rest of the game, going goalless in the 2nd Half, and getting on the receiving end of another Jack Higgins goalline moment, they held the Tigers goalless in an excruciating, yet thrilling final quarter, and escaped with 2 points.

If you ask me, the Darcy Cameron selection was justified when he made that Big Brain move to stand on the goal line as Jack Riewoldt lined up for what looked to be a certain go-ahead goal to sink the tiring Pies, only for Cameron to mark on the line.

Still, that’s now 3 of the last 4 Collingwood games where the black & whites have gone goalless for long stretches – They went goalless in the last quarter of the Qualifying final against Geelong, but did enough to win, the Giants held them goalless for an hour of play in the Prelim, which cost them a Grand Final spot as 33 points proved a bridge too far, the Dogs game in Round 1 was the outlier, and then last week.

Meanwhile, the Saints replicated their first half performance from Round 1 last Sunday evening, and improved on it by maintaining the effort in the 2nd Half, resulting in a lop-sided win against the downward Dogs, in what was a supposed 8-point game, and it was also the type of win that the Saints have been building towards with all of their recruiting.

The gut running, the pressure, the ball movement – Brett Ratten would’ve been at half mast knowing his post Round 1 spray was taken seriously.

The Dromana Drive-In would’ve been rocking.

The Saints need a big win against a supposed premiership contender to really be taken seriously, and heck, after last week, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

Geelong vs Carlton at GMHBA Stadium, 7:40pm AEST

I’ll put in as much effort for this section of the Preview as Carlton put in to 1st Quarters.

Geelong in a canter.

Another note – If Carlton do lose, Kade Simpson, who joins ‘Big Nick’ on 328 games for 3rd most in Carlton’s history, would also draw level with Kevin ‘Bulldog’ Murray on 208 losses, the most for any player in VFL/AFL history.

I think that fact says far more about how inept Carlton have been since 2002, rather than being a knock on Kade, who has been a fantastic player who’s had to suffer through pretty much all of it.

Brisbane Lions vs West Silver Coast at The Gabba 7:40pm AEST

It’s the 250th game for Grant Birchall, of which 248 were played at Hawthorn, and he becomes the first Lions player to actually play his 250th game in a Brisbane guernsey since Jonathan Brown in 2014.

On another note, time for Part 2 of the Brisbane Lions vs WA battle, and after last week’s results, it’s a clear advantage to the Banana Benders over the Sandgropers.

This is West Coast’s first visit to the Gabba since Round 1 of last year, as the Eagles started like a house on fire in the first game of their premiership defence, leading by 27 points at Quarter Time against a Brisbane team who had finished 15th in 2018…

Only for the Lions to kick 14 goals to 2 to end the game, and win by 44 points.

As we all know, the Lions proved throughout the year that wasn’t a fluke.

Lord Fagan’s disciples restarted 2020 with a hard-fought win against Freo, on the back of Lachie Neale and Charlie Cameron at their brilliant best, while West Coast, after having all their talent sucked out of their bodies by a bunch of nerdlucks posing as the Gold Coast, must surely now be in the process of having their name changed to Silver Coast.

Because Silver isn’t as good as Gold.

Alright, keep reading.

If Eagles fans weren’t already raging about the Gold Coast hub, then Jeremy McGovern’s suspension for an angry punch to Alex Sexton would’ve triggered their Vic Bias sense, especially with Silk Burgoyne’s sling tackle fine for an incident that could’ve ended very poorly.

Apparently it was another one of those chest punches which simply slipped up to the facial area, which seems to be a familiar theme with Eagles players.

Good old Daddy Doker.

Based on last week, I have to tip the Lions via the two sweetest words in the English language.

De-fault, de-fault, de-fault!


Sunday


Gold Coast vs Adelaide at Metricon Stadium, 1:05pm AEST

Part 1 of the Sunday Carrara double header, and the situations of the teams heading in are at surprising polar opposites, rather than them both being crap.

The Suns racked up their 200th game in the AFL, and in an ideal world, the entire team should’ve chaired themselves off, because that win against a massively favoured West Coast was their best win since…

Well, I’d say that win against Sydney in Round 18 of 2018, who they’d never previously beaten, while they were also 5 goals down at Quarter Time, and hadn’t won since Round 5, while the Swans were fighting for a Top 4 spot.

Those weren’t quite the same circumstances on Saturday, but, it was just as Rafael Nadal would say, ‘Unbeleeble’

The focal point of the win was the arrival of No.1 draft pick Matt Rowell, who demolished a midfield full of premiership players and Tim Kelly with 26 disposals,7 tackles and 2 goals, earning him the Rising Star nomination, 3 Brownlow votes, a TAB voucher, and a perfect 10 in the Coaches votes in only his 2nd game.

The obvious challenge for Stewie Dew’s disciplies – Back it up.

As punishment for their no-show Showdown performance, the embattled Crows have been exiled to the Gold Coast, with the only differences from the last time they set up camp on the Gold Coast being that they won’t be bringing that CD playing “Oh We’re From Tigerland” on a loop, and that Aboriginal digging stick that was used as a talking stick, pissing off quite a good portion of the playing group.

Instead of using an Indigenous artefact, they’ll probably just stick to an actual stick.

The big stat coming in to Sunday is that the Crows have never lost at Carrara (Even against the Bad News Bears), and the Suns have never defeated the Crows in their short history, having been stuck on 16/17 since they finally defeated Sydney in 2018.

The Suns got within 47 points of the Power in Round 1, which turned out to be a great form reference, while the Crows were creamed by 75 points, in a scene uglier than the aftermath of the Ramsgate brawl of 2002.

By that logic, the Suns are on to win by 28 points.

Essendon vs Melbourne at the MCG, 3:35pm AEST

This game was going to serve as the unofficial 20th anniversary of Essendon’s 2000 premiership win against the Dees, which should’ve served as a warm reminder to what life used to be like for fans of the one-time competition heavyweight, crushing all before them on their way to the most dominant season in living memory.

Much like North, the Dons proved that the ‘FIFO’ game day travel isn’t a worry, leading all day and scoring their first win at the SCG in 11 years, which was John Worsfold’s first win as a coach at the ground in 8 attempts, despite doing their best to ‘Essington’ the game away – A prime example being Aaron Francis needlessly taking Isaac Henney high after the ball had gone out for a throw-in just before half-time, which led directly to heeney snapping a cracking goal, and Tommy Papley kicking another from the next centre bounce.

It whittled down what should’ve been a 3 goal half-time lead to 1, but they rectified that error by kicking the first 2 goals out of the break, and that was really the story of the game – The Bombers would get a small break, the Swans would peg them back, and then the Bombers would respond.

Meanwhile, the Demons did what they do best – Make a narrow win feel like a crushing loss.

They kicked the first 7 goals against the Blues in an inspiring opening half, and yet, they turned back into a pumpkin and held on for dear life to win by a point, which is still a definite improvement on last year, for the simple fact that they won despite their enormous mental scarring flaring up again the moment the Blues kicked a goal.

Still, the most egregious part of the Dees’ great escape wasn’t shitting the bed from a 7 goal lead, it was singing “It’s a Grand Old Flag” before Max Gawn had reached the circle.

If Nick Riewoldt is criticising you for poor form singing the team song, you know you’ve screwed up.

The moment Ben McEvoy knew he had to escape Seaford

Sure, they rectified it and did an encore to celebrate Gawny’s first win as skipper, Harley Bennell’s debut and Adam Tomlinson’s first win in red & blue, but the point is that it’s the Demons, and that might end up being the last chance they get to sing the song for the next 12 months.

Considering they seem to love winning games by a goal, I better pick the Dons by a goal.

Fremantle vs Port Adelaide at Optus Metricon Stadium, 6:05pm AEST

Part 2 of the Carrara double header, and things are perfectly set up for Freo to cop honourable loss No.3 of the year against a really good Port Adelaide team, who play on the Gold Coast for the second time in 3 games, fresh off becoming the first team in 116 years to go into a game with a percentage north of 250%… AND IMPROVE IT.

Remember when Ollie Wines got suspended?

Watching how dominant Port were against their once fierce rivals, I completely forgot.

The other funny facet is that with the South Australians officially beginning hub life, this is the first game between two Gold Coast hub teams, so to state the obvious, neither team has a home ground advantage.

With Sean Darcy out injured, Jesse Hogan is all set to make his return to footy, which looked next to impossible back in the summer, and if the Dockers can pull this off, I’ll do something unthinkable.

Like praise them.

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