AFL

Random notes for Round 18 of the AFL


North Melbourne (17th) vs West Coast Eagles (5th) at Metricon Stadium, Thursday 7:10pm AEST

Excellent sh00ping skills

The Kangaroos are pretty much welded on to 17th, the worst finishing position in the club’s history (Beating their 15th in 2017) with the trade-off being they have no worse than Pick 2 in the draft, but if they really want to tank the house down, they can lose by 10 goals again and bank on the Crows going full September Specialists by sinking Richmond, giving North Pick 1 and their first Wooden Spoon since 1972.

As for the Eagles, winning as expected keeps their slim Top 4 chances alive, dependent on Richmond and/or Geelong losing, which would also mean they DON’T get a home final in Perth, which they will get if they finish 5th.

What a mind-bender – Come fourth and receive eternal life a double chance, or come fifth and make more money.

On another note, Luke Foley, Mrs Foley’s Baby Boy, will become the 6th player to debut for the Eagles in 2020 (8 if you technically count Tim Kelly and Jamaine Jones), and to my disappointment, he isn’t related to this Foley.

Actually, did anyone in the WWF ever see Mick Foley and Mankind in the same room?


St Kilda (7th) vs GWS (10th) at the Gabba, 7:50pm AEST

It looks like the Saints are a monty to play finals for the first time since 2011 purely on percentage, because with the way the Giants are playing, they’ll be lucky to score 51 points, let alone win by that much and jump the Saints.

However, it is St Kilda, the club who are so famously snakebitten that supporting them is listed by the Macquare Dictionary as an example of Masochism.

Meantime, with their destiny completely out of their control, the Giants are up Shit Creek (Formerly known as the Parramatta River), and even if they do win, only for other results to go against them, GWS will become the 6th losing Grand Finalist in the last 20 years to miss the Finals the next season.

Melbourne 2000, Collingwood 2003, Brisbane 2004, Port Adelaide 2007, Adelaide 2017.

Oddly enough, out of those teams, only Adelaide had a winning record, which the Giants can still achieve with a win to finish at 9-8.


Essendon (13th) vs Melbourne (9th) at Metricon Stadium, Saturday 2:10pm AEST

This is the first time Essendon and Melbourne have met in September since the 2004 Elimination Final, now best known as the day that Essendon won their last final.

As of today, only 5,856 days have passed.

Saturday will officially mark the end of the John Worsfold era at Essendon, as Truck Rutten prepares to take the pilot’s seat of this still-burning plane of a team, although based on the way they’ve nose-dived since mid-July, it looks more likely that John Denver has been at the controls.

Meantime, it’s very simple for the Demons.

A) They win and give themselves every chance of making the finals, which will come down to barracking hard for Freo against the Dogs on Sunday evening….

Or B) with a Finals spot there on offer, they get a Vietnam-flashback to Round 23, 2017, completely fall apart against this disappointment of a Dons team and lose, BECAUSE IT’S MELBOURNE.

B.

Definitely B.


Adelaide (18th) vs Richmond (3rd) at the Adelaide Oval, Saturday 4:35pm ACST

Let’s once again remember that Lachie Sholl couldn’t earn a Rising Star nomination for his massive performance against Carlton, despite the AFL’s Twitter account giving the Crows hope, before doing stuff all to stop Isaac Quaynor getting the gong for a mild game off half-back.

Proving that time is a flat circle, the Crows have arrived back at the root cause of all their problems since the beginning of 2018….

Unbeaten in September before playing Richmond in their last game of the season.

On the Richmond side, Damien Hardwick brings up a slice of history – His 248th game as Richmond coach, equaling T-Shirt Tommy Hafey’s record which has stood since he left in 1976.

Also, if Richmond win, they’ll finish 3rd for the third time in four seasons.

The days of Ninthmond are long gone…. Thirdmond is all the rage now.


Brisbane Lions (2nd) vs Carlton (12th) at the Gabba, 7:40pm AEST

Obviously the shortened season has helped them, but I’d point out that 3 defeats are the fewest any Brisbane team has ever recorded ever in an AFL season, and even if they lose, it’ll surpass their 17-5 seasons in 2001-02, quite possibly with a big fat asterisk.

The Bears best season was 15-1-6 in 1996, and if you go back through the history of Fitzroy, the last time they had fewer than 4 defeats in a season was way back in 1920, when they went 14-2.

That year, the Maroons missed out on the minor premiership on percentage… 100 years later, the Lions will probably miss the minor premiership on percentage.

Meantime, Carlton will get the chance to chair off a retiring player who actually plays for them, as the great Kade Simpson goes around for once last hurrah after 18 seasons and 342 games, third-most in Carlton’s history.

A career that began with him not even getting a touch through his first 3 games in 2003, and ended with him suffering through a league record 214 defeats.

A fantastic player at an often incompetent club.


Hawthorn (16th) vs Gold Coast (14th) at the Adelaide Oval, 12:35pm ACST

And thus, the worst season in Hawthorn’s history since the wooden spoon of 1965 comes to an end, and while the 2004 Hawks finished 15th with a 4-18 record and avoided the spoon by a bee’s dick, this Hawks team will finish 16th.

Skipper Ben Stratton and Paul Puopolo will play their last games, and Stratts carries on the fine history of Hawks captains retiring from the game while they held the top job for the Hawks.

Richie Vandenberg in 2007, Jason Dunstall in 1998, Gary Ayres got flicked after 1993, Michael Tuck was pushed into retirement after the 1991 premiership (He’d only won 7), Leigh Matthews in 1985, Graham Arthur in 1968, and John Kennedy Snr in 1959… just to name a few.

Meantime, assuming the Swans don’t win, the Suns are going to finish outside the Bottom Four for the first time since 2014, a more than fair reward to cap off a season of genuine improvement.


Sydney Swans (15th) vs Geelong (4th) at Metricon Stadium, Sunday 3:35pm AEST

2020 will mark the first time the Swans have missed the finals in consecutive seasons since 1995, which serves as an indicator of just how consistent they’ve been in modern times.

Meantime, Tom Hawkins only needs 6 more goals to reach the 600 career goal milestone, joining Doug Wade and Gary Ablett Snr as the only players to kick 600 goals for the Cats.

Also for the Coleman Medal leading Tomahawk, assuming he doesn’t go goalless and Josh Kennedy and/or Charlie Dixon kick a bag of 10, he’ll become Geelong’s first Coleman winner since Ablett Snr won his third and final leading goalkicker award in 1995.

Also, assuming my maths are correct, he’d also be the first 32-year-old to win the Coleman Medal since Plugger Lockett did so for the fourth and final time in 1998.

So – get it done Tomahawk.


Fremantle (11th) vs Western Bulldogs (8th) at Cazaly’s Stadium, 6:10pm AEST

Odd fact – Nat Fyfe is only 1 win away from playing in 100 wins as a player, in this his 187th career game.

So Freo are playing the Doggies in the last game of the season, and the Bulldogs have a chance to finish 7th…..

What is this, 2016?


Collingwood (6th) vs Port Adelaide (1st) at the Gabba 7:10pm AEST

The last game of the Home & Away season, and we don’t even need to guess what Ken Hinkley’s pre-game speech will be:

Despite being universally laughed at and sometimes disregarded as a Premiership chance after Geelong belted them by 10 goals, Port Adelaide can become the first team since the 2000 Essendon team to sit on top of the ladder through every round of the home & away season.

As my colleague Mr Barrish would say, WIRE TO WIRE.

In a truly momentous milestone, Scott Pendlebury, plays game 314 passing Tony Shaw for the most in the 128-year inglorious history of Collingwood, and he also passes Nathan Buckley in captaining the Pies for the 162nd time.

Who can forget when Pendles stuck those dreadlocks on his head for 8 games in 2011, and won an ANZAC Medal in the process.

If you want to know why that games milestone is so momentous, the Collingwood games record has only previously changed hands twice in the last 100 years.

Gordon ‘Nuts’ Coventry took it from his legendary coach Jock McHale with his 262nd game in 1935, then held it with 306 games until 1994 when Tony Shaw played his 307th game, and now Pendles takes it.

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