Jul 23, 2020
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Eight
The only guide to the round that admits it’s completely unhelpful. What it lacks in insight, it makes up for with wild theories and detours onto unrelated topics.
It’s your unhelpful guide to Round Eight.
Izak Rankine v Western Bulldogs (Metricon) 7:40pm Foxtel
It’s the last round before we push the pedal to the floor on our way to hitting 88 miles per hour and we then fly through four rounds of footy in 22 days.
Personally, I’m looking forward to it, I desperately need something to do and living vicariously through footballers is my usual go-to-move in times of, crisi…actually, all the time.
I just wish we could push fast forward on all of 2020, but then I know 2021 is no picnic either and as for 2022, well, I’ve already said too much.
The Suns have actually done pretty well out of the condensed draw, they don’t leave Queensland.
Gold Coast have also had some good news this week, breaking their membership record, with 14,465 people now signed up.
Here’s an idea to get that number up even higher, allow anyone with a Suns membership to be able to cross the NSW and Queensland borders to get out of Melbourne. The Suns would have 5 million members overnight.
The Bulldogs’ condensed draw is alright in terms of breaks, but they have Richmond, Port Adelaide and Brisbane. Recognising the difficulty of these opponents, the AFL have given them a bye in round 12 in the form of the Crows.
Bulldogs to win.
Greater Western Sydney v Richmond (GS) 7:50pm Seven
The last time these two met was of course last year’s Grand Final. I say ‘met’ because they didn’t really play each other, the Giants were more like the witnesses at a wedding, close to the action but not really part of it.
That Grand Final feels like a century ago. I was there that day and there wasn’t any sense that The Walking Dead was about to become a self-help guide to 2020.
Since then, neither of these teams have hit the heights of last season. The Giants seem disjointed, the Tigers disinterested.
At least for the Giants their condensed schedule couldn’t have been any better if they had written it themselves.
They get a bye ahead of their trip to Perth, where they play Sydney, so that’s two weeks off in a row when everyone else is cramming in games.
Richmond gets four games in 16 days and all against good sides. It will really test if recent positive signs are an indication that Richmond have woken up, or if this season is a write off for them.
I think after the condensed rounds, we should cut the bottom six for the rest of the season, and then keep chopping two teams each week like it’s football Survivor.
It would add a bit of excitement and let those teams’ fans off the hook from this moving train wreck of a season.
Tigers to win.
North Melbourne v Carlton (G) 1:05pm Foxtel
Can Carlton hurt their fans again this week? A loss to North would certainly do it, considering the Kangaroos are the only team putting in a serious challenge to be worse than Adelaide this year.
North’s injury list is like a Judd Apatow film, it makes you cringe in parts and is way too long.
Adding to that the news all week is they’re also shopping Ben Brown around the league, which is sure to boost morale and help their already dysfunctional forward line.
The Kangaroos condensed schedule does them no favours, but they could set a record for most losses in the shortest period of time. I believe in them, they can do it.
The Blues condensed draw is not that bad, a trip to Perth being the most challenging component, but Carlton have always shown they can turn any situation to their disadvantage.
I rang a few Carlton fans I know last week after the Port loss to see how they were feeling. None of them answered, I told myself it was because the loss was still too raw but I knew the real reason was my personality.
Carlton to win.
Sydney v Hawthorn (SCG) 3:35pm Foxtel
The good news for the Swans in their condensed draw is they don’t play at the SCG once. That’s good news for them as their record there is terrible.
Not that it really matters who or where they play. The Swans have a side now capable of losing anywhere, anytime, which will come in handy over the next few rounds with all their travel.
Against Hawthorn though, they might have some chance, given last week the Hawks turned in arguably one of their worst performance since the early Clarkson era, or as Hawthorn supporters call it ‘the dark ages’.
You can tell the Hawks are in a bit of trouble because the minute they’re not winning a premiership every year, Jeff Kennett comes out and threatens Alastair Clarkson.
It’s all such a lot of nonsense. No AFL club lets a coach of Clarkson’s calibre go.
Threats to moving him on are like pre-empting a breakup because you know you’re the one who will eventually be dumped, just so you can claim it was your choice.
It’s a hollow victory, especially when Clarko bobs up with a younger team a week later.
Hawthorn’s condensed draw is fine, but if they play like they did against Melbourne it could be against Auskick teams and they’d struggle.
Hawks to win.
Port Adelaide v St Kilda (AO) 7:40pm Seven
Port fans would have been insufferable this week, but I would still prefer to have been in Adelaide than in Melbourne.
Victoria’s Premier famously asked of South Australia, ‘why would you want to go there?’
I’ve come up with a few reasons:
· You can leave the house
· You can go to the pub
· You can go to the footy
· You can have people over
· You have a lower risk of dying
· Mettwurst is widely available; and
· It’s heaps good
Port got very lucky last week and thanks to the Crows, the Saints have beat their Adelaide Oval hoodoo.
The AFL media is good to the word ‘hoodoo’, I don’t think I’ve ever heard it used outside of a reference to a team not being able to win at a ground, except of course for the Hoodoo Gurus and they’re more League.
The Saints have a nice draw ahead of them, they don’t leave Queensland, so a win here will see them have a real chance to push for finals.
Port’s upcoming schedule isn’t that great, a bit of travel and tough teams, but this season is the best I’ve seen them in a long time, and any team that comes through the next few rounds in relatively good shape injury wise and with some good wins under their belt could go the whole way.
It makes this both a weird and potentially exciting season. Normally we have no idea what is going to happen in a season but this year we have no clue what’s happening next week.
Port to win.
Adelaide v Essendon (AO) 1:05pm Foxtel
This is going to be a tough watch.
The Bombers are seriously depleted with so many key players injured or suspended, and the Crows don’t have any key players.
Essendon at least get an easy draw over round 9-12 and they need it, while I haven’t bothered looking at Adelaide’s draw because even in lockdown when I have little to do, time is still precious.
The struggle I have when looking at the Crows is, I can’t see things getting any better. We Victorians know that feeling.
Essendon at least have players returning at some point, but you can’t have that many injuries and really challenge for the eight.
It seems the Bombers medical staff remain a hoodoo for the club.
Crows to win. I know, weird.
West Coast v Collingwood (OS) 3:35pm Seven
Collingwood haven’t been having the best year but this week the AFL really screwed them over with the worst draw a club has ever had, with Geelong getting an honourable mention.
It’s very strange because usually the Pies travel less than a hermit. They normally consider MCG-Marvel Stadium-MCG a gruelling road trip.
Soon they’ll be playing four games in 14 days all in different cities.
I can’t wait for Eddie to start complaining about how some teams have too much travel.
On the flip side, the Eagles get the best draw, three games at home and a bye thrown in for good measure.
The Eagles are my dark horse for the Premiership, which means they’ll almost certainly finish outside the eight.
But they’ll win this one.
Melbourne v Brisbane (Metricon) 6:10pm Foxtel
Simon Godwin said of the condensed schedule that it was his plan to pick the best team, so something has certainly shifted at Melbourne and I much prefer it to the ‘pick the worst team’ strategy the Dees have used for a long time.
I’m excited by this new approach and would very much like it if last week was a true reflection of the Demons living up to their potential and not a result of Hawthorn not being that interested.
If we’re going to find that out, this will be the game, with the Lions being arguably the best team in the league at the moment.
Melbourne’s upcoming draw has a lot travel but has North and Adelaide in it, so a win here sets them up for a real chance to make finals. Damn you hope, get away from me!
The Lions draw has some tricky opponents, but they only leave Queensland once and that’s to play North in Hobart on August 15.
I wonder if the lights will still be on in Melbourne when they fly over to get to that game? Or will it just be flames?
Brisbane to win.
Fremantle v Geelong (OS) 8:10pm Foxtel
No Selwood and no Ablett and an upcoming draw that was obviously drawn up by someone who’s on a personal vendetta against the Cats.
Geelong have four games in 14 days and three of those teams are in the top eight.
I’m not sure what Geelong did to upset the AFL, but it must have been bad. It would have been nicer to just tell the Cats their season is over.
Fremantle can’t complain though, they stay at home and have a bye. Their only problem is their ability, but no draw can help that.
Cats to win.
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