Jul 19, 2019
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Eighteen
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 Eighteen.
Adelaide vs Essendon (AO) Seven & Fox 7:50pm All times AEST
We are getting to the sharp end of the season and both these teams have a real chance to make finals, but they do have the Bulldogs, Hawthorn, and technically Port Adelaide all breathing down their necks.
Sitting seventh and eighth, a win here goes a long way to securing that spot in the eight.
The disappointing thing for Adelaide is you can’t play the Gold Coast every week, so last week’s performance doesn’t could for much.
Now they play an actual AFL side and one that has won four of their last five games.
The Bombers late-season turnaround has been quite the surprise, like Eddie McGuire offering an apology without qualifiers.
Essendon have real injury problem though, Michael Hurley, Orazio Fantasia, Zac Clarke and Jayden Laverde are all outs.
But in good news for the Bombers, Tom Lynch is back for Adelaide.
A win over in South Australia, with all the outs, would be impressive but I’m tipping the Crows, even though I trust them about as much as I’d trust George Calombaris.
Calombaris grew up a Carlton supporter, so the fact he’s not too fussed about the laws regarding paying people is not a huge surprise.
Richmond vs Port Adelaide (MCG) Fox 1:45pm
Port were destroyed in rather humiliating fashion last week by Brisbane, and you’d have to wonder if Ken Hinkley is the next coach to be sacked.
You’d have to say his tenure at Port has been overall marked by dazzling averageness.
Port have been like the person at work who is pleasant enough but never does any work. They’re never getting sacked, but they’re not getting promotions either. They just bob along, barely leaving a mark on the world.
The Power targeted Lachie Neale last week, to wonderful effect, so you’d wonder if they’ll attempt the same tactics this week. I’d love to see them target Dustin Martin, just to watch the ensuing mayhem.
Richmond are on the hunt for a top-four finish, and with injury clouds clearing, this doesn’t seem as unlikely as it did a few weeks ago.
A lot of Tigers supporters told me early in the season that they would be right once they got players back and Richmond would then be a real premiership threat. It’s shaken me to the core that Richmond fans were right and has me questioning my entire world view.
Richmond to win this.
Carlton vs Gold Coast (MS) Fox 2:10pm
This week Steve Hocking had a thought bubble to get rid of tackling. This can only be read as a plan to make the Suns more competitive.
Stuart Dew complained last week that the Crows coaches were laughing while watching the Suns play. The reality is, how could you not laugh? Was Dew not watching them? I can understand if he wasn’t.
I guess you could cry, that such a waste of resources is occurring on such a grand scale.
Before David Teague grabbed the reigns and pulled the horses up before Carlton plunged into a chasm, this would have been a battle for the wooden spoon.
Instead, Carlton are now a fiercely competitive outfit, winning regularly or pushing teams. No wonder the Blues board is reluctant to appoint him, they’re still in shock.
I would love to see St Kilda put in an offer for him just to create mischief. The Saints could do a lot worse, and almost certainly will.
The Blues will win this; the Suns haven’t just put the cue in the rack, they’ve sold the pool table.
Greater Western Sydney vs Collingwood (GS) Fox 4:35pm
Now, this is intriguing. Both these sides were experiencing form slumps, but Collingwood, ignoring my prayers, decided to deliver a famous victory last week.
It was such an impressive display; I’m even going to use the term ‘season-defining’.
But now they have quite a few injuries, with Darcy Moore being the big out. In good news, Scott Pendlebury is playing despite having surgery on his finger this week. I can relate, I remember pushing through season three of Breaking Bad after surgery.
Sometimes you’ve got to push through the pain barrier.
Unlike Collingwood, the Giants haven’t pulled out of their form slump, but they have had injuries. Stephen Coniglio is likely to be out for the rest of the season.
GWS now sit sixth on the ladder and have lost their last three. They need a win here as desperately as Steve Hocking needs to stop doing media interviews.
I think the Giants can win this, Collingwood coming off a trip to Perth might find this a stretch.
Brisbane vs North Melbourne (G) Seven & Fox 7:25pm
The Lions hype is reaching fever pitch after making Port Adelaide look like Port Adelaide last week.
As other clubs have talked about their rebuilds, Brisbane have actually done it. My theory is the more you talk about a rebuild, the less likely it is that one is happening.
It’s like the guy who tells you about all the women who are into him. You know that guy is spending most nights at home alone flicking between NBA reruns on ESPN and the 1000threpeat of Ronin, desperately hoping that Tinder will one day match him with someone. Trust me; I know that guy.
North were another club pretending to rebuild, but Rhyce Shaw seems to have no time for that. He wants to win; he needs to win. Having only a finite time to prove himself has brought about a certain urgency. He’s the opposite of Ross Lyon.
North have to win this if their slim finals chances are going to survive but winning at the Gabba is no longer easy. For years you could just send the work experience kid up there to pick up the four points.
Now, it’s a very different prospect, and I’m tipping the Lions.
Fremantle vs Sydney (OS) Fox 8:10pm
I suppose some people will want to watch this.
Sydney have struggled all year and finals are now no chance at all. Instead, they’ll now focus on developing youth, which is basically what they’ve been doing all year.
They’ve locked in John Longmire, who should send North Melbourne a nice thank you card for bolstering his negotiating position with the Swans.
I imagine the negotiations went like this:
Longmire: You guys now I’ve got a monster offer on the table from North Melbourne, right?
Swans: We do, and you know, that we know, that you’re not going to take it.
Fremantle have lost their past four games, and they’ve lost them in impressive fashion. They’ve barely fired a shot in anger.
Dockers fans are getting pretty sick of Ross Lyon excuses. If they wanted excuses, they could go and get Brad Scott.
Freo will be without Nat Fyfe, as he battles an infected elbow. He really should have washed that sleeve he wears.
Sydney to win.
Geelong vs Hawthorn (MCG) Fox 1:10pm
Always a classic. Like bacon and eggs, Lennon and McCartney, Eagles fans and booing, somethings just go together.
Hawthorn have been in good form recently, and Geelong haven’t, so this could be interesting.
Form though goes out the window with these two. They seem to lift, like when you accidentally receive more than you’d ordered from Uber Eats, you always find another gear.
The Hawks need to win this if they’re any chance to play finals. I spoke to a Hawthorn fan who said this year had been tough. It was like an executive talking to a homeless person about how hard the franking credits debate had been on them.
Geelong will want to show the competition that they’re still tough to beat on their home ground, so I think they’ll win here.
Melbourne vs West Coast (TIO) Seven & Fox 3:20pm
Memories of last year’s preliminary final have come flooding back. I have never recovered, and it seems, neither have the players.
I was so full of optimism before that game. My Dees had appeared to turn the corner. The sun seemed to shine brighter; my days were filled with birdsong. I was even showering.
But once it was over, the darkness that had enveloped my life up until that point returned.
What a way to get revenge, playing them in Alice Spring, the traditional home of the Melbourne Football Club.
Like most Melbourne supporters, I won’t be going to this. I consider Marvel Stadium a trek.
The Eagles will thump the Dees here. Adam Simpson has done a strange thing; he has the Eagles peaking towards the end of the season. What an odd approach.
Doesn’t he know the media award the premiership over the first five rounds?
I’ll watch this, but I’ve organised a friend to watch it with me, and I’ve organised a safe word, ‘Neeld’.
St Kilda vs Western Bulldogs (MS) Fox 4:40pm
Alan Richardson is gone.
So who will replace him?
St Kilda spent the week denying Brad Scott was already signed, sealed and delivered.
They went to great deals to do so, suggesting that such claims were ridiculous, and the idea that St Kilda would make decisions based on personal relationships and not due process is a slight on the club.
This means that Brad Scott is almost certainly their next coach.
The Bulldogs have instead renewed Luke Beveridge’s contract until 2023. Beveridge has shown in recent weeks that there’s a young core of talent he’s developing, and he did win them that premiership that was kind of a big deal.
The Doggies are even a finals chance this year.
Every Bulldogs fan looked at Alan Richardson being fired though and thought ‘typical; this would have to happen this week when they’re playing us’.
Still, I think they can still win this the Saints players are living under the cloud of being coached by Brad Scott.
Titus is touring around the country in the upcoming months, visiting Canberra, Adelaide, Sydney, Perth, Hobart and Brisbane. Tickets available here: http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
Titus’ new bookPlease, Gamble Irresponsibly: The rise, fall and rise of sport gambling in Australia will be out on 5th November 2019. You can pre-order it now.