Jul 15, 2022
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.
Western Bulldogs vs. St Kilda (Marvel) 7:50pm Fox/Seven
Someone is probably going to win this, although with these two, even that is in doubt.
Bailey Smith is back from both an illicit drug use suspension and a headbutting suspension, which is not as common as you’d think.
Other suspension combos that aren’t as common as you’d think include:
· High seas piracy and striking
· Arson and rough conduct
· Counterfeiting and kneeing
· Embezzlement and forceful front-on contact
The Bulldogs can certainly use him given a loss here and it’s probably goodbye to finals.
The good news is that as well as getting Smith back, they get to play St Kilda, which has recently been a fun experience for opponents.
St Kilda have been falling down the ladder faster than a rocket re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere. The only difference is a rocket usually has ways of slowing itself down.
I’m tipping the Bulldogs.
Adelaide vs. Collingwood (AO) 1:45pm Fox Footy
Seven straight wins in a row for Collingwood, or as I call it, giving us a taste of hell on Earth.
When will it end? Probably not this week given the Crows have been, to use a technical term ‘hopeless’.
The Pies were challenged by North last week, only for David Noble to be let go anyway, so let that be a warning to Matthew Nicks, almost beat the Pies and you’re out.
Unfortunately for Nicks, no such sweet relief is in store for him, he will have to keep coaching the Crows.
Amazingly, Darcy Moore looks like making a return this week after his knee injury against Gold Coast.
In the tradition of footy pundits diagnosing injuries instantly and from far away, within seconds of him injuring his knee I had declared him dead, so this is a miraculous turnaround for him.
Sure, I could admit I was wrong, but that’s not what anyone covering football has done before, and I don’t intend to be the first.
Pies to win.
Greater Western Sydney vs. Brisbane (Manuka) 1:45pm Fox Footy
The Giants kicked three goals last week, and it would have been easier if they’d just written on their banner ‘Cue in the rack, see you in 2023’.
There’s a lot of talk about Alastair Clarkson going to the Giants and you heard it here first, I have no idea if he is.
I did ask him, but he had already called the police and they were removing me from his house, while I yelled ‘why is 3am a bad time?’ and ‘will you be coaching the Giants next year, I’m a news breaker, I must know!’.
Typical Clarkson, overreacting once again.
Brisbane lost to Essendon last week.
I know, I’m still laughing.
The Lions need to focus on securing a spot high up in the eight, to put all distractions aside, which is why a trip to Canberra is perfect.
They get some key players back and should be fine here.
North Melbourne vs. Richmond (Marvel) 4:35pm Fox Footy
We learnt two things this week, The first was that North Melbourne had a coach, and the second thing was that they sacked him.
Will they get another coach? It’s possible it will be a punishment handed down by a court to a serious offender.
Some people may want to coach North Melbourne, and if a family member expresses such a desire, seek professional help immediately.
David Noble’s problem is not that he yelled at the players, it’s that he yelled at them, and they didn’t win.
You can yell at players all you want if you’re winning.
Many coaches have built storied careers on such an approach but losing and yelling is a bad combination.
Richmond fans may have forgotten, but they lost to the Suns last week in the most excruciatingly painful fashion possible.
It will be interesting to see if the Tigers have learnt not to stop when they’re 40 points up.
I think they can, memories of last week will linger I imagine.
Tigers to win.
Carlton vs. Geelong (MCG) 7:25pm Fox/Seven
Normally at this time of the year, Carlton have migrated well south on the ladder, where they stay until the start of the new footy season.
This year, and I don’t know why, maybe global warming, they’ve stayed up in the Northern parts of the ladder.
If this isn’t reason enough to redouble our efforts to fight global warming, I don’t know what is.
Geelong are used to being in the top eight, it’s their natural habitat.
The Cats had an excellent win last week, and another win here and they could cement themselves in the top two.
Now many will say Geelong are too old, or can’t perform in finals, and you too should say that, whenever you’re around Cats fans. And jokes about them being old are clichéd and the sign of a hack comic.
The problem is, at this point that’s all we can bag them about. Things seem to be going exceptionally well for them.
This is incredibly annoying because the only reason to be friends with a Geelong supporter is to be able to bag them. This is a strategy that’s backfired on me a lot.
Carlton have come off a big win against the Eagles, but I’m still suspicious about them, decades of habit are hard to overturn.
Cats to win.
Fremantle vs. Sydney (OS) 7:30pm Fox Footy
Thanks to Lance Franklin’s agent, the media are breathlessly reporting he could leave the Swans, because the hundreds of thousands of dollars they’re offering him could not be enough.
Poor Buddy, how will he make ends meet?
Not that Franklin wouldn’t have suitors, why, he is only now coming into the age bracket where Geelong would consider recruiting him.
The Swans would probably prefer not to have the distraction the week they’re heading off to Perth to face the Dockers.
And lo and behold, what’s one team the media have speculated Lance could go to?
It’s almost like this has been planned.
But Fremantle doesn’t really need Buddy. They’ve got a ton of talent. Their job is to improve that and keep it together.
Their immediate focus is trying to lock down a top two spot, something all of us predicted they would do when the season started.
I’m tipping the Dockers.
Hawthorn vs. West Coast (MCG) 1:10pm Fox Footy
West Coast seemed to be on the improve until last week, right until the moment Carlton ran all over them like a garbage truck meeting a polystyrene box.
This week, Adam Simpson said he was committed to the Eagles for the long term, shooting down any talk of North Melbourne approaching him.
He said there’s “no need” for the Kangaroos to inquire.
It’s a bit like me declaring there’s ‘no need’ for Scarlett Johansson to ask me out.
This week, mid-season draftee Jai Culley will debut for the Eagles, completing his switch from working in a chicken shop to full time AFL player.
It’s an amazing story and he’ll be thrilled that you don’t have to work as hard at the Eagles as he did when serving chicken and chips.
Hawthorn finally got a win last week, which only proved what trouble the Crows are in.
This is a match I can barely be bothered tipping let alone watching. I’m going to tip the Eagles but really, whatever.
Melbourne vs. Port Adelaide (TIO) 3:20pm Fox/Seven
The Dees need this one after hitting the skids in recent months and to stay up in the top two.
While Port’s season may be over, I’m not sure they know that; it still being mathematically possible for them to make the eight.
Melbourne have ruled out rushing Clayton Oliver back, which while smart in the long term, is a big blow.
You can’t replace Oliver, even if teams say things like ‘next man up’, because so often the ‘next man up’ is the next man up because they’re not as good as the one they’re replacing.
Port have a key out too, Ken Hinkley, who has ‘entered Health and Safety protocols’ which sound ominous.
Depending on your view, this could be a blessing more than a curse.
I’m tipping the Dees, but if they lose this, I’m going to need to reconsider opening up the crying cupboard again.
Essendon vs. Gold Coast (MS) 4:40pm Fox Footy
The Gold Coast are still in the hunt for finals, and a huge percentage boosting win over the Bombers would do wonders for them.
The sad thing for them is the Bombers have started winning, which is not on brand for them.
Part of the recent success and one of the few bright spots in Essendon’s season has been former Sun Peter Wright.
Wright is the very definition of a ‘big unit’. He’s always been tall but now he’s also got shoulders that take several hours to get across by car.
Gold Coast can’t also rely on a team getting ahead by 40 points and then blowing it, as fun as that was.
This is Stuart Dew’s 100th game coaching the Suns, and while not many of them have been wins, or even watchable, he’s finally got them heading in the right direction.
I’m tipping Gold Coast.
You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus
My new podcast Sports Bizarre is out now: https://sportsbizarre.com/