May 31, 2019
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Eleven
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 Eleven.
North Melbourne vs Richmond (MS) Seven & Fox 7:50pm
North Melbourne enter the post-Brad Scott era with the club promising to attract a ‘master coach’.
This being North, the chance they’ll now end up with the furthest thing from a master coach is assured.
Rhys Shaw is now the man in the hot seat, and it’s a tough position to be in. He wants to show he can coach, but if he does too well, he could end up coaching North Melbourne.
Talk about walking a tightrope. Sometimes it a good idea to pretend you’re not very good at a job or people keep asking you to do it.
Richmond fans were once connoisseurs of an ill thought through coaching change but are now in a very different position. Their coach is a stabilising influence at the club, but their problem is injuries.
Not that you’d notice it, they keep winning through an odd approach, having a game plan and every one playing a role that both suits them and supports that plan. This is revolutionary stuff in the AFL.
In good news this week for the Tigers, apart from playing North, is the return of Trent Cotchin.
They would beat the Kangaroos without him, but it’s nice to ease him back in with a light training session.
Collingwood vs Fremantle (MCG) Fox 1:45pm
Fremantle are coming off an exciting win against the Lions, but now they face one of the competition benchmarks in Collingwood.
It’s almost impossible to beat the Pies on the MCG, unless you’re the Eagles and it’s the Grand Final.
It’s tough to know how the Dockers will approach this.
My suspicion is Ross Lyon’s strategy will be to try and keep the Pies under 40 points, to give his side a reasonable chance of outscoring them.
Lyon doesn’t care if his game style is boring for AFL fans to watch. They only people that care less about the fans’ opinion work at AFL House.
Collingwood are welcoming back Travis Varcoe, Darcy Moore and Jordan De Goey, so a few handy ins.
Nathan Buckley said this week that Fremantle are top two material. Now either Buckley is pursuing a new career in comedy, or he was just being nice.
The only thing the Dockers are top two in is ‘sides coached by Ross Lyon’.
The Dockers will struggle against the most handsome ruckman in the competition, Brodie Grundy, who willed the Pies over Sydney last week.
Not to bring up unpleasant memories, but the Pies destroyed the Dockers last year at the MCG to the tune of 61 points.
This could be just as nasty.
Greater Western Sydney vs Gold Coast (SSS) Fox 1:45pm
These teams will always be tied to each other due to being the most recent expansion sides to join the competition and their wacky adventures in recruiting League players.
For a long time, we all thought Karmichael Hunt was the worst former league player/person drafted by an AFL club, but Israel Folau has been working hard to retroactively overturn that decision in recent years.
Too little too late Israel.
I’m still not over Folau’s anti-fornicator comments. I felt personally attacked.
Not that I am a fornicator, but I hope to be one day. It’s certainly not through a lack of trying.
In the time these two clubs have existed, the Giants have built a list that has promised a lot and delivered little. The Suns, on the other hand, have promised nothing and delivered so much less.
At least this season the Suns have introduced new things like tackling and effort to their repertoire.
Despite this new found commitment to the basics of our great game, the Suns will struggle here.
The Giants just have too many good players.
Geelong vs Sydney (GMHBA) Fox 4:35pm
Daniel Menzel finally makes his debut for the Swans, and it’s against his old club.
Like many people, he’s discovered that just when you think you’ve made it out of Geelong, they pull you back in.
The Swans got Menzel at the end of last year and the Cats for Gary Rohan. Both players represent each clubs’ fortunes.
Menzel hasn’t played this year, and Rohan has been great for the Cats.
Geelong will be without Gary Ablett who finally achieved his life’s ambition and got a week off.
Getting suspended was one thing Ablett hadn’t achieved in football, so I guess he was just keen to check that box. Unfortunately, the AFL wasn’t helping him, and he had to really work at it.
The AFL often say the head is sacrosanct, but looking at their match review decisions, I often wonder if they know what sacrosanct means. Or head.
With Patrick Dangerfield returning, I can’t see the Swans winning this.
Brisbane vs Hawthorn (G) Fox 7:25pm
Luke Hodge in a Lions jumper is still a strange thing to see and playing against his old club is sure to trigger the Hawks faithful. Well, it would, but they don’t watch their team in the down years.
Not since my parents have I seen a group of people give up on something so quickly.
And make no mistake, this is a disastrous season by Hawthorn standards, they are only a slight chance of playing finals.
There was some good news for Hawthorn this week, with Clarkson moving swiftly to shut down any talk of coaching North Melbourne.
The speed at which he did it was insulting to North though. I mean, no one was taking it seriously, it would be like the guy married to a Victoria Secret model running off with the homeless guy that lives under the bridge.
Brisbane are trying to keep their finals dream alive and will be still furious at their inability to close out the game against Fremantle.
They beat the Hawks twice last year and can certainly do so again, but it’s no certainty.
This will be close, but I’m tipping the Lions.
Melbourne vs Adelaide (TIO) Seven & Fox 7:40pm
Tom Lynch returns to the Crows to add support to Tex Walker. Not necessarily on the field but to give Adelaide fans someone else to vent against.
Following two losses, a defeat here to Melbourne would send the Crows into a meltdown, so this is a must win.
This game is in Darwin, so the relevant information for Demons fans is the following:
Mt Buller will be open from this Saturday with free skiing and boarding on Bourke Street with the use of the new Bourke Street Express chairlift.
The resort has received over 63cm of snow this week, and as a result, the mountain is open a week earlier than expected.
Crows to win this.
St Kilda vs Port Adelaide (Jiangwan Stadium) Fox 2:40pm
Since the AFL started playing in China, basketball has exploded in popularity in the country.
You know the AFL is serious about winning over a country when they send St Kilda in. Just look at the wonderful job they did converting New Zealand to our great game.
The AFL opened an office in China recently in a sign their interest in the country shows no signs of slowing down.
Why are the AFL so interested in the Middle Kingdom? It’s not hard to figure out why. It’s not the billion people there; it’s the political system.
A one party, authoritarian state where any opposition or criticism is brutally squashed. This is the system the AFL has been trying to build for decades.
Port’s season continues to be about consistent as these columns. At least they know how to manage the China trip and should have the edge over the Saints.
St Kilda needs a win, and fast, they’ve been linked to Brad Scott, which is a worrying sign. Things are bad at Moorabbin, but surely they’re not that bad?
I’m tipping the Power.
Essendon vs Carlton (MCG) Seven & Fox 3:20pm
Dale Thomas have possibly the worst week of anyone, outside of Josh Deluca, who got drafted by Carlton in the midseason draft. My thoughts are obviously with him and his family.
At least he goes in as a top five player at his new club.
Daisy got in a lot of trouble for drinking too much the Friday ahead of a Sunday game, but to be honest, it had no impact on the result.
In fact, both Melbourne and Carlton are two teams that could play drunk, and you wouldn’t notice.
That’s a new standard I now judge teams against, could this team have produced this perfromance while poleaxed?
While Bolton is in enormous trouble, John Worsfold could be not that far behind, especially if the Bombers lose this.
Worsfold constantly says after losses that his team is ‘learning.’
At the moment they seem like the guy in eighth grade who’s eighteen. There’s not a lot if learning going on.
A lot of Essendon fans complain that Worsfold has no ‘plan B’. It’s charitable of them to pretend he has a plan A.
I suppose some people will go along and watch this, there’s no shortage of masochists AFL fans, but with the weather predicted to be 14 and showers, the AFL should be paying them.
Essendon to win.
West Coast vs Western Bulldogs (OS) Fox 5:20pm
This will be the Eagles fifth win in a row, building on the come from behind victory against Adelaide the week before.
While the Bulldogs had their moments, they couldn’t meet the run of West Coast’s midfield, or the potency of their forward line.
It continued the Bulldogs’ struggles with consistency over four quarters and leaves the Doggies now well out of the eight.
As for the Eagles, while they got the job done, they continue to be below last season’s form. The good news is they continue to win and will hope they can find the next gear as we enter the second half of the season.
Sorry, I just thought it would save time if I wrote Monday’s article today.
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