Apr 07, 2022
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Four
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 Four.
Port Adelaide vs. Melbourne (AO) 7:40pm Seven/Fox
Pressure. It’s not just a song by Billy Joel.
It’s also what Ken Hinkley is feeling right now after Port Adelaide have hit the snooze alarm three times since the season kicked off.
To me, it’s far too early to write off the Power, let’s give it to round five.
Facing the reigning premiers is not ideal when you’re 0-3, but if there’s one team that can turn it around, it’s not Port.
Perhaps most worryingly for Hinkley is that the CEO wrote a letter to members offering Ken his and the club's full support. That should set the alarm bells ringing.
The Demons get Jake Lever back from injury, but Ben Brown will miss again as he only gets out of the health and safety protocols hours before the game.
I couldn’t agree with Damien Hardwick’s call to change the rules around close contacts, this is impacting my team now.
I’m fine when they affect the Eagles, but when Victorian clubs are being hurt, it needs to change.
Personally, I don’t think any laws should apply to footy players. Too many players have their careers messed around by the pesky rules which we mere mortals must follow.
Enough I say.
I’m tipping the Dees.
Geelong vs. Brisbane (GMHBA) 7:50pm Seven/Fox
Geelong showed last week that despite the criticism they are too old, they are still a tough side to beat.
Honestly, I don’t know where those who say the Cats are too old get off. There’s no real evidence of it.
Anyway, playing one of the top sides, Geelong will rest Joel Selwood.
Last week, the Lions ‘played’ the North Melbourne ‘Football’ Club, so they should be incredibly well rested.
But playing Geelong in the house that Pork Barrelling built is a huge step up from last week, and the Lions haven’t won there since 2003.
If I remember correctly, the Lions were half decent back in 2003.
I’m tipping the Cats.
Sydney vs. North Melbourne (SCG) 4:35pm Fox Footy
North Melbourne have copped a lot of heat this week after their somewhat lacklustre performance against Brisbane.
How quickly people forget they defeated West Coast. I mean, West Coast had several people who had never played footy before in that side, but still.
Let’s remember, North are only on a one-game losing streak and they sit above West Coast, Port Adelaide, and Essendon on the ladder, which is fun to write.
Sydney return to the place where just two weeks ago, a person scattered their grandma’s ashes all over the grass.
Perhaps instead of the MCG, the SCG can now be called the ‘people’s ground’ because it is literally covered in people.
Personally, I prefer a workplace not littered with people’s ashes, but I know I’m probably in the minority there.
Swans to win.
Collingwood vs. West Coast (Marvel) 4:35pm Fox Footy
If the West Coast Eagles season was a racehorse, the screen would have been rolled out long ago.
Frankly, it seems cruel just to let it go on.
Analysing their team is pretty much impossible. Their line-up is about as stable as a Central American democracy.
Watching what’s happened to the Eagles is terrible, I’m sure like all of you, I’m thinking, why couldn’t this happen to Collingwood?
In fairness, they do lose Taylor Adams to covid, but playing the Eagles, I’m not sure you even need to replace him.
Collingwood learnt an important lesson against Geelong last week, Australian Rules Football consists of four quarters.
It’s a big oversight to get that wrong.
Even most Pies supporters can count that high.
Pies to win.
Richmond vs. Western Bulldogs (MCG) 7:25 PM Fox Footy
With the dynasty over, again. The media have proclaimed the death of the Richmond dynasty more often than the end of American innocence. It seems to occur on a weekly basis.
Quite simply, AFL is such a running game these days, a team needs to apply pressure all over the ground for four quarters.
This is possible to do for a few years, but then players age, they slow up a bit and the cracks in the dam grow until it breaks.
Then everyone acts surprised, although this happens every single time.
If the footy media covered the weather, they would write headlines like ‘will the sun come up tomorrow?’
There are goldfish with longer memories.
The Bulldogs have two wins this season, against Sydney and Tom Morris.
A win against Sydney papered over some of the cracks but they need to win this to show they are moving in the right direction.
I’m tipping they’ll win and if they do, I think it’s fair to say the Richmond dynasty is over. You heard it here first.
Fremantle vs Greater Western Sydney (OS) 7:25 PM Fox Footy
Justin Longmuir will miss another game due to health and safety protocols, meaning the Dockers will have assistant coach Jaymie “not sure it’s spelt that way’ Graham filling in again.
Personally, I think the AFL have missed a real opportunity here. When a coach is out due to Covid protocols, the team should instead be coached by people on Twitter using polls.
This isn’t such a crazy idea.
In 1951, Bill Veeck, who owned the baseball team the St Louis Browns, organised a ‘Grandstand Manager’s Day’.
Fans sitting behind home plate got to call all the plays instead of manager Zack Taylor.
Veeck held up signs asking things like ‘should the player bunt’ or ‘should he try to steal a base’ or ‘should we change the pitcher’ and the crowd would hold up signs with a thumbs up or a thumbs down.
While this all happened, Zack Taylor sat in a rocking chair, puffing on a pipe.
As managers, the fans turned out to be pretty good. The Browns won 5–3, ending a four-game losing streak.
How we are not doing this now is beyond me.
Greater Western Sydney announced this week they’ve delayed contract negotiations with Leon Cameron.
This is hardly surprising given his tenure there and the uncertainty about the future.
Depending on how the Giants go, there could be an exciting opportunity for someone to coach the second most popular AFL side in NSW.
I’m tipping the Dockers.
Essendon vs. Adelaide (Marvel) 1:10pm Fox Footy
Some glass-half-empty types may say that Essendon’s worst worse start to the season in 55 years is a disgrace and the team is playing well below its ability.
But if you’re like me, a glass half full type of person, you’d say that Essendon can’t win finals anyway so their regular-season record doesn’t matter.
The real crisis will begin if they lose this, a Crows side that’s still developing and playing at Marvel.
If Essendon are defeated, their fans will go ballistic. Fingers crossed.
The Crows announced Taylor Walker will return this week on Twitter, tweeting ‘he’s back’, with a smiling emoji wearing sunnies.
A smiling emoji wearing sunnies is the traditional symbol to mark someone returning from a ban for making a racist slur. There’s an emoji for everything!
Essendon to win.
Hawthorn vs. St Kilda (MCG) 3:20pm Seven/Fox
Look, I love nostalgia as much as the next person. Remembering times past when things seemed better is fun and all, but this ‘Hawthorn being in the top four’ is enough for me.
The other blast of nostalgia coming from Hawthorn has been news of Jeff Kennett saying insulting things to people.
I’m not sure this is a rare enough occurrence to be newsworthy, like reporting a story that says Scott Morrison failed to do something he promised, or that Nickelback’s new album isn’t very good.
“But this was a racist comment’ some people say.
What, you’re telling me the person who described themselves as the ‘leader of the unofficial Golliwog Liberation Party’ could have said something racist? Surely not.
On the field, however, Hawthorn have been playing well above expectations, and now they face Max King and some other players.
St Kilda are back in their traditional home, just outside the eight.
In King, they have a player who can split a game wide open. It will be fascinating to see how the club can stuff up his career from here.
I’m tipping the Saints.
Gold Coast vs. Carlton (MS) 4:10pm Fox Footy
Premiership favourites Carlton are a real chance of not dropping a game this season.
They are an unstoppable juggernaut and it’s good to see their fans not waiting for the team to be officially anointed and to just start celebrating the premiership straight away.
The Blues haven’t been 4-0 since 1995, but with this win a mere formality, the darkness of the past 30 years has lifted, and the humble but appreciative Carlton fans of the past are now back.
As for the Gold Coast, they’ve forgone their usual hot start to the season and gone straight to not winning. It’s a bold approach but probably not one that’s going to pay off in the long run.
Personally, I would have gone with winning, and I’m surprised more clubs don’t adopt that approach, but then, I know I’ve studied the game for decades and have insights that elude most.
I’m tipping Carlton which still feels weird to say, but I just can’t imagine them stuffing things up from here.
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