Jun 18, 2021
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Fourteen
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 Fourteen.
Geelong vs Western Bulldogs (GMHBA) 7:50pm Seven/Fox
Luckily, David Mackay has been cleared and footy, which was apparently on the verge of ending immediately, will now continue.
It’s amazing how many near-death scares footy has, flooding, tunnelling and the multiple ‘death of the bump’ moments.
Add to that the constant refrain ‘it was better in the old days' and it’s surprising it’s still around.
Yet footy continues to grow in popularity, fans, and money. It’s almost like these things are not as serious as people make out.
Why does footy keep keeping on despite all these near-death experiences? Because it’s awesome. We don’t say that enough.
Footy is one of humanity’s greatest achievements.
This game is a real example of how good footy is. The ageless Cats going up against the exciting Bulldogs.
Unfortunately, only 7,000 spectators will get to go to this as Victoria’s quick ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown lingers around like a terrible guest that won’t leave.
How I long for the day when we can once again just go to the football without having to plan it like a military operation.
Geelong got the job done against Port last week, and at home, you’d back them to knock over the Bulldogs.
Although now that I’ve tipped them, a Bulldogs victory is pretty much assured.
Gold Coast vs Port Adelaide (MS) 1:45pm Fox
Like a souvlaki after a big night out, playing the Gold Coast is just what you need after a loss.
Port didn’t play badly against Geelong last week; they just weren’t good enough to win. It raises a lot of questions about their chances in the finals, but lucky for them it’s June, there’s still time to fix things.
Gold Coast is a team running out of time. A season in which you’d expect to see some level of improvement sees them sitting in 15th position.
Of all the expansion clubs in recent decades, the Suns have made the odd strategic decision to copy Fremantle.
Port has issues off the field. This week Zak Butters, Mitch Georgiades, Ollie Lord and Dylan Williams went to the Olympic swimming trials and were pictured not wearing masks.
They weren’t even wearing the masks incorrectly as many in the crowd around them were. They just didn’t have them on at all.
Given the AFL keep having to negotiate with State Governments to keep the season going, this was a boneheaded move.
I get it, masks are annoying, no one likes wearing them. As well as being uncomfortable, they’re a constant reminder that things are not normal.
A lot of us even wonder how effective they really are, but we wear them because if there’s a chance they save lives, then we prefer to respect the people around us.
While so many AFL players have made a real sacrifice to keep the season going, and done the right thing, there are a few entitled ones that give the rest a bad name. The sense that a percentage of them don’t think the rules apply to them is only reinforced.
One thing I would add is that masks aren’t all bad. I have a lot of people tell me they prefer seeing me with three-quarters of my face covered up.
“Have you considered wearing a balaclava all the time?” someone recently asked me. It was a terrible start to a first date.
Port to win.
North Melbourne vs Brisbane (BA) 4:35pm Fox
The last time these two played, the Lions won by a solitary point. That was last year though, and the Kangaroos are a very different side this year.
North already has one hand on the wooden spoon, and I can’t see them not securing it over the next month.
David Noble was general manager of football at Brisbane for four years, meaning he has a lot of knowledge about how the Lions play and an idea of how to beat them.
But knowing how to drive somewhere is all well and good, but not when you don’t have a car.
That’s North’s problem this year. If the AFL season was a V8 race, they would be riding a kid’s tricycle.
Despite all Noble’s knowledge, I can’t see the Kangaroos getting past the Lions.
Greater Western Sydney vs Carlton (GS) 7:25pm Seven/Fox
Given the Giants only managed a draw against North, and Carlton are Carlton, this might be one of the worst Saturday night games in some time.
Carlton is also going through a full review of the footy department as a pretence to bringing in Ross Lyon.
In some good news for the Blues, Harry McKay has signed a two-year contract extension. I love when a player chooses club loyalty over premierships.
Further good news for the Blues is that Shane ‘I was just clumsy’ Mumford won’t be playing this game, making Carlton’s players chances of surviving the game reasonably good.
Leon Cameron defended his ruckman this week explaining, “There is some legitimate awkwardness, he’s no ballet dancer.”
But that’s a bit too clever, no one is asking him to perform a pirouette, just not to play dirty.
I’m tipping the Giants here, mainly because Carlton has earned a lot of trust when it comes to losing.
Hawthorn vs Essendon (UTAS) 3:20pm Fox
Bombers fans feel like they’ve already had a big win this week, with Zach Merrett re-sign for another six years.
It’s probably the best news Essendon have had in twenty years.
This game has been moved to Launceston, where it sold out less than two hours. Who knew Tasmanians were fans of Australian Rules footy? Not the AFL.
It’s almost like they deserve a team of their own.
One reason there’s a bit of interest is Hawthorn won a game last week in a rare display of competency.
All Hawthorn’s players should be commended for playing like they wanted to last week, it could be a new approach for this team.
Essendon keeps showing positive signs, they look like a team ready to break out.
Of course, we’re all a bit sceptical, they’ve threatened this before, only to become dormant again.
But in a sign that things may be changing, I haven’t seen a single ‘Essendon need to get Hird back in some capacity’ column this year, a huge step forward.
I’m tipping Essendon.
Byes: Adelaide, Collingwood, Fremantle, Melbourne, Richmond, St Kilda, Sydney, West Coast
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