Mar 18, 2021
A highly unhelpful guide to Round One
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 One.
Richmond vs Carlton (MCG) 7:25pm Seven, Fox
It would be inaccurate to say ‘footy’s back’.
Some people say that it’s because the AFLW has been back for months and saying ‘footy’s back’ maligns that competition.
But really, I think you can’t say it because footy never really ends.
Between Eddie resigning, the AFL draft, the trade period, the man on the mark rule and the new concussion sub rule, did it ever really go away?
Can you come back if you never left?
At least we can say that footy is back at the MCG, and that really did go away. It left a giant hole in my heart too.
Going to the footy is the rock upon which my belief system is built.
Finally, I can walk back into a stadium, have the traditional ‘half-assed waving of the metal detector wand’, followed by the ‘has inflation spun out of control like in the Weimar Republic?’ moment when purchasing a beer and a pie, then the ‘this mid-strength beer tastes like pure sadness’ sensation.
I can’t wait.
And for this game, due to Richmond not being able to unfurl their 2019 flag in front of fans last year, they’re going to unfurl both the 2019 and 2020 flags in front of Carlton.
That seems unnecessarily cruel.
It’s like seeking out a homeless person to tell them you’ve just bought a second house.
There will be twenty-year-old Carlton fans completely perplexed by a premiership flag but I’m sure the Richmond faithful will only be too happy to explain what they are.
Carlton have added Zac Williams and Adam Saad and this makes them a real chance to lose by slightly less tonight, which is exciting.
Collingwood vs Western Bulldogs (MCG) 7:50pm Seven, Fox
The thing that’s already making me happy about 2021, is you’re far more likely to get into a conversation about footy rather than the coronavirus.
Talking about the coronavirus wasn’t that different from talking footy. Everyone was an expert.
‘A mate of mine has heard the lockdown is going to go two more weeks because his sister’s mechanics hairdresser knows a guy who works in the health department,’ replaced wild footy speculation.
The big storyline in this game is Adam Treloar will face the side that threw him overboard to lighten the salary load that threatened to sink them.
It will also be the first game since 1999 Eddie McGuire hasn’t been president for.
McGuire bobbed up last night on Footy Classified and in his usually apologetic mode carefully explained of his remarks on the Do Better report, that ‘people took it the wrong way.’
What idiots we all are.
How the Pies will go this year is a big unknown. Under Eddie, Nathan Buckley had the job security of a Federal Minister, but now that’s gone.
The Bulldogs are thrilled to get Treloar in a fire sale, and it should really help them, their midfield is now one of the best in the league.
They should win this.
Melbourne vs Fremantle (MCG) 1:45pm Fox
It’s ridiculous this game needed a capacity cap of 50,000. The appeal of these teams creates a natural cap that is at least half that.
It’s like putting in place a rule that I can’t date someone intelligent and attractive, completely unnecessary.
This game is terrifying to any Melbourne fan. Round one, at home, against a team that should be behind them in terms of development.
It has ‘devastating loss’ written all over it.
Everyone knows Simon Goodwin has to make finals this year or he’s gone. The Dees even brought in Mark Williams and Adem Yze and have them in the ‘break glass in case of an emergency box.
Williams is seen by some as too erratic to be a senior coach again, but he did win a premiership. I’d take erratic every time if it led to a premiership. A tight grip on reality is not a criteria I value in a coach anyway.
Ben Brown joins the Dees to fix their forward line woes, but in typical Melbourne fashion, not only did he get injured, so did Sam Weideman. Rational thought would tell you these things aren’t linked, but this is Melbourne, and we all know they are cursed. Of course, they are linked.
Fremantle showed great progress last year, they had the look of a team that knows what it’s doing, which really stands out in the AFL.
I annoyed Freo fans in the offseason when in response to people complaining about the booing at the Australian Open, I said ‘wait until those people see a game at Optus Stadium.’
Dockers fans were quick to point out that was Eagles fans, not them.
I want to apologise to them. In no way did I mean any offence. I just completely forgot their team existed. This is an easy thing to do, The West Australian do it on a daily basis.
Fremantle to win.
Adelaide vs Geelong (AO) 4:35pm Fox
Geelong’s season doesn’t start until next week, but this live practice will be shown on Fox Footy.
As part of their youth policy, the Cats went out and got Shaun Higgins, Jeremy Cameron and Isaac Smith in the offseason.
There are RSLs with lower average ages.
It is nice to see top players go to a team that made the Grand Final last year.
Damn these AFL players wanting to go to competent clubs that have a chance of winning premierships.
Why don’t they want to go to hopeless clubs? I know the rest of us in our careers always prefer to go to jobs with terrible cultures and a history of failure. Typical AFL players thinking they’re better than us.
The Cats did lose Gary Ablett and Harry Taylor, meaning this is the first Geelong side to not have a player in it, who was alive at Federation.
Adelaide are certainly on the right track if you’re a Port supporter.
It’s going to be another long year for Crows supporters, but I’m sure they console themselves with the knowledge that their club always makes good decisions.
Cats to win.
Essendon vs Hawthorn (Marvel) 7:25pm Seven, Fox
The Bombers hold the record for the number of days without winning a final, but where most teams would relax after getting the record, Essendon seems fully committed to extending their streak.
They managed to move on Joe Daniher, Adam Saad and Orazio Fantasia over summer and another year without a finals win seems well within their reach.
Ben Rutten finally gets some clear air to coach. Last year’s set up was a bit like having a back seat driver telling you that everything you are doing is wrong.
A review by Essendon highlighted a clash over coaching philosophies between Worsfold and Rutten. File that review under ‘Reviews that teach us things everyone already knew'. You know, were 97 per cent of reviews get filed.
Hawthorn aren’t looking that good either. Apparently, they’ve got Carlton’s coach coaching them this season.
Seriously, every year people tell us Clarko is off somewhere. It’s like predicting an enormous earthquake, wait long enough and you’ll eventually be proved right I get.
This is at Marvel Stadium who earlier this week told spectators they couldn’t stand at their seats, only to change it no standing for long periods.
It makes total sense. Everyone knows you’re far less likely to catch Covid if you’re sitting down.
Essendon to win.
Brisbane vs Sydney (G) 7:45pm Fox
Brisbane will be ruing their finals exit last year, so to improve their highly inaccurate goalkicking, they went out and got… Joe Daniher.
Don’t get me wrong, everyone knows when Joe is on, it’s amazing, but that’s about as frequent as Federal Parliament sits.
Brisbane may fix his injury problems, but it’s hard to see that happening given Essendon’s medical team has been on the cutting edge of medical science in recent years.
Sydney lost Aliir Aliir in the offseason, deciding Port’s offer was too long and too expensive to match.
Instead, they’ve focused on a two-track strategy. On one track they’re trying to get as many games as possible into a young core of players. On the other track, they’re trying to get as little games as possible into Lance Franklin.
Will we see Buddy back on the field this year? It’s possible. I mean we could find a Tasmanian Tiger this year too, or Cameron Ling could say something insightful on commentary.
Lots of things are possible, even if the odds are extremely low.
Brisbane to win.
Tasmania vs Port Adelaide (Marvel) 1:10pm Fox
The Kangaroos spent the offseason building a team to compete for 18th spot on the ladder and their list should have them in contention.
They parted company with Ben Brown in the off-season. Brown said, ‘I want out’ and like me at the end of a relationship, North yelled ‘Well I was about to dump you anyway!” I’m not sure if the Kangaroos then ran to their room and cried for three days, but I suspect they did.
To their credit, they did recruit Jaidyn Stephenson, after driving past the Holden Centre on hard rubbish day and seeing him just sitting there.
While North fans don’t have anything to look forward to this year, Port fans can barely contain themselves.
They would do well to temper their expectations, however. The jury is, after all, still out on whether Port Adelaide can fill the enormous Jack Watts shaped hole in their roster.
Port recruited Aliir Aliir and Orazio Fantasia in the offseason, making them the team you’ll most hate to watch while BT is commentating.
Port to win.
Greater Western Sydney vs St Kilda (GS) 3:20pm Seven, Fox
The Giants saw Jeremy Cameron, Zac Williams and Zac Langdon leave over the offseason, so to steady the ship they appointed Toby Greene vice-captain.
So derivative. The Australian Cricket team appointed David Warner ages ago.
Warner certainly showed us that appointing someone with discipline issues to back up the Captain works wonders.
Luckily, the Giants have Stephen Coniglio, who they’ve always backed in as captain 100 per cent.
The Giants did get Jesse Hogan, and as someone who has always seemed to dislike the AFL spotlight, in Western Sydney, he should now be the happiest he’s ever been,
St Kilda picked up Brad Crouch and Jack Higgins over summer and will be hoping they can continue building on the rather excellent season they had last year.
Brett Ratten’s side showed uncharacteristic periods of competency last years and if they can just increase their duration, well, something unlike St Kilda could happen.
Saints to win.
West Coast vs Gold Coast (OS) 6:10pm Fox
Willie Rioli will return this season. You couldn’t miss that news, especially in Western Australia, with The West Australian newspaper publishing an eight-page wrap around to mark the occasion.
I’m glad they didn’t go over the top.
The Eagles should have a much better season this year given they don’t have to visit Queensland so often.
Not since Campbell Newman has someone performed so badly in Queensland.
Gold Coast continue to build around a young core of Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson, Ben King, Izak Rankine and Jack Lukosius.
The Suns are as young as Geelong are old. Like last year, I expect them to do well early before succumbing to the grind of the season.
The AFL season is like parenting. It starts off excitingly, progressively gets hard, then you just wish it was over.
At least in the AFL season there’s a winner in the end.
West Coast to win.
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