Jul 08, 2021
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Seventeen
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 Seventeen.
Port Adelaide vs Melbourne (AO) 7:40pm Seven/Fox
Melbourne have broken the glass and called Ben Brown up to try to save the mid-season slump that has Demons fans again reaching for what they consider ‘the cheap stuff’, Penfold Grange.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a perfectly good cooking wine, but I wouldn’t serve it to guests.
Brown’s not the perfect fix for Melbourne’s issues; getting smashed in the clearances is not something Brown can help them with.
But the big positive for the Dees is they perform well against the top teams, while Port Adelaide do not.
Yet if ever the Power are going to show they can compete against other finalists, it’s in this game. Melbourne have been more unsteady than a kid learning to ride a bike.
The true test of this Demons side is that when things start to go pear shaped, they don’t collapse in a heap and go into hiding like our Prime Minister.
If they do bounce back, they will do something Demons fans have rarely seen.
I’d love to tip them, but I’ve been at this too long, I’m tipping the Power, but how I wish to be proved wrong.
Essendon vs Adelaide (MS) 7:50pm Seven/Fox
For a team with a lot of positive vibes around them, the Bombers have still lost three of their last five games, and this week they’ll be without Dyson Heppell, who had surgery on his thumb this week.
Essendon have done a lot to secure their stars of the future off the field, extending the contracts of Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish and now they’re trying to lock in Jake String, on a high incentivised contract.
It makes a lot of sense for the club, they want to buy the good Jake Stringer we see on occasion, not the ineffective one we see more regularly.
For Stringer, it’s a less appealing offer, even though he’s been more consistent this year.
He’ll probably be hoping another club, desperate for a key forward will come to the table with a less incentivised contract. Someone like Collingwood, but I doubt the Pies would be that silly, their list management being such a strength in recent years.
The Crows are currently searching for a new home base and are expected to bid for the former Brompton gasworks site.
I hope they get it, nothing would please me more than the Crows new headquarters being literally built on top of hot air.
Essendon to win.
Hawthorn vs Fremantle (UTAS) 1:45pm Fox
Oh dear. Things have really escalated at the Hawks, with them firing Alastair Clarkson and replacing him with Sam Mitchell.
Oh yes, I know it’s technically a ‘coaching transition’, but Clarko didn’t want it, and effectively he was told his contract wouldn’t be extended beyond 2022, which to me is being fired.
Jeff Kennett has never been comfortable with Clarkson, a man who never kowtowed to Kennett and that made Jeff feel like he wasn’t the most important person at the club.
You can just hear Jeff in the Hawks board meeting.
Jeff: “What has Alastair Clarkson ever done for us?”
“Rebuilt our team from being a joke in the competition?”
Jeff: “Oh. Yeah, yeah. He did do that. Uh, that’s true. Yeah.”
“And the 2008 premiership.”
Jeff: “Yeah. All right. I’ll grant you rebuilding our club and the 2008 premiership are two things that Alastair Clarkson has done.”
“Then there’s the premiership threepeat.”
“And turning us into a financial powerhouse.”
Jeff: “All right, but apart from rebuilding the club, the 2008 premiership, the threepeat and turning us into a financial powerhouse, what has Alastair Clarkson ever done for us?”
“A lifetime record of 225–156–2.”
Jeff: “Oh. A lifetime record of 225–156–2. Shut up!”
Coaching transitions can work of course, it’s just it seems for them to do so, they need the senior coach to be a key driver, not have them thrust upon them.
All the Hawks have done is sack a proven coach, arguably the greatest of all time, for an unproven coach. Calling it a ‘transition’ is an insult to Hawks fans.
It could work, but it’s riskier than going to the pub and telling your mates you’ll just have one.
Hawks to win, it’s Clarko’s last game after all.
Carlton vs Geelong (MCG) 4:35pm Fox
Can Carlton win three games in a row? It theoretically possible, it has happened before I think, it was so long ago.
The good news is this is a home game, avoiding Geelong in Geelong is always something to be relieved about.
The Cats though have a few issues, mainly Jeremy Cameron’s hamstring, although I’m hearing Geelong’s medical team have cleared Jeremy Cameron to play.
I’m just glad Geelong’s medical team is not in charge of our Covid response. They’d probably be calling for the end of Sydney’s lockdown.
I really feel for the people of Sydney, lockdowns are worse than Channel Seven’s commentary team, and for all the interstate bickering, the fighting between governments, it’s the average punter that cops it.
It’s the feeling of complete powerlessness in lockdown that grounds you down, like no matter how much you do the right thing, there’s another group of people not helping. It’s like barracking for a club with an inept board, something Carlton fans can relate to.
I’m tipping Geelong, although just quietly, I wouldn’t clear Cameron to play.
Brisbane vs St Kilda (MS) 7:25pm Seven/Fox
St Kilda’s season is back on with an impressive ‘barely beating Collingwood’ display.
You’ll pardon my scepticism, but the Saints have hardly resurrected their season as I’ve seen some people claim.
And playing Brisbane is a fair step up in class from the Pies, like going from flying a kite to a F-18 Hornet.
Technically both go up in the air, but the similarities drop away pretty quickly after that.
The Lions still strike me as the team most likely to win the premiership, their one flaw being the fact their key forwards are about as consistent as the temperature of McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets.
I mean, sometimes they’re so hot and delicious, and other times they’re cold, hard little rocks.
What gives McDonalds? Get your act together.
Lions to win.
Greater Western Sydney vs Gold Coast (Mars) 12:40pm Fox
The Suns beat the reigning premiers last week, but upon hearing their song, I can see why they avoid winning too often. Calling it a song is a bit like calling Hotdogs a celebrity.
It has the line in it “We play to win the flag for you”, which is patently false.
Perhaps a small tweak if I may, “We play to receive bailout packages from AFL House.”
And in this match they face their fellow expansion team, the one they are always unfavourably compared to, like comparing Coca-Cola to LA Ice Cola.
The Giants had a huge win over Melbourne last week, the most worrying thing out of that for Melbourne supporters is Simon Goodwin was outcoached by Leon Cameron.
The biggest take out of that game though was the Giants willingness to fight. If they keep that up, they’ll be a real headache in the finals.
Giants to win.
Western Bulldogs vs Sydney (Marvel) 3:20pm Seven/Fox
The Western Bulldogs have locked in Simpsons tattoo canvas Tom Liberatore for two more years.
It’s a key signing. Watching Liberatore’s extract the ball is like watching Michelangelo paint the Sistine Chapel, it’s a work of art and he does a lot of it while in the most uncomfortable of positions.
A win here would go a long way to solidifying the Bulldogs hold on the top spot.
Yet Sydney were excellent last week, although it was against an Eagles side that appeared tired from waving the white flag so much recently.
Not since the French army in 1940 has a group offered so little resistance.
The Swans won’t get that here, this will be very close I imagine, I’m tipping the Bulldogs.
Richmond vs Collingwood (MCG) 4:10pm Fox
Losing to the Suns hurts, but for the Richmond faithful, following that up with a loss to Collingwood would hurt more than diving into a pile of salt while covered with a thousand papercuts.
Richmond have now lost three in a row but it’s against which teams they’ve lost three in a row that’s the problem.
West Coast, St Kilda and Gold Coast.
That’s actually difficult to do.
The Pies were terrible last week, the score line flattered them because St Kilda took the last quarter off.
Robert Harvey hasn’t exactly filled the supporters with a lot of confidence, the only positive of the past two weeks a few have told me, is that there’s now no chance Harvey will get the job full time.
Who could the Pies get? Clarko is free, but he’s not exactly friendly with some of the top people over at Piesland.
I wonder if Nathan Buckley is free? Might be worth asking the question.
As to who wins this, well, it certainly no heavyweight fight. More two drunks going at it in the carpark, something that does happen at Richmond-Collingwood games.
I’m tipping Richmond.
West Coast vs North Melbourne (OS) 7:40pm Fox
Five days of footy, as the league tiptoes through the minefield that is border restrictions in the time of Covid.
West Coast were medevac’d out of Geelong after the absolute mauling they got from the Swans.
The only positive being that surely, they can’t play that badly again? Right? Right?
I wouldn’t bet the house on it, or even something of minor value.
To lose to North Melbourne in their home stadium would surely signal the Eagles have fallen to their lowest point since they entered the league.
North have been slowly improving too, but the Eagles at home is still a challenge, at least it should be.
Capacity at the ground has been raised to 100 percent, but after last week, why would you want to watch this team? If they lose here to the Kangaroos, the booing could be so loud it will be heard as far away as Iceland.
I’m tipping the Eagles.
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