Jul 09, 2020
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Six
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 Six.
Geelong v Brisbane (SCG) 7:40pm Seven
If you’re reading this, the worst has happened and I’m back in lockdown.
I should add that unlike other times in my life, about five million other people are also in lockdown in Melbourne.
It was a real kick in the guts to learn we were all going back into lockdown.
Being a Melbourne supporter, I’m used to misery, followed by healthy doses of even more misery, but even I found the news hard.
At least the Victorian AFL teams got to flee in the night to continue the season.
Some people complain about them getting special treatment, but at least the AFL season provides you with something to have on in the background as your world collapses around you.
To cheer everyone up, I’ve written a list of all the positive things happening worldwide in 2020, so we can focus on them to cheer ourselves up:
· Collingwood imploding
We get to watch Matt Rowell play
We begin this round with Geelong hosting Brisbane at their traditional home, the Sydney Cricket Ground.
I always knew it would take something of the magnitude of a global pandemic for the AFL to become less Victoria focused.
The Cats are up against this year’s premiers, the Brisbane Lions, who are one of about three teams actually keen to see this season continue.
I think they’ll beat Geelong here.
Collingwood v Hawthorn (GS) 7:50pm
Collingwood falling apart isn’t filling the gaping hole of sadness that exists within me this year, but I do appreciate them trying.
Whenever I think I’m not coping well, I just look at how Eddie is handling the year and I feel a lot better about how I’m coping. Then I remember one of us is an adult, so it’s not a fair comparison.
This of course is at Giants Stadium, and I’m looking forward to Eddie now calling for his team to get a Cost of Living Allowance.
You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
Hawthorn actually have a very good record against Collingwood in recent years and face a depleted Pies team due to injuries, suspensions and just general mess.
The Hawks though will be without Jon Patton for a second week, after he spilt hot oil on his foot, didn’t tell anyone, trained, then pulled up sore and ended up with an infection.
This is the most ‘she’ll be right’ handling of an injury I’ve seen in a while.
Hawks to win.
Fremantle v St Kilda (Metricon) 12:35pm Foxtel
I’ve always felt an affinity with Dockers supporters. They know what it’s like going through life supporting a team whose natural inclination is to sink to the bottom.
It’s as if some clubs, like some people, are so weighed down with emotional baggage, they can never reach great heights.
What’s impressive about the Dockers, is they’ve picked up a lot of emotional baggage so quickly, given they’re a relatively young club.
I think they often don’t get enough credit for this.
St Kilda, who are a similar club normally, seem to be turning things around, a dangerous phase, that false hope is a real killer. That’s the funny thing about hope, it’s dangerous and the only thing worse than it is no hope.
Now Saints fans have hope. Their coach has a real-life game plan, one of about three in existence in the AFL, and they have a complimentary mix of players, another odd bit of balance in the League.
Of course, this being St Kilda, this could all go sideways at a moment’s notice, but I’d like to see them do well. Just one group of people being happy would be nice this year.
Saints to win.
West Coast v Adelaide (G) 3:05pm Foxtel
Eagles fans will be excited their club’s time in Queensland coming to an end. It will signal a new phase, where the club will need to come up with new excuses for not winning.
So far, the Eagles have only beaten Melbourne and Sydney, not exactly prized scalps.
Luckily, this week they face the Adelaide Crows, arguably the best sitcom of the last few years. It’s either them, Schitt’s Creek or The Good Place.
Locking the Crows players in their homes for the next six weeks would be welcomed by Adelaide fans. It would be an act of mercy.
The hard thing for the Crows hierarchy is accepting their role in a lot of players leaving. Their attitude has been, ‘it’s not us, it’s you’.
That’s sometimes true, but not if you’re on your eighth divorce. A little bit of self-reflection comes in handy at times, even if it’s a little jarring.
Eagles to win.
Melbourne v Gold Coast (GS) 6:05pm Foxtel
Simon Goodwin may be a rare person whose job is actually saved by a pandemic.
With Covid raging, clubs might be a bit more gun-shy when it comes to firing a coach, reasoning this is not a normal year, plus they’re broke, and this is a bad time to pay out a coach.
Should Goodwin go? It’s the question Dees fans have been asking in increasing numbers this year. Last year was painted as an ‘off-year’ by the club hierarchy, which delayed a lot of criticism, but it just kicked the can down the road, with a lot of interest added.
Now that’s all come due, and the Dees don’t have the wins, or the signs of improvement, to prevent the tidal wave of anger coming.
A loss to the Gold Coast and I think the Board will come under more pressure rather than Goodwin.
After all, they rushed to extend his contract, placing them in a position where they now can’t afford to make a change.
This isn’t to say the team under Goodwin can’t be turned around, but there’s no goodwill left for him or the club hierarchy, so it will need to happen very soon.
The Gold Coast losing Matt Rowell, to use a rather flowery phrase, sucks.
It’s just another sign 2020 hates us all. I was more invested in his season than I was in my own club, mainly because one of them seemed to have a love of the game.
The Suns though still have a lot going for them. Even against Geelong they had moments of really skilful ball movement and physical attack on the ball. It gives you hope that any team can turn things around. But as we know, it’s the hope that kills you.
Gold Coast to win.
Essendon v North Melbourne (Metricon) 7:40pm Seven
It’s a nice try by syndesmosis, but I think Coronavirus has medical term of the year wrapped up already no matter what happens, a bit like Rowell having the Rising Star.
The Bombers have lost Jake Stringer to a syndesmosis injury for possibly a few months. It’s another thing that separates the rest of us from Bombers supporters, they prefer having Jake Stringer around.
Having no forward line is a problem, but North have a forward line and don’t use it, so this could be a low scoring affair.
North entered their forward fifty last week with the trepidation of someone entering Metropolitan Melbourne at the moment.
And I want to thank my interstate friends for ringing me this week to see how I was going.
One conversation went like this:
“G’day mate, just ringing to see how you’re travelling.”
“Well, the whole thing is I’m not travelling. I’m stuck in this bloody house for another six weeks.”
“Well, sucks to be you.”
“Stop calling me Berejiklian.”
Essendon to win.
Port Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney (Metricon) 1:05pm Foxtel
The Giants would be happy with the rumours that ANZ Stadium could host the Grand Final this year.
Personally, I’d have ANZ Stadium just behind Chernobyl and North Korea as good places to host the AFL Grand Final.
ANZ Stadium, a place I’ve been many times, is one of the worst places in the world.
Why would you even consider there, when you have Optus Stadium and Adelaide Oval? Two of the best places to watch sport in the country.
It’s not even a close competition. Adelaide Oval is the most beautiful stadium in the country and Optus Stadium is the loudest I’ve been in and has an amazing atmosphere. Even being located in Perth, Optus Stadium is still easier to get to than ANZ Stadium.
Port had a real wakeup call against the Lions last week and it will be interesting to see if it spurs them on here against an improving Giants team.
At some point the Power have to rise from mediocrity, right? Or fall, but one of the two.
In past years, a loss like last week would see then drop the next few, then win a couple then break even until ninth or tenth was secured.
I think they might be different this year, but I’ve fallen into that trap before, but I like making the same mistakes, it’s comforting, so I’m tipping Port.
Richmond v Sydney (G) 3:35pm Seven
Richmond fled north but left a few things back at home. We’ve all done that when travelling.
The debate over whether AFL players should be thanked and praised for heading into hubs or mocked for acting hard done, has raged all week.
As all debates seem to these days, it boiled down to two binary positions and you have to pick one of them.
Either the players are heroic figures, or the worst people on earth.
For a group so large it’s hard to sum them all up so comprehensively. Some players are probably facing more challenges with their families than others.
They may have ill children, or parents, they may have a partner with significant mental health issues. The list is endless of why some players might have very good reasons to not want to go into hubs.
Some of these players will have made an enormous sacrifice to go into hubs.
Others may have no issues going into a hub. Being stuck on the Gold Coast instead of locked down in Melbourne is a great outcome for them, not a hardship.
Some will just need the money and will do anything to keep the season going.
I’m also sure there’s some who don’t want to do hubs because it’s a hassle and they’ve got enough money to ride out the next six months even if the season fell over, with little regard to what happens to other players and the rest of the industry if the season stopped.
AFL players aren’t perfect and I’m the first to point out a lot of their flaws, but there’s a lot who are good people, you just tend to never read about them much.
This whole year is tough on all of us. I’m happy some people get to continue working. Every effort should be made to keep jobs going within health guidelines.
As someone whose had ninety percent of their income for this year wiped out and has no idea when any of it will come back, I’ve got a lot of time for efforts to keep people employed, but I also get not everyone can go along with hubs.
A one size fits all approach won’t work. We’re all just trying to get through each day at the moment, anything above that is like scoring in junktime. Nice, not essential.
Richmond to win.
Carlton v Western Bulldogs (Metricon) 6:45pm Foxtel
Carlton have been average this year, a significant improvement for them and reason enough that Blues fans have got quite excited at points.
Last week certainly took a bit of the gloss off, but there’s enough improvement there to concern me.
This is the thing; we’ve learnt you can’t get complacent with these things.
You can’t go around just pretending Carlton will never be good again because you want them to never be good again.
A lot of young people (some actual quite old now), act like Carlton winning premierships can’t happen to them. But it can, I’ve lived through it.
Blues supporters during a premiership era make Hawthorn fans seem humble.
The Blues are slowly coming back and we have to be clear with each other, that this is not over. And pretending that it is because we all wanted to be over, is not the answer.
Someone has to make the tough decision. When the borders reopen, do we let Carlton back?
Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge talked some sense this week, the first senior person in AFL to do so this year.
He said the AFL “flinched” in cracking down on the holding-the-ball rule after Alastair Clarkson’s complaints.
At the moment, the AFL seems to be being run off the field by Eddie McGuire, who announces all the updates before the AFL do and Clarko on the field.
This is not a situation that is filling me with a great deal of confidence.
I thought the whole thing about the success of the AFL was it’s an independent commission that isn’t led from clubland, to avoid things like happen in the NRL, were powerful clubs push their agendas over the code’s best interests?
I’m tipping the Bulldogs.
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