Jul 09, 2020

AFL

A highly unhelpful guide to Round Six

14 Comments

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.

Thursday

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.

Friday

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.

Saturday

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.

Sunday 

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.

You can help support me in producing this ridiculous nonsense I churn out on a regular basis. Find out more here: https://titusoreily.com/support-titus

COMMENTS

Gyfox

Jul 09, 2020

Excuse me, Titus, but North Korea has a beautiful big stadium!

Andrew

Jul 09, 2020

I hear the Qld Police have issued an alert to all midgets to be wary of St Kilda players

Cayal

Jul 09, 2020

Bit premature to say Carlton are slowly coming back.

Grannies4Rampe

Jul 09, 2020

Here are some first world problems to cheer you up.
1. An external service provider (would that be you Ticketek?) had a problem this week and the on-sale of tickets for Cats v. Lions collapsed and had to be rescheduled for later in the day.
2. The pub on the corner closest to the SCG has had power outages for the past three nights. There is NO reason to think just because this is 2020 the problem is going to jump the grid and cause a blackout at the ground just before the game starts but I'd have a torch at the ready if you think the footy gods are being a bit capricious.

Brad

Jul 09, 2020

Did you just say that Eddie should be dead, or is it too late for that?

peter lake lake

Jul 09, 2020

Not sure why you people dislike Eddie so much. Think about it, without him what else to you have to whinge about.
Go Pies

Macca

Jul 09, 2020

Come on Titus, Olympic Park is easy to navigate - but the Olympic Stadium is crap.

For the benefit of any Victorian refugees, who manged to cross from Gillead into NSW, here's how you get to Olympic Park.
From Central or Strathfield Stations take any train travelling west from the city.
Alight at Lidcombe, cross the overbridge to the northers side of the station and search for Platform Zero(0).
It does exist and can be found hidden at the end of a long, dark, narrow tunnel.
From Platform Zero it is a five-minute ride to Olympic Park.

Last year a group of pissed Carlton fans, kept a whole carriage entertained as they tried to explain to some mates how to catch a train to Olympic Park, from Platform Zero.
For some inexplicable reason their mates thought their travelling companions were taking the piss, which obviously they had.

After a record belting by the Giants - this could have been the highlight of their weekend.

Andrew

Jul 09, 2020

Oh great. I put my tips in, read your column and you picked the same as me! Really? Now I have to go back and change all of mine. Thanks for nothing!

Kangas

Jul 09, 2020

"North entered their forward fifty last week with the trepidation of someone entering Metropolitan Melbourne at the moment."
I think you are being to kind to North.

SouthWestCoaster

Jul 09, 2020

Of concern is your note that suggests that the rest of Victoria would forget to tell Carlton that they could return to their industrialised 5 bed/4 bath, gaming arena and modern flatpack kitchen with silicosis induced granite benchtops.....
I beg to ask the question.....where would they find a new home?
The 2nd (scratch that) 3rd last thing that Australia needs is 23 Carlton players wandering about inflating real estate in markets unknown to them.
2nd last is Collingwood....
1st last is Donald Trump migrating here to avoid celebrity status.
Sigh.....this is a shocker of a year and commiserations to you, Titus.
I have your boxed set of international sporting and gambling history.... it hasn’t helped me make better decisions but at least I understand what is a “multi” now...... I remember the good old days when it related to sexual activity.......
Still sighing.......

Angus Barnes (barnesyrails)

Jul 09, 2020

I second SOUTHWESTCOASTER's comments re a shocker year and commiserations to you, Titus.
He writes well.....but still like to know what version of twister he was playing in "the good old days"? LOL....sigh.
First time reader and listener to your Pod [or is it pod?].
Very amusing, very relevant and your writing and observations should connect with most of the sensitive sophisticated intelligent sports fans that are out there still.
Hope you get more gigs on TV like the Front Bar you nailed it! And alot more followers as a result.
You are up there with Pang no doubt. If there was a Fantasy Comedy Team you be in my midfield........well at least on the the bench keeping the 300 plus game veteran Trevor Marmalade company (joke joke joke!).
We lost one of the greats in John Clarke not so long ago and your style reminds me a little of him Titus,
Enough ramblings from an old man. When the dole comes in next week will slip you a few $$$ to keep up the uplifting work!

Old Crab

Jul 09, 2020

Hmmm. Are you really Victorian Titus?
You seem to be missing the usual AFL bias evident from football folk there - well the ones in the media at least!
"but North have a forward line and don’t use it". I think this applies more to Melbourne than any other team at the moment!
Thanks for another good body of work Titus - I think this lockdown is working for you after all!
And if the GF can't be played at the 'G, it should be played in the state of the highest ranked non-Victorian team after 17 rounds - even though OPTUS Stadium is the best venue outside the MCG.
What an incentive that would be for Port, Brisbane & GWS!

Lawn Patrol

Jul 09, 2020

Andrew, I'm a 6'7" tall, St. Kilda supporter who lives in the Noosa area. I'm more concerned that there are now more Victorians here in their 'beach shacks' than in metro Melbourne. Can they not go skiing?

MG

Jul 09, 2020

"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." You missed the memo back in 2010.

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