Jul 29, 2022
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Twenty
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 Twenty.
Fremantle vs. Melbourne (OS) 8:10pm Fox/Seven
It’s the battle of the Luke Jackson Cup, and I’ve heard from my cousin’s girlfriend’s mechanic that he’s definitely going to Fremantle.
But the guy at the bar said a waitress told him that a real estate agent she once dated said Jackson was staying.
Two impeccable sources with contrary opinions.
My only other option is to listen to the opinions of footy journalists, but they are even less reliable.
Whether the Dees keep Jackson or not, they need to get their season going, considering it’s a disaster at the moment with them languishing in second position.
Like the Dees, Fremantle have been wobbly lately, too. For a season that started off a bit boring, it’s become very exciting, with a lot of teams now in the mix.
Fremantle will be without Nat Fyfe, which used to be a disaster for the Dockers, but they’ve now got more than one good player, which was a clever move.
Melbourne are used to winning in Perth, they won a fairly important game there late last year, but they seem off at the moment so I’m tipping the Dockers in a naked attempt to jinx them.
Collingwood vs. Port Adelaide (MCG) 1:45pm Fox Footy
I mean Collingwood are just relentless. They have ‘zero chill’ as a young person said to me the other day, and by ‘young person’ I mean someone in their late 30s.
It’s getting to the point where I’d even momentarily like Port Adelaide if they win here.
Well, ‘like’ is a strong word, but you get the point.
Port’s problem is they’ve improved but they are still off the pace from the top teams.
Losses to Melbourne and Geelong have made it almost impossible for them to now play finals.
That means they are playing for pride in the jumper, which is a touchy subject when these two play.
All the best footy feuds revolve around fashion. Who can forget the Geelong-Hawthorn feud, which revolved around Jeff Kennett wearing a beret unironically.
I’m tipping the Pies.
Sydney vs. Greater Western Sydney (SCG) 2:10pm Fox Footy
The Swans were quick to highlight their willingness to wear a pride jumper this week, which was some high-level trolling of the Manly players who refused to wear one.
I have some sympathy for players being forced to wear the symbols of something they can’t possibly support.
Back in the 90s, my Demons had to wear the Toohey’s logo and promote Tooheys New and Tooheys Blue.
But being asked to promote awful beer is a fair bit different to being asked to be a nice person.
In the battle for fans and talent, sporting codes must cast the net as wide as possible, especially in a small market like Australia.
Being perceived as unwelcoming to a section of the community has negative commercial outcomes. Oh, and kids are killing themselves too, so there’s that.
I’m tipping the Swans.
St Kilda vs. Hawthorn (Marvel) 4:35pm Fox Footy
Despite doing their very best to avoid playing finals, the Saints are still in with a legitimate chance.
I mean, they would be if they weren’t St Kilda.
Being St Kilda, they’ve rushed back Dan Hannebery, which should solve all their problems.
Hawthorn are on a three-game winning streak, having defeated heavyweights such as Adelaide, West Coast and North.
No wonder the confidence is growing at Hawthorn.
Sam Mitchell has said he’s hopeful his team can spoil the finals aspirations of a few teams and ‘shape the eight’.
That’s what Hawthorn fans want, not to play finals but to stop other teams from playing them.
I’m tipping the Saints.
Geelong vs. Western Bulldogs (GMHBA) 7:25pm Fox/Seven
If there’s a team likely to grab eighth spot, it’s probably Bulldogs. Or the Saints. Or even Richmond.
Oh who knows. It seems no one wants it.
But, if the Doggies can win here after knocking off Melbourne, we’d have to take them more seriously than a Bevo media conference.
You could take the view that Geelong are due a loss, but we’re not in finals yet.
Plus, this is down at Kardinia, which makes the chances of the Doggies winning about as narrow as the ground is.
Joel Selwood will play his 350th game this week, a career known for courage, skill and a whole lot of free kicks.
Geelong fans hate if you bring up the staging for frees as it takes away from his genuine courage, so bring it up all the time when you’re talking to them.
I’m tipping Geelong.
Adelaide vs. Carlton (AO) Adelaide Oval 7:30pm Fox Footy
This is a nice chance for Carlton to lock in their spot in the eight and the Blues are taking it seriously, dropping Jack Silvagni for the game.
Blues fans won’t mind some ruthlessness at the selection table, it’s a new and exciting thing for them.
Focusing on what someone is doing and not their name is something I’ve never seen Carlton do before. Short-term pain for long-term gain is not usually in their DNA.
It may have taken over twenty years, but have the Blues learnt a lesson?
Matt Crouch has apparently been ‘blacklisted’ by the Crows due to the Crows not offering him a new contract.
Imagine not having to play for the Crows anymore this season. That sounds like discovering you’ve won the lottery.
The other benefit for Crouch is that he will get the exciting opportunity to play for an AFL side next year.
I’m tipping the Blues.
Gold Coast vs. West Coast (Metricon) 1:10pm Fox Footy
Last week I was accused of only tipping the favourites, which I was insulted by. How dare anyone think I put thought into my tipping.
My tipping method is to think for up to two seconds about the game and then just write down whoever I’ve thought of last.
Weirdly, while this approach isn’t a world beater, it also works just as well or even better than people who crunch all the stats.
Why? Because the more you think about your tips and the more you know about football, the worse your tips will be.
At a bar I used to frequent, a Peruvian guy who worked there, and had landed in the country in February, won the pub tipping competition by a margin so high it was embarrassing. He’d never even seen a game until about round twenty.
He then became a big footy fan, and the next season came somewhere around the middle.
Meanwhile, a new guy from Italy destroyed everyone that year.
That Italian guy never got into AFL, but even he knew this game wasn’t worth watching.
I’m tipping the Suns.
Richmond vs. Brisbane (MCG) 3:20pm Fox/Seven
This should be great. The Tigers have become much-watch TV in the last few weeks, producing some of the most entertaining games and while also becoming the best comedy show on TV.
To be honest, I’m not sure they can do it again; I mean, a lot of people have had to do a lot wrong to pull off the last three games.
The good news is Damien Hardwick blew off some steam by blowing off some steams by yelling at a VFL player last Saturday.
Nothing cheers you up more than that. Whenever I’m feeling down, I just wander down to a VFL game and yell at a few of them.
The good news for Richmond fans is that the Lions haven’t won at the MCG since 2014.
The Lions would want to change that. They may not be able to win at the G, but they’re playing a team who can’t win.
I’m tipping Brisbane, but I’m more interested to see what Richmond does.
Essendon vs. North Melbourne (Marvel) 4:40pm Fox Footy
It’s 14th playing 18th and it’s possible some people will watch it.
Bombers fans are still recovering from last week, which would have hurt more than that time Daryl Somers sang Waltzing Matilda at the 1987 Grand Final.
What will cheer them up is a meaningless win here.
The good news for North fans is that the season is almost over.
It’s been a horrible year and apart from a few games and discovering Alastair Clarkson has chosen Greater Western Sydney, there’s not too many negatives left for this year.
I mean, they’ll probably stuff up the coaching selection process and the AFL will take them over, but not much more than that.
I’m tipping the Bombers.
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