May 18, 2018
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Nine
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 Nine.
Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs (AO) 7:50 PM All times AEST
I’ve heard rumours that there are some Adelaide players who aren’t injured but at the time of writing this, I can’t prove it.
At this stage, Adelaide’s injury list is Luke Brown, Brad Crouch, Matt Crouch, Sam Gibson, Curtly Hampton, Kyle Hartigan, Paul Hunter, Alex Keath, Riley Knight, Mitch McGovern, Andrew McPherson, Wayne Milera, Rory Sloane, Brodie Smith and Taylor Walker.
That’s not a bad team right there. With all the key players leaving in recent years, and now these injuries, Crows fans must be wondering if they will ever have some good luck.
Wait until Rory Sloane leaves, they’ll go ballistic and be well within their rights.
The Bulldogs though are riding high, knocking off a bunch of terrible teams to prove they are the best of the terrible teams.
They finally get Easton Wood back too, which is huge for them.
Normally, I’d think they’d be no chance here, but they’re basically playing a SANFL team, so the question is, are the Doggies better than a SANFL side?
North Melbourne vs Greater Western Sydney (BA) 1:45 PM
While North have shocked us all year by being not-terrible-and-in-fact-kind-of-good, it shouldn’t really surprise us.
That’s because North for some time have existed purely to make tipping almost impossible. You can’t trust them, even to be awful.
Remember when the won almost every game for the first half of a season, then went on to barely win again?
The Giants seem to be in a race with the Crows of who can have the most injuries, with past champion Collingwood also giving it a fair crack.
With this being played in Tasmania, the Giants missing so many, and GWS’ remaining players showing a rather alarming lack of fight in recent weeks, North are certainly favourites.
Add to that the fact the Giants have suddenly stopped scoring and you have to wonder if the Giants could even miss the finals. A tough outcome for a team given so many advantages.
It’s almost like winning a Premiership is hard.
North to win this.
Gold Coast vs Port Adelaide (Jiangwan Stadium, China) 3:15 PM
China’s insatiable appetite for Australian Rules Football continues with more than a billion Chinese citizens desperately trying to get tickets to this.
And who wouldn’t want to see the Suns play? Well, people on the Gold Coast don’t, but I’m sure the Chinese are red hot.
There’s been a lot of tension in diplomatic circles between China and Australia in recent months, and Port Adelaide President David Koch said footy could be the circuit breaker to mend relationships.
He’s probably right, Australia has never fought a war against a country where Australian Rules Football is the number one sport.
The Power are coming off one of their greatest ever Showdown wins and have been planning for China for some time.
They’re even taking their own food and drink, which I can only assume means Farmer’s Union Ice Coffee, West End Draught, pie floaters and frog cakes.
The Suns have been planning for this too, in their case, they are planning to at least arrive in China this year.
Port to win.
Essendon vs Geelong (MCG) 4:35 PM
Despite last week’s disaster, the Essendon Football Club do still exist and unfortunately for Bombers supporters, play again this week.
Luckily, sacking Mark Neeld will have fixed everything. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge fan of sacking Mark Neeld, for me, it’s the first step towards anything good.
But do they really think he’s the whole problem? I mean, it’s obvious the relationship had got so toxic they had no choice to punt him but how was it allowed to get to this point?
I guess they were just blinded by his impressive track record.
If they couldn’t beat Carlton on the MCG, it’s hard to fathom how they can beat Geelong, but footy is a strange beast.
Geelong have spent the week feeling hard done by over the umpire touching outbreak that is currently dominating the media.
If you want an AFL player to touch you, dress as an umpire, they can’t keep their hands off.
Patrick Dangerfield has caught some heat for speaking out about this issue, especially as he’s President of the AFL Players Association. In fairness, he was very clear about the role he saw the President playing when he was appointed:
My job will be to advance the cause of the Geelong Football Club while trolling Carlton fans.
To me, he is simply fulfilling his mandate.
Cats to win this.
Sydney vs Fremantle (SCG) 7:25 PM
For some strange reason, the Swans have brought back Buddy Franklin, despite the fact he’ll just clog up the forward line and get in Ben Ronke’s way.
I’m looking forward to Ronke screaming at Buddy ‘See this 50-metre arc? This is mine. Stay out of my way.’
As well as Buddy, Dan Hannebery is also back, which are problems the Dockers could do without. Oh well, at least these ones are on the field.
Fremantle have some things in their favour, the fact that the Swans have been awful on the SCG lately and Nat Fyfe is suddenly back to being Nat Fyfe.
The Dockers have been the very definition of average this season, and it’s hard to see them winning here, despite the fact the Swans have struggled on the SCG.
But it will be fun seeing Fyfe go against the Swans midfield.
Swans to win.
St Kilda vs Collingwood (ES) 7:25 PM
So, this has been bumped off Channel Seven’s main channel for the Royal Wedding.
Seriously. This is what’s wrong with everything.
People get outraged about halal but say nothing about this. And they call themselves patriots.
Oh, I know watching Collingwood and St Kilda is about as appealing as a grade four talent night but the royal family?
The only Royal Family I have any interest in is the Danihers.
The quicker we become a republic, the better.
The Saints are in a world of hurt, not just on the field but off it too. Their injury list includes Carlisle, Bruce, Acres, Long, Gilbert, McCartin and Stevens.
Most of these players weren’t playing very well anyway, but it can’t be helping.
The Pies, of course, have lots of injuries, they are after all the Pies but they get Scott Pendlebury back, and I’m expecting them to win this.
Carlton vs Melbourne and the AFL Tribunal System (MCG) 1:10 PM
As a Melbourne supporter, I want to thank the AFL Tribunal System for making Carlton’s lead up to this a nightmare.
I’ve sent everyone involved a bottle of Grange as a thank you. It should pair well with the cash I sent them to encourage them to appeal.
The Demons get Jack Viney back this week, and I fully support rushing him back to take on Carlton. Much better than having him face an AFL side.
Carlton are coming off a famous victory against the Bombers; a victory made even sweeter by being able to watch Essendon implode over the past week.
The Demons are looking to complete a clean sweep against four teams they were expected to beat.
Nail this one, and they are on their way to actually playing finals. I checked and there nothing legally stopping them participating in finals, it just feels like that.
The Demons to win.
Brisbane vs Hawthorn (G) 3:20 PM
Jaeger O'Meara is an out for the Hawks but thankfully it’s just a calf, another knee and Hawthorn supporters might have felt a new emotion, sadness.
The question the media have asked this week is if the Hawks will sledge Luke Hodge.
Personally, I think it’s more likely he’ll be sledging them. After all, what are they going to say?
“Hey idiot, good on you for leading us to all those premierships and having a crazily successful career with a future in the media or coaching all ahead of you. Loser.’
Brisbane have done a lot of things this year, but winning isn’t one of them. Being competitive and improving is great and all but winning is better.
In fact, my advice is if you can’t win at something, never do it. Instead, take up blogging. There are no winners in blogging.
Hawks to win this.
West Coast vs Richmond (OS) 4:40 PM
Good to see this game buried on pay TV in the twilight zone of Sunday night. It’s only first playing second.
Oh, I know, it was hard to tell how good West Coast were going to be and it’s still weirding everyone out that Richmond are the best team in the competition, but the AFL’s dedication to keeping non-Victorian sides off prime time means we miss out on the best games.
Eagles are currently the Rodney Dangerfield of the AFL; they get no respect. Here’s their chance to turn that all around.
They get Nic Naitanui and Jeremy McGovern back, and Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy are a dangerous one-two punch.
Add to that the fact Optus Stadium will be packed, and this is a hard task for Richmond.
The Tigers though are so organised, you can’t write them off.
Man, I’m writing sentences I never thought I’d write. It’s doing my head in.
I’ve said nice things about North Melbourne and Brisbane recently, I think Richmond are a very professional outfit, and I really enjoyed my time in Adelaide last week.
Even the Demons are currently in the eight.
This new universe we seem to have entered is doing my head in. Take me back to the old days when I felt just bitterness and anger all the time, I knew had to handle those emotions.
Anyway, I’m tipping Richmond in a close one.
I have two new dates to announce for my show A Thoroughly Unhelpful History of Australian Sport. Exciting!
The first is 7.00pm Wednesday 6 June The Comic’s Lounge in Melbourne.
The second is 8.00pm Thu 7 June Arkaba Hotel Adelaide.
The last ten shows at the Melbourne Comedy Festival sold out so get in early.
Tickets for both shows available here:frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
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