Jul 04, 2018
A highly unhelpful guide to Round Sixteen
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 Sixteen.
Sydney vs Geelong (SCG) 7:20 PM AEST
The Cats lost to the Bulldogs last week, a result even Doggies fans had to prove to themselves did happen by replaying the final two minutes over and over.
On the flip side, no Geelong fan has watched it since.
Travelling to Sydney is always daunting, especially if you have to play football. Yet this season, the Swans have struggled on their home deck.
Did you like how I said deck? It’s something I’ve heard commentators say to sound interesting. It doesn’t make them interesting.
Have you ever noticed people seem to think the harder they are to understand the more interesting they are?
The opposite is true. The more jargon, the less interesting things that person is saying, in fact, normally they have no idea what they’re saying.
Geelong are currently the worst centre clearance team in the league. They probably need to poach some high paid midfielders from other teams in the offseason to turn that around.
Despite Sydney going down to Richmond last week, I think they can do enough to win this.
Richmond vs Adelaide (MCG) 7:50 PM
A few people got upset with my Knee Jerk Reaction column this week because I didn’t provide enough analysis in my review of the Crows-Eagles game.
In fact, I barely mentioned Adelaide at all (apparently, they won, angry Crows fans informed me).
Imagine my shock to learn some people want me to provide thoughts on the game itself. It made me wonder if they’d read my stuff before.
Anyway, lesson learned, no more wild tangents that take away from coverage of the Crows.
Which brings me to Philippines basketball.
I’ve long said Philippines basketball is a direct threat to the stability of the sport of basketball and the World. Forget North Korea, they are merely a distraction.
The scenes on that court this week have no place outside the Medallion Club at Etihad Stadium.
Not since bodyline has an Australian team faced such a blatant strategy of physical assault.
In years to come, they’ll be an ABC miniseries about this.
Obviously, I blame the Philippines for everything.
I’ve read some Australians trying to argue blame should be shared, but I’ve got no interest in this, no matter the truth.
Go live in the Philippines if you want to present balanced and nuanced views on sport, it has no place in Australia.
Anyway, kudos to basketball for finding a way to get cut through during the World Cup.
Richmond to win.
Brisbane vs Carlton (G) 1:45 PM
The Lions have 100 percent more wins than Carlton this year, a staggering gap at this stage of the season.
Are Brisbane 100 percent better than Carlton? Probably. Everyone is at least 100 percent better than Carlton.
In your next job interview, when asked what your biggest strength is, say ‘I’m 100 percent better than Carlton.’
When asked what your biggest weakness is, don’t say ‘I tend to embezzle enormous sums of money from wherever I’ve ever worked.’
That does not go down well.
The Lions got a win last week in Perth so would be feeling pretty good to take on the Blues here. The only dampener about that victory was that it was against Fremantle.
Both these sides have in recent years maintained a strong commitment to making their fans wish they never started following football, but the Lions win last week suggests they might be considering changing their approach.
I even think Carlton aren’t in as bad shape as everyone (including me just a few sentences ago, like my Demons, consistency is not my thing) thinks.
They’ve got some really good young players and they’re not going for the short-term fix, which has killed them for the past twenty years plus.
Now they are trying to properly get better and everyone slams them. They’re damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
That said, I’ll still make jokes at their expense because it’s endlessly entertaining.
Lions to win.
Port Adelaide vs St Kilda(AO) 4:35 PM
St Kilda’s victory last week means the Power will take them a bit more seriously, but they shouldn’t worry too much.
The Demons didn’t do much running unless they had the ball. If Port just remember that defending is a fairly major component of the sport, they should be OK.
It is possible the Saints are improving. They’d have to be, they couldn’t really get worse.
Last time these two played, the Power just won, when in the dying stages, Paddy Ryder tapped the ball down to Robbie Gray, who found him in so much space he could have been the New Horizons probe.
Gray slotted the winning goal with seven seconds to go. That loss hit Saints fans hard but at least they had 2018 to look forward to.
I’m tipping Port to win. Don’t let me down Port, like you do your fans each year.
Western Bulldogs vs Hawthorn (ES) 7:25 PM
A tough week for Hawthorn fans with the retirement of Cyril Rioli. Boy, was it an exciting retirement though. He just seemed to have extra time and space as he announced it.
Going against one of more core brand attributes, I would like to say something nice about a Hawthorn player.
Rioli was one of the reasons we watch footy, a player that could do the things we all pretended to do as kids but against actual opponents.
His retirement is a sad moment for all of us; I’ll miss watching him, even if he played a significant role in one of the darkest periods of AFL history, the Hawks three-peat.
Damn it. I almost got through two sentences being nice about Hawthorn. Still, a record for me.
The Bulldogs sent Harry Taylor a twelve-year-old scotch this week, which I thought was kind of them.
If they Doggies play like last week, all running and slick handballs, they are a real chance to knock off the Hawks.
But they won’t do either of those things.
Melbourne vs Fremantle (TIO) 7:40 PM
As the Dees reel from losing at home to St Kilda, it’s excellent their next home game is in Darwin.
Fremantle have their own problems, with Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands both out for some time. It makes finals pretty much impossible if they weren’t already (they were).
Max Gawn will be thrilled Sandilands is out, he’ll just be hoping his teammates might join him on the field this week.
They’d want to. A loss here would undo all the good work earlier in the season and have me questioning again why I have wasted my entire life.
Fremantle have a good record against Melbourne too, they’ve won eight of their past nine games against the Dees.
Yes, I know most teams have, but the Dockers seem to do it no matter how lousy form they’re in. This has danger game written all over it, but I think the Dees can do it.
North Melbourne vs Gold Coast (ES) 1:10 PM
When these two met in the first round, it was in Cairns, and they played underwater in scuba gear.
At several stages during that torrential rainfall, the umpires had to consult with each other on whether the ball floating out on the current was deliberate or not.
They determined they would sometimes call it deliberate and other times not to troll with the crowd. Basically, he non-aquatic version of the rules.
Gold Coast read the currents better that week, but since then their finals hopes disappeared quicker than Harold Holt.
North are also struggling to stay in touch with the eight, so this is just what they need, the Suns at home with no Tom Lynch.
Lynch has apparently played his last game for the Suns and is off to one of several teams.
I love the footy media; they are always quick to break news, even if what they break never happens.
Kangaroos to win.
Essendon vs Collingwood (MCG) 3:20 PM
A few months ago, this would have looked like the sort of game you’d pay money not to watch, but now it seems very interesting.
So much so that I’m actually going to this game, and I feel good about that because if there are two groups of supporters that I’ve never got cheap laughs at their expense, it’s these two. It’s been nice knowing you all.
Collingwood, despite being second, has lost Adam Treloar and Lynden Dunn in recent weeks, the latter for the rest of the year and the former possibly too.
I wonder if the Pies have much experience managing injuries?
These are big outs, and while I usually take joy in Collingwood’s problems, injuries like these are never good.
The one thing all footy fans like is to see the best players playing, even if in doing so there’s a real danger Eddie could be happy.
Essendon blitzed North last week, and we will now see if they can challenge for the eight.
This is actually a hard one to tip. Well, they’re all hard, we just sometimes think some are easy because deep down, we all have no idea what’s going on with football, hence why we love it.
It’s like life; the trick is to seem like you know what is going on, despite events regularly proving you have no idea.
Pies to win.
West Coast vs Greater Western Sydney (OS) 4:40 PM
A few weeks after everyone confidentially wrote the Giants off, they sit in sixth.
On the negative side, they’ve got no Jeremy Cameron due to him accidentally on purpose elbowing Harris Andrews.
That will hurt as it would have been very helpful given the Eagles still don’t have Jack Darling or Josh Kennedy back.
While the Giants are missing Cameron, they have recently got most of their midfield back from injury, hence the sudden improvement.
West Coast have now lost three in a row and look about as stable as Mark Latham.
A loss here to the Giants in Perth will make Perth talkback radio some of the best comedy you’ll ever hear.
The Eagles need to win this one; they need to stay in touch of the top four until Kennedy and Darling get back.
‘Waiting for Darling’ should be their motto.
Eagles to win this.
I’ve got a new live show ‘Manifestly Inadequate’that will be touring soon.
This is my traditional bye round tour wrapping up the 2018 season and previewing the finals. Thanks to Bomber Thompson and Barry Hall I’ve got heaps of new material.
The dates are:
4 August- Hobart
27 August- Canberra
29 August- Perth
31 August- Sydney
1 September- Melbourne
2 September- Adelaide
Ticket available here: http://www.frontiercomedy.com/titusoreily
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