WHAT a wonderful time of year for crap weather?
Footy has three weeks left with a lot still on the line and the Ashes is entrenched in prime time for the next four weeks.
Work from home, charge your phone only so you can use Menulog and just remember to rotate your couch cushions after each test match – no-one wants a sofa with permanent bum indentations, it’s unsightly.
1. We’ll get to the Ashes soon enough, but let’s cover off the air conveyance. And how the Swans were dudded. Well maybe not super much as they’re not making the finals any which way, but maybe Richmond or Brisbane, perhaps Collingwood or Essendon, by the massive missed free kick on Sam Reid in the dying seconds. The Giants lose that and their stranglehold on a double chance goes. Only one mistake, lets not crucify the umpire, but gee for ramifications it’s a doozy.
2. Brisbane, looked like the Scraggers were some go for a while there last Sunday twilight, but once again those Lions chalked up another win and how bout their flag credentials they say? Yeah still not for me. They have the Gold Coast this week, wow, another game against a bottom ten team, and in Queensland. This team is in form, no doubt, but the validity of that form does not befit the record they have. It might be enough to win them some finals, sure, but this is not a premiership team.
3. The Lions have had no injures, and have a league-high ten players who have played every game so far. Consistency at the selection table compared with teams like Richmond and Collingwood who have had periods without such luxuries, has been worth a win or two in itself for Brisbane, no question.
4. Yeah, so Geelong. The record since the bye, for the position on the ladder they were in going into their week off, has to be amongst the worst in the comp relatively speaking. So when is a slump actually reflective of where you’re at? No-one would give them a show in a final against Richmond, so would need to somehow avoid them with GMHBA finals against interstate fodder and hope for a good run. For a team on top, 14-5 and 130%. Remarkable.
5. Gold Coast, my Lord, this is supposed to be a team ten years past putting out teams not up to standard. At least back then it was ok, they were on the L plates, you knew they’d be super rubbish but it was all part of finding their feet. Now they’re just a middle-aged moron on the roads and you can’t give them an out for their shit driving, to maintain the metaphor. Remember, they lose their last three games, this season will equal their bad years of 2011 and 2012.
6. Looks like we might be set for one South Australian team to finish eighth but without room for both. The Power’s upset over the Dons last Saturday probably gives them the advantage to take the final spot looking three weeks ahead, and at their cross-town rival’s expense. And if that’s the case, given the lopsided Showdown a few weeks ago, that eventuality probably seems about right.
7. We haven’t had a draw yet, usually we’re good for one or two, other than 2016 we have always had a least one since 2014…. I didn’t say that all these thoughts had to be interesting, but at least this one is accurate.
8. Blake Caracella to Essendon, that’s one or both of two things. Firstly, Caracella is a genius, his first year with Richmond was 2017, and look what happened to that coaching box, went from sackable to winning flags. So great bit of IP for the Bombers braintrust there. But also, could it be a little bit of what St Kilda did with Ratten last summer. If, and it’s a big “if”, you’re looking at reviewing your senior coach, why not get a talented assistant in early so such a replacement might already be under your roof. Almost like a succession plan, but unofficially.
9. Adam Treloar was gutsy on Tuesday, just plain gutsy. Didn’t need to talk about his battles, and on such a public forum. But whilst it may have been therapeutic for him, the good it could do for so many other young men to accept, nor no longer dismiss, their struggles as human and to find ways to manage their wellbeing, was fantastic. Having a great year this year, and that’s not just on the field where he is looming large for the Copeland Trophy, but seemingly away from the field as well. Important stuff, won’t back down on that anytime soon. Keep talking.
10. Some kudos to pot belly Jay Z Clark, who penned a very good angle on the Rising Star for 2019. Sam Walsh looks a runaway winner now, even myself a self-confessed Connor Rozee admirer acknowledges the Blue’s midfielder has it. But Clark points out that the Hawks’ James Worpel is only narrowly ineligible for this year’s award, and had he had played one fewer game in 2018 he’d be right in the frame for the gong this year. And it’s a good yarn, Worpel is having such an under the radar year, we know about Mitchell and O’Meara, but the kid from Bannockburn is a serious 200-plus games midfielder in the making.
11. The Joe Daniher/Tom Harley thing stank a bit. It’s all come out now that its fine and nothing to see here, but yeah even so, it just stinks a bit. I know we’re all allowed to have mates and more often than not its nothing more than what it is, but sometimes when it looks a bit off it probably is. He isn’t leaving Essendon, but he ain’t as happy at Tullamarine as he could be, is my guess.
12. Only one game, his first since Round 15, which was his first since Round 11, but 29 touches and five tackles for Bryce Gibbs on Saturday. He’ll be 31 at the start of next season, and who knows whether the Crows think they can get close again soon enough whilst the ex-Blue has something to offer, but clearly there’s still some value in him yet. This year has been strange but the game certainly hasn’t gone past him. Could be cheap if indeed Gibbs looks for a third club too, good value.
13. Righto, some cricket. Steve Smith, well bugger me. 12 months out. We all saw that press conference at Sydney airport, that was a human being utterly broken. Not just an emotional guy but a sensitive sportsman, often had sleepless nights as captain such was the toll cricket had on him mentally. But to come out and hit 140 twice in the same match, first up, like seriously what the hell? Best since Bradman chatter can continue in the pub and that’s fine, but that was one of the most impressive batting displays you’ll ever be likely to see.
14. So they’re coming for Cam Bancroft. I don’t buy it yet. Dave Warner did just as little, and sure, has the career to back up quite a few more chances, but unless you’re adamant Marcus Harris does any different you’re backing in the decision to go with Bancroft. Further, don’t forget the last red-ball hit out before the first test he looked a cut above anyone else, and that it is properly trying facing English quicks, in England, with a brand spanking new Duke. Not easy. He has another two tests for mine to get past 50, and I’m sure in four innings he can manage that.
15. So the bowlers. Cummins is our best quick, he always plays, take him out of the dilemma. With a deck a little green, Pattinson was a great choice, and whilst he didn’t take a ton of wickets, he was only ever going to be a threat in the first innings and he did that. Siddle too, really impressive, I think he goes again at Lord’s. So Starc might get a look for Pattinson in the second test, but then third or fourth test, if we saw Hazlewood, it wouldn’t shock. Don’t think of the guys missing out as being dumped or dropped, think of our bowling options like your spice rack at home, and each test is like a different cuisine, requiring different flavour combinations.
16. As for England, yep that top order stinks. And no matter how good a Bairstow or Stokes might be, any quality middle-order batsman will feel the pinch when they’re walking out at 3/30. And Rory Burns, nah, that’s the flukiest ton you’ll ever see. He isn’t quality. So unless someone pops outta County Cricket between now and breakfast, that’s a problem that will only continue to plague them throughout the series.
17. And bowling, Jimmy Anderson wont play at least a couple more, for mine he is a ‘maybe, just maybe’ if its say 2-2 heading into the Oval. Otherwise nup. So in essence, get past Stuart Broad and that’s about it. Sure, Joffra Archer will play and look scary, but so is facing Shaun Tait, and look at how that Test career went. Great with the white pill, but in five-day cricket, let’s see.
18. So Ben Simmons. The initial drawcard piece for the Australia-Team USA blockbuster. But to be honest he never was going to play. Its why the NHL doesn’t send players to the Winter Olympics, its why we don’t have State of Origin anymore in AFL and why it wouldn’t shock me to see proper NBA stars start forgoing Dream Team duties at Summer Olympics. But then he gets a squillion tax-payer dollars to promote Victoria whilst he is here, back home in the off-season. Can’t play basketball but can take a cheque for being here besides. Not great Ben, I do kinda get it, but its not great.
19. As for Aussies to get behind, how did Nick Kyrgios get a mention so low down? Seriously, the tennis and personality he brought to the Washington Open was magnificent. Clearly a loose cannon, but when he is good, be it his on court form or his professionalism alongside it, he is very, very good. If your dog at home was the world’s best companion, but occasionally barked way too much and played up, would you keep it and work on those bad habits, or put it up for adoption? Kyrgios may never fulfill perfection, but I tell you what, there’s only five or so better chances for the US Open later this month. Don’t. Be. Surprised.
20. And Fraser Anning has this month filed for bankruptcy. Nothing else to add, but worth a mention.