LAST Saturday night was just weird.
This column, with tongue firmly in cheek, prides itself on its gambling connection (Nat Fyfe, if you can get anything over $3 for the Brownlow just remortgage the house, don’t be subtle).
So to think of the possible odds for North to score only one goal, into Doggies 21 goals in a row, into the Wallabies highest ever score against New Zealand, sweet Jesus what a multi.
Then looking ahead to this weekend, first plays second, third plays fourth, another must-watch weekend of footy.
Oh, and Lord’s starts tomorrow night. You’re welcome.
1. Positive up front, and how bloody good is Roughy? Gets a send off this Sunday and rightfully so. 282 games but remember he lost a good chunk with his cancer battle. Almost 600 goals and was a key member of four flags. Two All-Australians and a Coleman too to boot. Bonafide legend. Onya Rough.
2. Ben Simmons gets another mention, but I’m kinda confused. Don’t get me wrong, this column doesn’t resile from the stance his ‘late withdrawal’ from the Boomers-Team USA game was stinky, especially after he just signed a new contract; he isn’t jeopardising getting a new one. He has been paid. But now all the other shade getting thrown his way seems a bit tall poppy. The Crown thing was a complete non-story, sure, not everyone’s a 200 million dollar NBA player, but how many bastards are getting knocked back from the cas every minute? And then coverage on perceptions of petulance and what not, when the coverage of his philanthropy in and around paid gigs isn’t quite sexy enough so it doesn’t happen? Look. Whack him for not suiting up for the Boomers. Aside from that, this has been a good return home, not a train wreck some media outlets would lead you to believe.
3. Speaking of train wrecks, the Bombers, my word. Sure, the game was horrendous and that’s been spoken about. But to do that when clearly the whole week leading up was how they would respond to the thrashing to Port a week earlier. Like that? So either Freo cops a twice-as-motivated Essendon this week looking to make amends for a fortnight of crap, or things do indeed come in three’s?
4. Dogs were ace though. They get that fling and ping footy going, dish, dish, then hammer down the field almost Mighty Ducks flying V style, its amazing to watch and incredibly effective. Might be playing off for a finals spot last round at Ballarat against the Crows. Would be good to see them make it, even if they have dropped some dud games this season.
5. Josh Dunkley was a scroungy forward type in the premiership year, then been a bit ‘yes, no, not sure’, but the last two months works harder than Lance Armstrong fresh from a Priceline visit. Lovely story, hope this blooms into one hell of a career. Kid can play.
6. Speaking of kids, this column has adopted ‘the Fog’. Darcy Fogarty, a country kid who is 6”4 and almost 15 stone in the old, lump of a lad, can seriously go. Sporting Mark Riccuito’s old number, he was taken at pick 12 in the 2017 draft, and this columnist is very happy with who the Pies took at pick six despite that player now being suspended for too much time on the pick six, but was eyeing off the Fog to end up in black and white, such was his potential. Boom junior, great size. Last weekend finally gets a breakout game, five snags against a good West Coast backline over there; he will own that goal square for a decade that boy. The Fog. Very much ‘a buy’.
7. And how the AFL gave the Rising Star nom to Oscar Allen over Fog is a travesty. Not like you could have missed Fog’s game, whilst Allen booted three snags at one end, not hard to see the Fog dominate at the other, wouldn’t have thought. Morons.
8. Crouch brothers, a fan, not at Fog levels but still. 88 touches between them, 10 tackles, 15 clearances, 12 inside 50s. Without them, Eagles win easy by eight goals if not more. The two Ballarat boys can play.
9. Enjoying the Al-Clarkson version of Chad Wingard. Was too happy to wear long sleeves on a dry but cool day in Adelaide and get away with not doing extras. Now, in a club that bans long sleeves and embraces adversity, strength through struggle, he is looking like an AFL footballer. Playing majority onball of late, has had over 20 touches the last month and averaged 28 the last two weeks. Upward trajectory for him I sense.
10. Freo win that, its an easy three votes for Nat Fyfe and that come Brownlow night might be the votes that sets off the flash photography. Should still get the three but now might be a sneaky two. Either way, this column did appoint the Bont as the best player in the comp, last three weeks the Freo skipper has averaged 32 touches, eight clearances and a goal a game. It’s Bont over Fyfe just right now. Just.
11. But Jack Steven gets votes for Sunday, played well, good to see him out there first and foremost. Had a terrible year away from footy and we hope that its only good things from here on out, but gee he is a good footballer when going. Quick, exciting, skillful. Hopefully a big 2020 in store for him.
12. And low and behold, Dann Hannebery played some good footy too. What a surprise to some, hey? But look, that game on Sunday is the kind of value the Saints could use. If he can produce more of that over the next 24 months, too stay on the park, despite all the nay-sayers at the start of the year the move for St Kilda will have been incredibly shrewd and well justified after all.
13. Good stat on Fox Footy Monday – Richmond has only played one game against a top four team all year, that was Geelong a few weeks ago and got spanked. Further, West Coast have only played two top eight teams after Round Six, once was a win over Essendon, but given last Saturday that’s not much to write home about, and then a home loss to Collingwood a month or so back. Form line questions much?
14. And its why we still question Brisbane. Have 15 wins on the board but have basically played Frankston Dolphins seven times. Now after last Saturday I’m not as sold on this theory, but give Essendon some confidence back, and some of their absent stars too, if the Bombers and Lions played each other 10 times, say on neutral ground, the Dons win at least five for mine, no doubt. Their records against top 8 teams are basically identical. Alas, on different paths though.
15. Christian Petracca only had one game above 20 touches before Queen’s Birthday, and that was against the Gold Coast. Since then he has had a few. He is an absolute front runner. Needs to get out of Melbourne and get under a Clarkson or Chris Scott who’ll make him work. We’ve highlighted Wingard at Hawthorn, something similar might just extract the amazing talent out of the former no.2 pick. He should be a Cripps or Dangerfield in the guts, but is playing like a poor man’s Jack Gunston. Disappointing. So is his club too in 2019 for that matter.
16. Steve Coniglio, its GWS or Carlton it seems. Reckon the Giants would be stiff to lose him given they let go of Shiel, Setterfield, Lobb amongst others last year because of a cap crunch, particularly when it came to keeping cash aside for Josh Kelly and Coniglio. Still think he stays, I think if he was to go it would have been home, and I don’t see WA acquiring Tim Kelly and Coniglio this year, and Kelly is a definite.
17. Kelly gets to Freo, I think, don’t see the Eagles making it work without a surprise. Brad Hill definitely comes back to Victoria off the back of that, but probably not Geelong. Jack Steven to the Cats still has legs, if nothing else to get back to Lorne, near family and friends – would be ideal given his mental health. But too, if the Saints don’t think they’re winning a flag within three years, then Steven who turns 30 around Round One next year, it just makes sense then despite his overwhelming love for the red, white and black.
18. Ashes, quick one, reckon they’d like to play Mitch Starc but they may go in unchanged. Josh Hazlewood definitely plays Headingly in the third test though, as it starts only a couple days after the Lord’s test finishes, very quick turnarounds. Cam Bancroft plays tomorrow night, and just needs to get a gutsy 30 I reckon either innings to stay in the team. Langer loves him, and can see the potential. But remember, if Australia wins this test, England would need to win all three tests left to get the Urn. A draw and England will need at least two more wins but don’t forget, two of the last three tests are in the British Autumn. Don’t need Jane Bunn to tell you how wet that gets.
19. So those Wallabies huh? Where’d that come from? Want to see more though from this weekend’s inevitable loss at Eden Park, coz the form line doesn’t stack up. Two matches ago in South Africa still looked mighty concerning. So yes, awesome, great stuff, but I’m reluctant to trust in it too much. However, Samu Kerevi, he is a superstar. Remember his name. Most talented rugby player we’ve had in a generation, an equal to someone going through the courts right now we won’t mention. Between him and James O’Connor, there’s the pairing that could propel the Wallabies deep into a World Cup that until recently they had no rights to do.
20. And we finish with Perth. Specifically Optus Stadium. So they’ve had a NRL State of Origin, they hosted Manchester United and now smashed out an amazing Bledisloe Cup fixture. Meanwhile, we no doubt have the strongest ever WA Origin side in our grasps and it’ll never play a game, more specifically nor at that amazing ground. Littered with Brownlows, Colemans, All-Australians, Premierships, it’s a crying shame. So, if you don’t bring it back for good, at least let the people of Western Australia see their greatest ever team at a venue that’s clearly good for everyone else’s spectacles but not one of our own? Gil. Fix it.