There’s a Grand Final in Brisbane, Adelaide is winning, no-one’s going worse than Clarko’s team, you can’t drink the water and Melbourne’s become tornado-town. Peak 2020.
1. So, Grand Final, Gabba. As it seemed destined all along. And at night too, sun glare left of screen a big reason, plus it’ll be daylight savings in Melbourne but not there up there of course. One reason Perth was preferred by some was the size of Optus and the extra crowd you could attract, yet as it stands, 30,000 at Optus, capped, or 30,000 at the Gabba, that seems like the same size to me. And in another kick in the teeth for Perth, Adelaide Oval will be the backup.
Put simply, Brisbane deserved it, the WA government still shows no signs of improving the state quarantine regulations which puts all kinds of logistics in the shit trying to accommodate a Grand Final, and whilst Optus is a much better ground than the Gabba, the opportunity to play the Grand Final in a Rugby state is the same as when the NRL licks its chops at having an Origin game in Melbourne. In the same year the Broncos in the NRL are having their worst year in history too. Only what, five years after Aussie Rules in Queensland was in the toilet. “Close call” according to Gil, nah don’t buy it, never in doubt.
2. If West Coast earn a home week one final, they’ll get it in Perth, primarily because there’ll be a pre-finals bye to accommodate both teams flying in and out per WA regulations. But week two, can’t see any finals not in Queensland, all the Prelims though will be at the Gabba regardless of who the home team is.
3. Oh, “two weeks later we could have had a crowd in Melbourne, so it was that close…” Bullshit. Don’t get me wrong, I have been ever the optimist on Victorian cases and the subsequent modelling, I reckon we’ll have a day around 50 cases by the end of this week, and then maybe a day of 20 cases or so by the last day of lockdown, which puts the state on par with NSW’s numbers and there’s all the precedent and comparison you need. But a crowd of anything worthwhile, like over 25,000, in the cavernous MCG, by the start of November? No chance. The Boxing Day test, almost four months away, even that’s hardly a certainty, in fact right now, its not on. My prediction though, if we avoid a third spike, 25,000 permitted into the ground each day of the test, MCG can keep it.
4. Joe Daniher stays. I know its an unpopular opinion, and I know he actually did indeed want out last trade period, but that was partially due to his injury situation, partially due to raging interest from Sydney. I think the Swans have cooled on him, and if nothing else a fit and healthy Joe is very happy being a Bomber. So unless a third team comes in and sweeps him on his feet, Daniher ain’t going anywhere.
5. Oh, and speaking of Essendon, Cale Hooker’s 200th last night, Fox Footy put on a little highlights reel to mark the occasion, front and centre, the Buddy Franklin goal. Its like if you did ‘This Is Your Life’ for Robert Harvey and Mike Munro just does an hour on the 1997 Grand Final. Not funny, not clever, I can’t sus any logic where that was “oh I know what would work well….”.
6. Tex Walker, he will also stay. “Oh, he would be valuable to another team, maybe a team on the rebuild who could use his leadership and experience”. Err, that sounds just like Adelaide. He would have no interest going anywhere, nor would anyone of note have any interest in him, he’ll retire a Crow, don’t even fathom the idea of anything else.
7. Andrew Phillips has played four games this year. Darcy Fort has played five games. Luke Jackson, the young Dees ruckman, he has played six. All of them have something in common. Despite playing in less than half the amount of games than he, all of them have taken more marks this season than Nic Naitanui. For the record, the Eagles big man has taken only seven in 14 games. Half a mark per game for someone of his size, and leap, is a deplorable. But you’ll never hear about that, he is essentially Fijian Jesus to Fox Footy. For comparison, in what they’d both concede haven’t been their best years, Max Gawn’s taken 47 marks in 10 games, Brodie Grundy 45 in 14.
“if the dogs are fair dinkum.. I hope they’re in the market and going extremely hard for another ruckman”
Tim English, whacked by Matty Lloyd on Monday night, essentially writing his career off. Coz ok, they get in someone else, English isn’t playing, and then what, he waits around for whoever comes in to be moved on years from now, and then where is he at? But, and I know marks aren’t everything, granted, but guess which ruckman has taken the most marks this season? You guessed it Matthew, Tim English, 63 in 14 games. In fact, isolating contested marks, he has taken more this season than Jack Riewoldt, Josh Kennedy or Jeremy McGovern. But right you are Lloydy, write the kid off, he is hopeless.
I actually think, personally, English will be a top ten ruckman soon enough, he has only just turned 23; was four drafts after Brodie Grundy for comparison, which says it all, Matthew.
9. And back on the West Coast bash, they were shown up by Richmond last round, and last night had Essendon kicked straight the Eagles were on toast again. They are only just going, and I don’t have any confidence, whilst in Queensland and away from the security blanket of Optus Stadium, they can offer anything of substance come the finals. Dogs and Saints the next two, won’t surprise me they drop one of those.
10. Geelong were better in last year’s home and away than this year. So until something different crops up, I’ll refrain from getting full boner about their flag chances.
11. Right, so the Pies are back in it, are they? Based off two quarters of ok to good footy against Carlton? Carlton are a decent team but not a finals team, and were leading at half time, but even so the win apparently suggests Collingwood’s worthy of our premiership consideration again? Let’s be clear, if the favourites win every remaining game here on in, the Dees and Giants take the last two spots in the eight and the Pies are half a game out. So Collingwood needs to find an upset win over Brisbane or Port, or hope for other clubs to shit the bed somewhere, hardly a position of confidence. Work yet to do. Beat Brisbane this week then get back to me.
12. Adelaide bottom the table, played 38 players off their list, gone through heaps. Other end of the spectrum, Port, Geelong and Richmond, 30, 32 and 32 respectively. Makes sense, you’re playing your best players more often, getting continuity, building chemistry. But the Crows aren’t the highest funnily enough. Collingwood’s gone through 39 players. And blooded five debutants, third most across the comp. You don’t win too many finals having churned through most of your list, no-wonder they’ve been both flag favourites and in the shit all in the space of two months.
13. Saints lost another one under a kick, and are now ‘precarious’ for the eight. No dice, this column is sticking fat. Six losses on the season, four of them under a kick. It’s not a skill to lose close ones, sure, you can prepare for those tight finishes but in reality, it’s luck, its musical chairs. They were the better team last weekend but the Dees nabbed them. So with some outlier losses against their record and some impressive wins against both Richmond and Port in Adelaide, they’re definitely a top six team with sneaky prelim final value as well. Don’t sleep on the Saints.
14. Dees were ok, but Christian Petracca was just insane again. If I did the Top 50 again he’d have to be top ten, I wanted to see more and I’m already sucked in. Not only is he now 12th in the comp for average disposals per game, but is second best for score involvements and fourth for contested possessions per game. Man’s become a freak.
15. Back on Carlton, I still think they are ok. Sure, Sunday was disappointing, but it hasn’t gone tits up or anything. No-one had any real expectations this year. Sure, they’re ‘an older list’ and ‘no longer rebuilding’, but don’t forget this team was third-last in 2019, and won only two games in 2018. No-one expected top four. This year is all about green shoots, which there is still plenty despite the Pies’ loss, and its only next year you go ‘right, Carlton, its time you made finals”.
16. And they should be chasing Brad Crouch. If there’s anything they need, its another talented, warm body inside to help Paddy Cripps. Sam Walsh, Jack Martin, these guys, they’re ok on the outside. But unless Matt Kennedy blossoms, its Cripps or bust on the inside. Crouch is a free agent so no trade required, is nowhere near as bad as his maligned reputation will let you believe, and if you chuck him and a fit Charlie Curnow into that team, tell me why it doesn’t win a final next year?
17. Oh, despicable attempt at legit newspaper reporting. So the West Australian, Perth’s key paper, went with:
Axed Fremantle forward Cam McCarthy says he is open to continuing his AFL career outside of WA, with Collingwood his club of choice
Now the actual conversation in question, McCarthy aims to have a go at playing at South Freo next year and who knows, maybe he says he could be the next James Podsiadly eventually. Further, minutes down the convo, which he spoke about a lot of non-footy stuff mind you, he said it would be cool to play for Collingwood. By no means nominating the Pies as where he wants to play in 2021, but for shits and giggles playing for the Pies would be a cool idea.
So no, Cam McCarthy won’t be playing AFL again, ever, probably, and if by some chance he does, where is anyone’s guess.
18. So, NBA and NHL, they are operating their seasons in proper bubbles. By proper I mean that if you’re in you’re in, if you’re out you’re out. There’s no media or workers or any staff who come in and out, it’s a legit bubble setup. The US Open, US stands for Undeniably Stupid, are running a pseudo bubble where tournament operations come in and out, whilst the players are locked down to the constraints of the bubble. So its no surprise this sham of an event has already had a positive test from the men’s number 17 seed, who I don’t know because in reality, so many players not playing, the 17 seed is probably equal to the Horsham Open runner up. So we’ve had a player test positive, they’re going to isolate anyone that went near him, which in my book is like, everyone, and there’s still nothing to totally prevent the ‘rona coming in and out anyway. Asterisk Grand Slam for sure. Morons.
19. A-League Grand Final. What a shocking piece of interference VAR played. Was it an offside play, the City goal in the first half? Technically, yes. Was it a good ‘football goal’ though? Hell yes. City was the only one to score in the first 90 mins, yet runs out an unlucky loser to a Sydney chested in extra time winner. Rated 84,000 on Foxtel, the Grand Prix later that night got over 100k. And don’t worry about the fact it was also on the ABC, because that was a delayed telecast. It’s 2020, and you still have to worry about avoiding the score if you want to watch a sporting match on free to air telly. Thumbs down all round.
20. Oh, and Lionel Messi will end up in Manchester next season it seems, for three years, and then go to New York City. Makes sense, the City Group can acquire his brand, image, and then deploy it as it sees fit. Crazy.