Monthly Archives: July 2008

Jostling For Positions (Geekin’ Out – Fantasy Footy)

Andrew Mackie will make a very handy replacement for Chad Cornes in our Dream Team competition.

Fantasy footy finals might be one more week away but for all the Half Back Flanker squads, the preparations are already underway. All three will feature in finals action with both our AFL Dream Team and Premium Dream Team squads hoping to earn a week off and direct path to a preliminary final. And while top four is still a slight possibility for our Herald Sun Super Coach league, we are taking more of a do-or-die approach as we could be just one match from elimination next week.

With a small stockpile of trades in each competition, we have started to build our finals teams. In AFL Dream Team, we used two of our six remaining trades last week to cash in Bachar Houli for rookie Lion Brad Dalziell and upgrade Chad Cornes for Andrew Mackie. Now we have four trades, money to spare and deficiencies in our forward line and defence to plug up…though we can afford to wait another week before we bring in new players.

We took a similar approach to our Super Coach squad by swapping Houli for Dalziell but instead of upgrading Cornes, we cashed up by trading him for West Coast rookie Eric MacKenzie. Now with almost $600,000 in the cap and four trades left, there is plenty of scope to bring in an elite defender and forward…do we act now or wait until next week? Two shrewd moves now could see us break into the top four and with seemingly less deficiencies in this team compared to our AFL Dream Team, we could cause a bit of a boilover in this upcoming finals series.

In the draft-based Premium Dream Team comp, a couple of handy trades last week boosted our forward line (Ashley Hansen for Leigh Harding and Corey Jones for Brad Fisher) and with a couple of midfielders struggling for form, there could be some more additions after the AFL teams are announced on Thursday night. We’ll see…

Premium Dream Team: 15,039 points, 139th place overall – decent rise in the standings this week…can we crack the top hundred?

League: 24 points (6-2), 134.17% – 2nd place. No hope of finishing top but secured the double chance and level on points with third and fourth. Need to win this week to avoid a first-up finals clash with the minor premier.

Last Start: Defeated rckets2 1,940 to 1,542 – weekly score up thanks to big inputs from Andrew Welsh and Matthew Richardson…the injured duo contributed just eight points between them last week!

Good: Richo returns from injury with a 132…no great surprise there. But Welsh with 131 points? Sure, he’s playing well (when not concussed) but holy crap…what a bonus! Other century makers included the league’s largest midfielder Quinten Lynch, Mackie, Stokes, Cox, Judd and new player Corey Jones, an ‘impulse buy’ for Brad Fisher that might work in our favour.

Bad: The midfield underperformed with only Judd (104) producing really good numbers. Rhys Shaw’s poor showing (44) reflected the performance of Collingwood in general while Matt Priddis (45) was well down.

Ugly: Alan Didak. Apart from his looks, that report on Henry Slattery had the potential to create selection headaches this week but fortunately for him, the charge was thrown out. Justin Koschitzke must be thrilled at that decision…

Next opponent: 3rd placed BatterdSosage (1,668 last week)…had seven players under 50 points last week so should improve and big names include Nick Riewoldt, Jonathan Brown, Ryan O’Keefe, Joel Selwood and Nathan Bock.

Potential changes/trades: Apart from any omissions on Thursday, the only changes that might be made is in midfield. Plenty of good options are around for trades; including Brad Green, who we originally drafted and performed well until his hamstring injury. If he is fit to play, a swap for Shaw or Priddis might be in order.

Matthew Knights has turned Andrew Welsh into a kick-ass centreman…and we are reaping the benefits!

Super Coach: 34,340 points, 9,768th place overall – crept inside the top ten thousand which reflects our improvement over the past five weeks.

League: 36 points (9-5), 106.67% – 5th place. Really tight finish to this comp…could finish as high as third or as low as eighth!

Last Start: Defeated Channel4 News Team 2,040 to 1,395 – five straight wins takes us from the brink of failed campaign to possible top-four. But it can all come undone pretty quickly…

Good: Nine players with 100-plus points…the best coming from Brent Harvey, Marty Mattner (136 each), Joel Corey (120) and Steve Johnson (111). Emergency Cyril Rioli’s 99 proved very handy when Pavlich was a late withdrawal while Melbourne rookie Shane Valenti’s first outing for us produced a 97!

Bad: Alan Didak (50) needs to lift, for our sake and Collingwood’s, and Robert Murphy (64) has been down for three weeks now.

Ugly: Both Darren Milburn and Matthew Pavlich were late outs and while we received good contributions from both emergency players, lucky that these two players were not picked as captain and vice captain! And could the late withdrawal of big name players be a taste of things to come in the next few weeks?

Next opponent: 7th placed Team Name (2,074 last week) – great score last week with no points from Pavlich and Wonaeamirri. No guaranteed victory this week so need a big one to have any hope of a double-chance.

Potential changes/trades: We will wait for the teams to come out Thursday but in terms of trades, we can move Collingwood’s Nathan Brown or David Myers out and replace with either a top priced defender or go with the in-form midfielder Andrew Welsh at $391,000. If we do the latter, we will have at least $400,00 left in the cap and that can turn Kurt Tippett into any forward we like…except for Nick Riewoldt! But Ryan O’Keefe would sure come in handy!

This is how we felt when Pavlich didn’t play…lucky it didn’t cost us this time!

Dream Team: 31,163 points, 10,546th place overall – very small climb…could have moved inside the top ten thousand if not for the late withdrawal of Pavlich!

League: 52 points (13-1), 120.96% – 1st place – double chance is assured but the rest of the top four are one win behind so could end up facing any of those three in next week’s first final.

Last Start: Defeated The Pretenders 1,858 to 1,653 – still racking up the wins but our weekly score has fallen each week for the past month…not a great sign!

Good:  Dean Cox (101) has been a great captain choice all season but going with Nick Riewoldt (230 points all up) paid off this week. Troy Simmonds (130) put up Cox-like numbers while other to rack up 100-plus included Kane Cornes (128 ), our first-gamer Andrew Mackie (108 ) and Deledio (107). And while the returning Rhys Palmer (104) was left on the bench this week, he will make great cover for the hamstrung Paul Chapman!

Bad: No fit bench forwards hurt us when Pav didn’t play so considering we were one player short, plus sub-50 scores from Dempster and Cotchin, our score for the week was pretty good.

Ugly: We should just call this the Kurt Tippett award…11! But we had no choice with two injured bench players in Hawkins and Ben Ross…hopefully Tippett can have one big game this week before we send him to the bench for the finals.

Next opponent: 2nd placed Moolias (1,919 last week) – a final round clash to decide the minor premiership! We face a great midfield of Bartel, Cross, Boyd, Hayes, Priddis and Nick Stevens so it will be interesting to see if we can beat them without upgrading our line-up.

Potential changes/trades: After our two trades last week, we have four remaining and $328,200 left in the bank. We will settle for whatever result comes our way this week but there will be no trade action until the finals. But our two bench midfielders from last week (Palmer and Dalziell) will get a run at the expense of the injured Chapman and Cotchin.

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One Heck Of A Party! (The Lost Weekend)

A big win and the meat in a bald man sandwich…it was a dream night for Cam Mooney!

The Geelong Football Club were good but not quite good enough in 1989. And 1992…and 1994…and 1995! But after sweeping all before them in 2007, the Cats are looking likely to go all the way again after conquering their two nearest rivals in consecutive weeks! Hawthorn did create a fierce contest and deserve a lot of credit for making the Cats work hard for the win; though Clarkson blaming the umpires for the loss was not the smartest move…considering the inaccuracy of some of their forwards.

But the Cats and Hawks opened Party Like It’s 1989 round with an enthralling battle in front of a massive crowd at the MCG on Friday night but Geelong prevailed, as most people predicted. The rest of the round, however, was one unpredictable event after another! No fewer than five teams in the top eight lost on the weekend and St Kilda, who were again being touted as top four material, crashed to a shock loss to the equal-bottom side and tumbled out of the eight! Wow…we really knew how to party in the late eighties!

Upsets freakin’ galore…that was the theme of Party Like It’s 1989 round:

SATURDAY

The happiest moment of this young Bomber fan’s life!!!

SUNDAY

The Power fans talk with their feet…well, those that went to the game in the first place!

Relax Demons fans, Jimmy Stynes has found your new CEO…comedian Hamish Blake!

We’d all like Fev to jump in the Lake…but Carlton fans are loving him this week!

Round 17 – Party Like It’s 1989!

The Hawks and Cats at a packed MCG…just like the good old days!

1989 – what a year! George W Bush’s daddy succeeded Ronald Reagan as US president, Seinfeld made its debut on American television, Madonna was rocking the world with Like A Prayer and Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell were stinking up movie theatres the world over in Tango & Cash…though I’m sure we all wish this didn’t happen!

Hawthorn and Geelong or Tango and Cash? Which would you prefer to watch tonight?

But 1989 is fondly remembered by footy followers as the year of the greatest grand final ever played…though there has been at least one worthy challenger in recent times. Hawthorn defeated Geelong by six points in a classic despite Gary Ablett (Senior) going mental to kick a record nine goals.

With these two teams facing off again in a blockbuster encounter at the MCG tonight, Half Back Flanker is launching Party Like It’s 1989 round as we celebrate what should be a great match played in a finals-like atmosphere against two re-established powerhouse clubs.

One vital aspect of modern day life that had yet to be introduced in 1989 is, of course, the World Wide Web. Therefore, as part of the celebrations for Party Like It’s 1989, we will be switching off the computer on Friday night, busting out the trusty old tranny radio and going ‘old-school’ this weekend! We will rejoin the 21st century on Monday with a look back at all the action of round 17!

TEAM NEWS

FRIDAY NIGHT

Dermott re-enacting the events of 1989…though he seems to spend every day behaving like he’s still in the late eighties!

MCG, Melbourne – 7:40pm (local): Hawthorn v Geelong (SEVEN)

CATS by 38: Geelong may not be indestructible but they will turn the tables from the ’89 grand final…with Max Rooke trying to do his best Mark Yeates impersonation on Buddy Franklin!

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Collingwood were still suffering a long, painful premiership drought in 1989…until the Bombers ruined everything the following year by losing the 1990 grand final!

MCG, Melbourne – 2:10pm (local): Essendon v Collingwood (TEN)

MAPGIES by 21: Essendon are struggling to put a team together so the Pies should get up unless they have a big lapse in concentration…which is not beyond this Collingwood side!

The evergreen Robert Harvey had only just turned 30 years of age in 1989!!!

Subiaco, Perth – 2:10pm (local): West Coast v St Kilda (FOX)

SAINTS by 18: Shame that Michael Gardiner won’t get to play against the club that dumped him…would have been the most interesting thing about this game!

SATURDAY NIGHT

In the mid-80’s, the Swans had Tommy Hafey, Dr. Geoffrey Edelston and a shitload of money. But by 1989, all of it was gone!

SCG, Sydney – 7:10pm (local): Sydney v Adelaide (FOX)

SWANS by 18: Neil Craig might want to steer clear of the boundary line this week…particularly if Barry Hall gets a little frustrated, as he tends to do…

The old ‘Bad News Bears’ were stinking up Carrara in 1989…and it could be bad news for Brisbane on Saturday night if they don’t win!

Telstra Dome, Melbourne – 7:10pm (local): Richmond v Brisbane (TEN)

TIGERS by 18: Richmond would hate to lose such an important game, their finals hopes and their major sponsor all in the same week!

SUNDAY

Neither the Power or Dockers even existed back in 1989 but Port Adelaide is the only one have had any reason to party since joining the AFL!

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide – 1:10pm (local): Port Adelaide v Fremantle (FOX)

POWER by 18: It has been a bleak old year for Port Adelaide and things are fairly negative over there…two wins in a row should cheer them up! Or not…

Jim Stynes caused Melbourne a fair bit of pain in the late 80’s when he ran over the marknow he’s inflicting more pain on the Dees!

MCG, Melbourne – 2:10pm (local): Melbourne v North Melbourne (SEVEN)

ROOS by 48: The Kangas must have the right people in place…look at how well they are coming along! But the Demons just can’t get it right at all

Since 1989, fortunes have changed dramatically for the battling Footscray Bulldogs and the Carlton Blues…in particular for their president John Elliot!

Telstra Dome, Melbourne – 4:40pm (local): Western Bulldogs v Carlton (FOX)

DOGS by 24: The Bulldogs are just happy enough to have avoided financial ruin so the win will be a nice bonus!

Winning Streak Continues! (Geekin’ Out – Fantasy Footy)

Chad Cornes has been grounded for the year…but who do we replace him with?

We are hitting form at the right time of the season! After experiencing a few problems with each of our fantasy footy squads early in the season, Half Black Flanker has not tasted defeat for a while now. We have only lost one match in our AFL Dream Team leagues so far but after sliding out of the eight in our Herald Sun Super Coach league, four straight wins has seen us rocket into fifth spot and sit out of the four on percentage. With six trades left in both competitions, we are in a great position to improve our lineups ahead of the finals…and with Chad Cornes finally chucking it in for this season, some vital decisions need to be made on player trades.

In our Premium Dream Team league, three straight wins sees us in second spot on percentage but top four seems assured. However, we have major concerns over a few elite players who play for clubs that either have no chance of finals or will drop out of the finals race in the coming weeks. Dean Cox has battled admirably with his foot problem all season but if he starts to struggle in the next couple of weeks, the Eagles might ground him for the year…which would essentially end any hope we have of winning this comp. And we can see similar things happening to Chris Judd and possibly Matthew Richardson once their finals hopes have been extinguished. If we lost all three in the finals, could we find enough quality free agents to replace them and still win the flag?

Premium Dream Team: 13,099 points, 221st place overall – only dropped a few places, bit of a surprise it wasn’t more considering the weekly score wasn’t that great.

League: 20 points (5-2), 135.50% – 2nd place. Crept up one spot and still with the best percentage in the league. This ensures a top-four finish but with first placed Team ManBearPig undefeated, they would need to lose the next two games for us to have any hope of a minor premiership. But we would settle for second of third.

Last Start: Defeated Big Gunz 1,819 to 1,388 – happy enough with our score considering the early injury to Andrew Welsh and we are holding onto the injured Richo.

Good: Dean Cox as captain cleared 300 points – again! Honestly, if this guy packs it in before the end of the season, our premiership hopes will nosedive dramatically. Our two Geelong players (Stokes and Mackie) had big games, Quinten Lynch cracked the ton and Bryce Gibbs, our Mark McVeigh replacement, thrashed Adam Goodes on Sunday!

Bad: Quite a few down players this week…six players under 60 points and that does not include a no-score from Richo. As we feared, Matthew Whelan has yet to produce the big numbers he had before we drafted him while Leigh Harding is just not racking up enough fantasy points to keep him in the side.

Ugly: Andrew Welsh’s fumble and subsequent head-knock in the first quarter against Richmond. It hurt us badly, not only as a fantasy owner (8 points?!) but a Bomber fan who would really like to see them play with 22 fit players!

Next opponent: 8th placed rckets2 (1,618 last week)…some decent names there (Edwards, Enright, Black, Ottens) but have out of form players such as Travis Cloke and no Justin Koschitzke!

Potential changes/trades:Finally bit the bullet on Harding and swapped him for West Coast’s Ashley Hansen, who has scored very well since coming back from injury…hopefully he keeps it up. Richo is due back this week so unless there are any outs at selection on Thursday, that one trade might be it this week. Though Carlton’s Andrew Walker and his dodgy shoulder is still available as a defender…and he looked pretty good last Sunday. Hmmm…

Andrew Walker…worth the risk?

Super Coach: 32,300 points, 10,465th place overall – the upward trend of the overall standings continued, another few thousand spots.

League: 32 points (8-5), 104.47% – 5th place. Just like St Kilda…four wins from four and we are now within sight of a top-four finish. Yet finals are not guaranteed and there are plenty of teams either level on points or one win behind. Level on wins with the 4th placed team but would need to make up a few percentage points in order to claim that spot.

Last Start: Defeated Bridgeburners 2,225 to 1,782 – that’s four straight 2,000-plus scores now…how long can we keep this up?

Good: Almost half the team topped 100 points! Best performers were Milburn (141), Foley (141), Cox (171) and Pavlich (182). So who did we select as captain? Yep, the Pav…364 points!

Bad: Another down day for Heath Shaw (40) while Doggie dou Brad Johnson (45) and Robert Murphy (66) have had two below par weeks in a row.

Ugly: Our Tippett/Rioli dilemma did us in again…the benched Rioli (70) easily outscoring Tippett (29)! With the Crows slipping, it might be time to bench Tippett permanently and choose between Melbourne’s Shane Valenti and Rioli for that onfield rookie option.

Next opponent: 14th placed Channel4 News Team (1,769 last week) – great team name! But they seem to have too many rookies in defence and must sorely miss the contributions of Porplyzia and Palmer.

Potential changes/trades: The Chad is gone for the year and, for the moment, will join grounded Bomber David Myers on the bench. We would prefer to hold off any trades for a couple of weeks but will wait and see if all other defenders are picked to play.

Huge captain’s knock from Matthew Pavlich this week!

Dream Team: 29,305 points, 10,714th place overall – another small climb in the overall standings, very similar to the Super Coach squad..

League: 48 points (12-1), 121.68% – 1st place – still one win out on top and a victory this weekend would pretty much guarantee top-two.

Last Start: Defeated Carina Lions 1,876 to 1,490 – whilst down on previous weeks, our opponent only had one player crack the ton for the round so were in no danger of an upset.

Good: Replacing Dean Cox as captain with Matthew Pavlich paid off in Super Coach but Cox (157) won out over Pav (148 ) in Dream Team. Either way, we couldn’t lose. Having endured some lower scores from Nick Riewoldt (126) and Bryce Gibbs (104) at various stages of the season, they are repaying our faith with a real purple patch!

Bad: Buddy Franklin is still kicking a few goals but 52 this week is again well short of his season average. The Chad Cornes saga is finally over but if we find an adequate replacement, perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. We made a last minute trade before Friday’s lockout, cashing in Josh Hill for North’s Ben Ross. While we now have 200 grand left in the cap, Ross will now be out for a couple of weeks…which leaves us with injured Tom Hawkins on the bench and both Rioli and Tippett on the field.

Ugly: We can accept low scores from rookies such as Cyril Rioli (39) and Kurt Tippett (29)…but a 37 from Andrew McLeod? And a 29 from Nick Stevens?

Next opponent: 10th placed The Pretenders (1,571 last week) – plenty of missing stars…Ablett, Joel McDonald, Houli, McIntosh, Nathan Thompson. Either they are completely out of trades or have lost their computer!

Potential changes/trades: While we still have six trades to go and want to save them for the finals, we currently have no emergencies or bench players that are fit or likely to play in the next couple of weeks. If all of our 22 on field players are selected this week, we might roll the dice and leave the side as it is before putting together our finals team from next week.

All Going To Script For Geelong! (The Lost Weekend)

The Bullies are still trying to figure out what just happened to them…

If that was just a dress rehearsal, how good is opening night going to be! Geelong showed the second-placed Western Bulldogs what the big stage is all about with a crushing second-half performance and, coupled with Hawthorn’s loss to St Kilda, appear to have top spot in the bag. Unless Paul Chapman and 10 to 12 teammates get suspended for a few weeks by calling the umpires ‘cheats‘…they don’t like that too much.

Scarily, the Cats still have a few top line players to come back into the line-up; including Gary Ablett, provided the star midfielder survives his life-threatening ankle injury. But despite the big win, coach Mark Thompson doesn’t believe his side is developing a superiority complex over the Dogs …but, honestly, they should be!

Dogs coach Rodney Eade seems to think that it was a closer contest than the scoreboard indicated. If this were actually true, it would make this match the tightest ten-goal loss in the history of football!

The Cats score a massive win…and don’t they look excited!

Here’s a look back at the weekend’s action on Dress Rehearsal round:

SUNDAY

Paul Roos was pretty pumped after the win but has a few injury worries…welcome back Barry Hall? Maybe. Welcome back Nick Davis? F@!# no!!!

That victory was ass-grabbingly good for Port Adelaide!

SATURDAY

After all these years, Joel Bowden and his backwards-sideways bullshit actually helped Richmond win a game!

St Nick is on fire!!!

Beat West Coast one-handed? ‘Piece of piss’ says Jamie Charman!

The Curtain Closes (Round 16 – Dress Rehearsal)

It’s the final night of Dress Rehearsal round and here is a quick preview of the remaining three games. Full recap of the weekend action tomorrow but it will undoubtedly feature some in-depth analysis as to how Joel Bowden’s go-backwards clock-milking antics action may have won a game yesterday…but is more a reflection of Richmond’s chronic-suckiness!

SUNDAY

Until Fev signs his new deal with Carlton, he will be cast as the villian…no matter what he does!

Telstra Dome, Melbourne – 1:10pm (local): Carlton v Sydney (FOX)

The game is just the dress rehearsal…the real contest will take place here!

AAMi Stadium, Adelaide – 2:40pm (local): Port Adelaide v Adelaide (SEVEN)

If Naitanui goes to the game, there’s a good chance he will be meeting his new teammates…they will be on the losing team!

Subiaco, Perth – 2:40pm (local): Fremantle v Melbourne (FOX)

The Plot Twist We Should Have Seen Coming! (Round 16 – Dress Rehearsal)

How freakin’ good was Drew Petrie!!!

The script was written perfectly. Collingwood look like world beaters against power sides like Geelong and Sydney but always seem to trip up against teams they are supposed to beat. North Melbourne are seen as a battling club but always stand up when they are least expected to…So why on earth would anybody tip the Pies to win this one? With all these factors…why did WE tip them to win???

Sure enough, The Kangaroos kept things close in the first half before making their charge in the third quarter and produced the trademark ‘gritty’ win over the Pies. The victory keeps the Roos in the finals race and gave coach Dean Laidley a great opportunity to use the word ‘super’ a lot! Collingwood, on the other hand, have to deal with yet another sub-par performance in a game they should win. Mick Malthouse sensed it was going to happen…hasn’t quite figured out how to prevent it from happening yet.

They may have screwed up our tips but that picture…makes you smile, doesn’t it!

Here is a look ahead at today’s games for Dress Rehearsal round…chookas everyone!

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Can Richmond make the finals this year…or is it all a big dress rehearsal for 2009? Or 2010? 2011?

MCG, Melbourne – 2:10pm (local): Richmond v Essendon (FOX)

Take note Doggies: Port beat Geelong in a dress rehearsal at Skilled Stadium last season – didn’t mean jack-diddly come Grand Final day!

Skilled Stadium, Geelong – 2:10pm (local): Geelong v Western Bulldogs (TEN)

SATURDAY NIGHT

John Worsfold should forget about these dress rehearsals and just cancel the rest of the season already!

GABBA, Brisbane – 7:10pm (local): Brisbane v West Coast (FOX)

No time for dress rehearsals at St Kilda…it’s virtuoso performance or bust!

Telstra Dome, Melbourne – 7:10pm (local): St Kilda v Hawthorn (TEN)