Monthly Archives: August 2008

The Grand Final (Geekin’ Out – Fantasy Footy)

WIll Steve Johnson fill the void left by Matthew Pavlich and lead us to glory? We friggin’ hope so!

Well, the fantasy football season comes down to this…one final week to determine who takes out league premiership glory! And Half Back Flanker will be taking part on that last weekend in August…though it will only be for our AFL Dream Team squad. Having been virtually top four in this comp all year and finishing as the minor premier, it is a nice reward to have a shot at the grand geeky prize!

Last week, we prophecised about how it only takes a bad game here, a late withdrawal there and months of good results can go down the gurglar. And sure enough, our Premium Dream Team suffered that very fate. Matthew Stokes drops out of the Geelong team, Jordan McMahon (27 points? At home to Fremantle?) may as well not have played either…and we lose the prelim by 156 points! So third will play fifth in the grand final and we are left to smash our head against a wall, cursing the name Alan Didak!

But forget all that. We have a big game to focus on this week and the good fortune of having two trades left to plug any gaps…like the one Matthew Pavlich is leaving in our forward line! Having waited until the final hour before making our all-important trades, we now sit back and wait for each game to unfold…hoping that we can pull off a big win in the grand final. And with one of our opponent’s elite midfielders (Dane Swan) being outpointed by our mid-range defender (Garrick Ibbotson) in the Friday night match, things are going our way early!

The Grand Final

Dream Team: 39,009 points, 8,334th place overall – also finishing strongly in the overall category.

Last Week: defeated Moolias 1,860 to 1,612 – comfortable win but the decision to keep two bench forwards that were not selected to play almost backfired when Pavlich withdrew late. At least he won’t do that to me again…

Good: A nice spread of solid scores, with only Nick Stevens producing a spectacular 134! Nick Riewoldt was our only other 100-plus player (that was on the field, at least…) but there were twelve others in the 80-90 range.

Bad: We left Paul Chapman on the bench because we had some doubt over whether he would score well or even play at all. Sure enough, he produces a 121! Don’t worry…he’s straight back in this week!

Ugly: After weeks of leaving Kurt Tippett and Ben Ross as our benched forwards and running the risk of no emergencies, it finally caught up with us when Pav dropped out on Saturday. We were left praying that it wouldn’t cost us a spot in the grand final and there were some anxious moments…

Grand Final: 5th placed Carina Lions (2,070) – great effort to make it this far after finishing outside the top four and a midfield that contains the big guns (Bartel, Swan, Power, Mitchell) will make them tough to beat!

Final changes/trades: Time to cash in those final two trades. Firstly, it’s bye bye Matthew Pavlich…and we have traded him for Geelong’s Steve Johnson. We did look at Matthew Lloyd but not only is Johnson cheaper but playing a home game against the depleted Eagles…we feel that Lloyd won’t quite get the same amount of scoring opportunities.

That left one more trade and plenty of cash to finally upgrade our defence…and with Mark Nicoski facing the Cats, we felt he would be the best trade option. So it’s Nicoski out and Melbourne’s Paul Wheatley in! He was a great addition to our Premium Dream Team when we nabbed him from free agency after an injury layoff and we can sense a 100-plus outing against Richmond coming up for him!

The Team:

Defenders – Chris Newman, Andrew Mackie, Daniel Bradshaw, Michael Osborne, Paul Wheatley, Andrew McLeod, Garrick Ibbotson. (Emergency: Sean Dempster)

Midfielders – Kane Cornes, Nick Stevens, Bryce Gibbs, Rhys Palmer, Paul Chapman, Bradd Dalziell. (Emergency: Ryan Griffin)

Rucks – Dean Cox, Troy Simmonds.

Forwards – Lance Franklin, Brett Deledio, Nick Riewoldt (c), Matthew Richardson (vc), Steve Johnson, Brad Johnson, Cyril Rioli. (Emergency: Kurt Tippett)

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Round 22 – Don’t Let The Door Hit Your Arse!

Well played, Rama. Well played…

The final round is here! The end of the road is in sight for those clubs not quite or nowhere near good enough to play finals football…and they are all merely hours away from going completely nuts!!! But don’t get too wild, fellas – particularly if you have a couple of priors, if you get our drift…

For the eight teams who know they will be going around next week, there is a little bit of interest in the results this weekend…but only if North Melbourne slip up on Saturday afternoon. That would leave fourth spot up for grabs to the remaining teams below them in the eight but the Roos are playing a disinterested Port Adelaide so it’s hard too see that happening.

This weekend is also about saying goodbye to those loyal servants who have battled hard for a decade or more and have little or nothing left to give. But as well as the wily veterans, we also bid farewell to those frustrating players who clearly have talent but deficiencies in other areas (on and/or off field) meaning that their time at your club is almost up. Yes, we could be looking at you Alan Didak; and we might be looking at you too, Andrew Lovett. But, we are definitely looking at you, Jeff Farmer!

So, with those players in mind, we look forward to Don’t Let The Door Hit Your Arse round!

FRIDAY NIGHT

Perhaps Fremantle will let Mark Johnson wear his old Essendon jumper in his final game tonight!

Subiaco, Perth – 6:40pm (local): Fremantle v Collingwood (SEVEN)

PIES by 41: Whatever players Fremantle do have left, they won’t be good enough to combat The Prestigiacomo Factor!

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

Shannon Grant will give the game away to pursue other interests…like getting pissed at golf days!

MCG, Melbourne – 1:10pm (local): North Melbourne v Port Adelaide (FOX)

ROOS by 56: Port will only have one player that gives a shit about this game…Dean Brogan! And he can’t win matches on his own…

No wonder Michael Braun retired after last week’s home game…he doesn’t want his final match to be a flogging down at Geelong!

Skilled Stadium, Geelong – 2:10pm (local): Geelong v West Coast (TEN)

CATS by 68: Sounds like that drug problem at the Eagles has flared up again…John Worsfold thinks his side can beat Geelong!!! Huh?

Nathan Bassett says goodbye to Adelaide and hello to insulin!

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide– 4:40pm (local): Adelaide v Western Bulldogs (FOX)

CROWS by 18: Wouldn’t it be funny if the Crows let Jason Porplyzia be captain and he dislocated his shoulder at the coin toss! It could happen…

SATURDAY NIGHT

Surely, Spida Everitt will give it away now…he looks like he’s 55 years old!

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

LIONS by 19: Brisbane feel that complacency stopped them from making the finals…which probably means they will fire up for a game that doesn’t matter!

Will Shane Crawford retire this year? Expect an announcement soon…probably from a dancing, semi-naked Crawf during the grand final edition of the Footy Show!

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

HAWKS by 25: Now remember kids, you have to run onto the field when Buddy and/or Fev kicks 100 goals…big uncle Tony says it’s ok!!!

SUNDAY

Come on Russell, let Adem Yze go!!! He has to leave now

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

TIGERS by 14: Richmond are back in their rightful place…ninth place, that is! But if they keep moving on players such as Greg Tivendale, they might do the unthinkable and climb higher next year. 

Why would anyone get rid of Damien Peverill? Look, he’s such a good sport…

Telstra Dome, Melbourne – 4:40pm (local): Essendon v St Kilda (FOX)

SAINTS by 21: St Kilda should keep a close eye on how Essenedon farewell their batch of retirees…because they will have to do the same to Robert Harvey very, very soon – probably next weekend!

The A to Z of HBF!

And now for something completely different. Half Back Flanker rarely divulges in personal stuff as this blog is kinda solely focused on poking fun at footy-related things. But when we were tagged with this meme a while back (thanks Luli), we thought that it might be a great opportunity to give rare insight into a mid-thirties IT G.I.T. (Geek In Training) that spends waaaaay too much time taking the piss out of talented, hard-working sportspeople.

Anyway, here goes…

Attached or single? Well and truly attached (as you will soon discover)…

Best friend? An old high school buddy and rugby team mate who is at least six foot five inches tall…so don’t mess with me! Actually, he is completely non-aggro; a real gentle giant.

Cake or Pie? Both, especially in winter! I’m a sucker for coffee and cake when it gets cold and a meat pie at the footy is almost an essential item!

Mmmm…delicious!

Day of Choice? Apart from any non-work day…Thursdays are probably my fave. It’s the first day when you get a little excited that the weekend is fast approaching but there still a tiny spark of motivation to be productive (tend to completely shut down on Fridays). So planning for the weekend, playing over 30’s basketball with the Skinny Dogs, the Green Guide…and lots of thinking about dumb jokes to make about the weekend’s footy games to put on the blog!

Essential Item? (Apart from the meat pie) Headphones – I take them absolutely everywhere! Along with either the MP3 player, the Ipod Shuffle or the AM/FM radio…listening to stuff all the time.

Favourite Colour? Red…preferably on a sash against a black background. It was really fashionable at the turn of the century and now just waiting for it to come back into vogue again. That, however, could be a few years away yet…

Gummy Bears or Worms? I’d probably go the worms…but would actually prefer Gummy Juice! That was the nickname my six foot five best friend used for Cointreau when we were young and foolish. Crazy things usually happened when the Gummy Juice came out…

Gummy Juice!

Hometown? Even though I have spent the last twelve years in Victoria, I still think of Ulladulla as home…it’s where I grew up, went to school, represented in rugby and, during the worst of every Melbourne winter, kinda wished I was back there again.

Favourite Indulgence? Going out for breakfast on the weekend!

January or July? January – easily! Hot weather, long days, operating in holiday mode, cycling everywhere, Aus Open tennis, Australia Day bbqs, Triple J Hottest 100, music festivals…only another four and a half months away!

Kids? None of my own but two young nephews (two year old Jay and two month old Cooper) and one cat – a moody tortoise shell called Max(ine) who just spent over a week at the cattery and now hates me.

Life Isn’t Complete Without? Family, friends and a good Collingwood joke!

Marriage Date? August 8th, 2008. Hang on…isn’t that, like, only two weeks ago? Why, yes it is! Rather than taking an ill-advised trip to China for the Olympics, actually flew up to Palm Cove, north of Cairns and got hitched on the beach. And the 08.08.08 was deliberate…and, fingers crossed, impossible to forget come anniversary time!

Number of Siblings? One younger sister Emma; the more sensible child and mother of the aforementioned nephews (naturally!).

Oranges or Apples? Both have their place…probably eat more apples as they tend to be less messy.

Phobias? Quite a few food phobias…the worst being whole tomatoes. That’s what happens when you are forced to eat them as a kid, only to throw them back up onto the dinner table!

Quote? I love anything GOB Bluth (Will Arnett) says on Arrested Development…but I’ll settle for this nice little pick-up line: “If you didn’t have adult onset diabetes, I wouldn’t mind giving you a little sugar!”

“Illusion, Michael. A trick is something a whore does for money…Or candy!

Reason To Smile? The State Library of Victoria (in partnership with the National Library of Australia) have sought our permission to include this blog in the PANDORA web archive. For some reason, (well, I assume they don’t like Stephen Milne either) they have identified Half Back Flanker as an electronic publication that has ‘national significance’ and ‘lasting cultural value’! Gotta smile at that…

Season of Choice? You can’t really go past summer, no matter where you live. But Autumn in Melbourne is pretty cool too – new footy season starts, Comedy Festival in April, Easter holidays…

Tag Five People: A few on the blogroll have already completed this meme (Nothing You Confess Could Make Me Love You Less, This Devil’s Workday) but those footy related guys (Best Off Ground, Die Hard Footy, Kick 2 Kick, Mollyzine) are welcome to give it a shot…

Unknown Fact About Me: Played the role of King Arnulf in the world premiere theatre production of Erik The Viking…and Terry Jones, member of Monty Python and comedy genius who wrote and played the role of King Arnulf in the movie, has a copy of my sparkling performance on video at his home. If he ever bothered to watch it, which I highly doubt, I’m sure he would be mortified!

Vegetable? Provided it’s not a pumpkin…absolutely!

Worst Habit? The verbal faux pas…I’m a dead-set certainty to either say the wrong thing or not explain myself correctly, resulting in many an awkward, stilted conversation. This is probably why a) I much prefer writing as a means to communicate; and b) I’m always listening to stuff.

X-Ray or Ultrasound? Last x-ray was six months ago after screwing my ankle playing basketball. No breaks this time, which was nice, but it did show damage from a similar injury I suffered 16 years earlier…which I might have liked to know about at the time!

Your Favourite Food? So many to choose from…every night could be pasta night for me. But right now I would say Barramundi – I had the best Barra on my wedding night!

Zodiac Sign? Taurus – the only one in a family full of fish (Pisces)…which probably explains why I’m a little different to them.

We Can Book That Overseas Holiday Now! (The Lost Weekend)

Cheer up Jared Brennan…it’s not that bad. You only have one more game to play and then you can go completely nuts!!!

After looking headed for a grandstand finish to the home-and-away season, there will be no dramatic ending next weekend after results on Get Some AFL India round eliminated those hopeful clubs from breaking into the top eight. So now the Lions, Tigers and Blues can officially give up their finals dreams and start making plans for the post-season footy trip! The only real intrigue left in the final round is which team will be fortunate enough to finish in fourth spot and face the prospect of being crushed by Geelong in the first qualifying final!

And that match may well be a repeat performance of yesterday’s clash down at Geelong…which was won by the virtually unstoppable Cats. While Geelong were mighty impressive, North Melbourne put in a pretty good effort themselves and David Hale’s eight goals was one of the best individual efforts of the season. So if they do meet again in two week’s time, Hale just needs to kick another five or six and the Roos will be right in it…

Sam Power feels the full force of…Max Power!!!

FRIDAY NIGHT

Finally, after years of waiting, those brainy sub-editors finally get their ‘Hahn six-pack’ moment!!!

SATURDAY

Wow…Fremantle are finally getting a little tired of Jeff Farmer’s shit!!! Shame it’s about four years too late…

And from this point forward, Melbourne were pretty much out of the running!

Ed teases young Sydney supporters by allowing them a brief touch of the footy before snatching it away again. Classy…

Jono Brown wonders whether now is the best time to tell the boys about his ‘super deal’…that’ll cheer them up!

SUNDAY

Nice banner for Robert Harvey…but maybe a touch big for him to keep at home…

The locals would have loved seeing one hundred goals for Buddy but had to settle with a farewell for Michael Braun!

The Finals – Week Three (Geekin’ Out – Fantasy Footy)

There will be plenty of love for Richo if he helps get our fantasy teams over the line this week!

It’s preliminary final weekend in fantasy footy and for Half Back Flanker, it will be a nervous wait to see whether we have won our way into grand finals for our two remaining leagues. Both squads qualified for this weekend’s prelims courtesy of wins in the first week of finals, earning the week off…but without the luxury of ‘resting up’ players like those AFL teams get in the real world!

Having finished top-two in both the AFL Dream Team and Premium Dream Team leagues, our scores over the past fortnight indicate that both sides should get through to the decider. But it only takes an injury or two here, a quiet game there, a poor on-field selection or a bungled trade to bring an entire season of geeking out to a disastrous conclusion! Will we qualify for two fantasy footy grand finals?

The Preliminary Finals

Premium Dream Team: 21,057 points, 66th place overall – still might crack the top fifty…provided we score well in the next two weeks!

Last Week: scored 2,104 – only team to score over 2,000 points during the finals and have done it both weeks.

Good: Five 100-plus efforts this week and four of those by a long way – Richo (154), Cam Bruce and Paul Wheatley (138 each), Jordan McMahon (130) and Brad Green (114). There were plenty of 90’s as well from Hargrave, Whelan, Cox (186 with double points), Hale and Stokes.

Bad: Injury and dickhead suspension has decimated our forward line and the three replacements we brought in (Valenti, Dew and Harbrow) could only score in the 50’s this week. All three are capable of bigger scores but with a GF spot on the line, are there better options available?

Ugly: The prospect of a shock loss this weekend denying us fantasy premiership glory! After nine straight wins and some big scores, it would be a surprise if we didn’t get to the GF…but nothing is guaranteed.

1st Semi Final: 5th placed Big Gunz (1,935) defeated 4th placed BatterdSosage (1,934)…a win by one point!!! Big Gunz won by the barest possible margin and did it with one players short after Daniel Motlop didn’t front for Port. Would have topped 2,000 with a full team so a tough challenge coming up!

Potential changes/trades: We were looking at ways to boost our forward line and there was one major wildcard sitting there as a free agent…Geelong’s Paul Chapman! We held off the temptation of grabbing him early in the week with the plan of nabbing him for either Dew or Harbrow at the first reports of him being selected. But with Shane Valenti dropped from the Melbourne team, we just traded him for Chappy and hope that the bald Cat takes to the field on Sunday. And while Leigh Harding is another free agent (well, because we dumped him in round 17!) that is scoring well, we can’t bring ourselves to pick him up again…unless more injuries strike.

Captain: We are going to go with Richo…had a big game last week, playing Freo at the ‘G, theoretically in the finals hunt. The incentive is there for a massive game!

Will the recruitment of Paul Chapman help our Premium Dream Team make the big one?

Dream Team: 37,149 points, 8,201th place overall – also finishing strongly in the overall category.

Last Week: scored 1,979 – slightly down on last week and only Britt’s Guns (the other team straight into the prelim) topping 2,000. But at least we have the prospect of boosting our stocks in the backline this week.

Good: Big scores in the forward line…Richo (154), Riewoldt (126), Deledio (125) and Franklin (120) while our two rookie midfielders had huge games – Palmer (122) and Dalziell (111) more than covering for the injured Chapman.

Bad: Defence scored poorly this week. Mackie and Bradshaw were in the 70’s but well below average, three other scores in the 60’s while Osborne (59) and Urquhart (36) failed to produce. WIth trades and cash to use on upgrading our defence, we need to make the right decisions to ensure a GF berth.

Ugly: We still have just two emergencies in action, though hopefully Paul Chapman will be back this week to make three. But even if we use two trades to boost our defence, a late withdrawal in our forward line or ruck would nullify any advantage we had over our opponents.

1st Preliminary Final: 3rd placed Moolias (1,725) defeated 7th placed Whysie Boi (1,681) – Moolias have a very strong defence and midfield but no trades left as they played three forwards short last week…and all three (Tippett, Porplyzia, Nathan G Brown) were not selected this week either! If we lose to a side with three players missing, it would be a disaster!

Potential changes/trades: With the likelihood of having a three-player advantage, we will use just one of our last three trades to boost our defence. We have finally cashed in Bomber rookie David Myers…which gave us $373,900 to spend and the choice of all defenders, except for Joel Bowden. While Paul Wheatley or Sam Fisher would have been the best options but left little cash to spare, we went with Chris Newman at $307k which allow us two trades next week and an extra $66k to spend. A tad presumptious maybe…but if there are any injuries or rested players in round 22, we will be better equipped to cover any changes.

Captain: Richo as well.

Round 21 – Get Some AFL India!

Get ready for Mad Mondays in Mumbai!

It’s the middle of August and we are on the verge of another finals series. The administrative structure of the new GC17 franchise is (very) slowly being pieced together and the League has it’s eye on the promised land of young, impressionable families out in Western Sydney; just waiting for a major football code to win over their hearts, minds and wallets.

So…what is the logical step to take as we head towards an expanded national competition? You guessed it…play preseason games in India! Of course, we have already held a preseason cup match in Dubai this year where the big-wigs at Toyota and Air Emirates got to see how a little of their pocket change was being spent. Let’s hope they were impressed…

But it appears that there will be two preseason games held in India next year, most likely in Mumbai and New Dehli, as well as a match already organised in South Africa. And the clubs are lobbying heavily to be involved! Of course, there is no real danger of our indigenous game taking off overseas but what would happen if the AFL went global? What teams would leave our fine shores? And where would they go? Let’s find out as we embark on Get Some AFL India round!

FRIDAY NIGHT

Now that the Dogs are dabbling in high-altitude training, they would gain a nice ‘home’ advantage if they played in Nepal!

Telstra Stadium, Melbourne – 7:40pm (local): Western Bulldogs v Essendon (SEVEN)

DOGS by 41: Rodney Eade says that they are not paying attention to Essendon’s injury woes…but we doubt the addition of ‘old what’s-his-name‘ and ‘that young bloke‘ will be worrying the Dogs too much!

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

The finals-starved Tigers might take America by storm – they could play their home games in New York…on 9th Street, of course!

MCG, Melbourne – 2:10pm (local): Richmond v Fremantle (TEN)

TIGERS by 36: The Dockers are too busy working out who will chair off their numerous retiring veterans to be bothered with game plans!

Forget Debt Demolition…maybe the Demons relocating to Ireland is what Jim Stynes has in mind all along!

AAMI Stadium, Adelaide– 2:40pm (local): Port Adelaide v Melbourne (FOX)

POWER by 18: Dean Bailey may have some inside knowledge on Port Adelaide but the Power also have some info on Melbourne…like, they have won three games all year because they are not very good!

SATURDAY NIGHT

Viva Bris Vegas! Who wouldn’t travel to watch their team play away games if the Lions moved to Las Vegas?

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

LIONS by 19: Brisbane to stay alive for another week while the Blues will start looking ahead to 2009, when they add Daniel Kerrand Jeff White…and lots of other players that they shouldn’t be able to afford!

Collingwood are more than welcome to relocate to Dubai. They can start their own comp, win the flag every year and leave the rest of us alone…sounds fine to us!

Telstra Dome, Melbourne – 7:10pm (local): Collingwood v Sydney (TEN)

SWANS by 25: This is more hope than logic…but we will back Paul Roos and his stable Swans to cock up the finals hopes of the confident Pies.

SUNDAY

Germany would be a great fit for the Cats…plenty of calves blood for Max Rooke and an endless supply of ‘piss, pork and porn’ for Billy Brownless!

Skilled Stadium, Geelong – 1:10pm (local): Geelong v North Melbourne (FOX)

CATS by 48: Forget the challenge from the Roos – the biggest threat to Geelong’s flag tilt would be if half the team ate a dodgy bratwurst!

Keen to gain any advantage, the Crows will base themselves in one of the world’s most intimidating and hostile environments…yep, they’ll just stay put in Adelaide!

Telstra Dome, Melbourne – 2:10pm (local): St Kilda v Adelaide (SEVEN)

CROWS by 14: St Kilda’s farewell to Robert Harvey will turn sour despite the ‘miracle’ recovery from Stephen Milne…the real miracle being that he made it back to Melbourne at all!

Paris, Rome, Los Angeles…the Hawks would relocate to whichever destination made Buddy Franklin happy!

Subiaco, Perth – 2:40pm (local): West Coast v Hawthorn (FOX)

HAWKS by 21: Hawks to win but with Lance Franklin on 94 goals, hopefully the Eagles don’t let him kick too many…we want the Buddy v Fev shootout in Round 22!

We Just Couldn’t Resist! (Media Street)

YO ADRIAN!!!

Now, as much as we here at Half Back Flanker love to pay out on those players that drive us nuts for whatever reason, we have to give credit where it is due. No matter how begrudgingly that credit is delivered.

So it is with mixed emotions that we give sneaky St Kilda forward Stephen Milne credit for playing through a nasty looking facial injury during St Kilda’s vital win in Perth on Sunday. As a result, Milne was unable to fly back with his teammates and forced to hit the road! He is currently being driven the thousands of kilometres cross country back to Melbourne by a St Kilda official and hopes to be back at the club later today. Talk about an unwanted road trip…for the driver!

His fractured cheekbone will most likely keep him out of this week’s home game against Adelaide so there is no great hurry to get him back to Melbourne. So, why don’t they take him on a tour of outback Australia and give him the chance to explore some of the great regions in the remote parts of the country?  Like Uluru…or Kakadu National Park…or what about Wolf Creek? Ok, that was unnecessary. But we can’t help it…it’s Stephen Milne, for goodness sake!

In non-twerp news: