Category Archives: Essendon

All Eyes On The Juddster! (Media Street)

JuddFinger

Visy ambassador Chris Judd reacts badly to Michael Rischitelli’s confession that he doesn’t recycle…

Two weeks ago, it was Buddy. Last week, it was Lloydy. This week…Chris Judd? For an alleged eye gouge? Not THE Chris Judd, surely! This can’t be true…must be a case of mistaken identity. Fev is the cause of all problems at the Blues, isn’t he? Must have been Fev! Or even that dancing guy of the same name that married Jennifer Lopez in 2001!

No, it’s true. Carlton captain Chris Judd has been busted for inexplicibly fiddling with the face of Brisbane Lion Michael Rischitelli during Saturday night’s elimination final! The Ruddster will be shattered…

Mr Judd will miss the first three rounds of 2010 unless he takes the early plea, reducing it down to two matches. But relax, football fans – not only is Judd eligible to win the Brownlow Medal this year and next, he can still attend football’s night of nights with his glamorous partner Rebecca Twigley. Forget the AFL tribunal…imagine the trouble he would have been in at home if they weren’t allowed to go!

TwigsJudd

No Brownlow Medal night? Juddy would be lucky to escape with a bloody nose if that ever happened…

Interesting to see whether the Blues challenge this decision as it appears the Match Review Panel have not left much room for them to move. The incident was listed as a ‘misconduct offence in that he made unreasonable and unnecessary contact to the face’ and assessed as intentional conduct (three points), low impact (one point) and high contact (two points). With those parameters in mind, no doubt it was intentional and the face certainly falls in the ‘high’ category. Unless they can downgrade ‘low’ impact to ‘barely any’, I can’t see how Judd can beat this one.

ShutUpJudd

That’s enough Chris…No need to say any more…Ok, you need to stop…Just shut up now…GOD, MAN – WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?! STOP TALKING ALREADY!!!

What certainly works against him are comments made the day after the gut-wrenching loss to the Lions where he denied eye gouging Rischitelli. For reasons that cannot be explained, except for an early start on Mad Monday festivities, the normally measured Judd revealed he was aiming for some type of martial arts style pressure point on the guy’s face! Yeah, that helped clear things up.

Whether he was fair dinkum or not, it was probably the dumbest thing I’ve heard this year. And now we have knob-ends like Craig Hutchison chasing martial arts experts for comment and floating theories about how it could have been lethal. Nice work!

hong-kong-phooey-gal-431

When the going gets tough, Judd’s super tough…with a Hong Kong Phooey chop!

Something else that would work against any potential challenge is that incident back in 2007 where then-Eagle Judd was initially charged with eye gouging Campbell Brown in a match down in Tasmania. After some ‘generous’ evidence from Brown, Judd walked free. The Hawk hard man appeared to abide by the strict rules of the ‘player code’ on this occasion, though it certainly doesn’t apply in any incident involving Matthew Lloyd.

CampbellFaking

Here is Chris Judd doing ‘nothing’ to Campbell Brown’s eye in 2007.

Maybe Judd threatened Brown with some pressure point action…or did he use the Jedi mind trick?

ObiWanMindTrick

If Judd gets off this charge, we will know that the Force is with him!

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Rough Start But It Sure Got Better! (Septocemia – 2009 AFL Finals Series)

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SlowRocca

The slow motion footage, the wanky opera music, the pissweak attempt to make Anthony Rocca appear graceful. Yep, must be finals time!

September action is finally under way! There was a bit of an ugly beginning on Friday night but after that we saw plenty of riveting footy action that made sitting through rubbish games like round 22 West Coast v Richmond all worthwhile. Typically in the first week of the finals, the results play out according to ladder position. The top two sides win through to the preliminary final and the seventh and eighth teams are eliminated. Boring! But this year…no just kidding! It all went to plan but it was far from boring.

RiewoldtIce

St Kilda will now encase Nick Riewoldt’s entire body in ice for two weeks to ensure he is right for preliminary final day!

Runaway leaders during the home-and-away season, St Kilda were destined for failure according to Dermott Brereton, the Bogan Football Oracle himself. If Brereton’s ‘theory’ held such weight then we are screwed this year because each of the top four teams have not experienced Hawthorn-style sustained success in the past 45 to 50 years. Shall we just not award the premiership cup this season because Dermie feels none of the clubs are worthy enough? It’s not just about culture – class goes a long way too; Nick Riewoldt and the Saints proved that on Sunday. This also leads us to the Cats…

LingWins

The media wanted the red, white and blue to triumph on Saturday. Well, it did….but only in the form of football’s favourite ranga, Mr Cameron Ling!

Geelong’s performance in the other qualifying final not only shattered the Western Bulldogs but ruined the football media’s fevered pursuit of a drought breaking premiership for the Dogs. There was no doubt that the preference for Saturday’s game was success for the ‘sexier’ storyline of the Doggies. Poised to make history! This might be their year! And Channel Ten spent the entire pre-match playing the Footsray violin and barely recognising the fact that the Cats have their own shot at creating some history going on this September.

FootscrayViolin

The 1954 Footscray premiership team pass the mantle to the cuurent day players. Didn’t realise the Doggies were already in the Grand Final?! Well, congratulations…I guess.

Don’t get me wrong – that feature made for good television. Really good television. It would have been perfect as part of the pre-game for the 2009 Grand Final…if the Bulldogs were actually playing in it! But the Dogs were the third-placed team playing a club that, believe it or not, actually finished higher than them on the ladder…and has been the best performed team for the past three years. The hacks had Geelong written off, forgotten and ignored…that will be hard to do now they are in the prelim!

ThirstyKnights

Matthew Knights would have been looking for something a little stronger to drink as the night wore on!

While the beaten Doggies and Pies live to fight another day, two teams are in the midst of conducting their alcohol-laced post-mortems after being eliminated on the weekend. The first team to be shown the door was Essendon…and it sure wasn’t pretty! Already undermanned and missing their first three ruck options, Essendon coach Matthew Knights gambled at the last minute by leaving out the only bloke they had over 200cms tall for ‘a runner’, which ended up being an Irish kiddie who cannot even spell Sherrin…let alone drop one onto his foot to kick a goal from the goal line!

Actually, they looked ok early until they coughed up a goal late in the first quarter…and then another 22 goals for the rest of the night! Reports of involvement by Bombers players in an altercation at some Adelaide nightclub proved to be false. For the second time that night, it seems that they were merely innocent bystanders!

LionsSing

You never see Jono Brown this pumped up! Either they have just pulled off a miracle comeback or Cold Chisel have reformed!!!

The Bombers were joined in post-season shenanigans by the Brisbane Lions Carlton? WHAT? How did this happen? The Blues were home for all money with a five-goal lead early in the final quarter but half an hour later, their season was over. Brisbane completed a true football miracle which resulted in euphoric scenes all around the Gabba, including some great footage of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd clapping, cheering and pretending to know every word to the Lions theme song…when it was clear that he had absolutely no idea!

HappyRuddster

“We are Brisbane, la la la, hmm hmm something, blue and gold! We are good and stuff, la la la la, yeah wow hey something old!

No doubt the Ruddstar will make the trek down to the MCG for Brisbane’s semi final clash with the Western Bulldogs on Friday night…

The Games:

QuinnHowler

Anytime you can drop your only ruckman from a do-or-die game to bring in an Irishman who had never played the sport twelve months ago…you have to do it, right?

Adelaide are damn scary! They win their first final for a few years and could barely have looked more impressive in the process…plus they have a couple of key additions to come for the Collingwood game. Essendon did well enough to make the finals but lost more games than they won during the year so it’s fitting that they bow out at this stage. They probably wish that they weren’t exposed this badly in prime time though!

PissedDogs

Is it any coincidence that the only time Brad Johnson does not seem to have a smile on his face, Jason Akermanis appears to be running his mouth? Gee, good luck next year!

Geelong did exactly what it needed to do in order to qualify for a third straight preliminary final. How they prepare over the next two weeks will be vital as they aim for another grand final berth…well, they’ve had a bit of practice at it! The Doggies failed to deliver when it counted but Rodney Eade still believes they can go all the way. First things first – try starting with Aker’s old mob on Friday night! They’re coming…by whatever means necessary!

JuddFinger

Not sure what Chris Judd is up to here but I’m sure it’s all pure and sweet and innocent. It’s Chris Judd after all…

Whatever Vossy said, it must have bordered on genius – it was one of the best alright! The Brisbane Lions kicked the last six goals of the match to storm to victory, leaving Carlton a long off-season to figure out what the heck just happened to them. But hey, at least Brendan Fevola tried really hard for the entire game! Will we see this more often? Unlikely…

RiewoldtCelebrates

If any team other than St Kilda wants to win the flag, they have to find a way to stop this bloke!!!

The Saints passed their first finals pressure test with flying colourshope Ross Lyon enjoys his break! Like the Dogs, the Pies still think they can win it but they need to beat the rampant Crows with two less days to prepare. Scott Pendlebury’s season could be over while you wonder whether they will persist with the Anthony Rocca Experience. He did lead the team with two goals…he also managed team-high stats for pulling mean faces, talking smack and unnecessary displays of force which result in nothing of substance.

I Got A Fever! (Septocemia – 2009 AFL Finals Series)

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PaddyPunch

No final for you, Paddy. But if you have a handful of jumper when you hit a bloke, exactly like Luke Hodge did to you, you get away with it. Jumper punch equals no suspension…

LloydSewell

Same for you, Lloydy – a handful of jumper and you get away with it. Jumper Bump equals no suspension…ok, maybe not!

It’s finals time…you little ripper!!! After a home-and-away season filled with thrills, surprises, inspiring stories and some downright weirdness, we have eight teams left and four weeks to sort out the wheat from the crap.

This September, the League have again gone into promotional overdrive and declared the finals series as being In A League Of Its Own…it’s going to be harder, faster and fiercerer than ever before! Well, that’s a relief.

Personally, I think that the propensity for rugby league players to poo on the floor of hotels kinda puts the NRL in a league of their own but that’s just me.

Here at Half Back Flanker, the finals series will always be known as Septocemia in homage to my favourite AFL finals promotion from 2007 when the League attempted to transport us all to the mystical footballing fairyland that was Septopia! And it all kicks off tonight when Adelaide defeats Essendon in the opening game of the finals series…come on – they can’t win, can they?

FRIDAY NIGHT

BurtonMOTY

How the heck are you supposed to defend against this?

First Elimination FinalAAMI Stadium, 7:45pm (local): Adelaide v Essendon (SEVEN)

Gee, they are getting a little bit excited in Adelaide, aren’t they? Apparently this side is going to make history because they are better than the group that won two flags in the nineties! They are fully primed for finals action, choc full of flair (a term not usually associated with the Crows) and not even remotely fussed about missing a couple of key players. Are they getting too far ahead of themselves? Even if they are, they probably won’t get caught out this week…

BombersCelebrate

Essendon might just celebrate wildly tonight…if they kick more than two goals in a row against the stingy Crows, that is!

…because they are facing a depleted Essendon outfit that have little finals experience and a crap interstate record. They have some nice young kids and that ‘nothing to lose’ attitude but can the Bombers really pull off an upset of massive proportions? Um…no. Just no.

CROWS by 35

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

ablettgoal

Time for more Gary Ablett magic…the Cats certainly need some!

Second Qualifying Final MCG, 2:30pm (local): Geelong v Western Bulldogs (TEN)

Poor Geelong…what do you have to do to earn some respect around here? You dominate the comp for almost three seasons yet the Doggies were stoked to finish third (don’t be fooled!) to play them and avoid St Kilda. The Cats will find it tough to go all the way this year but with a little tackling practice and some good players returning, they might just earn the week off. This bloke sure hopes they do

ThumbsUpRocket

Beating the Cats, a prelim final, a week off…surely that would be worth two thumbs up, Rocket?

The Bulldogs have a couple of nice additions as well, meaning the coach has had one of those nasty selection headaches all week! It’s not about revenge from the 2008 finals…well, maybe a little – however the Dogs say they are better and not bitter. They are definitely better but if they can’t shake Geelong here, their path to the flag will become extremely difficult.

CATS by 21

SATURDAY NIGHT

lionspew

Are Brisbane a little nervous leading into this elimination final? Looks that way to me…

Second Elimination Final – GABBA, 7:30pm (local): Brisbane v Carlton (TEN)

The once-mighty Brisbane return to finals action but there were concerns early in the week that they might not be able to field a full team! Of course, that all changed come selection time and you just know that Michael Voss has been waiting most of his adult life to play all these crazy coaching mind games!!! Between that and his Rising Star, Vossy would be loving the week…

FevDenial

Given that he stops trying in the odd game throughout the season, Fev should be fresh and ready to fire in the finals!

And Blues fans are loving it too because Carlton are here – back in the finals! They would have loved it a little more had their team not screwed up royally last weekend to lose the home final…but they have a proven finals performer leading the way and the timely addition of a few time-challenged players. But I think that every Blues player can chuck their alarm clocks away after the weekend because they will be on holidays.

LIONS by 9

SUNDAY

MaxBaby

To play Max or not to play Max…what a tricky question

First Qualifying Final – MCG, 2:40pm (local): St Kilda v Collingwood (SEVEN)

A lot can change in a month. St Kilda went from being on the verge of immortality four weeks ago to being questioned about their somewhat flaky play during irrelevant games and upcoming team selection issues. But they have finished off an outstanding regular season and can focus on winning that flag…though facing the Pies at the ‘G is not the greatest reward for finishing a clear first.

magpiecrack

Not meaning to bash Collingwood…but is THIS what we want to see on Grand Final day???

Collingwood didn’t fire in last week’s big game but it might be the kick in the arse they needed. But Josh Fraser has a bit of ‘the Adelaides’ about him; he reckons his Pies are fully primed for finals action and poised to go all the way. Yet he also thinks that Anthony Rocca can still play a role…really? Rocca might get a chance if/when St Kilda do the business on Sunday but not sure how much help that will be…

SAINTS by 19

Round Twenty Two – Well, Wasn’t That Fun!

FinalsSchedule

The League announced the finals schedule during an ad break on Channel Seven’s Dancing With The Stars

WatsonDancer

…and it looks like Tim Watson grabbed one of the latin dancers from the show to help him!

And just like that, the AFL home-and-away season is done and dusted. It only seems like yesterday that Richmond was being destroyed by Carlton in the season opener, doesn’t it? Actually, no it doesn’t! Season 2009 has been so eventful and action packed that it has felt like this long-standing, never-ending provider of highlights, lowlights and bizarre occurrences. Hard to believe that it is now over…

But never fear, we have a finals campaign that will undoubtedly provide even more of the wonderful, the weird and the wackiness that we’ve come to expect from footy these days. And if round twenty two is anything to go by, this year’s finals series is going to be plenty wacky! It started with (yet) another deplorable showing from Richmond against a West Coast team that the Herald Sun flat-out accused of tanking in order to qualify for a priority draft pick yet ended up winning eight games and would have finished above Hawthorn had they snuck a ninth win! What chance they receive a well-deserved apology from the hacks? Hmmm, not great…

The round then finished with the Western Bulldogs winning by just enough points to leapfrog Collingwood into third spot on the ladder; meaning that they now face the (seemingly) more vulnerable Geelong and the Pies are relegated to fourth and a date with the (almost) all-conquering Saints. But it was the events on the Saturday afternoon of the final round that will be remembered for a very long time to come…

LloydSewell

Clearly Matthew Lloyd didn’t read any of those articles about the bump being dead last week. He should probably avoid reading the papers this week as well!

The playoff for eighth spot always promised to be memorable for one reason or another. And if you thought Essendon and Hawthorn hated each other before Saturday’s game…how about now! Bombers captain Matthew Lloyd’s attempt to exert some influence on the second half ended up with Brad Sewell ironed out on the ground, sparking a wild response from the Hawks that continued on after the match. This included coach Alastair Clarkson going off his nut as he left the ground and hardnut Campbell Brown talking all sorts of smack from the rooms.

CaMMMpbellBrown

Pot-Kettle? Takes one to know one? Stones-Glass Houses? Own backyard? Call it what you like, they all seem to work in this case!

Essendon took charge in the second half to qualify for September, something Matthew Knights feels they deserve but it’s a view not shared by their opposition. For the Hawks, who lost control of their composure and the match following The Incident, it was a frustrating end to an equally frustrating season that saw them behind the eight-ball all year as they tried to defend their fine win in 2008. They will be back in 2010, and regardless of whether Mr Lloyd is still available, that first Hawks-Bombers match will be…emotional!

KennettBananas

Embarrassing yourself by going bezerk at the umpires while your wife/girlfriend/significant-other looks away and laughs at you! Don’t worry Jeff, it’s happened to all of us!!!

Essendon’s win left us with the potential of a blockbuster elimination final at the ‘G against Carlton. All the Blues needed to do was claim fifth place on Saturday evening…but no! Now both teams head interstate this weekend and will probably head home with their season over, free to drink as much alcohol as they can manage on the flight back! The Blues might feel they will be better off for banning three players for a spot of tardiness but what they really need is a mature response this week in an elimination final is Brisbane. Yep, a team with Brendan Fevola needs to show maturity…gulp!

MickyOver

Cheer up, Micky O! What’s that? It’s your last game? Oh. In that case, cry away!

The final round of the season also gave us the opportunity to bid farewell to those who are giving the game away. This resulted in some emotional matches; particularly in Sydney for some premiership heroes, at Melbourne for some club stalwarts, and at Richmond…where most of them should probably give it away! Then again, maybe next year the Tigers can start to bounce back and gain respectability in the footy world again. There is always next year…

The Games:

RelievedRawlings

Jade Rawlings contemplates all those weeks of his life that he can never have back!

Good luck Dimma…you’re gunna need it! West Coast embarrass Richmond in the final game of the season to reinforce the massive task Damien Hardwick has in front of him. The cull has started already but there could be plenty more on the way out if Richmond are to become relevant again any time soon!

HardwickMessage

Hardwick’s first move at Richmond? Installing a very large door…preferably extra wide!

OttensBack

Brad Ottens is back for Geelong! That makes things interesting…

Geelong eased into another finals campaign in a dawdle against Fremantle at Kardinia Park, the most notable event was Brad Ottens not crumpling in a heap in his comeback from a long-tern knee injury. The Dockers can now prepare for 2010 where they will aim to improve their performances on the road and figure out whether it is worth holding onto Paul Hasleby.

And congratulations to Geelong’s Gazy Ablett on winning the Brownlow Medal! That’s what the Herald Sun online reckons…hang on a sec! Who is Gazy? Bit of a mix-up between the formal Gary and the nickname Gazza I suppose. But if you are going to spell a player’s name wrong, it probably shouldn’t be arguably the best player in the game…and one that actually works for your organisation!

GazyAblett

Let’s hope they get Gary’s name right on the medal…if he wins it, of course!

MichaelHurley

As an Essendon supporter, can I just say – I love Michael Hurley!

First Buddy, then Bailey (poor kid!) and finally Brad Sewell…but the worst B-word for Hawthorn on Saturday was Bombers!  They all conspired against the Hawks as they went from premiers to outsiders in the space of eleven months. Essendon now have a finals campaign to prepare for and feel that they are not cannon fodder for the Crows. Mmm, not so sure about that…

Oh yeah…the game got a bit fiery too!

CyrilRioli

As a football fan, can I just say – I love Cyril Rioli!

BurtonMOTY

This guy is over thirty and coming off a knee reco? That’s un-freakin-believable!!!

Carlton’s timing has been off all week. It started with three players missing a recovery session and being dropped from Saturday’s match and ended with the team missing a great opportunity to play their first final in ages in front of their home crowd. Adelaide crushed the Blues and looked scary good in the process…no wonder Neil Craig and co. are thinking big things!

ClarkScreamer

This would be mark of the year most seasons. But thanks to the Birdman, it wasn’t even the best grab we saw that day!

Space was the final frontier in Star Trek but Michael Voss is probably not into all that sci-fi bulldust! For him, Sydney was the final frontier…which his team has now conquered! The Lions crashed the Swans farewell party and set up a big gathering of their own at the Gabba next weekend against Carlton. Retiring Swan Michael O’Loughlin thinks that his club will never bottom out…they can’t afford to!

HappyChoco

Is it just me or is Mark Williams a little bit too excited that these two veterans are calling it quits?

Port Adelaide are no St Kilda but the Kangaroos managed a second tight upset win in succession…though it is hard to classify any win over Port as an upset these days. In front of very few fans, the Power tried to lift for their retiring stars but still couldn’t stop the determined Roos in the final minutes. They can feel dudded by a late fifty-metre penalty awarded against them if that makes them feel better…but the call was right so it’s a waste of time!

RiewoldtOK

The St Kilda doctor stood next to Nick Riewoldt all day just in case he got hurt. Thumbs up…he’s OK!

All St Kilda wanted to do was run around on the MCG and not get hurt. Mission accomplished…we think. Melbourne wanted to celebrate their retiring champs…just not with a win. They didn’t and they now have access to the best two kids in the country. Forget Robbo, Wheatley and Whelan…the players should have chaired off Tom Scully after the match!

DoggiesThird

They had the game in the bag but Jonno’s late goal gave the Doggies third spot!

It was a footy statistician’s wet dream! Two good teams fighting for ladder position and it went down to the final minute…it was the Western Bulldogs who claimed the prize and head into September choc full of confidence. Will slipping to fourth on the back of this effort cost Collingwood dearly? Mick Malthouse hopes the loss will be a wake-up call for his side. Personally, I hope they don’t get the wake-up call until it’s too late – Betts-Garlett-Cloke style!

Round Twenty One – A Few Loose Ends

PolakReturns

Didn’t think we’d see this again…welcome back, Graham Polak!

A slow, painful journey came to an end on the weekend when Richmond’s Graham Polak made his return to football after his shocking tram accident last year. It was great to see him play again and was one of the true highlights of round 21 in the AFL. And while he can laugh about it now, there is one thing that he still must deal with…that he plays for Richmond. Now that is no laughing matter!

While Polak’s return to footy is now complete, there are still a few loose ends in the finals race that need to be tidied up following last weekend’s action. The top four teams are sorted at least..but the finishing order won’t be determined until third plays fourth this Sunday afternoon. Amazingly, neither the dominant Saints or Cats are premiership favourites right now – that honour belongs to (gulp!) Collingwood. Lucky Mick Malthouse doesn’t listen to hype…meaning he must have ignored everything Eddie McGuire has ever said during the past decade!

Chuck in two games that will determine who will host an elimination final, including two teams playing off for the right to host, and a massive weekend of footy looms. After that, an equally massive week of end-of-season piss ups kick off…at least we won’t be treated to Fev and his dildo. Not yet anyway…

BenBuddy

Lance Franklin and Ben Cousins clash at full pelt…and the ladies of Australia hold their collective breath!

Hawk fans will be holding their collective breath as well now that, much to the surprise of Hawthorn, spearhead Lance Franklin has been suspended by the match review panel after his bump on Ben Cousins during their big win on Saturday night. That result, combined with Essendon’s capitulation against the Dockers on Sunday night, sees the Bombers and Hawks play off for eighth spot on Saturday afternoon…and unless they can launch a successful appeal, Hawthorn’s glamour forward won’t be out there. Great news for my Bombers…shit news for my Dream Team!!!

SleepyBen

Breathe easy ladies…Ben is ok and he still looks hot!

The Games:

BulldogConference

“Great win boys – we’re in the four with a big shot at a flag! Now we’re all in this together so just stay focused on the team and forget about the individual stuff! Can you all do that?”

AkerAgain

Well, the answer to that question appears to be…a big fat NO!

Mark Thompson may not have seen this coming but plenty of mug punters sure did!  The Western Bulldogs knock off Geelong to secure their spot in the top four and enhance their premiership credentials. But did this performance stop the hacks asking inane questions about picking up a washed-up forward next season? Of course it didn’t! But more comments from Mr Inane Comment himself will only keep those questions, and many others, coming. Just what you need heading into a finals campaign…

RattenRevup

Come on you blokes, what are you doing? If you were fair dinkum today, we’d be ahead by 300 points already!!!

The finals-bound Blues were hoping for a decent hitout, the Demons needed to keep hold of their priority draft pick, the almost-homeless Russell Robertson wanted to show his wares and Brendan Fevola needed a few goals to wrap up the Coleman Medal…everybody got what they wanted! Well, except for Richard Hadley

AdelaideWave

Twenty-three years after coming into vogue at the World Cup in Mexico, South Australia discovers the Mexican Wave! Can’t wait for the next new fad to hit town…the Rubik’s Cube!

Is this serious? “ADELAIDE coach Neil Craig says West Coast is still as big a threat to his side as ever before.” Um, excuse me? The only threat in this match was Adelaide breaking all manner of records during an easy win! As expected, the dreaded West Coast Eagles hoodoo has been broken and now the Crows can look forward to some real pressure matches!

BuddyTeeth

Oh no, not again! At least Buddy has all his teeth intact this time…

Hawthorn may not feel worthy of playing finals but they might not have a choice in the end! They stay alive for another week with a regulation win over Richmond. We should learn soon which poor bugger becomes the next Tigers coach…and won’t they be thrilled to learn that they have a shitload of money tied into players they probably don’t want and can’t get rid of! Enjoy that…

WilliamsUnimpressed

No finals for Port, no pearls of coaching wisdom from Mark Williams. It just won’t be the same.

When you are playing for a finals spot and you lead by 47 points in the first quarter, how the heck do you screw it up? Brisbane complete the massive comeback and while the result displayed Brisbane’s strength of character, what does it tell us about Port Adelaide…apart from being a bunch of whackjobs? According to the coach, all they need are some new players who are not mentally fragile and are not called Peter Burgoyne!

PetrieWinner

Drew Petrie hasn’t chalked up as many wins as Nick Riewoldt this year but he sure can kick straight when it matters

Petrie and the Kangaroos shock St Kilda as his clutch late goal gives them a rare win…and a second loss of the season for the high flying Saints. No panic stations though – not for a club with a long history of failures, no no no!  As an Essendon man, I have always found James Hird to be an inspirational figure…and, it seems, so do the Roos!

PiesMcLaren

Dale Thomas and Nick Maxwell try to talk some sense into umpire Scott McLaren. Forget it guys…many have tried and all have failed. It’s Mission Impossible!

Collingwood keep rolling on with an easy afternoon’s work against an embarrassed Sydney outfit. Paul Roos might be pissed off about the overly officious interchange rules that saw his team punished during the game…but it’s his team’s bloody fault that we have it in the first place!

FreoHuddle

The Dockers flip a coin in the pre-game huddle to decide whether they give a shit this week. Must have come up heads!

Fremantle…shit one day, not-so-shit the next! The Dockers go some way towards making up for that craptacular performance against the Demons by spanking the (possibly) finals-bound Essendon at Subiaco. Aaron Sandilands pretty much did as he pleased in the ruck against Essendon’s fourth and fifth best ruckmen…though if the big fella could truly do as he pleased in life and football, he sure wouldn’t be doing it at Freo!

Round Twenty – The Round Where Chris Judd Earns His Money

BowdenRecycled

I know it was your final game and all but come on Joel Bowden! This was Green Round…you couldn’t have tried carpooling?

SewellBin

Or maybe you could have hitched a ride in the nearest wheelie bin…like Hawthorn’s Brad Sewell?

We bash each other’s heads in on Rivalry Round, put aside just one weekend to acknowledge what amounts to almost fifty percent of the game’s supporters during Women’s Round and wear jumpers that look nothing like the current day edition during Heritage Round. Now we have Green Round – a great opportunity for us all to feel warm and fuzzy as we do our bit for the environment. Andrew Bolt will be ecstatic…

Green Round gives the league a platform to demonstrate their commitment to climate change by making Australian rules football more environmentally friendly. Of course, this strategy is sure to include the scheduling of less prime time night matches in order to decrease the number of kilowatt-hours each of the six MCG light towers burn up. No doubt the League truly values reducing our carbon footprint over profit…

GreenHawks

Hawthorn’s water harvesting program also doubles as a blueprint to how their 2009 season just went down the drain!

JuddsterRuddster

The Juddster appears impressed with the Ruddster’s technique. He should be…whether it is responsibility, blame or a green footy; the ability to handball is an essential element for any politician.

Green Round is also Carlton captain Chris Judd’s busiest week of the year. And with Judd being paid more than handsomely to be an environmental ambassador/eco-warrior for the Visy corporation, he has been doing a whole lot more than his usual ‘couple of talks about recycling’ or ‘nothing at all’ this week. So there you go, Mark Robinson – you can stop wondering whether the League is concerned about the Visy-Judd arrangement!

And whether it was karma or the football Gods are just a bunch of greenies, Judd’s good deeds paid dividends on the field as Carlton’s win over Port Adelaide keeps them with a slight chance of a top four finish. Conversely, that environmentally-friendly imaginary football force might have punished the Power for all the unnecessary production that goes into creating their over-abundance of crappily-designed jumpers!

GWSLogo

Is the 18th AFL franchise being based out at Uluru? That’s a little further west from Sydney than I expected…

And how did the League celebrate Green Round? By using a Sydney Swans home game to launch the second Sydney franchise, of course! Andy D schmoozed 500 Sydney businessmen in the hope they would buy into the new venture, now known as GWS or Greater Western Sydney. At least the League can recycle that bland looking logo in the future should they expand the competition to include a team from the Northern Territory! Don’t laugh…they will probably get a team before Tassie!

BombersCelebrate

Essendon celebrate wildly after not only jumping into eighth spot but helping to save the rain forests!

While all sixteen clubs used Green Round to display how environmentally friendly they are, one team in particular stood out in demonstrating their commitment to the cause. Essendon scored a shock upset win that ended St Kilda quest for The Perfect Season and the opportunity to rewrite the record books. As a result, there is no need to use up a shitload of paper on new record books. Well done Bombers…you all just saved a tree!

SaintApatow

Judd Apatow used his appearance on Rove to jump on the Eric Bana-St Kilda bandwagon. His timing could have been better. Um…did nobody explain to him that they just lost?

KingJumper

Every single week, Jake King has his jumper ripped in a wrestle. All those wasted jumpers are not good for your carbon footprint

When Jake King annoying the shit out of Alan Didak is your lone highlight of the afternoon, that can only mean you have a pretty crappy football team. And that is exactly what Richmond has at the moment! The distance between the Tigers and ‘good’ is massive and the Magpies didn’t think too highly of their approach to Saturday’s game. Forget climate change, this mob needs a culture change! And whoever is crazy/brave enough to take on the Richmond job has a shiteload of work to do in order to make this happen. Good luck…

JohnsonThirsty

Now why would this classy young lady throw all of her beer over Brad Johnson? What a waste of a precious natural resource!

Mark Robinson

That’s probably why this journo was so disgusted by the act. He would have happily recycled all that alcohol…

The Games:

HawksCrows

Look at the score! Look at the time! The ball is in Hawthorn’s forward line! Chalk up an easy win to…the Crows? What the hell happened?

Well, that’s just about it for Hawthorn. Adelaide made sure that they will take part in September action at the expense of the reigning premiers. The Hawks may not feel finals worthy but they could yet face a winner-takes-all clash against Essendon in round 22. The Crows may well be proud of their unbeaten run at the MCG this season but that little winning streak St Kilda is on was on probably tops it…

ClokeBite

Is that Travis Cloke having a little nibble on Luke McGuane’s finger? Well, at least it’s not a processed food!

So, ya think that spray about Richmond’s culture from caretaker coach Jade Rawlings had the desired effect? That outburst may not have harmed his chances at winning the full-time gig next year…but that slop the Tigers served up on Saturday certainly will! And to think Mick Malthouse went to the trouble of warning his players about treating Richmond lightly…like it would have mattered. At least there was some biffo to provide some entertainment!

EaglesSnap

Kicking freaks goals off the ground like this is a clear indication of the ‘T-wording’ that is happening in Perth…it’s called TRYING!

Those knobs at the Herald Sun should be feeling pretty stupid about their West Coast ‘T-Wording’ campaign now that the Eagles have just won their third straight game and, before Sunday’s upset result, actually had a mathematical chance of finishing eighth. Well, they should…but given the attitude usually displayed at the home of Victoria’s entertainment-focused tabloid, they will probably take full credit themselves for inspiring West Coast to try and play well!

RoosLongmire

Marty Mattner, Rhys Shaw, Ted Richards…now the Swans know how to recycle! And take a look at their Replacement Coach Planting Program in action!

After sitting through two shithouse free-to-air games to start Chris Judd Round, all I can say about the Sydney-Geelong clash is…thank you!!! Mark Thompson was very pleased with the form of his key players while Paul Roos has liked what he has seen recently too. So everybody is happy, right? Well, not exactly

AkermanisPumped

If Brad Johnson copped a beer in the face after beating Brisbane, imagine what the Lions fans would have thrown at Aker if given the chance? A half-finished keg, I suspect…

They lost to the West Coast last round and then lost Ryan Griffin (injured…not misplaced) but the Western Bulldogs found whatever it was they lacked a week ago to win up in Brisbane. Rodney Eade doesn’t strike me as a guy who is easily impressed so when he says ‘best win of the season’, I’d believe it. Michael Voss still thinks his Lions can finish fourth…I don’t believe that!

RobboPumped

One last overexuberant goal celebration for the road from Russell Robertson? The Demons sure hope so…

A ten-goal win involving Melbourne…where they were not on the receiving end? Yes, I shit you not…the Dees made an absolute mess of Fremantle for what was their best win in three years. You know what would be their worst win in three years…if it happens in the next two weeks and they lose that priority pick! And what’s this about Mark Harvey being puzzled by his side’s performance? Dude, you have coached Fremantle for almost three years – how can this tripe be of any surprise?

StevensHouse

Carlton’s message to the world for Green Round? Please, please, please help Nick Stevens sell his house!

There are a number of F-word that can be associated with the Carlton Football Club. There’s that one, there’s Fevola (these two are often used together!) and the recently-added ‘finals’. Now, after the Blues smashed Port Adelaide, you can include the word ‘four’…just don’t mention it to Brett Ratten! Mark Williams questioned his side’s work rate but they were probably just conserving energy for the finals. It’s not like Essendon could possibly beat the mighty St Kilda and leapfrog them into the eight…

RiewoldtThinks

Victory and The Perfect Season is in your hands, Nick. No pressure though…

RiewoldtMisses

Time to be a hero…or not!

Think again! Essendon hang on to win a classic after Nick Riewoldt sprayed an after-the-siren set shot wide, the Saints losing their first game of the season and Riewoldt losing the battle over his goal-kicking reputation. And it so easily could have been Brent Prismall playing the role of ‘goat’! The Bombers are now in the box seat for eighth spot…all they need now is to find a fit team!

Round Nineteen – Why So Sad?

OttensFinger

Why is Bomber Thompson sad? Because he has to actually do some real work in the coaches box nowadays! And his biggest asset just walks around in a suit, sipping water and trying to figure out where his finger has been…

After losing to the finals-bound Blues on Friday night, the Cats are in a little strife but Thompson appears to be keeping a cool exterior. There is no need to panic just yet…but the signs are not great for that second premiership. You wonder whether Bomber sought out Gary Ablett Senior at Geelong’s 150th birthday celebration and asked him what he was up to over the next couple of months? And what kind of shape was he in?

DumbQuestion

Don’t worry Ross, I’m equally stunned that any competent person would ask you that question!

Why is Ross Lyon sad? He wouldn’t have anything to be sad about, would he? Well, footy must be in a pretty sorry state if some dumb journo actually looked at him with a straight face and seriously used the “T-word” in reference to leaving out injured players! We should be talking about one “D” word…the depth and spirit of St Kilda’s list. Instead, D is for the dunces who are driving this “T-word” debate…which is now so misguided that it is embarrassing. Why?

A) It doesn’t aptly describe what is happening at those clubs who are struggling and in contention for priority draft picks anyway. B) It is now being applied (incorrectly) to any team that fails to field it’s strongest possible line-up, regardless of health status, and/or places a player in a position on the field that (according to the hack) is just slightly different to the way they always play. C) It detracts from the real issue of fans turning up to watch their team play hoping that they will lose…to the point that they are delighted when the opposing team kicks a goal after the siren to snatch victory.

But no…go ahead Herald Sun. Keep that coverage going. Overboard, overblown, over it!

RocketSpray

Have you idiots been reading the Herald Sun or something? This Eagles team are actually trying…they’re playing to win! So pull your bloody fingers out!!!

Why is Rodney Eade sad? Actually, he wouldn’t be sad that his top-four side couldn’t beat a bottom-four side at home on Saturday…he would be freakin’ furious!!! This setback now has critics writing off the Doggies as a premiership threat this year but Eade has announced that he is in for the long haul. But will Aker be joining them next year? Not if he keeps dribbling from the mouth like he does

LostTooth

Well, Buddy won’t forget his 100th game in a hurry…former teammate Zac Dawson made damn sure of that!

Why are all the football-loving ladies sad? Lance Franklin’s face has been tainted! Buddy went goalless in his 100th game as his Hawks faced elimination from the finals race and lost his front tooth in a marking contest…that’s a shit day by anyone’s standards! But by the end of the weekend, the tooth was back and the finals, unbelievably, are still within reach. And the ladies still love him!

BuddyToothless

Hey ladies, where are you going? Why are you running the other way? No female runs from me!!!

GreenDockers

Are the Port Adelaide players more concerned about wearing matching speedos than making the finals? Sure looks that way to me!

Why is the number eight sad? It’s not because seven ate nine…nobody wants eight! The last spot in the finals is up for grabs and nobody wants it. Not Hawthorn…not Essendonnot Port Adelaide. It became so farcical that Caroline Wilson dared suggest on 3AW pre-game last Sunday that Richmond, mathematically, could still finish eighth! Of course, they promptly went out and did what Richmond always do. And now the Sydney Swans have a crazy, outside chance at the spot all of a sudden! And to think that one of these sides has to feature in the opening week of the finals…

BradshawDraw

Bradshaw goal! Bombers gone! Brain hurts!

Why am I sad? I’m sad because having been dealt the potentially season-ending blow of Essendon’s kick-after-the-sirem draw against Brisbane…what was I subjected to on Channel Seven’s Footy Flashback show on Sunday arvo?

PluggersPoint

1996…Plugger’s Point! Prelim lost! Brain hurts more!

The Games:

JuddAblett

Channel Seven pre-game gets all futuristic! But are Juddy and Gazza ‘combat ready’ to take on each other…

agent-smith-movie-wallpaper-800x600

Or are they teaming together to fight an army of Agent Smiths from The Matrix?

Whoah…Carlton just beat Geelong? Does this mean that after all this taking the piss out of the Blues for their 2009 marketing slogan, they might actually be coming now? Or are the Cats just going? It’s probably a little from column A and a little from column B…but Carlton’s win column says that they will play finals footy this year! How long until the prehistoric figure of John Elliott resurfaces, attempting to sell some boneheaded theory about how he played some type of role in this resurgence?

ZacDawson

From Hawk discard to undefeated Saint key defender…no wonder Zac Dawson is so pumped up!

Hey, whaddaya know? Despite a number of high-profile omissions, a fully committed effort from a confident, ladder-leading club proved to be too good for a bottom-eight side struggling for consistency and cohesion. Why are we all so surprised by this? Because all the mug punters out there dropped the Saints like hot spuds? Well…whoop-de-freakin’-do!  The Perfect Season is still a possibility and, according to the reigning premiership coach, the flag is a high probability. Never thought I’d say this about a team containing Twerp Milne but…good on ’em!

GriffinGutted

Yes Ryan Griffin, this shit is really happening!

The Bulldogs blew it big time against an improving Eagles outfit that is starting to benefit from exposing their young players to regular senior footy. Apparently, the fact that West Coast had not won interstate since Chris Judd left town was no issue…well, it sure ain’t one now!

LonerganBlunder

No, Sam Lonergan!! NO NO NO!!! SWEET JESUS NO, DON’T DO IT!!!

Lonergan’s blunder in the final twenty seconds allowed the Lions time to find Daniel Bradshaw in the goal square for the match-tying goal. While the draw proved a thrilling end to the match, coach Matthew Knights will be left cursing the one that got away. Sure, Knights can talk about the draw being part of the learning curve for his side…but take a look at the image below taken just after the final siren. Don’t tell me that Knights is whispering the words ‘learning curve’ under his breath!

KnightsPissed

You reckon this coach is thinking “Learning curve. Learning curve. Learning curve.”? No, neither do I…

LeonMark

Just another stock-standard off-balance one-grab mark for Leon Davis…

Who would have thought that anybody from outside of South Australia would love going to Adelaide so much? Collingwood return to Victoria with another interstate scalp and, thanks to the upstart West Coast Eagles, find themselves in third spot and what currently appears to be the preferred qualifying final opponent of second-placed Geelong rather that first-placed St Kilda.  It could have been the Crows who capitalised on the silly Doggies’ slip-up but now have to face up to their own lost opportunity.

DarrenCrocker

Wonder if Darren had a ‘Barry’ following too many post-victory drinks? Hey, it was his first win as coach – leave him be!

With Australia’s love of rhyming slang, the last thing you want is defeat after defeat when your name is Crocker! Fortunately, interum coach Darren Crocker can finally celebrate a win as the Kangaroos won for the first time in ages. Melbourne were so bad that the Herald Sun decided that they were not “t-wording”…they were just no good!

SwansKids

We all know that when you lose experienced players, clubs like to ‘play the kids’…but surely the Swans are taking this idea a little bit too far!!!

No, they are Michael O’Loughlin’s kids and guiding them through the banner was probably his toughest assignment for the day as Sydney celebrated Mickey O’s 300th with a comprehensive win over Richmond. While the Swans had every reason to feel good about their future, the Tigers went into ‘cultural crisis’ mode as Jade Rawlings called out the players for slipping into long-held bad habits. Benny Gale would understand that culture as well as anybody…so good luck to him. He’ll need it…

derrick4

This is the guy that inspired the Dockers – but he’s wearing red?

Port Adelaide could have virtually sewn up a finals spot with a win over lowly Fremantle. Of course, they cocked it up! The Dockers never looked like losing against the Power and it was all thanks to Mark Harvey and his pre-match motivation using a former NFL player that none of the players would have ever heard of. Derrick Thomas was a great player for the Kansas City Chiefs…but why didn’t he go choose a Minnesota Vikings player like Fran Tarkenton? At least they wear the same colours…

Tark

This is the guy they should have used – somebody who actually won lots of games wearing the colour purple!