Category Archives: North Melbourne

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!

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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!

Round Eighteen – Limping To The Finish Line

SimpsonOver

“Shit! It’s all over…oh well, never mind. Beer?

The business end of the 2009 AFL season is here and those teams that harbour finals and/or premiership aspirations are busy plotting their course for September. But for clubs that are struggling with injury and/or no hope of finals action, the last remaining weeks of the season will be tough work. But before these players start throwing in the towel to focus on what dress to wear on Mad Monday, they should spare a thought for blokes like Kangaroos veteran Adam Simpson.

SimpsonCalf

And TWAAAANG goes the calf muscle!!! At least Adam Simpson’s final ever training session was memorable…

Simpson announced his retirement early last week with his final game to be played on the Friday night against Carlton. Problem was…he injured his calf at his final training session, a mere 24 hours before the Roos were due to play! This didn’t stop Simpson from taking his place in the side and although Carlton managed to spoil the party, Simmo’s effort to play was clearly the highlight of the night.

OttensAlive

Hang on, that looks like…no, it couldn’t be…Yes, it is! It’s Brad Ottens playing football!!!

The mighty Geelong Cats may appear to be limping towards the finals yet they keep finding ways to win. But a rare Brad Ottens sighting was probably even bigger news than the victory – whether he plays in September, or just how good he will be, is still unknown but the Cats sure do need him!

RichoSidelined

Richo’s comeback game consisted of nine minutes of footy and a couple of hours of sitting around.

Is Matthew Richardson limping towards the finish line of his AFL career? His comeback game for Coburg in the VFL didn’t go so well and for a guy who is 34 years old, out of contract, coming off major hamstring surgery and playing at an unsuccessful club looking for a new senior coach, showing he can still play AFL right now is pretty damn important, yes? So when Herald Sun hack Mark Robinson rants about how Richo shouldn’t bother trying to play again in ’09 on Channel Seven’s AFL Game Day show on Sunday morning, what was the response from fellow panelist and former Tigers coach Terry Wallace?

RobboWallace

If only there was somebody with just the tiniest amount of knowledge about Tigerland that could help Mark Robinson understand why Richo needs to play again this year. Anybody? Anybody that might just be sitting next to him?? Anyone whose name rhymes with Jerry Schmallace???

Nothing! Nada! Zip! You could hear crickets in the background! When Terry is forced to explain why his time at Richmond went to crap, you can’t shut him up on how all the decisions at Tigerland (made by people other than him, of course!) contributed to his lack of success. But a situation with a guy he actually coached for four-and-a-half years and was directly involved in the decision on how Richo should approach his comeback (because he was the actual coach when the injury occurred) yet he has absolutely nothing to say about this? Is this why he just walked into media gigs within minutes of being sacked? How does this even happen???

KarmichaelKicks

Rugby league player Karmichael Hunt kicks that funny-shaped red football at Broncos training. Looks like he needs all the practice he can get…

But the club that is currently limping towards (or out of) the finals race which is the biggest surprise? Is it Hawthorn? Is it Essendon? No…try the Brisbane Broncos! They just copped the biggest hiding in their illustrious history and are in danger of missing the NRL finals…for the first time since 1991! But I’m sure the Broncos players are going all out to win and are not distracted with kicking AFL footballs at training because their young star is leaving the code to join the new AFL franchise on the Gold Coast. This kind of thing happens all the time…no, wait! It hasn’t happened before? Hmmm…

The Games:

PetrieShattered

Cheer up, Drew Petrie…at least you get to play another game next week! What about poor Simmo?

When Carlton play on a Friday night, two things usually happen – Robert Walls writes (yet) another article about the Blues and they get beaten. This time only one of those things happened…and there was no way Wallsy could write about anybody else! The Blues spoiled the Adam Simpson party though it was far from convincing or attractive. In fact, the Roos could quite easily have claimed victory and placed Carlton’s finals hopes in real jeopardy. They will probably make it now…but will they be any good once they get there?

JohnnoRecord

Brad Johnson claims the Bulldogs games record from Chris Grant…while that old bloke in the background is still pissy that he doesn’t hold it because he was sacked and forced to finish his career at Fitzroy!

It was Brad Johnson day for the Western Bulldogs and his teammates sure didn’t let him down. They didn’t let Lindsay Gilbee down either, standing up for him on what must have been a tough, tough afternoon! Fremantle weren’t too concerned with their lack of success at Whatshishead Stadium…as they have little success wherever they go!

CatsExcited

You think these Cats are happy about the win? Just wait until Cam Mooney joins in…he lurves a good man-cuddle!

The Adelaide Crows went to the regional centre of Geelong looking for a genuine footy scalp and a top-four spot. They almost got it…if only they knew how to stop those baldies! These Cats might be thin up top and down back for the moment but they are working together to earn wins and second spot behind the undefeated Saints is a great place for them to be.

ShatteredCrows

No four points, no big scalp, no long-term memory. Can somebody help these Crows take off their boots? They all seem to have forgotten how to do it!

DidakDives

Alan Didak takes an overly-dramatic dive to try and con a free kick from the umpires

rivaldo

…which was more reminiscent of Brazil’s Rivaldo than Aussie Rules…

DidakLoser

…yet the Brisbane Lions guy is a loser? Seriously??? Pot – Kettle!

With The Big Announcement and a ninth win from ten matches, Collingwood are back to their smart-arsy best and are setting themselves for the top four. The Lions looked primed for the upset after Browny’s accidental head clash left Simon Prestigiacomo groggy but the skipper struggled after the main break when he had anywhere between three and five defenders pushing back on him. If only Jono Brown had another big forward to help him out

KingShoulder

Um, your shoulder is probably not meant to do that! But, in typical St Kilda-2009 good fortune, Steven King was able to keep playing.

I tipped Sydney to knock off the Saints, ending the quest for The Perfect Season and possibly becoming the only tipster in Australia to pick all eight winners for the round. The Swans lost by one lousy point! And St Kilda’s season has been so outrageously blessed that The Age is now writing feature articles about that little twerp Milne!!! I’m so depressed…

MickeyOMiss

Mickey O misses a sitter that might have cost his side the upset of the season, and my perfect tipping round. Yep, thanks for that…

TigerSandwich

Jade Rawlings learns something new about Richmond in the dramatic win over the Dees…Nathan Brown prefers to be on top!

Dean Bailey could barely believe it…and neither could I! Richmond managed a great escape with the win over Melbourne courtesy of a goal after the siren from Jordan McMahon. Coach Rawlings knew that McMahon would be fine taking the match-deciding kick despite his regular displays of bad decision making…highlighted by his decision to leave the Western Bulldogs for Richmond two years ago!

RickyOAdelaide

Perhaps Channel Seven showed this match in ten-minute delay in case Ricky Olarenshaw’s head overheated during his hyper-speed quarter-time summaries!

There must be a logical explanation as to why Ch.7 would bother broadcasting the Port Adelaide-Hawthorn match into Melbourne with a slight delay…or is Adelaide further behind the time than we realise? Otherwise, we live in a world where dickheads like Kyle and Jackie O broadcast live when they need a delay (actually, they need new jobs!) but the biggest sport in Australia is not ‘live’? Crazy!!! Anyway, Port Adelaide won and find themselves in the top eight…well, for this week at least.

EaglesRookie

A first-gamer kicking goals to help the Eagles win? Forgive Callum Wilson for he knows not what he does!

What? The West Coast Eagles won? But aren’t they meant to be ‘tanking’? Well, yes…if you paid any attention to lazy hack journos who throw out the ‘T’ word willy-nilly with no substantial thought behind it. There is clearly a problem rewarding defeat with a priority draft pick but  when you lose by less than a kick in round 17, it’s not ‘tanking’. And when you beat a top-eight side (at the time of the opening bounce) to register a fifth win for the season, giving up your entitlement to the priority draft pick, it’s not ‘tanking’ either. Using the ‘T’ word inappropriately actually helps Andy D with his ‘media beat-up’ argument! Maybe those guys at the Herald Sun are just struggling a bit themselves…limping to the finish line, perhaps?

Round Seventeen – Oh So Bitter!

AfterSiren

Hawthorn thought they had the upper hand over rivals Geelong…until Bartel’s point after the siren changed everything!

Rivalry round. It kinda snuck up on us a bit…probably because the League didn’t seem to dedicate a lot of time on promoting the event. They did create a web page where you can spend lots of money on sponsors product that you either already have or don’t really need! So that’s something…I guess.

But, as you would expect, the footy did all the talking and the weekend delivered some outstanding games. Not always pretty, some downright ugly, but never boring! And the level of some of these rivalries has now intensified to greater levels after round seventeen action.

NeonLeon

No doubting who is number one right now in the Collingwood-Carlton rivalry. It’s Neon Leon and the Pies!

Geelong and Hawthorn added another exhilarating chapter to their playing history…but this time it was the Cats who got one over the Hawks. Sure, it wasn’t a grand final but a big win just the same. Collingwood got one over Carlton in one of the longest standing rivalries in the game. And while all the heritage-listed footy journos in Melbourne might scoff at the thought that the rivalry between the Crows and Power is the biggest right now, they may have a point. There was no talk about revenge in the lead up to Pies verses Blues…or ‘The Death Derby’! Only in Adelaide…

DogsBench

Whoops! Scott Welsh’s screw-up made the Doggies interchange bench a very intense place to be…

That long-standing rivalry between modern technology and a footballer’s brain came to the fore on Saturday night when failure to read a magnetic whiteboard resulted in 19 Western Bulldogs starting on the ground in the final quarter! The battle between player and umpire also intensified with Hawk coach Alastair Clarkson wondering whether Buddy Franklin will receive a free kick any time soon. And the League flat out refuses to concede defeat in the battle for respectability in the football world regarding the priority draft pick system. Andy D is not afraid to take on his rivals in this one…but there are so damn many of them, would he even have the time?

MaherStuffup

This post-match interview was TV so bad that you couldn’t look away…so expect Channel Nine buy it and make it a 20-episode series!

But our favourite new rivalry was started by an innocent but talkative boundary rider after the Cats-Hawks game…it’s Cancer verses Depression! Channel Ten’s Andy Maher conducted a highly awkward post-match interview with Geelong captain (for the day) Cameron Ling where he babbled on about the importance of playing for the BeyondBlue cup. But, according to Maher, BeyondBlue  are assisting in the fight against cancer! Ling did his absolute best to remain composed before correcting Maher that BeyondBlue is actually the national depression initiative! Ling then explained why it was such a prominent issue for people in Geelong right now! Probably not the best time to stuff that one up on live TV…

That was followed by an equally awkward presentation where the lady with the cup was completely ignored, only given a short “pass it over” command from Maher before she just wandered off…which Ling probably wished he could have done as well! Good to see that the rivalry between the footy media and the English language is still alive and well…

The Games:

MagpieMark

“Marriage proposal, wedding day, birth of a child…forget it! Marking the footy after a Collingwood goal will be the happiest moment of this Magpie fan’s entire life!

So, how is that top-four finish for Carlton looking now? And how could a story like that run in The Age and not be written by Blues lover Robert Walls? At least Wallsy is a realist…predicting that Collingwood would find more goal scorers and hold steady in defence against the Fev-focused Carlton. Spot on. It wasn’t pretty though and Brett Ratten should have plenty of kicking drills in mind for his boys this week!

BartelCelebrates

Geelong have won a shitload of games recently but they would have never celebrated a victory so much since grand final day in 2007!

James Bartel…you friggin’ beauty! Geelong come from 28 points down in the final term to beat Hawthorn with a point after the siren. The Cats may have injuries galore but wins like this can do wonders for their self belief. The Hawks may have let more than just four points slip on Saturday…the premiership defence might just have ended as well!

SandilandsMedal

211cm Aaron Sandilands…a tough assignment for opposing ruckmen and presenters-draping-medals-over-his-head alike!

Hard to believe that Fremantle could have a mental advantage over anybody but it’s starting to look that way with the Western Derby. The Dockers have now won five straight against the West Coast after winning a tight one by less than a kick. Apparently the win is a great indicator for what Freo can achieve in the future…yep, like we have never heard that about the Dockers! Still waiting…


MilneSucks

If this guy ends up a winner on Grand Final day, and it’s looking very likely, I will throw up a little in my mouth…

If, like me, you made the trendy pick of the Bulldogs to end St Kilda’s quest for The Perfect Season…then you must be feeling as stupid as I do right now! The Saints dominated early, weathered the storm in the middle and ran riot in the end. And now they are going to win every game on their way to the flag and that little twerp Stephen Milne will become…don’t make me type it…a premiership player! What a terrifying thought!!! Next game, quickly…

BrownyRules

Finals footy, Coleman medals…Jonathan Brown has missed out recently but is just about to get all that back again!

Jono Brown goes berserk with eight goals as the Brisbane Lions cruise past North Melbourne to pretty much ensure themselves a spot in the finals. Browny is now looking good for the Coleman medal having overtaken Brendan Fevola at the top of the goal kicking list – which would be a fair result considering one of those blokes tries his guts out every week and doesn’t sulk it up…and the other clearly doesn’t!

SydneyMelbourne

This is probably the highlight of the Sydney-Melbourne match…that there was a final score and it was over!

The rivalry between Sydney and Melbourne, or more generally New South Wales and Victoria, has been alive and well in all aspects of life, especially sports, for over 100 years…except for AFL footy! The Swans and Demons don’t have any semblance of intense rivalry – hence this match being played in front of a few thousand curious onlookers in Canberra. Sydney won, by the way…

TigersVictory

They blew it last week and they almost blew it this week too…but the Tigers finally get to belt out that kick-ass club song again!

It’s a Monday night, the last day in August, and the Essendon players will be pissed, tired, emotional and dressed up  in women’s clothing or whatever it is they do at the end of season party. If they start to wonder why they are not planning for an elimination final game that weekend, they have Sunday’s effort to thank! Richmond wins and they thoroughly deserve it…

BirdmanFlies

Hey, I remember you…you’re Brett “The Birdman” Burton!!! Welcome back.

The Adelaide Crows take the honours in the Showdown and become the toast of the town…much to the delight of a large majority of that town! A 70-point win, Brett Burton back doing what he does best, damaging Port’s chances at sneaking into the finals and the opportunity to laugh at Chad Cornes -Rivalry Round could not have been any more perfect for Crows fans.

Round Sixteen – Let’s Help Nathan Buckley Find A Job!

RobboArticle

Nathan Buckley is interested in coaching? He has kept that quiet…

Half Back Flanker would like to take this opportunity to apologise and correct what appears to have been a poor lapse in editorial judgement. It has become quite apparent that this site has failed to give due consideration to the importance of the future direction of Nathan Buckley’s football career. See…we have not really focused on this story a great deal – mainly due to the eight games of football played every week that kinda determine who makes the finals and wins the premiership. Yeah, you know…the football games. Clearly this is a total mistake and we are really very sorry.

The amount of discussion about Buckley’s future employment status has been freakin’ intense, even by AFL standards. Half Back Flanker could only resist for so long but the power of Buckley is too great! The media discussions that start with “I know everybody is sick to death talking about Buckley but…” and then talking about Buckley for 45 minutes! The man himself making media appearances, paid and unpaid, to announce that he will not discuss his position in the media! And the articles…the endless stream of articles! Not sure which one was the final straw for me – maybe it was this one…or this one…or this one…or this one…or this one…or this one…or this one…or this one…or this one…or this one…or this one…or this one

So if it is Buckley we want (and clearly, this is all we want!) then it is Buckley we will get. Initially, I was hoping to concentrate on Andy D’s “What Tanking?” media campaign on the weekend. The big man on the AFL campus spoke to every radio station on Saturday afternoon to announce the League’s official position on the perception of teams being rewarded for losing and exploiting the priority draft system. His stance is this – unless a football club proves that ‘tanking’ exists by formally announcing that they are not trying to win games, then it does not exist.

Of course, we all know that a club would never, ever say that they are deliberately losing games. That does not mean it could never happen! And if you use the same ‘Andy D Logic’ for other issues in footy, like the prospect of playing football on Good Friday, it also makes little sense. “Um, we won’t play footy on a Good Friday until God proves that He/She would not be offended? So we have to wait until He/She materialises on this Earth and gives us the Thumbs Up? Or does Andy D require He/She to release a press statement?

BuddyChrist2

“Good Friday footy? Yes, you have my blessing! But only if Nathan Buckley is coaching one of the teams…”

Andy D’s woeful strategy of denial deserves more attention and scrutiny than it has received. But it won’t happen. And why is that? Nathan Bloody Buckley…that’s why!

BrayshawPissed

“Great, we are getting flogged by Richmond! Nathan Buckley will never want to coach us now…”

Luckily for James Brayshaw, his Kangas fought back for a draw. Will that effort help them snag Bucks? And if so, can they just do it quickly so we can all get on with our lives?

The Games:

BucksBooth

“Dennis…if you ask me one more time about ‘my new job’, I’ll be forced to apply some frontal pressure on you!”

Essendon did all they could to knock off the favoured Western Bulldogs in the pressurised, cauldron-like atmosphere of Whatshishead Stadium…but somebody must have lifted the lid at half-time and the Dogs ran over the top of the Bombers. Rodney Eade was saying the ‘F’ word after the match – fitness. Matthew Knights was probably saying the ‘F’ word during the game but afterwards, the only ‘F’ word he uttered was ‘footskills’…or a lack of them.

Nathan Buckley called this game as a commentator for Channel Seven and his in-depth analysis demonstrated why he is guaranteed to be a coaching great.

RattenCoaching

“Come on boys, we’ve gotta keep winning games and make the finals! Otherwise Nathan Buckley might think the Carlton job is available too!!!”

Carlton had not won three games in a row for a number of years but numerous high draft picks and a Chris Judd later, they have done it! It was one of the more disappointing days for Swans coach Paul Roos though Ted Richards didn’t have a lot of fun either!

Nathan Buckley called this game as a commentator for 3AW and his in-depth analysis demonstrated why he is guaranteed to be a coaching great.

Geelong’s worst losing streak in ages is finally over! The Cats can finally sing the club song again after two weeks of post-match silence with an easy win over Melbourne.For Dean Bailey, well…it was fun while it lasted!

Nathan Buckley watched the game tape in the early hours of Sunday morning and, based on his coaching philosophy, projected that he would have guided the Dees to a two-goal win had he been Melbourne coach for the day.

ClarksonSong

If the Pies kept winning, they couldn’t possibly replace Mick Malthouse as coach. So when Buddy, Clarko and Sammy sang loudly on Saturday night, Bucks might have joined in too…

Stopping Hawk Lance Franklin was supposed to be the main focus for Collingwood last Saturday night…which is great in theory. But the reality proved to be too tough and, all of a sudden, the Hawks are back in the finals race and looking dangerous.

Nathan Buckley watched the game from home, dressed in one of his old Magpie tracksuits, using the quarter time breaks to sprint down his driveway in preparation for running onto the ground to deliver stirring speeches to his players when he becomes a coach.

RainingFreo

The Dockers didn’t handle the rainy conditions well. No doubt Bucks has a kick-ass wet weather game plan…

Nine losses in a row now for Fremantle…though they were in front of Brisbane for a while, and Mark Harvey has a handy list of excuses on hand, so it’s not all bad. What would be bad is if some rookie other than Daniel Rich won the Rising Star award. Not even notoriously dodgy award voter Kevin Bartlett could selet anybody else but him…could he?

Nathan Buckley was very pleased to hear the result as his own coaching mystique is enhanced with every win rookie coach Michael Voss chalks up!

BradshawHammie

…and a thorough rotation system to avoid hamstring injuries to key veteran players!

PowerKit

Another new jumper for Port Adelaide? Did they deliberately make it look more ‘Collingwoody’…just in case Mark Williams quits and Buckley is still available?

Port Adelaide had no trouble beating the Eagles. West Coast had no trouble losing their 19th straight away game. Nathan Buckley has a soft spot for Port; having played there as a heavily mulleted teenager; but would have some trouble going back there to coach…well, he would be forced to grow back the mullet for a start!

RawlingsBrothers

“Sorry lil’ bro…but Bucks should come to the Tigers, not the Roos. Sure – I would lose my job but, come on…it’s Nathan Buckley!!!”

Wow – a draw! There really were no winners after the Tigers-Roos clash. Not the coaches. Not the players…especially those denied a potential match-winning shot at goal. But most importantly, the media couldn’t make the audacious leap that the winning team would be the best coaching option for Buckley!

The man himself called this game as a commentator for Channel Seven and while his in-depth analysis demonstrated why he is guaranteed to be a coaching great, he changed his mind on which club he would choose 18 times during the match and now needs another few weeks to ‘weigh up his options’!

KossieStrike

Clumsy Kossie cops a week…Bucks wouldn’t stand for that type of ill discipline!

Lemme get this straight…The Perfect Season remains alive for the Saints after they won their 16th straight game, rendering Adelaide helpless at times…and they think they are the underdogs heading into their next match? Wow…not even Nathan Buckley would attempt to sell such a crazy mind trick. Would he? Will we ever find out? Will we ever f*#@$ng shut up about Nathan  f*#@$ng Buckley?