Tag Archives: AFL tips

Round Four – Should Have Known Better…

Should have known better than…


Don’t worry Michael Rischitelli…I had the same reaction as you did when I saw the final score last Friday night!!!

  • To dismiss Port Adelaide’s chances of upsetting Hawthorn purely on the strength of their poxy away jumpers! Honestly, they are shit, aren’t they? And now that they have beaten the reigning champs by five goals in those ugly things, that will just encourage them to wear it more and more. I think I’m going to have another Michael Rischitelli moment…


Those stupid away jumpers might have been designed with pillows in mind but the Power were far from soft against the Hawks!

  • To tell my Carlton supporting friends that the Blues would bounce back after my Bombers knocked them off last week. Fortunately, I didn’t believe it myself when it came to tipping as the Swans squeaked out a win at the SCG. Once again, the Blues were wayward with the ball while poor old Fev missed shots at goal and could barely stay on the field! Well, we all know how wayward he can get…


Brendan Fevola – just a lovable larrikin who is always pushing the boundaries…or tumbling over them!

  • To think the Adelaide Crows would complete a remarkable comeback to beat Geelong. The Cats looked like they were going to cut up the Crows ‘St Kilda-Freo’ style but Adelaide fought back hard in the second and third quarters. However, all their hard work was quickly blown away in the final term as lil’ Gazza did as he pleased on the way to a big win…holy crap, that guy is good!!!


Gary Ablett should not just be chaired around by teammates after footy games. It should happen all the time – to training, to the shops…he deserves it!


Forget the on-field clangers…the Bombers couldn’t even exit the arena correctly against the Kangaroos.


Terry Wallace makes a quick call to Centrelink, only to hear that they are open from 8:30am to 5pm weekdays and to call back during business hours.


Round One – Good To Have Ya Back!


The elbow of Scott Lucas plays on despite a nasty knock…now that’s the gutsiest elbow in footy!

It felt like an age since our last taste of fair dinkum footy (an age filled with endless, boring cricket matches) but all the things we love about the game are back! The bumps, the bruises, the great goals, the baffling umpiring decisions – it all came flooding back over the weekend. We had a little bit of everything in the opening round of the AFL season…a great way to kick things off again.

However, the biggest constant that we can expect to see during the season is my deplorable tipping! It started with backing Richmond on Thursday night (I know, I know…) and ended by pinning my hopes on a good showing at home by Fremantle on Sunday night (I know, I know…) Plus, after hearing the Crows had upset the Pies on Saturday afternoon, I caught the quarter time scores of the Saturday night games as I headed out to dinner. Both the Eagles and Swans were up big and I was all prepared for a Richmond-style opening round disaster!

Fortunately, Saturday night’s games went as planned but it just showed that you cannot guarantee anything in footy. Not wins, not tips and not that a TV remote will not go flying straight into my new plasma TV screen at some point this season. It survived week one…though Essendon’s skill errors tempted fate at times yesterday!

The Games:

Already touched on this one last Friday but just in case you forgot – Carlton…great! Richmond…shit! Ben Cousins…hamstrung. And it’s all his own fault! Seems he has gotten the hang of that whole apologising thing now.


Here is the obligatory ‘Ben Cousins gets interviewed again’ photo. Seems you are not allowed to write about footy without one…

Hawthorn beat Geelong in the grand final rematch on Friday night…didn’t they? Oh no, apparently they didn’t…my mistake. All the talk about Jeff Kennett and bogy men and Geelong spraying shots at goal because of their fragile mental state. Just assumed that Hawthorn actually won…sorry!

Question: when is losing a free kick count 18-14 deemed to be ‘lopsided’? Answer: when it happens to Collingwood..and they get beaten. It wouldn’t have been because the Crows deserved to win, uncovering some promising youngsters along the way. Oh no…definitely the umps!


Beating Collingwood at the ‘G? Yep, that’s worth a little cuddle…

Sydney were on fire for about half an hour and then…nothing! They couldn’t buy a goal after quarter time and it wasn’t for lack of trying…or was it? Good start to the season for St Kilda though, who must have done well to charge home without a blinder from Nick Riewoldt. I’m assuming they did well…like you’d voluntarily watch a Saints-Swans game unless you barrack for them!

The Lions make Michael Voss feel like a coaching guru right off the bat, coming from behind to beat the Eagles at the Gabba. And Vossy’s impressions of the coaching caper? Yeah, love it …but hate it!


Yep, Vossy loves coaching…even though it’s shit!

North Melbourne do what is required to beat last year’s wooden spooners. Taking on last season’s worst team in the opening round and being expected to win handily can be a tricky assignment – and they didn’t have it all their own way. Could have been worse though – they might have had to travel interstate first off…


Cheer up Demons…for the first time in ages, you’re not dead last! Thanks Richmond.

…like Essendon did!  And Port Adelaide benefitted from a wobbly kicking Bomber outfit to win comfortably in the end. And considering the fans over there can now consume alcohol at their seats, there will have been some interesting celebrations at AAMI Stadium.

Yes…I tipped Fremantle at home. Yes…they were destroyed by the Doggies. No…I will never learn! The Westeern Bulldogs win big in Perth and it seems that the only two people who are surprised by this are me and Rodney Eade.

Man, You Footy Fans Are Crazy! (2008 AFL Grand Final)

These Hawk fans have gone to a whole lotta trouble…but then it has been 17 years in between grand finals for them!

AFL Grand Final – MCG, 2:30pm (local): Geelong v Hawthorn (SEVEN)

One more sleep, footy freaks! Septocemia has engulfed the self-acknowledged ‘Sporting Capital Of The World’ and with less than twenty-four hours until the bounce, the excitement for Cats and Hawks fans must be tough to contain.  To call September in Melbourne a “silly season” is an understatement of gigantic proportions…the place is more than silly right now; it’s completely freakin’ mental!

Silly season? What silly season? You find freaks like this every weekend in Melbourne!

If you needed any further proof, the place to be today was at the grand final parade!

Which bloke will be lucky enough to get that free hand on the trophy as well?

Of course, these two teams played out one of the best ever grand finals in 1989 and now Victoria has gone into some kind of late-80’s time warp! Plenty of reminiscing is going on…and don’t some of the old-timers love it! Since the Hawks held on to claim the flag in ’89, these two sides have also maintained a decent history of closely contested games – let’s hope this continues tomorrow. After all the whinging from the local media over the years about those pesky interstaters crashing the grand final party since the year 2000…it would really suck for them if we have another blowout!

Did Buddy try to disguise himself as a motorcycle traffic cop to avoid attention at the grand final parade?

So, the time for talk is over and the game is almost here! No matter which part of the world you find yourself tomorrow, there are ways to keep track of the events at the MCG, so there are no excuses to miss a second of what shapes up to be a gripping finale to the football season. If you are taking advantage of the occasion to crank up the barbie for the first time since last April, go check the gas bottle…right now! And if you have a ticket for the game, you are one lucky son-of-a-gun…or you must have connections!

And, for what it’s worth, our tip is back-to-back flags for Geelong…CATS by 27. Norm Smith Medal…lil’ Ablett!

Now grand final day is always a special occasion – exciting, dramatic, sweaty and bloody long! But when does all the interesting stuff happen? Well, Half Back Flanker has put together a complete run-down of the events on grand final day so that you can skip the crap that you don’t like but don’t miss any of the action!


9:00am: AFL Under-16 Championships Division Two Grand Final – Tasmania v Northern Territory. Winners each receive their first keg, courtesy of major sponsor Carlton Draught.

10:55am: AFL Under-16 Championships Division One Grand Final – Western Australia v Vic Metro. Winners each receive $10,000 from player agent Ricky Nixon and his business card. No obligations though…

12:55pm: Carlton Draught sky troopers parachute into arena.

Look out below…beer incoming!!!

12:58pm: Arena cleared of drunk bogans who jump the fence in an attempt to catch “all the giant beers falling from the sky!”

1:10pm: Delivery of match balls, beamed down from Lance Franklin’s alien spacecraft.

1:15pm: AFL Grand Final teams warm up in AFL-approved velour tracksuits.

1:35pm: Pre-match entertainment starts.

1:36pm: Pre-match entertainment cancelled due to lack of entertainment value.

1:41pm: Cavalcade of retiring players, 2008 Hall of Fame inductees, Olympians, Paralympians and the Terang Mortlake Bloods, Hampden Football League premiers, after a full week of non-stop drinking. The cavalcade will drive very, very slowly

The crowd will love Powderfinger…which makes you wonder how they found themselves on the bill! Perhaps the AFL were desperate when the Seekers pulled out at the last minute…

1:49pm: Performance by Australian Rock act Powderfinger.

1:50pm: Powderfinger performance cancelled after noise complaints from some of the AFL commissioners.

1:52pm: A 20-minute flag waving display from the Holden Precision Goal Umpires Team.

Some flag-waving fun…what a treat!

2:12pm: Delivery of 2008 Cup from ambassador Glen Archer to AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick. AFL chairman left to tip all the cold beer out of the cup.

2:15pm: Umpires enter arena under full police protection.

2:16pm: Teams enter arena.

2:17pm: Cyril Rioli exits the arena for a nervous wee.

2:27pm: Advance Australia Fair performed by Rocky Horror Picture Show star Derryn Hinch.

Think you’ve heard some dodgy renditions over the years? Well, just wait until you hear this!

2:28pm: Coin toss.

2:29pm: Another coin toss after Tom Harley successfully appeals for a ‘best-of-three’.

2:30pm: The 2008 AFL Grand Final.

3:40pm: Half Time AFL Grand Final Sprint; featuring the only eight AFL players who are currently sober.

5:15pm: Presentation of Norm Smith Medal for the best player, probably to Steve Johnson of Geelong. Presentation of premiership medallions, probably to Geelong. Presentation of Jock McHale medal to premiership winning coach, probably to Mark Thompson of Geelong. Presentation of premiership cup, probably to Tom Harley of Geelong.

9:30pm: A semi-conscious, half-naked Billy Brownless dragged off arena by seven burly security guards after going too hard too early with the post-match celebrations.

Warm Up Games For Cats And Hawks? (Welcome To Septocemia!)

Geelong fans had to wait 44 years before breaking through last season…now they can barely wait one full week for the next flag!

Yes, we know – anything can happen in a game of football and nothing should ever be taken for granted. And we haven’t had any major shocks in this finals series thus far so a big surprise might just be around the corner. But, really, come on…Geelong and Hawthorn are going to play each other in the Grand Final next Saturday, right? That is clearly the most attractive outcome from this weekend’s preliminary finals…sorry Saints and Doggies fans.

Buddy is inspiring Hawk fans of all ages with his awesomeness…and they all expect him to boot Hawthorn into a grand final!

In fact, the only time that this finals series really came to life was when Buddy kicked eight to sink the Dogs and Geelong crushed St Kilda back in week one! There was a nice attempt from Jason ‘Cocky Cats’ Akermanis to ruffle some feathers this week but it’s hard to take a notorious shit-stirrer seriously. And if the biggest feud we can come up with during the finals is Jason Dunstall verses James Brayshaw, which is more like a ‘sponsorship arrangement’ between Nine and Foxtel than an actual feud, our game must be in big trouble!

The build-up to this weekend’s matches is mostly focused on the fitness of key players and any mention of either St Kilda or the Doggies actually winning is closely followed by the term ‘fairytale’ or ‘pipedream‘! But the time for speculation on the health of Bateman, Ball, Chapman, Cooney, Giansiracusa, Hayes and pals is over. The crowds look like being massive and there are preliminary finals to be played…and won by Geelong and Hawthorn.


Nathan Ablett won’t be at this year’s Grand Final parade but his big brother sure will…and he might be all medalled up already!

First Preliminary Final – MCG, 7:40pm (local): Geelong v Western Bulldogs (SEVEN)

CATS by 39: They are keeping Paul Chapman on ice until the grand final, what does that tell you! And not only do they have plenty of depth to cover the loss, they could replace Chappy with a mid-thirties, unemployed NFL punter and they would still win. The Cats are vowing to be at their best tonight…and that is good enough for us!

Sure, spirits are high down at Whitten Oval and Rodney Eade may well remind his blokes about what happened to Essendon back in 1999 (so do we…watching the Bombers lose by one point in that prelim was our worst ever sporting experience. We wouldn’t wish it on anybody!) but are there any ‘Kouta’s’ in that Doggies line-up? Will Geelong have the equivalent of Hird, Lucas and Jason Johnson sitting in the stands? No? Well, forget about it! Not happening tonight.


Trent Croad needed that extra week off in order to be fully prepared…for Brownlow night, that is! But water only please…he has a big game next weekend!

Second Preliminary Final – MCG, 7:00pm (local): Hawthorn v St Kilda (TEN)

HAWKS by 21: If there is to be an upset this weekend, it appears more likely that it will be Hawthorn who slip up. And if St Kilda do find a way to starve Buddy of the ball, this game could get very interesting. But the Hawks have been the second best team all year…besides, they want to rack up two flags and 50,000 members over the next five years and you don’t achieve that by losing preliminary finals to St Kilda!

St Kilda actually have a slight edge in finals experience having fallen at this hurdle twice in recent seasons. But, even if the Luke Ball gamble pays off, we doubt that they will go one further this time around. The Saints recovered from a so-so start to finish top four, which is a good effort, but that’s about where they should be. Sorry Harvs!

Bounced Out In Straight Sets? (Welcome To Septocemia!)

The second week of the finals series is always a fascinating time. Every year we have two sides who were good enough to finish in the top four, but all of a sudden find themselves fighting for survival after missing out on a preliminary final berth and a nice week off. Some clubs are able to bounce back and progress, others fail to recover and exit the finals series in straight sets!

And it has been mind games-a-go-go leading into this weekend’s cut-throat semi finals with all four teams fighting tooth and nail to award themselves underdog status. And then there is all the speculation over who will risk their injured stars in a do-or-die effort to win on the weekend…which drove one network we all know and loathe to new heights (literally) that only a powerful dose of Septocemia could inspire.

Look, it’s a footballer! And he’s standing on some grass! What a scoop!!!

St Kilda’s closed training session was ambushed by the Channel Nine helicopter yesterday, in an effort to show what most of already know anyways – that Luke Ball might play on the weekend…or he might not. What an exclusive!!! The Saints had their bit of fun by trotting out some other guy in Ball’s number 14 jumper, which the network reported with it’s typical disdain for reality, but they would have not been too concerned about the whole thing. Sorry Tony jones…we just don’t give a shit!

And they wonder why most people think Channel Nine are evil…

But the Saints should be more concerned about yesterday’s headline in the Melbourne Age, the one that screamed “I could have won!”. Oh, wait a sec…we just assumed that it was yet another quote from former St Kilda coach Grant Thomas, who seems to have a bit of trouble letting go. But no, it was Peter Costello talking about last year’s federal election! Funny…they both share that same smarmy, off-putting smirk!

Would you trust either of these men with your vote?

Anyway, we digress…will either of the Dogs or Saints suffer the embarrassment and the inevitable media slaying of being bounced out in straight sets? And will it even matter anyway? We have the AFL equivalent of Roger Federer (Geelong) and Raphael Nadal (Hawthorn) waiting in the wings, preparing for a shot at a grand final berth next weekend. Will any of these four teams playing this weekend have the capacity to shock the football world and knock off a raging hot favourite on preliminary final weekend, like Andy Murray did to Nadal at the US Open last week? Is there a weedy Scotsman amongst this lot that can knock out one of the top seeds and qualify for the big decider?


Aker may have a better chance of winning the Davis Cup than another premiership cup!

Second Semi Final – MCG, 7:50pm (local): Western Bulldogs v Sydney (SEVEN)

SWANS by 9: After being ‘Franklin’d’ last Friday night, the Dogs have been yapping all week about the things they must do. So, if you read all the reports this week, all they need is a call to arms, to go back to the future, find their own spark, respond better to the heat of finals footy and make a few changes…or not. For if they don’t win, 2008 will be a wasted season…but relax boys, there’s no pressure!

In Sydney, the land that football forgot, the Swans appear to be in a happy place. They romped home last week on the field but also won the fierce battle for underdog status too! They have cast off the ‘spent force’ tag (for one week at least…), are choc-full of self belief and will be drawing inspiration from the great Paul Kelly. We think that Sydney will continue to fly the flag for the interstate clubs and keep the coach smiling..well, he has plenty to smile about right now.


Plenty of promise but failing to live up to the hype…is Justin Koschitzke the Chris Guccione of the AFL?

First Semi Final – MCG, 7:30pm (local): St Kilda v Collingwood (TEN)

PIES by 19: Mick Malthouse may not be reading too much into St Kilda’s loss last Sunday but he should read plenty into the loss his Mapgies inflicted on them straight after the Shaw-Didak debacle! It looks good for Collingwood – the captain appears ready to go, the coach is wary and the kids are terrific. And with a massive crowd ready to rock the ‘G, it seems that only another bad dose of ‘blockbusteritis’ could prevent the Pies from qualifying for the prelim!

Ross Lyon’s underdogs are hoping to recover from last Sunday’s beat-down and fire up for the Pies. But having been exposed by the Cats, and with serious doubts over the fitness of valuable midfielder Luke Ball, their chances don’t look good. They didn’t handle the increased pressure of finals footy and they have struggled against the Pies in recent times; all this despite being the trendy pick as the best Victorian challenger for quite a few years now. We predict another blown season and no pot’o’gold at the end of Robert Harvey’s rainbow…but it will give them time to prepare for the supposed arrival of Daniel Kerr!

Welcome to Septocemia!

In 2007, the League decided to take all the excitement, atmosphere and passion of September and suck the life out of it by giving the AFL finals series a lame-arse namewe were given “Septopia”. And didn’t Septopia catch on…

Geelong appeared to reach this mythical state of footballing awesomeness and you can be sure those big-wigs who are showered with corporate box kindness will have suffered a few symptoms! But while there were some exciting moments last September (Buddy Franklin beats the Crows, Collingwood almost make the Grand Final), there were others that weren’t so inspiring (the Roos flogged…twice, Collingwood almost make the Grand Final).

And who could forget the pinnacle of the footy year, the AFL Grand Final, where Geelong embarrassed Port Adelaide by 119 points! If you were at the same GF party as us, the answer to that question was ‘virtually everybody forgot’ as people turned away from the big screen and focused on the snack table!!

Now in 2008, Half Back Flanker is getting all innovative and introducing our own lame-arse marketing concept…we proudly present Septocemia! It gets in your blood, it spreads through your system, it leads to vomiting, hypertension and organ dysfunction…footy fans will love it!!!

The big question in this year’s finals series is…will things be any different this September? The Cats appear to be unstoppable right now and are firm favourites to go back-to-back while Hawthorn and the Bulldogs are in the box seat to become this year’s ‘Port Adelaide’…poor buggers! The Saints may have finished fourth but currently have artificially elevated confidence levels from last weekend…Geelong will fix that for them! And Collingwood are primed for another gutsy but ultimately futile finals run after blowing the chance of a top four berth at Freo last Friday night.

So, can Geelong be stopped? Will Buddy Franklin produce more late-game heroics to get the Hawks back in the grand final? Will Aker’s self-perception of greatness be matched by his on-field play to help guide the Doggies to the big dance? All this and more will be revealed thanks to Septocemia!


YIPEEE!!! We’re in the finals, we’re playing Hawthorn…this is soooo cool!!!

Second Qualifying Final – MCG, 7:50pm (local): Hawthorn v Western Bulldogs (SEVEN)

HAWKS by 23: The Dogs did beat them earlier in the year and the Hawks have a few injury concerns but Buddy Franklin….the guy is awesome! Case closed.

A quick side note: Half Back Flanker will be in Sydney on Friday night and, naturally, will not be able to watch the match live! Sure, Johanna Griggs will help pass the time but what about the damn footy?


Look out South Australia…the Collingwood fans are on their way!!

First Elimination Final – AAMI Stadium, 2:00pm (local): Adelaide v Collingwood (TEN)

PIES by 6: The Crows are saying that they will not fall for that old wounded Mapgie trick…but they are far from healthy themselves. Neil Craig might be fending off criticism for his use of Jason Porplyzia but that will pale in comparison to the bagging he will cop if they are bounced out of the finals at home. This match has Collingwood steal written all over it!


Sydney will have home ground advantage…but can they also get that extra player on the ground this time too?

Second Elimination Final – ANZ Stadium, 7:30pm (local): Sydney v North Melbourne (TEN)

SWANS by 19: There has been quite a rivalry between these two sides for a while now…since the events of 1996 and the Kangaroos’ failed push into NSW. That was only heightened when the Swans had a little extra help in that draw earlier in the year but the Roos are more concerned with payback from last year’s finals exit. But a cold Saturday night in Sydney is possibly the worst place to seek redemption…


The Saints had all the glamour but now Geelong have the glory…

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

CATS by 45: Things could hardly be better down at Geelong – a great team, all players fit and firing and not losing any stars to the salary cap…yet.The mighty Cats are also not big fans of St Kilda as they certainly like to point out any differences between the two. And they will take great pleasure in easing past the Saints on Sunday and crushing any sense of optimism that might be held down at Moorabbin.

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

Well played, Rama. Well played…

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Nathan Bassett says goodbye to Adelaide and hello to insulin!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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