Tag Archives: Channel Seven

The Best Case Scenario! (Septocemia – 2009 AFL Finals Series)

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GoldenCat

Imitation is usually the best form of flattery…but not down at the Cattery!

So much for that whole ‘excruciating pressure‘ theory! Septocemia 2009 will have the best possible finale as the two best teams in the competition will face off in the AFL Grand Final. Sure, we love a Cinderella story…but if it happened to involve Collingwood, that sure is one ugly Cinderella!

Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that.  St Kilda squeaked past the Bulldogs on Friday night but Geelong roared its way in by making an absolute mess of Collingwood to qualify for a third straight premiership decider. The Cats produced close to their best football on the big stage with their star players stepping up when it mattered most.

The Pies can talk about the experience being good for their group but this club has played finals in each of the past four years, with at least two finals in the last three Septembers. How much more experience do they want before they show some true substance?

DavisMalthouse

Look – photographic evidence that All-Australian Leon Davis actually got a touch in a finals game! Cue the Bronx cheers from Magpie fans…

Whether the intent of Mick Malthouse’s widely-discussed ‘pressure’ article was overblown is up for debate. But after this trouncing on preliminary final night, one thing is certain – few coaches will be under more pressure next season than Malthouse. Season 2010 will be his eleventh year in change and second last chance to ever win a premiership with Collingwood.

And he has to do it with a shattered group of players, including some alleged high quality guys who inexplicably disappear once the ‘August’ page flips over to the back of the calendar. And did we mention that his successor will be sitting in the office next door?

HulkHoward

Channel Ten gave us Hulk Hogan. Channel Seven gave us David Schwartz wearing tights. Advantage Ten!

While last night’s match lacked any drama or intensity after the main break, I won’t complain. The very thought of the Magpies winning a premiership freaks me right out so Geelong’s dominance after halftime was fantastic view ing for me and capped a dismal day for Collingwood, who were also flogged in the VFL prelim during the afternoon.

And it just gets better Magpie fans…because we can all sit back and relive Collingwood’s back-to-back grand final defeats to the Brisbane Lions on Channel Ten’s One HD! What a great way to get Grand Final week kick-started!!!

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They Didn’t Go Marching In But The Saints Are There!(Septocemia – 2009 AFL Finals Series)

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RiewoldtGoal

Saint Nick’s knee holds up long enough for him to do this…

How about that! In a finals series that has already delivered high drama and some classic finishes, we got another oneThe Saints are in the grand final…but they were this freakin’ close to a shock exit. And if it wasn’t for inspirational skipper Nick Riewoldt, they wouldn’t have made it. It really is that simple. That dodgy knee of his is more valuable than gold right now!

You just knew it was going to end in heartbreak for one of these traditionally down-trodden clubs…but recovering from this will be a massive challenge for Rodney Eade’s men. That loss was so harsh that I can’t even find a way to make fun of loudmouth lair Jason Akermanis! As much as I love doing it, it just feels cruel right now, wrong even…

CooneyShattered

The power of the red beard was not quite enough for Adam Cooney and the Dogs.

The Dogs dominated the opening quarter and could have built a more than handy lead if not for a couple of squandered opportunities. As a result, the Saints were able to stay in touch and slowly work their way to the front in the third term. Down by five points at three-quarter time, Brad Johnson put the Doggies back in front but it was the other captain that willed his side into the big one next Saturday afternoon.

Whether Johnson returns next season is yet to be determined but it would be a real boost for a wounded club to have that guy back next year.

RocketComposed

The hacks have quizzed Rocket every week about recruiting Barry Hall for 2010…imagine if David Schwartz asked him now!

And now we go through it all again tonight with the Cats and Pies and thank you Channel Ten…we can see it LIVE,  baby!  No Channel Seven again in 2009 so no more garden makeovers, no more tasty recipes, No Johanna Griggs and no watching Dr Harry feeding the fish…it’s finals action as it happens!!!

SchwartzDisgrace

Last night was Channel Seven’s grand final…and didn’t they deliver some high quality family fun!

SATURDAY NIGHT

Second Preliminary Final – MCG, 7:30pm (local): Geelong v Collingwood (TEN)

kevinscarlett

Matthew Scarlett is hoping to keep his hair for one more week before launching into some post-season stupidity!

Fresh from a nice relaxing week off, Geelong will be buoyed by the inclusion of two vital cogs and now appear to have their strongest available team. Steve Johnson and his dodgy hip will be a bit of an unknown quantity so they need somebody like Tom Hawkins to get on the scoreboard. Cameron Ling is not feeling the pressure now but that might change if Dane Swan gets a few early touches!

Geelong’s Dodgy Headline of the Week: Ling Primed For Ding Dong With Swan! Hmmm…Ling Ding, Swan Dong?

RejoiceEd

Settle Ed, it was just a semi final! Imagine if they actually won the flag!!! Actually, don’t do that…I dread the very thought.

It would have been difficult to forget about last Saturday night’s miracle win but, more importantly, Collingwood need to forget about what happened in round three! They have improved since then, says no-pressure Mick. How Scott Pendlebury’s broken leg has improved enough for him to play is beyond me…we’ll see.

Collingwood”s Dodgy Headline of the Week: Goldsack Wants Crack at Stevie J! All that’s missing is the defender reference so they could use the words back, crack and sack!

CATS by 19

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.

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 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 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?