Tag Archives: Channel Ten

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?

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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!!!

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)

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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…

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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 Seventeen – Oh So Bitter!

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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…

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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?

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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!

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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!

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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 Ten – A Series Of Perfect Tens

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Ben Cousins filming the latest promo for One HD, Ten’s new 24 hour sports channel.

Ten was the magic number last weekend. St Kilda won its tenth straight game to start the season while Geelong matched them to also remain unbeaten after ten rounds of footy. They appear to be set on a collision course for round 14 in the biggest blockbuster game of the season…to be played in the smallest stadium in town. But fear not, footy fans – we will surely get to see the game live on TV…won’t we?

Channel Ten was the other big winner out of the weekend’s action when former Eagles champ Ben Cousins chose to vent his frustration with a single-fingered salute right down the barrel of a camera as he returned to play in Western Australia for the first time as a Tiger. Sure, Benny thought it was just a bit of fun but the League will want an explanation as they seem to have a different opinion on what exactly is fun….as we all know from years of questionable grand final entertainment!

WallaceResigns

Terry’s time up at Richmond? Wow, that came out of left field…never saw that coming.

Then there is our old friend Terry Wallace. Despite his struggling side recording a rare win on the weekend, he and the Tigers announced today that they are parting ways after Friday night’s clash with the Bulldogs. The conference can be read in full here but the general gist of it all was that the Tigers are somehow better off now (with an extra five years of failure) than when he began, that his coaching career is pretty much over and that he’s kinda sorry for what happened at the Bulldogs in 2002. I’m sure the Doggies fans can’t wait to express their gratitude to him on Friday night…

The Games:

FevGlass

Fev clearly doesn’t know how to perform a Pressed Ham against the Glass…maybe he’s asking the umpire how it’s done!

Did the hysteria about the poor play at Carlton get a little out of hand last week? Sure, the Blues did have their arses handed to them by Adelaide last week but you’d have thought they were level with Richmond on the ladder by the amount of whining. But a little siege mentality, including the fortnightly Robert Walls Carlton focus article, helped inspire them to ease past the Eagles at home on Friday night. West Coast are no longer making finals their priority…we think that is wise!

Brisbane score a solid away win against North Melbourne on the back of some exciting young players and their exciting young finals-talking coach. The Roos wasted no time delving into a comprehensive post-mortem…perhaps they can send an update to fans who spent most of the first quarter sampling the many seating options at Whatshishead Stadium. Sounds like a fun place to watch footy…

RoosPresser

One behind in a quarter? Think Roosy might kick 22 behinds this week at training!

The Western Bulldogs looked right at home in the nation’s capital of fireworks and pornography with a comfortable win over the Swans that places them at the head of the class for next-best underneath Geelong and St. Kilda. The Swans managed to keep Aker quiet (no mean feat…whatever the context of ‘keeping quiet’!) but it was not a great day for them. Maybe the ‘other’ Sydney team will have more luck up there.

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Terry wants to celebrate a rare win so he finds a guy who knows how to party…

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…though perhaps he needs to learn from ‘Aussie’ Guus Hiddink…now that’s one guy who knows how to party!

It was always going to be a big game for Ben Cousins returning to the west…and didn’t he love being back in WA! Well, he and the rest of the Tigers were loving it when they scraped over the line against Freo in a thrilling finale. Mark Harvey’s side almost pulled off the win despite a multitude of injuries…yep, cue the debate for substitute players.

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Samuel L Jackson just wants to get these mother-flippin’ Saints of this mother-freakin’ plane!

No disrespect to Melbourne (of course…) but St Kilda’s biggest issue this weekend was not the game but travelling amongst the dirty, swine-infected members of the general public. They all made it safely and took care of the Demons without a great deal of difficulty…though they did get a little cutesy. The Saints now look forward to winning the next three before the Geelong game while Dean Bailey will focus his team on losing to Collingwood next week.

Adelaide blew away the reigning champs in the first half to record another win at home…and may have just unearthed a new goal kicking hero in the process. Neil Craig was suitable impressed…Al Clarkson? Hmm, not so much! And does he think they will bounce back right away? No, not really.

BomberBanner

Shoulda turned back, boys…shoulda turned back!

May as well just recycle the reports from round two in 2008…Essendon received a comprehensive football lesson from Geelong with coach Matthew Knights planning to use this loss as a leaning aid for his players. The only point that is unique to 2009 is that while the Cats keep racking up wins and proving a point against all opponents, they are referring to St Kilda as the benchmark. Yeah, nice try…

A light tower loses power at the MCG on Sunday as Port Adelaide stink it up on the field, prompting all manner of kooky headlines… oh, delicious irony! The Pies blitz the Power in the second half and, after copping plenty of criticism a fortnight ago, now they are headed for the top four. In fact, Mike Sheahan has already chalked them up for another four wins during the next month…and he never gets it wrong, does he!

Talking Heads (Media Street)

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Robert Walls in high definition may not be pretty but watching a full hour of One Week At A Time is no problem…

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…but Footy Classified? Can’t do it! The very sight of Craig Hutchison makes me scramble for the remote every time…

It has been with us for less than one week but already Channel Ten’s 24-hour sports venture, ONE, is getting a decent run on the plasma TV at HBF Central. And it was with great relief that the new Monday night AFL discussion show One Week At A Time made its debut. I say relief because without the pricey television goodness of Foxtel, the only AFL analysis program available to me during the week has been Footy Classified…which is not my cup of tea, to be honest.

Sure – the prospect of tuning in to see a casually dressed Robert Walls in high definition is not the most visually stunning image…but it made a nice change to have a panel partaking in an enjoyable hour of footy without a single hint of interruption, contrived provocation or wild accusation. It still needs some work, obviously, but after one airing, it already beats the shit out of cringing through Craig Hutchison and the Channel Nine hype machine. So call me ‘faint-hearted’…but I have no place for Footy Classified. Give me OWAAT or, if you are up late around Footy Classified time, try 30 Rock on Channel Seven. You’ll be much better for the experience…

Speaking of talking heads…have you seen the movie Watchmen? There is a character called Doctor Manhattan…he’s big, blue and can create duplicate physical versions of himself in order to perform more than one task at the same time. Well, Eddie McGuire obviously thinks he is the Doctor Manhattan of the AFL. All he needs to do is announce which ‘Eddie’ he is being at any certain time and we are expected to forget about all those other ‘Eddies’ out there – be it President Eddie or Media Eddie or Former Game Show Host Who Really Needs A New Game Show Eddie!

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Thankfully, unlike the various versions of Doctor Manhattan, the various versions of Eddie McGuire all choose to wear pants!

So, when Eddie floats the “Kevin Sheedy coaching Richmond by round four” theory after the Tigers were flogged by Carlton, it’s not poor form coming from an opposing club president because he’s not a president any more…it is Media Eddie talking. But when President Eddie frowns on speculation about Collingwood’s coaching position by people in the media (people just like Media Eddie), that’s ok too.

Um, is the line becoming blurry yet?…Well, stiff! Try telling him that he’s out of line and you can guarantee that one or more versions of Eddie will be after you . The only other guarantee we can make about this whole saga is it will end up in another Caroline Wilson article on The Eddies later this year! And it will probably include many parts of this article too

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Well well…don’t  Anna B and Andy D look pleased with themselves!

The Gold Coast now have a footy team…well, almost! The licence is ‘provisional‘ but Andy D and Anna B wouldn’t have put on such a flashy Gold Coast stylee show, signing contracts and smiling a lot, if it wasn’t going to go ahead, right? So if you are an AFL club, lock up your youngsters…especially if they are Queenslanders!

Now how is the League going to pay for GC17…and WS18 for that matter? The next media rights, of course! Andy D is already spruiking it up…big time. And don’t think that the massive interest created in last week’s AFL season opener won’t be used by Andy and friends with a view to milking as much cash as possible in the next rights deal. Well, last Thursday night’s hype-fest was more a result of good fortune with the Ben Cousins saga.

So unless the league plans an annual roll-out of previous Brownlow winners, straight out of rehab, to participate in the opening game of the year, we won’t experience the likes of last Thursday night again. And after the result of that game, it would be just as well…

From First To Worst – Fast Forward To September (AFL Season 2009)

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One week from defending the premiership and what is Hawk Luke Hodge up to? He’s impressing the ladies with the size of his Wii! Is this a bad sign for Hawthorn?

Surely by now, you have checked out many of the 2009 AFL season previews that have been published in print or online. They are all over the damn place! Both Melbourne papers put out season preview magazines over the weekend but the Herald Sun have previews for each team available here. You can also check out previews for all sixteen clubs from Sportal Australia while the official website of the AFL have gone as far as rating players for each team in order to make their guestimates appear better than everybody elses.

But it’s not just the media big-boys that are cranking out good previews for the new season…try checking out some of the other footy sites out there such as The Roar, Contested Footy or Kick 2 Kick. This season, Half Back Flanker has completely run out of time opted against writing previews for each team but instead has peered into the League’s crystal ball to find out who finishes where on the ladder after the home-and-away season.

That’s right – Andy D actually has a crystal ball in his office (honestly, check the book case…it’s hidden behind a framed photo of new Queensland Premier Anna Bligh!) Don’t worry, I won’t spoil the surprise of who wins it all in September, or whether Jason Akermanis finally makes it to 300 games…because Aker is the biggest story of this season, right? Right?

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First To Worst – The Ladder as of Round 22, 2009

1st: Geelong

Redemption from last September and an intense hatred for mouthy Hawk prez Jeff Kennett should be enough of a driving force for Geelong. Jimmy Bartel also revealed in this article that he discovered The Ramones in the off-season…so expect greatness from him!

2nd: Hawthorn

Apart from Luke Hodge’s Wii exploits, the Hawks will find life much more difficult having gone all the way last season. But it won’t stop the likes of Buddy Franklin and this year’s leading goalkicker…Jarryd Roughead!

3rd: Western Bulldogs

The Doggies might have a tough start but if the coach gets big improvement from the current Brownlow Medallist…watch out for the team of the mighty west!

4th: Collingwood

Collingwood will not only play good footy but again dominate the league in off-field discussion. Prepare yourself as our journos indulge in weekly speculation about the current coach, the coach in waiting and the president in everything. And we mean EVERYTHING!

5th: St Kilda

A fast start to the year would certainly help the Saints if they want to return to the top four…as would kicking more goals and keeping Nick Riewoldt forever and ever!

6th: Carlton

Looks like the arrogant Blues are back and finals are a real possibility. If they qualify for September, prey that the match is not broadcast by Channel Ten – Robert Walls, Tim Lane, Andy Maher on the boundary…sheeesh!

7th: North Melbourne

North died in the arse last year so even if they make the most of their Victorian-based opening half to the year, there will be lingering doubts about how far they can progress. The Roos do like having doubters though…

8th: Adelaide

The Crow-bots could easily slide out of finals contention…and it could all hinge on their ability to kick goals via the reconstructed knee of Trent Hentschel and a rebuilt Porpoise.

9th: Port Adelaide

Hard to tell who needs rescuing more – the club by the AFL or the coach by another club that wants to pay top dollar for a footy-obsessed maniac! This season has so-close and yet so-far written all over it…

10th: Richmond

Between Terry Wallace’s contract, Kevin Sheedy’s warblings and the comeback of Ben Cousins, Richmond will be a hot topic this year but too much depends on a 34 year old Richo. At least we don’t have them finishing ninth…

11th: Sydney

The Swans might feel confident that they can defy the critics who say they are too old and qualify for another finals campaign. But we don’t!

12th: Brisbane

Voss is now boss at BrisVegas and has given Jono Brown the captaincy all to himself. But the new coach can’t just order his side to become more skilful…it will be interesting to see how Vossy handles a rare taste of mediocrity.

13th: Fremantle

As if the Fremantle Football Club isn’t weird enough, they appear to be set for a big season of shouting at umpires in order to protect the tallest man in the competition. At least the worst theme song in footy won’t be heard that many times!

14th: Essendon

The Bombers were hoping for an injury-free run in ’09…and that lasted a good few weeks before completely turning to shit! They could do better than bottom four if their players stop break themselves…however, that appears unlikely.

15th: West Coast

The Eagles will try to use the AFL captains poll (where nobody gave them a chance of making the finals) as some type of motivation to play well. But there is a reason nobody thinks they are good enough…it’s because they are not good enough!

16th: Melbourne

After what happened last year, 2009 could only be an improvement, right? Maybe, but optimism seems to be pretty damn low at Demonland. Well, they have some major sponsors now…but it’s hard to see many other positives.