Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat – Offseason Report #4

Last week, we started the season previews, met a goofy-looking Aussie Gronk-lite, and went over the rule changes in store for this year.  A lot of preseason footy has happened in a week which is both interesting and meaningless, just like the NFL preseason.  In fact, it seems someone at the NFL is FINALLY paying attention to the AFL Beat as it is now considering reducing the number of preseason games to the same three that AFL clubs currently play.  No word yet on whether those three will be spread out over four weeks like in the AFL, but it would make a lot of sense.  Then again, it’s the NFL, so….

Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!

We start with the preseason results to date:

Hawthorn 53 – 32 Carlton

Fremantle 90 – 30 Richmond

St. Kilda 73 – 117 North Melbourne

Sydney 81 – 60 Port Adelaide

Adelaide 148 – 48 West Coast Eagles

Brisbane 43 – 68 Gold Coast Suns

GWS Giants 73 – 104 Western Bulldogs

Geelong 123 – 131 Collingwood

Port Adelaide 76 – 95 Melbourne

Richmond 104 – 33 Hawthorn

Essendon 95 – 35 Carlton

What insights can we glean from these scores?

AFL teams use the preseason in much the same way the NFL teams do except the star players can’t play for a portion of the game and then sit.  This results in certain star players missing entire games and thus the quality of the squads playing is unpredictable.  If you thought gambling on NFL preseason was a bad idea….

One of the interesting parts, however, of these preseason games comes from seeing them held in random weird locales.  The AFL uses the preseason to try to grow the game, so it holds the contests in various locations which are not close to the main cities where football teams play.  This enables young kids that live out in the countryside to see the game live for cheap, be inspired, and aspire to play someday.  Reason #156 why the AFL is run better than the NFL.  You can see some of those places in the highlight videos below:

The highlight above is from Holm Park Recreation Reserve in Beaconsfield and the highlight below is from Canberra.

The other interesting part for me is that the NAB Challenge features a special rule that allows us to have a SUPERGOAL.  If a player kicks a goal from behind the 50 meter line, that goal counts for 9 points instead of the usual 6.  It’s a fun little wrinkle that adds a bit of excitement to the boredom of the preseason.  Are you listening, NFL?  I’m talking 4 point field goals outside of 50 yards.

Better Know an Australian Footballer!


is Eddie Betts.  You may recognize Eddie as I featured him many times last year on my highlights in the AFL Beat.  Some may say I have an obsession with him, which is tough, but fair.  He plays for the Adelaide Crows and, in my estimation, is one of the best players in the league despite being only 5′ 8″ and 172 lbs.  Hey, I’m 5′ 8″ and 170-something pounds!

Here are some highlights from his days with Carlton, prior to joining the Crows:

Eddie has a knack for kicking goals from the sharpest angles.  In fact, certain areas of the field have been designated as Eddie Betts’ Pockets.  Just look at this angle:

From the Adelaide Crows’ website, here are some selected Q&As:

Nickname: Buttsy

What was your best break in life: Having kids

Best piece of advice your mother gave you: Always be nice

If you weren’t a footballer, what would you like to be: NBA player

Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by: Don’t make plans, just live every day as if it’s your last

If you could ask someone to be your mentor, who would it be:LeBron James

Morning or evening person: Morning, I have kids

Most embarrassing song in your iTunes: Mariah Carey – Beautiful

Best concert you’ve been to: Alan Jackson – I’m a country music boy

Favourite sport other than football: Basketball

What sport would you like to compete in at the 2016 Olympics:Basketball

Do you believe in UFOs: Yes

Any special hobbies or interests: Basketball

Three famous people you would like to meet: LeBron James, Barack Obama, Will Smith

So, um, apparently Eddie likes basketball.  More importantly, though, HIS NICKNAME IS BUTTSY!!!!

I love this man.

Season Preview #2 Not quite the bottom

Club Name: Essendon Bombers

Mascot: Moz “Skeeta” Reynolds

I can’t believe that’s real either.

History:  The club was established in 1871.  It was one of eight founding members of the Victorian Football League (VFL), which was the predecessor to the AFL. It is tied with Carlton for the highest number of championships won in the history of the VFL/AFL with 16.

Home Stadium: Most games are played at the Etihad Stadium (aka Docklands) with some played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Famous Supporters:  The Late Steve Irwin, Andrew Bogut, and the lead singer for Midnight Oil

Contrary to popular legend, that song was really about an Essendon preseason game in the desert and the lack of A/C in the hotel because they didn’t pay their utility bill.

Club Song: See the Bombers Fly Up

Last Premiership:  2000

2015 Finish:  15th

Outlook for 2016: The Bombers have been hit with severe penalties stemming from the 2012 season.  The Essendon 34 has become a thing and the Bombers will be without key players for this whole season.  For this reason alone, I expect them to win the Wooden Spoon.

Why Should I Pick Them as My Team?  You have a GNC Gold Card.  Yes, it’s an old joke, but I’m going to drive it into the ground.  To be fair, Essendon has a great history and if you can ride out this tough season coming up, you will probably be rewarded in the future with winning seasons and multiple trips to finals.  Another buy low sell high opportunity.

* * *

Club Name: St. Kilda Saints

Mascot: Trevor “Saint” Kilda

Trevor loves the environment!

History:  The club was established in 1873.  It was one of eight founding members of the Victorian Football League (VFL), which was the predecessor to the AFL. The Saints have won the Wooden Spoon more than any other team in the league (27 times) and have only won one Premiership in 1966.

Home Stadium:  Most games are played at the Etihad Stadium (aka Docklands) with some played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Famous supporters: Eric Bana, Doktor Zymm, litre_cola

Club song:  When The Saints Go Marching In

Did you really expect anything else?  BTW, yes, they have to pay a licensing fee.

Last Premiership:  1966

2015 Finish:  14th

2016 Outlook: The Saints are always an intriguing bunch.  I watched many of their games last year and they looked like a team on the rise.  There were some games, though, where you were wondering what happened to the team you saw the week before.  They are incredibly consistent at being inconsistent.  I say they finish in pretty much the same spot this year.

Why Should I Pick Them as My Team?  You love the underdog.  If there is one team in the entire league that is a lovable underdog, this is it.  When Geelong beat St. Kilda in a replayed Grand Final after the first Grand Final ended in a draw, I actually felt bad for the Saints.

* * *

Club Name: Melbourne Demons

Mascot: Technically, there are three mascots that go by the names of Checker, Chuck, and Cheeky.  I, however, prefer the old Ronald “Dee” Man

Damn you, Checkerrrrrrr!!!!!!

History:  The club was established in 1859.  It was one of eight founding members of the Victorian Football League (VFL), which was the predecessor to the AFL. It has won 12 VFL/AFL championships.

Home Stadium:  The MCG.

Famous supporters: People famous in Australia that you probably don’t know.

Club song:  It’s a Grand Old Flag (sung to the tune of “You’re a Grand Old Flag”)

Last Premiership:  1964

2015 Finish:  13th

2016 Outlook: The Demons surprised me by finishing as high as they did.  Honestly, I still have no idea how the fuck Geelong lost to them.  AT HOME!

I expect the Demons to finish slightly lower in the ladder this year.  They may not be Wooden Spoon material, but I would again be surprised if they finish as high as 13th.

Why Should I Pick Them as My Team?  Beats me:

I have an irrational hatred of the Demons. Going by the internet, their fans are stereo-typically the upper class of Melbourne and really don’t give much of a shit whether the team wins or loses as long as the cocaine bowl is full.  If you have a shitload of money and want to “root” for a team, the Demons are it.

Next week, as the preseason rolls on, I’ll have more team previews (including my beloved Cats!), more results from meaningless preseason games, and a new AFL player for you to get to know better.  See you next time!



International Member of the Geelong Cats and recovering Steelers fan. Likes Butts. And Balls. And Boobs. Pretty much anything that starts with the letter B. Preferably together.

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AFL Beat – 2019 AFL Season Preview – [DOOR FLIES OPEN]

[…] Essendon Bombers, St. Kilda Saints, Melbourne Demons […]

Spanky Datass
Spanky Datass


Spanky Datass
Spanky Datass

Ahem … GO SWANS!

Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh
Moose -The End Is Well Nigh

Nice work.

Go Pies!


Due to an assortment of previous engagements yesterday, I am late to this.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that any post which includes a meme of the REAL (real? meh, you know what I mean) Wee Baby Seamus is great in my book.

Also, I would like to get dog piled by that pack of Essendon sheila’s….minus the mosquito, of course. Don’t need no accidental (or otherwise) proboscis pegging happening.


The replay of that god damn grand final with the Saints upset me incredibly. I couldn’t believe that they replayed.


Essendon will get the spoon and it will look good on the cheaters.

King Hippo

Also, the Blues are clearly lulling the AFL into a false sense of security with their pre-season performance.

King Hippo

That bus-riding Patrick and the Gold Coast thing would make a great tag-team of rape and nightmares.


Seeing as how the Power appear to be a solid middle-of-the-pack type team, I *do* now have a second Jets team in my fandom roster. Go me.

//sobs quietly over chosen sports allegiances



Essendon = Giants
St. Kilda = Browns
Melbourne = LA Rams

Got it. Thanks, Balls!