As we get nearer to the end of this inaugural AFL Women’s season, I am constantly reminded of how much I love this game, how much I love the AFL for creating this league (and just being awesomely-run period), how much I respect the women that play in it, and how much I like athletic women.
Seriously. Never date an actress or a runner. Date a woman that plays and/or enjoys contact sports and you will live a happy life.
the AFL Women’s Grand Final is nearly set, the Curse of the Hippo continues, and every team in AFL Women’s has a victory. All that plus the recap of the last week of AFL preseason games on
Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!
Round 6 started on North American late Thursday night/Friday morning with what was essentially an elimination match involving a team without a victory. The Fremantle Dockers were hosting the Carlton Blues as part of a doubleheader with the men’s teams. If your reading comprehension scores were high, you already know who won.
You also know that Carlton really needs to burn those U*NC-like away uniforms. They are 3-0 at home in the dark blues and 0-3 on the road in the powder blues. Sure, people may say the home-field advantage is a huge factor, but I prefer to live in a world where an American redneck from NASCAR country places a curse on a team purely based on a color related to a college rivalry.
The Blues’ best player was again Darcy Vescio. She is the runaway leader for most goals scored in the league and was involved all game.
Props need to go out to the Dockers for dominating the game throughout and finally getting their statistical domination to translate onto the scoreboard. I watched the whole game on replay (without knowing the score, thanks again AFL Watch app!) when I got home from work on Friday night and this was a hard-earned and well-deserved first victory. The Dockers went in front by three goals early, withstood a Blues rally, and then cruised home.
Here is the highlight package:
The second game of the Round was played Friday afternoon in LA, but I was still at work, so this was the next game I saw without knowing the score. It’s a good thing I didn’t, because it was a tense and close game. The Brisbane Lions were trying to stay undefeated while the Western Bulldogs wanted to desperately pull the upset. The Lions got out to a three goal lead, but the Bulldogs came roaring back. There were plenty of hard hits. Jets players, please don’t watch the following:
In the end, the Lions held on for the 7 point victory and have now locked up a Grand Final berth. The highlights package is here:
Given Brisbane’s win, the next game of the Round, Adelaide Crows v Melbourne Demons turned into another elimination game. If Adelaide were to win, a rematch of last week’s epic Lions-Crows game would be set as the Grand Final and the results of the final week would determine the host. If Adelaide were to somehow lose to Melbourne, the second team in the Grand Final would not be determined until next week and the Lions would be assured of hosting the Grand Final.
This game started after midnight Pacific time and my 4:45 AM waking-up-for-work-ass was too tired, so I watched it on Saturday. Again, I cannot say enough good things about the No Spoilers thing the AFL Watch app has this year.
The game was actually held in Darwin and was supposed to be a “home” game for the Crows. While the crowd certainly cheered hard for the Crows, the Demons were not at all intimidated, even after the Crows started the game well by dominating the first quarter with hard hits
and probably the mark of the year:
From the second quarter on, however, it was a different game as the Demons asserted themselves and slowly took over the game. By the fourth quarter, they had a comfortable 14 point lead as time wound down. Like a killer in a horror movie, though, the Crows came back from the dead with two quick goals to set up a tense final minute. In the end, the Demons held on to the 2 point win.
Here is the highlight package:
This means that my Brisbane Lions will host the Grand Final. It also means that the Demons are still alive. Should they win (and they play the Dockers, so they have a good chance) and if the Crows lose to the Magpies, then Melbourne would be in the Grand Final.
How likely is it that the Pies can beat the Crows? Well, they were playing GWS in the last game of Round 6 and they were devastatingly good. They beat the crap out of my second favorite team to the tune of 55-19. I’m not sure what happened to the Giants. They were not as aggressive to the ball and did not deliver as many hits as usual. That may have to do with how well the Pies played, though. This is now three victories in a row for Collingwood after losing their first three. They are honestly the hottest team in the league right now. It’s going to be really tough for Adelaide next week.
Here is the highlights video:
Let’s take a look at the ladder, shall we?
and let’s look at the remaining games:
Friday, March 17, 2017
Melbourne Demons v Fremantle Dockers, Casey Fields, 10:35 PM Pacific
Saturday, March 18, 2017
GWS Giants v Western Bulldogs, Manuka Oval, 1:10 AM Pacific
Collingwood Magpies v Adelaide Crows, Olympic Park, 7:35 PM Pacific
Carlton Blues v Brisbane Lions, Ikon Park, 9:35 PM Pacific
There are really two big games: Melbourne-Fremantle and Collingwood-Adelaide. There is the battle to avoid the Wooden Spoon between GWS and Western and there is also an essentially meaningless game between Brisbane and Carlton. Considering that the Lions are assured of hosting the Grand Final already, I would not be surprised if the Lions rest their stars in hopes of avoiding injury. Carlton also plays at home and will wear the dark Blues, so I say we can safely chalk it up as a victory for Carlton and the Curse of Hippo.
The AFL preseason is mercifully over. I am pretty sure that Australian psychiatrists diagnose patients with gambling addiction solely by asking the question, “Did you put a fiver down on a JLT series match?”.
The key part to pay attention to during the preseason, as it is with the NFL, is to see if there are any season-ending injuries to important players. So far, everyone has managed to make it through unscathed, which is a good thing. I will have a full season preview for the AFL next week as the season starts in less than two weeks!
Here are the scores for this week:
Adelaide Crows 142 – 103 Brisbane Lions
Richmond Tigers 107 – 114 Collingwood Magpies
West Coast Eagles 95 70 Melbourne Demons
GWS Giants 125 – 87 North Melbourne Kangaroos
Fremantle Dockers 104 – 83 Carlton Blues
Port Adelaide Power 96 – 68 Hawthorn Hawks
Geelong Cats 122 – 100 Essendon Bombers
St. Kilda Saints 74 – 77 Sydney Swans
Each team’s preseason record, for whatever that is worth, is here:
|Gold Coast Suns||2||0||1|
|North Melbourne Kangaroos||2||0||1|
|Port Adelaide Power||1||0||2|
|St. Kilda Saints||2||0||1|
|West Coast Eagles||2||0||1|
Interestingly, no one was undefeated and only Essendon and Carlton lost all their games. The only one that was potentially worrysome was Carlton as the Blues got hammered each time. Again, maybe it doesn’t mean anything, but it wasn’t good…
AFL Footy Tipping Contest
I am again pimping the AFL Footy Tipping Contest that we did last year. It was really a lot of fun and, as I mentioned before, I will provide a nice prize to the winner if we can get to 15 people.
As you may remember, Litre_cola was nice enough to set up a contest last year in which we make picks as to who will win each AFL game straight up. As a tiebreaking procedure, you must also choose the winning margin for one game each week. It runs the entire season and culminates in the Grand Final.
Since we have a few new fans, this is another great way for you to get into the game and learn more about it and the league as a whole. It’s on the ESPN Australia site and is, of course, free. The link to the group is here:
We’re currently at 10 members. I pledge to you that if we can get to 15 members, I will offer a prize along the lines of what we have previously done at DFO for the NFL picks competitions. The more the merrier, so join the fun!
That’s all for this week. My BIG AFL season preview will run next week as well as the AFL Women’s Grand Final preview and a recap of AFL Women’s Round 7. Instead of Pacific Heat dialogue, I leave you with the first episode. An intrepid YouTuber has uploaded all the episodes so you can decide for yourself if it’s funny or not. Just remember to not think Archer. Think Police Squad.
See you next week!