Don’t let it ever be said that I don’t care for you. Yes, I am currently in my underwear and either completely asleep or lounging around the house not doing a motherfucking thing thanks to my work supervisors letting me have the day off today.
Yet, I toil in the DFO content mines for you to bring you quality entertainment that you can peruse at work to take your mind off the fact that you are at work today. Which you probably are. At work.
We had an exciting Round this week. Let’s get to it.
Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!
The Round started on Friday Night Footy in Australia with the Sydney Swans traveling to Melbourne to take on the Demons in a clash of sides desperate to put their name on a spot in the Eight. The Swans have been on a tear since starting the year 0-6 and no one team has managed to knock them back down to earth. That is still the case as the Swans won their 7th game out of 8 by 35 points. Here are the highlights:
The first game of North American Friday night was a good one as the Western Bulldogs took on the West Coast Eagles at home. This game happened to be broadcast on Fox Sports 2 and started just a half hour earlier than Carlton v Adelaide, so I was able to watch both at once. A couple of things to note: 1) Adelaide started scoring the first 4 goals so I turned that game off. 2) The Doggies-Eagles game was close and good until the end.
The Eagles built up a lead at Three Quarter Time that Western gradually wore down in the fourth until the score was tied. Then, a late goal and a behind led to the final margin. The Eagles took it by 7. Here are the highlights:
As for the Carlton-Adelaide game, I missed the Blues waking up and taking the game to the Crows. To the point that the Blues actually took the lead in the fourth! Unfortunately for Blues fans, the Crows ended up righting the ship and managed to get out of the MCG with a two-goal win. Both teams’ fans have a lot to be happy about. The Blues played very well against very tough competition and the Crows won for the second time at the MCG, home of the Grand Final. That’s gotta bode well for their finals hopes. Here are the highlights:
In the next game, the Gold Coast Suns were hosting the North Melbourne Kangaroos in Gary Ablett Jr.’s 300th game. For some reason, Aussies like to make a big deal out of milestone games. If you think about it, though, 300 games is a LOT. There are 22 games in the regular season and possibly more if your team makes finals, so we are talking at least 13 seasons playing this physically-demanding sport. And that’s assuming you are good enough to play each game!
Another wrinkle to this celebration is the fact that Gary is a Junior. His dad was one of the best players in the history of Australian football and was active in the 80s and 90s, back when I first became exposed to Aussie Rules. Both players made their mark at Geelong although they both played for other clubs. Here is a picture of son and dad, wearing the Geelong colours:
Consider that your dad is one of the best players in the history of football. That’s pressure. Then, you go and have a career that rivals his and claim several premierships with the same club your dad did? That’s special. Gary Ablett Jr. is on the tail end of his career, but it is worth a salute.
Incidentally, the Suns did right by Gary as they beat the North Melbourne Kangaroos by 19. Here are the highlights:
The late late games were really good as they featured four teams firmly in the Eight, but unfortunately were in the middle of the night. The league-leading GWS Giants were hosting the Geelong Cats while the Port Adelaide Power were hosting the Richmond Tigers. When I woke up in the morning, I and Donovan McNabb were surprised at the results.
Yes, that means there was a tie!
A lovely sexy tie. If there was ever a tie that I was going to be happy with, it was this one. Geelong overcame the lack of several players, saw the debut of three players (meaning their first ever game of AFL!), and actually had a chance to win at the end with an After The Siren shot. Let’s take a look at the last two minutes:
Honestly, it’s fine that Tom Hawkins missed that shot. It seems a fair result and the two points gained will be very valuable going forward. If only both teams had scored one more point… This means that GWS, Adelaide, and Geelong remain 1-2-3 in the ladder.
In Adelaide, Richmond sprung the big surprise as they beat the Power at home in an impressive display. Neither team played particularly well, but the Tigers hung tough when they needed to and essentially willed their way to the win. Maybe they really are for real? Here are the highlights:
Speaking of coming up clutch and willing themselves to win, would you believe it if I told you the Brisbane Lions did exactly that? Against the young Essendon Bombers? The Bombers showed their youth in this game as they did in last Round’s game against Sydney in that they led comfortably at one point but allowed their opponents to come back on them. This is two in a row for the Bombers and this one, in particular, really hurt their finals aspirations. Here are the highlights:
In the second game of North American Saturday night, the Hawthorn Hawks took on the Collingwood Magpies at the MCG in a game that was crucial for both teams. A loss by the either team would seriously damage the chances of getting into the Eight. Remember how last week I said that while the Hawks are young, they have plenty of players that remember how to win premierships? Yeah, that pretty much played out as the Hawks took it by 4 goals. The Pies are almost toast. For some reason, the AFL didn’t post highlights to their YouTube channel so you’ll have to take my word for it.
The last game of the Round had St. Kilda traveling west to take on the Fremantle Dockers in Perth. Now, remember how I thought I had the Saints figured out and thought that they choked in games they needed to win and won games they shouldn’t? I think I got confused because this game turned out to be both a game they desperately needed and one they were not expected to win. Imagine my surprise when I read that the Saints actually won IN Perth! Here are the crazy last two minutes:
Two goals in the last two minutes is not too shabby. Let’s take a look at the ladder, shall we?
|5||Port Adelaide Power||14||8||0||6||32||131.7|
|7||West Coast Eagles||14||8||0||6||32||102.6|
|8||St. Kilda Saints||14||8||0||6||32||98.8|
|12||Gold Coast Suns||14||6||0||8||24||89.0|
|17||North Melbourne Kangaroos||14||4||0||10||16||92.6|
Since I’m not at work today, I can’t generate the World Famous Balls GraphTM. You’ll get a fresh one next week, though. I see the last three spots in the Eight as up for grabs. The big question is who out of the next six teams will take one of those three spots.
Footy Tipping Contest
Everyone did pretty well this week. Only one tipper, WhyEaglesWhy, managed to separate himself from the others. Here are the current standings:
|PLACE||TIPPER||Round Tips||Round Margin||TOTAL Tips||TOTAL Margin|
As always, REMEMBER TO PUT THE FOOTY TIP IN!
Here is this week’s schedule (all times Pacific):
Friday, July 7, 2017
2:50 AM – Adelaide Crows v Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval
This is the Doggies’ last chance to salvage the season. If they lose at Adelaide, the season is toast. Can they pull another piece of magic out of their hats like they did last year?
8:45 PM – Hawthorn Hawks v GWS Giants at University of Tasmania Stadium
Another one of those “home” games for Hawthorn in Tasmania where they are nearly unbeatable. The Giants need to win to get the taste of that tie with Geelong out of their mouths and to keep Adelaide in second place.
9:10 PM – Collingwood Magpies v Essendon Bombers at the MCG
This is a desperation game for both teams. The Bombers have let two games go after leading handily while the Pies have struggled to win important games. The loser of this game is essentially out of the running for a finals spot.
11:35 PM – Sydney Swans v Gold Coast Suns at the SCG
Unless the Suns can come up with a big performance, this could be 8 out of 9 for the Swannies. The Suns are clinging to finals hopes and this game shapes up as a must win.
Saturday, July 8, 2017
2:25 AM – Brisbane Lions v Geelong Cats at the Gabba
The Cats went straight to Queensland from Sydney for the week prior to this game. Will that tactic work and leave the players accustomed to the hot weather and rested? The Lions are feeling good about themselves after this week’s win and would love to get another one.
2:25 AM – St. Kilda Saints v Richmond Tigers at the Etihad
Another YUUUUGE game for the Saints. If they are truly finals material, they will win this. At the very least, I expect them to keep it close until the end. After that, anything can happen.
8:10 PM – North Melbourne Kangaroos v Fremantle Dockers at the Etihad
Back to back games at the Etihad again. Both teams are in freefall. If the Roos lose this, they will be a serious challenger to the Lions for the Wooden Spoon.
10:20 PM – Carlton Blues v Melbourne Demons at the MCG
This is theoretically a game that Melbourne should win, but the Blues have been playing extremely well, even in a loss to the Crows. This one will be very close, I think.
11:40 PM – West Coast Eagles v Port Adelaide Power at Domain Stadium
Ok, so what exactly are the Power made of? This game will be the ultimate litmus test. Win and they are serious contenders. Lose and they are only wasting a spot in the Eight.
That’s all for this week. I do encourage everyone to start following if you haven’t already. This is probably the most even and exciting season of Footy since I’ve started doing the AFL Beats. Truly anything can happen and a lot of comebacks and last-minute finishes are occuring. It’s a good time to watch. See you next week.
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