Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat – 2017 Round 20

There are only 3 weeks left in the Home and Away season and things are getting interesting/crowded/hectic/wild.  Let’s get right to it.

Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!

The Round started with a matchup that looked great on paper but that lost its appeal once Geelong decided to NOT appeal Patrick Dangerfield’s one-game suspension for a legal tackle that caused a concussion.  This is the hot-button topic in the AFL this week.  It will be discussed even more after a similar tackle by Collingwood’s Brodie Grundy on North Melbourne’s Ben Brown in this week’s game.  Not only was a penalty NOT assessed in either case, Brodie earned a free kick by getting a holding the ball call. More on that later.

As for the game, all you need to know is that I changed my tip from Geelong to Sydney by 17 points as soon as I heard that Dangerfield was out.  I should have added more points.  The Swans dominated the first quarter, like they did in last year’s final, and romped to a 46 point win. Here are the highlights:

Proper Friday night brought the expected and welcome destruction of the Melbourne Demons by the GWS Giants in Canberra. As I said in my preview last week, this was the game where I thought both teams would show us who they really are. That they did.  Here are the highlights:

At roughly the same time, the Essendon Bombers were taking on the Carlton Blues in a game that was vital to their finals hopes. It did not help that they lost Orazio Fantasia (LOVE THAT GUY!)

to injury during the game. The Blues overcame a large deficit in the first half to lead deep into the fourth quarter.  And then this happened:

Unfortunately for the plucky Blues, that miss was huge and enabled the Bombers to escape with a 84-76 win.

In the next game, the Brisbane Lions hosted the Western Bulldogs in a game that everyone expected the Doggies to win.  The only question was by how much. The Lions showed a lot of heart (sorry!) by keeping the margin down to a respectable 14 points.  With a little more luck and skill, they might have sprung the upset. Apparently, the AFL thought so little of this game that it did not bother to post a highlights package.  I think we are all agreed it’s not a big loss.

The two late late games brought that “perfectly legal” tackle that may bring about a suspension. (UPDATE: Brodie got a TWO game suspension!) It happened during Collingwood’s 111-57 romp over the North Melbourne Kangaroos. I think the best comment I heard all weekend was during the Richmond-Hawthorn telecast where the announcers were debating whether the action should be penalized or the result. One guy summed it up best, “Well, you get more for murder than attempted murder”.  Reason #9201 why the AFL is run better than the NFL.

Here are the highlights:

The last late late game had Fremantle hosting the Gold Coast Suns in Perth.  We all remember what happens in Perth, right?  Yup, it was 90-67.  Here are the highlights:

North American Saturday night brought the best game I’ve seen in a long long time. It was thrilling, it was back and forth, it took everything from both teams, and it came down to the last two minutes:

The Saints keep their season alive for another week.

As previously mentioned, the Richmond Tigers took on the Hawthorn Hawks at the MCG. The Hawks could still make finals as long as they beat the Tigers, their toughest test left.  Unfortunately for Hawks fans, that didn’t happen.  The Tigers proved they are for real as they took care of business to the tune of a 93-64 victory.   Here are the highlights:

The last game of the Round featured the league-leading Adelaide Crows against their cross-town rival Port Adelaide Power in the latest edition of “The Showdown”. This one wasn’t much of a game as the Crows absolutely destroyed any confidence the Power may have had.  Seriously, it was a complete butt-kicking. The final score was 130-46.  Here are the highlights:

Let’s take a look at the ladder, shall we?

1 Adelaide Crows 19 14 1 4 58 141.5
2 GWS Giants 19 12 2 5 52 115.3
3 Richmond Tigers 19 13 0 6 52 112.0
4 Geelong Cats 19 12 1 6 50 115.1
5 Port Adelaide Power 19 11 0 8 44 122.5
6 Sydney Swans 19 11 0 8 44 117.2
7 Western Bulldogs 19 11 0 8 44 101.1
8 Essendon Bombers 19 10 0 9 40 107.3
9 West Coast Eagles 19 10 0 9 40 105.0
10 Melbourne Demons 19 10 0 9 40 104.8
11 St. Kilda Saints 19 10 0 9 40 97.3
12 Collingwood Magpies 19 8 1 10 34 100.2
13 Hawthorn Hawks 19 8 1 10 34 87.8
14 Fremantle Dockers 19 8 0 11 32 81.2
15 Gold Coast Suns 19 6 0 13 24 82.1
16 North Melbourne Kangaroos 19 5 0 14 20 86.8
17 Carlton Blues 19 5 0 14 20 79.6
18 Brisbane Lions 19 4 0 15 16 70.9

Here is the updated Balls GraphTM:

I said last week I would drop either St. Kilda or Hawthorn should they lose.  I’m surprised it was Hawthorn, but here are my updated predictions for the end of the season:

Teams mathematically IN the Eight: Adelaide

Teams most likely in the Eight: GWS, Richmond, Geelong

Teams mathematically ELIMINATED from the Eight: Brisbane, Carlton, North Melbourne, Gold Coast

Teams most likely out of it: Collingwood, Hawthorn, Fremantle

Teams in the hunt for 4 spots in the Eight: Port Adelaide, Sydney, Essendon, West Coast, Melbourne, St. Kilda, Western


Footy Tipping Contest

Here are the standings after this week’s games:

PLACE TIPPER Round Tips Round Margin TOTAL Tips TOTAL Margin
1 Litre_cola 6 54 108 581
2 JolietJakeDelhomme 7 71 108 863
3 BALLS 8 29 105 493
4 Spanky 7 60 104 607
5 SonOfSpam 7 57 104 697
6 Sunrisesunrise 8 71 98 745
7 BFC 5 63 97 564
8 WhyEaglesWhy 7 46 93 676
9 Blax 3 4 82 511
10 Dolph Ucker 5 57 67 674

I am proud to say that everyone put their tips in this week, so no need for a visual reminder.  Sunrisesunrise and I took top honors this week and the battle at the top is now tied with three weeks to go!



Round 21

Here is next week’s schedule (all times Pacific):

Friday, August 11, 2017

2:50 AM – Western Bulldogs v GWS Giants at the Etihad

This will be interesting for two reasons: 1) to see if GWS can play well on the road in a game that is essentially an Elimination Final for its opponent, and 2) if the Doggies can carry the momentum from their winning streak against quality opposition.

8:45 PM – Sydney Swans v Fremantle Dockers at the SCG

The only mystery to this game is how much the Swans will win by.  Also, whether anyone gets hurt.  That’s about it.

9:10 PM – Geelong Cats v Richmond Tigers at Simonds Stadium

On the plus side, the Cats get Patrick Dangerfield back.  On the minus side, captain Joel Selwood is out for about a month with a broken ankle.  If the Cats can’t win this one, they will probably go into finals on a four game losing streak.  Assuming they make finals…

11:35 PM – Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast Suns at the Gabba

I think this is where the Lions get tantalizingly close to the AFL Women’s team in total season victories.  This is their best last chance for win #5.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

2:25 AM – Essendon Bombers v Adelaid Crows at the Etihad

Oh boy!  If the Bombers could somehow pull this one out of their ass, they would be virtually in finals.  Beating the league-leaders, even at home, is a very tough task, though.

2:40 AM – West Coast Eagle v Carlton Blues at Domain Stadium

Remind me again, what usually happens in Perth?  Yeah, that’s right.  It would be nice for the young Blues to get a win they can build on for next season, but it’s highly doubtful it will happen.

8:10 PM – Melbourne Demons v St. Kilda Saints at the MCG

The Saints have a YUUUUGE opportunity to knock the Demons out and keep themselves in the finals race.  Which means they’ll probably lose.

10:20 PM – Hawthorn Hawks v North Melbourne Kangaroos at University of Tasmania Stadium

The two teams that play “home” games in Tasmania meet up there.  It’s too bad this game is now meaningless. Ben Brown is out of the hospital, but he may not play, so maybe a Hawks rout?

11:40 PM  – Port Adelaide Power v Collingwood Magpies at Adelaide Oval

The Pies have been playing very well while the Power got absolutely embarrased by the Crows.  Do the Power bounce back and get some semblance of respectability going into finals?


That’s all for this week. I know I’ve said it every week lately, but this is the perfect time to get in on the action.  Finals are looming and most games have big finals implications.

It’s ok, you have nothing to worry about.  You’ll be fine.

See you next week!



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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Biggest question for GWS is do they play better with their star forwards out? All three of their top goal scorers missed last week’s game with injuries, and they looked so much faster/more aggressive/better without relying on just banging it to the top of the goal square with Patton. I think Toby Greene is back from suspension this week, no idea about the injuries to Patton and Greene, but they have to get their shit together with their regular forward line or go small down the stretch.

Spanky Datass
Spanky Datass

No idea why I failed to make a pick in the Freemantle – Gold Coast match. Ok, maybe a slight alcohol related idea why …


Saints gunna Saint this week BULEEE DAT MATE.

However with Big Nick retiring at the end of the season it seems to have lit a fire under the young ‘uns.