You know, every once in a while something happens that melts my cynical dark heart and gives me joy. This weekend brought me two of those things. Only one is AFL-related. The other was that I was able to get a parking spot ON THE STREET literally five feet from the door of an awesome bar where I met up with LCSS and RTD. THAT SHIT NEVER HAPPENS!!! Not in LA.
As I have said in the past, it’s the small things. Join me as I tell you about the other one.
Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!
The Round started with the Australian Friday Night Footy matchup between the Western Bulldogs and the GWS Giants. As we are getting closer and closer to crunch time, it is nice to see the contenders separate themselves from the pretenders. This game matched this year’s premiership favorites (Giants) against the reigning champions. Who emerged victorious and as a serious threat to win this year? Let’s watch:
This game was close for about a half and then the Giants asserted themselves and ran away with it. The final was 105-57 and effectively takes out the reigning champs. Sure, they are mathematically still alive, but if they are going to get beat by almost 50 in a finals-like atmosphere, they are not going anywhere.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a GWS game without Toby Greene getting into trouble. He was going up for a mark (and got it, btw) when he stuck his leg out. Unfortunately, Luke Dahlhaus’ face was in the way.
Given his record, Toby may be looking at yet another suspension (UPDATE: He only got a fine! Woooo!). Although, to be fair, I don’t see the big deal. Players stick their legs out and their knees and feet make contact with other player’s bodies all the time. The problem here is that it’s Toby. This week will be interesting with the Match Review Panel (the body that considers whether to fine or suspend a player).
Now, you may be asking, “Wait, there is a panel that reviews plays and determines punishments? They are not handed down from above by the commissioner and appealable only to the commissioner?”
Reason #18372 why the AFL is run better than the NFL.
On proper Friday Night,the first game had Sydney hosting the Fremantle Dockers. Luckily, 1) I was working out and missed the start and 2) I refused to watch Faces of Death videos when I was in high school so there was no way in hell that I was going to watch this game. It was as much of an ass-kicking as I expected. The Dockers got humiliated to the tune of 143-39. And that margin was pretty much in place by Half Time. If the Swans really wanted to humiliate the Dockers, they could have easily won by 200. Here is the Faces of Death video for you sick freaks into that kind of stuff:
The next game was the more appealing to me even though I started watching it with trepidation. The Geelong Cats were hosting the Richmond Tigers in a matchup of the #3 and #4 teams in the competition. In addition, the Cats were missing captain Joel Selwood, key forward Tom Hawkins, and a couple of other players. It did not look good and I fully expected the Tigers to win. I even tipped them in the Footy Tipping Contest.
But I watched anyway.
Ooh boy. This was the second thing that came out of nowhere to make me happy. The Cats played a lot of their younger kids and they responded. Not only did they respond, but so did some of the veterans that had not, to date, displayed as much as they were capable of. All of this added up to a 80-66 win that was as unexpected as it was beautiful to watch. Here are the highlights:
The next game brought about the Brisbane Lions’ last best chance to avoid the Wooden Spoon. If they had any chance to avoid it, they HAD to beat the struggling Gold Coast Suns at home. That they did, in a masterful display that should give Lions fans a lot of hope going into next year. This year has been a struggle but the Lions have pulled a page out of the Carlton playbook and gone with the youth movement and it is now paying dividends. With some luck, the Lions may still avoid the Wooden Spoon this year and should climb up the ladder next year. Here are the highlights:
The first of the two late late games had the Adelaide Crows hosting the Essendon Bombers in a game that Essendon needed to win to stay close to finals contention. It was a tough task from the beginning and it just wasn’t meant to be as the Crows withstood two furious Essendon bursts and held on to a comfortable 123-80 victory. The Crows have now virtually assured themselves of a Top Two spot and the two home finals that go along with that placement on the ladder.
Essendon, on the bright side, have two winnable games left which, if other results fall their way, should allow them to play finals. Here are the highlights:
The second late late game matched up those plucky young Carlton Blues against the West Coast Eagles in Perth. Now class, do we all remember what happens in Perth? Yup, that happened again. Here is the thing, though. The game was much closer than the 100-83 final score would make it appear and the Eagles have to travel to Sydney to take on GWS and then have the league-leading Adelaide Crows at home. Both of those are losable games and, to be honest, the Eagles aren’t really playing well. If they sneak into finals, they are probably one and done. Here are the highlights:
North American Saturday night brought three more games starting with the St. Kilda Horror Picture Show. This was a YUUUGELY important game for both the Melbourne Demons and the St. Kilda Saints as they were level on points fighting to get into the Eight. It seems the Saints forgot what was at stake as Melbourne started off strong and built a 40+ point lead. Like all good horror movie villains, though, the Saints came out of nowhere and gave the Demons a mighty scare, getting the margin down to only 4 points at the start of the fourth quarter. Alas,
that perfectly describes the Saints. As Litre_cola has repeatedly said, 10th place beckons and is unavoidable. Here are the highlights:
The next game had the Hawthorn Hawks and North Melbourne Kangaroos playing in Tasmania, a place that they both call home for part of the season. The battle for Tasmanian supremacy went to the Hawks easily 116-89. Here are the highlights:
The last game of the Round had the Port Adelaide Power hosting the Collingwood Magpies after an embarrasing loss last week. Chalk this up to bad timing for the Pies as the Power looked to make up for last week and actually played well in a comprehensive 98-71 win. Here are the highlights:
Let’s take a look at the ladder, shall we?
|6||Port Adelaide Power||20||12||0||8||48||123.2|
|8||West Coast Eagles||20||11||0||9||44||105.7|
|11||St. Kilda Saints||20||10||0||10||40||96.1|
|15||Gold Coast Suns||20||6||0||14||24||80.5|
|16||North Melbourne Kangaroos||20||5||0||15||20||86.3|
Here is the updated Balls GraphTM:
A lot of movement this week as there are only two games left. Here are my updated predictions for the end of the season:
Teams mathematically IN the Eight: Adelaide (Guaranteed Top Two), GWS, Geelong
Teams most likely in the Eight: Richmond, Sydney, Port Adelaide
Teams mathematically ELIMINATED from the Eight: Brisbane, Carlton, North Melbourne, Gold Coast, Fremantle, Collingwood
Teams most likely out of it: Hawthorn, St. Kilda
Teams in the hunt for 2 spots in the Eight: Essendon, West Coast, Melbourne, Western
Footy Tipping Contest
Here are the standings after this week’s games:
|PLACE||TIPPER||Round Tips||Round Margin||TOTAL Tips||TOTAL Margin|
I have to give major props to Blax who must have figured he needed to go against the grain in order to catch up to the pack. It was a bold move and, although it didn’t pay off, it should be commended.
Well done to everyone else. DON’T FORGET TO PUT THE FOOTY TIPS IN!!
Here is next week’s schedule (all times Pacific):
Friday, August 18, 2017
2:50 AM – Adelaide Crows v Sydney Swans at Adelaide Oval
This should be an all-timer. These are, arguably, the two teams playing the best in the competition. If the Swans win in Adelaide, that will only boost their confidence and send them flying towards finals. That will also hurt the Eagles as the Crows will want to win their last game in order to not go into finals on a two-game losing streak. This will be good.
8:45 PM – Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide Power at Eureka Stadium in Ballarat
To answer the question,
THAT is where Ballarat is. The history of the city and its influence on Australia’s economy and politics is quite interesting. Probably more interesting than this game will be. I have a feeling Port wins and puts the Doggies out of their misery. At least for this game, the name Western will be very apt.
9:10 PM – Collingwood Magpies v Geelong Cats at the MCG
Things are looking great after this week’s win, but the Cats cannot let up. They can easily lose their Top Four spot with a loss here. Which is likely seeing as the Cats have lost three straight to the Pies. It all depends on whether the Pies are already in vacation mode.
11:35 PM – GWS Giants v West Coast Eagles at Spotless Stadium
The flat-trackers will try to keep their season alive in Sydney, which will be a VERY tall task. The Giants are awaiting Toby Greene’s fate to see if he will be available for finals. UPDATE: He will be! As long as he doesn’t do anything stupid in this game. Which, to be honest, is probably likely.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
2:25 AM – Gold Coast Suns v Essendon Bombers at Metricon Stadium
The Bombers should win this to keep their season alive. They will be waiting on losses by the Eagles and Western and hoping for a Lions upset of the Demons. I’m thinking two of those three will happen and it will all come down to the final week.
2:40 AM – Carlton Blues v Hawthorn Hawks at the Etihad
The Blues are done and the Hawks are finishing the year off right. There is a very teeny tiny outside chance for the Hawks to still play finals, so they will take this game handily.
8:10 PM – Melbourne Demons v Brisbane Lions at the MCG
The Demons have a knack for pulling off big wins and following them up with embarrasing losses. Losing to the Lions would certainly qualify and it’s not too unlikely given how the Lions have been playing lately.
10:20 PM – St. Kilda Saints v North Melbourne Kangaroos at the Etihad
The Saints will win this because there is no pressure. It’s sad and remarkable how predictable this team is.
11:40 PM – Fremantle Dockers v Richmond Tigers at Domain Stadium
The Dockers got absolutely embarrased this week and have traditionally bounced back under Ross Lyon. Unfortunately, the Tigers lost a game they by all rights should have won. Will the Perth home field advantage take the Dockers over the line?
Before I go, I want to talk about this:
As you were watching AFL this weekend, you may have noticed the advertisements on the edge of the field promoting Macca’s, which is, of course, the nickname they give to McDonald’s in Australia. That led me to thinking that I absolutely LOVE the nicknames Australians come up with! Here are a few that they have for the AFL announcers/players:
Here are a couple of good stories on nicknames and their origins: Herald Sun and Herald Sun2. (BTW, the Herald Sun thinks it is the 90s and has a paywall. However, it seems like the first time you go there, you can view the article. So, click away, read, and then come back) And yes, there is a player nicknamed Hodor!
In that spirit, I have decided to give our Footy Tipping Contest tippers some nicknames. Here we go:
Litre_cola = Litro
JolietJakeDelhomme = Jollo
BALLS = Ballsy
Spanky = Spankka
SonOfSpam = Spammo
Sunrisesunrise = Sunny
BFC = Collo
WhyEaglesWhy = Igga
Blax = Blaxxy
Dolph Ucker = Uckka
Feel free to add your own nicknames for the rest of the DFO Commentists in the comments. Enjoy the week, everyone!