Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat – AFLW Round 3 + AFLX!

This week,

Fire makes an X
A man holds a man
And a man in pink points somewhere

But first, we have all of the AFLW Round 3 results, an update on our tipping contest, and a recap of the AFLX experiment.  All of this and more on

Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!

AFLW Round 3

The Round started on North American Friday Night with a hotly-anticipated clash between the defending champions Adelaide Crows and the undefeated Western Bulldogs. Erin Phillips came back from a quad injury and, upon learning this news, I immediately changed my tip in the tipping contest.  My hunch was correct.

Erin Phillips proved why she was voted the competition’s best player last year as she almost single-handedly willed her team to a win.  She scored 26 out of her team’s 41 points and, considering the last Adelaide goal was an After The Siren goal from point blank range by Jenna McCormick, you could say she scored 26 out of the 35 her team had against Western’s 34 as the game ended.  To say she made a difference is an understatement.

Here are the highlights of an excellent game:

To add injury to insult, the Doggies’ Katie Brennan got hurt as time was running out and her status for next week is in doubt. Given that the Bulldogs failed to deliver a kill shot to Adelaide’s season, this served to make the competition more even and compelling.

Speaking of, the Brisbane Lions were hoping to do a little more of that in visiting the Carlton Blues.  Last year’s runners up had won their Grand Final rematch against the Erin Phillips-less Crows, but had embarrasingly lost at home last week to the Doggies.  This time, they made no mistakes as they dominated possession and field position in a comprehensive 40-18 win.

While the scoreboard didn’t reflect the Lions’ first half dominance, the Lions found a way in the second half and ran away with the game.  The game featured the subplots of Tayla Harris (former Lion) and Nat Exon (former Blue) facing their exes, but Tayla was largely ineffectual while Nat contributed greatly to the win.  Again, the result of this game served to tighten up the competition.

Until I can find a highlight video on YouTube, I’ll give you the Brisbane Lions doing their social media best:

Yay, I found one!  I’m still leaving the social media video up, though.

The third game of the Round gave the Collingwood Magpies and the GWS Giants the opportunity to get their first win of the season. I actually watched the whole thing live and it was a very close, competitive, and compelling game.  In the end, the GWS Giants pulled out the road upset, winning 48-35 and still clinging to premiership hopes. Here are the highlights:

In the final game, the Fremantle Dockers had the same opportunity that Brisbane had earlier in defeating one of the leaders and tightening up the competition.  It helped that they were at home. They fell behind early but then rallied and went on to edge the Melbourne Demons by 5.

Unfortunately, I could not find a highlights video.  Instead, let’s take a look at the ladder, shall we?

1 Brisbane Lions 2 1 0 135.7
2 Melbourne Demons 2 1 0 133.3
3 Western Bulldogs 2 1 0 131.8
4 Carlton Blues 2 1 0 111.1
5 Fremantle Dockers 2 1 0 92.5
6 GWS Giants 1 2 0 87.3
7 Adelaide Crows 1 2 0 69.4
8 Collingwood Magpies 0 3 0 69.1

As you can see, the competition is now super tight with 5 teams tied on wins and two more only 1 game behind.  Since this week coming up is the midway point, this makes every game extremely important.


Round 4

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

Friday,  February 23, 2018

12:05 AM (Late Thursday Night) – Western Bulldogs v Carlton Blues at Whitten Oval

9:35 PM  – Brisbane Lions v Fremantle Dockers at South Pine Sports Complex

Saturday,  February 17, 2018

12:10 AM (Late Friday Night) – Melbourne Demons v Collingwood Magpies at TIO Traeger Park in Alice Springs

9:35 PM – GWS Giants v Adelaide Crows at Blacktown International Sports Park


Lady Footy Tipping Challenge!

How did we do this week?  Well, a couple of our tippers managed to do better than everyone else WITHOUT putting the tip in!  Does that mean foot fetish pic?  First, let’s see the standings:

P TIPPER Round Tips Round Margin TOTAL Tips Total Margin
1 Spanky Datass 1 17 7 24
2 Dolph Ucker 2 22 7 52
3 BALLS 1 26 7 56
4 nomonkeyfun 2 51 7 65
5 Litre_cola 1 30 6 54
6 SonOfSpam 0 37 5 66
7 Sharkbait 2 97 5 159
8 Blax 2 22 4 69 (NICE)
9 JolietJakeDelhomme 2 47 4 126
10 GameTimeDecision 0 35 3 114
11 BFC 0 45 1 110

Congratulations to the lucky bastards that forgot to put their tips in and managed to climb in the standings.  Due to your good luck, I will not subject everyone to a foot fetish pic. Special “props” go to BFC who has managed a truly horrendous tipping season. I would not have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes…




So, having watched some of the AFLX games, here is my initial reaction:  I liked it, but it’s not AFL.   This version of the game is highly dependent on kicking skills.  The teams that did well were the ones that could move the ball across the pitch using their feet and the ones that were accurate on kicks.  The 10 point “Zooper” goal (sponsored by Zooper Dooper, the preferred Australian frozen popsicle treat!)

There is a 56 ml joke here somewhere…

in my view kept the games artificially close.   For example, in the first game, Geelong was dominating possession against Port Adelaide yet were not really able to show that dominance on the scoreboard.  A couple of against-the-flow-of-play Zooper goals enabled the Power to keep things within reach.  Granted, perhaps Geelong could have done better in converting opportunities, but I still think 10 points is too much to award for a goal that a very high percentage of AFL players should be able to make.  My suggestion would be to lower the Zooper goal value to 8.  That would be in keeping with the 9 point Super Goal that is used in the JLT Community Series (ALF pre-season) for goals kicked from outside the 50 meter arc.

One other thing I noticed was that there were not as many contests or tackles laid as in AFL.  One of the things I greatly enjoy about AFL is the hitting and tackling, so a change may be needed to make AFLX a bit more like AFL.  Perhaps adding one more field player?  It is too easy now for teams to be caught out of position and suffer on the defensive end because their players were trying to make a tackle/play.  That led to more zone-type defensive schemes where intercept marks made a big difference.  Poor kicks were greatly punished.

My final issue is that most of the players chosen were young ones trying to make their respective teams.  Some teams, like Geelong, did use some recognizable regular players, but for the most part none of the big AFL stars took part.  Given that this was an experiment, this is quite understandable, but if the AFL wants this concept to succeed, it needs more recognizable faces to take part.  As the competition develops, new stars will naturally arise and the need for established faces will diminish.   On the bright side, no one got hurt, which was a major plus.

The great thing about the AFL is that they try things and then evaluate whether they work or not.  This was evident as they quickly changed the silver ball

to a more traditional yellow one since the players (and TV viewers) were having difficulty seeing it in the late afternoon/evening.   The AFL is a very proactive league and will surely evaluate all the feedback from this week’s experiment and make appropriate changes. Reason # 13,209 why the AFL is run better than the NFL.

As for the results, the Adelaide Crows beat the Geelong Cats in the Adelaide Grand Final, the Melbourne Demons beat the Hawthorn Hawks in the Melbourne Grand Final, and the Brisbane Lions beat the Sydney Swans in the Sydney Grand Final.

Here are all the scores:

Adelaide Matches

Port Adelaide Power 60 – 72 Geelong Cats

Adelaide Crows 65 – 37 Collingwood Magpies

Geelong Cats 57 – 40 Fremantle Dockers

West Coast Eagles 46 – 53 Adelaide Crows

Fremantle Dockers 54 -37 Port Adelaide Power

Collingwood Magpies 52 – 37 West Coast Eagles

Grand Final: Geelong Cats 47 – 55 Adelaide Crows

Melbourne Matches

Carlton Blues 54 – 82 Melbourne Demons

Hawthorn Hawks 72 – 54 Essendon Bombers

North Melbourne Kangaroos 83 – 68 Carlton Blues

Essendon Bombers 37 – 52 St. Kilda Saints

Melbourne Demons 70 – 46 North Melbourne Kangaroos

St. Kilda Saints 55 – 77 Hawthorn Hawks

Grand Final: Melbourne Demons 56 – 46 Hawthorn Hawks

Sydney Matches

GWS Giants 34 – 49 Richmond Tigers

Sydney Swans 88 – 36 Western Bulldogs

Richmond Tigers 61 – 66 Brisbane Lions

Western Bulldogs 22 – 87 Gold Coast Suns

Brisbane Lions  64 – 58 GWS Giants

Gold Coast Suns 41 – 72 Sydney Swans

Grand Final: Brisbane Lions 67 – 41 Sydney Swans

Here are highlights from the two Grand Finals I could find videos for:



Wait, what?  We’re actually going to talk about AFL proper?  Well, sort of.  The preseason starts this week (called the JLT Community Series), complete with 9 point Super Goal and games being played at obscure locations so that people that live outside the main cities can experience AFL live. Which is a good thing.  The preseason is only two rounds this year due to the introduction of AFLX and just plain old common sense.  Here are this week’s games (all times Pacific):

Friday,  February 23, 2018

7:05 PM – North Melbourne Kangaroos v Melbourne Demons at Kingston Twin Ovals

9:35 PM  – Essendon Bombers v Richmond Tigers at Norm Minns Oval

Saturday,  February 24, 2018

7:05 PM – Adelaide Crows v Fremantle Dockers at Strathalbyn Oval

11:35 PM – West Coast Eagles v Port Adelaide Power at Leederville Oval

I greatly enjoy watching these games not because of the quality of the competition, but because the telecast gives a nice view of what rural and suburban Australia is really like.  When people travel, these areas are usually neglected, so it is good to see what those areas look like and the people that live there.


That’s all for this week. There will be a ton of good footy to watch this weekend!  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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Time to check on my Giants.
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Spanky Datass
Spanky Datass

Perhaps adding one more field player?

Also, maybe three more players per team and make it easier to make rolling substitutions. In the few matches I saw dudes were getting gassed.


Princess Bride Update: Kid is wearing a Bears uni. His goblet is half full.




/watching The Princess Bride

Did you Know that as a child Andre The Giant was transported to school by a not-pipe guided wagon steered by Rene Magritte?

/tis vrai


/watching the Ben Bradlee doc

As far as horn-dogness is concerned, he met his match in Jack Kennedy.


Katherine Graham’s tits are below average,


Henry Kissinger is far more boring than you think he is.

Game Time Decision

love the Top Gear\Grand Tour intro


I think I have made the DFO tipping comp again. If anyone needs in contact Balls or I.
On another note AFLX is dumb and takes away the best parts of the game. My Aussie buddies HATE it and think that it is a joke and Americanizes their game.

Brick Meathook
Brick Meathook

How does it “Americanize” their game? By making it more awesome?

King Hippo

Carlton can NEVAR have anything nice (since I joined the bandwagon). Fuck’s sake.


A) What is the prize for last place?
2) Can I just keep reverse jinxing the Giants?
$) The Zooper goal with its bright lights and flashiness and hula hoops and Pacman video games is a big part of why I don’t like AFLX
D) Get off my lawn


“You scorch my back and I’ll scorch yours.” [winks]

-Human Torch, political operative, first day on the job

yeah right

I’m not used to seeing 2 Fremantle teams be successful. What strange alien world have we been transported to?


I just noticed the header for the tipping site includes NRL. Can we all agree that Union is superior to League in every way?