Round 12 Blog

Halfway point of the season. Though many hope to continue beyond round 24.

Two who’ve been recent September fixtures (Saints & Bulldogs) meet tonight, with the loser sliding inexorably into the realm of only being a ‘mathematical chance’ of playing finals. Cup of Constant Sorrow indeed.

Adelaide host West Coast on Saturday afternoon with the Eagles looking to September and Neil Craig looking to survive.

Then, of course, Geelong and Hawthorn get to do it all over again just 7 rounds since their last battle. A keenly watched form guide to Collingwood’s likely challengers.

Gold Coast host North, with both clubs holding realistic victory aspirations.

Carlton would be expecting a win over Brisbane, but the spectre of Jonathan Brown always lingers in Blue minds.

Sydney and Richmond in Sin City promises a keenly contested fight, although the Tigers’ record up there isn’t promising. Then again, where is their recent record that flash?

Fremantle and Essendon has become a game that both desperately need to win.

And to round things off, Melbourne and Collingwood met in their ‘traditional’ Queen’s Birthday fixture, with the Magpies fielding a team from those free of frequent flyer commitments.

Let ‘er rip folks!


  1. The Cats thrashed the Hawks last time by 19 points (previous margins were 8,1,9,2 so 19 points is a thrashing). Interesting to see what happens this time. Once again the “experts” are tipping the Hawks to topple the Cats – not sure why.

  2. Andrew Fithall says:

    Some very interesting games this weekend. While the outcome of this evening’s “battle of the strugglers” (thank-you website day-namer) will seem significant, I still don’t think it will mean much for either team and their prospects for the remainder of the year. The winner will just have an extra week or two before they are discounted as a finals candidate. I am looking foward to tomorrow night at the G. Geelong will either gain a march on the rest of the competition with a win, or suddenly it will be a three-way battle at the top, with Carlton making up the numbers in the top four. Having said that, Monday presents a real danger game for the Pies. Undermanned in the midfield coming up against a team which challenged them strongly in their two meetings last year. And Melbourne have improved since then. Then again, Collingwood’s last couple of games have been against supposedly resurgent teams (WCE and StK) and has swatted them both. I was tempted to volunteer as the Floreat Pica writer this week. But having been the designated writer for the only loss experienced this season, I didn’t want to bring on another one.

  3. John Butler says:


    You hope the Blues are just making up the numbers.

    Re-emerging Collingwood historical nervousness?

    Scarring memories from formative years?

  4. JTH – noticed you are more circumspect in your comments on this site, than when promoting the purveyors of the punt on your weblink preview. There you tell us Adelaide are a dud team, and that Dangerfield has concrete boots to match the coach’s end-of-season footwear. Then you finish “West Coast by 6 points”!!! If the Crows are that bad, you clearly regard their opposition with similar disdain. Are we walking across the Nullabor this week? Or do you have a ghost writer for the PPP preview? Anyway the Avenging Eagle hopes you are coming over for the Cats game at Pa…(nearly slipped there) in early July. She is offering humble pie and Margaret River cabernet to all travelling Cats fans. The labrador has offered to move over so you have somewhere to sleep.

  5. Richard Naco says:

    I think this is going to be a cracker of a round, and that the only people missing out will be tipsters with their credential’s on the line.

    Knowing that I know nothing, anything gue… I mean, deduced correctly has got to be a bonus, here are my predictions.

    Tonight’s game should be a bewt simply because it’s down to the last two barrels in a game of Russian roulette for both teams. The Bullies are showing that the problem with being downhill skiers is that you eventually run out of slope. And that when you do so, all that is left is the bottoming out in the valley. Injuries, illness & age all appear to have caught up with them, and their lame performance at Kardinia Park last week was little short of embaressing. St Kilda remind me a lot of Hawtorn circa 2009. The Grand Final(s) anticlimax, the endless Nixon duthturbances (Kimmygate?) & above all else, Lenny Hayes being wiped out for the season has basically blurred the focus & ripped the guts out of a formidable machine. Their spluttering renaissance is commendable, but I suspect that, like the 2009 Hawks, they’ll just miss out on playing in September. If either team here can win, it will be the mob from Moorabin, but a draw would be the most apt result for what has become an anus horribilis (ie, a pain in the proverbial) for both clubs.

    The Nullaboar Knock-out out sees one team once more beginning to soar fronting up against opposition that is just plain looking saw. John Worsfold’s retension after last year’s crash & burn is increasingly looking as though it was more genius administration than merely managerial inertia, and the WEagles are playing adventurous & successful footy. The precedent he’s setting is Neil Craig’s greatest lifeline, because it’s staring to look like the pack will be raven for his removal any time soon. The Crows have had their annual mass of injuries, but the real worrying aspect of their current crash is their inability to run out games. It’s not exactly heady days for footy of either hue in Adelaide, and the inevitable West Coast triumph as they cruise out of sight in the last quarter will only make matters much much worse.

    The Cats and Hawks game will be the usual classic at the G on Saturday night (or in Tradies club on Kingsway at Gymea for my favourite Dawk, Dave, & I – if any Sydney siders would care to join us there). The Cats have been winning, although it appears that nobody exactly knows how. And Hawthorn has really looked impressive in their current run, although they seemed to use a Get Out of Jail Free card against the hapless Freo. As good as he is, Buddy Franklin’s participation or non-participation won’t change the fact that these games are Australian Rules at its very best, that it will be a ripper, and that it deserves a very very large, very very loud crowd. It’ll be as close as you like, but my inherent bias towards the hoops prevents me from calling this in any subjective manner.

    The Gold Coast & North Melbourne is yet another game that should make pundits appear redundant. The $un$ have been playing some spectacular footy for increasingly longer parts of each game, and the Kangas kicking of the hapless Cows (this was a typo that I only picked up proofing this screed, but I’ll let it stand) last week featured some outstanding play. Neither side is really contender material – YET – but both appear to be heading in the right direction. This game will probably feature open running footy and will be more shoot out than arm wrestle. Which makes me favour the Roos in a close one, as they are more likely to be still running closer to the final siren.

    Carlton are very very good. Brisbane are not. Brown’s return is a good thing for the Lion’s, but Kreuzer’s return simply makes a very good team that much better. Carlton are top four material this year, and have legitimate premiership aspirations. Brisbane are not, and do not, and this match will produce the biggest margin of the round. One team will be singing about baby Blues after the game, but the other will simply be feeling black and blue. No prizes for guessing which is which.

    Sydney on Sunday is going to be cold, wet & miserable. Perfect Geelong weather. But not that far removed from your usual winter day in Richmond, and their resurgence faces its most critical examination against the Swans in cold, wet, miserable Sydney. Sydney are top 8 knocking on the door of the top 4 right now, while the Tiges are just trying to claw their way into the 8. Most have written off their chances for this one, as Sydney were mighty last week while Richmond had the dreaded bye and were simply pathetic against the Power (yes, the Power). Context though, is a wonderful thing. Sydney were smashing Brisbane, who are basically fodder for any of the top ten teams, while Damo Hardwick has shown that he can overturn lapses in form spectacularly well. And it will be cold, wet & miserable in Sydney, so it won’t feel like an away game for the princes of Punt Road. And Sydney have already shown this season that they are not that flash in the wet. I’m going to be at this game, and I expect to be hearing the Yellow & Black anthem after the boil-over of the round. Richmond in a coach killer.

    Freo and Essendon have both promised so much and delivered so little so far. The Bombers have made a huge investment in their coaching division, but their results so far this season are remarkably similar to where they were at the same time last year under the much maligned Matty Knights. There have been moments of brilliance & their defence appears more solid, but they still basically look slow and under conditioned. There has been much noise made about Freo’s improvement this year, but the cold hard reality is that they are sitting at 5 – 5, and that their wins have been against Brisbane, Adelaide, Norths, the Western Bulldogs and Port. They are giving every indication of being the downhill skiers of this season, and against a team with significant grunt and a quite major point to prove, they look set to suffer their fifth defeat in six games with this one.

    Melbourne & Collingwood on Monday will be a case of science versus pluck, and only a fool or a fanatic would not concede that the D’s are not without a reasonable chance. The Woods’ midfield is in its Mr Hyde incarnation right now (Dr Jekyll being with the lads in Arizona), and their performances as a team have been erratic and inconsistant. The trouble is that Melbourne have hardly been paragons of predictability either, and they alternate personas for entire games instead of for the occasional quarter that is a part of their opponents’ double act. If the Pies enter this game too cocksure, if the Collingwood midfield turns out to be colder than the leftovers of last week’s pizza, and if the Demons turn up with last week’s team instead of last fortnight’s, a great many people are going to really enjoy the result of this one. But there are too many “ifs” in that equation, and as much as I prefer the Melbourne president to his Collingwood counterpart, I expect that although the underdog will give this ye olde red (& navy) hotte go, class will out and Collingwood will remain every scribe north of Corio Bay’s pick for the flag.

    Port Adelaide have the bye. It’ll be a close run thing, but they should just avoid losing. And the team laughing the loudest come Tuesday will be the WEagles, as they score PORT at PATERSON’S after their BYE in Round 12.

  6. Richard Naco says:

    … or even, in Round 13.

    (And I missplet sore! So much for proff ridding!)

  7. smokie88 says:

    A win is a win, but I would not be getting too carried away if I were a Saint supporter.
    Skill errors aplenty in last night’s match.
    And I feel nothing but sympathy for S Gilbert.

  8. Rick Kane says:

    Hey Dips, I don’t know who these ‘experts’ are that are tipping the Hawks but they aren’t the Age writers where, in yesterday’s paper, it was about 13/4 in favour of the Moggies. The betting favours your mob as well. That leaves me and as inexpertly an expert as I am I do tip the Hawks to roll the Corio Cabal.

    Bring it on :)

  9. Dave Nadel says:

    Richard, brave call to pick Port to avoid losing during the bye. They have been pretty good at beating themselves.

  10. Richard Naco says:

    I’ve always been a risk taker, Dave, and a lover of underdogs.

    And if Port go any further under they’ll be level with the Collins class submarines that used to be made pretty close to Alberton.

  11. Richard Naco says:

    The weekend is going as predicted so far, so obviously all my predictions will go down like a maggot in a Mortein factory from here on in.

    Saints scraped away from the Dogs in a game which would only appeal to the Cats and (sigh) Crows, as these teams get the two participants of this shame of a game next week. With about 5 to go on the Playschool clock, the Dogs were baying and there was one straight (jacket, no – I meant …) kick in it, and that draw I had alluded to in my preview was looking ominously likely. But St Kilda spasmed three goals in at the death, and only the truly Moorabin faithful could appreciate that. A game so bad that it was almost comical.

    Eagles brushed off the Crows in two quarters of scintillating football, but now have to brace themselves to host the Power. Adelaide v Western Bullies next week could make for the worst two consecutive weeks of Friday night games in a very long time. 7 should give their A-team the night off, although it will be fascinating to listen to Cometti making anything memorable of this potential dog’s breakfast of a game.

    Good news for the Suns is that they won the last quarter. The bad news is that by then North had done them like a dinner and were playing the dreaded “bruise-free” in order to be safe & whole for what promises to be a very interesting game against the Bombers next week. The Roos’ first three quarters were superb and were an appropriate tribute to Boomer Harvey’s tremendous achievement. They are starting to look like legitimate participants in September, and the Gold Coast must be sick of being thumped at home by teams coached by Scott-ish blokes attired in blue & white. (Is Metricon Scottland?)

    Cats v Hawks was another traditional classic, the only downer being Jarryd Roughead’s season seemingly ending to a ruptured Achilles arising from merely attempting to sprint to a contest. These two teams will meet at least once more this season, and twice is far from being out of the realms of distinct possibilities. And like their two games already this year, such games would be very good to the code as a whole. The Hawks get to host the Gold Coast next week, so I suspect that some serious frustrations will be taken out on the boys in the boring red guernseys.

    Sydney this morning is – as predicted – cold, wet & miserable. All we need to do as a family is get motivated enough to risk the drenching and just plain go to Glacier SCG for Tiges – Swannies, but methinks there are some very good games still to be played this round. This is one of them.

  12. The problem for the Catters this season is that they only have 9 lives. Last night’s escape means 6 are already used up? Will they all have be gone before September arrives??? Time to start losing the close ones, methinks. How about starting early July out west!!!
    To quote the Avenging Eagle : “In Victory Revenge. In Defeat Malice.”

  13. John Butler says:

    Should there have been a free kick to Buddy in that last Hawk attack or not?

    Radio commentators seemed divided on the issue.

    What about those who were there?

  14. John Butler says:

    PB, the AE seems to have a very Victorian outlook on things.

    Is she an import?

  15. Rick Kane says:

    Congratulations to the Cats, they are the best side in the competition. The real question is, how much better are they? A tad, is my answer. Two observations from last night’s game:

    1. The Cats back-line is sublime. Break that and you’ll likely break through.
    2. They stick to their game plan (most of the time), which includes having a spare man in defence ready to mobilise at a moment’s notice. In the last quarter the Hawks took the ball down into probable goal chances at least four times only to be thwarted each time by the almost impenetrable back-line.

    As to the Buddy free. I was at the game, in fact about 15 metres from where it happened in the Ponsford Stand near the fence. It looked like a free to me. I watched it on telly this morning and again, it looked like a free. But so what. That’s the way it goes. The Hawks had their chances and didn’t take them. The Cats did and won.


  16. Yes JB. She is a feral import -all the way from Croatia via the Swan Valley.
    They don’t come any more single minded than that!!

  17. Rick Kane says:

    I was listening to the radio broadcast of the Freo vs. Bombers game from Perth. The (WA) commentators questioned an umpiring decision. Then one asked a question I don’t hear in Victoria. He asked if the umpire was Victorian. Wow! That’ paranoid.

    It reminded me of when the Eagles first started in the VFL. One of the delights of that was we would get to see the greats of the game playing at Subi every second week. However, animosity towards the Eastern states runs deep. If an ump’s decision went against the Evils the call from the outer wouldn’t be “you white maggot”. It would be: “you bloody Victorian mongrel”. At one game this going on was shut up (for a minute at least) when someone else in the crowd pointed out that the Evils were playing in the Victorian Football League.


  18. Andrew Fithall says:

    Which is the next team to think they have their season back on track. West Coast? Sorry. St Kilda? Not there yet. Melbourne? With the Collingwood midfied suspended or gone OS, you would have to be a chance? Mmmm. At least the margin was under 100 points. The BYE? You are in our sights!!

  19. smokie88 says:

    An inspired decision by Collingwood to send Dane Swan to Arizona
    to freshen up etc. Is it another one of those moments which, in a few
    years time, will be regarded as a watrshed?

  20. Peter Flynn says:

    Buddy made a bit too much of it. It looked like a stage.

    The free kick was lineball. A controversy either way.

    More than one sage has noted that it was a game of ‘ebbs and flows’.

    Mitchell deserves the 3 Brownlow/Malarkey votes.

    The Pod and Kelly kept Geelong in it.

    R Kane’s points about the Geelong forward line are spot-on.

  21. Peter Flynn says:


    R Kane’s points about the Geelong backline line are spot-on.

  22. Flynny – disagree about Mitchell. Didn’t have him in my votes. He doesn’t really hurt the opposition like Rioli, Buddy, Sewell and Shiels did. After each quarter I made a note of the players who were playing well. I didn’t write down Mitchell’s name once.

    Pods 3 (biggest single influence on the game), Shiels 2, Buddy 1.

  23. I don’t think Guerra will hit Selwood in the future – he might get his other ear drum perforated.

  24. Rick Kane says:

    Hi Dips, I gave 3 votes to Kelly, 2 votes to the Cats backline and had to give 1 vote to the umpires … 12/1 in the first quarter to the Cats. Was the play that much in favour of the Cats? Do Chappy and Selwood grease up their arms before the game? Cheers

  25. Rick – nice to hear from you. Your Hawks were very brave. It seems every week that the opponents of the Cats look towards the umpiring to plead a case – Saints, Blues, PIES, now Hawks. The number of decisions to one team or the other is not relevant. Surely umpires should make decisions not on how the decisions are falling but on whether or not they are there (in their opinion).

    12/1 to the Cats sounds high but in the first quarter we were all over the Hawks – first to the ball. Perhaps therein lies the answer. As the Hawks lifted so the decisions evened out.

    C’mon Rick you can do better than to blame umpires. It makes you sound like a Collingwood supporter.

    Do you agree with my summation of Mitchell?

    PS – the Cats have now won 12 out of their 13 close games. Perhaps they lift in those situations?

  26. Rick Kane says:

    I did give 3 votes to Kelly and praised the Cats and yes I was being (slightly) cheeky re the umpiring.

    I’m a fan of Mitchell and I thought he was our lynchpin on Saturday, along with Birchell. Anyway you shake it, the game was a beauty – a great example of how good the game can be.

  27. Richard Naco says:

    Mitchell is one of the most honest performers in the game today. He has to be one of the few who can make up every morning after a game and know that he gave everything. And the way he facilitated the transfer of the captaincy to Hodge (another great, imo) spoke volumes of his personal integrity and sheer class.

  28. Richard Naco says:

    (“make up” should have read “wake up”) (It’s Jordan Lewis who should wear make up. ;-)

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