It’s AFL Round 15, and what a spectacular round it promises to be.
But if you can’t be bothered reading further, feast your ears on The AFL Protected Zone Podcast. One of the best! Listen to it before the match or at half time. We discuss:
- The great games of Round 14.
- The philosophy of AFL. Just like life, is it the last minutes or the first minutes of a game, that define the game?
- AFLX – which problem is the AFL trying to solve and do we need it? We say ‘yeah/no’.
- Which games to watch out for in Round 15 and our quick tips.
- A sugary replacement for the Sydney team song. Francesco Yates sings it.
AFL Preview Game 1: Melbourne v Sydney
These are the two form teams of the competition – Melbourne have won their last four games, Sydney have won six of their last seven, including the last three games in a row. But which team is more ‘in form’? Melbourne have had some very impressive victories recently, caning the reigning premiers, Western Bulldogs, by 57 points, and then backing that up with their first win in Perth since 2006. And that was a win over West Coast at their house of pain, also known as Subiaco Oval.
Sydney has been lucky over the past two weeks: winning in the last minute over Richmond, and then a goal after the siren to snatch a one-point victory over Essendon. But, as Napoleon Bonaparte once said: ‘give me soldiers that are lucky’ (or if you prefer French, ‘me donner des soldats ont de la chance’). Luck plays an important part in modern day AFL.
The player in common in two last-minute wins? Gary Rohan. Will he kick another goal in the dying seconds of the game to snatch a victory?
Melbourne haven’t defeated Sydney since 2010, and that was a 73-point thrashing at the MCG – the same location as tonight’s match. These two teams are evenly matched and it’s the main reason why we are tipping a draw. And history suggests this might be the case. In John Longmire’s first game as Sydney coach in 2011, Melbourne and Sydney played a draw – 11.18 each – and at the same venue.
This will be Melbourne’s fourth game in 18 days, so they may run out of legs in the final quarter, but they’ll be good enough to score a draw. And so will Sydney. The planets are in alignment, and we are predicting the first draw in over 300 AFL games. It will happen. #AFLDeesSwans
- Eddy Jay – Draw.
- Lintang Enam – Draw.
Our fearless predictions: Other AFL games this weekend
Western Bulldogs v West Coast prediction (#AFLDogsEagles):
This is the battle of the west, but in the east. West Coast have traveling issues and although their ‘Melbourne troubles’ mainly relate to games played at the MCG, they still have issues playing at any venue in Melbourne (of which there are only two – this game is to be played at the Docklands). Both teams have their problems and the loser will drop out of the eight, possibly for the rest of the 2017. A must-win game for both teams, so it should be a cracker of a game.
- Eddy Jay – Western Bulldogs, 16 points.
- Lintang Enam – Western Bulldogs, 24 points.
Carlton v Adelaide prediction (#AFLBluesCrows):
Adelaide is fast becoming the imposter team of the 2017 season. We almost engraved their name on the premiership cup a few months ago (after we removed Geelong’s name from the cup) but we feel that they’ve been worked out by opposition coaches and the ‘Stop Sloane and Walker: Stop Adelaide’ will soon become a common AFL catchcry. Carlton are an up and coming team. They’re not quite there yet, but we’re still tipping a boilover.
- Eddy Jay – Carlton, 1 point.
- Lintang Enam – Carlton, 7 points.
Gold Coast v North Melbourne prediction (#AFLSunsNorth):
Both teams have played honourable losses this year, and North Melbourne have lost two games by 1 point, solely through poor umpiring decisions. We’re not suggesting any impropriety but North Melbourne should follow in the footsteps of Hawthorn, and invite umpires to their preseason player camp and all should be resolved. After their invitation to the umpires, Hawthorn won the 2013, 2014 and 2015 premierships. Not that we’re suggesting any impropriety. Obviously, if North Melbourne invite the umpires to their 2018 preseason player camp, they’ll win the 2018, 2019 and 2020 premierships so, Brad Scott, make that call now.
Back to the game. Gary Ablett will play his 300th game (or will he? He was on the cover of the AFL Record three weeks ago to promote his 300th game, but didn’t actually play on that day). North Melbourne must be feeling a little bit depressed after losing so many close games this season. They are quite a good team but something is not clicking for them this year. Is Brad Scott thinking of jumping ship to another club? Our rumour source suggests there might be a straight swap between the coaches of North Melbourne and Collingwood. Brad Scott in for Nathan Buckley. And the other way around. It would be shades of the coaching swaps in the 1970s between Fitzroy–Hawthorn–Carlton. We’d like to see that. Gold Coast to win this one.
- Eddy Jay – Gold Coast, 8 points.
- Lintang Enam – Gold Coast, 1 point.
Greater Western Sydney v Geelong prediction (#AFLGiantsCats):
We think the winner of this game will move into outright flag favouritism. We’ve said that so many times before – Western Bulldogs, Adelaide, then Geelong, then Greater Western Sydney. Maybe Port Adelaide? But this time, it’s for real. Geelong have been spluttering recently – they had three good wins in a row at Kardinia Park, then a bad loss to West Coast, and then victory over Fremantle which was in the balance up until the final two seconds. That’s not so good.
Greater Western Sydney have their injury issues, but they’re a better all-round team. And the several thousand people that will turn up to the match will agree and will see their home team win.
- Eddy Jay – Greater Western Sydney, 14 points.
- Lintang Enam – Greater Western Sydney, 8 points.
Port Adelaide v Richmond prediction (#AFLPortTigers):
We thought that Port Adelaide should be a premiership favourite, but then realised they haven’t defeated any teams from the top eight. That’s not a sign of a premiership team. They can thrash the bottom teams but struggle against the best. Richmond will be without Bachar Houli, who was suspended for testing his boxing skills on Jed Lamb’s face last week. Port Adelaide will boost their credentials with a win over Richmond, and that’s what we expect them to do.
- Eddy Jay – Port Adelaide, 18 points.
- Lintang Enam – Port Adelaide, 44 points.
Essendon v Brisbane prediction (#AFLDonsLions):
This could be a danger game for Essendon. Brisbane are at the bottom of the ladder for a reason – they haven’t won enough games and haven’t played so well this year. These, of course, are factors that go hand in hand. Essendon have played very well this season: their first quarter against Port Adelaide several rounds ago was pure football at its best. They almost defeated Sydney last week, but were pipped at the post by a Gary Rohan goal after the siren. And this incident could affect their game this week. They had the pleasure of thinking they had won the game, only to feel the disappointment of a loss. As the song goes, it’s a fine line between pleasure and pain. Brisbane to cause an upset.
- Eddy Jay – Essendon, 44 points.
- Lintang Enam – Brisbane, 6 points.
Hawthorn v Collingwood prediction (#AFLHawksPies):
These two teams are the biggest in Victoria – and the biggest in Australia, and possible the world. Both teams have 70,000 members and if all of the members turned up, there will be 140,000 spectators at the MCG. A sight to behold! But it won’t happen, because both teams are closer to the bottom of the ladder. Although Hawthorn defeated Adelaide in the last round, they have been inconsistent, and Collingwood don’t seem to have the firepower to perform. In this very even season, it’s the team that’s lower on the ladder that wins the game, and Hawthorn will do that. Buses come in threes, and it seems that players do as well: watch out for Shaun Burgoyne, as he goes past Leigh Matthew’s game total of 332 and plays his 333rd game.
- Eddy Jay – Hawthorn, 7 points.
- Lintang Enam – Hawthorn, 19 points.
Fremantle v St Kilda prediction (#AFLDockersSaints):
Which Fremantle team will show up this week? Which St Kilda team will show up this week? Ross Lyon has coached both of these teams to losing Grand Finals, so he knows how to lose the big games. He has a unique insight into St Kilda, having coached there between 2007 and 2012, but his counterpart, Alan Richardson, only knows about his own team, St Kilda. This will present a tactical advantage for Ross Lyon and we think he’ll take Fremantle to victory. Fremantle rookie, Connor Blakely has been suspended for feigning illness at training, but then taking his board to beach and going for a surf. Will this affect team morale? Probably not, especially for the player that’s replacing him – he’ll be quite happy about it. Fremantle will still catch the football wave, and surf towards a victory. It will keep them in the race for the finals, and temporary knock out St Kilda from the top eight.
- Eddy Jay – Fremantle, 12 points.
- Lintang Enam – Fremantle, 22 points.