AFL Round Two 2019 – What Are We Looking Forward to Sunday?

Ryan Bastinac Cup

North Melbourne vs Brisbane

I ran out of names for this one.  Is there an official cup they play for?  

It could have been the John Blakey Cup, but he’s gone to Sydney and taken his son with him.  Then I remembered John Murphy appears in two sets of colours in my late 70s/early 80s football cards. John however went to South Melbourne (aka Sydney) on the way to North Melbourne.  Murphy’s son Marc has the odd run around at Carlton too further muddying the waters.  Mark “The Fridge” Roberts played 59 games with the Brisbane Bears and 125 with the Kangas.  It’s tempting to forget his 18 games at Sydney and just call this the Kelvinator Kup – there are sponsorship dollars to be made here and as it’s my idea I think I should get a free North Melbourne membership just to round the numbers up to 120.  

That’s as far as my research takes me.  Ryan Bastinac is the only other player to play for both clubs (please don’t google that)North was beyond awful last week but having to travel to Perth and listen to Brad Scott for four hours on the plane when you had a full season of Arrested Development lined up … well, as far as excuses go, that’s up there. Brisbane were terrific.  Their midfield is deep and fast and there is quality at either end.  Is Chris Fagan as interesting on a plane?  Who knows but it’s only a two hour flight so I’m tipping Brisbane to sit atop the ladder at the completion of round 2.

Can Dockers Fly?

Dockers vs Gold CoastThe Dockers face the second toughest road trip in the AFL.  Their fellow West Australians had the toughest last week, or so some of the Eagles fans will tell you.  Brisbane is quite the trip and infested with ticks, apparently.  For the record, Hobart in June is probably tougher but we’ve got like, literally months before we get to that.  Travelling to Metricon Stadium from Perth is much quicker now that we can travel at supersonic speeds and when you get there, well, it’s the Gold Coast Suns coming up the home race.  It would be great to see the GC competitive like in 2014 when they nearly made the eight (12th is pretty close) but I don’t think this will be the year.  Having said that GC were gallant in defeat against the other side tipped as an early favourite for the wooden spoon.Look out for Jarrod Witts.  One of the better ruckman going around and being off Broadway doesn’t get much press but will be too big and too strong for Darcy.  Dockers are notoriously bad travellers and also pretty bad at drinking their own bath water.  

The talisman here is Fyfe.  Does he go well?  Who does GC have lined up to go with him?  Maybe Touk Miller?  Fyfe is a tougher prospect than Dayne Zorko.  This will be much tighter than many think.  I’m going out on a limb.  GC by less than a goal

Who Overachieved?

Hawthorn vs Western Bulldogs

Good game this.  Looking forward to seeing the master and the apprentice, Clarkson and Beveridge, go at it again.  Beveridge was a revelation in his first years at the Doggies but has, along with his team, stagnated since the 2016 premiership.  Coaching is not a one man show and Hawthorn has been continually able to make Clarkson look better (he is already exceptional) by putting good people around him, including list managers and recruiters always pulling rabbits out of hats (ref Mitchell, O’Meara, Scully etc).  The Bulldogs haven’t been as consistent here and that could be that despite winning 2016, it’s still not considered a destination club.Both teams exceeded expectations last week and it will be interesting to see who can put a stamp on last week’s win.  Look out for Aaron Naughton.  Doggies seem to think he’s a forward and he looked like one last week.  Will be outstanding if he’s a better forward than a back, he’s already a good backman.  Quality kid, good thinker, future captain.Hawks for me, four goals.

MRP Lotto

We will need to wait until the end of the round before this can be reviewed in depth.  The early signs are that usually solid citizen Michael Christian is on something, and not in a good way.  If he is, as some suggest, just applying a formula and a set of guidelines, these clearly need a review.  A couple of lessons from the last week and a bit:

  • It’s not OK to punch people in the stomach – it will cost you $2K but you won’t get suspended
  • A soft block, where the recipient ends up sprawling on the ground, presumably because he is still learning to walk, is worth a week and is worse than a punch in the guts.
  • A deliberate elbow to the head, albeit low impact, is a week – the same as the above soft block

The main take away here is that Cox should have just punched Grimes if he didn’t want to miss next week.  If he’s OK with missing a week, he should have elbowed Grimes in the head. Watch this space.

Rule Review Round 2

Watching the players adapt to the new rules had been interesting.  Despite claims the unhindered kick out from full back is not the scoring boon the AFL is looking for, the exercise is about opening the game up and clearly that works.  Look for players to work out better ways to exploit this and to see set plays and responses develop.  Ruckmen being able to take the ball out of the ruck is not a new rule, it’s just the undoing of an old stupid rule.Which leaves the “unhindered 50m penalty recipient rule”.  I think that’s the official name – I’d better look it up.  This is pretty straightforward – if a player receives a 50m penalty stay the hell out of their way.   Colin O’Riordan learned this the hard way on Friday night.  After Chayce Jones (where do people get these names from?) was awarded a 50m penalty, the umpire warned O’Riordan four times to get out of the space and to not impede Jones.  Finally the umpire wrote “DO NOT IMPEDE THE PLAYER”  on a sticky note and stapled it to O’Riordan’s forehead but this final warning was not heeded and 50m became 100m.  It’s not that hard.As an aside, how do you get awarded a 50m penalty? I think you can be the beneficiary of a penalty awarded against the transgressor.  The penalty is against the other person.  Semantics – I might come back to this one, it’s one of the big issues hanging over the AFL. 

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