Category Archives: Featured

Geelong Star Kelly Set for Bumper Pay Rise

It’s been quite an incredible season for Geelong, currently sitting atop the AFL ladder after a sensational campaign so far. One of the stars of this Cats side this season has been youngster Tim Kelly. In a team packed with players competing at the very top of their game, Kelly has stood out and proved just why so many AFL teams are monitoring the 24-year old’s situation at Geelong so closely. Nearing the end of the contract he signed when he was drafted 24th in 2017, Kelly couldn’t be in a stronger position in terms of leverage.

The Cats are certainly very keen on tying down the second-year professional, who is among the favourites in the race for the Brownlow Medal. Geelong proved their determination to keep Kelly last October when the midfielder requested to be traded home to Western Australia with West Coast, a request that was rejected by the Cats. With his contract coming to an end, though, the Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers are both expected to be making their own lucrative offers to the youngster.

It, therefore, came as little surprise when Cats list manager Stephen Wells confirmed the club have already made an offer to their standout star; reportedly a one-year deal with the option for a second season that would see his salary increase to a whopping $800,000 in 2020. While Kelly has made no secret over his desire to return west with his young family, the current form of the Cats will certainly be a factor behind the in-demand midfielder’s decision.

Sitting top of the AFL ladder after just one defeat in their opening 12 games, Geelong are firing on all cylinders and all their players look to be really enjoying their football, especially Kelly. Currently as short as 9/4 with the latest Aussie Rules betting odds to win this season’s Grand Final, ending the year with a premiership and Brownlow Medal may be enough to convince Kelly Geelong is where he needs to be at this point in his career. At 24, there is still plenty of time for the Perth native to return to WA later down the line.

Kelly has been a revelation since his arrival in Geelong, not missing an AFL game since being drafted and ending his rookie year by being named Best First-Year Player by his fellow professionals at the AFL Players’ Association Awards. This season, Kelly currently leads both the AFL Coaches’ Association Player of the Year award and Champion Data’s Brownlow predictor. This season, he’s kicked 10 goals, averaged 26.6 disposals and ranked among the league’s top 10 for clearances per game. In just his second year in the league, Kelly is on course to win the game’s most illustrious individual award.

Geelong Cats AFL Premiers 2009” (CC BY 2.0) by 

If it weren’t for his desire to return to WA, it’s hard to see a scenario where Kelly would want to leave this Geelong team. You only have to look at the midfielder’s face when he’s on the field this season to see a player really enjoying his work, which has then been evident by his brilliant performances.

Richmond Tigers Opening Victory Overshadowed by Rance’s Suspected ACL

The 2019 ACL season got underway on March 21st with an entertaining clash at the MCG in front of 85,000 spectators, where Richmond Tigers got their campaign off to a fantastic start with a 97-64 victory over Carlton Blues. The Yellow Blacks had to dig deep throughout the fourth quarter in order to fend off a potential Carlton comeback, but their victory was overshadowed by the sight of Alex Rance leaving the field in agony. The early prognosis doesn’t look good for the five-time all Australian, with a suspected ACL problem, and fans are nervously awaiting further updates about their star defender.

Richmond collected 72 points last season, finishing top of the AFL ladder, and Rance played a significant part in their success. They begin this campaign as $5.00 joint-favourites to win the 2019 Grand Final, and after kicking the first six goals of the game against Carlton, their place at the top of the Aussie Rules betting odds look wholly justified. Tom Lynch was superb on his AFL debut for the club, and had an immediate impact on the side. There were some questions surrounding his fitness ahead of their opener, but he looked perfectly at home in the yellow and black strip. There were also debuts for Noah Balta and midfielder Maverick Weller, with the latter adding his name to the scoresheet late in the game.

Despite plenty of positives, the game was overshadowed by Alex Rance’s nasty-looking injury. The talented full-back left the field in the third quarter clutching his knee, and looked visibly upset to be playing no further part in the game. He landed awkwardly on his right leg, and the normally durable defender was attended to by the medical team shortly before being helped off the pitch.

Although it has yet to be confirmed, the early signs point towards an anterior cruciate ligament issue, which would see him miss a large chunk of the 2019 season. Richmond have plenty of strength in depth, but it would be a significant blow for the Tigers if their star man was unable to play any further part this calendar year.

Rance’s injury prompted a sea change in the game, with Richmond having all the run and all the play prior to the stoppage. However, despite this unlikely momentum shift, the Melbourne club managed to battle back and secure a hard-fought victory.

The defender told reporters after the game that “the initial signs don’t look too good,” yet the 29-year-old Perth-born star managed to remain philosophical and upbeat. He added: “I’m in a great team, and I don’t have too much to be sad about.”

Richmond have been reasonably lucky with injuries over the last couple of seasons, but Rance’s potential ACL issue is a huge blow to the club’s Grand Final hopes. They face a tough Collingwood outfit at the MCG on March 28th, and will almost certainly be without the services of Rance.

Supporters will be pleased to see their side get off to a winning start, but that victory could come at a significant cost. Andrew Rance is one of the most gifted defenders in the game, and he will be sorely missed if he’s forced to spend the remainder of the 2019 campaign on the sidelines.

De Goey on target for hotly tipped Collingwood

On the back of a sensational, if surprising, season, Collingwood are heading into the new year being tipped by many to be one of the front runners in 2019. Having finished outside the top-10 for four seasons in a row, it came as something of an upset that the Magpies ended the regular season third in the AFL ladder. Collingwood weren’t finished there, however, recovering from a defeat to West Coast in the opening round of the finals and going on to reach the grand final. While they couldn’t get over that final hurdle, losing in the grand final to the Eagles, their success breathed new life into a club that hadn’t reached that stage since 2011.

One of the key factors behind Collingwood’s achievements last season was star-forward Jordan De Goey. The 22-year old established himself as one of the best players in the league last season, kicking a career-high 48 goals from 21 appearances to lead his side’s goalscoring charts. De Goey also averaged an impressive 16.1 disposals, highlighting the power and agility that made him the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NAB AFL Draft. While it had been clear that De Goey was a real talent, last year showed just how important he is to this team.

A foot injury sustained during the back end of last year meant he started preseason on a modified schedule that saw him only return to full training in December after working his way back to fitness. De Goey’s comeback plans were dealt a blow, however, with the forward struck down by an illness that kept him out of Collingwood’s final training session of the year. The Pies were quick to come out to play down De Goey’s illness, though, insisting it wouldn’t have an impact on their star man’s plans to start the season for Collingwood.

For the Magpies, having De Goey fully fit and ready to go when the season gets underway is crucial to their hopes of getting off to a strong start. Currently priced at around 7/1 with the latest AFL betting odds, it’s clear to everyone that Collingwood are going to be one of the stronger teams this year. While they were heavily underrated and underestimated by opponents last season, it will be a very different story this time around. Head coach Nathan Buckley must take a lot of credit for Collingwood’s success in 2018, but he’ll be aware the pressure will be on his shoulders this time around.

De Goey, meanwhile, will be a man with a target on his back this season. Between the youngster Will Hoskin-Elliott, Josh Thomas and Jaidyn Stephenson, the team’s forwards contributed 166 goals between them last year – and it will be this forward line that will be tasked with scoring the goals that take the club to the finals. If they can replicate their prolific form this season, and the rest of the team can find the level of consistency they produced last year, this could end up being a truly memorable campaign for Collingwood.

The Final Push to Secure a Top-Eight Finish

Source: AFL via Facebook

The season is drawing to a close and we’re starting to get a real good look at who the serious contenders are to take the flag. No one can deny how strong the Adelaide Crows are looking and even the GWS Giants. However, as we saw last year when the Western Bulldogs came in seventh and won the premiership, you can never write off the teams that finish a little bit further down the ladder.

So, who are the major dark horses that could upset the frontrunners in this season’s playoffs?

Funnily enough, the Bulldogs are hitting their stride at the perfect part of the season. They once again sit in seventh and have won four out of their last five matches. In another positive boost for the club, star midfielder and defender Easton Wood has avoided the knife and won’t require surgery on his hamstring, with the club confident he will be ready for finals football if they can secure a top-eight spot. The Doggies don’t have the easiest run home, though, facing the Giants, Port Adelaide and Hawthorne. They will have to be at their best if they have any chance of making it in.

The Port Adelaide Power are still in the mix, sitting in fifth, but with such a bad record against the top teams so far this year, it’s hard to see them making much of an impact come September. They have a relatively easy run home, though, coming up against Collingwood, the Gold Coast and the Bulldogs. With only four points separating fifth to 11th place, they will feel they probably need to win all three games.

Source: Sydney Swans via Facebook

What a season it has been for the sensational Sydney Swans! After their worst start to a season in 24 years and becoming the first team to go 0-6 after being in a Grand Final the previous season, they have managed to turn it all around and are now bombarding their way into finals contention. They are currently in seventh place and the latest AFL tips currently have 100% confidence in them defeating Fremantle this weekend, proving how much of a dangerous side people think they are. They have to face the Crows the week after, though, and that will be their real test before what should be an easy win for them against the hapless Carlton Blues considering the Swan’s form.

Sitting four points behind these three teams in eighth is the Essendon Bombers. They have the daunting task of taking on the Crows in their next game and will be praying for other results to go their way if they can’t manage an upset. Fortunately for the Dons, their two last matches come against opposition that they will be quite confident of overcoming. Firstly, they meet the Gold Coast Suns, then finish up the year at home to the Freemantle Dockers.

The West Coast Eagles, Melbourne Demons and Saint Kilda also sit on 40 points. These teams all have a mathematical chance of finishing in the eight also and it’s going to be a spectacularly tight finish to what has already been an amazing year of footy.

Sloane Leads the Crows to Victory in Top-of-the-Table Clash

On Friday night, AFL fans witnessed the much-anticipated game between the Adelaide Crows and the Geelong Cats. The Melbourne club had become a ‘bogey’ team for the Crows in recent times and the boys from South Australia were looking to break a five-game losing streak against them. The Crows 13.13 (91) defeated Geelong 10.10 (70) and maintained their grip at the top of the ladder.

Adelaide came out all guns blazing and dominated the match from the get-go. Their dominant performance in the first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game. Even though they were kept scoreless in the final quarter, they had done enough to secure the victory and give themselves some precious breathing space on top of the table. Adelaide is now the firm favourite, with the latest odds of 3.40 suggesting they will be the ones to lift the trophy in September.

Adelaide kicked five goals in the first quarter and their explosive football kept Geelong relatively quiet with the Cats only managing one goal. The Crows never really let them back into the game after that and it was always going to be a struggle to come back from the 22-point deficit at quarter-time.

They finished at half-time 29 points up and went into the third quarter leading by 37. The Cats put on a late charge inspired by Geelong veteran Harry Taylor in the final quarter, but unfortunately for the home fans, his three goals in five weren’t enough to snatch the points.

Rory Sloane was absolutely fantastic throughout the match. He kicked three goals, collected 27 disposals and laid seven tackles in an electrifying game. Considering he was heavily concussed just six days prior after receiving a heavy knock in Darwin against the Melbourne Demons, it was a remarkable performance. After a display like this from the powerful midfielder, it’s easy to see why his name gets mentioned when people start talking about the Brownlow Medal.

Richard Douglas was lethal in front of the sticks and finished the night with a career-high four goals and 20 disposals. Adelaide’s Sam Jacobs was also terrific, with his 32 hit-outs and 17 possessions providing Sloane with perfect service through the middle of the park. Hugh Greenwood, with 23 possessions, and the Crouch brothers all gave impressive displays, with Matt having 32 two touches and Brad 29.

There were some standouts for the Cats, though. Patrick Dangerfield had a prominent display, with 25 disposals, after recovering from a foot injury sustained last week, while Taylor almost rallied the troops for a comeback and kicked five goals overall.

The Crows are in prime position now for a top-two finish and a home final. They will be full of confidence going into their next match against the Collingwood Magpies, who have been struggling of late. The Cats will walk away and lick their wounds but will surely be ready by next week when they take on the Carlton Blues, in what coach Chris Scott will see as a must-win game.

Tigers Pushing for Top-Four Finish

Source: Richmond FC via Facebook

Richmond Tigers have continued to get their season back on track as they defeated the Carlton Blues at the MCG in front of 64,448 fans. In what should have been a relatively easy affair for the Tigers, they definitely didn’t do themselves any favours with their opening play and went in to the first break trailing by four points.

Richmond had a much better showing defensively in the second quarter, limiting Carlton to no goals and finding themselves just one behind. On the other hand, they were extremely wasteful in front of goal, taking only two goals and putting it wide for seven behinds.

Much to their supporters’ dismay, Richmond once again started to let Carlton back into the game during the third quarter. They did, however, manage to see out the rest of the game and seal the win. This came as a great relief to the players and the coach who were anticipating the final siren. As Tiger great Matthew Richardson said on 3AW: “It’s a good game if you like grinding games… I don’t.”

There were a few standouts for the boys in black and yellow with Jack Riewoldt kicking three goals and Dustin Martin grabbing 30 disposals. Kane Lambert and Shaun Grigg were equally as important, taking 26 disposals each.

The win, however, does see The Tigers cement their place in the top eight, bringing back the form that they enjoyed so much at the start of the season. This sees them take three wins out of their last four games and keeps them level on 32 points with the Sydney Swans, Melbourne Demons and Port Adelaide, who all recorded wins last weekend.

For their next fixture, the Tigers have the daunting task of heading to South Australia to take on Ken Hinkley’s Port. It’s a vital fixture for both, with Port at 73/100 and Richmond at 16/5 according to Oddschecker for a top-four finish, and that’s certainly something that will be on both coach’s minds.

Richmond will be hoping they can bring back the form that saw them start the season with five wins on the trot, and take points off some strong opposition. Port Adelaide will certainly be looking to put their stamp on this game having lost all four of their games against top-eight teams this season. It is shaping up to be a crucial match for both teams to keep up their momentum heading in to the second half of the season.

Customise your finals, Part 2

OK, so you have read up on our previous article about customising your finals here and have decided to give it a go.  Lets say you want to run your finals series one week earlier than the standard final 4 rounds, for clarity, lets call that ‘Round 19’.

But who can be shagged with manually calculating who plays who and manually keying in all those games…?  Well not us, and we assume not you either so we have built a tool to help called the “Game Builder Wizard”.

To setup your finals to run 1 week earlier than the final 4 rounds, you need to first setup the following:

  1.  On your League Edit page (advanced tab), set the “First Finals Round” setting to the round that you will run your first final, ie. round 19.  This setting controls which rounds are considered when updating your ladder. The ladder positions at the end of the standard home and away season is used to determine the games in the finals so you don’t want it to change while the finals are being played, otherwise your finals will get buggered up.
  2. On your Competition Edit page, you need to set the “Finals Model” setting to”None/Custom”.  This will tell the system to no create the normal finals games automatically and instead hand the keys over to you to control.
  3. On the Fixutre page, you will find and “Edit Games” link under the list of games for each round.  By default, the system has probably creates a set of games in round 19.  Click the “Edit Games” link and delete all of the games, leaving it blank.

Now you just need to play the season as normal until the last round of your home and away season, ie. round 18, is complete.

With round 18 complete, you can now go to the Fixture page  and click “Edit” again for Round 19, to setup your finals games.

If there are any games still in Round 19, delete them (but you should have done that already in step 3).  Deleting the first will enable the link to the  “Game Builder Wizard”.  Click on the link and the system will open up a page to help you automatically create the finals games.

game builder wizard link

The wizard will give you two criteria to pick from:

Game Style: this is the style or format of the games that are to be created.  eg. to setup the games for round 1 or a finals series, choose “Finals Round 1”.  Similarly, next week for a second round of finals, you would choose “Finals Round 2”.

game builder criteria 1

Participating Clubs: this option lets you choose the number of clubs you want to be involved.  If you are running a finals series with the top 5 clubs in your 12 club competition for example, choose 5.

game builder criteria 2

The system will show you a preview of the proposed games on the right.  If you are happy with the games, just hit Save and the games will be locked in.  You can even then go back in to the Fixture edit page and tweek the games further or even add some extra games for the bottom rankers.

The Game Builder Wizard will always try to merge any existing games but we aware that the Game Builder Wizard will delete any games featuring the Clubs that it cares about.  You will see the warning on the screen if this happens.

Another thing to remember is that you need to wait for a round to complete (ie. all the real games have been played) before setting up the next round.  This is because for finals games, the Wizard will use the results from the previous round to determine who plays who in the next.

Other than that, you should be good to go.

Good luck!

 

 

 

Nathan Buck-leave?

Is that Hi or Goodbye?
Is that Hi or Goodbye?

 

Should he stay or should he (Buck)leave?

The question on many Pies supporters minds along with many other fans, pundits and AFL enthusiasts.

So lets look at some stats…

Buckley took charge of the Pies in 2012 having spent two seasons under Malthouse. In the 2010 and 2011 season they finished top of the ladder and won a flag as well. A good grounding perhaps…

But since then, with Buckley in sole charge, they have fallen fallen fallen. League positions since have been 4th, 6th, 11th and 12th…. And the start of this year has been less than promising aside a very close victory against the Tigers…

That said, Buckley’s win ratio stands at 55.8%. That is 95 Games in charge with 53 Wins – 42 Loses – 0 Draws . How does that compare? Malthouse only had a 56.6% record over his entire career (which includes the time dismantling, I mean coaching, Carlton).

Of recent ‘greats’ Kevin Sheedy only had 57% and Leigh Matthews a little better at 57.9%. Stellar coaching careers but not stellar stats by any means… So does that help Buckley’s case to stay?

All these records are easily overshadowed by Chris Scott of the current crop of coaches who has a stunning 71.1% win ratio. Wowsers !

But what does this tell us? You can prove anything with stats. We can carve up the coaches various teams and how they performed with each club at different stages and before you know it we can prove a point.

The key to Buckley has to be that he took over a top performing team and has been going downhill since then.

Let AFL not get into the crazy ways of the Soccer and sack managers after half a season. The players must take responsibility too (imagine if Cloke could kick straight!). But Buckley has had a long time in an increasingly hot seat… Is it time for Nathan to (Buck)leave?

The POM

 

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The (Potential) Game of the Week – Round 2

The POMs
(Potential)
.
Round One done and we dance along to Round Two
There were some crackers in that opening round including the demolition of the Pies, the smashing of Freo, the squeaky bum win by the D’s and the wonderful win by the Cats with one Mr Patrick Dangerfield performing rather well (imagine when he kicks straight as well!)
All sets us up for an intriguing Round Two…. Now, we all know that the reigning Premiers (whoever they are) tend to start a little slower the next season. Maybe due to one long and well deserved party, a lethargy over being champs, a downright lack of motivation… Whatever it may be it results in a sluggish start. But I for one didn’t expect the 30 point smashing by the Cats. That should kick start the Hawks into a sense of commitment !
On the other hand the losing finalists tend to be a little more motivated, assuming they didn’t get lucky in getting to the final in the first place of course. And whilst West Coast didn’t have the hardest Round One opponents against the Lions they still handed them a very good flogging!

With Round Two throwing up (not literally) the 2015 Grand Final replay at the MCG, the Hawks v Eagles is my “Game of the Week”. A must watch to see if the Eagles can take their good form into a game against the wounded Hawks.

The POM

Beware the Bombers

As has been well documented, more than once, the once glorious bombers, previously known for flying up, up have hit a wee snag this year.  Thirty-four players of their 2012 team have had to take their metaphorical medicine (bad pun I know!) and sit on the side-lines for the 2016 season.  Some of the players no-longer play or now play for other AFL teams.  The key point being… DON’T PICK THEM!

Of those still playing, here is a list of the banned players to avoid for 2016:

  • Angus Monfries
  • Brent Stanton
  • Heath Hocking
  • Jobe Watson
  • Patrick Ryder
  • Cale Hooker
  • David Myers
  • Tayte Pears
  • Tom Bellchambers
  • Michael Hurley
  • Jake Carlisle
  • Travis Colyer
  • Jake Melksham
  • Stewart Crameri
  • Ben Howlett
  • Dyson Heppell
  • Michael Hibberd