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High-Flying Swans Zero in on Grand Final Redemption

High-Flying Swans Zero in on Grand Final Redemption

Source: Sydney Swans via Facebook

Ask any fan of the red and white half of Sydney about the 2016 AFL Final and watch the smile slip away from their face. Last year’s minor premiers had one hand on the trophy after a stellar season that saw them dominate the league from start to finish. However, what would have been their third AFL flag in the club’s history was snatched from under their feet by a gallant Western Bulldogs outfit who managed to claim their first premiership in over fifty years.

In 2017, things went from bad to worse for Sydney and the side endured the club’s worst start in 24 years. The Swans lost their first six games of the season and headed into round seven with a percentage of 76.6 and found themselves 24 points behind league leaders the Adelaide Crows. In comparison, the South Australian team had a percentage of 160.9 and had scored 806 points to Adelaide’s 454.

This came as quite a shock to their loyal supporters who assumed that their club would start the new campaign in the same fashion as they played last season. Most pundits wrote the team off and claimed that they would not have any influence in this year’s competition. How wrong they were.

The Swans decided to take fate into their own hands and completely turned their season around. They went on to win the next 14 out of a possible 16 games and secured themselves a place in this year’s finals. That same team that had a percentage difference of 84.3 compared to top-of-the-table Adelaide finished off the normal season with an outstanding 126; only ten behind the Crows.

Source: Sydney Swans via Facebook

It’s no secret that Don Pyke’s men from South Australia have been the dominant side all year and have constantly set the bench mark for how teams need to perform if they wish to challenge for the flag. However, due to the lack of consistency from other top-eight clubs, footy fans have struggled to find a genuine contender to challenge Adelaide for the title.

 

Sydney seems to be the team that has answered the call and are now looking like genuine title contenders. Bookmakers still think that the Crows will lift the trophy though, and have them as favourites at $3.40 with the Swans steadily creeping up behind them at $5.00.

There’s no doubt it will be a gruelling final series and injuries will surely play a large part in the outcome of both side’s Grand Final hopes. Some punters may want to grab some free advice from one of the online tipping sites such as https://www.championbets.com.au/ to ensure they are up to date with all available players and squad selection.

The Swans defeated the Crows in round 22 at the Adelaide Oval, and that will have given them a huge psychological advantage if the two teams happen to meet on their path to the Grand Final. Sydney better be careful, though, because this is an Adelaide side that absolutely has nothing but revenge on the agenda for a team that has scorned them on the last two occasions.

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 One….

The POMs
(Potential)
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With the new season kicking off shortly there are a number of fans who have heightened anticipation around their teams chances. Expectation, hope and plain delusion lead to thoughts of:

– Can we make top 8?
– Can we make Top 4?
– Can we be minor premier champions?
– And can we go all the way?

For one clubs set of fans, theirs is a more pressing question. Can we avoid the wooden spoon and can we even win a game?!?!

Usually reserved for the like of Melbourne or Brisbane of late this is the question being asked by the Bombers (very loyal) fan base. Right or wrong, whether known by the players or not the punishment has been handed down. A saga lasting for years will certainly continue until the players have served their bans.

But what this does make for is a MUST watch game in Round One. A depleted side in the Bombers but one where youth will be given a chance to stake a claim.

History for these clubs is obviously short but the stats show:

Played: 5
Essendon: 4
Gold Coast: 1
Draws: 0

The only win for Gold Coast came last year with a margin of just two points… and 2015 had them close in the table, though at the wrong end of the ladder:

15th – Essendon – W 6, L 16
16th – Gold Coast – W 4, L 17, D 1

So with a new makeshift team for the Bombers and little separating them last year Gary Abletts Gold Coast go in as clear favourites.

It may not be the prettiest of games, but Essendon v Gold Coast is a must watch and my (Potential) Game of the Week.

This will show what 2016 holds for Essendon. Anything but a clear loss will be seen as a victory in most parts.

The POM

AFL Injuries Round 15

Quick update on AFL injuries and suspensions after Round 15.