Every now and then, the stars align and three of The Mongrel team manage to catch each other for long enough to discuss either the round that’s been, or the round upcoming. Not in person, mind you – at times we can’t stand each other, but this time we get to have a chat before the round begins.
What do we expect from the Saints this week?
Stella SS – A demolition. Yes, Geelong have lost Ablett, but they still have a guy named Dangerfield that will tear the Saints apart. They’ve dropped their heads recently and look like they don’t know what’s going on up forward.
HB Meyers – I’m not so sure. They’re playing at Kardinia Park (I refuse to call it whatever they’re calling it now – it’s Kardinia Park!) and Geelong should, in theory, fix them up, but if you look at Geelong’s backline, it’s not that great. No Taylor, and with Mackie and Lonergan now gone, they have some holes back there.
Rich Anderson – You think the Saints actually have a chance?
HB Meyers – A slight one. If there was ever a chance for a dysfunctional forward line to start functioning, it’s against an unsettled defence.
Stella SS – Kolodjashnij has looked good down there. Did well on Darling last week.
HB Meyers – Until the last quarter where Darling kicked two in a minute and stood up when it mattered. How long do the Saints persevere with McCartin up forward?
Stella SS – Another three weeks for mine. They want him to be Nick Riewoldt in Tony Lockett’s body.
Rich Anderson – Please don’t put McCartin and Plugger in the same sentence.
What are you looking forward to most this round?
Rich Anderson – Seeing if the Western Bulldogs’ resurgence is for real. They come up against the Swans with week and while they’re a little weaker without Reid and Melican, they’re still a formidable bunch. While it was great to see the Dogs answer critics against Essendon, the competition is balanced enough that anyone can get anyone on any given week. Let’s see if they can back it up.
Stella SS – Spoken like a Swans supporter.
Rich Anderson – Guilty as charged.
Stella SS – Josh Kennedy returning is mine. See, I’m refraining from pumping up my own team’s tyres, unlike some. The eagles have been excellent this year, completely flying in the face of the predictions. They lose Liam Ryan, who’s been great for them, but they get back their number one forward. Kennedy has a bit of history of playing well early in the year. I reckon he’d be chomping at the bit to get out there, and he’s got Gold Coast waiting for him. He’ll kick seven.
HB Meyers – So many things to look forward to, but I have a bit of a man crush on Darcy Fogarty, and I am rapt to see him straight back into the side after a week off. I like him running into people, I like him making someone pay after they mark in front of him, and I like the way he seeks out contact. He’s a throwback, and he’ll be a star. Hope he stays in this side all year.
Rich Anderson – Wow, of all the things you want to see this round, you pick Fogarty returning? De Goey returns, Toby Greene returns, your man Sicily returns, and you pick that.
HB Meyers – Sicily is not my man. He owes the Hawks.
Does Sicily owe the Hawks?
HB Meyers – I should’ve held off. Yes he does. His suspension was stupid and we wrote in the pre-season whether he’d grow up this season. In the early going, the answer is a resounding NO. He sat on the sidelines last week and the Hawks lost by 13 points. His kicking and marking may have made a difference, but you know where you make no difference? Sitting in the grand stand.
Stella SS – I have to agree. I love Sic, but all this “he plays on the edge” stuff from Hawthorn supporters doesn’t make much sense if he’s sitting out. He was in the Hawks’ worst against the Cats. He owes them a big, disciplined game against Melbourne.
Rich Anderson – Cant’ believe all three of us are of an accord. If he has another shocker, the Dees will win. He’s that important to Hawthorn, but needs to walk the line and not tip over it.
Speaking of ‘owing’ a club, what do you expect from De Goey this week?
Stella SS – He gets the Friday night spotlight. I’d love to see him in and under, working his backside off and getting a bit of the hardball. I heard Bucks say that Pendles was the Pies biggest midfield body last week. De Goey is the same size. Maybe he can ease the burden on the captain a bit?
HB Meyers – Not sure how much he owes them, per se. He made a mistake in the pre-season, but he’s done his penance. He got hurt, now he’s back – I think a good solid game, with a few good, hard tackles would be a nice return.
Rich Anderson – You two are too soft on him. He needs a big one. Needs to repay the faith the team has showed in him.
The Blues v The Roos. Are we seeing Spoonbowl in Round 4?
Rich Anderson – Quite possibly. The Blues have come crashing back to Earth since a decent Round One showing against the Tigers. They look like a team without a lot of direction. Without a lot of leadership.
HB Meyers – Cam Read wrote a ripping article about Murphy this week. Would love to see him have a big one and put the Blues on his back.
Stella SS – That won’t happen. He’s not the sort to carry a team. Cripps can do that. Curnow might be ready to do that one day, but not Murphy. Not now. Not ever.
HB Meyers – Would you throw Weitering onto Ben Brown? Live or die by the guy? Give him the chance to shine and take the number one guy? Give Liam Jones the job of curbing Jarrad Waite and IF Weitering can get hold of Brown, it might be enough to restore his confidence.
Rich Anderson – Or will break him. I wouldn’t subject him to that sort of pressure.
HB Meyers – Pressure creates diamonds.
Stella SS- Ben Brown will kick five. Seven if he gets Weitering one on one.
Rich Anderson – Where does Majak play now that Tarrant is back?
HB Meyers – Throw him into the ruck and let him jump at it. It’s not like Goldstein is setting the world on fire.
It’s Port Adelaide’s first game in Melbourne. Do we believe the hype yet?
HB Meyers – This game will teach us plenty about each team. The Power were ordinary for quite a while against the Lions. The Bombers usually love Etihad. If they play below their best, the Bombers could get hold of them. Pretty sure they whacked the Power in the corresponding game last year.
Rich Anderson – If the Power get a hold of Essendon, which I think they will, things will get messy at Windy Hill.
Stella SS – Tullamarine. Their base is at Tullamarine. Not quite as poetic, is it?
Rich Anderson – Fine. The point stands – Essendon must win this one. The Power can afford a loss at this stage of the game. If Essendon are serious, and many put them in their top four, they need to stand up and prove that last week was an aberration.
HB Meyers – But do we believe the hype about Port?
Stella SS – I do. They have a guy there who hasn’t hit his straps just yet. Once Rockliff gets going, they become even more formidable.
Rich Anderson - The Bombers have a few who haven't hit their straps either. Mr. Stringer?
HB Meyers - Needs to do something soon. Have liked Devon Smith in their team, though.
Is Jack Higgins stiff to miss this week?
Rich Anderson – Maybe. Comes into the team, gets a couple of ‘snags’ as he put it, and has a pretty good game. I guess when premiership stars return, you make room.
Stella SS – And life members. You have to make way for life members.
HB Meyers – He’ll be back. As long as he fits into their high-pressure small forward line, and works hard, he’ll find a spot in that team.
Stella SS – Tigers by 80+ against the Lions. Saturday arvo at the ‘G… Tiger time. In addition, Luke Hodge to get frustrated and get reported for whacking someone.
HB Meyers – Toby Greene 10+ score involvements. I reckon he stamps himself as a top ten player in the comp this season.
Rich Anderson – Demons to expose the Hawks. They’re good all over the field, and should be undefeated to this point but for Max Gawn. Dees will win in a canter. 45 point win.