The Mongrel Team rarely gets the opportunity to sit together and discuss the recent events, or upcoming games in the world of AFL, but today is one of those occasions. Armed with limited knowledge, strong opinions, and a genuine dislike for each other at times, they are connected via the wonders of the internet to exchange views, and verbal blows.
HB Meyers, Stella SS and our old pal, Adam West get a chance to shoot the breeze on all that's happening as we head to Round 9.
HB Meyers – I don’t think there is a person alive that cares less about players touching umpires than I do.
Adam West – Hang on, you’ve gotta nip this kind of stuff in the bud early. Do you ever watch soccer? You should see how some of those players physically remonstrate with the referees.
Stella SS – I’ve seen a bit of it. It’s not where we want AFL to be.
HB Meyers – I think as far as rules go and things that need to be addressed in the game, a player placing a hand on an umpire is not a big issue. If they push, or are demonstrative, then yes… take action. But Hawkins aside, what we’ve seen the past weekend is weak.
Adam West – But won’t someone think of the children!?!?!
Stella SS – Thanks Helen Lovejoy. What about the Charlie Curnow one? He looked like he was just trying to shield the umpire away from the conflict. Was the umpire getting to close? It’s not their business to break up fights.
Adam West – Incidental contact should be excused. However, intentional contact should be punished.
HB Meyers – Storm in a tea cup here. There’ll be another “big” issue next week for talkback radio callers to fire up about. Let’s move on.
THOUGHTS ON THE BOMBERS
Adam West – It’s been what, five years since the drugs scandal? Six years? It’s still lingering, and the long-term effects are now evident. It’s like the damage incurred by Carlton after the sanctions they received. It has been a slow process for them, and it’ll be a slow process for Essendon too.
Stella SS – Did either of you tip them to make the eight?
HB Meyers – I thought they’d be thereabouts, but was worried about the midfield.
Adam West – I had them anywhere from 7-12. What about their midfield?
HB Meyers – Losing Watson, as average as he was last year, is a big blow. They lost him and Heath Hocking, and those two were big bodies that could stand up. Replaced them with skinny blokes. Their best centre clearance player this season is David Myers.
Stella SS – Myers? Where’s Zerrett and Heppell?
HB Meyers – Both of them are averaging less than Darcy Parish in centre clearances. So they dropped Parish. The big names are falling at Essendon!
Adam West – No on-field leadership there, either. Heppell looks like he’d be better suited to sipping a latte in Northcote than being in and under a pack getting the hard ball. He can’t hit the side of a barn with his kicking. The AFL app says he is going at 69% disposal efficiency. I’d love to see what his kicking efficiency is.
Stella SS – Well, you could fork over the cash to Champion Data and get all the stats you need.
Adam West – I’m not a billionaire.
HB Meyers – And what about the firing of Mark Neeld? A couple of people called him the architect of Collingwood’s 2010 flag.
Stella SS – Architects sit in an office and cost a lot of money. You don’t need people skills to be an architect. You do when you’re dealing with a group of 40 young men.
Adam West – We learned that when we saw him coaching at Melbourne. He looked like a lunatic sometimes.
Stella SS – Only sometimes?
HB Meyers - And their recruits? For mine, only Devon Smith has been good?
Adam West – Stringer seems like he’s a spectator in most games. Nowhere near involved enough. He had one touch in the first quarter last week.
HB Meyers – Not for the first time. Lucky to keep his place this week.
Stella SS – Saad is a bit hit and miss. Runs into trouble too much. It’s like he’s instructed to take off whenever he gets it, and he just goes without seeing what’s ahead of him.
Adam West – How long do you give Worsfold?
Stella SS – He’ll be out at the end of the year.
HB Meyers – Nup, he’s just re-signed. No way they’ll boot him that early.
Adam West – They will if he’s lost the players. You reckon that’s a chance?
HB Meyers – Really, no idea. Anyone that starts spouting that is usually just fishing for a story or making one up. Anyone game to tip them against the Cats?
Adam West – Nope.
Stella SS – Not a chance. Geelong should pulverise them this week. Surely they smell blood.
THE STATE OF THE GAME
Adam West – So did one week of decent footy put to rest the ‘state of the game’ discussion? It seems that good games quickly put this stuff to bed.
Stella SS – It sure looks like it. It is one of those topics invented by the media. As soon as there’s a slow week, things like this come up and everyone needs to have their say.
HB Meyers – Just like touching umpires. Seriously, I reckon some of those umpires would like being touched.
Stella SS – We’ve moved on from touching umpires.
HB Meyers – I haven’t. I dream about it. I didn’t get the ‘state of the game’ issue at times. It was congested, it was low scoring, but that’s the ebb and flow of it. You come out the other side when a coach finds a way to combat it like Clarkson did five years ago.
Adam West – The thing that gets me is all the talk of changing rules to increase scoring and make the game more attractive. You have coaches and players hell-bent on stopping the other team from scoring. Do you think they’ll just adhere to whatever rules the AFL decides to throw out there? Their job is to work around them, and find a way to exploit the rules to their own advantage. That’s what they’re paid for.
HB Meyers – Not a fan of rule changes?
Adam West – Not when it’s the Kevin Bartletts of the world screaming the loudest. Pining for days gone by.
HOW GOOD WAS THE SHOWDOWN?
HB Meyers – Possibly the game of the year so far. Maybe only topped by Hawthorn v Geelong.
Stella SS – Best finish to a game in ages!
Adam West – The Crows were dead and buried in the last and then Eddie popped up and you could just see Adelaide lift. Walker kicked that huge goal and then McGovern marked and goaled. They came from nowhere!
Stella SS – And of all people to steal it back, Motlop kicks the winner. That was a hard collision between McGovern and Douglas. Pulsating stuff.
HB Meyers – If you’re a neutral fan, I don’t know how you can’t enjoy the Showdown or the Derby. They deliver every single time. Two best rivalries in the game.
Adam West – Better than Hawks and Cats?
HB Meyers – Yep, better. How good was Robbie Gray!
Stella SS – Spectacular. That’s the question that should be asked now. Not ‘is Robbie Gray good?’ but ‘How good is he?’ He could be a top five player in the league by season’s end.
HODGE V HAWTHORN
Stella SS – Speaking of Hawthorn, they’ve got Hodge and the Lions this week. How do you reckon Hodgey will go?
Adam West – I knew you‘d bring up Hawthorn. Can’t help yourself.
Stella SS – You brought them up, actually.
HB Meyers – I don’t think it’ll phase Hodge much. He has a job to do, and he’ll do it. Who would you send him to?
Adam West – Throw him on O’Brien. He usually doesn’t bother the statisticians much anyway.
Stella SS – You have to try to free him up. Will be odd to see him play the role of general against the Hawks.
Adam West – No angst from the Hawk players?
HB Meyers – Nah, not after what he achieved at the club.
Stella SS _ Agreed. Maybe a bit of friendly niggle, but no anger.
Adam West – I’d have him as a forward tag on Sicily. Maybe then you’d see a bit of aggro.
Stella SS – Sic is too good now. If it’s wet and becomes a slog, Hodge v Sicily would be fantastic, but if you get a good day, Sic will take 15 marks and be BOG.
HB Meyers – Spoken like a Hawthorn supporter.
Adam West – I hope Hodge decks him. How worried are you about O'Meara being out with a "calf"?
Stella SS - .... not at all. Yeah, not at all.
Adam West - Mmmm hmm.
TOP OF THE TABLE CLASH
Stella SS – Really looking forward to this. As it’s in Perth, you’ve gotta give the Eagles a massive chance.
Adam West – Especially as this is only the second time Richmond has played a team that finished in the eight last season. I was hoping we’d talk about this. They’ve had the softest draw I’ve ever seen for a reigning premier. They’ve played six of their eight games at the MCG and one at Docklands. They’ve travelled once and they’ve lost. Don’t worry about all the other games. This is their test. Now we see where the Tigers are at!
HB Meyers – Been cooking that one up for a while, Mr West?
Adam West – Yep, can’t stand when a team is spoon-fed an easy draw, particularly the reigning premier. The AFL wants them to do well, so they hand them an easy run to ensure they’re in the mix in September. It’s a disgrace.
HB Meyers – Thanks for joining us on the Mongrel Punt Conspiracy hour…
Stella SS – Does Rance go to Kennedy or Darling?
Adam West – Darling has been doing the damage.
HB Meyers – I’d have him float this week. Grimes to JK, and Astbury to Darling with Rance chopping them both out.
DO ADELAIDE’S INJURIES MEAN A CHANCE FOR THE DOGS?
Stella SS – Tex out again. Sloane out. No Crouch brothers again. McGovern a couple of months away. Do you think the Bulldogs sense an opportunity?
HB Meyers – I think there was one word too many in your last question. You should be asking ‘Do the Bulldogs smell?’ The answer is yes. They’ve won three in a row, but against nobodies. This week, they’re up against a well-drilled team. The Crows are too good even with all the injuries. Jenkins, Betts, Lynch, Atkins, Laird, and they have those two kids I’m loving this season – Dooedee and Darcy Fogarty.
Adam West – What’s with your man love for Fogarty? Hardly got a kick last time he played.
HB Meyers – Love the way he goes about it. An old-school player in the modern game. Looks like a kid not scared to mix it up. I want to see him have a breakout game.
Stella SS – Don’t underestimate the Dogs. They’re getting talent back now, and Macrae is running riot through the middle.
Adam West – He’d be right in the mix for AA right now.
NORTH AGAINST THE GIANTS IN TASSIE
Adam West – This would’ve been one the Giants pencilled in as a win at the start of the year.
Stella SS – In Tassie, this becomes a real battle. No one will be surprised if North beats them down there. Forecast is decent, so I’d like to see if the Giants can respond.
HB Meyers – Looking at the ladder, and the players GWS has out, the Giants could really fall back to the lower half of the ladder with a loss here. You think this is a case of winner making finals and loser starting to think about September holiday plans?
Adam West – Too early to tell, but 3-13 positions on the ladder are so congested. Whoever wins out of West Coast and Richmond will be a couple of games clear of the pack, and the pack is huge.
HB Meyers – They’re like the peloton chasing the breakaways in the Tour De France.
Stella SS – So we’re on North?
Adam West – I am.
HB Meyers – Could go either way, but I’d love to see North get up. Is Ben Cunnington now pushing for an AA berth after his record-breaking contested disposal game?
Stella SS - He'd be in the mix. Plenty of good mids going around but it's hard to ignore something like that.
Adam West - It sure is, but who goes out for him? I think Cotchin's game was just as good, but they were direct opponents for most of the day. Was Cunnington as damaging as Cotchin?
HB Meyers - He was great in the air. Took some strong marks. I'd give the points to Cunnington.
Stella SS - I'd give them to Cotchin., He was huge in the last quarter.
A SHANGHAI SURPRISE?
HB Meyers – Are you guys a fan of the China Experiment?
Adam West – It’s a good name for a film. But for four points, I’d prefer it was played here.
Stella SS – If it’s played here, it’s Port over GCS every day of the week, but travelling to China really muddies the waters.
HB Meyers – Yeah, I agree. It’s one of those ‘anything could happen here’ kind of situations. I saw Derm on AFL 360 before talking about the weather (and looking a little under it, himself) and he was saying it was 37 degrees there at the time.
Stella SS - He was pretty giggly.
Adam West – Advantage Gold Coast, then?
Stella SS – Except for the fact that Port has a vastly superior list. I still think Port rolls over them.
Stella SS – Lance Franklin being back is good for footy. Can take weeks off, play one game and still be right in the hunt for the Coleman. I hope he goes off.
HB Meyers – Looking forward to see how Alex Pearce handles him. He’s been fantastic this season.
Adam West – Maybe they’ll send him to Ronke?
Stella SS – Ha! What a story he was.
HB Meyers – Pearce v Franklin will be great, but I’m looking forward to seeing the Swans mids against the Fyfe and Neale combo. Those two have been fantastic.
Adam West – Kennedy’s 200th.
Stella SS – He’ll want a better game than last week. If it’s in WA, I’d give the Dockers a shot. At the SCG, I think the Swans win.
HB Meyers – Haven’t won at the SCG this season. This’ll be their first, though.
CAN THE SAINTS KICK STRAIGHT?
Adam West – I think you’ll find they can’t. They’re averaging 64 points a game in total. Eight and a half goals per game. Pathetic.
HB Meyers – You think there are bigger problems at St Kilda than kicking straight?
Stella SS – I do, but winning will wallpaper over those cracks. All they need is one good game and the heat goes off them a bit. Similar to the way it went off Carlton last week and onto Essendon.
Adam West – The Pies look too good, though. Their young players are up and about. Murray isn’t missing after Chris Mayne kneed him in the head, which is good. Murray looked really wonky after it. Classic Mayne.
HB Meyers – Was all a part of Mayne’s best game as a Magpie, too! Even kids like Appleby and Stephenson have been performing like veterans for the Pies. For all the doom and gloom about the Pies early, they’re playing good footy. That said, a surprise loss to the Saints and the blowtorch goes on them again.
DEES THE SLEEPERS?
Stella SS – Melbourne are an interesting team at the moment. They’re in that glut of teams from 3-13 but just seem to be flying under the radar.
HB Meyers – They haven’t really beaten anyone yet. Got smashed by the Tigers, smashed by the Hawks, and fell over against the Cats. The best team they’ve beaten is North.
Adam West – You reckon they’re downhill skiers?
HB Meyers – Was that intentional?
Adam West – Was what intentional?
HB Meyers – Never mind. They’ve got Carlton. You said Richmond have had an easy draw? Melbourne have won against Gold Coast, St Kilda, Essendon, North and Brisbane. I’m unimpressed as yet.
Stella SS – I haven’t heard anyone talk about that yet. This week they have the Blues, so really, if they win they’ve just beaten those they’re meant to beat, but their three losses have been against decent opposition.
Adam West – Viney back will add some hardness.
HB Meyers – They have the tools, but you still have to wonder how they’ll compete against the tougher teams.
Stella SS – We probably won’t find out this week.
EARLY BROWNLOW FAVOURITE
HB Meyers - Before we finish up, any thoughts on the front-runner for the Brownlow at this point?
Adam West – You’d still have money on Dusty. Does the things that stand out in a very balanced team compiling wins.
Stella SS – Tom Mitchell. Should have at least 7-8 votes after three rounds. Will take some catching.
HB Meyers – Give me Fyfe. He is the standout for me. Has been absolutely huge every time I’ve watched him this year. Might even get votes in a 77 point loss if Robert Walls is to be believed.