AFL Beat 2019 Round 20

This week,

The Interim label is off!
Look at the birdie!
And someone didn’t have a good day…

Welcome to Balls of Steel’s AFL Beat!

Round 20 Recaps and Highlights

The field for finals is almost set. However, there are battles for positioning galore and four teams are still trying to lock up that last spot in the Eight. Let’s get right to it.

The first game had two teams in a Must Win scenario to keep their slim finals hopes alive. In essence, this was an early Elimination Final.

The North Melbourne Kangaroos made news this week when they took the interim label off of coach Rhyce Shaw and gave him a three-year deal

While the Hawks started the game well, the Roos slowly took over starting in the second quarter. They overcame the Hawks’ healthy lead and built one of their own that the Hawks couldn’t chase down. Here are the full game highlights:

North Melbourne Kangaroos 86 Hawthorn Hawks 64

The proper Friday Night game had the red-hot Essendon Bombers taking on the inconsistent Port Adelaide Power in Marvel Stadium. It must be really frustrating to be a Port fan because of how they can play really well one week and totally shitty the next.

This was apparently the week for the Power to play well as they completely dominated the Bombers from the start. The real question is whether they can do this for the rest of the year. If they do, they will be tough to beat in finals.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Essendon Bombers 67 Port Adelaide Power 126

Later, the GWS Giants hosted another edition of the Sydney Derby. Like most derbies, it was expected to be a tough match even though GWS is firmly in the Eight and Sydney is already thinking about next year.

As expected, it was a very close and well-fought game that came down to the last two minutes:

Here are the full-game highlights:

GWS Giants 83 Sydney Swans 81

Even later on Friday night, my Geelong Cats were in Perth to take on the Fremantle Dockers, who desperately needed a win to stay alive for finals.

The Dockers ended up playing probably their best game of the season in controlling the Cats’ midfield and holding their forward line down. It was a well-deserved win that keeps the Dockers in the finals conversation. Like the Power, however, they need to repeat this type of performance the rest of the year.

Here are the highlights:

Fremantle Dockers 95 Geelong Cats 61

The first of the two late late Friday night games had the Melbourne Demons “hosting” the Richmond Tigers at the MCG in a game that was over as soon as it started.

Now, that’s not exactly fair. The Demons did score some early goals and took an early lead. However, that was quickly erased by the Tigers before the first quarter finished.

The rest of the game was not as competitive and the Tigers romped to a healthy win. If you’re the betting type, a relatively safe bet would be to take the Tigers to win the Premiership this year. They are playing well and they won’t leave the MCG the rest of the year.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Melbourne Demons 60 Richmond Tigers 93

The last game of the night had the St. Kilda Saints traveling to Adelaide to take on the Crows and give themselves a better chance at finals. All they needed to do was win on the road and they would be right there.

Alas, it was an opportunity not taken as the Crows were able to handle the Saints with relative ease. As it is, the Saints’ season is over and the only suspense is whether they will finish 10th as Litre predicted.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Adelaide Crows 92 St. Kilda Saints 70

The first North American Saturday Night game was Collingwood’s opportunity to build percentage as the lowly Gold Coast Suns were coming to the MCG.

The game was a mirror of Gold Coast’s season as some early success led to a complete destruction. The Pies now have a real shot at a Double Chance.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Collingwood Magpies 120 Gold Coast Suns 51

The second of the Saturday night games had the resurgent Carlton Blues hosting the West Coast Eagles at Marvel Stadium. The Blues have won some games lately, but they haven’t exactly beaten heavyweights. This was a big test.

Unfortunately for Blues fans, Carlton is not all the way back as facing the #2 team at home was too tall a task for them. They did play well, but the game showed that they still have a ways to go before they are truly back to the level the fans and club expect.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Carlton Blues 75 West Coast Eagles 99

The last game of the Round had the Brisbane Lions looking to accomplish two things at once: Tie Geelong and West Coast on wins and put a dent in the Doggies’ finals aspirations.

The Lions are another team that will be difficult to beat come finals time. They were able to take care of business against a disappointing Bulldogs team that could not challenge the Lions until Brisbane’s captain, Dayne Zorko, went down with a hamstring injury.

Luckily for the Lions and Zorko, Brisbane hosts Gold Coast next week, so even if he misses a game, it should not affect them too much. The Lions have won 7 in a row and are looking very good.

Here are the full-game highlights:

Brisbane Lions 98 Western Bulldogs 80

Let’s take a look at the ladder, shall we?

1Geelong Cats145056130.5
2West Coast Eagles145056117.3
3Brisbane Lions145056116.5
4Richmond Tigers136052111.3
5GWS Giants127048121.5
6Collingwood Magpies127048113.2
7Essendon Bombers118044100.1
8Adelaide Crows109040108.7
9Port Adelaide Power910036106.1
10Western Bulldogs91003695.82
11Fremantle Dockers91003695.79
12Hawthorn Hawks81103298.4
13North Melbourne Kangaroos81103297.2
14St. Kilda Saints81103284.5
15Sydney Swans61302494.1
16Carlton Blues61302487.2
17Melbourne Demons51402079.9
18Gold Coast Suns31601264.8

Here is the Balls Graph:

Download (PDF, 258KB)

The list of contenders for the last finals spot has been effectively whittled down to positions 8 through 11.

It’s pretty likely that Adelaide will lose next week, so we could potentially have a four-way tie for that eighth spot.

I still think that the top seven teams are all locked in for finals. However, the battles for the Double Chance will get even more intense in these last three weeks.


Footy Tipping Contest

Here is where we are after Round Twenty:

Total TipsTotal Margin
3Son Of Spam711110514
5BC Dick741103665
6Dolph Ucker6599499
7Why Eagles Why53197520
8Yeah Right64495746
9Game Time Decision54493587
10Joliet Jake Delhomme71691679

Well done to everyone this week as the scores ranged from 5 to 7! Only Blax scored lower but that’s just because he forgot to put the footy tips in.

Remember that we go all the way through to the Grand Final, so there is still time to catch the leader and the person in front of you in the standings!



AFL Round 21

Here is the schedule for this week (all times Pacific):

Friday, August 9, 2019

2:50 AM (Late Thursday Night!) – GWS Giants v Hawthorn Hawks at UNSW Canberra Stadium

The Hawks lost last week, so their finals hopes are pretty much shot. Watch them win this week.

8:45 PM – Melbourne Demons v Collingwood Magpies at the MCG

The Demons are going to be cannon-fodder for the Pies, who are now back to winning form.

9:10 PM – Port Adelaide Power v Sydney Swans at Adelaide Oval

Port needs to continue winning in order to have any shot at finals. However, as I’ve said all season, the Swans play better on the road.

11:35 PM – Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast Suns at The Gabba

The Lions can pick up some valuable percentage points in this one to overtake the Eagles for a Top Two spot.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

2:25 AM – Essendon Bombers v Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium

The Doggies must win this one against the Bombers to give themselves any chance of finals.

2:25 AM – Geelong Cats v North Melbourne Kangaroos

This is a danger game for the Cats. After last week’s loss, they need to win, but the Roos are still mathematically alive and playing their best.

8:10 PM – St. Kilda Saints v Fremantle Dockers at Marvel Stadium

Both teams had a chance to keep their seasons alive last week and only Fremantle responded. They must win this one too.

10:20 PM – Richmond Tigers v Carlton Blues at the MCG

The Tigers are rolling and should easily take care of the Blues at home.

11:40 PM – West Coast Eagles v Adelaide Crows at Optus Stadium

This game shapes up as a Crows loss that should allow the other contenders to catch the Crows for the last spot in the Eight.


That’s all for this week! See you next week!


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Maybe one of these weeks I’ll actually pay attention and do better


If Cameron misses the Hawks game, then yes, Hawthorn will win.


I can’t believe how badly Essendon sucked. They were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked out there.


BFC is coming out of nowhere. Travel more and forget to put your tips in dammit.


I do my best work when it annoys other people.


I didn’t forget. Since going 0-fer, I’ve decided to let the computer play for me sometimes as a rolling point of reference.