Friday, August 5, 2011

AFL Preview Round 20

Last week 7/7 = 111/147 = 75.5%
Apparently it was no big deal that for 2 weeks in a row the preview has been error free with an amazing 15 correct selections from 15 games. Many tipsters probably got these picks right but conversely there would have been a lot that got a few wrong trying to catch up. I guess I have to put into context the difficulty of picking error free when the tips and the preview have been done while being in and travelling in another country. The 8/8 was astutely tipped while travelling to the Philippines and the 7/7 was even more amazing because I was lying on a bed at The Tavern Hotel in Surigao city about as far removed from AFL as you could imagine although having travelled a bit I could safely say that a few other countries come to mind with regard to the relevance of that remark. I guess if you were in the back blocks of West Africa you might be further removed as well as having no internet access.
Access actually was a problem because on the Sunday night I had to find an internet cafe in which to write my review. Providing ‘knowledgeable’ tips is a result of scouring the internet for AFL news. That system seems to work better than if I was in Oz living and breathing the game!
Currently I am sitting at a table poolside at Dottie’s Hotel in Butuan city in the province of Agusan Del Sur which is in Mindanao. The local TV is blaring out with some show in Tagalog, the national language, annoying because of the volume, I have just finished a meal of fried chicken after spending a few interesting minutes with the serving staff about what the temperature of beer should be when served to a foreigner and that a warm beer and a glass with ice is kind of unacceptable. So they agreed to put some beer in the fridge for me, the freezer actually, and hopefully the next one will have a calming influence. 3rd world countries provide 3rd world service and the tolerance levels at times needs a reality check. I have resorted to carrying my own knife around with me because of the penchant in the Philippines for doing everything with a spoon!
In the back blocks of the Philippines I have found some places of unbelievable beauty and yesterday was no exception. With a friend I took a tricycle and a bus to a place about an hour’s drive from Butuan heading towards Surigao. Past Santiago you get off the bus and take another tricycle to Jabonga (pronounced Habonga) a small village that sits on Lake Mainit. Oh, and what a pristine piece of countryside this is! Government owned facility there is laughingly called Lakeside Views but the place would require a bit of money to make it a dream holiday resort. Apparently this lake is the largest freshwater lake in the Philippines. It nestles inside a group of mountains or volcanic peaks I think rather than mountains as they are really not high enough to warrant that classification but are certainly higher than hills. The village has a couple of elementary schools and a medical centre and poverty is very apparent hence there is a marked lack of appreciation for a place like this that would attract tourists but in its current state does nothing for the locals. I will check out the local beaches in the next couple of days.
As we get to the end of the AFL season in 2011 there remains some serious shuffling between teams in the middle section of the ladder still vying for a finals appearance. Tips might get a little more difficult as teams get a little more desperate. Good luck!
St Kilda V Fremantle at Etihad Friday Night
There are a lot of statistics about these two teams and unfortunately for Freo they are all relevant. Never beaten the Saints at Etihad and never beaten the Saints in the past 7 games. Make that 8. Some cavalry returns for the Dockers might help their cause and they might even surprise the Saints but the clever tip remains with St Kilda.
St Kilda by 33
Geelong V Gold Coast at Skilled Saturday
It’s possible that Geelong might present another score line similar to last week against Melbourne. However, the Suns have shown themselves to be more competitive than the Demons and had they not kicked badly last week they might have almost beaten the Saints. Ablett returns to Skilled playing for the opposition and there might be more interest in the crowd reaction to that than the final score line.
Geelong by 88
Carlton V Melbourne at the MCG Saturday
Some of the craziest turn-arounds have occurred when a team gets thrashed by over 100 points one week then comes out and wins against all odds the following week. This won’t be one of those occasions. The massive loss last week by the Demons resulted in the dismissal of coach Dean Bailey. It was inevitable as no club that has shown so much promise and has so many 1st draft picks can afford a display like last week. Todd Viney is unlucky that his debut coaching day will be against Carlton.
Carlton by 61
Essendon V Sydney at Etihad Saturday
This is certainly one of the tougher games to pick this weekend even though the form of the Bombers in the past two weeks has seen them beaten by 74 points by both Collingwood and Carlton. The Swans and the Bombers are two of the teams fighting for that 8th spot so it will be a game of desperation for Essendon particularly because a loss here will put the Swans 2 games clear.
Swans by 6
Port Adelaide V Collingwood at AAMI Saturday
Considering their ladder positions and current form as well the game is a mismatch. It’s impossible to tip the Power in this game even though their champion Chad Cornes is retiring after the game and the boys will want to put in a good one for him. No fairy tale ending for Chad I’m afraid.
Collingwood by 74
Brisbane V Adelaide at the Gabba Sunday
The Crows performed splendidly for the new coach last week and they should take heart from that game to meet the Lions with confidence. Brisbane has kind of been there and kind of been missing some weeks but they are in about the same bracket as the Crows development wise and talent wise. Home team is the pick.
Brisbane by 14
Hawthorn V North Melbourne at AuroraSunday
North did very well against the Blues last week and was in the game until into the last quarter. They should do well again but this time it’s the other top 4 contender Hawthorn and the Hawks have been pretty impressive of late. It’s doubtful they will let this one slip but they have to be careful.
Hawthorn by 28
West Coast Eagles V Richmond at Paterson on Sunday
The Tigers have been uber disappointing this season after a promising start. They don’t mind playing at Subiaco but will meet a determined West Coast team who is still in the running for that double chance in the finals. Have to stick with the Eagles but it could be a surprise if West Coast lets down their guard.
West Coast by 39

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