It’s FINALS TIME.
Anyone who listened to this week’s podcast knows how excited I am about this. I’m keen as a bean. It’s time to drive those work mates, school rivals and anyone and everyone else into the bloody dust.
And one of the most important parts of that is with your captaincy selection. You’ve got to nail it. We have to nail it. So let’s get stuck in.
RICHMOND vs GEELONG
Friday, 7.50PM, MCG
It’ll be a massive crowd at the colosseum of footy on Friday night as the eight is shaped and Geelong have a stake to put in their top four aspirations. But from a Supercoach standpoint – and from a captaincy standpoint – this game may as well be St Kilda vs Gold Coast being played in Kalgoorlie.
I mean Rhys Stanley has the highest projected score for this game, for goodness sake.
Geelong skipper Joel Selwood is being trialled in the backline and it’s killing his scores – to the point where you’d almost consider trading him out. Dustin Martin just isn’t getting the numbers to rack up big scores – not possessions, goals, nothing. I’d chuck the E on him to loop him that way if you can, not the VC.
Paddy Dangerfield is the popular option here, but his five scores above 130 have all come against weaker sides (bar Collingwood). He also only averages 105 against the Tigers.
On the POD front, Gary Ablett has played Richmond 10 times and his lowest score against them is 120. I’ll say that again – Ablett has played Richmond 10 times and his lowest score against them is 120. He averages 138 against them. He’s coming off a 138. What else do you want me to say here? The Tomahawk is also in a bit of a purple patch – will he get wrapped up by David Astbury? Or does he get lucky and tear Alex Rance to shreds? With his past two scores above 140, why the hell not?
HAWTHORN vs ESSENDON
Saturday, 1.45PM, MCG
Essendon haven’t really used taggers this year. You know who likes not being tagged? Tom Mitchell. Someone will go to him, or at least the Dons have indicated they’ll give him some pressure at the stoppages, but as much as I hate to admit it he will score and score big. Projected to hit 150. That said, he averages under 100 against the Dons. But he’s my VC and if you consider anyone else as VC in this game you’re a lunatic.
BRISBANE vs NORTH MELBOURNE
Saturday, 2.10PM, Gabba
There’s no Shaun Higgins in this match, because of course there isn’t. He’s sucked enough of us in just to burn us in finals. He’s played the longest of cons and mad props to him for this, but dang it Shaun. Dang it.
I wouldn’t touch either Stefan Martin or Todd Goldstein in this game – both might whack each other into the ground. Besides, Stef hasn’t been in ripping form and Todd hasn’t broken 110 in the past fortnight. Nah.
Dayne Beams and Dayne Zorko are big chances to go big if the Lions rack up a win, with my money on Beams, but ultimately they play at the same time as Tom Mitchell so it’s all academic, isn’t it?
ADELAIDE vs PORT ADELAIDE
Saturday, 4.10PM, Adelaide Oval
Who doesn’t love a good showdown? Even if you couldn’t give a stuff about either side, watching the Adelaide nuffies (which definitely does not include our dear Barron von Crow) is a spectacle in itself, except when they set of flairs, start fights or throw bananas at Indigenous players.
On second thoughts, let’s not go to Adelaide. ‘Tis a silly place.
The highest projected score in this game is 109 from Matt Crouch, who may well score 120 but will he? My perfect nine pick would be Charlie Dixon, but you’re not going to be picking him in a final as a captain.
Robbie Gray will either score 50 or 150, but his last captain-worthy score in a showdown was in 2016. I’m not backing him in here considering he’s averaging 71 over his past three, but he’s a big-game player and this is a big game, for him and for Port. Could explode, and if you jump on he could take you for a ride. Just be prepared for the lows as well as the highs.
ST KILDA vs WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday, 7.25PM, Etihad Stadium
Jack Macrae or flop about like a bit of a fish.
I was trying to make my own variation of ‘ride or die’ and it didn’t quite work, but regardless, my main man Macrae is your main man too, if ya got him. Won’t be playing in the wet this week obviously, but has two 140s at Etihad this season. A lot of 100-110s though, and is a chance to get attention from Jack Steele. That said, last time I remember Steele running with one of my captaincy selections, Patrick Cripps scored a lot of points. So yeah.
The Bont is also playing this game, but I wouldn’t back him in for a 130. Not confidently, anyway. Somehow Hayden Crozier is projected to score 134? Good on him, I guess. Do not captain him under any circumstances.
SYDNEY vs COLLINGWOOD
Saturday, 7.25PM, SCG
In a sentence I never thought I’d write, two of the best Supercoach ruckmen in Brodie Grundy and Callum Sinclair will go head-to-head this weekend. Grundy clearly comes out on top, simply because of my warped theory about the Cox curse meaning Grundy has to finish as the number one ruck because of course he has to. He’s the number three player in the game for a reason.
He’s the only option I reckon goes the distance for the Pies, but the Swans have a few options to go big. And considering they’re basically playing elimination finals from here on out, they’re going to have to go big. Jake Lloyd is the prime candidate here, despite any compunctions you might have about captaining a defender.
Josh P Kennedy is sort of good at football, I guess. But he’s only averaging 70 over his past three and I’m not backing him in. Luke Parker has been wishy-washy, so don’t go with him, but Isaac Heeney is someone who could land some midfield minutes this week and score … and then there’s Lance Franklin.
Buddy once scored 171 against the Pies. He also once scored 34 against them. In the form he’s in, you’d expect the 34 before the 171. That said, can you imagine winning an elimination final by backing him in for a 160? Can you picture it? If you can, you’re dreaming. Do. Not. Trust. This. Man.
Not now, not ever, and I won’t be spending any more time on it because every three months a Gold Coast Suns player is torn to shreds by the go-home factor.
CARLTON vs GWS
Sunday, 1.10PM, Etihad Stadium
A battle of two men – Patrick Cripps and Josh Kelly. Kelly has played at Etihad just once this season for a score of 116, and has a 98 and a 118 against the Blues from his past two starts. He has scored 130 two weeks on the trot, but the numbers I’m really interested in are the 146 and the 149 he racked up against Gold Coast and Brisbane.
Does he get a tag from Ed Curnow? I’m not sure it matters, Kelly loves bashing on the weaker sides in the comp, and what is Carlton but a weak side in the comp (apologies Carlton fans)?
However, take solace in that you’ve got future Brownlow medallist Patrick Cripps in your side, and (hopefully) in your Supercoach side. Putting aside his average average of 80 against the Giants, he’s averaging 150 in his past three and 130 in his past five. So yeah. He’s in a bit of form, and two of his five scores of 150+ have come in the past three weeks.
So who wins? Gut says Cripps. Head says Kelly. My sock hanging on the line says Kade Simpson, but I’m leaving it on the line for being an idiot. My head has had the better of the three this season, so Kelly. By a whisker.
MELBOURNE vs GOLD COAST
Sunday, 3.20PM, MCG
Maxwell Gawn. Five of his past six scores have been over 130. Has one score below 117 at the MCG this year. Up against Gold Coast. GOLD COAST. Lock him in, and if you don’t lock him in, lock Clayton Oliver in. Before his 101 last week he had 154, 136 and 127 in his previous three. He’s pretty good.
You know who’s not pretty good? Gold Coast.
WEST COAST vs FREMANTLE
Sunday, 4.40PM, Optus Stadium
I’ve run out of time to preview this game in depth, but Lachie Neale likes playing the Eagles with a 113 and a 124 in his past two and a 170n against the side back in the day. On the other hand, Elliot Yeo is going at 117 over his past five and his last score against Freo was a 150. He gets the nod for me.
PATCH’S TOP FIVE*
1. Tom Mitchell
2. Josh Kelly
3. Patrick Cripps
4. Max Gawn
5. Jack Macrae
6. Elliot Yeo
Smokie: Dayne Beams