BigFooty AFL News and Forum Wed, 20 Feb 2019 13:59:59 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 St Kilda Confident of Bouncing Back from an Underwhelming Campaign Wed, 20 Feb 2019 08:08:06 +0000 Going into the 2018 AFL campaign, there was a faint whiff of optimism surrounding St Kilda’s chances of challenging for the end-of-season play-offs. That pre-season positivity was soon to be a distant memory as the Saints laboured to just four wins and one draw and, as a result, found themselves third bottom in the table. However, with first competitive action of 2019 approaching, the club look to be in decent shape heading into the forthcoming campaign and are aiming to bounce back from their truly torrid twelve months. 

Source: Sporting New Australia via Twitter

St Kilda have re-installed Jarryn Geary as captain for 2019, and the 30-year old is confident that the club can bounce back from last year’s disappointment. He described the 2018 season as an “aberration” and believes that the club will be helped by their summer rebuild. He told reporters that he “has great faith in the group” and was very confident that the club will “turn it around”. 

Ahead of last year’s horror show, the Saints were being talked about as potential underdogs. They could be big improvers this time around however and look far better equipped for a play-off challenge. They are available at 7.00 in the latest AFL betting for a top eight finish this year, and that appears to be a realistic target for the Victorian outfit. 

Prior to last season, the club had looked to be heading in the right direction, and Geary genuinely believes that they can get back on track in 2019. 

St Kilda open up against Gold Coast and are rightly favourites to get off to a winning start on March 24th. New recruit Dan Hannebery is confident that he will be ready for the season opener, but he will need to ensure that he’s shaken off his hamstring niggle, which has plagued him throughout pre-season. It isn’t the first time in his career that persistant injuries have hindered his development with his time at Sydney beset by fitness issues. 

Source: Triple M Footy via Twitter

The new recruit has been unveiled as part of the club’s leadership group alongside Seb Ross, Tim Membrey, Dylan Robertson and the aforementioned Jarryn Geary. He signed a multimillion-dollar five-year deal with the club, and big things are expected from the 27-year old this year. He will help add some much-needed experience to the squad and many of the younger players will undoubtedly benefit from his presence. The average age of 2018’s squad was 23 and a half, and they entered the campaign as the joint-second youngest side. 

There are a plethora of new names in this year’s squad as well as a couple of additions to the coaching staff with Brett Ratten and Brendon Lade joining from Hawthorn and Port Adelaide respectively. Graeme Allen also arrived at the club in October 2018 to take up an advisory role. 

There have also been a number of outgoings during the summer months with Sam Gilbert ending his 13-year association with the Saints, and Tom Hickey joining West Coast at the end of last year. 

St Kilda are determined to draw a line under their disappointing campaign and make a fresh start in 2019. The club has undergone a significant shake-up during the off-season, and fans and players alike are confident that their side can bounce back from a truly underwhelming twelve months. 

AFLW Round 2 Teams: Cats Boosted, Crow Spearhead Named Thu, 07 Feb 2019 09:58:41 +0000 Greater Western Sydney v North Melbourne at Drummoyne Oval, 7.15pm AEDT


B: P.Randall 21, E.Swanson 17, P.Monahan 28
HB: A.Farrugia (c), 18 T.Hetherington 9, E.Brush 10
C: A.Eva 2
HF: J.Dal Pos 7, J.Barclay 34, H.Zreika 24
F: C.Bernardi 4, C.Staunton 13, Y.Bonner 27
Foll: E.McKinnon 23, C.Gum 26, R.Beeson 6
I/C: N.Barr 8, L.Stephenson 12, E.Bennetts 22, A.Parker 3, B.Perry 19         
Emg: M.Collier 14, T.Mackrill 32

In: E.Brush, J.Barclay, B.Perry
Out: J.Hicks, A.Schmidt (injured), M.Collier


B: T.Randall 16, J.Grierson 19, E.Humphries 6
HB: B.Gibson 18, D.Hardiman 31, J.Duffin 27
C: E.Kearney (c) 9
HF: K.Gillespie-Jones 5, J.Garner 25, J.Bruton 35
F: S.Abbatangelo 1, M.Hope 23, K.Ashmore 10
Foll: Emma King 60, J.Stanton 17, A.Riddell 7
I/C: N.Bresnehan 12, J.Trend 21, Elisha King 4, A.Drennan 8, D.Bateman 11           
Emg: C.Munn 13, C.Haines 29

In: Elisha King
Out: G.Nanscawen 

Collingwood v Melbourne at Victoria Park, 4.45pm AEDT


B: J.Allen 6, A.Brazill 10, I.Ross 21
HB: S.Livingstone 12, S.Casey 22, E.Grant 5
C: E.Hynes 11
HF: G.Gourlay 32, S.D’Arcy 4, K.Lynch 16
F: S.Rowe 7, M.Cann 25, C.McIntosh 20
Foll: S.Layton 1, S.Chiocci (c) 17, J.Lambert 13
I/C: R.Schleicher 18, L.Butler 23, S.Dargan 46, B.Bonnici 8, E.Fowler 15      
Emg: H.Whitford 28, M.Shevlin 35

In: E.Hynes, K.Lynch
Out: K.Stratton (injured), S.Alexander (injured)       


B:  M.Downie 2, H.Cordner 21, C.Emonson 11
HB: S.Lampard 8, C.Phillips 35, K.Smith 13
C: E.O’Dea (c) 5
HF: M.Gay 3, S.Scott 12, A.Newman 16
F: E.Zanker 29, T.Cunningham 1, K.Hore 10
Foll: L.Pearce 15, L.Mithen 14, K.Paxman 4
I/C: B.Jakobsson 7, T.Hanks 28, A.Kemp 36, A.Guest 17, A.Woodland 19
Emg: M.Guerin 22, B.Patterson 24 

In: A.Kemp, A.Guest
Out: S.Sloane (injured), C.Whitfort

Western Bulldogs v Geelong at VU Whitten Oval, 7.15pm AEDT 


B: L.Birch 18, L.Spark 11, B.Hunt 21
HB: N.Ferres 16, T.Ernst 19, H.Scott 22
C: K.Lamb 27
HF: N.Callinan 10, K.Brennan 3, B.Toogood 28
F: K.McLeod 6, E.Mackie 25, A.Utri 23
Foll: K.Rennie 24, M.Conti 8, E.Blackburn (c) 2
I/C: C.Moody 13, E.Brown 9, A.Gogos 36, D.Berry 7, A.McCarthy 15           
Emg: B.Smith 12, S.Karlson 26

In: A.McCarthy
Out: B.Smith


B: A.Teague 40, R.Goring (c) 44, C.Blakeway 4
HB: D.Taylor 28, M.McDonald 11, R.Webster 21
C: R.Garing 12 
HF: N.Morrison 9, M.Boyd 26, S.Van De Heuvel 27
F: K.Darby 8, P.McWilliams 23, J.Ivey 5
Foll: A.O’Connor 14, J.Crockett-Grills 6, O.Purcell 16
I/C: E.Hoare 46, M.Clifford 7, M.McMahon 24, D.Orr 2, M.Keryk 45            
Emg: M.Fogas 13, G.Clarke 17           

In: P.McWilliams, E.Hoare
Out: G.Rankin, M.Fogas

Carlton v Adelaide at Ikon Park, 4.05pm AEDT


B: S.Hosking 10, K.Harrington 9, N.Stevens 21 
HB: G.Pound 6, B.Davey (c) 1, L.Brazzale 12
C: G.Gee 19  
HF: M.Prespakis 4, T.Harris 7, D.Vescio 3
F: K.Bentley 13, A.Downie 30, N.Plane 32
Foll: B.Moody 16, K.Loynes 2, C.Dalton 15
I/C from: J.Hosking 11, J.Van Dyk 36, S.Audley 26, A.Barden 8, J.Edwards 25, B.Walker 14, R.Watt 22 

In: G.Gee, B.Walker, R.Watt
Out: T.Lucas-Rodd 


B: A.Foley 3, S.Allan 39, S.Thompson 14
HB: D.Cox 31, C.Randall 26, C.Cramey 22
C: E.Marinoff 10           
HF: M.Rajcic 32, A.Hatchard 33, A.Considine 16
F: C.Scheer 4, E.Phillips (c) 13, J.Mules 23
Foll: J.Foley 24, D.Varnhagen 9, R.Forth 27
I/C from: H.Martin 6, M.Nankivell 12, S.Perkins 28, E.Jones 2, S.Li 19, S.Riley 8, D.Ponter 15

In: S.Perkins, S.Riley, D.Ponter
Out: J.McCormick (managed)

Fremantle v Brisbane at Fremantle Oval, 3.05pm AWST


B: E.Gooch 8, T.Bresland 5, A.Stannett 24
HB: A.Williams 9, E.Antonio 12, P.Seth 18
C: S.Cain 20             
HF: K.Gibson 21, G.Houghton 27, G.O’Sullivan 22
F: H.Miller 19, A.Sharp 1, K.Bowers 2
Foll: P.Laurie 11, D.Hooker 17, K.Donnellan (c) 15
I/C from: S.Duffy 6, K.Grieve 13, L.Pugh 32, L.Mascall 14, M.Caulfield 10, C.Stubbs 4, A.Atkins 37

In: C.Stubbs, A.Atkins
Out: –            


B: S.Virgo 5, S.Webb 4, N.Exon 15
HB: S.Campbell 20, L.Kaslar (c) 11, K.Lutkins 13
C: E.Pittman 19          
HF: L.Arnell 16, M.Dowrick 33, E.Zielke 8
F: J.Wuetschner 23, S.Frederick-Traub 14, J.Zanchetta 7
Foll: J.Tawhiao-Wardlaw 30, E.Bates 1, A.Anderson 18
I/C from: A.Clarke 21, P.Parker 10, L.Bella 32, N.Grider 17, K.McCarthy 9, T.Groves-Little 26, G.Collingwood 28 

In: N.Grider, T.Groves-Little
Out: –

AFLX Draft: Who Fyfe, Danger, Eddie and Jack Chose Wed, 06 Feb 2019 11:37:33 +0000 The first inaugural AFLX draft was held tonight with the four captains of the revamped competition having their picks.

Eddie Betts had the #1 pick for his team Deadly, which is made up entirely of Indigenous players, and chose Fremantle running machine Bradley Hill.

The Flyers have a monster midfield thanks to the choices of captain Nathan Fyfe. Josh Kennedy, Marcus Bontempelli, Stephen Coniglio and Scott Pendlebury should be a dynamic side that are hard to beat to the ball.

Patrick Dangerfield showed some Cats bias picking spearhead Tom Hawkins with the second pick and Mark Blicavs to run through the midfield.

Team Rampage have an all GWS backline with Jack Riewoldt choosing Phil Davis and Lachlan Whitfield to hold down defence. Wingers Dayne Zorko and Isaac Smith will be as hard to contain as any.

AFLX will be held as a tournament at Marvel Stadium on Friday February 22 from 7pm AEDT.

Full Draft

Round 1


Round 2


Round 3

Round 4


Round 5


Round 6


Round 7


STEAL (Originally selected by Rampage)

Round 8

STEAL (Originally selected by Bolts)

Round 9

Midfielder STEAL (Originally selected by Flyers)

Round 10


Round 11


AFLW Season Three About to Launch Wed, 06 Feb 2019 09:00:03 +0000 The third season of women’s Australian Football League (AFLW) is about to get underway with two new teams taking part –  North Melbourne and Geelong. AFLW is still relatively new having started just three years ago in 2017. It began with just eight teams taking part, so this season’s addition will take the total number of teams participating up to ten.

The increase of teams and therefore matches is to be welcomed, but it is a shame the body in charge of Australian Rules Football, the AFL, are not really promoting the women’s game as well as they ought to be. In fact, just they seem to be doing just the opposite.

The year before the AFLW came into being the AFL launched AFLX. For the uninitiated AFLX is a condensed version of the full length Australian Rules Football game. There are two halves each of which last ten minutes, with a 2-minute break in between.

Each participating AFLX team can field seven players at any one time, and they are allowed a further three players per side on the benches. Rotations are unlimited.

The whole ethos behind AFLX was to widen the appeal of Australian Rules football and create new interest in a wider audience. However, it has not been successful either as far as fans of the sport are concerned or the sports media.

Richard Hinds, a prominent sports journalist who works for ABC Grandstand, is a leading voice in having this option of Aussie Rules Football dropped. He holds no punches when he labels it as a hollow game that has no atmosphere, without any appeal, and pressure free. He calls it an “oval in a rectangle hole yawn-fest”.

Unfortunately, The AFL seems determined to carry on supporting this mini version of the real thing, maintaining that AFLX may appeal to an audience that is not used to watching games that last as long a regular AFL Premiership matches do.

The pity about all this is that if it were to be dropped it would enable money to be channeled into AFLW, especially bearing in mind that it is entering only its third season. The AFLX format is a pre-season tournament that currently consists of only four teams.

Last year the entire AFLX tournament was watched by just under 43,000 spectators. By comperison, one AFLW match – the game between Freemantle Dockers and Collinwood was watched by slightly under 42,000.

It seems rather short-sighted of the AFL to split funding and audiences when the AFLW format is gathering pace and interest. Watching sport and sports betting is enormously popular in Australia, whether its tennis, horse racing or AFL etc. A stable, healthy AFLW can contribute significantly to the enjoyment of both spectators and bettors.

Inequality in sport, in general, is still rife in many areas and AFLW is a huge case in point. Even having recently had a 38% pay increase, the life of women players is substantially different to that of their male counterparts, with female players still being forced to hold down a job at the same time as playing footy.

But politics aside, the new season is about to kick-off with heightened interest following the addition of the two new teams mentioned earlier and a further four new additions being talked about for next season.

The fight is well and truly on to build a sustainable AFLW with 100% professional female players.

Supercoach: Who’s Fit and Who’s Flying Fri, 01 Feb 2019 09:29:56 +0000 AFLW Tipping 2019, Win A Year’s Platinum Membership Fri, 01 Feb 2019 09:10:40 +0000 Which teams could climb into the top eight in 2019? Thu, 31 Jan 2019 22:38:52 +0000


To say 2018 did not go to plan for the Adelaide would be an understatement. The Crows entered the 2018 campaign with the hope going one step better than they did the year prior when they fell to Richmond by 48 points in the Grand Final.

Despite losing Charlie Cameron and Jake Lever to rival clubs, the Crows bolstered their team ny acquiring Bryce Gibbs from Carlton.

The Crows lost to Essendon in their first game of the season and from there they struggled to get their season up and running. Four successive defeats from rounds 10 to 13, including a 91 point humiliation to Melbourne made it inevitable that the Crows would miss the finals.

Added to their on-field woes were the reports of player disharmony after a much publicised pre-season that was suppose to “unlock the next frontier of high performance”.

But with the turbulence of 2018 behind them, the Crows could be on track to return to the top eight in 2019.

The Crows will benefit from a favourable fixture, which according to Champion Data is the second easiest in the competition.

They will also be bolstered by the returns of Brodie Smith and Brad Crouch, who missed all but two games in 2018.

Taylor Walker was a player weighed down by expectations last season and only managed to kick 26 goals in 14 games. With Rory Sloane appointed co-captain for 2019, Walker could be unleashed and return to his best form.


Not many teams enter a season with as much anticipation as Essendon despite the Bombers failing to make the finals in 2018.

Last season the Bombers struggled to find a winning formula that included big-name recruits Jake Stringer Devon Smith and Adam Saad.

The Bombers also had to deal with a hefty injury toll, which included star forward Joe Daniher whose season was cut short by a groin injury. 

A strong end to the campaign has given Bombers fans a taste for what could happen in 2019. Aaron Francis cemented his place in the Bombers lineup, playing the final five games of the season as a defender and averaging 13.2 disposals and 6.4 marks.

The Bombers will also be buoyed by the recruitment for Dylan Shiel from GWS. Shiel is one of the games elite inside midfielders and will help reduce the burden on Dyson Heppell and Zac Merrett.

In 2017, the Bombers ranked best for scoring once inside 50, doing so from 50.4 per cent of their entries. Last year this figure dropped to seventh with a percentage of 45.3 per cent. An increase in efficiency with the return of Daniher will prove key in the Bombers hopes of making the finals.

As these numbers go to show, many AFL fans are turning to betting to gain the best odds for the best return. And while not all betting sites offer wagering on AFL markets, some of the biggest online bookies, such as Ladbrokes, William Hill or 888Sport do – offering great prices, bonuses. Live streaming is also available, however, many bookies only offer match live streaming on their desktop sites, while mobile sites and apps lack this feature – you can check a list of betting apps that support live streaming on Note that you will usually be required to place a minimum bet of $1 on the game you want to see.

Port Adelaide

Like their cross-town rivals, Port Adelaide suffered a disappointing 2018 campaign. Big things was expected of the Power after they went on a massive recruitment spree during the 2017 off-season.

The Power began the year with three wins in a row before their performances began to flutter.

Four defeats in a row to end the season saw the Power finish 10th, a game and percentage outside the top eight.

At the end of the season, Port signalled the need to revitalise their squad by acquiring draft picks in return for players such as Chad Wingard.

The recruitment of Ryan Burton is seen as a positive step to revitalizing the ageing list, while Travis Boak relinquishing the captaincy further outlines the need for change at the club,

Ken Hinkley has shown previously he is a coach that performs best when he is coaching a developing side.

The Power could surprise a few this season and make the finals.

Western Bulldogs

Could the Western Bulldogs make the Grand Final, let alone the finals in 2019?

The Bulldogs finished 13th in 2018, the same position Richmond finished in 2016 and Collingwood in 2017. Richmond went on to win the Grand Final the following season, while the Magpies were a goal away from following suit.

After winning the 2016 Grand Final, the Bulldogs have been in the wilderness, failing to the make the top eight in the two years after their premiership triumph.

A lack of motivation in the playing group in the wake of the premiership triumph has seen Luke Beveridge cull the deadwood and revitalise the list with up and coming youngsters.

In their heartbreaking three-point defeat to Richmond in the final game of the season, youngsters such as Billy Gowers, Patrick Lipinski and Ed Richards showed they have what it takes to go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the competition.

Developing the youngsters has given the Bulldogs the best possible chance of clinching the holy grail again.

The additions of Sam Lloyd and Taylor Duryea will give the young Bulldogs the leadership they need to push for a spot in the top eight.

Stream Every AFLW Game Live Wed, 30 Jan 2019 02:36:40 +0000 SIGN UP AND BE WATCHING THE ACTION IN MINUTES AT KAYO SPORTS

The third installment of the NAB AFLW kicks off on February 2 and Kayo, Australia’s new multi-sport streaming service, will have every game plus the Grand Final LIVE.

The 2019 season will run for seven rounds, with the preliminary finals taking place on March 23. The NAB AFLW kicks off the footy season and leads straight into the JLT Community Series (starts February 28) and the 2019 Toyota AFL Premiership season (starts March 21).

The expanded competition sees two new teams join the league with North Melbourne and the Geelong Cats joining eight other teams competing for the premiership cup in the biggest season yet.

A massive double-header launches the action when the newcomers Geelong Cats face Collingwood before defending champions, Adelaide Crows go head-to-head with the Western Bulldogs.

Stream Every Game Live

Sports fans won’t have to miss a minute of the action with Kayo’s game-changing features like ‘SplitView’, ‘No Spoilers’ and ‘Key Moments’.

The ‘SplitView’ function allows Kayo subscribers the ability to watch up to four different videos, games or shows on web, tablet devices and selected casting to TVs – and two videos simultaneously on mobile, all on the one screen. This means footy lovers can watch AFLW matches with other sports at the same time.

With Kayo’s ‘No Spoilers’ function, AFLW fans who have missed a match can have pre-game peace of mind by switching off the scores and jumping in to watch the action as if it were live.

Kayo’s ‘Key Moments’ feature will also be available for the AFLW, which means fans will get quick access to all the match highlights. Selected from the video player timeline, users can easily jump between any ‘Key Moment’ and the live action.

Users can also personalise their Kayo account by selecting the codes and teams they want to follow, with notifications reminding them when the big game is about to start.

Kayo’s ‘Feb for a Fiver’ promotion is still running (ends 4th of February), and offers new customers who sign up until 4 February 2019 an entire month of Kayo Basic for just five dollars.

With over 50 sports, Kayo features the biggest Australian sports including cricket, rugby league, rugby union and motorsports, as well as the best from overseas like basketball, gridiron, football, golf and tennis – plus additional content exclusive to Kayo.

All this non-stop sport can be streamed on iOS and Android devices, laptop, PC and on TV with Telstra TV, Apple TV and Chromecast Ultra.

New customers who sign up until 4 February can get Kayo for just $5 for the month of Feb* – and then continue enjoying over 50 sports plus more than 30,000 hours of content each year for $25 a month.

Talk AFLW on the BigFooty Women’s Footy Forum

*New customers who sign up between 30 January – 31 January, will be billed in advance for their March subscription at 12.01am on 28th of February.

Requires internet & compatible device. Data charges apply. SplitView not available on Telstra TV.

Your Club’s Pre-Season Update Sat, 26 Jan 2019 07:23:37 +0000


Big Year Ahead: Wayne Milera is looking to build on his great 2018 winning the 2km time trial.

New Additions: Mature-age recruit Shane McAdam has been called “player to watch” in 2019 by coach Don Pyke.

Injury concern: Crows fans will groan knowing Brad Crouch already has an injury. This time it’s just a minor foot issue.


Big Year Ahead: Jarrod Berry is looking bigger across the shoulders and running better than anyone at the club.

New Additions: Former Bulldog Marcus Adams has been hampered by knee injuries.

Injury concern: Ruck Stefan Martin is back from injury and should be fit for the season opener.


Big Year Ahead: Expect a big year from big man Harry McKay who has been working on his kicking skills and shown great dedication to improvement.

New Additions: Former GWS Giants mid Will Setterfield is recovering well from his ACL and should join the main group in February.

Injury concern: Mitch McGovern is still on a restricted routine due to a back fracture.


Big Year Ahead: Is this the year Jamie Elliott finally returns? No setbacks so far but the Collingwood forward line is harder to get a stop in than it used to be.

New Additions: Boomerang Pie Dayne Beams has had a big influence of the club’s young mids.

Injury concern: Brodie Grundy has a sore foot after it was trod on during training.


Big Year Ahead: Darcy Parish has added size and will be looking to become one of the Bomber’s key ball-winners this year.

New Additions: Small forward Irving Mosquito looks quick and skilled on the track but perhaps too slight to be playing in 2019.

Injury concern: Continuing to struggle with OP Joe Daniher is unlikely to play rd 1.


Big Year Ahead: Mid turned half-back Connor Blakely has eyes on becoming a midfielder once more in light of Lachie Neale’s departure.

New Additions: Former Richmond mid Reece Conca has already found himself in Freo’s leadership group.

Injury concern: Silky mid Stephen Hill hasn’t run in two months since his quad surgery.

Outside shots for AFL success in 2019 Tue, 15 Jan 2019 13:06:11 +0000
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 15: Leon Cameron, Senior Coach of the Giants looks on during the 2018 AFL Second Semi Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the GWS Giants at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 15, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

The new AFL season is still two months away, but already there are those who are confidently saying that Richmond have all but won it. Melbourne, along with last year’s Grand Finalists West Coast and Collingwood, make up the teams deemed most likely to give them a run for their money.

But it is a long season, and if we can be sure of one thing it is that it will throw up some surprises. As we countdown the final weeks before things get underway, bookmakers like Unibet will be offering a host of tempting promotions, so which outside shots might be worth a dollar or two of your money?

Geelong Cats

Here’s a team that is always there or thereabouts. Last year was a transitional one, and saw the dream team of Dangerfield, Ablett and Selwood come together for the first time. Eighth in the table might not look any better than mediocre, but if a couple of tight results had gone the other way, they could easily have finished third. The team has a great blend of youth and experience, and while it’s questionable whether they quite have the all round team to sustain a season-long challenge, they could beat anyone on their day.

Greater Western Sydney Giants

The Giants are still seen by the more established teams as the new kids on the block. That can work in their favour when the opposition underestimate the undoubted talent in their ranks, but the problem is that they sometimes seem to see themselves in the same terms. Last year had some great moments, including their demolition of Richmond and their victory over Sydney in the elimination final. If they can string these bright points into a consistent run of form, they could be one of the big surprises of 2019.

Essendon Bombers

Pundits love talking about “a season of two halves,” and that is certainly what the Bombers encountered in 2018. A disastrous start to the season, in which they lost six of their first eight games, was followed by an astonishing run that saw them win 10 of the next 14 fixtures. The Bombers have made some shrewd acquisitions during the off season, in the shape of Dyson Heppell, Zach Merrett and David Zaharakis, meaning they will have one of the most formidable midfields in the league. Is that enough to worry the top teams? If the second half of last year is anything to go by, it certainly could be.

Fremantle Dockers

The Jekyll and Hydes of the AFL mixed some top class performances and professional wins with an equal number of truly awful displays last year. This is another team that has bolstered its ranks, and Reece Conca and Rory Lobb will be able to take some of the weight from Nat Fyfe’s shoulders. If the team can coalesce and eliminate some of the schoolboy errors and bad days that dogged 2018, they could emerge as the biggest surprise package of the 2019 season.

7 Players Who Could Have Big Comebacks in 2019 Thu, 10 Jan 2019 05:32:33 +0000 1. Jack Viney

Hard-nosed Demon Jack Viney was kept to just 10 games in 2018 due to ongoing foot issues. Even though the Melbourne midfield is deep his value to the side as captain of the club is immense. Look for him to reinstate his position as one of the best clearance mids in the game in 2019.

2. Aaron Hall

Is a change of scenery all the Tasmanian needs to turn his career around? Hall was one of the predominant metre-gained midfielders in the competition over the 2016 and ’17 seasons but injuries and a fall from favour of new coach Stuart Dew saw him seek out a trade to North Melbourne at the end of last season. The Kangaroos will be hoping the forward-turned-midfielder will regain his best form and add some needed speed and class to their side.

3. Nic Naitanui

Would be a second go at a comeback for Naitanui. 2018 was supposed to be the triumphant return from his first ACL and tragically he did a second. There are few more rewarding players to watch, and he’s a real professional and likely to rehab his knee perfectly, so fingers crossed Nic Nat can return to his best and take on Grundy and Gawn for title of the AFL’s best ruck.

4. Rory Sloane

The widely admired Adelaide midfielder had the year from hell last season. Personal tragedy, injury, contract speculation, club scandal and Adelaide’s poor on-field performances stacked on top of each which saw the Crows missing out on finals after making the Grand Final the previous year and Sloane finishing on only 12 games. With fellow Crows Brodie Smith and Brad Crouch also due to have better luck with injury in 2019 this year could be the fairytale to redeem Sloane’s nightmare.

5. Toby Greene

Arguably the greatest heel and small forward currently in the AFL, Toby Greene was unable to get up to much villainy or kick many goals in 2018 due to foot problems. A crucial part of the GWS forwardline it is looking like a tough road back fro Toby as his ankle failed to heal over the off-season and he went in for surgery in November.

6. Dan Hannebury

After his best football dropped away in 2017 things really came undone for Dan this year. Will a change of scenery at St Kilda be what the hard-running mid needs or has his body just taken too much of a battering over the years? He’s on a five year contract so there is less pressure to perform in 2019 and that might be just what he needs.

7. Chad Wingard

One of the biggest trade shocks in recent history saw Chad Wingard at Hawthorn and Ryan Burton unceremoniously shunted off to Port Adelaide. Wingard, the two-time All Australian is only 25 but in a (comparative) mid-career slump. The Hawks have gotten the best out of many a former opposition player and The Chad is definitely one to watch this year.

How Your Club Wants to Start 2019 Mon, 31 Dec 2018 07:11:15 +0000 Adelaide

Without a scandal. As as long as the blindfolds and CDs of other clubs theme songs are out of reach the Crows should be on the rebound this year.


With vigour. The young Lions should be putting no limit on what they can achieve this year.


In cotton wool. With major injuries to Docherty, Pickett and McGovern already sustained before Christmas the last thing the Blues need is another player going down.


With eyes set on the road ahead. The Pies are major flag chances this year. After a bitter Grand Final loss it’s time to end the introspection and start believing again.


With cohesion. Last year the Bombers new-look side took too long to gel. This year round they need to put their best foot forward from the start.


With hope again. Been a couple of hard years for Fremantle since they fell from the top of the ladder in 2015. Jesse Hogan as a focal point up forward could make a world of difference.


With optimism. Many have written off Geelong after their disastrous end to the season. But Ablett is still there. Kelly didn’t leave. Still reasons to believe.

Gold Coast 

Quietly. Gold Coast has had enough (negative) press in the off-season, they will just want their massively turned over squad working hard to get to know each other and improve.

Greater Western Sydney 

With Josh Kelly’s signature on paper.

Australia Faces a Monumental Task on Day Four Sat, 29 Dec 2018 02:32:22 +0000 The 2018 Boxing Day Test has gone right in every way for India and disastrously thus far for the Australians. After failing to bowl out the tourists during the first two days, Australia was quickly dismissed for 151 with non-conventional fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah taking 6-33.

India were able to declare again at 8-106 and even though Pat Cummins recorded his career best numbers. After he had dispatched India’s two most dangerous batsmen in Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara he was sitting on 4/2 and finished all up on 6/27 before Kohli sent his men back out into the field to finish the job.

When Harris and Finch walked onto the pitch they were staring at a 398 run deficit to chase down. A feat no team has ever achieved at the MCG. Australia had the best part of six sessions to retain their wickets if any other result but a loss was to be possible.

Finch went cheaply poking at a ball from Bumrah that would have gone much better off left alone considering the circumstances. He was caught in the slips by captain Kohli while just on 3 runs.

Harris didn’t depart much later, a ball from Ravindra Jadeja hit the rough and caught Harris off-guard which was caught at short leg by
Mayank Agarwal.

Usman Khawaja and Shaun Harris, the team’s two most experienced batsmen now hold the weight of the match, the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and Australia’s chance of winning the series upon their shoulders.

Follow the test live on Big Footy’s Cricket board

The Inexorable Decline of Manchester United Tue, 11 Dec 2018 09:37:20 +0000 Enough column inches have been devoted to the mixed fortunes of Manchester United in recent times, with Jose Mourinho’s woes generating headlines from Salford to Sydney. As most United fans are, painfully, aware, the troubles of the club are not just about lacking quality in certain areas on the pitch, but rather encompass the full spectrum of what’s wrong with modern global football.

Is that too harsh an assessment for a team that finished second in the Premier League last year? Who won the Europa League just a couple of seasons ago? Perhaps. But even when achieving those, admittedly secondary, goals fans have been acutely aware that all was not right. That second-place finish in the Premier League last year was the embodiment of the phrase ‘runner-up is the first loser’. United were so far behind Manchester City that the contest was effectively over by Christmas.

United already ruled out of title race by bookies

Now, as we approach the Premier League’s important Christmas period, the league title looks well beyond United’s reach again. Some online betting sites, like Betway, have put United’s odds at 500/1 to win the Premier League. To make matters worse, it looks like a two-way fight between their hated rivals, Manchester City (1/4) and Liverpool (4/1). Even when United stuttered under Sir Alex Ferguson, bookmakers did not rule out their chances to mount a comeback at this stage of the season.

If you want to appreciate how far United have objectively fallen, consider how they are priced at 40/1 by Bet365 to win the Champions League, whereas Liverpool have been given odds of 16/1. While that might seem normal, it has to be noted that Liverpool have yet to secure the place in the knockout stages and are precariously placed to do so, whereas United, through some good fortune, have booked their spot.

Mourinho has escaped criticism

Normally when a club faces a decline in fortunes, fans’ ire is turned towards the couch. It has been remarkable how little flak Jose Mourinho has received, given the results of a club whose spending on transfers has been among the world’s highest over the last few years. After several notable defeats, Mourinho has been clapped off by the fans. It feels like they will stick with him for the foreseeable future.

Why has Mourinho had relatively little criticism? Because fans are angry with nearly every level of the club hierarchy. Mourinho hasn’t caused Paul Pogba to be infuriatingly erratic, or Romelu Lukaku to look cumbersome and lethargic. Both those players have been turning it on at international level, which suggests their attitude is wrong. As for Alexis Sanchez? Well, he looks like an imposter.

Woodward a target for fans

However, most of the fans’ anger is reserved for Ed Woodward, the Executive Vice Chairman who controls the purse strings of the club. Under Woodward’s stewardship United have acquired marketing deals all over the globe, allowing the club to rake in unprecedented revenue. The problem is that Woodward has no experience in football. Glaring problems have become apparent in United’s team, especially the defence, and the infrastructure of the youth set up.

These have been ignored over the years by Woodward and the owners, the Glazer family. Players are sitting on huge contracts that they would not receive at any other club, yet results remain sluggish. It’s a sign of bad management from top to bottom when a club is spending money and spending badly.

There is no easy answer when a club has so much of a multi-faceted set of problems. United have huge debts that encourage Woodward to pursue those marketing deals. But, as a consequence, there is also a demand for instant success, with United throwing money at issues when they should be patiently re-building. The main question now is if we are seeing the end of an empire, or if this once great club can turn things around.



Why Stocker is Worth More to Carlton Than a Top 5 Pick Sat, 08 Dec 2018 12:29:51 +0000 Carlton made headlines when they traded into the draft to snag Morrish Medallist Liam Stocker. For a side that many have given short odds for the least amount of wins in the 2019 season it could mean that they traded a likely top 5 pick for picks 19 and a likely improving Adelaide’s future first rounder.

On paper they paid a hefty price for Stocker but when you look at this trade you have to calculate the value of a player in hand. To say that Carlton have been in a slump would be putting it nicely. They’ve been underperforming now for way too long. Having a the pick they sent to the Crows to draft or trade with at the end of 2019 does the Blues no good this year and in the long term is only really helpful in terms of having a pretty looking age profile. Obviously they’d expect to take a good player with what will likely be a high pick, but still it provides no value to their list right now.

Having an extra year of development in a high quality midfielder like Stocker mitigates the pure loss of value in future draft picks. By this time next year you can think of the trade being something like Adelaide trading a talented 19 year old mid with a year of development and pick around 10 for Carlton’s pick 2 (assuming Adelaide finish mid-table and Carlton bottom four).

If this was done last year you could think of it as trading Jack Lukosius for something like Ed Richards and Jy Caldwell. You’d be hestitant to do that trade because Lukosius is probably the best pick 2 we’ve seen since Jarryd Roughead, but the trade is far from a disaster. Ed Richards will probably have a great year in 2019, building on his very good debut year. And Carlton will still have a first round selection to take next year, which if Adelaide’s ageing list continues to go backwards could well be in the top ten.

In modern footy development has its own value and you can’t look simply at the number of points a pick is worth when analysing trades. You only need to look at the success of mature players like Tim Kelly, Tom Stewart, Liam Ryan and Bailey Fritsch to see that snagging the highest rated 18 year old isn’t the only way to getting high quality footballers into an AFL team thes days.