13,742.8974. That's the number to keep in mind this week.
For those playing at home it's the number of attendees that travelled to Docklands in 2015 for a Melbourne vs GWS contest. And to this point the lowest recorded AFL game attendance in the storied venue's history.
Ladies and gentlemen this record is going to be blown out of the park this week. A combination of the late Sunday graveyard timeslot, on a long weekend, freezing projected conditions and the AFL's 15th and 17th placed teams going head to head will sadly lock this in.
The only thing more depressing than this is the squad of not availables between these two injury ravaged clubs. The GWS toll extends by the week with Lloyd and Callaghan firing up previous injuries as well as Aleer joining the soft tissue club. Taranto's back condition is flaring at the wrong time given his out of contract status and there's still doubt that Ward will get up from concussion.
For North it's a disaster. Injury/illness has exposed holes all over the field with Ben McKay going down to concussion again and potentially Horne-Francis with an ankle. The reserves are getting belted every week but they have to pick someone and maybe they'll have to roll the dice on raw KPP Matt McGuiness. Not much to lose! If JHF doesn't get up then it's really bottom of the barrel time. Jaidyn Stephenson anyone?
GWS seem to have been stung into action by the coaching change looking very good and aggressive against Brisbane. As I always say when these two teams meet the Roos have absolutely no one to play on Toby Greene and he can look forward to a bag. GWS will also have the edge around stoppages and critically across half back. North have no answer to stem the run off half back of sides and Webster and Hill for the Saints were the beneficiaries last time at the Dome. The likes of Ash and Cumming need to put the pedal to the metal.
GWS undoubted weak link is their leaky defence but with Zurhaar now out for ages the scoring avenues are even more restricted. Taylor on Larkey with Idun coming up as third man should nullify any aerial threat. And other than Paul Curtis there's not a crumbing small on the list (really missing those departed recruiters!). The side simply can't score.
Last year was a turn up down at Hobart but Cunnington was playing then. Unfortunately not this week.
Giants by 42.
I was glad to see how happy the players where after the game , getting pictures with the crowd. I guess alot of the players from Melbourne would have had people they know in the crowd.Yes, the opposition is not having a good year, but it was good to see a gameplan and personal effort that we could be proud of.
HH has been fabulous as KPD, seems to be playing a Haynes-type role, which if Nick is still off-kilter we'd expect to keep the status quo. Still not satisfied with Keeffe being there, I'd prefer Stein (who seemed OK in his time out there today), or hope for Davis to be cleared to play again very soon.
Lachie Whitfield had a much better game today, so hopefully the rest cleared his niggles. Unfortunately we can expect Pez to miss games; realistically with Taranto and Hopper still out, gives Bruhn more opportunity in the middle, Ward as well you'd think. Maybe XOH to come back in.
Hogan had a meh game, but Peatling continues to impress up front.
Good to see Cogs back to excellent form too.