5 Lessons Learned – AFL Round 20

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If there’s one thing you don’t want to bet on in footy – it’s the fixture.

All the mayhem of state border closures and snap lockdowns is a testament to the AFL in keeping on keeping on.

Somehow all nine games in Round 20 got underway and, as always, we have a five-leg multi of hindsight we like to call: Five Lessons Learned.

(1) FREO ARE THIS WEEKS BRADBURY

Last week it was the Giants, now Freo after a thrilling win over the Tigers in a nailbiter at Optus Stadium yesterday have Bradbury’ed their way into eighth position.

The race for 7th and 8th has never been so hotly contested in this way and fans of West Coast, Fremantle, GWS, Essendon, Richmond, Carlton and St Kilda are constantly checking the AFL ladder predictor and our futures markets with Lloyd Christmas-like optimism.

Some would argue that the current state of the top eight makes the argument to bring back the final six – but anyone who remembered that system when used in the early 1990s knows that it was terrible.

Granted, West Coast is wasting everyone’s time sitting in the seventh position right now after that absolutely pathetic performance against the Magpies on Saturday, however, just about every scenario for how the final eight will shape up after Round 23 is all up for grabs.

Expect plenty more live ladder during broadcasts and perhaps someone’s roughie to make the eight will pay off.

Perhaps anyone calling for a US-style wildcard playoff to make the finals can pipe down.

This is as good as it gets.

(2) DONS v SWANS AS GOOD AS IT GETS

No matter where and what time, make sure you pencil in an Essendon v Sydney clash.

Ever since Plugger kicked that famous point after the siren to get Sydney into the 1996 Grand Final, an epic rivalry between these two clubs has ensued.

Yesterday’s clash at the MCG was no exception, the past four games between the Dons and Swans have been decided by an average of six points – making either by 15.5 or less option in the betting a bloody good option going forward.

The third quarter of yesterday’s game was something to make those defensive coaches (who really hate football) squirm, with 12 goals kicked thanks to quick, attacking ball movement – the type of football people want to see.

Essendon didn’t give up, keeping up with the Swans for the most of the last quarter but Sydney was able to notch up a 7-point win which gives their top four aspirations a fighting chance.

If you were too busy caught up in the Olympic action, getting your hands on a mini replay of this game via Foxtel/Kayo is worth your time.

(3) BUDDY GOOD CHANCE

Buddy Franklin was able to kick just the two majors yesterday, which means he is 15 away from reaching the 1000 goal milestone.

Unless he kicks a couple of big bags over the next three weeks, he might be able to reach it during the finals and hopefully in front of a crowd.

Our market is currently offering $4 for Buddy to reach 1000 in 2021.

(4) PUT ANOTHER LINE THROUGH NORTH

North Melbourne’s 20-point loss to the Cats on Saturday was the ninth week in a row that the Kangaroos have covered the line.

The Kangaroos were set at +22.5 heading into the game, yet Punters who took North at the line had yet another easy $1.90 payday.

David Noble’s men face the Tigers this Saturday (for now) and while the market has yet to be confirmed, I’d be fairly confident in the Kangaroos making it 10 covers on the trot.

The most reliable bet in footy.

(5) FOOTY IS AN AFTERTHOUGHT

Unless your team was playing, were you really watching the footy over the weekend?

While the Gold Coast Suns were getting flogged by the Dees at a crowdless Marvel Stadium on Sunday afternoon, did you watch that – or – were you watching Australia win three gold medals in Tokyo in the space of 90 minutes?

Of course not.

Footy has very much become an afterthought right now with everyone gripped on the goings at the games and that’s perfectly ok.

Right now, it’s just a case of checking up on the scores and getting back to watching the Olympics.

Footy isn’t going anywhere, except for different venues and different times at short notice due to all the lockdowns and Covid chaos…but you get my point.