There are two phrases that appear to divide the AFL-loving neighborhood…wildcard weekend.
No matter which means you lean concerning this initiative, it’s clear wildcard weekend or wildcard spherical is one thing that the AFL headquarters is fairly eager on introducing.
For some time now, they’ve been drip feeding it into the general public to get the temperature from the common punter and the soccer neighborhood basically. The large promoting factors appear to be that it really works properly in American sports activities and that it could hold extra groups alive deep into the season.
Firstly, American sports activities usually have conferences, and much more groups, in order that argument holds little or no weight with me. The second level additionally doesn’t push me from the detrimental aspect of the fence to the optimistic. In the event you’re not adequate to complete within the high eight after 22 video games, why must you get a ‘second probability’?
Nevertheless, to play satan’s advocate, let’s check out this season. Bear with me right here, and indulge me slightly.
Firstly, let’s check out the underside finish of the ladder. There’s a staff sitting down in 16th that final yr set the competitors alight with their quick ball motion, aggressive assault on the ball and excessive scoring soccer.
The Demons have been something however thrilling this yr up to now with solely 4 wins. However the final month or so has seen some important enchancment. It’s debatable they need to’ve crushed West Coast in Perth and Adelaide in Darwin. Each these groups harbour top-four ambitions.
On Saturday, the Demons received over the road in opposition to Fremantle, one other staff within the high eight. Sure, Fremantle did have harm considerations, however Melbourne even have fairly a number of gamers nonetheless on the sidelines: Neville Jetta, Jake Melksham, Jake Lever and Aaron vandenBerg to call a number of.
There are 9 matches to go within the 2018 season. The Demons play solely three groups at the moment within the eight – Brisbane on the Gabba, West Coast in Alice Springs and Collingwood on the MCG. If the Demons can get a number of extra gamers again and begin to get some consistency, who’s to say they will’t win seven of their final 9?
Okay, it’s unlikely, however while you take a look at their draw and take a look at what their finest 18 is able to, it turns into one thing to think about.
Seven extra wins will get them to 11, and for argument’s sake, near 100 per cent. Not sufficient to get into the eight, however it might simply be sufficient to get them to tenth place and right into a wildcard weekend in red-hot kind.
Maintain indulging me right here. If Melbourne slip into tenth place, who shall be in ninth? Properly, look who at the moment occupies ninth spot now…the Tigers. The Tigers have additionally had their harm considerations, however by the top of the season will hopefully have Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt again in kind, and it’s remotely doable that Alex Rance may sneak again for a September tilt.
Most likely not, however think about the chances…the Tigers and Demons end ninth and tenth. Each with a wholesome squad, and each with momentum, kind and a giant supporter base driving them into September.
However who would they play in opposition to? For the sake of the argument, we’ll once more go to the ladder. Port Adelaide and Fremantle occupy seventh and eighth, separated solely by the barest of margins (zero.1 per cent). If these two groups swapped positions, think about the fixtures…Port versus Richmond at Adelaide Oval in a replay of the notorious Trent Cotchin ‘kicking in opposition to the wind’ elimination closing.
The opposite fixture could be Fremantle versus Melbourne, with Jesse Hogan and Steven Might taking centre stage as the large story.
Regardless of whether or not you’re for or in opposition to a wildcard weekend, there could be an actual curiosity surrounding these two matches. So as to add to that, there are solely two Victorian groups at the moment within the high eight, so permitting the prospect for 2 extra to climb in on the loss of life would definitely be an thrilling appetizer to September.
In fact, that is purely hypothesis and a little bit of enjoyable. We all know there isn’t any wildcard weekend this yr. I additionally assume Richmond will possible make the eight anyway, and I don’t assume the Dees will rise up to tenth.
But when the above situation does play out, the AFL would have a really massive and optimistic platform to promote their wildcard desires for 2020.