THE HANGOVER: DRAFTSTARS WEEKLY WRAP
No matter what happens from week to week, order seems to be restored on a Sunday evening when the AFL and NRL rounds are finished and the rest of the sporting world takes a collective breath.
It really is surreal. The week builds up, and up, and up, until the zenith of a Thursday or Friday night matchup between two heavyweights, or two clubs with large fan bases, or sometimes Penrith plays. Then again, Carlton consistently receive primetime slots and fail to score more than 50 points and cause Friday night to be a fizzler for everyone. But I digress.
Another week of unforeseeable results saw Richmond shellacked by the Dogs while the Dees overcame the Hawks in a thriller. Melbourne were touted through the media for getting their season back on track though the same noises were made after their victory over fellow cellar-dweller, Sydney.
Though it has been a bumpy ride so far, the season is taking some shape. Geelong are good, Carlton are bad and half decent interstate sides will probably make the eight, based on their number of home games, only to lose the first time they play in Melbourne.
In the NRL, a Storm loss and an emphatic Rabbitohs win saw them swap places on the ladder but the Roosters continue to reign supreme, looking to go back-to-back in 2019. Speaking of the Roosters, star 21-year-old centre Latrell Mitchell is about to launch into another stratosphere after he mystified opponents and fans alike in one of the performances of the year on Saturday.
While on the subject of mystification, the NBA playoffs are just magic. After a lean first round, the second round has been anything but. Every team has won a game and both the Raptors/76ers and Nuggets/Blazer series are locked at 2-2. But the best thing is, the most tantalising matchup of the whole round between the Bucks and Celtics is only three games deep and has already shown glimpses of it being special.
Though the round ball code is probably the most exciting sport going around at the moment. The A-League finals are underway and the EPL race is going to come down to the final day with a potential, however unlikely, one-off playoff to decide who finishes top.
AFL ROUND SEVEN
A return to traditional fixturing almost had fans switching their TVs to the Footy Show on Thursday night. Alas, common sense prevailed and they instead tucked in for a night on the couch watching re-runs of Seinfeld followed by a Judd Apatow classic.
Then things got rolling again on Friday and Collingwood made fairly easy work of the Power. Another inconsistent performance from Port saw them match it with the Pies at their best, but be hammered when they let their guard down. Jaidyn Stephenson had his best game of the year after booting four goals, three of which came in the first quarter, from 14 disposals on his way to a high value 101 DS points.
Saturday played host to five matches, the largest slate of 2019. The first game saw the Demons snatch victory from the jaws of defeat against a struggling Hawks outfit. By recapturing some of the form he finished 2018 with, James Harmes played a big part in lifting the Dees- he finished with 31 disposals, five tackles, a goal and 117 DS points.
Next up, GWS threatened to turn St. Kilda’s dream start to the season sour as they consigned them to their second consecutive loss. Jeremy Cameron kicked 6, and is flying, but Zac Williams was the man for your DS sides. He snared 112 DS points for his 30 touches and eight marks.
In the evening, the Lions kicked away in the last quarter to all but end Sydney’s season. The great Zorko was magic and reiterated why it is crucial he needs to be tagged. He had a huge 136 DS points as reward for 29 touches, a goal and a whopping 11 tackles.
And the surprise of the round came as the Doggies dismantled Richmond, concurrently getting their season back on track after a promising start. Five dogs scored over 100 DS points, with Josh Dunley topping them all with 145. But it is impossible to go past Aaron Naughton, if for nothing else but his highlights package. He pulled in 14 marks and booted five goals and three behinds to score 125. This kid is good.
The Eagles are in trouble. Yes, they came away with a win against the hapless Suns, but it was anything but convincing. Five players scored in excess of 120 DS points with all of them being Eagles other than Jack Martin (120). At the top of the list was Elliot Yeo who has been there or thereabouts all year before exploding for 146 DS points in this game.
Just when it looked like Carlton were getting it back together, they get pumped by the Roos to the tune of ten goals. Sheesh. Trent Dumont has been solid all year but his 38 disposals and 123 DS points were something to write home about. However, Cameron Zurhaar was the best pick you could have made this week after he delivered five goals and 104 DS points to his selectors.
The Cats staved off an unlikely challenge from the Bombers to comfortably win by 32-points late on Sunday. Without captain, Joel Selwood, and with star Patrick Dangerfield hampered by injury, Mitch Duncan resumed a bigger midfield role and Cam Guthrie’s job was increased. It worked well with both chalking up 110+ scores, Duncan being the pick with 22 touches, three goals and 120 DS points.
In a particularly dour affair, Adelaide booted a score of 51 for victory against the Dockers. Tasked with the role of keeping Adelaide afloat, Riley O’Brein has fulfilled his ruck duties with aplomb. His career best game came aganst the Dockers as he had 22 touches, 44 hit-outs and 120 DS points. Let us take a moment to appreciate Eddie Betts’ match winner, too.
Similar to last week, the stars are absolutely dominating. Though arguably on an even more unprecedented level. Let us just focus solely on Kawhi Leonard. Despite never smiling, Kawhi is clearly having fun. In this series against Philly he has averaged an efficient 38 points per game to go with nine boards and four assists. He has to be in all your Toronto related entries at this stage. He was the top DS scorer again on Monday with 56.3 DS points.
Harden, KD and Giannis are tearing up Draftstars too, obviously. And Nikola Jokic is mocking everyone with his couch potato friendly figure and slow-moving demeanour. But make no mistake, if he had to make a bucket for the Nuggets to win this and end Damian Lillard’s life, he would. He now has four post season triple doubles, in 11 games. 54.9, 77.6, 44.3, 69.8, 66 not the amount of donuts Nikola Jokic has eaten over the last five days, but his last five DS scores. Remarkable.
But a shout-out, as we like to do, has to go to the little man from time to time. The underdog. The diamond in the rough. Last week it was Pat Connaughton, and he has been quite excellent.
An honourable mention goes to Seth Curry, who is outperforming his superstar brother, at least… he does not miss clutch lay ups. And he does nail treys. His performance on Monday saw him knock down 4/6 from deep on his way to 16 points and three boards. A handy low-price contribution.
But Andre Igoudala, less of a diamond in the rough, more of a playoff hardened veteran, turned back the clock last week. His last two games have netted him almost 70 DS points and his six game average is a touch under 30. Priced under 10k, Igoudala is a consistent and match winning option. As long as his ego wasn’t mashed back into his face like this attempted dunk.
Written by Brin DugganAFL, Latest, NBA, NRL