Seeking an in-depth analysis of your club’s chances in 2020? You’ve come to the wrong place. Looking for an off-kilter and slightly unhinged reason to watch your club in 2020? Step into my office.
The early days of Levi Casboult’s AFL career were enough to make you think the world-controlling lizard people – Hail Zorp! – were playing an elaborate long-con prank on the footballing public. That a man of his size and athleticism could be so mediocre beggared belief.
Well, the jig is up. The mighty Taswegian can now kick straight, mark the everlasting heck out of the ball, pinch-hit in the ruck, and double down as a key position defender. He credits his turnaround in form to a Benjamin Button-esque realisation: “I knew I was going to go down swinging and the best way to do that was to be a kid. If you strip it all back, we’re all just big kids who love playing footy and having fun”.
Levi also operates just about the most wholesome Instagram feed in existence. He’s a beautiful man. He’s ready to perform beautiful footballing feats in 2020.
Bob Ross built magical oil-painted worlds, and while chilling out, maxing, and relaxing all cool, once whispered: “Remember that this is your world. In your world, you can create anything that you desire”. Young Eddie is Bob Ross in footballing form.
He looks at a Sherrin and sees not a piece of sporting equipment. He sees a paintbrush. He peers at the blur of bodies surrounding him inside 50 and sees not potential pitfalls. He sees beautiful opportunity. Bob Ross once painted his interpretation of the Northern Lights in an episode titled ‘Aurora’s Dance’, noting that they are “one of the more gorgeous phenomena that happen in nature”.
I’ve watched a fair few Eddie Betts compilations lately. I’ve had Bob Ross’ narration playing over the top. I’m convinced there are times when Bob is speaking directly to Eddie as he whirls around opponents, leaving a trail of shapes and colour as he ducks and weaves. Betts has launched countless miracles from the pockets of grounds across the country and has returned to the Blues for a farewell tour. There’re a few masterpieces left to come.
Somehow he slipped to pick 13 in the 2013 AFL draft and has been punishing list managers ever since. A 195cm colossus of a midfielder. Bull in human form. No, scrap that. Actual footballing Minotaur.
Take a moment to witness this man’s genius. At the 1.19 mark, Luke Hodge handballs into space as two Lions players valiantly attempt to hold Cripps back. Earnest ninth-gamer Jacob Allison has the audacity to believe he can beat Cripps to the ball. Cripps peels off, receives the handball, swats away Daniel Rich like he’s a mere fly, turns on the afterburners, and drills it from 40 metres.
Let it be noted that this was just one of 38 touches for the day, one of four goals for Cripps, and one additional dagger into the heart of Brisbane as Carlton snared a 15-point win. With just 24 wins to his name from 101 starts, Patrick has an almost unquantifiable level of yearning for sustained success.
Want proof? He proudly posted a picture of the Rampage to his socials after their 2019 AFLX victory – a sign of an unsatisfied soul if ever there was one. If the Blues string together some early wins, not even Theseus and the Sword of Aegeus will be enough to stop Cripps.
Pop quiz: what do Tigers Woods, Alex Rodriguez, Peyton Manning and Jonny Wilkinson all have in common? Like Sam Docherty, they’ve at one time or another turned to Bill Knowles for help. Sports medicine’s answer to Wade Wilson, Knowles has used his superhuman powers to repair sporting superstars across the globe.
For long-suffering Carlton supporters, Docherty’s time spent with Knowles and subsequent recovery is on par with the Average Joes overcoming a four-man disadvantage against the Globo Gym Purple Cobras in the final of the American Dodgeball Association of America Tournament. That is to say, an excellent turn of events.
After barnstorming campaigns in 2016 and 2017 that brought endless joy to SuperCoach enthusiasts, the dashing defender hasn’t played a game since he was named All Australian for the first time two years ago or featured once since being named Carlton co-captain. Rivers of tears have been wept in AFL Fantasy Land.
But fear not, he’s back and better than ever. And he’ll set you back just $436,000 in 2020. He’ll be my first picked, that’s for sure.
After 11 rounds of the 2019 AFL season, Carlton had one win. After 22 they had seven wins. Brendon Bolton was coach for the first 11 games. David Teague was coach for the next 11.
The ex-Roo and Blue has brought the fun – and the ability for Carlton to kick a winning score – back.
Now, I’m no expert, but something tells me that despite Chris Judd’s obstinance – and the removal of those pesky training wheels – the Blues made the right call in signing Teague up for a three-year deal. In 2020, at the very least, tracking the Carlton faithful’s mood towards the young head honcho will be endlessly entertaining.