The third part of the six-part series comprises the five players that the Geelong Cats, Gold Coast Suns and Greater Western Sydney Giants could least afford to lose in season 2021 plus an honourable mention.
There’s no footy. Richo and Browny are resorting to calling Xbox simulations of AFL fixtures. And Brian Taylor’s commentating on traffic.
What better time to seek out some off-kilter and slightly unhinged reasons to watch each club in 2020?
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Patrick Cripps’ clone. The best player in the AFL. In 2025. At least, according to Brad Johnson. We’ll ignore the potentially shady genetic theft that’s occurred here – whoever hijacked Patrick’s DNA has some serious questions to answer – and simply acknowledge Green as a top rookie who has the hopes of a football club seemingly riding on him. Obviously that’s not as strange as in the NBA where first-round picks are seen by many as the second coming of *insert whichever player you think is the greatest of all time*. Side bar: I do not have time for an MJ versus LeBron versus Wilt versus Kobe debate right now, but the answer is clearly Brian Scalabrine.
Nonetheless, Green seems to be a thoroughly respectable young man who’s noted in multiple articles as having a calm temperament and maturity beyond his years. This is upsetting news from a comedic writing viewpoint, but thoroughly encouraging from a GWS perspective.
Matt de Boer
I don’t know if he’s being entirely serious, but according to Matt de Boer’s Twitter profile, he’s “still waiting on that letter from Hogwarts”. This is from the same man whose LinkedIn about section is just one line: “Excellence is a habit”. I’ll just let that marinate for a second. His Twitter feed is fairly vanilla, except for one stand-out from October 18, 2018, which states: “A few pretenders on the Casablanca wine tour”. There are no comments or follow-ups to shed more light on this. So I’ll let that marinate too. What I won’t delay harping on about is the fact that Matt de Boer is one of the biggest pests to elite midfielders in the AFL.
And rather than accidentally finding out he’s a human glove, relentlessly pestered his coaches until they made him a tagger. Since then he’s honed his craft to the extent that early in 2019 he drove Dustin Martin so insane that in one game he punched Adam Kennedy, flipped the bird at one GWS player, and made snorting gestures at Shane Mumford. I can only hope 2020 will bring more of the same. From De Boer. Not Martin. Obviously.
While I was deep-diving into Matt de Boer’s Twitter feed for the previous paragraph I discovered a very important fact: Heath Shaw’s Twitter handle is LordHeathShaw23. A short bit of digging later – I googled Lord Heath Shaw – and I discovered this stems from him buying one square foot of land in the Scottish Highlands area of Glencoe, a purchase that came with the aforementioned title.
As a result he has apparently renounced his former name of just Heath Shaw and shall at all times be referred to as Lord Heath Shaw. I’m not sure if this news ever reached Brian Taylor, but I certainly hope he’s now on board. His Twitter feed is a hot mess of look-alike 22s. The moral of the story is that Heath Shaw is everything that people speculate Heath Shaw should be. This, my friends, is a beautiful thing.
There’s not many players who have brought about a wholesale rule change as a result of their impishness. There’s also not many players who would take the stone-cold piss out of themselves in a pocket profile, and describe both the best and worst rules in the entire competition as being “my rule”. There’s also not many players that have been charged 17 times in eight seasons and paid a cool $26,000 in fines to date.
And there’s also not many players who have the ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck and throw the opposition to the side like a rag doll. But that’s Toby for you. He’s a complicated guy. Yet also just a simple guy who wants the best for his mum and wants to do the best for his team. Watch this interview and see for yourself. Then kindly disparage or defend him in the comments section below. You know you want to.
Shane Mumford and Sam Jacobs
GWS receive an extra helping of reason because I couldn’t write an article in good faith without mentioning that they now possess the greatest duo in sports history. You can keep your MJs and Scotties, your Brady and Gronks, your Malone and Stocktons, your Gretzky and Messiers, your Ruth and Gehrigs, and your Messi and Neymars. The Giants have Sausage and Sauce. Bow down before them.
Professional athletes are a motivated, determined and resilient bunch. It’s no secret they often use a failure – or a desired avoidance of failure – to drive future success and inspire match-winning performances. Obviously, the ultimate cases in point are Essendon utterly demolishing the competition in 2000 after a disastrous preliminary final loss against Carlton 1999, and Geelong enacting the Kennett Curse on Hawthorn for five straight years following the 2008 decider.
This brings me to GWS, and the 2019 grand final. The lowest score in the club’s history, an 89-point annihilation at the hands of Richmond and becoming just the second team to be out-scored by a single player in a grand final. Naturally, the Giants responded to all the fall-out by comfortably defeating Geelong in Round 1. Here comes the rampage.