Urban Grit replaced by Outback dust….

Baker Boy

Baker Boy recently was a support act for a close friend of his , Dallas Woods, at the Lansdowne Hotel in Sydney,Β  June 9th.

Danzal Baker, aka Baker Boy, warmed up the room with passion, honesty and a whole lot of heart which got the room pumping.

Aussie Hip Hop may have had a bad rap in the past but Baker Boy made it different with his mesmerizing choreographed dance moves to Mr La Di Da Di which got the crowd jumping! The Triple J favourite ( No17 in the most recent hottest 100) is destined to become a classic to his own right.

He is yet to release his debut album but I swear this guy is going to be HUGE!!!!

Mid-Season AFL Predictions + Report Cards For Every Club

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The Sydney Swans are gathering steam. Credit: SportingNews.com

IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR you look back at your pre-season predictions and realise how wrong you were…well at least that’s the case for me. To have West Coast finishing 14th, North Melbourne finishing 17th and the Saints knocking on the door of the eight, it’s laughable how unpredictable this season has been. However I am sticking true to my pre-season premiership predictions. I have written on my board in my room ‘Premiers: Sydney Swans’ and I think at the final siren of the big dance, they’ll have their third premiership in 13 years.

So after that bombshell I’m going to predict what the ladder will look like at the end of the season as well as who’ll be winning the Coleman and Brownlow medals. I’m also giving your club a grade for this season, with the worst being an F and the best being A+ of course. So let’s begin, we’ll start of with 18th.

Ladder

18th – St Kilda

Grade: F

I cannot see this team winning any more games with the current run they’re having. A pathetic performance against Sydney on a Saturday night at Etihad Stadium cemented the wooden spoon for the Saints, the 28th in their history. Their list is unfortunately nowhere near finals. A massive F for the Saints who were on the verge of the top 8 last year.

17th – Carlton

Grade: D

Another poor season for the Blues but it’s not all doom and gloom. Patrick Cripps is having a massive season and will become one of the competition’s bonafide stars in the coming seasons. Their young brigade just can’t seem to get it done and some of the mature recruits have misfired horribly.

16th – Gold Coast

Grade: D-

Gold Coast were supposed to be good. Unlike their expansion counterpart they’ve failed as a club in their first 8 seasons. A lack of forward line and a pathetic 0 inside-50 marks against the Giants last week spells danger for the rest of the season and I can’t see them winning too many games from here. 14 goals in the last three weeks is nowhere near AFL standard. Expect 5 wins from the Suns by the end of Round 23.

15th – Brisbane

Grade: C+

The highest grade of all the bottom 10 teams. I’ve seen some real positives in the Lions this year, staying in games for longer and avoiding thrashings. They’ve had multiple games in their grasp and then lost but that comes with a young side. The only massive downside to their season was the 93-point drubbing at the hands of the reigning premiers where they only managed 2 goals for the entire day.

14th – Western Bulldogs

Grade: D

Surprisingly a lot of people expected the Dogs to bounce back this season and they well and truly have not done that. I was one of the doubters and my feelings have proved reality for the struggling Bulldogs this season. Their depth is ridiculously shallow at the moment with a lack of A-grade talent filling the side. The Bulldogs sorely miss Matthew Boyd and Bob Murphy in defence and as for the other Boyd, Tom, well he’s proving the club he was not worth the big bucks they signed him up for.

13th – Essendon

Grade: D

A team I tipped to retain their top 8 spot at the start of the season, the Bombers have had some horror losses against bottom end teams. A poor season from 2016 best-and-fairest winner Zack Merrett, spearhead Joe Daniher and their losses to Carlton, Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs certainly derailed their season. Recruit Jake Stringer has shown glimpses like he has in the past but he needs to put together a full season to prove to the footy world he’s a genuine superstar.

12th – Fremantle

Grade: D

The Dockers seem to have gone backwards in their ‘rebuild’ which looked promising from last years early season form. They’ve shown us some good footy and some horrific footy. Their best still isn’t very good and their worst is all their losses away from Perth. The depth of the list is pretty shallow like the Bulldogs but their top-end talent is very good. Nat Fyfe desperately needs a better support crew with his fellow teammates massively under-performing. Fremantle’s never-ending search for a Pavlich sized replacement still is ongoing with Cam McCarthy showing very little promise, being the biggest disappointment.

11th – Hawthorn

Grade: C

The Hawks showed great form at the start of the season but three losses in recent weeks kicked them out of the 8. I can’t see the Hawks moving from this position but I can see their superstar Tom Mitchell continuing his terrific form. Mitchell isn’t given enough credit for the work he does around the contest, he is a ball-magnet for the ages. The season highlight was most certainly Mitchell’s record breaking 54 disposals vs Collingwood.

10th – Adelaide

Grade: D

The Crows have been very unlucky this year after they probably should have won the flag last season. Injuries have been the story in 2018 as Sloane, Walker, the Crouch’s, Lynch, Laird, McGovern, and Smith spending time on the sidelines. If the Crows had a healthy list I am confident they would be contending for a premiership again. I can see them winning games but not too many more from here on in.

9th – Port Adelaide

Grade: D

A team who I think has achieved since last year. For a team that I think doesn’t have that much to offer other they’re higher than they should be and I think they’ll fall later in the season. Every game from this point in the season is a danger game for the Power and if one or two slips, hungrier teams like North Melbourne and GWS will overtake them with ease. A positive for Port this season has been their recruits. Watts, Motlop and Rockliff have been good pickups but they all could be so much better than they currently are, especially the former Lions skipper. They may have a lot of home games in the near future but they’ll be facing the Giants, Crows, Eagles and Demons all hungry for victory.

8th – North Melbourne

Grade: B+

An unexpected bolter this season, North have exceeded expectations with many tipping them to win the wooden spoon or there abouts. Sublime seasons from Shaun Higgins, Ben Jacobs, Ben Cunnington, Ben Brown and more has set up terrific form. Their win in Perth over the Dockers showed the rest of the competion what they’re made of. I think the Giants will overtake them but North will hold their spot in the eight with their mid-season form setting them up.

7th – GWS Giants

Grade: C

The Giants have had their fair share of injuries along with fellow 2017 top 4 finisher Adelaide but they have massively under-performed this season. Many punters were predicting this to be the GWS’ year but their mid-season form has been the worst since their early days. Losses to Geelong, West Coast, North Melbourne and Essendon and a draw to St Kilda almost has cost them a top 8 spot. I think the Giants are on the rise and will continue their good form of late. GWS should come into the 8 late in the year

6th – Geelong

Grade: C+

Another team with a lot of talent but a whole lot of complacency. They have “Dangerwoodlett” but to be honest they haven’t come close to the hype with Dangerfield, Ablett and Selwood all having average seasons. They’ve managed to get themselves to this position but I’m not expecting them to stay in the top 4 or do anything damaging in finals.

5th – Collingwood

Grade: A

Collingwood were due for a finals appearance and I think if it weren’t for it’s relatively poor start to the season they would be a lock for the Top 4. On their best days they can almost beat anyone, anywhere and I’ve been saying this for years with the talent they have on their list. The midfield of Pendlebury, Treloar, Adams, Sidebottom and now Tom Phillips is starting to look like a scary prospect. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pies could make it deep into September.

4th – Melbourne

Grade: B+

The Demons have all but secured a finals spot for the first time in 12 years in my opinion. They’ve shown how powerful they can be with massive victories and a very handy percentage of 130% which would have been better if it weren’t for the defeat at the hands of the Pies this Monday. I’m not quite giving them an A because of their poor losses at the start of the season and mishaps every now and then. Keep your eye on the red and the blue…for the rest of the H&A season that is.

3rd – Richmond

Grade: B

I still feel like Richmond aren’t a complete team. They were frankly one of the poorer teams to win a flag and have continued to show they can’t beat top-end teams. Once they face teams away from home which they’ll most likely have to do in finals they’re in trouble. Their three losses have come away from home. However the grand final is played in Melbourne and the Tigers are the in-form team in their home state of Victoria remaining undefeated this season. It will be interesting to see how their finals campaign goes.

2nd – Sydney

Grade: B+

The team I have backed so heavily will I think secure a top spot if they win all of their games at home. The Swans have been sublime away from home and winning on the road is as important as anything in football. I can’t give the Swans an A due to their home losses but I can mention their A-graders who I think will win them a premiership. Josh Kennedy, Isaac Heeney, Luke Parker, Buddy Franklin, Jake Lloyd, Jarrad McVeigh and many more will all play a pivotal role in their return to glory.

1st – West Coast

Grade: A+

The other team out west is proving to be unstoppable this season. 10 wins on the trot to date and some players playing career-best football could lead to the Eagles first flag since 2006 and second grand final berth in four years. There won’t be too many losses for the rest of the year for the Eagles but I am slightly worried of how they’ll go in September with their last two campaigns being very lacklustre. More importantly the Eagles have exceeded anybodies expectations with many predicting a bottom four finish. The Eagles get the highest grade from me and sit appropriately top of the class.

Finals:

Week One:

1st Qualifying Final: West Coast (WIN) v Melbourne

1st Elimination Final: Collingwood (WIN) v North Melbourne

2nd Qualifying Final: Sydney (WIN) v Richmond

2nd Elimination Final: Geelong v GWS (WIN)

Semi Finals:

1st Semi Final: Melbourne v Collingwood (WIN)

2nd Semi Final: Richmond (WIN) v GWS

Preliminary Finals:

1st Preliminary Final: West Coast (WIN) v Richmond

2nd Preliminary Final: Sydney (WIN) v Collingwood

Grand Final:

West Coast v Sydney (WIN)

Premiers: Sydney

Major Awards

Brownlow:

Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn)

Coleman:

Lance Franklin (Sydney)

I like the dynamic of this years hopeful top 8. Collingwood, Melbourne and North Melbourne come in, Port Adelaide, Adelaide and Essendon come out. Sydney, West Coast and Melbourne also head a very new looking top 4. Tom Mitchell will for sure be front-runner for the Brownlow for me, he is in stellar form and won’t be stopped from here due to the suspension of Nat Fyfe. Lance Franklin I think will go nuts as the Swans march ‘onward to victory’ and overtake Ben Brown, Jesse Hogan and Jeremy Cameron. Josh Kennedy I think will also be a smokey after missing the first month of football, Jack Darling won’t be too far behind. Sydney and West Coast (Or Josh Kennedy v Josh Kennedy) will be a blast from the past going back to the glory days of interstate football 2005/2006. The Eagles will be very stiff to lose the flag but Sydney are too good of a team to not win the flag. The Swans are consistent and have the most talented list in the competition. Isaac Heeney to win the Norm Smith. Will be an interesting season ahead.

KELSEY TRUSCELLO