So here we are. After going a mediocre 1.5 of 3 on last weekend’s games, the first blot on my otherwise perfect tipping record, it’s blindingly clear that I need to lift my game and really bring it this week. From refund requests on my “Tyson Garnham Sweepstakes” offer, to gentle mocking from my Buccaneer friends on being too cowardly to lay down predictions on games that I’m playing in, the Gridiron Victoria community has been scoring points on me like Joe Cooper on NBL cellar-dweller the New Jersey Informants. It’s time to fight back with some insightful, analytic predictions on this weekend’s round.

Saturday, June 27 – Ranger Field, Croydon

South Eastern Predators (5th Place, 4-3) vs Geelong Buccaneers (3rd Place, 4-3)

Last Time:           Predators 32, Buccaneers 28

The Buccaneers had their super impressive 4 game winning streak snapped last Saturday in a defensive slugfest against the Croydon Rangers, while the Predators are coming off back-to-back losses in which they gave up a combined 96 points. I feel the gap in experience between the two sides will be telling in this contest, with the Buccaneers leaning heavily on the inside run game to wear down the Predators defence, allowing their own D to stay fresh and generate points off of turnovers. The big play capability of the South Eastern offence is a threat in any game; however the package of disguised blitzes and coverages run by the Buccs should be enough to shut them down.

Stafford’s “Insightful and Analytic” Prediction:                 Buccaneers 32, Predators 12

Croydon Rangers (2nd Place, 5-2) vs Melbourne University Royals (Last Place, 0-7)

Last Time:           Rangers 58, Royals 0

I know I talked a big game at the beginning of this article, using such provocative language as “really bring it”, “time to fight back” and “offer to gentle mocking”. However, I am happy to remain a coward on the front of commenting on games involving me. Instead, I bring you another fascinating NFL “Did You Know?” in the vein of last week’s Chad Pennington statistic – Did you know that the famous “West Coast Offence”, popularised by Bill Walsh and the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980’s, actually originated in Cincinnati? This creates quite the geographical conundrum, even though the NFL managed to stay consistent with directional inaccuracies during this time period.

Stafford’s “Midwest Offence” Prediction:                           Rangers ??, Royals ??

Sunday, June 28 – Henry Turner Reserve, Footscray

Western Crusaders (4th place, 3-4) vs Berwick Miners (6th place, 2-4)

Last Time:           Miners 13, Crusaders 12

The Miners will be fresh off of their bye week, which was preceded by a comfortable 20-0 victory over the Royals. The Crusaders are coming off a physically dominating win over the Predators down in Geelong, with the wishbone again looking dangerous. Celebrated in this game will be Miners linebacker Mark Petana, playing his 200th GV game. Mark becomes the sixth player in league history to play 200 games, and the second Miner to achieve the feat after club legend Dale Warren. Congratulations to Mark on a wonderful accomplishment. Milestone games aside, the Crusaders combination of power running and intelligent defence should be enough to handle the boys in orange and black.

Stafford’s “Make a Wishbone” Prediction:                         Crusaders 34, Miners 6

Here’s hoping this week’s predictions inspire some more good natured heckling directed at yours truly on the weekend. I’ll even get you started: “Stafford, the only geographical conundrum I can see is how your mum managed to locate a city with a hospital willing to house your birth”. Dude, that is harsh.

Peace Out!

Our Week 9 GV Division 1 preview

Jamie Stafford

Tina Fey-loving current starting QB (at least until Richie gives me the hook) of the Croydon Rangers in Gridiron Victoria, as well as the Head Coach of the Croydon Rangers women's team. I once got my hair washed by a total stranger in a Subiaco salon at 5am while playing for the 2004 Victorian team. That was a good day.

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