Happy Half Way to all,
I went to both the Geelong – Carlton and Melbourne – Collingwood games on the weekend and would agree that Messrs Malthouse and Roos had cause to lament the officiating of their respective games. But I reckon they would be far better advised in managing the things they can control rather than using the media to beat up on the umpiring. Both clubs need their full attention on their players, the umpires stuff is a waste of their time.
I can handle the umpires stuff! Both games had less than 20 free kicks paid – a ridiculous number given the amount of scragging and holding in both contests. Chief Campbo has come out and said the umpires only made 7 errors in Monday’s game – not bad over 120 minutes – but given they only paid 18 frees for the game that percentage of errors is pretty high. Much has been discussed on particular incidents from Friday Night and whilst they have many of the Blue persuasion singing to Mick’s tune, there were other decisions – or non-decisions – that rankled. Players being tackled after having prior opportunity to dispose of the footy are simply allowed to throw or drop the ball when tackled, the premise of have to dispose of the ball correctly has completely disappeared.
Overall there are two other areas where the umpires play to the crowd rather than having a feel for the game. Players being tackled and being penalised for not releasing the ball when the tackler or tacklers are the ones holding the ball in. If they have had the chance to get rid of it ping them, but it is the bravest who wins the footy and they should not be penalised. A number of coaches seem united on this one and it frustrates players, coaches and fans alike. The other is the deliberate out of bounds rule. We complain about the compression of the ground, but defences do not need to spread to the boundary as they get looked after by the umpire, as any clearing kick that bounces out is penalised. Allowing players to use the line to escape will make defences spread and allow more open play in forward transitions, the obvious deliberate kick to the boundary should be penalised but where significant distance is gained more leniency is required. Back to specifics – I can understand how the umpire did not see the infringement on Menzel – they did not see a damn thing all night!
Yes, yes, yes overall they do a great job – the problem is their leadership doesn’t have it right. The game will open up with more frees paid and it would aid consistency rather than the current raffle that is occurring at the moment.
This week they collectively have 9 games to sort it out and somehow I need to also. There a couple of rippers.
Return of the Jedi ($5.60) vs Blue Bullies ($1.21)
The Kennett Curse lived on because both Geelong and Hawthorn were evenly matched but the Hawks faced their kryptonite in hoops – it did not make sense that they could not win. It is now over 9 years since the Blues defeated Hawthorn, hoodoos like that are often explained with the gap between the two teams on the ladder. A reasonable explanation for the majority of those years, but there is much more to it. The Hawks have comprehensively bullied the Blues for 9 years and have exposed Carlton’s soft underbelly – the game is usually won before the bounce of the ball. No matter that the Hawks are injured or that Judd returns for the Blues – until clear evidence is produced by Carlton that they can counter Hawthorn’s aggression then I can’t pick them even if they weren’t so far apart on the ladder.
Cuddly Felines ($4.40) vs Sylvia Medallists (1.27)
The Tigers will need to prove their coach right as they face Fremantle who are finally satisfied that Colin Sylvia is ready to play their brand of wrestling. Richmond won this encounter last year and Fremantle’s poor record at the G says they are not without a chance. But it would take a brave soul to select them and I suspect Freo will master the Ground this week, if $4.50 was available then I could invest in the Tiges with someone else’s money.
Buddy Love ($1.50) vs In a Wingarded Moment ($2.94)
Not sure the new Xavier coach thought this would be such a big game scheduling it for Saturday afternoon, but what a tantalising contest awaits. The loss of Tippet will be interesting for the Swans – his presence has opened up plenty of other options. Port face their toughest test heading to the SCG, but they have taken on everyone with aplomb and I see no reason to think they would be any different this week. I do think the home ground advantage will give Sydney the edge, but this is a much tighter game than the odds suggest. I rate Port at least a $2.50 chance so they represent great value.
Shattered Glass ($1.69) vs Jaeger Meisters ($2.34)
Kudos to Darren Glass on a great career and as pointed out a great leader in very difficult times. For the team they have have pretty good backups in Eric McKenzie and Mitch Brown so it will not really affect them. But they have issues elsewhere and the bell may also be tolling for Big Cox who is taking a week off. Gold Coast have been tested losing their last two but on form they must rate a chance, West Coast have only beaten the minnows at home this year. But Suns are yet to shine in the west and for that reason I am selecting the Eagles, but again would fancy Gold Coast if $2.50 became available.
Kings of the Jungle ($1.44) vs Gotta Win Soon ($3.30)
But I can’t see it happening this week fronting up to the Lions chasing three on the trot. The Lions are as healthy as they have been all season and are reaping the benefits – not withstanding still having a couple of key players missing. Great to see Phil Davis back healthy again but it won’t be enough and GWS will remain at the foot of the table.
Wanna Betts ($1.94) vs Daw Slammed ($2.04)
Hard to really gauge Eddie’s Adelaide – a forty point loss away to Freo is probably par and their home form has been excellent. But that is matched by the Kangas form on the Road. The spirit appeared mid-match last week after Majak was subbed out, can they bring that second half form to Adelaide Oval? This is a real toss of the coin game for mine and I reckon the Roos might just continue on.
Umpires Pets ($1.05) vs Other Side of the Bay ($18.50)
The Cats return to their fortress and take on the visitors from across the bay and who are at the other end of the spectrum with their list. Much written about the demise of the Cats – their draw will all but ensure a top 4 finish and from there who knows dismiss them at your peril. Geelong will be too good for the Saints.
Pizza Shop Boys ($1.12) vs Sick Puppies ($8.20)
Well the Pies have been out about this week but should be back ready to take on the Bulldogs whose poor form of late has been put fairly and squarely in the spotlight. With the torch turned up I expect the Dogs to come our snarling, but I have also expected that many times this year. In reality Collingwood have too many good players to be covered and will win.
The Jobeless Rate ($1.48) vs It’s all a Ruse ($3.00)
With the timing of the ASADA announcement it will be tough for the Bombers to prepare, at least they have until the last game of the weekend but will sorely miss their inspirational skipper. The last time they played the Dees at the G it was a complete demolition, Roos will certainly have Melbourne defending better so I doubt the 148 point drubbing will be repeated. However will they be able to create enough goals and kick more than the Bombers? On evidence from Monday it is doubtful, however I suspect that in the time Roos was not bleating about the umpires he was addressing some of these issues. Not sure it will be enough and expect Essendon to win, but with all the other issues at Essendon, $3 is very fair value on the Demons.
What a feast of sport from around the globe is coming – US Open, Wimbledon, Le Tour…. But none bigger than the World Cup. Let’s hope the young Australian team can make their mark and whilst qualification to the knockout round is a pipe dream there are plenty of other teams not in Brazil that would happily swap.
The Friars get back on the field and take on Old Geelong at Como Park – weather ugly and probably a heavy 9 – will be a tough contest but a great chance to get back on track. The Under 19s take on Parkdale at Friar Park where the expanses will be much appreciated after the last two games in the confined space of Uni’s Crawford Oval.
Go Blues, Go Friars and most of all Go Aussies!