AFL Round 18 Part 1 Preview – ’tis the time of the season.

Greetings to all,

 

As the home and away portion of the season approaches its conclusion, the also rans are starting to look toward 2015 with surgeries scheduled and retirements announced.  The Blues have mothballed Andrew Walker, the Giants have given Lachie Whitfield the rest of the season off.  Then of course we have the retirements of Lenny Hayes, Nick Maxwell and Dom Cassissi – I am sure there are more to come.

Tributes have flowed from everywhere for St Lenny and deservedly so.  I wrote glowingly of Simon Black on his retirement it was no surprise that he was one of Lenny’s most admired opponents – they shared so many qualities.  Not blessed with pace but such a fierce desire for the contest and an innate sense of the game itself, then above that an unscrupulously fair and honest player.  It has been a pleasure to watch Lenny play and one of those that transcended above our usual club allegiances.

The same cannot be said for Nick Maxwell – opposition supporters and even some Pies have had it in for Maxy.  He should care not – captains of premiership sides are not to be underrated.  I doubt he was ever in Collingwood’s best 10 players but has been one their 5 most important players for most of his career.  He has been an outstanding leader.  Unfortunate for Nick not to have the chance to have a send-off in a game – but typically for him his thoughts were always for team first.  I didn’t enjoy watching Maxwell as much as Lenny – but he wouldn’t care as long as he was helping his team.

Dom Cassissi must be so pleased with where his club is now after leading the team through a few tough years.  What should be remembered is that he was part of the 2004 premiership team.  Not a player I saw much of but 228 games, club captain and a premiership describes what an important player he has been for Port.

Now on to the other issues and non-issues in footy!  First the non-issue – who gives a flying caboodle about Mick Malthouse and his opinion of the media and more importantly their opinion of him.  He might not be my favourite character or coach – but he is the coach of the club I support.  Frankly all I care about is whether he does that job well – how he treats the media is way down the prioririty list.

Then there is the Sydney and Eddie spat – what irks me is that Ed says he speaks for all the other clubs.  What a bunch of bollocks – if he were genuinely concerned about the other clubs in the competition he and his mate from Hawthorn would not have capped the equalisation “tax” at $500K.  So let’s have a conversation about academies and their benefits or failings as they affect the game overall and not over petty arguments based around club interest.  What about the reintroduction of zones and clubs being able to set up academies in their zones?

 

Now we have half a round of footy to cover.

 

Woodn’t have Him ($4.40) vs  The Mullett Cut($1.28)

The problem with football jokes is they get selected!  I coped with the mockery and derision late last year from the Chokers after the Blues took Cameron Wood as a rookie, I coped because I was pretty sure he would not get a game.  Well it ain’t that funny now that he’s got one.  What is less amusing is that it is probably the right selection given the uncompetitiveness of Robbie Warnock.  During the week I fiercely defended the Blues decision not to pay extra money to keep Eddie Betts – but also indicated that for that good decision there have been plenty of howlers.  The recruitment of R Warnock might be a howler in its own right but may have also led to a couple of others.  Sam Jacobs was traded to Adelaide after playing a fantastic final against Sydney and whilst the Tiger jury is out on Shaun Hampson I reckon he might outperform Warnock.  Oh and there is a game on, the Blues record is fair against North – but the reality is for the Blues to win it will be if North Melbourne have one of their inglorious lapses.

 

Go Lenny Go ($18) vs Purple Stranglers ($1.05)

Lenny starts his send-off tour – could have picked an easier opponent than Wrestlemania!  Freo to win.

 

Parramatta ($8.60) vs Stoked ($1.12)

The Cats welcome back one of their key ball winners in Matthew Stokes – nice for a lead in against the Giants.  Interesting selection by the Giants with the three big forwards in Cameron, Boyd and Patton all selected will be intriguing to see how they work together – if the ball gets up there.  Cats to win.

 

Safe Harbour? ($1.09) vs Roos Gawn? ($11)

Are Port falling apart?  The Tigers simply outmarked the Port backline – this was really a structural issue without the services of Trengrove and Carlisle the defenders could not compete in the air.  It was not the only reason and I did note a lesser commitment to transition compared to the manic commitment earlier in the season?  Has a sports scientist got hold of them and putting them through a “load”.  They should get back on track against Melbourne – but the Dees will be up for this game and they have won their other encounter at Adelaide Oval this year.  My concern though is that circus around Paul Roos and his tenure has already kicked off.  Port to win, but maybe $10 on Melbourne might be worth a rupee.

 

Labradoodles ($3.40) vs Oh my Goddard ($1.39)

At their best the Dogs could beat the Bombers, however I have been alarmed at the language coming out of the kennel this week.  They sound like a bunch of pampered pups who are pretty happy with themselves.  They are not a team that can afford to be too comfortable.  The Bombers had a super win over Collingwood – but I also thought they won it similar to the Tiges over Port and too strong in the air up forward.  The Jake Niall got it pretty right this week questioning Buckley’s decision to leave Keefe out.  The Dogs are not that tall down back either.  Selecting the Bombers to win, but if the Dogs come out with the right attitude they will be tough and worth a peso or two if we can get $3.50.

 

Friar Time

The seniors take on the Unicorns in a critical game for both teams on the historic Woodfull-Miller Oval, a win for the Friars will pretty much consign MHSOB to Division 2 next year and provide some relief to the Friars but with plenty more to do.  The Under 19s take on Uni Blacks at Friar Park where a win will further entrench their position on the top 4.  Congratulations to Mitch Malt who collected the Spirit award for the VAFA under 19 team who went down to a pretty strong Vic Country outfit.

 

Go Blues, Go Friars,

 

Cheers, Sal

 

Comments

  1. Neil Anderson says:

    All good assessments of the round. Re the Bulldogs, maybe it is time we dropped the ‘Danny from Droop Street’ attitude when the team gets a bit uppity and over-confident after a good win interstate.
    It’s that lack of confidence with the underdog badge that the Bulldogs have worn for many years and which has held them back.
    In 1996 in the Year of the Dog doco they brought in a psychologist to try and fix the problem. Listening to Bob Murphy explain why he signed on for another year it was all about having the confidence in his young team-mates and a bright future for the Club and it felt like they were finally shedding the underdog status.

  2. Sal Ciardulli says:

    Fair comments Neil. This week will be a good test for the Dogs. I hope you are right – but i have been following a team that has all too often talked themselves up and then not turned up to play.

    The one thing in their favour is a coach who won’t really let them get too far ahead of themselves.

    Roll on Sunday

  3. Sal- agree with you about Malthouse and the media. So to summarise- the media has invented a story about Mick’s poor relationship with the media, about which only the media cares. Mick should turn the grumpiness up by about x10! Infinitely more interesting than most of the press conferences which are identical whether it’s been a ten goal loss or a ten goal win. Has a weekend of football ever had less appeal than this one?

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