After the lightened load of Round 18 with only a handful of games each week the pressure is back on with a Thursday Night fixture placing pressure not only on timeliness but also without team selections – not that they are accurate these days.
But the topic of the week has been the tribunal and how Ty should have been dealt with? It has been a while since we have seen such an incident – Barry Hall on Brent Staker is my last recollection although the ball was not in the same postcode when Bazza struck. From my recollection the Big, Bad One had a 7 week sabbatical – was 4 enough for Ty? In the context of recent MRP decisions I suspect it is OK – however from a broader community aspect I think a stronger statement should have been made and let him think about it till 2015. But if the AFL has challenges in this area they are rubbing off on some of the lesser grades. The VAFA tribunal has been known for sending strong messages and as a result it is a well behaved competition in my opinion. They have set penalties for the range offences with a one match discount if prescribed penalty is accepted. Browsing through last week’s administration of justice in their record saw a string of players suspended for three weeks for striking – all taking the discount. What staggered me was that the same penalty was also dished for kicking – maybe standards have changed and I haven’t but kicking offences have always attracted much harsher penalties and for good reason.
Round 18 took a long time to complete but it did dish a few good games of footy – let’s hope that Round 19 delivers the same.
Stewards Enquiry ($1.18) vs Why Waite ($6.20)
Not that the Saints should not be allowed to beat a team – but that performance from Freo would warrant investigation if it were a 20-20 game on the subcontinent. They will be primed and also will be stronger with the return of Herman and Hill. The Blues showed against North that they are capable as a side – but have lacked consistency in games and across weeks all year. They are generally competitive at Subi but I doubt that they will get much space to play in and Get Stuffed will have his charges back to their strangling best. Freo to win and maybe the Blues faithful could spend a penny at $6 or better – but even I am not that faithful!
Oh Jesinta ($1.27) vs A Scene but not Hird ($4.50)
Buddy’s babe will need to learn quickly expecting Hawthorn fans not to give it to her man. Meanwhile the Essendon saga rolls on but the team seems to playing in a bubble and they take on Sydney who will want to rebound strongly after last week’s loss to Hawthorn. Interestingly it was the Hawk quality forwards that exposed the shaky nature of the Sydney defence – as a unit they work well but they were isolated last week and a number of them struggled in mano-e-mano contests. No doubt Bomber will have taken note and in Jake Carlisle they have one the hottest forwards in the competition. The concern for Bomber is that without Carlisle the Dogs would have hammered them. But the Bomber backs will also have their hands full with the Buddy and Co Show, they have not been the most resolute of units and Sydney attack will want to regain some authority! The midfield battle will be intriguing but if Hannaberry comes back it will sway the Swans way. Being at the SCG Sydney are the selection, but they will need to be cleaner than last week and the Bombers should be about a $3.50 chance.
Bring out the Bubbly ($1.24) vs Hiding Out West ($5.10)
The Crow fans will have sipped something celebratory after the victory over the Pies, they have elevated themselves into the eight and will be looking to consolidate their spot with a win over the disappointing Eagles. Not much has been written about the Eagles in Melbourne – but this mob are insipid. Their lack of will at contested footy was an embarrassment last week – they had so much to play for after what happened to Cox but only Priddis and to a lesser extent Shuey could be bothered. A proud team would come out this week with all guns blazing to rectify matters – I just don’t see it happening and predict a comfortable Crow win.
Tygers ($1.11) vs Cue in the Rack ($9.40)
The Giants keep sending more for surgery the Tigers surge towards the coveted 9th position – will be 5 in a row for them after this week.
Setting Suns ($1.40) vs Un-docked ($3.40)
It is unfair on the Saints questioning Freo’s commitment – but the Saints were terrific for their spiritual leader. Whereas the Gold Coast were exposed as a side that could not function without their leader. Would Gazza have made the difference? Not sure – but someone needed to stand up. I suspect they will win this week at home – but if the Saints come at them like Brisbane did then they better have a better response or the fall could accelerate.
Fish ‘n Chips ($2.40) vs Geelong ($1.71)
The flaky Roos exposed themselves again just as we all thought they might be the real deal – whilst they might not be real, their best is good enough. They brought that against Hawthorn and will be looking to do the same against the Cats. Too many (including me) think Geelong are a side on the decline, but they sit third and are likely to remain there if they win this encounter. The Flakes have prepared and performed well against quality opposition this year and have usually rebounded well off poor performances. As a result I am selecting them in what is a very intriguing encounter, of course Geelong rate a great chance in any game and a win would really set them up.
One more Ruse ($1.78) vs Northern Champs ($2.26)
Both the Demons and Lions are coming off impressive efforts and they will both look at this game as a test of where they are in the pecking order. Brisbane would love to win a game away from the Gabba and Melbourne would like to claim their first set of four points in the lounge room since 2007. They have played there 18 times since then with no result. The Dees will be rapt to have Paul Roos committed for the extra year and they will keenly chase the points, however Brisbane are pretty healthy at the moment with a fast developing midfield. Going for Brisbane based on Melbourne’s horrendous record at the ground and whilst it should not mean much the scars are evident.
Dukes of York ($1.15) vs Huskies ($7.20)
The Hawks get to dine out at their southern home, the chilly conditions to make it even more inviting for the Dogs who will need to be of a resilient breed. They will put a great show as always, but the reigning premiers will be too good.
Bucks Fizzling? ($2.26) vs Hinkley Hovering ($1.76)
A critical clash for both teams whose seasons are now on the brink. Both have been ravaged by injury to key players, but by the same token a number of players are out of form. This is a game where player availability will be important and at the moment Carlisle and Trengrove are unlikely for Port. With the furore surrounding Cloke this week they would have been handy as he will be well looked after. At the other end Schulz will be a handful, but some of his younger cronies and in particular Wingard need to find more footy. Should be a terrific contest that is a flip of the coin game, but I reckon the Pies will prevail on the back of 5-6 goal effort from Travis Cloke.
A tough loss for the seniors to Bulleen-Temp and now only 6 points separating the clubs in a relegation dogfight. This week the Friars host NOBS where a good result could propel the club further from the drop zone. The Under 19 North team finally got on the board with draw against St Bernards and the Section 2 team attacked the contest with an insatiable appetite to be able to defeat he ladder leaders in Uni Blues and go to 2nd spot on the ladder. This week they take the trip down to South Road and face the resurgent Old Brighton.
Go Blues, Go Friars