AFL Round 2 preview: Oh the Humanity

Greetings All,

Are there enough issues in footy?  Boutique stadiums, the length of the season, the bump, the slide, the cap, the list goes on….

But the season began with a raft of upsets and this pontificator struggling to register winners over the round.  Overall that has to be good for the competition – although I am sure there plenty of Blues, Saints and Crows that will beg to differ!  Then there is the Mick Malthouse against Collingwood saga, unfortunately it has taken away from the true rivalry rather than enhanced it in my opinion.

It has also taken focus away from some the comments made by Mick early this week with respect to the Blues performance last week.  I am being somewhat indulgent in focussing on my team here, however Mick’s attitude to how the game should be played warrants comment.  His lamenting of the “shoot out” footy the Blues played in the 2nd half last week concerned me as a fan of the club and the game.  He might want to win 12 goal defensive lock down games, but frankly I don’t want to see them.  For the majority of fans the ends will justify the means especially if he can achieve the one KPI he has been employed for.  There weren’t too many sad Swans in 2005 even though they only kicked 8 goals in the Grand Final.  But there is only one premier in any year and if the defensive style coaches reign supreme then the game is in trouble.

In reality this has already been acknowledged as KB’s forum tries to force play to open up and remove the congestion around the ball.  I might not like Mick’s style, however in assessing ultimate success over time most premiers in the last 20 years have played a positive brand of footy.  Even the Pies under Malthouse in 2010 eventually broke apart Lyon’s Saints to score heavily in the Grand Final.  He needs to find a style at the Blues somewhere in the middle, under Ratten they were able to notch up winning scores but did not have the steel or structure to stop an onslaught.  What we see on Sunday in that area is much more important than whether or not he and Nanette have regained faith in humanity.  Of course a Blue win over Collingwood is always good for humanity!

 

All the way with the USA

For the most part as Australians we have shunned many of the US sports fads.  In reality, their sports are probably even more dedicated to sticking with tradition than ours and certainly Europe’s.  Uniforms are not billboards with space for rent, baseball outfits still look the same as they did in the era of the “Babe”.  But then again there are the PEDs they have turned a blind eye to.  But the interesting discussion point of late has been the restricted access to technology made available to coaches in the NFL.  They don’t have access to game day stats and are limited to still photography rather than replays.  How would the AFL teams go if limited to a say 5 coaches in the box, no monitor, no computer and no game clock?  Might do something for equalisation.

 

Round 2

Round One was not one for the tipsters with this one only managing three and steering the readers away from the best value upsets in the Dogs and the Suns.  What does round two present?  How many teams will turn around their form for better or worse.

 

Sun Downed ($3.35) vs Flag Favourites ($1.41)

Well the Saints looked pretty horrible last week and the Tigers are all the rage after winning one game.  Some teams make huge improvement (or deterioration) from one season to the next, but they are in the minority most teams get better or worse gradually – these two were evenly matched last year and one game is not enough evidence to determine that they are on different planes as the odds would indicate.  The Saints are a proud mob and will be keen to atone for last week and the Tigers finish to the game was not great.  The other factor is that Hampson dominated the skies against the Richmond defence – Nick Reiwoldt has a much greater record than Shaun Hampson and could torment the Tiger backline.  To me this is almost a line ball game and I reckon the Saints represent great value at $3.35 – and whilst the Tiges could be very good, I am still a sceptic and have the Saints to win this one.

 

All the Favours ($1.13) vs Watch out Dad ($8.20)

Fancy the premier coming up against last year’s bottom two in round one and two!  Meanwhile the comparisons and superlatives just grow for Gazza, maybe the Saints performance also needs to be put into context with his.  But at the SCG and the Jack clamps will go on Gazza, Sydney to win.

 

Lion Tamers ($3.40) vs Kings of the West ($1.40)

Fantastic effort from the Dogs last week upsetting the inform Lions, however the reigning Perth champs present another test with Get Stuffed Lyon to have his boys apply the sleeper hold on the young puppies.  A true test for them, however Lyon has Freo improving their record away from home and I expect them to win.  Nevertheless the odds on the Dogs can’t be ignored like last week, but I think I would want closer to $4.

 

Al Pacino ($2.14) vs Chardy Sippers ($1.83)

After a dog day afternoon for the Lions and an opening night howler for the Crows, both of these clubs will want to turn around their fortunes.  Both sides showed good form in the pre-season form and their last three encounters at the Gabba have been decided by less than two goals.  The Lions rate a great chance in this game, however for the same reason St Kilda and Richmond should be close these two should be further apart given Adelaide were not far off a Grand Final last year.  Whilst the Chardonnay will not have been so sweet over the last two weeks I think their midfield can come back and provide enough to Mr Walker for a winning score.  But since the game is at the Gabba the Lions would certainly be worth consideration at $2.40 or better.

 

Let’s Make a Deal ($1.12) vs Dee-plorable ($8.60)

The ASADA investigation continues as the Bombers fly higher – not sure how their deal would have worked.  But apparently they do have a game to play, as has been documented Melbourne have a good recent record over the Dons and are looking for their fifth in a row.  Can the Dees really be as bad as they looked last week?  If they have any pride they MUST come back and present as much stiffer opposition then they were last week.  The question is whether it can be stiff enough for genuine AFL competition, until they show it I have my doubts.  For the Bombers they look too even and strong across the board and should win, despite their recent record against this opposition.  Are the Dees worth the $8.60?  Not with mine!

 

The Other Wines ($1.18) vs The TLA ($5.80)

Why couldn’t they give the team a proper name instead of an acronym?  Meanwhile Port produced Wines from a younger vintage that looks more than ready to mix it with his more aged counterparts.  Port lost their encounter with the Giants last year, I doubt they will allow that to occur again on their 11th last home game at Footy park.

 

Chris ($1.52) vs Brad ($2.80)

At their best the Kangas took it up to the Pies, but could not go with them when the blowtorch was applied.  Meanwhile Geelong once again mastered the Hawks in a classic, much should be made of their creativity, pace and flair they are a great team to watch.  They will have too much of that again this week against North, notwithstanding the Roos have their best hopes while playing in the confines of the Loungeroom and if Petrie, Hansen and Tarrant can win some ball in the air they can match anyone.  But until they do it against the top teams they will remain the competition barometer, losing to the better teams and smashing the minnows.  Geelong to win, but $2.80 is fair value for North.

 

The Corporation ($1.99) vs You’ve been Jeffed ($1.97)

West Coast have dominated Hawthorn over the last few years at Subiaco, what will Jeff have to say if it happens again?  And chances are it will.  Much has been made this week of the Hawks lack of pace, which was really first exposed by the Tigers last year.  However if their forwards were not so profligate with the volume of opportunities provided by the “slow” midfield Monday’s game would have been done at half time.  The problem is that this ground is bigger and West Coast don’t have too many carthorses in the midfield either.  The Hawks can win if Buddy, Roughy and co can win or split the contests with the supply they get, however I am selecting the Eagles to maintain their home record over them.  Whoever gets out to $2.15 is good value, but I doubt anyone will.

 

The Inhumanity ($1.50) vs The Humanity ($2.94)

Waite, Hampson, Betts … is it starting to look familiar for the Blues?  Too bad, that is what you are dealt with and the Pies were superb last week with well short of their best 22.  But the Blues turned the table on the Pies last year and would believe they match up well on them, missing Betts will be an issue by the same token Mick will think he has a good insight to a few of his old charges.  On the other hand the key Collingwood engine room of Pendlebury, Swan, Sidebottom, etc cranked it up against the Roos who couldn’t go with them, will Carlton be able to go with them.  Naturally I reckon they can and in terms of midfield numbers they should be able to, it will be the quality that counts and needing Kruezer to be influential.  With that I am selecting the Blues, but acknowledge that the Pies are deserved favourites but should not be as short as $1.50.  Would think they should be $1.80 which makes the Blues good value at anything over $2.50.

 

Sink the Slipper

And with all the rain they have had in Sydney they might have to just do that.  Not my favourite race the Golden Slipper, but the cash is huge and Australia will continue to breed sprinters over stayers of substance.  Hope that changes one day, but there is still that race and four other group ones up for decision at Rosehill on Saturday.

 

Race 4 – Vinery Stud Stakes (G1, 2000m, 3yo Fillies)

The fillies contest this big one but on the way to the ATC Oaks.  My selection to win is the Bart Cummings trained Norzita, however the price is pretty short.  The rain is predicted to continue and Habibi comes over from NZ where tracks can be truly bottomless – she may represent better betting value and comes off beating the boys in the NZ Derby.  Dear Demi has the runs on the board, Alzora and Summer Bliss are both running with the Oaks in mind.

Selections – 3-4-2-9

 

Race 5 – The BMW (G1, 2400m, WFA)

What a shame, the race formerly known as the The Tancred Stakes was one of the best races on the calendar is now just a prelude to the Golden Slipper and not even a leg of the Quaddie.  Mind you much of the field are handicappers and not genuine WFA warriors.  Fiveandahalfstar gets his chance again with no other 3yo to match the lightweight and should be able to win this.  Foreteller is in great form and can’t be ignored again, the rain affected track should suit the NZers so Silent Acheiver could blow them away as could Le Roi who has been in very good form.

Selections – 12-11-9-1

 

Race 6 – Queen of the Turf Stakes (G1, 1500m, F&M WFA)

Do we kick off the Quaddie with a freebie with the mighty More Joyous?  There is some well-credentialled competition, but if she runs to her best she wins.  The other with the best hope to cause an upset are Appearance from the Darley Corporation, the mudlarks Red Tracer, Streama and Pear Tart and the Victorian Spirit Song is in great form.

Selections – 1-4-3-7

 

Race 7 – The Golden Slipper (G1, 1200m, 2yo)

Really want to get away from the Waterhouse favourite Overreach, but really hard to ignore given the inside alley and most of the other chances have the visitor’s draw.  Villa Verde looked the best 2yo in the country early in the season and whilst drawn wide, I reckon she represents good value second up.  Bowman on Criterion comes out of barrier two and could have the run of the race and McEvoy has selected Sidestep as the best of the Darley chances.  But there are many more chances in the raffle.

Selections – 14-11-1-4

 

Race 8 – George Ryder Stakes (G1, 1500, WFA)

She has the favourites in the previous two races can Gai make it three in a row with another one in Pierro.  Can’t see this one being rolled, many of these using this to get ready for the Doncaster.  Rebel Dane, Shoot Out, Danleigh and Solzhenistyn for the minors.

Selections – 11-1-12-9

 

Quaddie

Can be attacked by either going wide and hope for a couple of favourites to be rolled or barrack for Gai.  So I’m going to do both!

 

Quaddie 1 – Go Gai!

Leg 1 – 1

Leg 2 – 11

Leg 3 – 11

Leg 4 – 3,4,5,6,7,9,13,14,15,16

10 Combinations – $10 for 100%

 

Quaddie 2

Leg 1 – 1,3,4,5,7,8

Leg 2 – 1,2,4,6,8,11,12,13,14

Leg 3 – 1,11,12

Leg 4 – 15,16

324 combinations – $20 for 6.17%

 

Good luck for all your teams, but especially mine,

Go Blues!

Cheers, Sal

 

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