Greetings to all,
The last week of the byes descend upon us but much of this week’s news inches consumed by a couple of twits! As someone who has blown the whistle in anger I concur with the AFL stance on displaying support of umpires, however they want their cake and eat when they want players to contribute to various media avenues. The issue being that whatever they say needs to be so vanilla there is not much left to be able to show their real personality. Well that’s one point of view – the other is has there ever been any point in having a go at umpires. Very little is achieved except for unnecessary attention. Whilst we have had a couple of much discussed decisions from last week – the one rule that has really got away from them is “throwing the ball”. But that might be having a crack at umpiring and is not allowed, sorry Jeff!
All the favourites home last week – which left me one short in predicting a bold showing from Port but alas not forthcoming.
Now for this weekend, which has a couple juicy encounters scheduled.
Better be Goodes ($1.70) vs Strung Up ($2.40)
A mouth watering encounter to open proceedings for the weekend with the Swans hosting Geelong – this is a critical game for clubs that appear to be fighting for positions in the lower half of the eight. The Cats have brought Dawson Simpson to hopefully give them a greater presence in the ruck, a big ask against the rejuvenated Mummy. The return of Goodes further bolstering the Bloods. The Cats have spluttered their way through the season so far and at the SCG I don’t think they can afford another splutter. At their best they win, but I will be selecting Sydney. Simply due to Cat quality any game where they are at better than $2.20 makes them an interesting investment proposition.
He Said What? ($1.44) vs Mice of the Dome ($3.20)
Well I have no idea what Will said and it must have crossed the boundaries – but to stop sledging what would Steve Waugh say. But losing Will for a week is unlikely to affect the result here. Even though the Lions welcome back Simon “The Likeable” Black, they must contend with their horrendous record at the docklands where they have not won a game since 2010 and not many before that. Dogs to win, but not entirely discounting Brisbane – would need about $3.40.
Port Douglas ($1.47) vs All Geed Up ($3.05)
Is this a Grand Final preview? Based on what we have seen so far it could very well be. The Pies fresh from some northern exposure will require some adjustment to the wintry conditions predicted, but nothing compared to the adjustment required by the Eagles. Collingwood has covered for injuries brilliantly all season, however this contest could expose them in Pendlebury’s absence. However they are exposed by a poor record at the G with only one win in nine games since 2008. The other achilles heel for the Eagles is usually their trump card – the wet conditions will not favour their tall line up. These factors tips this game to the Pies and I am still getting over last before I could ever think of a gamble on West Coast.
The Stevedores ($2.20) vs June Spooners ($1.80)
With these odds I did need to check the last results for these teams – Freo a meritorious win at the G and Bombers lost on their own patch to Sydney. Add the Bombers June hoodoo to the equation and surely the Dockers represent great value. Agreed they are missing important and talented players in Sandilands, Hill and Ballantyne – but talent is not the modus operandi in Get Stuffed Lyon’s game plan. At the WACA I cannot fathom how the Bombers are favoured and Freo are my selection and good value at anything over flip of the coin odds.
The Welcoming Party ($1.35) vs G-lighted ($3.80)
The Dees have been talking up their welcome back for Tom Scully – no wonder they are struggling this year! Fair dinkum, get over it – players move and it is not as if Melbourne have not been on the other side of the trade wars. Remember Mitch Clark, Jeff White, Peter Moore, Kelvin Templeton and of course Diamond Jim Tilbrook! The Giants will be rapt to have their first outing on the hallowed turf – which maybe a misnomer given the storm and pestilence predicted. The Demons to salute – but do expect a bold showing from the Giants.
Harvey’s Petriefied ($3.35) vs Chardy-Sippers ($1.42)
The weekend closes out under the roof in the loungeroom – on form Adelaide are deserved favourites and are my selection. However the odds are ridiculously separated – the Kangas have shown they are capable when Harvey and Petrie play well. I reckon they should be a $2.70 chance making them great value at these odds.
Tweetle-dee and Tweetle-dum ($38, $2.80)
It has all fallen apart for the Blues – with key injuries being a major factor. However that alone does not excuse a couple of particularly poor performances so far. Of greater concern to me as a supporter is the blame game being played. Irrespective of the adjudicators last week, there were other reasons Carlton lost – the focus on umpiring is unhealthy and pointless. Good efforts against Geelong and West Coast were stymied by giving away multiple goals from free kicks – how about looking at reducing those errors instead of worrying about the umpires. There are several other issues to be addressed but one of the more disappointing is the lack of improvement in the team from 2011 and maybe that was the nadir for this group. However whilst the next two are tough – the remainder of the season is an easier task and if they can regain confidence and form the Blues can sneak into 8th after being predicted to finish 4th.
Walking on Sunshine ($1000, $170)
The Suns have resigned their coach, their superstar is just that – however they too must feel that they have lacked the expected natural improvement. Whilst there is some surprise that they are yet to win a game – they are living up to original expectations for me. Predicted 17 and that is still where I have them.
The Dark Hawk ($4.60, $1.04)
Slowly building into their season with the prospect of Max Bailey and Luke Hodge fresh and ready for September makes Hawthorn the main challenger to the Pies in my opinion. There are certainly questions about their lack of height in defense and pace in the midfield – but if the Buddy and Cyril show can produce that may not matter. In line for a 4th place finish after begin the season as the top seed.
Shack-dwellers ($1000, $80)
We have seen a much better season from Port this year compared to the uncompetitive tripe dished up in 2011 – however they will be tested over the next couple of weeks with injuries and suspension to some of their better players. Kudos to Matty Primus for looking to force the issue with Travis Boak – in their position why give games to a player that is not part of your future. Predicted for 13th after an initial expectation of 16th.
9th Again? ($44, $1.87)
The feel good team of the year! Bah, Humbug – this the Tiggers. They have had improvement from a number of players and in the inclusion of the Mullet has added a dimension to the team they have not had for many years. They will do better than the original prediction of 14th, but for mine am afraid the Tigers are destined to finish 9th Again.
Wattered Down ($36, $1.79)
The Saints have rejuvenated under Watters and with the return of Lenny have played with more flair and joy than we have seen for many a year. Kosi looks more like the player we expected a few years ago. I have not improved their outlook from the start of the year and still have them finishing 10th as their run in is tough – however they are quite capable of attaining higher. Just hope they don’t cause it will cost me a slab of Peroni!
Group One Racing
Action on track all this week with Lizzie and Royal Ascot – watched Frankel absolutely demolish his rivals in the opening event and then a great win from So You Think in the Prince of Wales, the race he was butchered in last year. But all eyes are on the great mare on Saturday Night in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes – find a pommy bookie and take the $1.30! But we still have another Group 1 to go in Brisbane with the ridiculously monickered Tattersall’s Tiara. A couple of Victorian trained mares targeted for this in particular Soft Sand which has a great chance, however I suspect Shopaholic will be primed and may present as better value.
Go Blues, Go Friars and Go Black Caviar!