Greetings to all,
Vlad might be having a blast at the Olympics – but once again his charges make sure that the news inches are adorned with AFL. But before addressing those some Olympic observations. Have been a fan of Sally Pearson ever since she screamed “did you see me” at Maurie Plant after claiming silver in Beijing (amazing – elation at Silver). Watching her win was a highlight, as was watching Anna Meares and the K4s – the standout feature in each their races to me was the meticulous execution of their plans and skills. Compare those with some of the performances that did not meet expectations and I am sure there are those tiny 0.1%ers that made 0.001 of a second difference.
But the games are also all about “having a crack” and “doing your best”, not everyone has achieved that but the effort of Steve Solomon in the 400m was another special effort.
But back to Sally – her win was planned for many years and she was given time to grow and improve. Compare that with the AFL junior scrapheap system we have now and what we have lost with the demise of a reserves competition. The TAC under 18 and elite junior system puts enormous pressure on young players and then with the narrow league lists they have only a couple of years to prove themselves or it’s off to the recycle bin. Compare that to the days of yore when footy records were loaded with playing lists of 55-60 players per club – plus Under 19s – a truer “club” environment existed and clubs had better chances to allow players time to grow and develop. The two that standout to me being Bruce Doull and Michael Tuck who both played about 100 reserves or Under 19 games before embarking on their long and illustrious senior careers. Of course I’d also love to watch the odd reserves game instead of being in the bar prior to the bounce too!
Then there is Steven Milne – far from my favourite player. But really what is Umpire Margetts on? Milney gets all his lines from the Shane Watson’s Quotable Quotes – there is nothing smart or intelligent about it – but it is just banter. Leave the players to sort it out. It was not the umpires that drove the racial vilification outcomes – it was the players that spoke out, they will here as well. In the meantime, Milney do some research and come up with something a bit more entertaining or humourous.
Last week’s games were not so easy and on my part not so good. Didn’t pick the Cats, but I did suggest they provided value on the punt as did Freo who are looking dangerous. But 5 from 9 not up to scratch.
Wings Clipped ($1.94) vs Houdinis ($2.04)
Before teams were announced I was pretty happy to tip the Cats over an Eagles outfit that is spluttering its way to September. However the loss of Hunt, Kelly and Smedts for three kittens could be a telling factor considering also the return of Embley and Glass for West Coast. This is a watershed game for both clubs a win for either keeps them alive for the top 4 and probably snuffs their opponents chances. By midnight Friday I expect the Cats to be snuffed out mainly due the ruck dominance of the Eagles – but nothing would surprise so Geelong at $2.10 is fair game.
We Wuz Robbed ($1.07) vs The Green Pastures ($13.50)
The Giesch gave the Saints great consolation by saying the umpire was wrong. Look at the rest of the game and there will be 20 other umpiring errors with varying degrees of benefit to either side – coming out on this is unfair to the umpire and to both clubs – sometimes it is better to be Sergeant Schultz. Whereas the Dees have begun their review and sent Brad Green out to pasture. But nothing in this for the Dees so the Saints will get the chocolates here.
Charddy Sippers ($1.45) vs Purple Curse ($3.15)
Another game that shapes the finals – well sort of. Adelaide have a soft run home as do Freo aside from an encounter with North which might be the elimination final for eighth. Adelaide’s form at home has been very good even though the Bombers stretched them last week and I believe they will win again. By the same token Get Stuffed Lyon’s charges have found a rich vein of form and must be given a good chance – anything over $3 is a fair gamble.
Sally Pearson’s Home ($1.42) vs Coach Killers ($3.20)
The grudge match the AFL world has been waiting for – the Tanking Cup! Great effort by the Giants last week to get over Port – can they win 2 in a row? With the Suns losing Smith, Hunt and Rischitelli they are a chance but the Giants go without Ward, Patton, Green and Brogan. I reckon Gazza and Harley will be the difference and the Giants to post their first win at home, or a 0-0 draw with both teams coming to a high jump style agreement and badminton style result.
Trading Posters ($1.22) vs Lioned Up ($5.30)
It’s great that Ratts believes the Blues can still make it – but in the words of Darryl John Kerrigan “Tell ‘im he’s dreamin’”. Whilst the season has not turned out as hoped for the club – through adversity comes opportunity and several young players have come in an impressed. None more so than Tom Bell. Waite’s return displayed his value to the team – but is of little value playing less than 50% of games. Best to finish this year before talking about next also. As for the Lions not a great result against the Tiges, they will be very keen to atone despite their aversion to the Loungeroom. They did win their last encounter their against the Dogs but lost their previous six. The loss of Jamison means there is no obvious match up for Jonathon Brown and then there will be Merrett up forward. Through heart and head I am selecting the Blues – however for the non-Blues $5 is good value given the potential individual mismatches.
Need to be Goodes ($1.63) vs Swan Lager ($2.54)
What a week for leadership groups? Or is it just Bucks’ Gestapo? Such an event with Dane Swan was always on the cards once he shunned the leadership group. Everyone uses the Steve Johnson example as the “model” to build culture – this is nothing like it. The Johnson incident was at the beginning of the year – this is in the finals lead up. Whether or not they have done the right thing only time will tell – but we should note that Collingwood have had similar controversies in the lead up to every recent finals series – except 2010! But there is one constant – they always beat Sydney. The Hawks couldn’t get over Geelong last week and I reckon the Bloods won’t the Pies even though they are playing some very good footy. Great value Collingwood at $2.50. What do you think Maxie?
Cat Food ($1.02) vs Puss, Puss – Whiskas ($30)
Sorry Giesch – you only proved your incompetence by indicating that Rioli should not have had a free. That has been called all year and there was plenty of time to dispose of the ball – a free kick in the first minute is a free kick in the last. Are we sure that Goldspink had not reappeared? Anyway didn’t bother me happy to see the curse continue. Now we see another cat in Whiskas Hocking taking the reins at Port. From afar it seemed Port had improved this year with more competitive effort levels – surely one week cannot have caused the explosion we saw. Hawks to put on a curse!
Tucked In ($1.21) vs King St Blues ($5.60)
Young Tom got a club suspension – one suspects the punishment from Mr Tony could even be more severe! Young men make mistakes – hope for his sake he gets through this and continues the career he has started so well. And boy the Dogs need him. Without him they can’t beat the Tiges – in fact – no matter who is playing for them they can’t beat Richmond.
Another Blee ($2.26) vs Beam Them Up ($1.78)
Great to see another Brendan Lee playing footy! On recent form and injury list the Kangas a justifiable favourites for this encounter. However Essendon are playing for their 2012 lives as was seen in Adelaide last week and an equivalent effort here probably wins. However North have a great forward structure and I reckon it will get them a winning score and lock them into September, however as stated the Bombers will be raring to go and anything over $2.20 is worth investment consideration.
The temperature in Melbourne over the last couple of days has hidden the fact that spring is near – I have spotted the first blooming magnolia. So interest in the Sport of Kings is being rekindled. This week sees the first meeting at headquarters for the new season. Plenty of spring hopes getting their campaign under way with the Group 3 Auries Star Handicap as the feature – at this stage I am more inclined to go with the race hardened material and go with the promising Golden Archer from the Moody stable who has a 100% record at Flemington (tough one isn’t it?). Otherwise a definite watch and learn day.
Go Blues, Go Friars