A Few Old Chestnuts

Greetings All

Being in Hobart there is also the opportunity to take in the ruminations, observations and considerations from the Great Sage from the South of which are littered throughout this literary diatribe.

No shortage of footy stories this week in both the news and the forum.  Most of them covering a few old chestnuts that this scribe has touched on before, but worth a brief revisit.

This prognosticator is a fan of the substitute rule which has added some strategic intrigue to the game and also balanced the game by removing the disadvantage of losing a player to injury, not to mention the opening of the play late in games due to the increased fatigue of the players.  However so far this season we have at least two instances where players have returned to the field injured and then succumbing to long term injuries in Luke Ball and Josh Kennedy.  Their respective clubs are adamant that returning to the field did not make them prone to more injury and the reality is that we can’t really know.  However both being valuable commodities to their clubs, they should have been more prudent.  The players will always want to play and help the team, but the Pies were already in trouble against Carlton and Kennedy added little to the battle for the Eagles.  I believe it is time for the league to look at two substitutes with my preference to only have two interchange and further fatigue the players, open the game up and bring the skilled players to the fore.

The inequity of the FIXture has been raised by the clubs.  Supporters and media have bemoaned the inequity for some time but the clubs have usually kept quiet except for at the initial release of the draw when most of them keep the company line.  It is surely time now that the FIXture becomes a draw and a transparent process is used to provide the schedule from year to year.  The 3 groups of 6 teams works perfectly – each team in the group play each other twice (10 games) and every other team once (12 Games) giving us 22 game season.  The only point of conjecture then becomes the groups as you would suspect I also have a deeply considered theory on this, but there is only so much time!

Then we have the debacle that the MRP has become – the formula based system is pretty clear and makes sense – however some of the decisions and the ratings defy logic.  A couple of embarrassments at the tribunal with Thomas and Montagna – but the Selwood/Raines tete-a-tete has me confused.  The fact that it was rated in play being the first logic defying component.  I don’t doubt that Joel’s tap to Raines may have not been worthy of suspension, however what would have the MRP’s decision been had Raines dropped like autumn leaves as Selwood did.

And the new – old chestnut – and the footy coverage on Seven.  Whilst not a Rohan Connolly fan – there can be little doubt about his passion for the game.  His comments on the low angle shots and  replays were spot on, his boy’s club comments also hit a chord in my opinion.  The experts claimed the Blues’ win over Collingwood was due to the centre dominance of the Blues – however in watching the replay – the actual centre bounce was missed after most goals due to a lingering replay being placed after the ad.  (almost worn the replay out!)  Far too many shots from other angles that don’t allow you to completely get the context of the game and where the play is, we are used to being seated high on the western wing for TV.  Other angles should be used more sparingly and for expert analysis and dissection during the breaks.  Finally, Richo – the fact that BT has fingers like bratwursts is of no relevance to the game we are watching.  Keep that “Gold” for the magazine type stuff but keep to the game at hand while it is being played.

And one from The Sage – who for the most part has to endure his AFL on the screen.  9 renditions of The Last Post is enough – no one questions the importance of ANZAC day and what it means to Australia (and New Zealand) but every game having the ceremony overdoes it.  Ceremony on ANZAC day and one in each other state is enough.

Now to matters of critical social importance – one of the great bastions of footy pubs “The Rose” in Fitzroy recently went under the hammer and the wider perception was that it would make way for another urban development.  Great news as reported in this week’s Epicure that the buyers are local and wish to keep the great institution as a going concern!  For this they deserve all our support and look forward to another convivial at “The Rose” very soon!

Last week only got the obvious on the neddies and in reality the same for the footy, all the favourites as selected saluted bar the Hawks who succumbed to the enormous effort from the Bloods.  GS Lyon proves what a great coach he is by managing to have Freo clag up the biggest ground in the country – not sure how many new fans he will attract.  Doggies and Roos tick the four point boxes, Dees managed 4 quarters but not St Lenny.  The super Sunday already mentioned Sydney, great effort again from the Tiges – backline developing and then the showdown – did not have the spite of The Ramsgate but they played a great and competitive game.


Now for Round 6

Where are the Lost Dogs? ($8.20) vs Cloke & Dagger ($1.13)

The Scrays are hoping to find all those members that have not resigned – not sure many of them will be in the kennel after Friday Night.  Whilst Collingwood appear to be spluttering, they are too well organized and should have key players back for a team with such a poor forward line.  Waiting for Smorgy to come out and set the pass mark for McCartney, let’s hope the president is realistic this year.  Pies to win in a no bet encounter.

April Sun in Cuba ($1.19) vs Hard Raines ($6.20)

Back into the comfy lounge room after a 9 day holiday for the Bombers should see them further improve the win-loss ratio against the Lions.  We can be certain there will be no Raines.  One question – why did Hird not send them all to defence?  Supercoach one week – ??? the next.  Whilst an Essendon win is the likely result – Brisbane won their last encounter with JB dominating with 25 possessions, 16 grabs and 4.6 on the scoreboard.  Maybe the $6.20 is worth a look.

Soggy Moggies ($1.05) vs Can you hear the lambs screaming Clarice? ($17.00)

The Horror, The Horror but we dare not talk about it.  The Cats get to wring themselves out after the soaking up north and face a more credible Melbourne – last week’s effort was much closer to that required.  This week they welcome their bookends back in Frawley and Clarke – however this is Geelong at Geelong and scars will remain from last year.  Cats easily – but not as easy as last year and maybe not with fava beans.

Tweet Tweet ($7.40) vs Western Force ($1.14)

Get Stuffed Lyon is complaining about Freo not being shown respect by their foes this week, what about giving the game some respect and not playing Rugby!  I might be an IT geek but I am no social tweet – nevertheless I am bemused and interested by the players tweeting their mind.  Not necessarily best for the team but great for a story.  Bad luck Gazza won’t be back, who will Crowley be molesting this week?  Shame for the comp that Fyfe is out for a while makes Freo even less attractive to watch.  Freo to win.

Watters Flow ($4.00) vs Squawks ($1.33)

The Hawks are bemoaning the tough draw and in reality it is a reasonable point – except that on inspection their next 7 games up to the bye are against teams that finish outside the 8 last year giving them a reasonable chance to get to the bye with a 9-3 record.  Much made of their lack of effort on Sunday – that is too simple an excuse.  As put previously the Hawk back line is suspect at the moment and the loss of Gibson hurt – after ½ time though they lacked the even spread of effort that the Swans had.  This game should be the start of a winning run – expecting them to make a significant statement.

Flag Favourites ($1.29) vs Church City Champs ($4.30)

Only a game the difference between these two but the Swans have the better scalps and the form so are justifiable favourites and at home the price seems reasonable.  However Adelaide has an extraordinary recent history against Sydney – they have won 11 of the past 13 encounters including 5 from 6 at the Cricket Ground.  Adelaide need to make a statement and I reckon they should be at about the $3.50 mark – however I still tip the Bloods.

Bye Bye ($1.01) vs Boyz2Men ($100)

Interesting ploy from Sheeds who rested Cornes and Brogan for this one.  The Blues are one of the first teams to be looking at whether to rest some of their players.  Does it forsake percentage which could be important later in the season – a shame that these are the issues clubs are addressing against the “New Kids on the Block”.  It adds a whole “New Dimension” to the strategy with which teams view the season.  Blues to win – accolades to Kade Simpson playing his 150th consecutive game.

On the Boardwalk ($2.24) vs Round What? ($1.76)

The rejuvenated Port up against Richmond who apparently have only been playing practice matches till now.  These are the two spruik clubs that have still only won one game.  Both have endured tough games on Sunday – however I am leaning to Port to win this – playing at home and I have my concerns about the pressure the Tiggers are putting on themselves.

Who got the Lumberjack? ($1.29) vs ‘Boners ($4.20)

The timber cutters are in town and one member of the forest has been cut down – this leaves a huge hole in the Eagles forward line from 2011 with no Le Cras, Nicovski and now Kennedy.  However they seem to have covered the small forwards well and Darling would appear to be ready to take on the prime role.  I expect they will have a stern test against North but they should salute on the expanses of Subiaco.

The Neddies

The main attraction this week is Warrnambool – but I was not prepared enough to partake in that conviviality!  One Day!  But Group 1 action is with the derbies – in Adelaide we have the South Australian Derby.  How it gets G1 status is puzzling but that is what it is.  A few days out from the event – but hard to go past Zabeelionnaire.  Has been targeted at this race and form is peeking.  Strike The Stars is an obvious threat but I reckon might have been up for long enough with his last run, the AJC Derby, being his grand final.  Add Alcohol, Backbone and Cornell for the tricks and of course Haroldhaut will be terrific in the wet!  Then there is the Kentucky Derby – if you thought I had no idea on Australian racing…well!

This week The Friars feature in a classic “Top of the Table” clash at Friar Park against the Pirates who have been cutting a swathe through their opponents.  The Mighty Friars will be there to challenge and take the treasured top spot at 5:00pm!

Go Blues, Go Friars,

Cheers, Sal


  1. Skip of Skipton says

    Yes I like Zabeelionaire in the SA Derby. I backed him in the Victoria Derby and he went OK, but seemed immature.

    I have watched all the traditional lead ups for the Kentucky Derby, and it looks a very competitive race, despite the fave winning the Arkansas Derby by 9 lenghts. Union Rags hit the line hard in the Florida Derby after getting shuffled back.
    There’s money to be made here I reckon. Would be good if the Louisville Saint, Glenn B dropped in with some mail.

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