AFL Round 10 Preview: Wilburrrrr

Greetings to all,

Well the Bombers saga finally got a reprieve for the week with what has been a surreal exposure of racism in Australia.  Mr Ed’s gaffe being one of the more extraordinary media moments in our history, he appears to be genuinely abhorred by his own comments.  It has generated a worthwhile debate around whether Australia is a racist nation, a nation of racists or something else.  My personal observations are that we have come a long way – 30 years ago some of this stuff would not have even been noticed.  Adam Goodes would have turned a “deaf” ear and shown no emotion no matter the pain inside, that he was prepared to make an issue of it showed courage and has forced us to take a look at ourselves.  As someone who has endured their share of racism over the journey, I can say life has changed but there is still unspoken racism.  That is the biggest challenge for us to conquer, explicit bigotry is obvious however the unspoken bigotry what really limits equality and opportunity.

Onto the footy and the moral high ground being taken over which clubs are playing the most youngsters.  I have gone into last week’s teams and reviewed the spread of experience in each team.  For more relevant figures I have excluded the new franchises who are obviously over represented with players of 50 games or less.  12 of the teams played 7 or more players with 0-50 games experience and in fact players of this experience make up the highest proportion (34.7%) of players in the competition compared to other 50 game spreads.  It is understanding that Melbourne and the Dogs have 11 and 12 “novices” respectively – the fact that Hawthorn is next with 10 is interesting.  Being up against Gold Coast might have been part of the reason, but most weeks they play at least 8 novices.  At the other end of the scale the Swans and Tigers had only 3 novices.  No surprise for the Swans, however for the up and coming Tigers it raises an interesting question.  With most of their players over the 50 game mark – are they really up and coming or are they at the plateau?  Which of the 17 players in last week’s team with 51-150 games under their belts can get any better?


But enough of those numbers and onto last week’s where that much vaunted Shinboner Spirit cost me a free burger, missed picking the lot by one point and ten seconds.  As suggested the Bulldogs provided great value.  Plenty of one-sided affairs this week – but there are a couple of intriguing contests.


Showing who’s Voss ($5.30) vs Jenny Craig ($1.22)

Should be looking forward to this game with a resurgent Brisbane at home up against the spluttering but proud Pies, however the Lions are missing their bookends through stupidity and have also lost a couple of other key players.  JB’s stupidity extended to the challenge to the original penalty!  They do not have enough depth to cover those losses.  The Pies have had their share of issues during the week, the racism controversy is one thing but the skinfolds!  One of Bucks’ challenges as a coach was always going to be handling those not built in his image, Heath might not be in his image but is in their best 22 at 95% fitness.  But he is back this week along with Didak and whilst they are not at full strength they are in better shape than the Lions who have 11 novices in the selected side.  Pies to win, Brisbane should be a value bet but I reckon it needs to be $5.50.


Buffalo Blues ($1.02) vs Ogres ($34)

Mick has the Blues running the boundary and converting poorly (some were pretty easy though) – that should be enough this week to get over GWS.


The Miracle ($1.90) vs Boston ($2.02)

Was it a miracle over North?  Certainly Adelaide have been terrific in overcoming the loss of Tex Walker in creating opportunities, but the opposition for all those goals does need to be considered GWS (29) and North (18), only 11 and 12 against Hawthorn and St Kilda.  They will get no greater test of their ability to create goals against the stranglehold of the Dockers who they did defeat in three encounters last year.  However I doubt they have the attacking armoury to get through Freo who welcome back Stephen Hill who does provide some flair to Ross’ robots.  Whilst I select Freo – this is an intriguing contest and we will get a much better picture of the Crows.


Another Redback ($1.55) vs A Jobe Well Done ($2.78)

Another Ashy Redback makes his debut for the Swans in Tom Mitchell this weekend, the son of Barry has a smell for the footy.  Like they need another one!  But he’ll be facing up to one of the best ball hunters we have seen in Jobe Watson.  What an enthralling contest this could be.  The loss of Reid hurts the Swans as does Hurley for Essendon, but the Bombers deal with that regularly.  The last three encounters between these clubs have been decided by less than a kick and the one before by 9 points, so punters should be looking for the close one and if it’s close the Swans are the masters.  Being at the SCG I give them the nod, however the odds on the Dons are very generous.  They are almost at full strength and represent great value at anything above $2.50.


All Lit Up ($1.05) vs The Prodigal Son ($18)

Gazza returns to light up Kardinia Park – but to no avail as Geelong continue on their passage to the top of the ladder.


Tropical Dogs ($2.66) vs Switched Off ($1.57)

While Port are well above the Dogs on the ladder, in the last four weeks the Dogs are a better performed outfit.  Footscray pulled off a great “backs to the wall” win last week to not only support their coach but show that they are on the right path despite their young list.  This week must surely be “backs to the wall” for Port.  Their starts have been particularly poor in the last five weeks and have only lead at quarter time twice for the season, they would do well to turn up early in Darwin!  They need to make statement in this game and I think they will and are my selection, however the odds on offer for the Bullies are attractive and they represent value at anything over $2.40.


It’s Neeldy Time ($38) vs Flag Favourites ($1.02)

Much hullabaloo over Melbourne defeat last week – not sure why exactly.  I would have thought Freo by 80 points plus a solid favourite for the result last week.  But that in itself is the shame and the issue – and it only gets uglier against the Hawks.


The Apparition ($1.27) vs Not Rebuilding ($4.40)

Was that the Shinboner Spirit we saw last week or yet another apparition?  Meanwhile Watters knows exactly where his club is.  A game between two of the more disappointing performers of last week, so both sides should be primed for a red hot go this week.  A big match for milestones also with Boomer Harvey (350), Daniel Wells (200) and Leigh Montagna (200), no shortage of incentive for both teams.  But the greater incentive is there for North who still have aspirations of September action and as such I reckon they will prevail, but another game where the outsider represents terrific value and the Saints at over $4 is enticing.


The Other Gaff ($1.32) vs Tiggerdy-boo ($3.95)

A long way to Monday Night!  The Eagles are starting to hit some form and should continue on their winning ways.  Once again another great test for Richmond at a tough venue, they did well in Adelaide a couple of weeks ago – can they take it further west?  Whilst I expect a West Coast victory again the underdog is pretty good value.


Scene in Brisbane

This Saturday sees the running of the Queensland Oaks (G1, 2400m, 3yo Fillies).  Seems to be set up as a match race between the VRC Oaks winner Dear Demi and the later maturing Gondokoro.  In their last run Gondokoro was a fast finishing second to Dear Demi, but she has still only won one race and that being a maiden at Moonee Valley.  Dear Demi has a much better win record, so whilst the odds on offer will have some influence I lean to her.  Interestingly Luke Nolan has jumped off Dear Demi and onto the PGM trained Miss Zenella (he might not have had a choice) – a big jump from Sale restricted class to Group One but she has the breeding to stay, also a hope for Vaquera

Selections R7 – 1-4-15-8


Friars Footy

A tough game for the seniors last week losing players to injury and being dealt a solid defeat by Hampton Rovers who are undoubtedly the benchmark of the competition this year.  This week the lads head west to beach at Williamstown.  Another away win would be a huge boost against a team level on points.  The Under 19s continued on their winning run defeating PEGS away, a great result, they continue to gel and improve.  This Saturday they kick the dew off Como Park at 9:15 against the OGS – a win could see them climb into the four – but it would need to be a big one!


Go Friars, Go Blues

Cheers, Sal

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