AFL Round 11 – Preview: Bye, Bye for Some (and bonus Eagle Farms tips as well)

Greetings All,


A plethora of issues in sport this week.  Are the Socceroos good enough to win a World Cup place?  Can Michael Clarke be fit enough to play in the Championship Trophy?  Stuff that, what about The Ashes?  When will the ICC work out that they are destroying the fabric of the game with 20/20?  Does a stand left-right combination only deserve one week? The NRL are kidding themselves!  How badly does a coach have to go before they are released from their duties?  What about if he talked about footy instead KPI type mumbo-jumbo?  Lucky for another couple of coaches that spotlight is on Neeld – in particular Watters and Woosha.

But it is time for a few clubs to have their mid-year holiday and get their progress report cards.  At the same time a stern review of my form relative to predictions before the season started.  I have re-rated all games and used the following ratings as described with the pre-season pontifications.  I have repeated those for new additions to this diatribe.


The fixture is assessed placing ratings to each game and allotted points in the following manner:

4 – David and Goliath battle with David not even having a stone.

3 – Favoured and team should win

2 – a 50/50 game where winner impossible to call at this early stage

1 – Underdog, but not without a chance

0 – This would be David

Alongside I have also included the upside and downside for each team.  Upside being where they win all their 50-50 and better games and downside where they lose all their 50-50 games.

Hawthorn – Rank 2nd, Prediction 72 points, Upside 84, Downside 68, Flag $3.50, Finals $1.01

Grade – A+

Despite kicking off the season with another loss to the Cats they have progressed through unscathed and remain a deserved favourite to win it all.  Initial projection of 3rd has now risen to 2nd with meritorious wins over Sydney and Freo and West Coast away.  Their competitiveness probably has them favoured in every encounter for the remainder of the season perhaps Geelong and Sydney excepted.  Their key players are healthy and while the Buddy circus is reaching fever pitch, it appears to be beneficial as they find alternate avenues to goal.

Fremantle – Eql 3rd, Pred 67, Up 74, Down 66, Flag $9.20, Finals $1.02

Grade – A+

At this stage Wrestlemania have moved up from 5th ranking to equal 3rd with Sydney.  They should be ecstatic with their season so far with key players, in particular Pavlich and Sandilands, not contributing.  They play an even style of wrestling and despite missing important players have got the results on the board.   They have 7 remaining games at Subiaco and none against sides currently in the top 8, while their roadtrips only encounter the Cats among the elite although the Tigers and Blues will present challenges.  Horrible to watch but results are results!

Richmond- 7th, Pred 52, Up 64, Down 44, Flag $36 Finals $1.55

Grade – B+

The Tiges have been excellent so far and have risen from my predicted 11th to 7th.  In reality they are probably a game a ahead of expectations.  They maybe dependent on their stars in Cotchin, Delidio, Martin and Reiwoldt – but overall the list is healthy which is crucial for teams in the middle of the pack.  Their last dozen games are relatively tough, but their form is such they have a chance in all of them

Brisbane – 13th, Pred 31, Up 36, Down 24, Flag $510 Finals $18.50

Grade – C

A horrible start to the season and a couple of predictable wins over Melbourne and Gold Coast in the first seven games was pretty ordinary for the Lions, but a rousing win over the Bombers in Round 8 showed what the team is capable.  However that aggression was costly in terms of personnel and really hurt them in their last two games.  The return of Merrett, Brown and Leuenberger might allow them to get back on track, but a tough finish to the season Geelong (twice), Hawthorn and Freo all on the agenda.  Prediction of 13th remains on track.

Port Adelaide – 12th, Pred 35, Up 36, Down 32, Flag $400 Finals $11.50

Grade – B

Burst out of the blocks with a great style of footy that seemed to catch the opposition off guard, but have been brough back to reality in the last five weeks.  Opposition have learnt who to lock down, so they will need to fand more talent to support Hartlett and Boak.  No doubt though they have improved and can look forward with confidence – they have something to sell, which is what they really needed after 2012.  Should now finish above the predicted 14th, but road home is tough and includes encounters against each of the current top 4 teams.

Footscray – 16th, Pred 23, Up 24, Down 16, Flag $1000 Finals $46

Grade – C-

A couple of good weeks have lifted he Dogs in my predictions from 17 to 16 – but more importantly they have displayed their competitiveness and pride.  Leading the way has been Ryan Griffin who has taken his game up a notch and really working through the heavy tags he has to deal with.  There is still much work to do – but they have shown something to sell.  Melbourne twice and the Giants give them a great chance to double their wins tally, but taking another scalp would really show progress.


The Dogs and Tigers spoilt the selections, but provided great value.  Onto this week’s fare – most odd for only six matches over a long weekend.  We have a Friday Night blockbuster but the remaining games have solid favourites.

Let’s Go Joe-Joe ($1.91) vs Good, Better, Betts ($2.08)

The Bombers have pulled the move playing the boom recruit, Joe Daniher, in a big game first up – fantastic for footy.  The other big move being the omission of Tom Bellchambers who has been one of shining lights for young ruckmen in the competition – a reintroduction before the game would not surprise.  Meanwhile the Blues welcome back Eddie Betts and Chris Judd, but not Warnock.  The teams come off completely opposite challenges; the Bombers should be primed after confronting the Swans, the Blues need to be wary coming off a 94 point smashing of the Giants.  These teams are pretty evenly matched with great ball winners in the middle and speed on the fringes, the game really is a toss of the coin.  Just give the Blues the nod in the ruck with Kruezer’s strength over Ryder’s mobility but that can easily go the other way.  I have to go for the Blues to win and looking for the forward line to make a difference with their speed and pressure, noting the Bombers are not slouches either in this department.  A no bet game for me!


Not Quite Giants ($50) vs Is it a Bye ($1.01)

Geelong have blatantly managed Taylor and Blicavs out of the team – at least the Blues said Judd was injured!  But that is unfortunately the way of the Giants at this stage of their progression.


Sangiovese Sozzlers ($2.72) vs A Double Shot of Jack ($1.56)

Last week Sydney introduced a tough little midfielder in Tom Mitchell, this week Brandon Jack gets a run, just guessing he might be of the same ilk!  The Crows host them in Patrick Dangerfield’s 100th game.  The Bloods have been a good side for many years now, however Adelaide maintain a magnificent record against them over many years.  In fact Sydney have only won 3 from their last 15 encounters dating back to 2002, two of those being at Football Park.  Adelaide represent great value at the odds presented, however they do have their challenges up forward and the Swans are almost as stingy as Freo.  As such Sydney are my selection, but would be very interested in Adelaide at $2.50 or better.


David ($3.70) vs Andrew ($1.35)

The boys Swallow face off on the Gold Coast, Andrew’s coach was spot on regarding how difficult David’s team are to beat at home.  Despite the return of Charlie Dixon, the rucking power of Goldstein complemented by Majak Daw should give the Kangaroo midfield a big enough advantage despite the fact that Gazza will probably pick up another 30.  Roos to win.


It’s Not My Fault ($3.70) vs I Don’t Know ($1.36)

Scott Watters has laid blame with the recruiting and John Worsfold has no idea what went wrong with respect to their team’s turgid performances.  St Kilda in the first quarter and the Eagles for the last three did not play with the intensity required for AFL footy, I would expect both of them to improve that aspect of their games this weekend.  From there it will come down to talent and execution, the Eagles have the edge there and I expect them to win.  Their form though is horrid and $1.36 is way too short, with that St Kilda should be closer to $3 than their current quote.


Chips are Down ($30) vs Buck’s Fizz ($1.03)

Frawley now missing from the Demon’s defence, the Pies bring back Cloke – could we see one of the great upsets in footy history?



Stradbroke – Brisbane Cup Day

The biggest race on the Brisbane Calendar is the time honoured Stradbroke Handicap, there is the Brisbane Cup and they partnered with the JJ Atkins for the babies and the Queensland Derby (G1, 2400, 3yo)Gondorkoro was a runaway winner of the Oaks last week and is backing up in the Derby somewhat as an afterthought, but on perusal through the Derby field why wouldn’t you.  There is a great crop of three year olds this season, but they are not running here so the filly has a huge chance.  Leading the charge against her will be the Chris Waller trained Hawkspur who clearly has the form and victories over his male counterparts, the other chances in my opinion are Survived, Rythym to Spare and Ambitious Champion (Em) but they are all awkwardly drawn.  Going for Gondokoro to win and the quinella with Hawkspur is a fair gamble.

Race 7 Selections – 18-1-9-4


The JJ Atkins (G1, 1600m, 2yo) sees the babies stretch out to a mile so looking for staying pedigree, but good form doesn’t hurt either and the Waller prepared Zoustar might not have the breeding but the picket fence is pretty good form!  Two of the vanquished in the Sires Produce were Vilanova and the Sheikh’s Paximadia, they came from back in the field and were still more than a length away but an extra 250m is a long way.  Always like Snowden’s placement of his runners, Paximadia might present the value.  Always wary of Gai bringing one in too and Romantic Touch smashed them at Canterbury over 1550m, but whether it was against this quality is the question.

Race 6 Selections – 8-1-3-7


The Stradbroke (G1, 1400m, HCP) has the 3yo sprinters primed in Better Than Ready, Sizzling, Your Song and Epaulette but they too have all drawn the car park apart from Your SongBuffering and Spirit of Boom meet Epaulette at better weight conditions than their previous encounter and are drawn well.  Always be wary of Anthony Cummings producing one for these big races at odds, Fontelina fits the bill here at $18.  Was at similar odds when he saluted at Flemington in November.  He just pipped Spirit of Boom that day and I will go for a reversal this time at big odds.

Race 8 Selections –  9-15-1-2


It all ends with the demoted Brisbane Cup (G2, 2400m, HCP) and the NZ mare Quintessential has terrific form in Brisbane now over two seasons, she is weighted accordingly but in great form.    Precedence has a big weight but returned to the winners stall last start and JB Cummings is the trainer, Moriarty meets Quintessential on better weight terms but has a tough draw.  Rothera can run the trip and if it is wet grows a leg and Midsummer Sun has good form discounting his last run.

Race 9 Selections – 4-2-3-18


Quaddie – Group 1 handicaps are usually open affairs, but perhaps skinnying up the Derby might get the percentage up.  Just hope it’s not a percentage of nothing!

1st Leg – Race 6 – 1,3,7,8

2nd Leg – Race 7 – 1,18

3rd Leg – Race 8 – 1,2,8,9,15,16,17

4th Leg – Race 9 – 2,4

112 Combinations $30 investment will return 19.2% of the dividend.


A week off for the Ammos this week as they venture off to the slopes!  Friars pipped by 2 points to Williamstown CYMS  and the Under 19s continued on their winning way over Old Geelong.  Midweek the School Senior and Year 10 both took out the ACC Championship.  Still trying to get my head around the end of the footy season before the Queen’s Birthday!


Go Blues, Go Skiing,


Cheers, Sal

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