AFL Round 12 Preview: Just a Suburban Boy

Greetings one and all,

Back in 1976 another Dave Warner penned the classic “Just a Suburban Boy”, how fittingly well it describes his cricketing namesake.  Young Aussie Dave with his IPL millions epitomises the thoughts of many that not only is this Australian team struggling with talent, but it is also struggling to capture the hearts of the Australian cricket fans.  Somewhere along the line the culture has descended from the hard-working, hard-nosed and hard playing sides established in 1989 by Allan Border to what appears to be an untidy, undisciplined and somewhat selfish group of players.  Whilst these are generalisations that don’t apply to all players, any players with such tendencies in the past either adapted or were removed from the group.  Aussie Dave has been slapped with a painless fine and suspension till the First Test – far from sufficient in my opinion and should have been sent home for the winter, especially if we line it up with the punishment for not doing your homework!  Then he could go back to being “Just a Suburban Boy” and understand what he is putting at risk, then again he might be perfectly comfortable taking his suburban mates to India for the IPL circus!

But then there are the footy stories for the week and none better that the other football story with the Socceroos now one win away from doing a “Peter Allen” in 2014.  They were not fantastic for the entire 90 minutes, but did look terrific when they gelled and a magnificent performance from Robbie Kruse.  Great to see the skipper finally get on the scoresheet!  Looking forward to next Tuesday and the final game of this qualifying round against Iraq.

But now onto the indigenous game, continuing on with the report cards for those sides that have the holiday this week.

Geelong – Ranking 1, Points 73, Upside 84, Downside 68, Premier Odds $4.50, Finals Odds $1.02

Grade – A+

The toughest part of the Cats draw was early in the season, they should now be able to glide into one of the top 2 places on the ladder.  They do have games against the other top four sides, but Freo and Sydney are at Kardinia Park and the Hawks are still hunting a win over the Cats for the first time since 2008.  They have added more to the game with the introduction of more pace to the team and overall the list is healthy.  Would a tougher draw better prepare them for a premiership tilt?  Maybe, but I’d be pretty happy with the leg up.


Sydney – Ranking 3, Points 68 , Upside 78, Downside 68, Premier Odds $4.70, Finals Odds $1.01

Grade – A

Flying and still yet to unwrap the “Ace in the Pack” in Kurt Tippett.  Which will be handy given they have confrontations to come with Hawthorn, Geelong and a trip to Subiaco against West Coast.  Plenty of teams give themselves a chance against the champs – but they usually come up short.  Originally had the Bloods down for second, but now I have them rated equal third.


West Coast – Ranking 10, Points 44 , Upside 48, Downside 36, Premier Odds $44, Finals Odds $2.54

Grade – E+

Was concerned about West Coast at the beginning of the year – but mostly about the toughness of their draw.  Their results since have been underwhelming losing 4 from 6 at Subi already and generally looking slow in the midfield.  The lack of drive from the outside, Gaff in particular, also is dragging them down.  Their draw for the remaining games include Haw(H), Fre(A), Syd(H), Geel(H), Ess(A) and Coll(A) – very tough and as a result their prediction has dropped from 6th to 10th – surely there should now be a focus on Woosha.


North Melbourne – Ranking 11, Points 38 , Upside 44, Downside 24, Premier Odds $180, Finals Odds $5.10

Grade – D-

Whilst the Roos would seem to be under-performing, they have been competitive in many of their games but the fade outs are something that needs to be addressed.  The challenge is that their second half draw is tougher than the first with Freo, Geelong, Hawthorn and the Pies awaiting.  Nevertheless a couple of softies should help drag them up to 11th.


St Kilda – Ranking 15, Points 23 , Upside 38, Downside 20, Premier Odds $1000, Finals Odds $70

Grade – D-

The concern on the older brigade was well founded and the original equal ninth rating has dropped to 15th with only 2 wins on the board so far!  They do appear to have a few decent young ‘uns but will need to continue to find them as Lenny, Joey and Dal are in the twilight of their careers.  Not to mention Reiwoldt.


Melbourne – Ranking 17, Points 13 , Upside 16, Downside 4, Premier Odds $1000, Finals Odds $100

Grade – E

Joy for the Dees this week as they will not lose!  This was to be a year of development, but it is turning out to be a completely wasted year.  The coach is a lame duck and somehow they need to ensure they can lock down the talent they have and then maintain membership and sponsors.  They should finish above GWS but it might be line ball.


Last week the Blues let me down, but plenty would have tipped the Bombers – Gold Coast did prove Brad Scott’s prophecy correct that they will be hard to beat at Metricon.  And the Saints nearly pulled off another upset – plenty of bleating about some of the West Coast frees.  Perhaps some justification – but really they should have been onto the Hurn kick-up-the-guts set play and kill the ball rather than let it out the back.  Not unlike the Blue bleating on the non-call of Garlett’s goal – yep the goal umpire made an error – not nearly as many as the Carlton players and coaches made throughout the second half of the game and first half for that matter.  Anyway onto this week’s encounters.


Nights in White Satin ($4.40) vs Haughty ($1.27)

The Blues will not have the opportunity to be moody this week up against their modern day tormentors.  They have not raised a yelp against the Hawks since the time they both occupied the lower rungs of the ladder with their last victory back in 2005.  Hawthorn have consistently exposed the soft-underbelly of the Blues and in reality Carlton cannot lay claim to be close to the top echelon of clubs until they can withstand and match the physical pressure this opponent applies to it.  I am an optimist and believe on talent the Blues can match any other team on their day – but until they turn up against Hawthorn I cannot tip them.  Hawks to win, but an optimist might like to see $4.50!


Guess Where ($1.42) vs Pinot Purveyors ($3.35)

A mauling from the Swans has brought out some strong language from Brenton Sanderson, but in reality they really have trouble kicking goals against the elite.  This week they face up to the Tigers who grace the ladder one spot outside the eight, on form and personnel this is a game they should win.  However the Crows have certainly shown resilience through adversity this year and cannot be taken lightly.  Whilst the Tigers will need to be on their guard, I can’t see Adelaide locking down Cotchin, Delidio and Martin for long enough to stop a winning score.  Tiges to win, but Adelaide are fair value especially if the G is sodden.


Figure Four Leg Lock ($1.06) vs Have no Merrett ($14.50)

Freo should get a hold of Brisbane and achieve the 3 count without too many issues, especially as Brisbane are without their bookends in Brown and Merrett.  Mind you they do welcome back a couple of handy ones in Rich, Rockliff and Leuenberger.  At the Gabbatoir they could put up a fight, but at Subi Freo have built their fortress.


Jaked Off ($1.21) vs The Kids are Alright ($5.60)

Carlisle and Melksham were the answers for the Bombers last week – who will step up this week?  The babies of the Gold Coast are starting to make their mark on the competition, with less dependence on Gazza even though he remains the best in the competition.  However Essendon are playing with passion that had begun to desert them at this time last year and should be too strong for the Suns.


The Other Kids ($4.70) vs Catch me, I’m Falling ($1.25)

Port have been in freefall since their first five, but most of them have been tough.  They should relish the chance to come up against the Giants – by the same token Sheedy has been quick to heap the pressure back on Port reminding them of the Giants victory over them last year.  Could it happen again?  Not totally out of the question, but I suspect there will be too much pride and experience at Port.


Having a Jolly Ball ($1.14) vs Will Power ($7.60)

Under the radar Collingwood are getting the band back together – they have played plenty this year – but Beams and Thomas aside there no others missing that would be definitively in their best 22.  They look to have been spluttering, but plenty of other teams would have liked to splutter to 7-4.  Up against the Dogs who are beginning the thrive and are being served superbly this year by Will Minson, they might not be the best team going around but appear to be on the right path for improvement.  I doubt that they will have the capability to score enough goals against the Pie defence, which looks much stronger now after the early season malaise.  Pies to win.


The Snow Trip is Over

And the Ammos are back out to play.  This week the Friars take on the struggling Glen Eira at Packer Park in a game they must win well to ensure keeping a pace with the pack.  Meanwhile the Under 19s face up against their Round 1 conquerors in AJAX.  There is no doubt they have improved since then, this game will be a great test to measure how far they have improved.


Go Friars, Go Blues!

Cheers, Sal



  1. Sal Ciardulli says

    One omission from the injured Pies. Alan Toovey definitely makes it into the Pies best 22.

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