AFL Round 17 – Preview: To err is human

Greetings All,

No matter what the news points are from the footy, there was nothing compared to the sheer number of stories that came out the First Test.  But the biggest non-story of the match was the criticism of the use of technology.  In each of the controversial decisions of the game the technology was not at fault, the fault was always on the human side whether it was player, umpire or operator.  The Poms might argue against the Agar stumping and Jonathon Trott still reckons he hit the ball.  In Agar’s case if he was given out, then there would have been an outcry from the Australians.  As for Trott with all the available information he was “salmon trout”, the problem being that the Hot Spot operator was concentrating on the previous delivery that dismissed Joe Root rather than being “in the moment” and paying attention to the current delivery.  Every other controversy was through poor use of challenges and poor umpiring decisions.  No matter what India thinks (or more particularly Sachin) the  technology might not be perfect, but it is better than the umpires guess work and infinitely more consistent.  The problem is the implementation of the Decision Review System and the ability of humans to screw it up!

But we look forward to this evening’s contest at Lords, can the Australians squeeze that bit more out of the batting to make the difference.  My concern is that there is still a bit the Poms can squeeze out of their batting.  On the other hand unless some of Jimmy Anderson’s colleagues step up, he will be a very tired individual by the time the fourth test rolls around let alone the return series here.  But what an outstanding bowler he is!  From reports so far Khawaja and Harris in for Cowan and Starc, both positive selections.  Usman being a much greater long term prospect than Cowan who is a battler at best.  Completely the opposite for the bowling change as Ryan Harris does not have the potential Mitchell Starc has.  But he does have a great record 47 wickets in 12 tests, noting further that Australian won 8 of those matches.  Mitchell Starc has the potential to be Australia’s answer to Morne Morkel, but he needs to develop more control or he may become another Mitchell Johnson.

So for a selection – England are favoured at $2.06, Australia $4.20 and the draw $3.50.  Australia’s record at Lords is outstanding having lost only once at the venue since 1934 – but there are two factors to take into account.  The loss was the last meeting in 2009, the other being the pitch preparation where home teams are being served up favourable conditions for their strengths.  Not sure what the state of the Lords track is, but it is a trend in the game that needs attention but unlikely to receive any while the running of the game is dominated by the BCCI.  Both teams have scope for improvement, but I think it will be more likely for England to improve to win this match.  However the gamble against England is fair value and if just one batsman can get away in the first innings for Australia they can win.

What a weekend for the sports aficionados amongst us, Test Cricket, Le Tour in the Mountains, the British Open.  And of course 9 games of AFL for decision.  Went against my rules last week and swapped from North to Brisbane which paid handsomely in the form of a hamburger for getting all nine correct!  Now for this week with another set of intriguing encounters, but none of blockbuster proportions.


Takeover Target ($1.85) vs Bully Boys ($2.14)

The clash of the disappointments for 2013 – although they are both only marginally below where I anticipated.  The Up Tempo Roos are playing a brand of footy that can beat the top teams says Brad Scott, can’t say I disagree they have been in winning positions against a number of the elite teams.  They are exciting to watch – it can win finals!  The problem is that I don’t think it can win enough finals to bring the ultimate prize, it appears difficult to sustain for an entire match let alone an entire month!  Meanwhile Mick is building the process with the Blues who finally defeated the Saints who were in it for a long time, a not so errant Reiwoldt might have made a difference.  The Roos have been their nemesis and are appropriately favoured.  It is not just recent history either, their dominance over Carlton traces back to the 1995 Preliminary Final won by Carlton by 10 goals.  Since that game North have only lost 6 games to the Blues and only twice since 2005, was it the Preliminary Final beating?  Maybe, I reckon their ability to find the Shinboner Spirit against Carlton comes from four years earlier when John Elliott attempted to buyout the Roos and something not forgotten by the club.  So what does it all mean tomorrow?  The focus this week has been fairly and squarely on North, they will be keen to atone for last week’s fade out.  By the same token they suffered a number of injuries and whether those players take the field or not there will some doubt about their readiness, notwithstanding that Murphy is in a similar situation.  Of course I am selecting the Blues with teams so closely rated, whilst the Roos are deserved favourites it would be brave to back them in the tomato souce!


Jarryd ($1.03) vs Jordan ($25.00)

The Hawks take on the Bulldogs in Launceston – conditions should be a treat in 12?!  An interesting aside being that with Buddy out, the appropriately monickered Roughead boys will be directly opposed at some stage of the game.  The Dogs played valiantly against the Dons, not sure how it would have turned out if THAT goal was allowed rather than being called back.  Then the goal from Melksham from further out than Wayne Harmes.  Won’t matter here though, the Hawks will make their usual mess of lower ranked teams.


Midgets ($34.00) vs Cheeky Possums ($1.02)

The Giants really beginning to struggle as the season progresses up against the Bombers recovering from the damage done by a couple of possums!  I do expect a better performance from the Giants, but they are not close to the same league as Essendon.


Mansions ($6.20) vs Daggered Cloke ($1.18)

The Metricon Mansions have called for reserved seats only for their match against the Pies.  The Pies travel and they usually travel well; as is their midfield at the moment.  As for the umpire sooking about Trav – they don’t look too far.  He has an 18-15 free kick record for the season, I reckon there are a few other big forwards who would like that record.  The Suns might have the best midfielder, but collectively the Pies have one of the best and will be too good.


Fearful Flyers ($5.00) vs Gabbatoirs ($1.23)

The extremes the Dees have to go to this week from the wet, chilly Geelong they travel to hot and humid Darwin; that is enough of a challenge let alone an emergency landing for a few players.  Meanwhile the Lions are reinforcing their home ground advantage at the Gabba, how will it transfer to the top end where they have not played before.  The Dees are 2 from 3 all against Port Adelaide, they will be prepared for the conditions.  It can’t get me to tip them, but they represent great value at $5.


Motley Crue ($2.22) vs Shack Dwellers ($1.82)

On form this is pretty easy – the Saints have only won three for the season, whereas Port are in finals contention.  But there is another form line for consideration, Port have lost their last eight encounters in the Loungeroom.  The Saints do have the ammunition with Tommy Lee and Reiwoldt to give this a real shake, however the bottom of their list will also have to make sure they support the stars.  Imperative that St Nick finds the target for my selection to win, however the odds on offer are not that attractive.


The F Word ($1.93) vs The Three Count ($2.04)

The most intriguing encounter of the week, the Tigers up against top opposition.  Fremantle depleted but getting their chance to show their wares on the G for the first time since they blitzed the Cats in the finals last year.  Pav was the difference last year and is out but Richmond are not Geelong, however they do have a healthy list relative to most other clubs.  Freo are depleted, but they have been all year, it has not stopped them and I don’t reckon it will this week either.


Charddy Sippers ($4.70) vs School Yard ($1.25)

The Crows challenged the Pies last week but are further undermanned with the loss of Dangerfield, however the Cats have lost StevieJ to another schoolyard bully act.  He might not need to be pulled into the principal’s office, but he does need to pull his head in!  Nevertheless the Crows will put up another effort but ultimately be undermanned, these efforts will hold them in good stead for 2014.


Blue Josh ($2.82) vs Hawk Josh ($1.54)

Prime movers for both of these teams started their careers elsewhere.  For the Eagles their recruitment of Kennedy appears to have been Judd-icious, I reckon both clubs have done well but I do cringe as Josh stutters into kick another goal.  For the Swans they targeted Hawthorn royalty with great success, he might not have all the polish but he certainly wins hard footy and helps make the Swans midfield one of the most formidable.  That midfield will reign supreme.


Triple Treat at Friar Park.

The Friars were challenged by the Unicorns last week but ultimately proved to quick and strong with debutante Andy Daou kicking 6 goals.  The Under 19s took on the ladder leaders Northern Blues and came away with a 5 goal win to entrench themselves in 2nd place.  This weekend sees the Under 19s, reserves and Seniors all taking on Old Geelong in a very important fixture especially for the Seniors who will have the chance to separate themselves from another contender.


Go Blues, Go Aussies, Go Friars

Cheers, Sal

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