AFL Round 22: Sal’s Penultimate Preview

Greetings All.

 

Welcome to the Penultimate Round of the home and away season and whilst there are a few issues hanging around it would be remiss not to point out some of the positive aspects of the season.  Whilst my team has really only helped shaped the finals it is fantastic that with 2 rounds to go there are still 12 teams contesting the eight positions to play in the September feast.  The result of every game this week could have an effect on the make-up of the finals.

 

Another positive for mine was the MRP and the points system.  I have heard commentary that the points system should go but it worked perfectly in three cases this week.  As individual acts Daniel Wells’ two transgressions may not have warranted suspension but with the accumulation of demerits he deserved a week – bad luck for Wells that they occurred in the same match but multiple dumb acts deserves a penalty.

 

For Harvey and Fyfe their prior indiscretions added to their penalty as it should – a poor record deserves a loading until the message gets through.  Might be too late for Harvey, but hopefully the penny drops for Nat Fyfe that he is good enough without the “Bulldust Bravado”.  But how on earth did they think an appeal would work – the club should have been suspended for stupidity!

 

Then we had talk of reducing the interchange cap and ditching the sub.  The interchange cap should continue to be reduced to only a handful per quarter but the sub should remain.  The Blues and Pies were handicapped by multiple injuries last week and it certainly had an effect on the manner in which both games were played if not on the actual result.  The Pies were stuffed early – but the Blues lost one player early when Ellard was subbed out.  With both teams having 3 interchange players the contest remained even until late in the third quarter when Thomas and Menzel were lost.  It then became a 21 vs 19 game and swung in the Cats favour it was only a matter of time before the Blues were overrun.  The Collingwood-Brisbane game would have been a different contest with an even number of soldiers – whether it would make up 10 goals is debatable.  Should there be more subs?  Only at the expense of one of the interchange players.  It also leaves one other major question – Melbourne?

 

But with so many huge games it’s time to take a look at them.

 

I See a Ship in the Harbour ($1.37) vs Kane but not sure of Abel! ($3.55)

These two combatants played a classic in the last round in 2013 – with the Blues claiming 9th and a finals spot winning by the narrowest of margins.  Their record this year does not favour them in a close one but their form gives them a chance.  Port though have much to play for – a win here will have them playing Freo next week for a berth in the top four subject to percentage.  Their form is improving but question marks persist.  If Port can get on top early they may blow the Blues away and make up the percentage they require, however Carlton are playing as a more balanced unit and the midfield is performing well especially with Judd’s return.  I reckon it will be a very competitive game and the Blues will be keen to get another win on the board providing Port a Blue Monday, but eventually injuries take their toll and another this week with Thomas.  Not to mention Kane Lucas being recalled!  Even with my unbalanced view I doubt the Blues will win, but at $3.50 they might be worth a shekel.

 

Tchk-tchk Boomer ($1.83) vs Excuse me ($2.08)

These two teams play with the predictability of the North Korean leader, how do we try and make sense of this game.  Sando handed his players an excuse to lose last week and they duly delivered – will he be any smarter this week?  The Roos were terrific last week but how will the loss of Boomer and Wells affect them, who will provide the speed across the Tassie Turf?  With fair weather predicted I am looking to who can rule the skies and the Crows with Walker, Podsiadly and Jenkins up front they have the weapons to spread the brave but undersized North defence.

 

Not Heppy Jan ($1.23) vs Suns Set ($4.60)

The loss of Heppell is significant for the Bombers, but provided it is genuinely a one weeker they will be fine.  Up against the Gold Coast who are mathematically still in the hunt, but every other indicator says they are cooked.  Bombers can flex their muscles in the Loungeroom and may even get some percentage protection.

 

Demon Slayers ($2.66) vs The Roman Senators ($1.58)

Hot off the triumph over the Demons the Giants will approach this game as being a real test against a severely weakened Collingwood side.  The Giants themselves were not without losses, in particular the cruel blow to Jonathon Patton but also the injuries to Phil Davis and Callan Ward.  Meanwhile the triumvirate of Pie leaders will face the music of the forum.  Suspect the Pies will prime themselves and bounce back – if they don’t then Forum II might not be such a love in.

 

The Corporation ($1.06) vs Me and Them ($16)

Words cannot describe how poor the Dees were last week and again the messiah was happy to disassociate himself from the performance.  He may have some justification in doing so – however to this observer he has created much of the problem.  In other games his charges have been competitive and certainly improved the defensive aspects of their game, but it has been at the cost of any sort of attacking flair.  His criticism of their skill errors is valid, but they look confused and hesitant going forward which leads to sloppy execution.  They might get better this week, but not enough to beat West Coast.

 

Money Bags ($4.00) vs The Fyfedom ($1.28)

The Lions might sit low on the table but have made massive strides this year in relation to expectations, that is all with a list that was supposedly inferior to last year and losing arguably their best three players in Rich, Brown and Leuenberger for most of the year.  They have uncovered talent on the field, but surely the selection of Leppa as coach has been inspirational and uncovered talent off the field.  All this and plenty to spend for 2015 – the future looks bright for the Lions.  But they do have a massive task this weekend with Freo who have spent their week looking after Nat but will now be focussed on shoring up a top four spot.  Fyfe and Barlow will be missed, but I suspect the Dockers will have appropriate motivations not to let this one slip.

 

A Bit Roughy ($1.60) vs How many Lives? ($2.60)

Another instalment of the Hawks-Cats saga, but unlike most sagas this has been a beauty and we are set up for a fantastic entrée to the finals.  Both teams are not quite at full strength and might hold a few moves just in case they meet again in a few weeks, but the victor in this stoush will get some significant benefits so the stakes are high.  Roughy back is important for Hawthorn’s flexibility, by the same token JimmyB is a great clutch player for the Cats.  They have needed them often this year as they use up their lives at a rapid rate.  The shear percentage differential is a real indicator for the Cats – I wrote before the season began they will finish top 4 but it was purely based on their draw.  I suspect Hawthorn might put that all on show this week and put them away, but by the same token we might hear a whistle blow from grandstand that will change everything!  I am really not bitter about last week!

 

Picken on me ($6.40) vs Circus, Circus ($1.16)

With all the brouhaha over Boomer and Picken the Dogs got off lightly for a pretty ordinary effort – somehow though I don’t reckon the coach would have missed them!  Whilst they have deficiencies they do bounce back from poor performances.  Will that be enough to combat the Greatest Show on Earth?  The endeavour will be fine, but they just do not have the height in key positions to combat Buddy, Tippett, Reid and Goodes.  Swans to roll on.

 

How much for the Jousting Sticks? ($1.12) vs Another Lenny Millstone ($8.80)

“Tell ‘em they’re dreamin’” would be the cry from D J Kerrigan but Tiger fans are living this dream.  By game time it might be all over depending on prior results but they should still have enough to get over the Saints.  It will be another Lenny lovefest as he plays his last game in Melbourne so the Saints will be keen to perform.

 

 

Let’s head North.

After the feast at Caulfield last week the fields at Moonee Valley leave a bit to be desired, however the Warwick Stakes card at Royal Randwick sees a few of the stars back on the track.  The question being what effect the rain in Sydney will have.  It is early so very much a watch and see card, the Darley team now being saddled up by John O’Shea has a strong hand with Kumaon, Mersault, Earthquake and Memorial contesting the 3yo events.  Will be keen to see how the Snowden team performs as they compete independently from the Sheikh.

In the feature Race 6 Warwick Stakes (G2, 1400m, WFA) we have a field dripping with quality, tough to choose however if Dissident (10) is close to ready and the track is not too wet then he will be tough to beat at fair value.  Plenty more that can win but my next three are Sacred Falls (2), Messene (6) and Weary (8).

 

Friar Time

The seniors headed to the undefeated Therry-Penola with predictable results – but major focus being on this week’s final game against Yarra Valley where a win will ensure the club remains in Division 1.  This is critical as the Under 19s continued on their winning way defeating the early season pace setters Fitzroy.  The lads finish the home and away season at Parkdale where a win will seal top position on the ladder, but a loss may see them drop to 3rd.  Much at stake!

 

Go Blues, Go Hammers, Go Friars,

Cheers, Sal

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. kath presdee says

    Sal, the Giants were down to 19 men by half-time. I’m not downplaying the effect that injuries had on Collingwood and Carlton, or the luck of playing Melbourne when it happened (although Brisbane was Collingwood’s opponent) but sometimes teams rise above the numerical advantage and hold on; or run out winners. I think either Brisbane or Gold Coast were down to 18 men in the final quarter and still won in a game earlier this year.

    But I’m forgetting; only Giants’ supporters believe we won that game. Everyone else thinks Melbourne lost it.

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