AFL – Round 4 preview: Playing the Man (or Woman)?

Greetings once more to all,

I have been thinking of James Hird and his nemesis Caroline Wilson.  Or at least plenty of Essendon supporters would think she is his nemesis.  I am not often enamoured with Caro’s articles and I reckon she goes too hard on some issues of little real importance.  But I do accept that it is important that we do have journalists that are prepared to ask the tough questions and take difficult and unpopular stances.  This is even more important now with the potential links from illicit drugs (party or performance) through to match-fixing.

Some of the stuff being posted online by Essendon supporters targeting Caro has been pretty ordinary at best.  There are plenty of other journos who agree with her and they have not been pilloried.  More importantly though the club itself has set a pretty ordinary double standard in not standing the coach down.  As stated last week he deserves his day in court, however so does Dean Robinson.  “The Weapon” was summarily stood down as soon as the story broke.  But double standards have been part of the game for years, remember Mick’s regime at Collingwood with the unevenness of internal sanctions, Carlton have varied their punishments dependent on the value of the individual.  We all remember Animal Farm and “four legs good, two legs bad” and “all animals are equal”, but in the end “some animals are more equal than others”, none more evident than at Essendon now.  So much for football socialism!

The problem is that it takes away the news from what has been a fantastic start to the season, even though my team is yet to deliver a victory.  A much better effort with last week’s selections, failing on the bookends of Friday and Sunday night but getting the other seven winners.  This week’s fixtures are tantalising with intriguing encounters riddled throughout the weekend.


Horse Tails ($1.74) vs Purring ($2.34)

Longmire’s Swans passed their first big test for their premiership defence up against the fabled Shinboner Spirit last week.  A spirit they exorcised in a brilliant 11 goal third quarter.  A more formidable test this week against another undefeated foe in Geelong.  The Cats beat the Blues in a game they generally had under control, but there are some concerns as they have not had complete command in any encounter yet.  That is a dangerous game to play against the miserly Bloods.  The centre clearances are crucial in all games but even more so at the SCG and this is where I believe the Swans will prevail.  Both teams have excellent and hard-headed midfields, however I think the ruck strength of Mummy and Pyke will be too much for West and The Steeplechaser.  The Cats have only emerged with the points on one occasion at the SCG since 2003, but by the same token they have only met there six times in that period.  This promises to be one of the great contests of the year and I have the rucks and home ground advantage giving this to the Swans, but not discounting the Cats but I reckon $2.50 should be offer for decent value.


Mowbray ($1.23) vs Wrestlemania ($5.20)

The wet weather might have provided some excuse but can we please have it written into TV contract no Ross Lyon teams to play in prime time.  A great win for the Dons, but Freo are painful to watch.  This week they face the Hawks at York Park where they have met six times and have yet to register a victory, no Pav will not make it any sweeter.  With the skipper and Sandilands out for a while the Freo threat for the season might be diminished, but the coach is astute and has dealt with the loss of key players before.  The Hawks flexed their muscles against the Pies last week after a slow start and they will go and get their season right back on track.


Flag Favourites ($1.94) vs The Leaking Nest ($2.04)

Collingwood conceded 85 points on average last season, the average at this stage of the season is 111.  Comparing seasons is not always valid and we only have a sample of three but there should be cause for concern.  Meanwhile the Tiggers are roaring and have defeated all comers.  The big difference this year compared to previous years is that their skill level is up and they are keeping the footy instead of gifting it back to the opposition.  The Pies are rabid on pressure so they will need to use all their skill to hold the footy, but there could be some real benefits if they can get through.  For the Pies, Pendlebury and Swan were fantastic last week they will need their support cast to put in a better effort than last week.  This is the toughest test for the Tigers and certainly they entertain a chance, however I expect the support cast to step up and the Pies to win.  The “flip of the coin” odds are reflective of the game chances and any team getting to $2.10 is good value, but this is a watching game not a punting game.


Motley Crue ($2.68) vs Cow Placenta ($1.57)

Very few teams would expect to leave Subiaco with four points, a monumental effort from The Bombers last week.  In the meantime Tommy Lee joined St Kilda as they played the course in par against the Giants.  This week they need to overcome the undefeated Bombers and their emotions of coming up against their former teammate in Brendon Goddard.  The Saints are a chance especially with the loss of Fletcher and Ryder however on form the Bombers are justified favourites and should salute.


The Corporation ($1.48) vs Not Kruezing ($2.96)

Hmmmm – it is all about the process and not about the wins.  How long can Mick keep that line up and get away with it?  Won’t be for very long if they continue to concede over 100 points a game, mind you they have scored 100 points a game without a dominant forward.  Maybe that is what needs to be developed, waiting for Waite is not the answer.  To me the selected defence lacks tall options and as a result lacks flexibility.  I am sure there is a plan but wouldn’t mind it coming to fruition.  With Kruezer going down last week, keeping Warnock turns out to be wise.  Now he has to stamp himself on the game.  Oh Yeah and West Coast are playing too.  They will be keen to get a win at Subiaco, their big forwards will worry the Blues vertically challenged backline.  As the coach has said Carlton have played some good footy, but some ordinary footy too.  At their best they can beat West Coast, however the odds are closer to the mark and West Coast are grudgingly my selection.  $3.00 for the Blues is too short on form, but do note they have a good recent record in Perth.


Surfers Paradise ($2.68) vs What the ‘hoff? ($1.56)

Gold Coast have been honourable in all their games so far, meanwhile a new coach has bought a new attitude to Port Adelaide.  Justin Westhoff to me always looked likely, but lacked consistency and confidence, it would appear Ken Hinkley has provided the confidence time will tell on the consistency.  The Port comeback last week over their local rivals was very impressive and that form should make them hard to beat.  But it would be folly to discount the Suns who play very well at home.  Port are the obvious selection to win, however the odds are way too far apart and I would consider Gold Coast closer to a $2.50.


Watts Going On? ($1.57) vs Against the Patton ($2.64)

A shame for the competition that Patton went down with an ACL, we all look forward to his return in 2014.  His Giants face up to the one competitive half is OK Demons, and they could win it.  Watts is back for the Dees after a week’s holiday – what are they doing with him?  But for the Giants Setanta is back which should make the game entertaining.  But the big loss for the Giants is Brogan, without him I think Jamar can dominate the skies and hopefully the Melbourne midfield take appropriate advantage and win the game.  But the Giants are fair value at $2.40.


Corked ($1.14) vs Oh Boyd Oh Boyd ($7.60)

The Adelaide charddy would have tasted horribly tainted after last Sunday, fortunately they can get a reprieve against the horribly undermanned Bulldogs who get their skipper back but lose two of their classiest players in Murphy and Higgins.  Adelaide at home will get their reprieve.


It’s a kinda Majak ($1.31) vs Queensland Kings ($3.95)

The market reflects the Lions Round One effort in the Loungeroom, they are up against the Kangas who have finally included Majak Daw in the team.  Sheez have they stretched the publicity on that one.  They have been playing OK, but lapsing badly in every game and costing them the points.  Will be interested in how the Kangas use Daw, Goldstein likes to play the entire game himself and squeezed out Macintosh as a result – how will they work the two ruckmen this year?  I think the Roos are justified favourites at home and my selection, but would rate Brisbane at about $3.00 so they are shopping well at the moment.


Let the Carnival continue.

It’s a Dundeel did the deal in the Derby last week and I should have gone harder with Guelph who did manage to overcome Overreach.  The big news of the week was the retirement of Black Caviar.  It was great to see her win last week with the opposition really prepared to have a crack at her and she was still too good.  25 from 25 what a record, is she the best?  Hard to argue, but I have soft spot for Makybe Diva – didn’t win as many but won the biggest races and you could usually get on!  This week is Doncaster Day along with the Australian Oaks at Royal Randwick.


Race 7 – Australian Oaks (G1, 2400m, 3YO Fillies)

A pretty open race in my opinion and further complicated because many of the recent meetings in Sydney have been on rain affected tracks, however there is more to come so wet form is good form.  That puts the New Zealanders Habibi and More than Sacred right in this.  However the last run from the VRC Derby winner, Dear Demi was very good, other contenders in this race beat her home but she was coming from much further back.  Summerbliss placed in the Derby and also put in a good run, however I am concerned about her in the mud (was her mother a mudder?).  Then last week’s winner Royal Descent has as good form as any and could figure.

Selections – 1-2-7-4


Race 8 – The Doncaster Mile (G1, 1600m, HCP)

This is the opportunity for Pierro to really stamp himself, as a 3YO he has an impost of 57kg up against some of the more seasoned campaigners in the country.  At $2.40 he far too short in my opinion.  I am looking to the mares and filly further down in the weights to be prominent.  The Bart Cummings trained Norzita was on an Oaks campaign, won over 2000m last start and has been switched back to the 1600m under handicap conditions.  Bart is a genius at placing his horses and I suspect he believes he has Pierro covered.  Appearance is in great form, Red Tracer and Streama are high quality.  They all have great wet track records.  If the conditions dry out I would be keen to plump for Solzhenitsyn, but it is Sydney!  There are plenty of other great milers in the field.

Selections – 14-11-2-13



Big fields, big challenge but no $1.10 pops so dividends might be better, but no dividend if we don’t nail it.  This has been reduced in breadth to keep the return up, but it could be much wider.

1st Leg – Race 6 – 1,4,5,8

2nd Leg – Race 7 – 1,2,4,5,7

3rd Leg – Race 8 – 2,11,12,13,14

4th Leg – Race 9 – 4,8,20

This is 300 combinations so $30 gives 10% of the dividend.


Friars Footy

The Seniors and Under 19s both went under last week.  They have the chance to redeem themselves this week at home to the Unicorns of Melbourne High for the Seniors and Reserves, the Under 19s travel to the expanses of Latrobe University.

Go Blues, Go Friars, Go Hammers


Cheers, Sal

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