AFL Round 5 – preview: Time to sook up!

Greetings to all on the most important day of the Australian calendar (and New Zealand’s).

But more about that soon enough.  The week has been all about sooking up.  Have listened to plenty of commentary on Brendon Goddard’s teary finish to the game last week against the Saints and plenty getting stuck into him.  Personally I thought it was fantastic, we long for players to display their character and motivations but as soon as they do they are mercilessly hounded upon.  I can understand the Saints supporters who have targeted him, they are probably only just finishing mopping up from their own blubberings when he left.  But overall I saw a player whose emotions are close to the surface and it shows his failings but also his strengths, who can forget his efforts to try and lift St Kilda over the Pies in the 2010 Grand Final.  That he plays for Essendon doesn’t do much to endear him to me, but I get him now and I’ll try and stop myself using the “sook” sledge when the Blues meet them.

The thing is I’ve done my fair share of sooking this week too.  First of all sending off the first born to the UK for the rest of the year on Sunday, so very excited for him and the opportunities it will present.  But for someone who has been a constant companion for 18 years the excitement we had for him was more than balanced with the sooking.  Then a funeral on Tuesday added to the sooking.

Then we have National Sook Up Day otherwise known as ANZAC Day.  What a great national day this has grown to become, fears of it losing relevance as age takes its toll on the survivors of battle is long gone as Australians of all ages embrace the efforts of our diggers in all conflicts and appreciate the liberties we are afforded today as a result.  So whenever and wherever I have a minutes silence and hear the strains of the bugler with The Last Post, I am pretty sure I’ll sook up and I hope you do too!

Lest we forget!


But now it is onto the footy, Round 4 was kind to this prognosticator in selecting seven winners although not picking the Blues when they win leaves a certain emptiness.  It certainly will if I go down by one in the tipping comp.  This week is tough needing to make selections without team selections, but we do have a few games with heavy favourites.


Pep in their Step ($2.34) vs Party Poopers ($1.73)

The Pies brought the Tiger party to a halt last week, can they do the same to the Bombers this week or do Essendon have enough to sustain themselves through to the wee hours!  The loss of Hurley is a factor, can Gumbleton play that crucial role?  If so, then the Bombers are right in the game where they should also have an edge in the rucks.  On the ground I give the edge to the Pies but not by much, on paper these two sides are pretty evenly matched.  I don’t expect Cloke to have the same fortune as last week, but his goal tally is just a bonus the mayhem he creates and attention he demands opens opportunities for the rest of the Pie attack.  I don’t reckon Collingwood should be that short a price, I’d rate them closer to $1.90 but it still makes them favourite and my selection.  But it also means Essendon are shopping well and anything over $2.50 is fair value.


Wellington Boots ($5.30) vs Very West Auckland ($1.22)

Playing for points on foreign soil, it ain’t the World Cup but it’s a start.  The Saints looking to build themselves a fortress in Wellington that they failed to do in Launceston when they were smothered by the Hawks.  Mind you Mr Thomas never really endeared himself to the Taswegians either.  LRT out for the Bloods hurts, but the Saints lose Milne and Maister and introduce two debutantes.  Sydney to bounce back and get their campaign rolling again – although LRT-less will affect their flexibility.


Not for Prime Time ($1.54) vs The Burst Bubble ($2.80)

A harsh reality check for the Tigers last week against the Pies and probably one for all the prime time viewers this week having to endure the Freo Wrestling Machine.  They are back from their annual humiliation in Launceston and should be good enough to strangle the Tigers.  Richmond will need to regroup after last week and at their best could pick through Freo and take a leaf from the Bombers book two weeks ago.  However I think Freo will be more determined to lock their opponents out this week and should hang on.  But if their dominance does not reflect in goals they are open for trouble and $2.80 on the Tiges is fair value based on the form of both teams.


Witches Hats ($2.84) vs Burleigh Heads ($1.53)

After watching the last quarter against Melbourne the choice of orange for GWS was most appropriate.  Completely uncompetitive and very tired.  Their opponents for the Minnows Cup have not fared much better especially away from home.   The odds again are too far apart – but they are the right way and Gold Coast are my selection.


The Process Begins ($1.54) vs Cabernet Quaffers ($2.80)

Mick and the Blues are finally on the board with a hard fought win in the West, of concern still has to be the number of scoring shots conceded whilst their own forward efficiency was admirable with 29 scoring shots from 43 attacking forays.  The challenge will be to find more avenues to goal, because I am sure the Yarran-Garlett show will be heavily censored by the Crows.  They were successful in not only strangling the Dogs but also putting a few on the board themselves, maybe that is an indication of the parlous state of the Puppies but it would be folly to discount Adelaide who gave the Blues a fair old touch up last year.  But this one is at the G, and whilst $1.53 is way too short Carlton to put their 2nd win on the board.


Atticus, Atticus ($18.00) vs Got the Canary ($1.05)

Mercy, Mercy – Atticus Finch’s skills with the gun might needed for these Dogs whose season started with promise but is being cruelled with injuries, whereas the Cats got their canary last week with a great win over Sydney.  Cannot go without mention of their skipper Joel Selwood who has no peer as a leader.


I Know Nussing ($2.02) vs Nic Nat No ($1.96)

The Eagles lose Darren Glass who will go to “Serjeant” Schulz?  They are already undermanned and to lose the defensive linchpin won’t help.  But to me it is much more than missing personnel, key players from last year such as Gatt and Shuey are not being let off the chain by the opposition and the coach does not seem to have too many tricks to try and release them.  On the other hand Ken Hinkley has his team playing in his image.  They have passed all the big tests so far and this is another against a defensively minded team.  Form, home ground, injuries put everything in favour of Port – but this is almost the last stand for West Coast and a loss would just about put them out of top 4 contention which by extension also premiership contention. At this stage I reckon the West Coast desperation will get over Port – but if it doesn’t surely Woosha needs to be in the spotlight!


Gabbaologists ($1.18) vs Howe’s That ($6.00)

The turn in the Demons game last week was extraordinary and whilst the Giants stopped the Demons just played footy with freedom – interestingly enough pretty much the style that Dean Bailey wanted them to play!  At ¾ time Neeld was like his ruckman’s name – Gawn!  Can they reproduce that for 4 quarters in Brisbane?  I very much doubt it.  The Lions will be smarting from their performance against the Roos and will hit back strongly and be too good for Melbourne.


The Big Show ($1.22) vs The Barometer ($5.20)

Buddy and Cyril on display is a show in itself and there are plenty more sideshows for improving for the Hawks.  The loss of Schoenmakers will hurt even though Lake is a direct replacement.  But Brian has not played good footy for a number of years – he will need to as he arrived as the last piece of the puzzle.  Up against the Roos who continue to beat up the minnows but can’t pull out an upset against the elite, I can’t see that fabled spirit making a surprise appearance on Sunday.


The Carnival is Over (nearly)


Some great racing has been drowned by the rain and drowned by the noise and volume of other sports.  Not sure how the Sydney Autumn Carnival gets enough air – but by the same token I am in Melbourne.  The final day has a big finish with four group ones for decision and hoping for a decent track.  Again tough to make selections a few days out, but a small price to pay for ANZAC day.


Race 4 – Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1, 2000m, WFA)

A star 3yo who has won his last three to take on a field where only one of them has registered a victory in their last three starts.  This is a done deal for It’s A Dundeel.  For the placings Silent Achiever, Reliable Man and Glass Harmonium.

Selections 9-6-2-3


Race 5 – Champagne Stakes (G1, 1600m, 2YO)

The babies stretch out to a mile in the final leg of the Triple Crown.  Can Guelph make it two from three?  Quite possible but $2.70 is pretty tight.  I was waiting for Fast ‘n Rocking to reappear, his run in the Golden Slipper was as good if not better than Guelph.  The problem is that he always runs well but just doesn’t win – I reckon he can change that on Saturday.  Scandiva must rate a chance after her second in the Sires and for some value the form and breeding of the lightly raced Drago puts him in the picture.

Selections 3-11-9-12


Race 6 – The Sydney Cup (G1, 3200m, HCP)

4th in the Melbourne Cup is excellent form for the Sydney Cup and Kelinni has had continued good form, but also in the race is a 2nd placegetter who has been honing in on this race in Maluckyday.  I am selecting Maluckyday purely on the better price available.  Julienas has been in good form till last start and would have been close to favourite if not for that failure and Mourayan has a good record at this track.

Selections 5-4-3-1


Race 7 – All Aged Stakes (G1, 1400m, WFA)

Is this a free hit for the Quaddie?  All Too Hard would seem to have the race at it mercy with only one competitor in the same stratosphere.  Is More Joyous going well enough?  All Too Hard also has only won one race on right handed tracks.  Not sure he is a free hit, but he is my selection.  The other 3yo Epaulette who ran 2nd to Black Caviar is my second pick, then the other great mare and Rangirangdoo.

Selections 7-8-6-1



1st Leg – 2,3,4,8,9,11,12

2nd Leg – 3,4,5

3rd Leg – 6,7,8

4th Leg – 1,4,5,6

This represent 252 combinations, a $30 investment will return 11.9% of the dividend.


Friars Footy

The Friars got on the board with a big win over the Unicorns, this weekend they take on Old Geelong on the vast expanses of Como Park.  The Under 19s notched their first win at Latrobe Uni and take on the Northern Blues this weekend at Friar Park.


Special News

Kate O’Donnell (Daughter of Dips) has been selected to swim for Australia at the Asia-Pacific Games for Special Olympics.  Great effort Kate!


Go Friars, Go Blues,

Cheers, Sal

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