Finals Week 3 – The Real Semi Finals: No Sympathy for the Devil’s number

Greetings All and welcome to the penultimate weekend of the season,


Was going to give the incorrect nomenclature of this week’s games a miss until one of the almanac readers pointed out the foibles of matches being called preliminary finals.  Like a dog with a bone I am not one to let go!  These games are really semi-finals and should be called such, while last week’s would be better described as preliminary.


The bigger gripe though is for the “rules review” and their “body of work”.  The two rules they are recommending to reduce congestion really are putting “lipstick on a pig”.  Most of the finals so far have revealed the pig needs a good make over.  Both the 666 starting positions and 18 metre goal square only address the congestion issue after scores.  The 666 might see some cleaner movement from the centre square, once the ball is bounced it is open slather for players to fill areas and block up general play.  The extra 9 metres on a kick in might give the defense a bit more room and we may see more attacking kick outs, once it’s in play teams will ensure it gets blocked up pretty quickly.  It is appreciated that there are other changes in the proposal, the lack of transparency and justification of their “body of work” beggars belief.  Most of all they do not address the key cause of congestion – the players just don’t get tired!  The answer is sitting on the bench.


It is onto those semi-finals!


A Bit Dusty ($1.42) vs No Moore ($3.35)


Much ado around Dusty’s corkie and Darcy Moore’s thigh – not sure why Dusty will always play and far too big a risk to take Darcy Moore into such a game.  The main question being whether the Pies can actually win – they do have a better chance than anyone else!  They have been in both games against Richmond through the season.  They were also both typical Tiger wins drawing away from the opposition in the final quarter with differentials of 43 and 28 in the last stanza of those games.  In the most recent Collingwood were down on personnel and lost more during the game, with only 4 points in the game at the final break.  Not sure it affected the result, it certainly has an influence on the Pies belief they can do this.  That belief alone gives them a fighting chance.


The challenges the Tigers present will be vastly different than those presented by the Giants last week.  The Pies defense was able to intercept at will last week, the Tigers will not allow that and ensure every time the ball is in their half it is a contest.  At the other  end the Tiger defense won’t fumble and panic unless the Pies can mount the same pressure as the Richmond forwards.  Most of all they need to match it with the Tiger midfield, both  pretty deep but not sure Collingwood have the X-factor that Dustin Martin presents.  His ability to turn a match either from his efforts in the middle or taking his tagger deep and snaring a few goals gives Richmond a weapon their opponents don’t.


The questions are all for the Pies to answer – they are not without hope, Richmond just have more and expect them to draw away for a 34 point victory.


Batman and Robin ($1.86) vs Dreamons ($2.14)


2015 presented a problem for the Eagles and one they will want to rectify by getting back to the MCG for the Grand Final.  In the road are the rampant Demons who have turned in a couple of solid finals performances in front of their rapturous fans.  The rapturous fans this week will be baying for their blood.  They do take in the knowledge that they have claimed the Eagles scalp at this venue a few weeks ago.  The difference for West Coast is the dynamic duo – they have not had Darling and Kennedy play together often this season.  The seven times they have has resulted in seven wins!  The Melbourne defense is challenged by big strong marking forwards not sure Joel Smith is the answer.


At the other end chaos theory applies with the Demons throwing several options up for the defense to counter.  Petracca, Tom McDonald, Melksham, Hannan and co continually put new challenges to their opposition.  Unlike Hawthorn, the Eagles do have the personnel in Barrass and McGovern to defend McDonald.  The replacement for Brad Sheppard will be important with a vital role to shut down Melbourne’s mid-sized forwards.  The Melbourne mids have been mighty, so have the Eagles.  Not enough has been said about them missing two of their very best in Natanui and Gaff but still doing so well.  Shuey, Redden, Yeo, Sheed have become a very good unit and hard to contain at the new stadium.  Gawn might control the skies can his midfield take advantage?


Melbourne have great momentum, they have proven they can win in Perth.  The Eagles have the dynamic duo, will be ready for a Demon onslaught and 58,000 fanatics behind them to extinguish the dream by 47 points.


A Rose by Any Other Name


Two group ones this Saturday, the Golden Rose at Rosehill for the three year olds,, and the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at the Heath.  The Naturalism also at Caulfield has the added prize of a ticket to the Caulfield Cup, Night’s Watch (10) is a justified short priced favourite, reckon Rising Red (11) represents fair value.


Rosehill – Race 7 – The Golden Rose (G1, 1400m, 3yo SW)


The top four standout with excellent records and great chances here, they all ran two weeks ago on a heavy track.  They all ran well, not sure what the conditions may have taken out of them so looking elsewhere for some value.  Seabrook (11) ran well last start at Caulfield and has won on Sydney’s right handed courses, if the toppies are slightly off she can run them down.  Gai’s entrant Santos (6) will run in Gai fashion up and on the pace, will be fitter second up and tough to run down.  The Autumn Sun (2) was terrific in the Stan Fox once he saw daylight as was Graff (4) in The Run to the Rose where he was three wide the journey.  Not discounting Lean Mean Machine (1) or Zousain (3) in a ripping renewal of this race


Selections – 11-6-2-4


Caulfield – Race 8 – Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (G1, 1400m, HCP)


A full field will greet the starter in another very competitive Group 1 contest.  Intrigue surrounds Jungle Cat (1), Charlie Appleby has a great success rate here and this fellow has won his last three in Dubai.  Could be an error but leaving him out.  Will be with another Godolphin charge the GSOB trained Osborne Bulls (4), has built a great record winning 8 from 11 and gets a nice weight drop off a win at this track.  Charging home with him will be the DK Weir pair Land of Plenty (8) and Peaceful State (15), could have had either of them in for first but for poor barriers.  They will all have to chase down Home of the Brave (2) who led them a merry dance in the Theo Marks and the tough Taswegian Hellova Street (7).  Chances don’t end there but you can’t have ‘em all.


Selections – 4-15-8-2


Quaddie Time


Some very competitive races we will go wide and skinny up the last leg with Elicazoom and I am Excited, risk leaving Global Glamour out but if we are alive we lay off!


Leg 1 – 3, 5, 7, 8, 9

Leg 2 – 1, 10, 11, 12, 16

Leg 3 – 1, 2, 4, 8, 15

Leg 4 – 2, 7


250 Combinations, $30 investment for 12% of the dividend


The wife and daughter very excited, the bandwagon is loaded hope the wheels don’t fall off – Go Dees!


Cheers, Sal


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  1. Spot on with your footy predictions Sal. Also your intro. I thought both last week’s finals were scrappy games, with long periods of stalemate with coaches setting up extra players behind the ball and few attacking outlets.
    Footy media would spruik the Great War because it was a tight, close contest. 3 years in the trenches.
    The emperor has no clothes, but we all need his favour too much for genuine criticism.

  2. I really like Graff in the Golden Rose, Sal.
    Good punting!

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