Grand Final – Sal’s Preview: The End of the Marathon



Greetings All,

We get to the end of a terrific season where teams remained ‘in the hunt’ right up to the final week of the season.  The Brownlow Medal again delivered some controversy with Lachie Neale taking out the award.  Plenty of pundits and commentary wanting changes to the process and giving the umpires access to stats.  Accept the award for what it is – the umpires view of the game.  They will get a few wrong and plenty right just like they adjudicate in the game.


Moore Please (59%) vs Great Dayne (41%)

A couple big milestones in the big game with Darcy Moore reaching his 150th and Dayne Zorko 250, just as big a game for the other 44 participants!  For all the heroics of the Giants and Blues we finish up with the best two teams over the season with both teams needing to break a couple of quirky stats.  The Pies need to turnaround a six-game winning streak the Lions have over them, interestingly the Pies were six on the trot prior to that. The other point of interest is that of those last six games none were played at the MCG.  Which is the elephant in the room for Brisbane where have only won once in the last 15 matches, on the upside being that the win was in a final.

Through the finals Collingwood have been able to defend extremely well conceding only 17 goals in total, in control of both games after getting a run of goals in each game to establish a lead they were able to defend.  Last week a 5 goal to one burst in the third quarter and a five goal start over the Dees.  The Lions need to ensure they do not allow that kind of run, they got away with it last week. Collingwood are as good as anyone defending a lead as they are happy to tell everyone. Collingwood will need to keep the game tight as the previous finals were, Brisbane has great scoring power and have booted the two highest scores over the Pies in 2023.  Without McStay the Pies need to find someone to kick goals in his absence – he has 4 of their 17 for the finals.  Collingwood were terrific against the Giant forwards, but Brisbane has six genuine threats to get a bag – if just one breaks out it could be game over.

Daniher could get that bag but he is also critical with his role as the back-up ruckman. The Blues would have liked their dual ruck matchup against the Big O, but Joe was effective enough in his minutes that Oscar could keep going for the whole game. Unlike Max the week before who had just too much to do without quality support. The Pies will be hoping Joe is not that good and Cox and Cameron can wear down McInerny.  Below their feet will be the main battle, another performance from De Goey as last week probably gets the Pies home, suspect Josh Dunkley will have the task to keep him at bay. The key match for the Lions to get right is Steele Sidebottom, reads the play better than anyone and uses, similarly the Brisbane wingers need to pay him more attention than what he got last week.

Ultimately these two are evenly matched and whoever can get the game played on their terms will win.  Collingwood want it tight and tough, Brisbane would be happy if it opens up.  The 29? could be factor that opens the game up and gives Brisbane the edge to win by 17 points.


Track Time

Grand Finals have racing moving all over the place this weekend.  The night racing season kicks off with the Moir Stakes at the Valley tonight, with Mornington hosting the main Saturday meeting and then Sandown on Sunday with the Sandown Stakes being the feature.  Up north Randwick hosts three Group Ones on Saturday.

Moonee Valley – Friday

A good card to open the night series with a few short priced favourites. Happy to go with Maharba (R2, #2) again after failing first up, but do concede the favourite Brave Mead (R2, #3) has the record here.  Griff (R5, #1) won well at Flemington and can see no reason why he would not go well again here.  The short price for Amelia’s Jewel (R6, #8) probably makes this watch race, if she gets around here successfully then the Cox Plate beckons.

Race 7 – Moir Stakes (G1, 1000m, WFA)

Imperatriz (7) could not have been more impressive winning the McEwen and will be hard to beat here as indicated by the price.  Giving Uncommon James (3) the best chance to do, despite not have raced here he does go well fresh.  Asfoora (8) won well last start, this is a tougher test and Rothfire (1) is a consistent performer around the Valley.

Selections – 7-3-8-1


Randwick – Saturday

Race 6 – Flight Stakes (G1, 1600m, 3yo Fillies SW)

The two picks are drawn awkwardly on the inside and outside.  Tiz Invincible (1) has won the last two convincingly so suspect she has the measure of the girls she has been running against.  The outside barrier some concern.  She hasn’t beaten Mollyknickers (7) flew home last start after a slow getaway and convincing winner prior.  PGM doesn’t send ‘em to Sydney for a holiday!  Kimochi (2) and French Endeavour (5) who chased home the favourite in the Tea Rose round out the picks.

Selections – 1-7-5-2

Race 8 – Epsom Handicap (G1, 1600m, HCP)

A wide open Epsom where finding the winner will deliver value. Just how do you find it?  The Magic Mac takes the ride on Kovalica (10) for CJW, was the standout in the QLD winter and is undefeated second up. The Cameron is a good guide for this so we slot in the winner Democracy Manifest (16).  GSOB often features in the big miles so putting in Golden Mile (6) despite the wide draw and putting in Pounding (12) on the PGM and holiday theory.  Plenty more chances – good luck!

Selections – 10-16-6-12

Race 9 – Metropolitan Hcp (G1, 2400m, HCP)

Time for the annual moan about this hacker’s staying race being a Group One but while the states bicker, we don’t get change and The Everest remains without status.  We have a shorty here in Just Fine (14) and hard to see who beats him, undefeated at three Australian starts.  The derby winner Manzoice (7) brings a different form line in and gets out to a suitable trip, Mr Waterville (17) also gets out to trip and get weight relief then Benaud (12) chased the favourite home last start.

Selections – 14-7-17-12


Quaddie Time

They are better even if you win a little bit!  We head to the Valley tonight where it looks like we have two anchors in Amelia’s Jewel and Impreratriz.  Just think the latter might have some challenges so we will have two quaddie strategy.

Quaddie 1 – Go Imperatriz!

Leg 1 – 1, 4, 6, 8, 11

Leg 2 – 8

Leg 3 – 7

Leg 4 – 1, 2, 5, 11

Represents 20 combinations, a $15 investment returns 75% of the dividend.


Quaddie 2 – Go Imperatriz!

Leg 1 – 1, 4, 6, 8, 11

Leg 2 – 8

Leg 3 – 3, 7, 8

Leg 4 – 1, 2, 5, 11

Represents 60 combinations, a $15 investment returns 25% of the dividend.


Go the Jewel!


Cheers, Sal


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  1. I have an extremely small share in Just Fine.
    We only got it to say we own a horse previously owned by the Queen.
    Only debut a month ago in Australia in a Benchmark and suddenly it is $1.70 in a Group 1 Race. Race will take place approx half way last quarter.

  2. Your weekly previews have been a must read for me for years Sal. An oasis of common sense and shrewd analysis in an ocean of media drivel. Much appreciated.
    Collingwood by 30+ for me. Grand finals are played between the ears and Brisbane looked flakey to me last week against an exhausted Blues. They remind me of my Eagles 2015. 7 of the last 10 GF’s have been blowouts decided by 30+.

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