Ol’ Micky Blue Eyes

Greetings to all,

However, perhaps not such a joyous September after the tragic and untimely death of John McCarthy, a young life taken and a reminder of how precious our time is.

But the footy machine continues to roll on with Carlton unveiling the worst kept secret in history.  When will clubs stop putting up the façade and ‘fess up to the truth?  Maybe Mick never spoke to the Blues personally, but there were clearly communications.  Then there is “I couldn’t coach against my boys” comment – clearly not a commitment he could keep unless he could move the entire Collingwood list.  As a Blues supporter I am concerned about Malthouse having the right motivations, however he has demanded and been given complete control,a situation Ratten never had nor his two predecessors in Pagan and Brittain.  The committee though have gone “All In” on Mick and if it all turns rotten, there are long term consequences as their positions are likely to be untenable.  Maybe winning flags takes a fair bit of risk to reap the rewards – however on recent evidence the Premiers are usually clubs that have invested in the journey. I do hope this is part of it.

Then we have a scheduling debacle for the preliminary finals where Hawthorn as top team are disadvantaged and the league then kowtows to the broadcasters for a twilight game. I do not see how that will increase the number of viewers compared to a regular 2:30pm start for the finals.  On the other hand, I will be able to watch all the races from Caulfield before tucking into the footy and it will not directly clash with the plethora of suburban and regional league Grand Finals on the day.

Then we did have an entertaining and revealing week one of the finals with two underdogs and two favourites prevailing, I tipped the  two favourites and also Sydney for a 75% strike rate.  The Hawks were overall too skilful on the night for the Pies whose disposal was disappointing in comparison, though not for lack of effort.  Saturday saw Sydney strangle the Crows, who were not ready for the ferocity and speed of finals footy – a great value bet were the Swannies.  On Saturday Night we witnessed the dismemberment of the Cats by Get Stuffed Lyon and the Dockers.  Say what we like about his style or lack thereof – he is an extremely astute coach and might now have the weapons to go a step further than he could with the Saints.  And whilst I don’t believe Geelong dealt with the Pavlich threat well – he did stand up in a big game and has done so for the last few weeks.  Finally we had the Eagles blow North out of the water – North did have a great season with some good scalps, but made the eight on their cushy draw.  Mind you, I doubt any of the also rans would have fared any better last week.

But now we look forward to this weekend’s clashes.  For the record, under the current finals system only twice has an elimination final winner reigned over the qualifying final loser.  Will this year be any different?  I’m not predicting so – but I do think there is a better chance than usual.

Tipped Out? ($1.69) vs Cat Killers ($2.40)

The stats indicate that Adelaide should be favoured to win this and they justifiably are.  But Freo’s recent form is pretty close to Hawthorn’s whereas the Crows’ has been mostly against lowly rated opponents – except for one of them – they defeated Freo in Round 20 at this venue and also defeated them in the west earlier in the year.  The Freo forwards were exceptional last week in separating the Cat defence and isolating Pavlich. This week they have the same task against arguably a weaker opposition.  The loss of Talia will be significant to Adelaide.  Whereas up the other end the Geelong forwards had no time and space to work in – no other coach has worked as effectively against Geelong.  A repeat of those performances will put them well on the way to a victory.  It is a widely held view that Adelaide were a false top four team given their draw for the year – however they have performed better than most pundits predicted.  They should have learnt plenty about finals intensity last week and we should expect the right effort levels from them.  If this game were to be played on neutral territory – I would sway with the Dockers.  However in Adelaide – there is too much pride to play for and I will go with history and select the Qualifying final loser to reign by 13 points.  Noting though that the odds available on Freo are generous and they are a value bet at anything over $2.20 – a win would not shock as much as last week.

Mick’s Boys ($1.86) vs Troubled Waters ($2.14)

West Coast were unstoppable last week, but lamentable the week before against the Flag Favourites – what a difference a venue makes.  And possibly an opponent – they have not beaten Collingwood at the MCG since 1995.  Mind you they have only met 6 times there since, but three of those were in the last two seasons.  The Pies got a fair old touch up at Subiaco a couple of weeks ago – but without Jolly – and as stated last week the Eagles are a 7-8 goal better outfit at home.  Based on firepower though it is hard to go against the Eagles, especially with the Pies losing Maxwell.  Collingwood will need another big game from Cloke, who was able to be isolated last week. He will be a handful for Glass if that occurs again.  But it is in the middle where the Pies have scope for improvement and if they can get a more even effort across the board they will get an advantage – easier said than done up against Big Cox and Nic Nat.  Jolly must at least be competitive.  On team balance and firepower West Coast are more than capable of winning and are fair value at $2.10 – however there is a lot of history against them as well as a chaste Pie outfit – so my selection is Collingwood by 26 points as they break the game in the last quarter.

Group One racing returns

But not in Melbourne – Rosehill is the venue for the season’s first group one race The Golden Rose over 1400m for the three year olds.  The favourite for the race is the Nathan Tinkler owned filly Nechita who has dominated against her own sex so far.  However Gai is attacking the race with Kabayan who was fast finishing second at Caulfield last start, instead of her star colt Piero.  I reckon he will represent much better value at $4.20 on the exchange as I write.

But there is plenty to watch for in Melbourne with Cox Plate Preview day at Moonee Valley highlighted by the Rich, Old, Malaysian Owner’s Stakes.  A Group 2 WFA affair over 1600m – a watch race for mine – in particular Green Moon, who may run in the Cox Plate rather than the Caulfield Cup for which he is favourite for.  The McEwen Stakes G3 over 1000m pits Golden Archer up against the returning Bel Sprinter, I am happy to take Moody’s arrow flinger at around the $3 mark.  The final group race for the day is the Stocks Stakes for the Mares over 1600m (G2) – most definitely a race to watch, nothing really stands out to me – but we should note that the ill-fated Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker ran in this race last year.

Last week – Snitzerland proved to be too hot, too good but too short.  In the Bobbie Lewis Spirit of Boom fell just short – but made a nice return for the Each Way punter.

Go Hammers, Go the Archer and Go Mick!

Cheers, Sal


Leave a Comment