Preliminary Finals – Preview: Clear and Present Danger!

Check out the Ladbroke prices for the Second week of the finals

Ladbrokes have the Hawks at $20 tonight.



Greetings all for the people’s round of finals,


It’s people’s round as long as you are a club member and handy if you live in Perth!  The competition is national and the scenario of no preliminary final in Melbourne might be a first but will not be the last with almost half the competition based outside of Victoria – a stat that does make you wonder how national it is.


But we are a parochial bunch here with so many players wanting to go home!  Of course the one taking the headlines is Patrick Dangerfield.  The red carpet has been laid down Moorabool Street, but it appears the Crows may not be as amenable as first thought.  And neither should they be!  A quick glance at the current pecking order sees the two clubs fighting each other to climb out from the challengers to be among the contenders, the Moggs Creek Marvel moving would give the Cats a fair lift over Adelaide.  Assessing his value is pretty easy, should he enter the draft he would clearly be taken first pick.   How Geelong avoid giving up too much will be intriguing, meanwhile clubs at the lower end of the table will look on in hope!


Tips last week not quite as good 50% on the footy and while Kermadec was in the numbers – the top pick needs reassessment.  But it is on to this week’s games.


Lyon about Ryan ($2.40) vs Still no Ceglar ($1.65)  Check out the Ladbrokes special: Hawthorn at $2.

The Dockers could not be any fresher with most of the team only having played one game in the last 3 weeks, will it pay off?  They have played the back half of the season looking pretty ordinary but still winning.  Invariably they get off to a flying start before spluttering home, the genuine unknown being whether they are really spluttering or if the engines are being shut down.  The game against Sydney got tight but in reality Freo held it in their own version of control.  A Dockers lead of 30 points probably translates to about 50 for other clubs.

It all makes the start critical this week.  If Hawthorn can at least match it with Freo early then we really will find out about those engines.  If the Hawks can burst out like last week, then I don’t think Freo has the goal kicking flair to chase them down.  Suspect some ducks and drakes at selection from Get Stuffed Lyon, I can’t see both Taberner and Griffith playing.  Both teams are highly dependent on their small forwards, the Freo pair of Walters and Ballantyne will really have to fire to kick enough goals to beat the Hawks.

But really it will all depend on the supply and the ability to possess the footy.  At stoppages Hawthorn will come up with a strategy to curb the dominance of Sandilands and they do it pretty well usually.  Expect a much more energetic performance than we saw last time they ventured west.  They are generally very good on turnovers and especially compared to Freo who cannot seem to get out of each other’s way before they give it back.  With this and Freo’s inability to hit the scoreboard it points to a Hawk victory, but it is very tight and should almost be a flip of the coin game.  The Hawthorn record at Subi is patchy at best 3-5 in the last 6 years, they don’t have the width they like to play with and is an easier ground to defend.  Don’t forget the Fremantle they did on the Cats against all predictions in a final at Kardinia Park, their odds are enticing.  Hawthorn by 13 points.


Nic Nat ($1.22) vs Money Jars ($5.30)

The Roos have repeated their efforts from last year winning two finals to get to the last week but one!  A bit rich though to praise the effort from eighth when they effectively engineered that result.  They look in better shape than last year so may not bow out in the same devastating manner.  Both teams strengths appear to be in the front half with tall, talented forwards looking to stretch defences that work well together but are suspect when isolated.  The Eagles defenders may not seem tall enough but play tall and have terrific skills to do damage on turnovers.  Provided “Shooter” McGovern’s shoulder can hold up I think they can match up on Waite, Brown and Petrie.  At the other end the Roos will put together their matchups for Darling, Kennedy and Sinclair.  It might come down to the best 4th banana and there are not many bananas better than Mark Le Cras, then add Josh Hill who has been pretty efficient up forward also.


Looking to the middle, a mouth-watering contests awaits us in the skies where Goldstein and Natanui will lock horns.  It should be a beauty, but on the ground I think the Eagles will show why they have been the best clearance team in the competition.  Shuey was outstanding against the Hawks and they get Priddis back.  Who will get to wear Ben Jacobs?  More importantly will curbing one of the Eagles mids be enough?   There is also the Subi factor, only three games of the Eagles 12 there this year have not resulted in a 50 point plus victory.  North will be competitive and might get inside the margin, but the Eagles have answered all the questions so far and that record at Subi is frightening.  West Coast by 41 points


Track Time


The old Show Day program at Caulfield with two Group Ones is back this Saturday along with the two preludes, which makes it an important day in the lead up to the classics that kick off in a couple of weeks.


The Underwood Stakes (G1, 1800m, WFA)

The one certainty is that The Cleaner (4) will set a good tempo and make it a real test; can he hang on?  Happy to take the gamble against it as he has not saluted at the Heath in 3 attempts.  Looking for who can beat Fawkner (1), whilst I can see improvement in a few off their last runs his win in the Makybe Diva was outstanding and makes him top pick.  Looking for improvement from Contributer (6) and Mongolian Khan (9) – can they reproduce their Autumn form?  The Cleaner (4)  might hang on for fourth but Weary (7) is my pick with C Newitt riding at his best track.

Selections Caulfield Race 7 – 1-6-9-7


Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (G1, 1400m, HCP)

A full field in a big Handicap can be a challenge, but we might just have a spring star on our hands in Disposition (12), but some concern that he has failed at both Group Ones he has contested.  He may have been overcooked by then after a long campaign, happy to take the risk 2nd up.  But there are plenty of other chances including Charmed Harmony (10), Under the Louvre (8) and Gregers (11) that make my top four.  But plenty of other hopes.

Selections Caulfield Race 8 – 12-10-8-11


Quaddie Time

Only 2 out of 4 in the Quaddie last week, but I swear the two winners I missed were the next pick!  But there are limits to funds and we have to make choices.  This week is not any easier!  The first leg has a shorty in Ready for Victory (3) but some might consider it overdue there are a couple of others with a chance.  Second leg is the Underwood and happy to stick with the top 2 and spread more in the 3rd leg.  Adding a couple of extras to the third leg and still worried!  Stick to the formula in the last ago skinny and if we are alive lay off!


Leg 1 – 3,5,8

Leg 2 – 1,6

Leg 3 – 5,8,9,10,11,12,15

Leg 4 – 7,9,12


126 Combinations, $30, Dividend hopefully 23.8% of the dividend!


Hammer Time


Lofty heights for the Hammers after only having 30% of the possession over Man City but ahead 2-1 on the stats that count!  Got vertigo when reaching the heights last season – just hope it’s not the same!


Go Hammers, Go Fawkner


Cheers, Sal


Check out the Ladbroke prices for the Second week of the finals

Ladbrokes have the Hawks at $20 tonight.


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