Round 1 Completion Preview – C is for Cricket

Greetings all for the second half of the opening round,


Well it turns out this scribe was right about that season opener!  What a stinker?  Never mind the results, the timing was poor and the crowds particularly disappointing for the Melbourne games.  The AFL driven press have been bellyaching about the MCG and its lack of availability demanding that the government intervene and give cricket the Junction Oval.  Whilst I agree the Victorian cricketers require a base, there is no need for Shield Cricket to be moved from the MCG.  Surely the domestic cricket season can be squeezed to be completed a week earlier, they already go on a 6 week hiatus for the BBL.  That competition died a natural death with the advent of kids having to go back to school.

Simply squeeze the BBL (if it has to happen) to finish before school starts and that will allow the Shield competition to return to regular programming earlier and then we could get 9 AFL games in this weekend.  Forget about any threat from NRL, that is folly.  Blues and Tiges at the G for the first game and we are off!

On that note – the Shield Final has become even less critical to NSW who have booted the game off the SCG to Manuka Oval for the sake of the MLB season kicking off in Australia.  A great event, but we should defend our competitions and traditions.  I reckon WA will win the shield and the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will share the spoils of the season openers.


But we have the remaining games of Round 1 to preview and any pontificator will approach these games with trepidation as I suspect the favoured sides might too!


Hoop Dreams ($1.36) vs Chardy Sippers ($3.70)

Both of the these teams have been hurt by injuries during the pre-season which balances out any advantage in personnel, however the one advantage the Cats have is the venue.  Adelaide’s record at Kardinia Park is poor (3 from 16), however games have been well contested over the last few meetings.  But that win-loss ratio is the reason I expect Geelong to take the chocolates, but they are well under the odds.  Not that I will be involved but I reckon the Crows are fair value at $3.30 or above.


Everybody’s Talking (1.67) vs Haven’t you Hird ($2.44)

The vibe around the Kangaroos is extraordinary – they are in everyone’s top eight and are 5th in line for the flag in the betting markets.  And they don’t want to play the Bombers song when they run on the ground to make it more hostile!  The Bombers are missing a key structural component in Tom Bellchambers and that could be telling.  Despite Bomber talking up the Ryder/Daniher combination I suspect Goldstein will hold sway.  Essendon showed last year how well they can play under duress and under the roof top, North might look good on paper but they did so last year also.  So I am going with the upset and reckon the Bombers can get off to a good start and at good value.


The Champs ($1.08) vs Justin Time ($12.00)

Leppitsch could not have worse match for his debut than the reigning premiers and in Launceston.  On the positive side expectations are not high.  Nevertheless Hawks to prevail.


Bridge over troubled Watters ($2.58) vs All a Ruse ($1.62)

Had to get one last pun for Scott Watters as this scribe laments the lack of possibilities around Alan Richardson.  He may not have too many possibilities for the year either, but this game is now critical in the race for the first draft pick after the Giant’s win last week.  The Dees have lost all their key forwards, however the Saints haven’t got any key backs.  Reiwoldt stands out as the best forward in the game, however the Saints midfield is also in tatters without Hayes, Montagna and Steven.  That has me slightly favouring Melbourne to win, but this should be much closer to a 50-50 game.  Neither of these sides have records to be trusted with an investment.


Donkeys ($1.30) vs Libba Rated ($4.10)

Adam Simpson makes his debut in more favourable conditions than Leppa, but still has feisty opposition from the well-coached Bulldogs.  West Coast had a horror year in 2013 with injuries but appear much healthier at this stage and if Nic Nat can stay healthy the coach may be able to upgrade his donkey for a thoroughbred!  Home ground has me selecting West Coast, but again the Dogs are great value and should be at about $3.50.



Sydney by Day but the Valley by Night!

Melbourne has it last hurrah with Group 1 racing till spring with the William Reid Stakes (G1, 1200m, WFA).  The talent is spread with the quality of the racing up north, but the line-up for Friday Night does not lack for quality.  Certain horses run well at the Valley others are complete duffers, whilst there are no duffers in this field there might be a couple of MV guns.  Samaready (7) won an equivalent race in the spring (Moir Stakes) and beat Buffering by 4 lengths in the process.  Her runs this time in have not been great, however her best here is outstanding and could romp this in.  Shamexpress (2) has been running well and has a win here – provided they can come from behind he presents the main danger.  Then at the bottom, 3yo fillies Gregers (9) and Thump (10) get a crack with a weight advantage, the other runner with a great record here but not at this level is It is Written (5).

Selections – Moonee Valley R7 – 7-2-10-9


On Saturday at Rosehill The Coolmore Classic (G1, 1500m, F&M Quality) is the entrée, but a fine looking one at that.  Plenty of these mares have targeted this race so they may be peaking here, but I am going with the best exposed form.  It is tough to separate Catkins (1) and A Time for Julia (11), but I am going with the latter purely on the 4kg pull in the weights.  Longport (12) has an outstanding 2nd up record as punters from the Flemington carnival don’t need reminding and must rate a chance and Sharnee Rose (8) chased home Catkins (1) last start.  But this is a quality field and reducing the Quaddie will be tough.

Selections – Rosehill R7 – 11-1-12-8


Then there is the main course and one of the highlights of the carnival – Fiorente (1) vs It’s a Dundeel (2) in the Ranvet Stakes (G1, 2000, WFA).  On form and with Australian Cup under his belt Fiorente (1) looks hard to beat, but IAD (2) is undefeated 2nd up and should be primed.  For no other reason than he may present better value I am going with It’s a Dundeel (2), but would happily back Gai’s steed if the odds were more appealing.  Oh and there are a couple of others in the race that might upset the party, I very much doubt they will however the best hopes are with the NZ mare Silent Achiever (8) and the ever consistent Foreteller (3).  Not forgetting Sertorius (7) who keeps on stepping up to the highest level.

Selections – Rosehill R8 – 2-1-3-8


Quaddie Time

A nice result last week even though Zoustar had his challenges, a couple of nice priced winners in the selections made it handy.  Always a big challenge to back it up!  Strategy this week will be similar and going all in that one of Fiorente and IAD will solute.


Leg 1 – 1-5-8-10-11

Leg 2 – 1-2-3-4-6-8-9-11-12

Leg 3 – 1-2

Leg 4 – 2-5-9

This is 270 combinations so a $30 investment will return 11.1% of the dividend.  A couple of scratchings wouldn’t hurt or try and skinny down the Coolmore to bump the dividend up.


Friar Time

A good hit out last week against Ivanhoe and another this weekend against the Panthers of Old Mentone and for the Under 19s the Rovers of Hampton.  Then there is the ongoing discussion regarding Donvale FC.  The club met this week to inform members of the situation and progress, nothing formal was put in place but agreement was reached on the process to consider any proposal.


Go Friars, (and a week off from the Blues, yes I had them!)

Cheers, Sal


  1. Sal

    Two points

    Didnt the AFL use to have a 70,000 to 80,000 seat stadium out East that could have had these early season block buster games rather than blaming poor old cricket? Oh yes they did, but the traded it in for a 45,000 seat stadium in the heart of the city. So whose fault is that.

    It is the AFL that are causing these problems by pushing the start of their season earlier and earlier. The AFL employee rocket scientists and nuclear physicians to work out their fixture. It shouldnt be too hard to undertand that there is the likelihood that the MCG needs to be available for a shield final each year. Its not as if the ACB just make up that date in Feb each year !

    Of course the logic says the AFL puts more into the MCG than any other sport or entertainment, but that does not give them carte blanche to the ground.

    At grassroots level it is getting more and more difficult for cricket teams to get use of their ovals as football even at this level is seconding grounds for 12 months of the year. Leave aside the fact that ffotball finising in mid Sept doenst give much time to get a turf wicket prepared for 1 Oct !

    Pt 2 The owners of It is written are quitely confident.


  2. Melb vs St Kilda

    It seems easier to come up with compelling reasons why either team can’t win, rather than why one can. As you say, Melbourne no forwards, Saints no mids. I can convince you why either of this lot can’t possibly win, but struggle to mount an argument in favour of either doing well?

    Maybe it comes down to Reiwoldt being the dif for a change.

    Scoreless draw anyone?


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