Round 10 – Preview: The Love Tap redefined!

Greetings All,


Not sure how my spray of the MRP was actually taken, but no doubt the temperature towards punching has changed at HQ.  Personally I still think the ex-footballers have got too much wriggle room to let their mates off, but they are on notice.  Thought this drop might be handy for the lads as they consider their decisions every Monday.



That is but a small blemish on what is opening up to be one of the best seasons of footy we have seen, selecting five winners is tough enough let alone the whole lot.  We should recall though that last year was pretty special too with only two games separating the top seven teams, this year looks as if that top echelon might be growing.


It begs the question about whether we should allow more teams in the finals or more specifically introduce wildcard finals for 7th to 10th to play off for the honour to lose in the elimination final.  Last year was out of the box with Doggies winning it all from 7th – this could not have occurred if they had to play the week earlier.  Whilst I don’t agree either with the end of season bye, the idea of a team having to win five knockout games in succession for the flag is preposterous and pretty much impossible.  Only one team has won four cut throat finals in a row to salute and that was last year, noting Adelaide won four finals in 1997 but not all were knockout.  There is much to play out in the fixturing debate, but the one thing that should be knocked out is the wildcard!


It’s tough enough to make selections, one would think even tougher a day further out with a Thursday Night fixture – in reality it’s all guess work with the reults this season but hope we can find the right mix.


DomestiCats ($1.68) v Kings of the Orient ($2.44)


The Cats were right at home at Kardinia Park dispelling concerns that its reputation as a fortress may be on the wane, they face their next test their against Port who will be well rested and ready after their China conquest.  Everything I read said “success” but everything I saw indicated different to me, but it was always for the dollars and not the crowds.  This week Port are weakened missing Chad WIngard who provides so much class and skill, it leaves a hole in the midfield that may force their most dangerous forward Robbie Gray into the middle.  Geelong have lost a couple, but as long as they don’t lose the hunger and endeavour from last week they will be very hard to beat.  That Port have only beaten them once since the 2007 Grand Final makes it even harder.


Bloods Curdling ($1.24) v Premiership Quarter ($5.10)


Rumours of their demise would appear to just that for the Swans who could not have been more impressive in the dismemberment of the Saints last week, they host the Hawks for whom the rumours might have a bit more substance.  The Hawks snatched this battle last year with heroics from Mitchell to Lewis to Rioli, none of those protagonists will be out there this week.  The premiership quarter has been a disaster for Hawthorn this year, they have won only two third quarters.  More telling though are the sheer numbers 164-333 – they are conceding twice as much than they are scoring.  We will be watching after halftime closely.  Mitchell will continue to rack them up, but he needs more support and will really need it against the triumvirate of Kennedy, Parker and Hannebery.  The loss of Cunningham hurts the pace for the Swans, but I still think they will have too much for the Hawks this week.


Cloke Daggered ($1.57) v Macelleria ($2.58)


The fifty metre penalty was stupid, but Travis Cloke had Selwood cold – not sure it made the difference in the end.  We are watching the Bulldogs title defence teeter from week to week.  They face St Kilda who made sausage meat out of the footy last week.  They bounced off their last loss by walloping the Hawks in Launceston, I expect a similarly committed outfit this week.  The Dogs managed through their injuries last year but not having Roughead and Stringer has compromised some of their selections, mind you I reckon they may have matched the Geelong tackle count with Libba last week.  Would love to see selections first but I just think St Kilda will bounce back hard as much as I love watching the Dogs play they do not seem to coping well being the hunted.  Saints came up in the coin toss.


Salem’s Lot ($1.52) v China Beached ($2.80)


The Suns don’t travel to the G – they’re heading to more sand in Central Australia where Melbourne will still beat them. After all the spite and punching in last week’s encounter only Christian Salem pays a price – just a debacle – nuff said.  His teammates host the Suns who simply stunk up the whole China experience.  Everything should have been positive from the moment they committed, but clearly the commercial and football departments had opposing positions.  They should at least be used to travelling to Melbourne and their only wins at the G have been against the Demons.  However I expect Melbourne will play in a similar spirit to the Saints after a loss and just be too good for the Suns.


Last Minute Dreaming ($1.89) v Long Shots ($2.04)


Michael Long is not discounting a Bomber flag, I’m not sure they have all the right ingredients.  However they do have a “hero” for their dish, Joe Daniher continues to impress – tall, quick, skilled – a nightmare matchup.  The Tigers have had a few nightmares with yet another one that got away, on the positive side they are playing some pretty good footy and if you’re not a Tiger it’s fun to watch.  Essendon seem to have managed to spread their workload pretty well, while for the Tiges there is heavy dependence on Rance, Dusty, Cotchin and Jack – with that I am picking the Bombers but could easily see the Tigers getting up in what is flip of the coin game.


Charddy Sippers ($1.16) v Get Stuffed Lyon ($6.60)


The Freo coach his moniker back from me with this drivel regarding Aaron Sandilands replacement “We’ll bring in Jon Griffin (and ask him) to execute your role. Everyone brings something different to the table.”  The ultimate in coach babble – for now!  They go to Adelaide without their key big man who has been instrumental in their revival and despite the babble from Get Stuffed Lyon they were terrible last year without him.  Adelaide did as they should have last week, this return to Adelaide Oval is so important for them.  I’d rate Freo a chance with Herman, but no matter what role Griffin plays Jacobs will play his better and Adelaide will win.


Crowd Coaching ($1.11) v Fagan Ritual ($8.60)


Was it Bucks or the Magpie fans that got them running last week?  Opinions might vary but there is no doubt Nathan wins on the babble front – you can slice it anyway you like getting your hands on the footy at the source is important and doing fifty times is pretty good.  So it might not measure up to his “metres gained” stat but as the learned Dick Baker said “he is a spreadsheet coach”.  Sometimes you just have to watch the game for what it is.  His spreadsheets could blow out this week against the Lions.  Chris Fagan has them slowly on the improve but there is a lot of work to do.  Pies to continue their ascension.


All in a Rowe ($2.82) v Dee-stroyers ($1.51)


Sam Rowe might not be one of my favourite players, but he is one of my most admired – few have had to fight like Sam for much more than his footy career.  I hope he recovers from his ACL injury and gets back on the field, might not win a flag but is undoubtedly much loved within the club and won may admirers.  His size will be missed against the tall timber of the Kangaroos, a great chance for another Blue to step up.  North took a good scalp in the Demons and building their season after a tardy start, importantly they have a forward line that will stretch many defences.  How the Blues handle that will help determine the outcome.  Not discounting Carlton in this one provided the midfield can sustain their efforts – last week was tough being a couple down, but that is the game.  Just think that North are running into some fair form and will prove too good.


FTBBs ($1.63) v Lightning Medicine ($2.50)


The Eagles are back home just where they like after another inexplicable and non-competitive performance on the road – they might just win enough at home to get top four but what would it really be worth?  They take on the wounded Giants who will be looking for some lightning medicine to get a few of their guns back on the park, with Stevie J and Rory Lobb added to the list this week.  They fell in over the Tigers last week, up against the Subi stars I suspect that will be a bit too much for them and the Eagles to win but convince no-one.


The Wounded Giants are a “doom metal” outfit who released an album called Lightning Medicine in 2013.


Amateur Hour


The Friars took a fair old pasting against the more mature bodies at Ormond, this week it is back at Friar Park looking to open the account against St Johns.  While the Under 19s kick off the dew at Central Park against the undefeated ‘nodders.


Go Blues, Go Friars,


Cheers, Sal



  1. John Butler says:

    Onya Sal. I second your sentiments re Sam Rowe. All the best for your recovery, Sam.

    His absence leaves an intriguing prospect. Based on form in the magoos, are we about to see the rebirth of a re-purposed Liam Jones? That really would be Lazarus with a triple bypass.

  2. David Zampatti says:

    It’s interesting that the top six playing each other this round has hardly raised the temperature of the football media at all – I don’t think it’s cracked a mention anywhere I’ve watched/ listened to/ read.
    Could it be that because five of the six teams are “interstate” and not one of the games between them is being played in Melbourne, all the air has left what would generally be a pretty pumped-up balloon?
    On a slightly different, but actually related, subject, Jon Griffin coming in for Big Sandi means that Fremantle will field more Indigenous players (eight) this weekend than any team in history. A bit inconvenient of them when we should all be glued to the Dreamtime at the G promotion at the same time on Saturday night.
    I mean, getting another big game between two big Melbourne clubs at the big ground is surely what the Indigenous Round is really all about?

  3. Sal Ciardulli says:

    Thanks David.

    A slight point of order for the Anti-Melbourne regime – the top six clubs are Non-Melbourne clubs! I don’t make much of the media lack of focus on these games. I reckon they are beauties and really keen to see how the Giants fare in the West – but I will be watching the Blues first.

    As for the indigenous celebration – I will be fixed on the Crows and Freo cause Adelaide is fun to watch. Although so are the Tigers late in the game.

  4. Peter_B says:

    “The Love Tap” must be Chris Scott to the umpies after the game. Subiaco has nothing on Kardinia Park for home town decisions. Particularly as a lot of the games there are against non-Victorian opposition. 26/17 and can anyone recall a marginal ‘play on’ decision for a set shot in the last few years – particularly in the dying minutes of a close game? What happened to “put the whistle away and let the players decide it”? Why don’t they just put the umpires out in blue and white hoops – or big white V’s! Spare me.

  5. MGLFerguson says:

    The Cats clearly aren’t getting enough return on their investment in umpiring; they are still second-worst in the league for frees-against (counting Thursday’s game, and using per-game averages for comparison. Thanks stat engine. See also: 2016, worst in the league; 2015, third-worst), and while the numbers of frees-for called for them has climbed from the past few years’ rancid totals (2017 to date, 5th most; 2016 6th most, but 2015, *fewest frees-for calls received in the comp* against third-most frees-against calls against,) clearly there is still a value-received shortage.


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