Round 11 Preview – The Fight for Fair

Greetings All,

 

Chris Judd penned this article and argued against the reintroduction of the substitute http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/concussion-subs-or-not-afl-football-wasnt-meant-to-be-fair-20170529-gwfh0r.html. I love ‘ya Juddy but you’re wrong. The AFL’s concerns about the fixture is all about the commercials – however for most us pure footy fans the concerns are more about fairness and equity. Whilst not everything can be made equal – there are plenty of measures the league can take to make fixturing fairer and transparent. Striving for fairness is an honourable pursuit, none of us like being beaten but we really don’t like it when the odds are stacked against us – this applies way beyond sport to our business, our families and more. Inequities exist but it is why we have mechanisms to try and find balance.

 

The substitute vest left with the introduction of interchange limits, but we had a problem well before the sub was brought back into the game. The traditional view of the game being 18 on 18 was long gone, it has been a 22 on 22 contest since coaches worked out how to optimise the use of the interchange bench. The unfairness of the game due to the loss of personnel was alleviated somewhat by the substitute. The issue now is that we are losing more players during a game due to concussion as result of the advanced understanding we now have of the risks associated. Have watched three games this season where one side was reduced to 20 players early and in my opinion the result of two of those games were due to the imbalance of numbers. Carlton may not have beaten Fremantle if Rowe and Thomas were not injured, however it certainly cost Melbourne the game against Richmond on Anzac Eve and Sydney would have accounted for Hawthorn even if they did make dumb errors late in the game – maybe those errors would not have been made if they weren’t spent. Those two results are likely to impact the make up of the finals.

 

The great man is concerned that coaches will exploit the concussion sub – of course he is correct, but why call it a concussion sub? Why not let teams have two substitutions available that can be made at the coaches discretion? If the coach burns them and then loses players to injury then so be it – they took the gamble and lost. The unfairness or imbalance was self-inflicted! Player management will become an issue, but that has been dealt with before. I can hear you hollering what if a team loses three players to injury?  There has to be a limit and without doing the numbers it would seem the number of teams losing more than two players in a match is statistically insignificant.  The other question is why limit the substitutes to only two? What if the coach had four players at their disposal to select from? Similar to the world game where 5 players and 3 changes are the rules.  Great for the tacticians, great for discussion and great for fairness.

 

What is not fair is the pressure of getting this preview out in timely manner with Thursday Night Footy! Somewhat made up for this week with only six clashes to pontificate over.

 

Sense the Danger ($1.19) vs A Rough Time ($5.90)

Port just got it wrong and let Dangerfield run free, they don’t face quite that challenge this week hosting the Hawks who pulled one out eventually over the depleted Swans. Great to see Jarryd Roughead want the footy, own the moment and send it straight over the goal umpire’s hat. Reckon Port might need to lose more than two for the Hawks to prevail this time, Kenny’s boys have dined out on slower opponents this year and I expect them to do the same again.

 

Home Boys ($2.14) vs Bubbly Guzzlers ($1.80)

Welcome to the Danger-Sloane! Plus a little bit of Selwood. Both teams seem heavily reliant on their midfield champs, but they both also play the game with flair which is what we love to watch. The Cats are right at home at Kardinia Park and have been treated quite nicely by the adjudicators in the process – let’s all appreciate there is home side benefit when there is heavy bias in the crowds and be done with it. They have played some pretty good footy too against good opposition, this is their third tough one in a row. Win this and the top four awaits.  It’ll be tough, the Crows are running on top of the ground again with a thumping win over Freo – 100 points and played in poor conditions. It probably comes down to taggers and who can be more effective taking out the key players – Scott Selwood is marked for Sloane. Adelaide are not renowned for their taggers in fact they’re not renowned for their defence which is why we like watching them. I am sure Don Pyke will have some plan to negate the dynamic duo. But I am going with the Crows as I think their forwards will be able to create some mayhem for the Cat backs, but really this should be a ripper and either team can win.

 

Milton the Monster ($2.42) vs Who Put the Bumps in? ($1.66)

The Clash of the Coasters, who will the drinks be on after the final siren? The league’s first crack at creation looks to have Professor Weirdo’s problem of too much tenderness despite the bravado we occasionally see from Lynch and May. Rocket’s charges are in a pretty deep rut at the moment and the chance to get back to the Mansion will be appealing. Simpson’s donkeys could not beat a depleted Giants team on their own flat track that appeared to tampered with! This match is a conundrum wrapped up in a riddle surrounded by a puzzle. No doubt that West Coast are the stronger outfit but they travel so poorly, Gold Coast have spasmodically exposed signs of quality good enough to match the best.  However those spasmodic moments were not against the best and the safest option here is to select West Coast.

 

Frankenstein ($1.25) vs BJ’s Way ($4.50)

Probably 10 of their best 22 out on the toughest of road trips and they win – just what has the AFL created this time! As much as the Giants are manufactured they are very much a united team who play for each other and can play very well. They host the Bombers who tried their own Frankenstein project with not quite as much success. They celebrate Brendon Goddard’s 300th game – clearly the sign of a very good player even though not a favourite of opposition supporters. Suspect I would like him more if the Blues had been able to draft him as planned. Smart, resilient and tough when he needs to be a valuable player for the Saints and Bombers – well played. The Giants will just be too good.

 

Bounced Back ($2.20) vs Living the Dream ($1.78)

A much awaited encounter for mine, both the Kangas and Tigers were at a juncture last year to decide are they close to a flag or do they need to push the restart button. North sort of pushed it – releasing over 1500 games worth of experience although they did keep Waite who has now clocked over to 34. Richmond topped up to push for immediate glory – picking up Nankervis, Prestia and Caddy who all have plenty of footy left in them and have reshaped the front half with some pace. Just not sure they have the quality in their mid-range group Ellis, Grigg, Houli, etc. The Kangas bounced back just in time to get over the Blues last week, their best early was very impressive they need to be consistent right through games though. There is still an unhealthy dependence on Todd Goldstein who looks like he has seen off another young upstart in Preuss. The Tiges got the close one in Dreamtime, an ordinary affair held together purely by the tightness of the contest. An absolute toss of the coin for mine and I reckon the Tigers speed up forward could cause some problems for the likes of Hansen, Thompson and Tarrant.

 

Washington Generals ($1.87) vs On Safari ($2.04)

So Get Stuffed Lyon gets rolled by 100 for the first time – no wonder when for most that career he has entertained us with footy’s version of Greco-Roman wrestling. Freo had been playing more daring and entertaining footy, but last week they were up against the Harlem Globetrotters on their home court. I wonder how well he thought Griffin played his role? Back home against the Pies who took out the Lions last week as anticipated but without any real authority. Assuming Herman gets back and gets the engine humming providing bounty for Neale, Walters, Mundy and Fyfe. Grundy is worthy opponent but Sandilands on song is another dimension. That sways it to Freo for me, but if he doesn’t get up it’s a 50-50 contest.

 

Amateur Hour

A great day for the Friars last week with all three teams winning, the Under 19s had a terrific win over the ladder leaders Mazenod. The Seniors got off the mark in style with a convincing win over St Johns OC. This week sees another Triple Treat at Friar Park with all teams up against PEGS.

 

Go Blues, Go Friars,

 

Cheers, Sal

 

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