Round 1/2 Preview – The not-so-big Opening

Ahhhh, the season awaits,


As do a few cool, crisp ales at the Mighty Rose!  But with that prognostications go out early, however not before coverage of the news of the week.  The sad news of Dean Bailey is the human side of footy, to be taken so rapidly provides a stark reminder of our own mortality.  The man was a footy person through and through and whilst success did not follow him in the coaching ranks the tributes we have heard show the indelible mark he left on many of those he worked with.  The game will be poorer without him!

The league has set out to neutralise the NRL advantage of the early season opening, but to my mind the AFL would seem to have kicked an own goal!  Whether it is my lack of media interaction or ambivalence, the start of this season just does not have the same build up compared to a Carlton-Richmond stoush at the G.  There are quality games on offer this week, but I reckon the AFL has a good enough product that it does not need to “neutralise” the NRL.  Would have been handy if they knew in advance the Victorian cricket team would be rubbish!


But there is one benefit in only having to predict ½ a round and ease into the season.


In Bucks and White ($2.44) vs One More Step ($1.67)

I maybe lamenting the Blues and Tiges not opening the season, but we do have a mouth-watering alternative. Despite being game one this game could have ramifications for months.  The Pies are hamstrung with the loss of Reid and White, they will not have their most optimal structure.  Meanwhile Freo have the largest structure in the competition up and running after a full pre-season.  Aaron Sandilands will be more than a handful for most, it will be a mighty ask for Brodie Grundy to take him on.  Whilst the Pie midfield is very good, Freo’s does not lack for quality either.  On the G – I might have rated the Pies a chance, but this is in Get Stuffed Lyon’s loungeroom and he can make it one ugly stoush.  Freo to take the first step to climb that one rung higher in 2014.  But no bet recommended in the current markets, maybe if the Pies got to $2.60.


Gotta Win Soon ($15) vs Round One Freekick ($1.06)

The AFL are trying to manufacture a derby rivalry here – I suspect the A-League Sydney Derby last week will be a bigger crowd and likely to be so for a few years.  Meanwhile Sydney get their Round One freekick and will be too good for the Giants.


Burleigh Heads ($2.80) vs Struggletown (1.51)

The Tigers look into the Suns for the first time at the Mansion after their initial encounters in Cairns.  The Tiges are being spruiked by all and sundry and will be smarting from losing a final to the ninth placed team.  Hampson gets a soft start against the undermanned Gold Coast rucks, but the Tiger midfield will have to counter G Ablett and his band of improving sideshows.  The Tigers pre-season has been pretty solid and they are my selection, however this is much closer to a flip of the coin game, so the Suns represent great value at the $2.80 quote.


Daisy Cutters ($1.65) vs Galway Pipe ($2.38)

Both of these teams dislike the loungeroom almost as much as I do!  The Blues went 4 from 9 in 2013 where as Port managed their only win since 2010 at the venue by against the Saints by 5 points late last year.  Both teams are right in the mess of B Graders, so these games against each other are critical.  Despite missing Judd, Carlton should have the midfield strength to counter Port Adelaide.  Port got off to a flyer last year, I doubt any of their early opponent will take them lightly.  Whilst the Blues are my selection, they do have their share of question marks in my attempt to be objective Port should rate at about $2.25.



Sydney Scene


The Giants and Swans also have the Sydney Racing Carnival to contend with Royal Randwick hosting their Guineas and the Canterbury Stakes as the major events.  Victoria has conceded and Saturday racing is in Bendigo.  Difficult to make too many selections this far out – but time is nigh.


The Randwick Guineas (G1, 1600m, 3yo) is covered in class with several of the Australian Guineas runners fronting plus the Sydney form.  My original top two selections have been drawn wide it doesn’t knock out Dissident (1) and El Roca (2), but they will need luck.  Atlante (4) was not far off Dissident (1) and is drawn beautifully and is my top selection.  Eurozone (5) was run off his legs by Shamus Award at Flemington did he need the run or is 1600 too far?  I reckon he can run well.  The other great run of the Australian Guineas was Teronado (12) and will be rattling home if they go hard, but there are plenty of other chances in a race well and truly worthy of Group 1.

Selection – Randwick Race 7 – 4-1-5-12


The Canterbury Stakes (G1, 1300m, WFA) sees the reappearance of Zoustar (9) and as a result the Group 2 sprint has some of the better sprinters.  Great to see Zoustar (9) back and no reason to see why he can’t follow up from his fantastic Spring.  The mighty mares Appearance (6), Streama (7) and Red Tracer (8) have great records and could fill the holes – however the biggest threat comes from Not Listenin’tome (10) who won well at Caulfield and run second to Zoustar (9) in the Coolmore.

Selections – Randwick Race 8 – 9-10-6-8



Once again tough to select this far out – but let’s investigate.  Once again split Quaddies leaving Zoustar alone in one and against him in the other.


Q1 – Go Zoueey


75 Combinations returning 20% of the dividend for a $15 investment


Q2 – A couple of other chances and skinny the other legs.


160 Combinations returning 9.4% of the dividend for a $15 investment


Down to the River

The other big sporting event of the weekend takes place down on the banks of the Barwon River with the Head of School Girls Regatta.  It’s a great event with thousands of parents, grandparents, siblings and friends lining the banks.  A great level of participation with over 25 schools represented compared to the closed shop of the APS for the boys.


Oh and then there is the F1 which will ramp up over the next couple of days.  The next generation of Australian driver takes to the grid and one hopes he can more than hold his own over teammate Sebastian Vettel.  What a great bloke Vettel is?


The Friars take on Ivanhoe in their first hit out on Sunday.  Be great to get out on the park after months of tough work!  Gearing up for Round 1 on April 5 at Friar Park.


Go Blues, Go Friars,

Cheers, Sal


  1. Sal,

    I’m happy for punters and bookies to keep underestimating Port Adelaide. I know this is first up off a spell with indifferent trial form, but I’d be backing Port until my nose bled at $2.38.

  2. Hi Sal,
    The insecure fixturing is, as usual, confusing. I can’t fathom footy starting tmrw. The Doggies have to wait until March 23. Work that out. Freo, who played at the end of September, start 9 days before Coasters and Doggies, who’ve done doodly squat for 6 months! I suppose we’ll get interested when the pigskin comes out.
    Sydney races are fantastic. Did some form last night and just posting my whimsy.
    Good luck.

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