Round 12 – Preview: Three’s a crowd

Greetings All,


A couple of rules or interpretations have come under discussion in the last couple of weeks the “3rd man up” and “blocking the man-on-the-mark”.  Not so much the rules were under discussion but aesthetics of the game.  There is something about the look of these tactics that is not quite right but does that mean the rule should be changed, I can already he the hollering “leave the game alone!”.  But it is the role of coaches and clubs to exploit the rules and the role of the league to close the gaps and maintain the game, exactly why coaches do not belong in any discussion on the rules or at least when they have a contract.

The Pies began shepherding the man-on-the-mark to release the run of Heath Shaw in particular, for the Hawks it is now standard practice.  I don’t reckon it is quite right, the player with the mark or free kick has a 5m protected zone with theoretically the man-on-the-mark being their first opponent.  A simple and fair solution would be to afford the man-on-the-mark the same protection with no opponent allowed within 5m of them as it is for the player with the ball.

The “3rd man up” has been subject of some debate, mainly as a result of Geelong’s exploitation of the rule and using two ruck sized players at stoppages creating confusion to opponents and umpires alike.  Good luck to them for having the personnel to do so and I look forward to the evolution of tactics to counter the challenge presented.  It could completely change the types of onballers clubs need to look for or it might just be a current phenomenon of Blicavs and Stanley’s size and athleticism.  For the most part the 3rd man up is a legitimate tactic that opens up the play especially where a dominant ruckman is intent on keeping the contest in close, what else can you do against Herman?  The Cat pair dispelled some of my concerns about their capability last week, but would like to see them up against a big ruck pair.  We won’t see that anytime soon with the injury to Rhys Stanley.


OK now that I have fixed up that part of the league it is onto this week pontifications.  An added challenge with most teams not yet named and being reliant on the rumour mill for who might be in and who might be out.


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Any Sign of Danger ($2.95) vs Popped In ($1.42)

Sloane ticked, Douglas ticked now for the man from Moggs Creek – would be handy for the Crows if Paddy committed – but in the meantime getting Rory locked away is handy.  He was vital in the last few minutes against the Blues winning key contests.  They face the Hawks with Puopolo back to create havoc on the forward line.  These combatants are level on points but the percentage differential tells a different tale with the Hawks 40% ahead.  The Crows recent record against the Premiers is poor, however games have generally been close.  Whilst Hawthorn have a couple missing, structurally they look OK whereas Adelaide were challenged by the Blues with a couple of key players really struggling – especially Tex.  The price on offer for the Crows should be enticing for their fans as Hawthorn have struggled with consistency, but I will be sticking with the reigning champs.


Richo Land ($1.73) vs Donkeys ($2.15) [Ladbrokes are offering $2 on Richmond]

Simpson brings his team to the MCG for a prime time encounter with the high flying Tigers.  Much concern on the fitness of McGovern particularly up against the triple threat of Reiwoldt, Vickery and Griffith who all look to new Tiger Hall of Famer, Richo for inspiration.  The Eagles don’t lack for tall timber up forward either with Kennedy and Darling, then throw in Le Cras and Hill.  Both defences might have some challenges.  Richmond has a few injuries, but arguably none in their best 22.  This has been the a key part of their resurgence, the Eagles are flying but missing key defenders.  On neutral ground this a flip of the coin job, but the odds have it right favouring Richmond on the G where the Eagles are poor unless they are playing Melbourne.  Tigers for me.


Shouldering the Load ($3.60) vs McWilliams Tawny ($1.30)

The Blues are in a process and have already sent Daisy and Warnock off for shoulder surgery, their coach selection panel is interesting.  Ange is a great choice for the panel, his teams play with style and he is not afraid of the tough calls – but it is another sport.  Interesting not to have a board member on the panel – still hunting for the value they add.  Anyway the Blues plight is not a surprise to many, their opposition though are a discount version of the Port we consumed last year.  Granted they are missing some run from Polec and White, but they are also being well blocked up by their opponents.  The Blues should get a couple of handy ones back to make them more competitive, but I do expect Port to respond after being torched by the Cats last week and get over the line.


Orphans ($2.80) vs  Barry ($1.45)

The boys don’t have their Mummy for the rest of the season, then take out Davis and Patfull and the Giants will struggle to stand tall.   At full strength the matchup against Crocker’s    North would be mouth-watering.  However with the injuries I am afraid contending with Petrie, Waite and Brown up forward will make it rather distasteful.  Add in a returning Dal Santo, Money Jars dominating in the ruck and GWS will really belong in the twilight zone!


Back the Bont ($1.30) vs Bring on Brion ($3.60)

The Dogs are likely to get Bontempelli back, but the Lions are ravaged with injury and might need Brion the Lion to help out with the numbers!  They should get Redden and McStay back, but there are so many more missing.  That makes it hard enough to win at home, let alone against the Dogs in their Loungeroom.


Blitzaving ($1.15) vs 41 Seconds ($5.50)

Saints fans will be wincing as Geelong weigh up the ramifications of not having Rhys Stanley available.  As Blues supporter I can assure them the best thing to do is look straight ahead – there will be plenty to tell you what is on the road behind!  But back to the Cats – this will shake up their ruck strategy but I doubt it will be an issue against the Dees at Kardinia Park.  As for Roos taking blame for the 41 seconds – this time it was the players – 7 of them with 100 games of AFL under their belt and apart from the Irish or Canadians any draftee has plenty of footy experience.  Someone on the ground had to take responsibility – I doubt Luke Hodge would have been waiting for Clarko’s instructions.  Geelong to win.


Friar Time

Although it wasn’t last week with all three teams going down.  This weekend the seniors will be hosting Prahran at Friar Park – with both teams keen to consolidate their position away from the drop zone.  The Under 19s travel to Mentone to take on St Bede’s.


Go Blues, Go Friars,

Cheers, Sal


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