Round 13 Preview – Love the ones you’re with

Greetings All,

 

The silly season is not fast approaching, it has been here since Dustin Martin’s boom opener against the Blues. How many inches and minutes of media time is spent scrutinising where out of contract players are going to next year, though this year is very much hanging in the balance in one of the most competitive seasons ever? All a bit tawdry for mine but some what the main game for those whose teams are not playing for glory in 2017. The unknown is that the salary cap will be significantly different with a massive bump coming in. The economics will change significantly and that crazy money on offer for Josh Kelly could turn out to be just a good contract. Whilst all the discussion is around the out of contract players and free agents, the key to stability and success for clubs in 2018 will not be what is paid to the new players but how the current contracted players are treated through the whole exercise. Get that wrong and clubs could have some challenges keeping their list together in the years to come.

 

We are now in the final week of the byes – how fortunate that we had those two rippers on Sunday and Monday. It is also the final week of the four umpire experiment. Whilst Hawks, Pies and even Blues may disagree I believe it has worked quite well and that for the most part decisions were correct. Many of those decisions though may not have been paid under the three umpire system. From my perspective there were more “off the ball” calls, probably due to the better coverage – is that what we want? There is almost a different rule set under these conditions. Also felt there were more “technical” decisions made where it appeared the whistle blowers keen to impress the rest of the lads out there.  For the most part to the letter of the AFL law I think they were correct, it is up to the AFL to determine whether it should be 3 or 4 adjudicators and leave it at that rather than having games played under different conditions through the season.

 

We have another Thursday to challenge selections, but selections are nigh on impossible this year which just makes the footy great!

 

No Josh ($2.18) vs No Tom ($1.83)

The home boys get back to Subiaco refreshed from a week off, but really needing to get a win on the board.  They are still missing their talisman Josh Kennedy, while the Cats are also missing theirs in Tom Hawkins. Snappy Tom might just have got the message now! The Cats could not have been more impressive stamping their name all over Kardinia Park in three clutch games. Can they reproduce that game style and competitiveness at Subiaco?  It too is a narrow long ground and they beat the Dockers here in round one, but West Coast know most of the nuances of the place. Form says Geelong however West Coast absolutely must make statement or they will be making some in the not too distant future regarding personnel. Suspect back at home the Eagles will land, but not much in this one.

 

Dusted Off ($2.04) vs Derm’s Germs ($1.94)

The Roos have had week off to repair the wounds inflicted by Dustin Martin, the Saints a couple of days extra to recover from the effort in Adelaide. They are two of the more untrustworthy sides in the competition, when they’re good they’re very good when they’re bad they’re horrid. For the Kangaroos that is often within the same match, while the Saints will take any of the good for a quarter at the moment.  I suspect Brereton’s swipe will get a reaction from St Kilda as a team and Joe Montagna specifically, North should be primed for this after being torched by their target. In an absolute flip of the coin game, St Nick is back and St Kilda’s best is better than North’s, they just have to produce something close to it or their September dreams will disappear.

 

Rodney Dangerfield ($2.02) vs The Anomaly ($1.95)

The Tigers are 7-4 but they are still not getting any respect I tell ‘ya. What more do they need to do to? They are fourth on the ladder but the majority of the satchel swingers have them rated eighth for the flag. Oddly, rated seventh are their opponents this week Sydney who happen to be sitting in 14th place on the ladder! Suspect beating Sydney will get some respect, who got some of their own back by strangling their conquerors from the 2016 Grand Final – it wasn’t redemption but it wasn’t bad either. The Swans hold no fear for the Tigers who won their previous three over Sydney before a complete annihilation in Round 23 last year. Rance on Buddy works OK, the midfields will go head to head – suspect Sydney might have the depth through there but they don’t have Martin. Not discounting the great form of Trent Cotchin either. Another won for the coin to go up and it came up with the Tiges who have just been more consistent than Sydney this season.

 

Bombed Harbour ($1.06) vs Schached Up North! ($13.50)

A great week for the Lions – super win over the Dockers plus a couple of signatures including that of Josh Schache. He still needs to get a few more kicks but the load is now off him and to a certain extent the AFL – how would they have coped with another young wantaway from Brisbane? Not quite the same assignment this week facing Port who were simply unprepared for the blitzkrieg from the Bombers. Their second half against Hawthorn was not great and they took that effort in against Essendon, I doubt they will this week.  They have shown the propensity to really flex their muscles over the lesser lights of the competition and I suspect Port might get a nice percentage booster.

 

Rocketmen ($1.43) vs Jack ($3.20)

The Blues played Giant killers on Sunday, while the Eade’s Suns held on against an undermanned Hawthorn. Last time these teams met Ablett and Lynch were just too good for the Blues, but Carlton are better unit now. Great test for the born again Liam Jones on Lynch. If the Blues can maintain their defence and not allow the run of the Suns they have a chance, however the Mansion has not been to homely for the them. Will pick them – but probably more out of the love of the win last week!

 

The Defence Rests ($1.62) vs On Trac’ ($2.58)

They won it from seventh last year and dealt with injuries all season, but the 2017 version of the Dogs is not the same and for mine the defence of the premiership is just about done.  They are not playing with the cohesion and trust in each other and most importantly do not appear to have the appetite for the contest. So whilst they are eighth and ahead of the ledger, significant improvements will need to be made and all without their best big defender in Marcus Adams. Meanwhile, the Dees are looking more potent with Christian Petracca playing irresistible footy and they still have Hogan and Gawn to come back in.  But they are not there this week and while I doubt the Dogs they must make stand this week. It’s back in their Loungeroom and Melbourne find the couches there uncomfortable, so Dogs for me but a most intriguing encounter.

 

Amateur Hour

A week off has refreshed all the Ammos and even some good white stuff on the slopes would have attracted a few. The Friars take on the Krushers from Oakleigh who have also had their challenges in 2017 – a critical contest. The Under 19s have licked their wounds and host Therry Penola at Friar Park , a win is vital to stay ahead of the ledger.

 

Go Blues, Go Friars,

 

Cheers, Sal

 

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