Round 13 – Sal’s Preview: You wouldn’t Reid about it!


Greetings All,

What a season we are having with so many competitive teams with very few out of finals contention.  It seems fair to say the change in interpretation of holding the man/ball was a success in week one with the ball in motion more often and players unable to surrender to the tackle.  So far, the focus has been on the number of HTB decisions which did rise, once the players and coaches adapt, I expect that to drop back to previous levels.  The true measure of success will be a reduction in ball up stoppages, we have not seen that analysis yet.

The great debate this week has been the disqualification of the two leading contenders for the Rising Star award due to suspension.  Many will argue that the suspensions are punishment enough and they should remain eligible, however the instigators of the awards always intended it to be for the fairest and best young player.  They then might argue that the crimes committed did warrant suspension in previous years, be that as it may the rules on fairness have evolved and the rules are the same for all players.  Where I do have issue is on the voting system itself.  While there is representation from the league on the voting panel, the majority comes from the media.  While they are all past players also it makes it a popular contest.  Should it go to the highest polling young player in the Brownlow?  Yes, if you always want a midfielder to win it.  Would much prefer past players/coaches without alignment to media to be the judges.  Might still be a popularity contest but would remove contention.


Life of Reilly (96%) vs Tiger in the Tank (4%)

After a poor team performance against the Hawks, the one apparent winner they had was Reilly O’Brien.  He clearly won the hit outs on the day and more importantly led the team for tackles somehow, he has paid the price for the team’s performance.  Or do they just not rate the Tigers who get some handy ones back but give Dusty a rest for marketing purposes and his 300th to be at the MCG.  With a team short on healthy players and talent could it be defined as tanking?  It’s probably OK given where they are and the service he has given, just not sure the host broadcaster will be entirely happy especially when next week’s game will be behind the paywall.  Adelaide at home should win this.


Pump up the Jamarra (71%) vs It’s Been Paynefull (29%)

The Dogs are in great form and host the Lions who have not been so great.  Seems pretty simple really except the Dog’s three headed monster is now reduced to one plus Rory.  The Lions need look after Jamarra, which Payne should be able to do when deep and ensure Lobb is limited. They get Starcevich and Hipwood back to boost them.  By the same token Libba’s return for the Dogs is a boost.  To win suspect the Bullies will need get goals from the midfield of which they are capable, but the Lions are good at this venue and might just have a bit more firepower available on the night.


Where there a Will there’s a Day (40%) vs Hogan’s Heroes (60%)

The Hawks have hit form with Will Day’s inclusion to the team coinciding – a few other factors but he just adds so much class to the team.  They head south to Launceston to host the Giants who come off the bye after beating Geelong on their dung hill, travel is not an issue.  However, injuries might be with Coniglio joining the crew on the sidelines but at least Ward returns.  The Hawks will ponder the return of Watson and Wingard after strong performances for Box Hill, no matter they are in good shape.  They are hard to resist but just think the best of the Giants wins this.


Aquaman (90%) vs Swear Jar (10%)

The Eagles lose Harley Reid for a couple but should get back spearhead Jake Waterman as they host North Melbourne.  Supercoach hit the headlines again with an offensive outburst, not sure how many coaches haven’t done that.  There would be no headline if it were anyone but Clarko.  I doubt the loss of Harley will impact the Eagles enough to lose this one.


Max (46%) vs Ben (54%)

There is plenty wrong with the fixture but this weekend we do get a feature where two sets of twins will line up against their siblings.  Max King if fit will host Ben in a critical encounter for both the Saints and Suns.  Finals are a pipe dream for St Kilda but they had a good win over the Eagles and need to back it up with a strong performance at home.  Gold Coast have played to the script all year winning at home and losing away, this is there chance to fluff the lines and take a scalp away.  Ned Moyle was terrific in their win over the Dons last week but also assist by the absence of the Bombers number one ruckman, up against Marshall this week will be tougher so swing it the Saints way.


Where there a Will there’s a Hayward (89%) vs Any Danger (11%)

What a feast we have to close the weekend out with three huge fixtures.  It opens up with Sydney hosting Geelong.  Swans will get McCartin back however the question remains about the return of Dangerfield for the Cats.  While the Swans have a buffer over the rest of the field this game is important not only to keep the Cats at bay but also get one over them.  They drew in their last encounter but were mauled by the Cats in the previous two encounters including the 2022 Grand Final.  The best of the Cats can win especially if Paddy return, however we have seen the best of Sydney more often this year and they are on their home deck.


Ben (24%) vs Harry (76%)

 The other set of twins have been in the system for 9 years and play against each other first time on Sunday.  Ben’s Bombers will be keen to atone for last week’s loss to the Suns, while Harry’s Blues put in a great shift in Adelaide and need to back it up to maintain their push for top four and to certain extent their validity as a threat in 2024.  Both clubs are missing key players with Redman added to the Bombers injury list this week, the return of Goldstein will be important for the Bombers.  De Koning has been pivotal for the Blues in the last two weeks, the wily Goldy will be a challenging adversary for him.  Do the Blues bring back Marc Pittonet?  I suspect not, while they lose some clearance dominance without him they gain significantly from the extra run.  However, it is that clearance play that splits these, the Suns were able to gain clearance ascendancy over Essendon and suspect the Blues through Cripps, Walsh and co can do the same.  Cincotta has been doing the job on the opposition midfield keys and will be set for Zach Merrett.


Premiers (53%) vs Should Have Been Premiers (47%)

 The ramifications of Melbourne’s qualifying loss to the Pies lives on, not only will Steven May be reminded of his outburst at the Dee’s presentation night, but the loss of Angus Brayshaw is having a bigger impact.  He was Mr Fixit for the midfield when they were in trouble, and they could not have been in any more trouble last Sunday.  Was it a blip or are there deeper issues?  I doubt we will get all the answers on Monday as I expect the likes of Gawn, May, Viney and Petracca will rally and get everyone on the right page for this one.  The Premiers were valiant against the Dogs last week with a mighty performance from Nick Daicos – he had to be the conductor and the orchestra in Pendlebury’s absence and proved that he will fill those shoes admirably after Scott’s 688th and final game!  Suspect they might be missing too many other troops especially up forward, so reckon the Dees will bounce back.  It could be disastrous if they don’t’.


Friar Time

Was bridge too far for the Friars against the ladder leaders in Brunswick despite a valiant effort going down by a couple of goals, not so for the Reserves who were undermanned but ultimately succumbed by a significant margin.  The Women were superb with a last-minute goal breaking the deadlock to defeat the ladder leaders Hampton Rovers.  The Thirds had a couple of handy inclusions that helped them to a big win over Box Hill North.  No Ammos this as the snow season kicks off with the King’s Birthday.


Go Harry, Go Blues,


Cheers, Sal



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