Round 14 Preview – Bye Bye to the bye

Greetings All,

The byes are all done and the competition gets back to 9 games a week along with all the other stuff that goes with it.  Would you believe it?  The bump is dead – again!  We have Jobe come out publicly with what we all suspected.  What intrigues me is how confident the Bombers are of exoneration, maybe that is the public face they are made to put on.  Frankly I don’t quite get it, how would they be being treated if they were a team about to cycle around France?  It must really confuse Warnie who tried to use his Mum as the patsie, but still had to cop the 12 months.

We have watched with bemusement over the last few years players being pinged for deliberate out of bounds despite progressing the ball 40 metres or more.  On face value this appeared harsh but ultimately appropriate, however now I feel it is time for a more lenient interpretation.  We have seen the development of the super defensive press and that press is easier the more narrow the ground is, Subiaco might be a long ground but it is narrow and thus easier to defend.  The coaches have again taken the rules and used them to their advantage (which is their job).  With the risk of giving away deliberate out of bounds frees that last line of the press can be even narrower as the boundary line acts another defender.  Teams under the pump clearing from defense have very little option but to bomb the ball out to the awaiting defenders to rebound almost unopposed.  Giving players the option to go long to the boundary and win a stoppage rather than concede a free would make the press cover a wider zone and hopefully open the game up a bit more.

Last week’s “snore-fest” of footy finished up producing a couple of fantastic games with the underdogs reigning over a couple of top four fancies.  That kick from Simon Black was sublime (as was the follow up from Patfull), watching Simon Black play footy has been one of the joys of the last 12 years.  There are players in the competition that you admire for their courage, fairness and skill no matter what team they play for, the Brisbane number 20 epitomises those qualities.  There are a few others in the competition in that category, springing to mind are Jimmy Bartel, Lenny Hayes, Scott Pendlebury and foresee Trent Cotchin and Nathan Fyffe joining them.


But we move on to Round 14 – where most of the games have significance of some description or another.  But the Thursday night start puts plenty of pressure on prognostication without selected teams available and an earlier deadline!

That’s Gonna Hurn ($2.14) vs Pig’s Brains ($1.85)

West Coast lose a couple of key ingredients in Hurn, Selwood and Embley, the Bombers have endured one of their toughest weeks off the field after Jobe’s revelations.  This game would have been intriguing even without these factors.  Based on form though it is hard to go past Essendon despite the Eagles encouraging efforts against the benchmark last week.  But there must be a question on their focus with the events of the week, not discounting their ability to use the saga as a unifying and bonding force.  There is also their horrid record at Subiaco against West Coast, the last victory being in 2001 and losing eight encounters since then.  In fact they have only defeated West Coast twice at Subiaco since the Eaglets cracked out of their shells in 1987.  But history counts for nothing this week and I think West Coast have been a bit too comfortable with their efforts last and Essendon will go to the well with the “Us against Them” attitude again.  Could easily be wrong and Essendon could crack, but they are my selection in a flip of the coin encounter.


I don’t mean to be Kurt ($1.40) vs Say a Little Prayer ($3.40)

The 11th, 12th and 13th holes at Augusta are a famed test in golf known as Amen Corner, for the Blues their Amen Corner began at Round 11 and goes through to Round 15.  They are half way through the test and whilst they coulda, shoulda, woulda won either of the first two encounters they didn’t and they must beat either Sydney or Collingwood (or both) in the next two weeks to show any real improvement under this coaching regime.  The loss of the skipper won’t make this week’s task any easier.  Meanwhile the Swans cruised along into Adelaide and were abruptly met by a power of at least equal force and I am sure they will be hardened up for this week’s encounter albeit minus their spiritual leader in Adam Goodes.  The Blues recent record against Sydney has been OK splitting the last six encounters and they are team that they have matched up well on recently, so with that I am going to select them to win.  But being very wary of the wounded ducks who will be out to avenge last week’s result.  Swans are deserved favourites, but I reckon $1.40 is a bit short and Carlton are fair value at $3.10 and above.


Japan ($2.28) vs Pulling the Trigger ($1.76)

The Crows are looking forward to Stephen Trigg back in the office to give them a boost on the field, not sure how that is gonna work but first they head to the Land of the Rising Suns on the Gold Coast to tackle Gazza and his band of budding stars.  The Crows had to win against Richmond and didn’t – do they have to win against Gold Coast?  Clearly yes, but maybe not as critical unless they still have real finals aspirations.  I reckon they are better off making sure they are ready for 2014 and doing some “list education”.  Gold Coast are well and truly learning about their list and are playing great footy.  This is really another flip of the coin game and Adelaide are way too short given their form, can’t see why Gold Coast can’t beat them and they are my selection.


Duck Shooters ($3.40) vs Wizards of West Lakes ($1.41)

A magnificent effort from Port last week to shoot down the Swans, but probably an even bigger task this week based on history.  A scan through the Colingwood record at Football is pretty impressive – they have won their last eight encounters with their last loss inflicted by Adelaide back in 2006, Port last conquered the Pies in 2004 at this venue.  Port are playing great, tough footy and certainly rate a chance.  However I reckon they might just be riding too high after last Saturday’s heroics and that Buck’s will have his charges primed to continue their West Lakes dominance.  By the same token they should not be that short and I reckon the Power are good value at anything over $3.10.


Comfy Cats ($1.45) vs The Inverted Suplexes ($3.05)

The Cats thought they got the cream last week, I expect they won’t be quite so comfy this week.  Maybe the loss will get them out of their so-called malaise, wish my team was suffering a malaise at 10-2!  At the cattery they are deserved favourites, however they are up against the best defensive unit in the competition in Freo.  Added to that Kardinia Park is the narrowest in the competition making it even easier for them to set up their defensive structures.  By being at Geelong I am tipping them, but certainly give Freo a huge chance and $3 is a luxurious quote for a team that will finish top four.


Dee-solation ($4.50) vs Prioritise Us ($1.25)

As stated almost every game is significant, this one certainly, but hopefully not because it is the Priority Pick Cup!  The odds are astounding that the 16th placed team as such a short priced favourite over the 17th – but having watched Melbourne a number of times the satchel swingers might have it right.  Melbourne may look deserving of a priority pick, but no more so than the Dogs in my opinion.  The league should be loath to provide them with one given their record with their selections so far.  Dogs to win – but surely Melbourne must be a better chance than $4.50?


The Benchmark ($1.09) vs The Gabbalogists ($11.50)

The Hawks have been challenged in their last two but have been able to produce the big players at the right times, plenty of focus on the skipper Hodge.  However Jarryd Roughead’s ability to play midfield and drift forward has been crucial, he is hard enough to match up on as a permanent forward.  Are they playing too well now?  That is a nice problem to have.  Meanwhile can the Lions pull off another miracle, I very much doubt it.  The Hawks have won 12 of their last 13 at York Park and the loss was to last year’s eventual premier.


At a Pinch ($1.03) vs Can they Pinch One? ($28)

At home the Roos will prevail over the Giants.  They might to win one this year, not this though.


Jack ($1.23) vs Nick ($5.00)

The cousins collide, but the younger one likely to prevail with his Richmond side in fine form and healthy.  Their spread of midfield quality is very difficult to contain, whereas the Saints have some ageing warriors in there but lack the depth.  I reckon Nick might win the goalkicking but not the game.



A disappointing home loss last week to Bulleen-Temp put the team in a parlous state for the season, plenty of home games left but none can afford to be dropped.  This week is up against the third placed Prahran, who will be out to avenge the loss at Toorak Park earlier in the season.  A win for the Friars would lift them above Prahran and back into the four.  The Under 19s scored another meritorious victory over Old Xavs and now find themselves third on the ladder only percentage behind second.  This week they face Old Camberwell who flew the season to be 4-zip but are now back in the pack, a win for the Friars will separate them even further from the middle pack!


Go Friars, Go Blues,

Cheers, Sal

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