Round 14 Preview – One for the Master

Greetings All,


It takes a special player to get to 300 games, add a couple of Brownlows and Premierships and we have one of the all time greats in Gary Ablett. Got his premierships and still revered at the Cats, then took up the challenge to lead a new franchise set up in the AFL wilderness. The club is still fledgling but where would it be without the little master who managed to snag another Brownlow up there. Remains their best player that attracts special attention from the opposition. Well done, Gazza!


Wayne Carey declared Damien Hardwick as coach of the year last week. Always one to disagree with Carey, not sure why the media and AFL have re-embraced him, the boys club working beautifully! Dimma should be in the conversation as the Tigers are certainly going better than expected, but the inability to win close ones surely has to be taken into account. Teams playing above expectations is a fair manner in which to judge coaches and Brendon Bolton has the Blues playing well above expectations. His coaching team is developing and teaching well and in the last few weeks he is showing his development as a match day coach.

Don Pyke has the Crows flying, but they were last year also, doing a great job but the test will be in September. Ken Hinkley needs recognition for restarting the Power, the inclusion of a ruckman has certainly assisted. Not sure how many thought Essendon would be up there this year, Woosha has done well reintegrating the suspended players back into the line up. From my perspective Simon Goodwin has been outstanding, most of the others mentioned have been working with a healthy list.

The Demons have been without their best and most influential player in Max Gawn, his offsider Jake Spencer has also been unavailable and their best forward has been out through suspension and illness for a number of weeks. They are probably about where they expected to be but have done it without a ruckman and are playing some very watchable footy.  We have seen the continued development of players such as Hunt, Harms, Hannan and who would have thought Jeff Garlett would go into a pack two years ago!


Back to nine games and so many toss of the coin games – what a season!


Go Andy ($1.10) vs Out of the Race ($10.00)

All about Andy Otten kicking goals – he has nominated the Friars as his club and its $500 in the kick for every goal he kicks.  I reckon he might have the chance for a few up against the Hawks whose coach has conceded the obvious that they will not make finals this year.  A few good ‘un back for the Hawks and we have seen surprises, but this would just about be the biggest – Adelaide to win.


Don’t have a Zak ($1.45) vs Wooshing ($3.00)

What a critical game for the Swans and Bombers on Friday Night. Essendon have not won at the SCG since 2009, but on the other hand Sydney’s home record this year stands at 2-4 so it is not the fortress of years gone by. Losing Zak Jones will hurt Sydney’s zip through the middle and we have seen the Bombers low flying through that part of the ground. It could come down to a Buddy vs Joe show – well worth watching in prime time. The home ground has me selecting Sydney, but could just as easily see them blown away if Essendon can get rule the corridor.


Stitched up our Grundies ($2.12) vs Harbour Town ($1.80)

Port come the G to take on the Pies, but are not really in great form. Collingwood will be buoyed by the recommitment of Heath Grundy and will be right in this. It really is a battle of the midfields with both teams boasting a handy ruckman and A-Grade ground level players and whoever can provide the best supply forward will go a long way to winning.  Just think that Collingwood will need to get a higher split comparing forward lines, Port have more dangerous forwards with the likes of Dixon and Gray especially. Port for me, but they will need to lift their form.


Fagan’s Way ($5.70) vs The Maserati ($1.18)

Results probably don’t allow Chris Fagan to be in the coaching conversation – that probably suits as he quietly rebuilds the Lions who show continued improvement in a very young list. They have a big test against the Giants, they might be showiest motor but the driver needs to pay more attention at the wheel.  Giants to hit back and win.


Dog Gone ($1.47) vs Hobart? ($2.86)

The Bulldogs are struggling to find that hard edge from 2016 and it doesn’t help when they lose Lin Jong. They have a chance to get something back on track against the Roos who again feature in a relocation discussion. Their form has been spasmodic and will be keen to show a more direct style after the bumbling show last Friday. At their best North can win this and I reckon they will with Footscray really scrambling.


The Corporation ($1.48) vs A Good Win ($2.66)

The Eagles host the in form Demons, who come off a significant win over the premiers last week. The challenge for the Dees is it is a second 6 day break, by the same token they also get Max Gawn back. On neutral ground the Demons win, but at Subi and coming off a short break just think West Coast will win this one.


Domesticats ($1.16) vs Lionized ($5.70)

Back at Kardinia Park should see Geelong put on their show and be too good for Freo who are coming a sound thrashing from the improving Lions.


Gillette ($1.46) vs Two Bolts ($2.80)

Another close shave for the Tigers last week and just not able to get it done, this week they are up against Blues having to deal with Brendon Bolton in the box and Levi Casboult on the ground. The Casboult question is interesting do the Tigers use Rance on him or free him up and use Astbury. Both teams attack off their loose defenders, the Tigers with Rance leading the charge while the Blues try and use Simpson and Docherty. Whoever can get the best drive from half back will go a long way to winning this game. The Blues midfield is going better than in round one, but needs to get a better share of clearances and certainly look after Martin and Cotchin better than last time. The Tigers should be good enough, but I am going with the Blues to break hearts again.


Seaford ($1.27) vs Gazza ($4.00)

The Saints get to host the great Gary Ablett in his 300th game – I suspect the only niceties Gaz will get will be at the end of the game after a St Kilda victory.


Amateur Hour

Oakleigh overran the Friars last week after a promising start and 1-8 at the turn will present some challenges. This week they take on Ivanhoe at Ford Park in a critical game for both teams, a poor start was costly last time so hitting the board early will be important. The Under 19s triumphed over Therry last week and head to Parkside this week as they try and climb into the four.


Go Friars, Go Blues


Cheers, Sal



  1. Enjoy your insights Sal. Carey was thoughtful when he was first rebuilding his reputation on Marngrook and early Ch7. But he has fallen into the “say something outrageous to get attention” habit. Doubtless at the goading of some unseen tv producer or editing flake at the Rage. Yawn.
    Tipping is a mug’s game this season. Have you tried:
    “Round about the cauldron go;
    In the poison’d entrails throw.
    Toad, that under cold stone
    Days and nights has thirty-one
    Swelter’d venom sleeping got,
    Boil thou first i’ the charmed pot.

    Double, double toil and trouble;
    Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.”

  2. Yes the appearance of Wayne Carey in the media does not enthrall me. Top player, but insightful ?

    For the Fairfax papers to lose quality writers like Rohan Connolly,and Martin Flanagan, with Wayne Carey now getting a guernsey, does nothing to stop the irrelevance of the print media. Fairfax in particular does not look well.

    Congratulations to Gary Ablett. The modern half of the best ever father-son combination in VFL/AFL history.

    Tipping/betting on the footy: not this year! The most even season since 1997. Theoretically every one bar Brisbane has a chance of September action. Then when we get there who ever clicks int hose four weeks is the one. Intriguing year


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