Round 14 – Sal’s Preview: A blockbuster at the G – the Gabba, that is!

And they are merely players!


Greetings All,


Some call it staging others might call it professionalism – what we are pretty sure of is that the exaggeration of contact to draw free kicks and penalties is not a part of the game we like.  I wasn’t sure whether it was Patrick or Rodney Dangerfield when I heard the comment that the abuse on social media was penalty enough for simulation.  That only legitimises the disgraceful behaviour of the trolls whose currency is the abuse and the threats.  Just like “love taps” need a suspension, simulation also needs an appropriate penalty.  Not sure that suspension is quite right but I am certain the fines dished out to Grimes and Vlastuin were not enough.


The fact that both of them were cleared by the tribunal along with a Powell-Pepper and Dalhaus for their sling tackles is interesting for the MRO.  The tribunal is not there just to rubber stamp Michael Christian’s decision, however the number of times players are being cleared on appeal shows that the MRO and tribunal are not in synch.  Something needs to be corrected or the MRO will become a completely useless entity – some may argue such already.


We are back into non-stop footy with 8 games for decision by Sunday night with a night reprieve and back into on Tuesday.


Free Kick?  ($2.10) vs Hey Joe ($1.89)


An interesting time slot to open the round, not sure Thursday Afternoon quite works but we’ll see.  (Certainly tough for the scribe.)  The Bombers finally name their wantaway star in Joe Daniher, a highly fragile specimen coming in without even a scratch match under the belt.  They face the Hawks who missed the familiar cry of “Free Kick Hawthorn” for the entire second half last week.  Finals are not completely out of the question for the Bombers, just not sure what damage they could do so they are probably better off working on development as are the Hawks.  Essendon pace could worry Hawthorn and could be a decisive factor.  Swinging the tip the other way is that the Hawks are 5 days off a game in Adelaide, while the Bombers have a similar break but are coming from a tough encounter in the tropics.


9.5 from the Russian Judge ($1.75) vs The Young Bailey ($2.30)


Is this the Grand Final Preview?  The Tigers coming back from Darwin will hope they recover well.  A big test for the Eagles who nailed their script playing at home after lousing up the first act when they were in Queensland.  They are back in the hub now and will need to do better.  They bring in a debutant to assist Nic Nat in Bailey Williams.  Both teams were challenged by gritty opposition last week, this one likely to be a contest of systems.   From a contest perspective both defences are well equipped to match up on the opposition and it could come down to who has the best ‘plus one’ to set up forward thrusts.  Just think this will come down to Nic Nat’s influence on the game, he can certainly control but just think the Tigers will have planned on how to play against it.  Also want to see West Coast away from Perth, just the Tigers for me.


Canine ($2.60) vs Feline ($1.61)


What a game the battle of domestic pets promises to be.  Geelong love predictable opposition, they apply pressure and then thrive off stupid high bailout kicks from the opposition to be picked off in the air by their extra defender.  The Bulldogs do not have the forward artillery to come close in that contest.  However if they play to their strengths and run the ball into the forward and can create chaos at ground level they have a great chance.  Their best forward doesn’t get much clean ball, Mitch Wallis simply scraps and scrounges for every opportunity and makes the most of them.  They also need to look after Tom Hawkins at the other end, always tough but Alex Keath has the attributes to play on him.  It will take a team effort to keep him quiet.  Form says the Cats but just think the Dogs can throw something uncomfortable at them and cause the upset.


Buttered Up ($1.17) vs Friendless ($6.40)


Zak Butters put a dagger through the Hawks with his brilliant goal handed on a platter by Lycett, he has been very good for most of the year.  They take on the Swans who are now destined to be without Buddy for the remainder of the season.  In reality a wise move given their predicament and the need to develop their younger players.  They may develop more in this game but they won’t win.


Duck Shooters ($2.52) vs No ReWard ($1.64)


The last game in Perth for a while sees the Giants complete their tour of the west desperate to get at least one win out of it and will be without Callan Ward after a nasty hand injury last week.  They take on Fremantle who made pretty short work of the Swans last week.  They are developing well as a young team and are getting great contributions from their experienced players.  The Giants were better against the Eagles after a terrible start but they have some real work to do.  Somehow their forwards need to get involved, particularly Jeremy Cameron who is just giving up the contest far too easily at the moment.  If the Giants are to make any impression on the season they have to win this one and reckon they just might.


Max Factor ($2.16) vs The Other Max Factor ($1.82)


Gawn returns for the Dees who will be keen to respond from their fade out against the Dogs last week.  They controlled the previous three games they won but fell back to bad habits under the pressure.  They take on the Saints who have their own Max that can create issues for the Demons.  Got his hands on plenty last week if a few stick it will be hard for the Demons to kick a winning score.  Putting trust in May and Lever to keep him quiet and the Demons to respond with Oliver, Viney and Petracca getting on top in the middle and get them home.


A Koning Plan ($2.02) vs Off Side ($1.83)


A good old Carlton-Collingwood blockbuster at the G!  The G being The Gabba.  The Blues have had an extra couple of days to get over the heat and humidity from Darwin, while the Pies should will have had plenty of time to recover from Monday Night.  The Pies will lose a key part of their midfield with Steele Sidebottom leaving hub land for the impending birth of his child.  They do have a couple that can role into his place, not sure they all have Steele’s vision and skills.  Injuries have been of some benefit to the Blues with De Koning forced into the ruck and proving himself pretty well, a few more gym sessions will help.  The Pies have won the last three against Carlton, this presents a good opportunity for the Blues to turn it around.  They can match the Pies all over the ground, the key match up will be “The Pig” Greenwood on Cripps.  He has a good record in the role, however the Blues seem to have a few more contributors now.  Should be a beauty, must watch TV and going with my mob to prevail.


Overdew ($1.61) vs Not So Shaw ($2.52)


The Suns and Roos are languishing, however their efforts over the last few weeks have been meritorious.  So while finals are out of calculations I expect this to be a willing contest.  The Suns faded against the Blues last week and not really surprising given their relative recovery times.  Overall though they remain healthy, especially in comparison with North who have been smashed.  Just think that will sway this game in the Suns favour.



Track Time


Last week’s fields did not really excite so the decision to scrap the meeting after 5 races was not of much concern unless you backed Jungle Edge!  This week we are back at Caulfield for the first Group 1 race of the season in Melbourne with the prospect of fine weather, the rail true and a fair racing surface.  10 on the program makes for a long day, plus a few pretty big fields.


Maher-Eustace have two in-form stayers in the opener and going with Persan (R1, #5) to get back on the winners list.  The Closer (R2, #14) is still trying to get out of the pocket from two weeks ago, reckon if he does he can challenge the favourite Windstorm (R2, #1).  Really open affair in the third and not much confidence, keen to see how My Gold Bracelet (R3, #7) goes in her first Australian run.  More confident if the track stays soft.  A few important first uppers in the fourth in a race to be observed over time.  Morrissy (R4, #8) gets the inside draw from where Williams can control the race, can win if he gets his own way.  Plenty who missed a run last week line up in the next, the prospect of a good surface gives Schabau (R5, #9) a good chance in another important race to watch for the upcoming riches.


Race 6 – The Heath 1100 Stakes (G3, 1100m, SWP)


The opening group race is wide open with plenty of quality.  Gordon Richards has a great strike rate when he brings his good ‘uns over and I reckon Garner (6) is a good ‘un.  Diamond Effort (13) is a beauty and would have been on top if not for the outside alley.  Lyre (14) is high quality and good around this course, Superstorm (2) is also but might need further.   Would not discount last year’s winner Crystal Dreamer (1).


Selections 6-13-14-2


Race 7 – McNeil Stakes (G3, 1200m, 3yo SWP)


A great renewal of this race with the Blue Diamond winner returning plus a number of other talented gallopers.  Backing up on Ranting (11) who was just nutted here a couple of weeks ago, meets his conqueror 1½ kg better.  Immortal Love (10) is the opposite and undefeated, drawn to get a good run.  Can’t ignore Tagaloa (1) might need another run chasing big prizes down the track.  Would have rated Our Playboy (3) higher but for the poor gate.  Plenty of other hopes in a good race and mongrel start to the Quaddie.


Selections – 11-10-1-3


The next doesn’t make it much easier with a number of stayers making their return.  Sircconi (8) has fitness on his side and nearly got home in the Group 2 Lawrence Stakes would want at least $4 in this field.


Race 9 – Memsie Stakes (G1, 1400m, WFA)


The main event has a field to match and sees PG Moody saddle up his first Group One runners since his return.  Going to plump for the 3yo Glenfiddich (15) on an each way basis, ran in the best 2yo events last season and the weight might just give him the edge.  Savatiano (11) is a star first up, but not bad second up either finishing top two is all seven campaigns.  Expect a good performance from Arcadia Queen (12) getting into a suitable race on a suitable surface and Cascadian (9) was closing well at the end of the Lawrence.  Still could have missed the winner here!


Selections – 15-11-12-9


Race 10 – Cockram Stakes (G3, 1200m, SWP Mares)


Rubi’s back!  Hoping they can win from the outside by now.  Paddy Payne and The Began combine on Rubisaki (1), looks well weighted and runs well in any conditions.  She does have some quality up against her and another real winner in Bless Her (12) now chasing six on the trot.  If the pace is on Broadwayandfourth (5) can figure in the finish, while CJ Waller’s Madam Rouge (3) has Group 1 form.


Selections – 1-12-5-3


Quaddie Time


This is tough every race wide open, so we will go wide in the first three.  Hope we get them and close out with Rubi.


Leg 1 – 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 10, 11

Leg 2 – 4, 8, 14, 16

Leg 3 – 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15

Leg 4 – 1


Go Blues, Go Rubi


Cheers, Sal


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