Round 14 – Sal’s Preview: To the Dustman!


Greetings All,


There is plenty going on in footy this week, but only one story.  Dustin Martin reaches his 300th game milestone.  Just where he stands in the pantheon of greats that have played the game will be the subject of conjecture and opinion.  There are a couple of things that separate Dusty from the pack from my perspective.


  • A big game player – the bigger the audience, the bigger the occasion the better Dusty played.  Best on the ground in most of the finals he played in and then stamped this year.  After seemingly battling in games prior to Dreamtime, the crowd came in and Dusty put on the show.
  • Skills and vision – His kicking is at another level to most, in his prime being able to pick out teammates from long range.  But not just the range able to change angles and always putting the ball to his teams advantage.
  • Team player – sure he has a great highlight reel of individual efforts and goals, there would be just as many where he brought his teammates into the game and made them better players.
  • Strength – have we seen a better one-on-one player?  Made Hardwick look good, just clear out the 50 and put Dusty in the square where he is just too smart and strong for anyone put up against him.
  • Leadership – not really apparent until the Tigers won the flag in 2017.  At the end of the game, we saw Dusty ensuring everyone in the club was part of the celebration and they all followed.
  • Elusiveness – throughout his career he has been hard enough to catch on the field and even harder off the field.  Much to chagrin of the media he does not speak to them and despite the contractual requirements of the AFL they seem powerless to change that.  Maintaining that mystique is not unique to some of the greats we see (or don’t see) the same from Buddy, Ablett, Plugger and others.


However, as the Sage from the South (on his way north) pointed out he has not had the consistency over the full journey.  Nevertheless, ‘Don’t Argue’ with Tiger fans about who is the greatest, to others he might not be – but he is certainly on the podium this century.



Do the Hippy, Hippy Shake (97%) vs It’s Good to be the King (3%)


Can the Saints defend the Gabba as well as they do the Loungeroom?  Will Brisbane have the dash to get through Lyon’s Web.  Or will it come down to an off the ball decision going the way of a big forward?  Any which way this will be an intriguing contest.  Expect Neale to get close attention from Windhager, the Lions should be prepared for that and have the like of Dunkley, Bailey and others to pick up the slack if required.  Marshall had the benefit of being up against a young ruckman in Moyle last week, Oscer is a different proposition.  In general, the Lions seem to have the better match ups, in particular up forward, but they still need to unlock the key to St Kilda’s team defence.  At home I reckon they can and kick off a surge to September, if they don’t……



Life of Rhylee (57%) vs Deestroyers (43%)


It’s been a bit of slow burn for the Dogs but Rhylee West has become an important cog in the Dogs forward line and reaches his 50th game this week.  They host Freo in the loungeroom coming off a bye after their destruction of the Demons in Alice Springs.  Great to get Richards back for the Dogs which further strengthens the midfield, but they will need to be strong as they still are missing key talls up forward.  Being in the Loungeroom certainly favours the red, white and blue – however reckon the Purple have got their game going well and the two ruckmen can wear down Tim English.



Dustin (21%) vs Going for a Weddle (79%)


The Dustyless Tigers were terrific in Adelaide to notch win number two, now they get Dusty and Tom Lynch back to take on the Hawks who have been so good over the last five weeks.  On form the Hawks should win.  Josh Weddle gave a glimpse of his capability last week and expect him to play more prominent roles going forward.  However, there is more to the Tigers than just the 300th celebration.  They have plenty of the band back together.  Broad, Balta, Vlastuin, Rioli and Short are experienced, premiership defenders and Tom Brown looks a beauty.  In the middle last week, they had Baker, Bolton, Taranto, Nankervis and Prestia a more than adequate line up.  They lose Presty but get Dusty.  Just think the experience of the Tiger lineup and the occasion for one of their greats will lift them over the line.



Nicks Off (13%) vs Horsing Around (87%)


Coaches can be a stubborn bunch and Matthew Nicks must be a poster boy.  Kieran Strachan remains the ruckman of choice even after not being able to see out the game last week.  He will have the luxury of tapping to Izak Rankine but won’t be any easier up against Brodie Grundy.  The Swans toyed with the Cats last week letting them get further ahead than they let the Blues before flicking the switch.  Giving such early leads will be of some concern to Horse, but other coaches will have a few more.  The Crows have lost to Sydney here by less than a goal in their last two encounters, they will try hard this week but reckon the margin will be greater.



Tough as Teakle (1%) vs The Villian (99%)


Brynn Teakle gets his second rising as a mid-year pick this time with the Roos after being let go by Port.  A tough second start against the premiers.  They will be celebrating Brayden Maynard’s 200th game.  Bruz has said he never wanted to the be the villain – what a load of bull!  He has always played the villain and usually bringing with it the wrath of opposition supporters and players – most of the time wasted as has maintained his focus and efforts on the game.  It is no wonder opposition fans despise him, but equally no wonder Pie fans adore him.  Every team would love at least one of him and his Pies will notch another victory.



Orange Crushed (71%) vs Oh Lord (29%)


How the Giants have fallen – from premiership favouritism to fighting for a place in the eight.  Much of the fall coinciding with injuries to key midfielders, Josh Kelly will be the first one of those this week.  They host Port who are perceived to be in a slump but still sit in 4th position and also get a handy midfielder back in Rozee.  Interestingly they have also included Ollie Lord at the expense of Charlie Dixon, big Charlie has been a beacon since coming from the Suns but looks terribly banged up at the moment.  Not sure how much of an advantage GWS get at home playing only their fourth game their this year, but think it might be enough to get the points here.



Friar Time


The Ammos are back and the Friars host a triple header with the seniors and reserves looking to bounce back against Aquinas and the chance to bounce back into the four.  The Threes host West Brunswick looking for revenge after the loss in Round One.  The Women head to Hawthorn where a win is needed to stay in touch with the top four.


Go Friars, Go to see Dusty!


Cheers, Sal


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