Round 15 – Preview: Two upsets looming

Greetings All,


Another World Cup campaign over and the gnashing of teeth for Australia not making it to the next round – it is great that the game now stirs that kind of emotion in Australia, the reverberations of Waltzing Matilda as we took on the Danes made me want to be there.  This was a very tough campaign with many obstacles along the way and the group itself had three high quality opponents.  To get through would have been a mighty effort.  The Peru game was always going to be inconsequential – while I did not see the France-Denmark game it was guaranteed to be bruise-free football and the nil-all draw a highly fancied result.


Ange Postecoglou abandoning ship at a crucial time was a major challenge, whether he had the where with all to take us further we will never know.  He would have provided continuity and belief, not that Bert didn’t have the team play well – he just had to implement his game in a very short time.  On the pitch the Socceroos play well between the boxes.  The issues are at both ends of the pitch, conceding goals too easily not keeping a clean sheet for the entire campaign including qualifying.  Then they lack the quality and finesse to find the back of the net, unlike the Matildas who through the heroics of Sam Kerr can score against the elite of the women’s game.


Perspective is also required about where the game sits in our own psyche, soccer here competes for talent with 3 other football codes.  For most of our opponents it is the 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices of sports for kids to play.  While the number of participants here is significant, the coaching and technical expertise is thinly spread.  The A-League puts a reasonable game in front of the Australian public, the restriction of a salary cap will always make it a stop on the journey rather than the destination for young talent.


It is not all doom and gloom as some of the pundits are describing, their criticisms are valid and learnings should be taken from this campaign.  On the positive side Arzani, Sainsbury and Risdon all appear to have their future in Europe.  They will learn their craft and an environment of greater quality and competitiveness which will bode well for their contributions for the 2022 Qatar edition of the greatest show on earth.


It is though farewell to Tim Cahill – someone really needs to step up and find the net!  Well played Timmy!


Enough of that footy it is on to the indigenous code that takes all the talent from the southern states at least.


Rance ($1.61) vs Franklin ($2.60)


This game is so much more than the Alex-Lance matchup, many considering it a Grand Final preview.  Why this is in the Loungeroom astounds me.  The Tigers do have to host one there, but Sydney are a big drawcard in big games.  Getting Prestia and Astbury back is certainly a plus for Richmond, as is “Old Man” McVeigh for Sydney.  The confines of the ground suit Sydney who have lost only one of the last fifteen at the venue, the Tigers do not fare so well.  Just puts the Swans ahead for me in what could be a season defining match.


Canines ($5.00) vs Felines ($1.24)


The Loungeroom backs up for the Friday night battle of the domestic pets.  Geelong pushed Richmond all the way a couple of weeks ago and look pretty well balanced at the moment.  The Dogs did the same to North and nearly pulled off the upset.  At their best they are good enough to win this especially at their own ground.  They can beat Geelong bringing the effort from last week to the table and the satchel swingers are being generous, the problem being they have not produced that effort consistently enough this season.  Doubt they will this time – Geelong for mine.


Kade Simpson ($8.00) vs The Other Team ($1.13)


It took Kade Simpson 4 games to get his first stat, a skinny kid too slight for the rigours of the game.  He learnt quickly and while not a kid any more there is not much more on the bones but there is no doubting his courage and commitment to the cause.  This week he joins the illustrious company of Bradley, Doull, Nicholls and Silvagni as a 300 game player for the Blues, he might not have shared in their success but he remains the spiritual leader of the club.  His 250th was also played against Port Adelaide in a game where the Blues got up, hopefully they can find the effort from last week and let Simmo be chaired off with a win.  Not sure it will happen, no matter all Blues fans will be cheering him off.  Well Played, Simmo!


Rorying Back ($1.64) vs Darling it Hurts ($2.52)


The one way traffic appears to have been halted in Adelaide with Laird, Lynch and Sloane likely to return, there is still plenty more to come.  They host the Eagles who have also been hit with important injuries the loss of Darling hurts even more with Josh Kennedy on the sidelines, now add Mark Le Cras to  the missing.  Made goals very hard to come by in their last two games, they will need to find some talent up forward to kick goals or finish up like the Socceroos.  Would be thinking to roll the dice and play McGovern up forward.  At home Adelaide can get back on the winners list.


Oh Jeremy ($1.81) vs Bur-gone ($2.20)


Hopefully the five week penalty will help Jeremy Cameron adapt his attack on the man – good to see the panel of one come up with an “intentional” call after dancing around it all season.  Jezza might have been unlucky compared to a few others this year, but they got it right.  Hopefully the medicos also get it right for Harris Andrews.  The Giants loss is somewhat offset by the loss of Shaun Burgoyne to a hamstring injury which will hurt the Hawks flexibility.  Someone will have to step up for GWS to provide a forward target, however at home they have proven too slick for the Hawks and I suspect they will so again.


Dreamworld ($6.20) vs Top Four Dreaming ($1.18)


It has been a roller coaster for the Suns, however on this ride not sure when they will reach the bottom!  Meanwhile the Pies have hit the top four with Bucks appropriately trying to keep the lid on with plenty of the season to go.  At the mansion the Suns will be more attuned to their home ground and have upset Collingwood in the past.  The Pies will need to make some adjustments with the loss of Treloar, the loss of his pace could have a significant impact.  Just don’t think it will have much impact this week.


Hell ($1.15) vs Heaven ($6.60)


The Demons are in some version of hell after the last couple of matches, while the Saints found a version of heaven with an astonishing comeback to set the Suns.  Melbourne would have been buoyed by their performance against Port Adelaide who are flying at the moment.  The Dees need a few more to find form, their best is better than St Kilda’s and they should prevail.


Ring the Bell ($2.04) vs Go Go Goey ($1.94)


The Roos are big game hunting putting out the lure for Jordan de Goey, while the Bombers have kept one of their own with Tom Bellchambers committing to the club for a couple of years.  North fell in last week, on overall form they get over the Bombers.  Current form is different with Essendon playing good and dangerous footy – reckon they can continue on and get over the Roos.


Purple Haze ($1.27) vs Travelling Cubs ($4.00)


Freo at home, Brisbane with a couple missing.  Freo at home.


Friar Time


Another loss for the seniors last week despite a blistering start, did not handle the wet conditions as well as UHSVU who are a major contender.  The reserves were the only team to salute with the Under 19s going down to Ivanhoe and the girls relinquishing top spot to Old Melbournians in a close encounter.  The week the Senior men’s teams head to Bennettswood Reserve taking on the Animals, while the girls and Under 19s are at Friar Park taking on Bulleen-Templestowe and South Melbourne Districts respectively.


Go Blues, Go Simmo, Go Friars


Cheers, Sal


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