Round 16 Preview – A bit of Crowding Control please?


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Greetings All,


What a turgid affair we watched last Friday night, plenty of frees paid but the only time the congestion cleared was once Carlton was reduced to a single interchange player.  Therein surely provides the prime solution to the congestion, make the players fatigue and the game will adapt and spread.  Comparisons have been made with soccer whose game has never had to alter its rules and has always been able to resolve issues of ultra-defensive tactics, the comparisons are unfair.

Soccer has never tinkered with substitutes and interchange, so the physical challenge of the game has never really altered from a personnel sense.  Certainly advances in physical health and fitness has changed a few things.  As a game it has certainly gone through some dour times, however that has generally been localised rather than global.  One of the benefits of being a global game is that there is always a variety of tactical and philosophical differences across the globe and there is always Brazil!  The world of footy is comparatively tiny and most coaches play follow the leader rather than innovating, so whilst the game may evolve it take a while.  A case in point how many clubs don’t use Leading Teams, or some close variant?

Another is that there is no “free” possession in soccer, if a player receives a pass they are still fair game unlike the mark in footy.  Whilst there is plenty of backward and lateral movement of the soccer ball it done with a bit more risk.  Whilst in footy teams can close up on such possessions, as the “mark” gives the player time and protection.

Therefore the rules of the game do need tinkering and balancing from time to time and addressing congestion is long overdue.  Prefer not to have netball type restrictions, but reduction in interchange has to be the first cab off the rank.  Some argue for this to be gradual, let’s just make the limit 40 and the game will deal with it.  Drop the interchange players to two and introduce two substitutes.  Then to bring the defences out no marks to be paid for kicks backwards taken outside the forward fifty.


But maybe this week we will see some better footy and some relief for the scribe with it all beginning on Friday.  Will leave my pontification on Thursday night footy for another week!


Sookeroos ($1.27)* vs Dazed and Confused ($4.60)

The Roos get their Friday Night lights and we get the usual sook about not getting enough of these games – yep the Blues have stunk it up but there are plenty of other clubs that don’t sook up including the premiers.  Up against the Bombers whose coach is in recovery after his collision with the tarmac.  They got over Melbourne last week on the strength of a great performance from Joe Daniher and the North defence is vertically challenged.  But their midfield is much deeper than Essendon’s and forwards hit their straps over the Cats.  The Roos remain as flaky as ever, but should be too strong.

*The Roos are Ladbrokes $2 Friday favourites – great value.


Winged Chickens ($1.72) vs Werewolves ($2.36)

Once the sun went down and darkness set in Cairns, the Dogs transformed the game to blow away the Suns.  The Cats will be a different proposition but one without their inspirational leader in Joel Selwood.  Kardinia Park has not been the usual fortress this year and the Dogs must rate a chance and on form should probably win.  The weather though could play a factor and does sway me Geelong’s way if track comes up a slow 6, they have some super wet weather players.  Cats but only just.


Hard to Swallow ($2.08) vs Mumford’s Sons ($1.81)

Tough for the Gold Coast only getting a brief taste of Swallow before losing him for the season and no Charlie Dixon also this week.  They play host to the Giants who graduated last week winning without Mummy.  The Suns are certainly better with Ablett, however I reckon the Giants weight of midfield talent and Jeremy Cameron can put a big enough score on the board to win.


Group Hug ($2.48) vs Here’s to the Gaffer ($.62)

No doubt the Pies will celebrate in fine style with every effort after the focus on Jamie Elliott this week.   Not quite the right focus for mine and looking at what more could they do to win the close ones – good teams win those – that should be Bucks’ focus as they are not too far away.  This will be another great test against the Eagles who see Andrew Gaff take the field for the 100th time.  A real bellwether for the Eagles when he plays well the team is usually firing.  Form says the Eagles should hold sway, but records give the Pies a huge chance.  West Coast have not beaten Collingwood in Melbourne since 2003!  This is a different West Coast from the last few years and while they are my selection, it is pretty close to a flip of the coin for mine so the Pies at better than $2.30 is fair value.


Purple Malaise ($1.12) vs Where’s the Cue ($8.80)

The Blues put another one away for the season losing Gibbs but it leaves a more damming problem, with players remaining in the team who simply decide when they will and won’t play with the required intensity for AFL footy.  A hungry Freo team will expose them very quickly as they endeavour to rediscover the flair they played with early in the season.  Will be intrigued to see the Blues tactics in this game with the removal of Wood, but not sure how long I will be able to watch it for.  Freo to win.


Close to the Edge ($2.40) vs Over the Edge ($1.70)

The Swans think they have to play close to the edge against the Hawks, who are pretty happy to go over it for the right ends.  Sydney will still be smarting from the Grand Final loss and whilst they won the encounter early in the year this one has much greater significance.  It is closer the finals plus the Hawks have ramped up and putting their imprimatur on the competition in the last few weeks.  From a personnel perspective it is great to see Roughead back after the Melanoma removal – hope all is clear for him – it also gives that Hawks great flexibility.  Losing Pyke hurts the Swans but more minutes from Tippett on the ball gives the Swans more options.  Sydney do have the capability to win this, however they are not playing as consistently as the Hawks and so will be selecting the reigning premiers.


Howe Cross? ($1.61) vs ¾ team ($2.48)

Pretty cross is how Roos would have been after letting the Bombers get away in the third quarter last week, Leppa might be the same after going with two highly rated opponents but falling away in the last quarter.  Both teams will be keen to perform in this one.  Melbourne are susceptible to big forwards, but the Lions don’t really have one.  It may be a risk but Leppa may consider playing Merrett up forward.  Melbourne are favoured, but as Woody says “would not risk stolen  money on them!”  Picking Melbourne purely based on their home ground advantage, but they are way too short so Brisbane are fair value at better then $2.40.  Probaby be better to be someone else’s money.


Neade Moore Wines ($1.64) vs Lever Shaw Betts ($2.38)

A showdown with a difference as the Adelaide foes join together in commemoration of Phil Walsh.  Rituals and remembrance has appropriately taken precedence, however stripping all that back this is a massive game in the context of the season for these clubs.  Port need to keep on winning to stay in the hunt and they took a step forward last week.  The Crows are only ½ a game outside the eight and will want to get their season back on track.  Would love to see that happen soon, but reckon Port will prevail this week.


The Brother ($3.15) vs The Cousin ($1.41)

From one emotional match to another as the Saints and Tigers Join together for Maddie’s Match being played in memory of Nick’s sister.  Hopefully Saint Nick can come up and be fit enough to take part in the game, however I suspect it will be moot as the Tigers roll on.  St Kilda not without a hope at $3 especially in the Loungeroom where they have put in some huge matches this year.


Friar Time

Refreshed from the week off, the Friars head to Glen Iris to take on 4th placed St Mary’s.  The first encounter was a tight fought encounter and expect the same again.  The Under 19s head to Central Reserve to take on Mazenod where a win is vital in the quest to reclaim a their place in the four.

Cheers, Sal


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  1. I wish you were chairing the Rules of the Game Committee, Sal. With you 100% on your recommendations and reasoning.
    For the first time this year I am confident that my Eagles are ‘good things’ in a big game, which is probably the kiss of death. Nic Nait is killing it at the taps, and is then close to the best clearance player in the comp with his unique bustling, tackling and handball. He is a unique footballer because of his size and athleticism.
    Hats off to Adam Simpson for how he has brought him along and built his confidence. Sure there are things that a bloke his size should be able to do with contested marks around the ground, but he makes up for that ten times over with his taps, tackles and fast hands.
    I wanted to sell him a year ago because I thought his wages were exorbitant, but now he is a bargain! Glad there are smarter people than me on the match committee, who saw what a unique weapon he could become.
    Cheers Sal, and thanks for your thoughtful weekly postulations. Go Friars!

  2. crankypete says

    really good suggestions, the clubs coaches and players will hate it, but it’s our game, not their game.

    bad feeling re the Tiges this week. been off the pace for much of the post-bye period. the $3 definitely worth a peak, and definitely take the start on them if line betting.and, strangely, we will miss Vickery!

  3. John Butler says

    Sal, I fear for the Blues this week. You identified a clear problem – blokes choosing when to turn up. I’m looking at you Henderson. And you Yarran. And they’re hardly alone.

    I feel for Wood, who has tried hard all year. But now Kruezer is fit there’s no comparison, and Wood really can’t play anywhere else but ruck.


  4. MGLFerguson says

    Regarding the meshugas about stoppages over the last few weeks, I am with Jimmy Bartel – let things be, they will work themselves out. At most, have the umps pay deliberate-out-of-bounds frees for the out-of-bounds which are actually deliberate (i.e most) so that teams stay further away from the sidelines.

    FWIW, I think the Cats will get waxed Saturday, which makes me sad. Josh Walker is many things I like, but a ruckman is not one of them. The combination of that, no Joel Selwood, a rusty Mitch Duncan, and Blicavs covering on defense for a gimpy Jared Rivers makes me wonder whether the Cats will be able to win even 20% of the center clearances. Worth staying up ’til 3am US time to watch? I will be “there” for opening bounce, but if the game goes sideways at the end of the 2nd quarter, it will be bedtime for this bonzo.

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