Round 16 Preview – The Magic has Gone?

Greetings All,


Footy doesn’t change much as Cyril has not been on the park often lately.  However the announcement of his retirement saddens the pure footy follower. I wrote glowingly last week of Kade Simpson and his 300th game and have paid respect to numerous other milestones since I have been putting this column together. The 300 game players are special – it takes a very good one to get there – not many of them drag the neutral followers to the game. Cyril Rioli only got to play 189 games, his footy was a joy to watch and while despising most things Hawthorn could not but admire his skill, his speed, his touch and his vision.


Might not have the engine of some of the great midfielders, was great though in his own right. The capability to change a game through his actions, a hanger, an angled kick, a deft flick, a sublime handball were all part of his offensive weapons. He did not lack on the other side of his game with defenders always nervous and touchy with Cyril around, a chasedown tackle, a hand in, a smother; there was not much he can’t do. Wish Cyril all the best in his retirement and the time to be spent with his friends and family (of which one is a recipient of these emails). Very special players are worth the admission ticket alone, Cyril Rioli is one of those.  Very well played.


The footy goes on without him with thankfully the penultimate Thursday night game kicking off this week.


Lance ($1.63) vs Paddy ($2.58)


There are a few more components to this game than Lance and Paddy, however if either can dominate it will go a long way to help their team win. It is a critical game for the Cats looking to grab their place in the finals, four more games at Kardinia Park will help – a win here will be icing. Sydney just need to get back on the winners list – they have a testing run home.  Then they need to break down the Tigers, along with everyone else.  Geelong will throw everything at this game given their performance last week, consistency has not been a strong point.  They haven’t played at the SCG since being hammered by 110 points in 2014 – accentuates the Sydney home ground advantage, Swans to win.


Grinners ($1.23) vs Suit Themselves ($5.10)


September last year saw the Tigers grinning, Crows suiting themselves and still scarred from the performance. This rematch does not have the build up most usually would, mainly as the Crows and Tigers have diverged since that day. The Crows divergence having a lot to do with injuries, suspect all the other “noise” might not have been heard if they were healthy and winning. A good effort last week to come back and beat the Eagles giving them hope for this game. The Eagles were battered, the Tigers are not. Playing on the MCG, Richmond will win.


Making their Mark ($1.40) vs Made his Marc ($3.25)


The jungle drums were beating that Marc Murphy was about to recommit, pleasing that the announcement was made this week. All the innuendo gets a bit taudry! Plenty have chased a flag and failed, I doubt Murph would have suffered Delidio’s fate if he did go flag hunting, although we have seen clubs turn their fortunes quickly. The Blues opponents the Lions are a club that whose fortunes could rise with young players such as Berry, McCluggage and Rayner advancing rapidly. They play an exciting brand of footy looking to score heavily, diametrically opposed to the Blues who by both design and circumstances play a much more defensive style. Hoping the defensive style can win for the Blues, suspect at the Gabba the more aggressive Lions will take the chocolates.


Gray Power ($1.15) vs The Billings Method ($7.20)


The Saints showed last week that when their talent turns up they are hard to stop, the challenge is getting them all on song together. They will need to be against Port, whose stars do seem to align on a more regular basis.  The Blues made it tough for them, they will take the four points and move on. At the Portress they should be too strong and continue their push for a top four position and as I see it the team most likely to threaten the rampaging Tigers.


Thanks Harry ($2.90) vs Free Space ($1.47)


The Dogs did everything possible to lose again in the final minute, saved by a poor kick from Harry Taylor.  The face the Hawks who will be dealing with the retirement of Cyril. Should not affect the immediate personnel as he has been out for a while, their overall fortunes for 2018 have been diminished as he would have been a key player should they figure at the pointy end. They will be dealing with 2019 and beyond as this will open up a large chunk of salary cap, have been the target club that actually delivers. For this game it will come down to the Bulldogs, at their best they win we have just not seen enough of it this year.  Reckon they are close enough to their best.


Very North Melbourne ($1.15) vs Lionised ($7.60)


Both Melbourne and Freo went down unexpectedly last week and will want to respond, they will need to do it in the Darwin heat. The Demons were poor both on and off the ground last week and got their just desserts.  The loss of Lever is creating big challenges to their structure, add the lunacy of continually kicking directly to the opposition’s best defender. Too much panic, not enough thought – frankly not enough defensive running.  De we add Downhill Skiers to the FTBB labels they are getting.  Losing Sandilands and Fyfe is as bad a scenario that Freo could get. They had performed very well without them earlier in the season, so there is little excuse for their poor performance. Or maybe Brisbane were pretty good! Herman and Fyfe are still out, the Demons should use that advantage to get back on the winner’s list.


Brown Town ($1.10) vs Dew Point ($10.00)


The Roos lost Mason Wood last week and still doubts surrounding Jarrad Waite, this will put a greater burden Big Ben Brown up forward for North. The challenges for Stuart Dew are even greater without Tom Lynch for the remainder of the season, can Two-Metre Peter find something? The Roos to get back on track this week.


Incendiary ($2.36) vs The Bolters ($1.67)


Have seen some banter about Collingwood’s friendly fixture and being a false challenger!  They have only travelled twice – and won them both. The list of vanquished is hardly one that flatters, they have not defeated a team in the top six. Not much they can do about that – they have not played three of them. They are really this year’s bolters, finishing down the table the year before, getting a soft draw as a result then improving sufficiently to take advantage. Just like the Tigers last year – they won the flag and are still going OK!  This week will be a great test for them, Essendon are playing without fear and are explosive. They have nothing to lose so ballistic footy will be their go until finals are genuinely on the radar.  The Pies backline will be stretched without Dunn.  Reckon the Bombers can get up in what should be a ripper.


Winged ($1.69) vs The Kelly Gang ($2.42)


No coincidence that the Giants form has turned around since Josh Kelly has returned, that extra quality number in the midfield stretches the opposition. The Eagles did that with their forwards for a few weeks, now without their three main strikers they are significantly less potent. They will be better back at home and difficult to beat, just think that GWS are up and going and that the win without Jeremy Cameron last week will boost their confidence.


Friar Time


Well not really as the Ammos have a week off for school holidays too. Last week saw the Friars get back on the winners list with a big win over the Animals, the Reserves had a tougher time getting up by a couple of goals.  The Under 19s held on to defeat fellow contender South Melbourne Districts while the girls relinquished top spot losing to Bulleen-Templestowe.


Go Blues, Go to a vineyard since the Friars aren’t playing!


Cheers, Sal


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