Round 17 – Preview: It’s Game Time!


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Greetings All,


Last week’s rant runs into this weeks with recent discussion around reducing the length of games.  Plenty of commentary that games are taking too long and after attending Melbourne and Brisbane last week I could not agree more!  However reducing game time and playing time are different things.  A reduction in playing time is not fair on the fans and is essentially counter intuitive to all the recent discussion on congestion, the less they play the less fatigued they will be and the more crowded they will be around the ball.

But there have been other factors that have stretched out game time.  In particular score reviews, they take at least a minute even if the result is obvious.  Refining the process would be great, but then how do you satisfy the umpires that just love their minute of fame?  With so many stoppages and waiting for everyone to be ready in position just adds to game time but not playing time.  Ball it up or throw it in immediately – reducing the time wastage.  Pay frees instead of the Ball Up, free kicks do not stop the clock.  More contentious is to hurry up shots at goal and kick outs.  Kick outs are tough, but I reckon goal kicking would improve if players did not take as much time.

Among the congestion debate was also having the umpires genuinely enforce the deliberate behind and out of bounds rules.  I generally concur, however I would like more lenience on the clearing kick from defence.  At the moment defences are required to run the gauntlet to break the press, if they can kick for safety with a 50m kick to touch it will move the play along more and break down the forward press which is delivering the congestion.

Onto some of the plaudits for the Hawks this week saying this team is the better than the 2013 and 2014 versions.  They maybe, however my opinion is that they have not moved much and that their closest rivals have move out of their neighbourhood.  Sydney just does not have the spread of talent – which is a big problem given the handicap the league has placed on them at the trade table.  Freo might be OK – but right now they are spluttering.  Beating who they should but failed the main test.  Port are a shadow of 2014.  The Eagles are flying – but they need to pass the big examination!

But on with Round 17 and we have a horror movie for openers. Unless of course you take the $2 Ladbrokes is offering on Hawthorn.


Murph-tastic ($27) vs Hawk-tastic ($1.03)

Marc Murphy plays his 200th – guessing he would have preferred a slightly easier opponent but a great achievement.  Has been incredibly resilient over his career for his stature and clearly the Blues best performed player in a horror year.  He will be stamped on by the Hawks who could set a margin record in this one based on pure stats against Freo!  Ouch.


King of the Kids ($1.89) vs Ol’ Puss ($2.04)

The Giants stamped themselves as the best of the newcomers over the Suns, this week they face the gnarly old Cats.  No doubt Geelong have some HR issues at the end of the season but with Selwood back they will be a tough unit for the Giants to breakdown.  Form says they should, but their attack looks heavily dependent on Jeremy Cameron if the Cats can nullify him the paths to goal might close up.  At the other end Tomahawk could prove a handful to the young giant defence.  This is a toss of the coin game and I am going with the Cats, but without a whole lot of confidence.


Dangerous Minefield ($1.26) vs May Day ($4.70)

The Patrick Dangerfield saga is getting a bit monotonous, but it did not affect the Crows last week who played simply scintillating footy in one of the great games.  They face May at one end and Day at the other for the Suns who will have Gazza in the middle.  The Crows are coming off two massive emotional games and will be vulnerable – but I suspect they will have too much on Gold Coast.


Cheeky Chappy ($1.83) vs Thigh Blaster ($2.16)

After coming across from Port and putting a few barbs out Troy Chaplin reaches 200 games, he was a surgical selection who has improved the Tiger defence.  Has he improved it enough to reach the dizziest of heights?  Freo ground out the victory over the Blues, but there is just no sparkle to them.  If the Thigh of Fyfe precludes him the game this assignment will be a tough one.  A big game for Freo, it is at the G and the Tigers are looking to replace them in the pecking order.  The Tiggers have fallen in a number of such games, but are they better now.  They certainly have the personnel – Lids in, Richmond win.  But I just think the Purple might reign in this one.


Gwilty Hooker ($3.30) vs Easy Ryder ($1.41)

The Bombers host former favourite son Paddy Ryder in a vital game for Port who still have finals aspirations.  2½ games out with 7 to go makes the mathematics possible, but a loss here would surely be curtains.  Essendon though have too many stop gaps – Hooker goes forward, Gwilt has to play key defender which he just does not have the size for.  Ports finals dream to remain on life support, but Essendon are fair value at above $3.


Run Free Footy ($3.55) vs Boom Boom ($1.37)

What an effort for Brent Harvey to notch 400 games!  Diminutive in size but not in spirit, super quick, talented and a good decision maker.  Not always the opposition’s favourite but more out of grudging respect – Well Played Boomer.  And his team will want to play well – they have fallen over in their last two visits to South East Queensland.  A recent Brisbane recruit labelled a game as bruise free footy a couple of years ago, his team last week played run free footy!  They had no spark or will to support each other in either attack or defence.  The Lions are better on the Gabba and North’s penchant for slip ups makes $3.50 a consideration, but North should win this for Boomer.


Poodles ($2.20) vs Dry July ($1.79)

So the Doggies would like a bit of pampering with a boutique stadium, surely not up for discussion when up against the Pies!  Footscray are 6-2 in the Loungeroom and love the fast deck, Collingwood have lost their last three in the cosy cauldron.  Bucks has correctly said they will have to find ways to kick goals without their two main forwards in Cloke and Elliott.  They have one of the cleverest players in the competition to put up there in Dane Swan – suspect he will spend more time in the front half this week.  But the Dogs will be smarting after the loss to Geelong, they love the loungeroom and I suspect will consign the Pies to a winless month.


Almost Football Legend ($1.40) vs Shot Ducks ($3.35)

If not for one more letter the Eagles debutante would be a legend before he began, but alas for Tom Barrass he will have to make a name for himself without the i.  It may start with a critical contest against Sydney who need to respond after being mauled by Hawthorn.  West Coast are still not the real deal to many, this was supposed to be a match that would seal the deal but are Sydney a real test?  There appears to be only one real test.  Sydney’s form has been flaky and interspersed with the odd strong performance, they might produce that this week but West Coast are producing week in week out and are a safer selection.


Goal Free Footy ($2.02) vs Got their Richoman ($1.95)

So Melbourne kicked more than Brisbane, but if Jesse Hogan had not played last week the MCC patrons may have hurled themselves from the top deck.  The Saints will provide a much sterner test and will be keen to stamp themselves as the young list most likely – that debate has few years to run but there is talent at both clubs.  In Alan Richardson the Saints have a coach promoting style and flair without ignoring accountability, Melbourne have Paul Roos whose only sense of flair is in his hair!  Hope the Dees release the shackles, but doubt they will so Saints for mine.


Friar Time

It turned out not to be such a tight encounter as expected with the Friars dishing out a 15 goal defeat to St Mary’s Salesian and put a new perspective on the competition for many clubs.  The Under 19s performed well to defeat Mazenod.  This week is a huge day for the club featuring a triple header at Friar Park with the senior teams playing NOBSP and the Under 19s kicking the off the dew or the frost against Old Ivanhoe.  In addition there is the Pratt and Feuta Fest of Ribs ‘ Risotto, it is also final collection day for donations to be sent off to East Timor and most importantly the 200th game for one of the club’s greats Brendan Stafford!


Go Friars, Go Blues

Cheers, Sal

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  1. MGLFerguson says

    “…will be stamped on by the Hawks who could set a margin record in this one…”

    Lord have mercy. May the rest of your picks prove to be this prescient.

  2. Phil Hill says

    This posting should be put on the front of the site. Sal got it right.

  3. Sal Ciardulli says

    Not sure about that Phil! One swallow does not a winter make.

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