Round 18 – Preview: What about the fans for the fixture?

Greetings All,


It’s time for clubs and stakeholders to put in their wish list for next year’s fixture and the debate rages around the bye.  The one set of stakeholders that don’t seem to be taken into account are the fans.  The players are screaming for two byes – still.  If they really don’t like it there are plenty of other willing bodies to play the game.  The break between the final round and the finals is completely unnecessary – Freo resting players last year was their right having earned top spot.  After the results though I am not sure Get Stuffed Lyon would repeat them.  The North manufactured result so as not to play an interstate final is completely different – I reckon they would have done that even with a three week break!  And just for Jordan Lewis – the fans don’t need the break.


The mid-year bye system really did affect the interest levels in the season.  Those three weeks dragged – perhaps if there is to be a bye it should be for all teams to have a break on the one weekend.  Make it a celebration of local footy, have the broadcasters get out and cover grass roots footy.  Play the Darwin and Cairns games the week before to give those teams fair recovery time.  OK so there is one AFL free weekend, but it is over and done with and the season can roll on.  That would be good for the fans and good for the grass roots – but there are plenty of other stakeholders that will jump in front!


A few other issues going around but there are games to cover!


July Flags ($2.18) vs Waiteloss ($1.84)


A definitive 8-point game for the Pies with Bucks calling this a July Final.  They can get within 2 wins of the eight, however realistically that horse has bolted.  Collingwood are certainly playing the better footy and compared to North on the rolling five week ladder they are 3-2 against 0-5.  The Roos recent struggles are well documented, but it is their spot in the eight to lose.  Interestingly they have selected Majak Daw to provide some help for Goldy who has really struggled with the niggly knee.  On form the Pies should be the selection, but there are a couple of factors that have me going the other way (but with much trepidation).  North have had to play the best teams in the last 5 weeks, save for Port who are not too shabby either.  The Pies present as an easier adversary, they are also an adversary that has lost their last four visits to the Loungeroom and this is their first since round 17 last year!


Greg Norman ($1.09) vs Jaksched Off ($11.50)


Michael Talia doesn’t need counselling – he needs a good clip around the ear!  Enough on that – after being impressed all year with Sydney’s introduction of youth, they spluttered in the final moments for the third time this year.  Something is not quite right in the tight ones – I don’t think the monkey jumps off this week as the Blues should not present too much difficulty despite the addition of even more youth.


The Big Bluey ($1.85) vs Fear of Flying ($2.12)


“Bluey” McKenna copped it again this time from Gazza – all a little rear view mirror stuff to me.  Going forward the Suns face Freo who have left Pav in Perth – a shame for all his Gold Coast based fans who won’t be able to bid him farewell!  A great test for the Suns up against a team around them on the ladder but with better credentials.  Michael Walters looks the only real forward threat for Freo, whereas Day, Lynch and Wright provide great options for the Suns and at home they are my selection.


A Major Gaff ($1.16) vs And Watts More ($6.80)


The jungle drums of the eastern suburbs were made silent with Andrew Gaff committing to the Eagles for another 3 years and whilst all that was going on Jack Watts took himself off the free agency list to be a Dee for another three.  Melbourne’s issues in the Loungeroom are well known – they are similar in the west with their last victory at Subiaco back in 2004.  West Coast to win.


Strung Up ($1.36) vs How’s Your Membrey ($3.75)


Losing Stringer removes that bit of X-Factor that opposition sides always fear – they have a few others that can jump up but none that can turn a game like Jake.  They would appear vertically challenged down back and the Saints are well equipped to exploit that with Bruce, Membrey and Riewoldt, but that has been the case all year and they still sit top four.  Boyd and Redpath can present their own challenges also.  Whichever side can spread and isolate the opposition defence will be well placed to win.   I am thinking it will be Footscray, but these two teams are well matched so the $3.50+ on the Saints is great value.


Clear and Present Danger ($1.84) vs Oh My Josh ($2.18)


The fortress was breached by the Swans and this week the Cats host another well credentialed team in Adelaide, who will be ecstatic in having Josh Jenkins sign on for another 5 years and out of the clutches.  Could it be breached again?  The Crows last win at Geelong was in 2003 and they have had 9 attempts since, so odds are certainly in the Cats favour.  Adelaide though are playing so evenly and not reliant on a couple of stars, the Cats are not spreading the load as well and I think they may suffer consecutive losses at the Cattery.


Freekick ($1.18) vs Unlidded ($6.40)


Well everybody else is saying it – but the numbers don’t say the Hawks get favour.  Not sure the analysis is right, but their reputation for doing most things right seems to hold them in good stead.  But it is the doing most things right that is really separating them right now.  They face their regular nemesis in Richmond who have lost one of their key cogs in Delidio.  The Tiges are going better, but I can’t predict the upset.


Not Gwilty ($1.51) vs Leppa of Faith ($2.88)


The Bombers lose Gwilt for the season, not a bad result with a chance to look at another young player, meanwhile Brisbane are mired in a coaching quandary.  But coaching should really be secondary, their primary aim should be to improve the talent they have and ensure they can get the best possible players in the draft.  A loss to the Bombers might not help the coach, but it could help the club.  But then how much of a difference is there between pick one and pick two – a fair bit on evidence so far from last year but it is very early days for both of them.  As for this game Essendon have the edge in experience and are playing better footy at the moment.


Butchering it ($2.26) vs Just re Ward ($1.78)


Callan Ward plays his 100th game for the Giants – not sure if it was Sheedy, Silvagni or who chased him but what an inspired selection he was!  They travel to the Portress but do not face Charlie Dixon – he might not have many stats but he has really straightened Port Adelaide.  A great contested player up forward delivering great providence for the vultures around him.  Not sure John Butcher will be quite as robust.  At the other end Port have unearthed a couple of impressive young defenders in Austin and Clurey but they will be stretched by the triple talls of Cameron, Lobbe and Patton.  It is a massive game in the context of the season especially if the Pies knock off North, which will really open the door for Port.  A loss for the Giants would dent but not destroy their top four aspirations.  Port at home are difficult to tip against, however I think Mummy will hold sway over the mighty Trengrove and the Giants will make a statement about their ability to win tough games on the road.



Friar Time

Starting with the Under 19s this week as they are so critical to the club, put up a huge performance against 2nd placed Old Melbournians with the bare minimum.  Went down by 10 goals but kept it tight until tired legs told.  The reason they were tired was that four of their best were playing senior footy and playing a crucial role to help the Friars put an end to Old Paradians’ run with a pulsating 4 point victory.  This weekend the Under 19s will make the trek to Parkdale (again) and will put up a great effort.  Meanwhile at Friar Park the seniors will be assisted by a few of their mates in taking on Prahran – a critical game for both clubs.


Go Friars, Go Blues,


Cheers, Sal


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