Round 18 – Sal’s Preview: It’s all about timing

Greetings All,


In a season where we are on shortened game times and shorter season, playing time is something we should be preserving.  The 30 second shot clock needs some work to remove the exploitation of the rule.  First of all is the milking of the clock when players are more than ready to take their shot.  The solution is as soon as a player takes a peek at the scoreboard to see how much time they can waste, the umpire calls ‘play on’.  Simple – if you’re ready to kick the ball, kick the ball.  The other is players indicating they are taking a shot for goal, using their time and then either passing the ball off or taking a set up kick 10-15 metres out from goal.  The solution – if a player does not take a genuine shot for goal, then the ball is turned over where the kick lands or, more drastic, from where the kick was taken.  Sounds harsh – but gets the game moving and more footy for us to watch.


And we only have nine regular season games left to watch.


Shawly Not () vs Where’s the Governor ($1.10)


The Roos season finally comes to a close as they take on the finals bound Eagles.  Eagles lose McGovern but get the support of their governor getting them a home final if results go as expected.  Reckon this one will go as expected with the Eagles to win.


Keeping up with the Jones’ ($1.78) vs The Missing Cog ($2.26)


A Friday Night encounter where the likely prize for the winner is a game in two weeks while the vanquished can lick their wounds and prepare for 2021.  The Saints do it without the services of Zac Jones, while the Giants weigh up whether or not to bring back their captain Stephen Coniglio.  Both teams gave up late leads to succumb last week, where will the scars be deepest.  Giants have had to deal with a bit more this week with Aidan Corr informing the club of his decision to leave.  Ultimately this will come down to effort on the day but reckon the Saints have a distinct advantage to get them home.  The Ryder-Marshall combination could not quite handle Nic Nat last week but have more than enough to deal with whichever of Mumford or Jacobs confronts them this week.


The Bell Tolled ($2.80) vs Dees-peration ($1.53)


Not quite win and you’re in for the Dees but lose and they’re not – so a massive game for them against the disappointing Bombers.  They say farewell to Tom Belchambers who has shouldered most of the rucking burden over the last few years – like another retiring ruckman, just not able to stay on the park as much as he would have liked.  It’s all about pride for the Bombers who would like to close out the season nicely, but the Demons can’t afford to let them do that.  Melbourne are prone to misfire when it counts but if they can get on top early I doubt Essendon will have the will or resistance to make up the ground.


Blue Murderers ($4.50) vs Lynched ($1.27)


The Tigers are on a roll and probably need to continue it to ensure a top four finish. They take on the Crows who put paid to the Blues with their third win on the trot and could even climb off the bottom of the ladder with a win.  Their midfield is up and going and a couple of rookies in Scholl and Shoenberg have added to that depth, but the Tigers are not the Blues.  They will have too much trust in the themselves and their system to cough this one up despite missing Soldo and Lynch.


Fagan’s Lot ($1.20) vs Doh! ($5.50)


Kade Simpson never touched the footy in his first three games; who’d have thought he will finish has career after 342 games this weekend.  Carlton history is littered with stars who enjoyed the ultimate success, unfortunately none of that has come Simmo’s way.  He can be assured of the ultimate respect of fans for his bravery, his skill and his loyalty.  Well played number six!  His final foray is against the Lions who despite some injury challenges have continued on their winning way.  Expect them to do so again although motivation might be off as they do have a top two finish locked in.


Popping Off ($2.22) vs Into the Twilight ($1.74)


The Hawks say farewell to a couple of Premiership heroes in Puopolo and Stratton, their lights may not have been shining at the end of their careers but they were vital pieces in the Hawks’ sustained success in recent times.  They take on the Suns who have enjoyed a competitive year and look forward to a stronger 2021.  They fluffed their lines against the Pies on Monday but if they can play to that level and execute it should be enough to dispose of the Hawks.


Happy Pappy ($5.90) vs Ace up the Sleeve? ($1.18)


Great news for Sydney with Tom Papley committing to the club.  Decimated by injury Sydney have made the most out of the year getting games into talented youngsters and playing a much more attractive brand of footy.  How will they look with Buddy?  Will they have him?  Not this week against the Cats who like the Tigers are likely to need the win to seal a top four spot.  Beaten up by the Tigers last week but not sure they played much of their hand.  Should account for Sydney.


Hogan the Hero ($3.05) vs Smells Like 2016 ($1.46)


The Bulldogs mission is simple – beat the Dockers and you’re in.  Depending on results they may not even need to do that, ideally they want to climb to 7th and avoid the trip west for an Elimination Final although it did not worry them in 2016!  Freo won’t be a walkover and have upset finals aspirants in the last few weeks.  They are building nicely for the future which seems likely to include Jesse Hogan.  Don’t think the Dogs will drop this one.


Here we Goey ($2.28) vs Haven’t got a Clurey ($1.66)


The Magpies go at each other in the final game of the season and one that is likely to mean more to the Melbourne Magpies than the Adelaide variety.  They may need to win to avoid the trip west.  They are healthy again though with De Goey and Treloar back and the prospect of an almost full list to choose from in Week One of the finals.  Port have less injuries but will go without Clurey and Burton with no need risk them and assured of a good barrier draw in the finals.  Going with Collingwood as just think their motivation might be greater.


Track Time


The old Caulfield Show Day meeting is now split over a couple of Saturdays with the Rupert Clark Stakes this week and the Underwood next week.  It dishes up a handy card along with The Naturalism that gets the winner a ticket into the Caulfield Cup.  The forecast is good with the rail out three metres so expecting a pretty fair opportunity for all.  What we do have is some wide open races so selections are tough.


The day opens with the three year olds over the mile and plonking for Albarado (R1, #4).  Running second to Cherry Tortoni is handy form and the extra 200m won’t be an issue.  The next is a bit of a raffle, Groundswell (5) comes into the Race Two stones lighter, might make all the difference.  Muntaseera (R3, #10) competed in the best races as a 2YO, if the stable has her right she should be very competitive here.  Reckon the two favoured runners fight out the next and purely going with Octane (R4, #6) due to the better price, no doubt Front Page (R4, #7) is up to this.  Do we persist with The Closer (R5, #9) or will she just keep running into trouble.  Trouble or not reckon this might be beyond her and going with the consistent Thousand Wishes (R5, #13) in a tough race to dissect.  The Fillies line up in the quaddie opener, many being aimed for the Thousand Guineas, a bit concerned about the barrier but Aidensfiled (R6, #2) is yet to put in a poor one. Respect for the undefeated Mozzie Monster (R2, #4) but both wins on the regional circuit.


Race 7 – Naturalism Stakes (G3, 2000m, HCP)


The ticket into the Caulfield Cup always generates a full field in this race.  Going with a couple of 4YOs to fight this one out in Game Keeper (14) and Kinane (18) and favouring the former with the preferred gate.  They both won good races at three and look well up to open company.  Would have rated Dr Drill (3) higher but gives weight to some handy ones and Orderofthegarter (9) is one of those.  Ran well last start and should be primed for this.  Plenty of other hopes and would certainly promote or even pick the fourth emergency Shandy (20) just not drawn kindly if she gets a run.


Selections – 14-18-3-9


Race 8 – Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (G1, 1400m, HCP)


As with most big handicaps an open affair and picking one out at a price here in Reykjavik (9) should be primed third up and gets significant weight relief from his last few starts.  Tagaloa (15) is a strapping three-year-old who has yet to run over the 7 furlongs but doubt that will be an issue.  Roheryn (14) is very consistent just needs to handle The Heath and Age of Chivalry (11) looks well placed and gets weight relief from the usual imposts.  Plenty of respect for the toppie Behemoth (1) but giving weight to some handy conveyances.  Then if I am Superman (18 EM2) gets in the field he goes to top pick.


Selections – 9-15-14-11


Race 9 – How Now Stakes (G3, 1200m, Mares SWP)


Lyre (6) has been around the mark in all her recent races, she looks very well placed to win this.  Some fair competition though and Felicia (12) is in a similar vein of form, probably needs a quality steer from an outside gate.  Broadwayandfourth (4) always needs a good steer but will be steaming home as will Humma Humma (2).


Selections – 6-12-4-2




Typical tough spring quaddie and you can’t have ‘em all.  Going skinny in the bookends while need plenty of coverage in the middle legs.


Leg 1 – 2, 4, 6

Leg 2 – 3, 6, 9, 14, 18, 20

Leg 3 – 1, 5, 9, 11, 14, 15, 18

Leg 4 – 6, 12


Go Blues


Cheers, Sal


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