Round 19 – Sal’s Preview: Mid-season Trading = Mid-season Mayhem

Greetings All,

 

We are getting close to the serious time of the year, but the league just gets sillier.  There are plenty of rules that have been changed or introduced to improve the game because of a problem, they are still grappling with congestion around the ball.  This week though we have heard about the potential introduction of a Mid-Season trade period trade period, just not sure what problem is they are trying to fix.  Really can only see the problem it will create with the strong getting stronger and more difficult for lower clubs to make ground up the table.  Can you think of the players that were lining up to join the Blues or Suns at the half way mark?  The mid-season draft seems to have been quite useful for the AFL with a number of those selected having made their debut, what is ignored is the impact on the clubs they have departed from in the secondary competitions.

 

Of course we can look back to a time when mid-season trades were possible up until the June 30 deadline (or at least that is what I think it was).  Two standout for me, both of them where the stronger club at the time were the beneficiaries.  Greg Wells was a leading player at the Demons but always on the radar of stronger clubs, eventually the Blues got their man midway through 1980 in a trade for premiership winger and heart throb Michael Young and cult hero Vin Cattoggio.  Wells went on to play in the Blues premiership of 1981.

 

In the same year Russell Greene was selected in the Saints team on the Thursday Night for the Round 9, clash with the Bulldogs, instead he donned the Brown and Gold on the Saturday against the Kangaroos.  That was in his 7thseason, he went on to play another eight at the Hawks including being a vital cog in three premierships.  He finished up playing 304 games and 184 of those at Hawthorn, he was traded for Mark Scott and Tony King who collectively managed 38 games for the Saints.  It was one way traffic then and will be same again if introduced.

 

What a season it has been so far with picking being about picking which team is “on” and which is “off”.  This week kicks off with just one of those games.

 

Winged Birds ($2.44) vs The Power of Four ($1.68)

 

A Friday Night special at the G, the Tigers are surging and have won their last four games.  The Pies though are in world of hurt, while their form has dropped off their injury list has continued to grow.  A win for the Tiges would put them in the Top Four at Collingwood’s expense.  This is just the type of game that Collingwood thrive on.  They are at the most dangerous when the world seems against them and their “backs to the wall”.  Based on form and personnel it is difficult to see Richmond losing, but reckon the Pies will be “on” and Richmond will have to wait for their encounter with the Eagles for their next chance to knock off a top four team.

 

Launceston ($1.86) vs Rattling the Cage ($2.14)

 

Perhaps Harris Andrews should not have mentioned rattling teeth at the tribunal, but his Lions have been rattling along winning their last five.  The other streak is the last three against the Hawks.  This is a critical game for Hawthorn to keep maintain their push for a finals berth who have their own streak of three on the trot.  To win the Hawks need to control the tempo of the game and not allow Brisbane the free and fast movement they thrive on.  A Brisbane win will really send notice that they are a real chance for flag.  Just think the Lions might get loose and let out a might roar.

 

An Inteagueing Scenario ($2.62) vs All Betts are Off ($1.61)

 

For the second week in a row Carlton faces a team under heavy scrutiny.  The Crows somehow remain in the eight and are likely to remain there even if they lose given their percentage.  We know they are in trouble when they “Kill Bambi”, quite a statement dropping Eddie who paid the price for the whole dysfunctional forward line.  The Blues won’t mind as he has tormented them regularly since his departure.  The Teague scenario is interesting given a couple of decisions made by the club of late that I doubt would have happened in previous years.  Getting McGovern to shape up showed that standards matter again and putting Charlie on ice the right move given the position of the club in 2019.  Even resting Kruezer could be one of those moves, it is the one that has me most worried about this game.  Still think the Blues will be looking forward to the contest on the G and deliver more misery to the Crows.

 

Dee-stroyers ($1.44) vs Going Flat Knacker ($3.25)

 

West Coast got over the Demons last week and face the feisty Kangaroos this week.  They will be hobbled with the loss of Scott Thompson with a ruptured testicle from last week’s game, present a challenge up against Kennedy and Darling although Tarrant will have one of them covered.  The Roos will serve it up to the Eagles, but at home West Coast should put this one away.

 

Robin Hood ($2.08) vs Shawly you can’t be Serious ($1.90)

 

Heath Shaw gets to 300 games – well played!  Off the field he rarely is serious, on the field he can be loose too.  He is passionate about his footy and a great reader of the game, premiership player at the Pies but not fitting Buckley’s mold had him shunted to GWS where he has been exceptional.  The abundance of midfield talent at the Giants has kept Toby Greene out of the broader rotation at the Giants, injuries to much of that talent has forced him back in there and also the role as skipper.  He did both with aplomb last week and will feature in there again this week with the travel assignment to Sherwood Forest.  Xavier Duursma probably had that celebration in his quiver for a while and just had to get it out, maybe the timing was astray but we should not be smashing the character out of players.  Who will play Little John for him?  It won’t be Charlie Dixon who is out for Paddy Ryder whose hairline probably has him more in line for the Friar Tuck role.  Not going near Maid Marion!  The reality is both of these outfits are flaky and think that the Power might be switched on.

 

Fine Dining ($2.08) vs The Outlier ($1.90)

 

The Saints are going OK under Ratten so much so that have introduced the “Royal” Doulton to the team.  Langlands was handy with a goal on debut last and will have Demon on the menu this week, they have been burnt and overcooked for much of this season.  Was last year an aberration as suggested by Garry Lyon?  A look at the team named and the injury list would suggest he might me on the money, clearly though a number of players that natural improvement would have been expected from have stagnated in their development.  The question being whether they had reached their nadir or has development been stymied?  Getting the answer to that right will be critical for the Dees.  Reckon Ratts will get another win on the board this week.

 

Son of the West ($1.57) vs Stuffed Lyon ($2.68)

 

Scott’s boy Rhylee will make his debut for the Dogs as they host the befuddling Fremantle.  Freo have been inconsistent through the year hobbled by injuries to key players, not many thought they would be in the hunt for finals but they are, yet there are rumblings in the west for Lyon to move on.  While not a fan of his glass half-empty style he has developed young players and built a pretty well-structured team, that play pretty well in the loungeroom.  So do the Dogs who should get back on track and maybe snuff those finals aspirations out from the Dockers.

 

Pointificated ($2.70) vs An Axe to Grind ($1.58)

 

Sydney was stiff last week losing by the barest of margins in the west, they are back on home soil against the ladder leaders who are going through a flat spot at the moment.  They will be keen to atone as they celebrate Tomahawk’s 250th game.  After a struggle in the early part of his career the 2011 Grand Final came along and he has been the cornerstone of the Cats attack ever since.  They have some challenges in the ruck at the moment, but nothing like the challenges the Swans have in that position and expect the leaders to maintain their advantage.

 

A Few Rays ($7.40) vs The Family Club ($1.15)

 

Kudos to the Bombers letting McKenna loose for his brother’s wedding in Ireland, will he need another week to recover?  They head to the Mansion to take on the Suns who showed some glimpses of light last week against the Blues after being totally eclipsed the previous two weeks.  Will Brodie was particularly impressive but has succumbed to injury.  I expect them to put up staunch opposition but not enough to stop the low flying Bombers.

 

Friar Time

 

The pointy end is approaching with a mixed bag of results last week with only the seniors winning.  It was a critical match against the second placed Brunswick who managed to get to within 3 goals before the Friars were able to respond and establish a solid margin in the end.  The reserves went down to a committed and experienced Brunswick team, while the Under 23s were not good enough to overcome a spirited pack of Snow Dogs.  The girls needed to win to ensure finals but came up against a different Power House unit and could not get the job done in the windy conditions.  They have an all or nothing game against Williamstown CYMS this week and will need other results to fall their way to play finals this year.  The Under 23s head to Old Camberwell needing a win to stay in touch for a finals berth.  The Senior teams head to the Woodfull-Miller Oval to face Melbourne High.  A tough test for both, with the Unicorns smarting from a loss to Power House last week and their reserves who are undefeated.

 

We are on the upswing for the year – saw my first magnolia the other day and the first group race for the season is at The Heath this week!

 

Go Blues, Go Friars

 

Cheers, Sal

 

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