Round 19 – Sal’s Preview: Cash is King


Greetings All,


In the Round 6 preview we looked at the idea of a top 10 and making all the finals knockout games.  Now that we have Dill in charge the top 10 is on his agenda but for all the wrong reasons, his plan is to simply extend the existing finals by a week and introduce two extra games.  The “Play In” works for the NBA as it makes winning the championship harder for the lower ranked teams to win but not impossible.  They have to win four series while the others teams only need to win three – which seems fair given the position they set themselves up in during the season.  It does not work in the AFL if the second chance remains in place for the loser in the Qualifying Final.  1st to 4th only need to win three games, 5th and 6thfour; nothing changes with this concept.  However adding the extra finals virtually takes 7th and 8th out of the premiership race needing to win 5 knock out games in succession (as would 9th and 10th).  So while it might keep more teams in with some chance – in reality it will reduce the number of potential premiers.


Looking at the probabilities of each team winning based on flip of the coin chances 1st to 4th have a 18.75% chance of success three times greater than 5th to 7th at 6.25%.  The true probability much lower given we know the Dogs in 2016 are the only team to win four finals in a row.  With the top 10 the probability for 7th to 10th goes to 3.125% and lower in reality.  It makes idea one of futility apart from the cash.  The knockout proposal changes the probabilities and gives 5th and 6th a much better chance to prevail – 1-6 at 12.5% and 7-10 at 6.25%.  However as one pundit asked what happens to the advantage you deserve for finishing on top?  A fair question and possibly also basking in self interest given he is a Pie supporter, however it is the overall question Dill has to answer and how he wants the competition to look.


For fairness and equity – not that they are terms the AFL are familiar with they should either leave well enough alone or add the extra two teams and make it all knockout.  That would be at the cost of two extra finals so we can bank on the most unfair system to come in.


In reality we currently have a final 15 in operation now with so many teams in the hunt for a place in the eight, we knock a couple out every week just for them to rise again.  Let’s see how this week pans out.



Chum (31%) vs Handyman (69%)


The Dogs have chowed down on the Bombers for a while now winning nine of their last nine contests, what will make this one different?  Perhaps coaching style as Bevo will have to be less animated after breaking hand addressing the team last week.  In reality which compromised defence will succumb?  The Dogs big defenders are adequate at best, while Essendon just don’t have big defenders.  Midfield supply probably dictates so how will Tim English fare against Phillips and Bryan?  In general he has done well against all comers this year, having Libba and Bontempelli underneath doesn’t hurt either.  Essendon will want to bounce back from the mauling from the Cats, however suspect the other domestic pets will have their number this week as come off the disappointed of getting pipped in Sydney.



Stalking (83%) vs Culling Time (17%)


The Tigers are stalking the competition – they are six from their last seven without too much fuss.  Not winning by much but winning nevertheless, Nankervis and Short back shortly will put them right in the hunt.  First they need to knock over Hawthorn this week who dined out on the Roos last week.  Suspect they will and put their season back in to the black.



Decrippted (99.7%) vs Allentown (0.3%)


The Blues were terrific against Port but have paid the price losing their best two midfielders in Cripps and Cerra, plus McKay and Boyd.  It makes this a danger game against West Coast who have shown more resilience since the thumping they took in Sydney, young forward Oscar Allen has been a shining light for them all season.  He and Darling will provide a challenge for the Blues defence.  Whilst the loss of personnel will hurt Carlton they still should have enough strength to win this but doubt it will be any big percentage booster.



Slam Dunk (75%) vs Domesticats (25%)


Since the 2020 Grand Final Geelong head to the Gabba for only the second time, surprising how rarely they play the Lions during the season given that they are both usually ensconced in the upper reaches of the ladder.   The Lions welcome back Josh Dunkley – reckon he might have helped turn back the Demon tide last week, certainly needed someone to match Viney not sure he could have stopped Max.  They will be happy back on their home deck.  The Cats are healthy and undefeated in the last four but this will be the real test of their credentials.  A win here opens up a top four chance, however suspect that the Lion’s home will be akin to the Cat’s and have them prevailing.



Oh Mr Darcy (27%) vs Warning (73%)


Another Elimination Final!  Freo hosting Sydney with the loser probably dropping out of finals contention – a loss for Freo probably dropping them three games out.  They need to win this without Sean Darcy so a mighty effort will be required from Luke Jackson, he has produced on this ground before can he keep them in the race?  Sydney have the team to stop them especially with the inclusion of Chad Warner at the expense of his brother, interestingly sticking with McLean as the sole ruckman with Tom Hickey reaming on the outer.  Freo at home will be better, but just don’t think they are playing well enough and that a fork will be put in their season this week.



Short Circuited (52%) vs The Other Darcy (48%)


The Blues cut off the Power last week, were they looking one game ahead to this clash with the Pies?  Not according to Kenny, however they have some handy ins this week that may have had an impact last week.  The Pieas also have that with Darcy Cameron and Brody Mihocel back in the line up.  Lycett will have his work cut out up against Cox and Cameron, having Dixon as one of his backups will help.  How they handle Nick Daicos will be intriguing, will Port just go head-to-head or does someone like Willem Drew try and lock him down?  No matter what both midfields ooze class and grunt which make this a must see game.  The Pies demolished Port early in the season but back in Adelaide certainly balances that up, does it tip it over?  Not quite sure but just think Port might bounce back after last week and take this one.



Curse of the Capital (69%) vs A New Dawn (31%)


Manuka has been a Giant killer with GWS losing their last nine games at their second home, at least none of those were against the Suns.  Gold Coast were back home under the tutelage of Steven King and duly delivered against the Saints, can they reproduce away from the mansion.  They are certainly a chance if they can get some ascendancy in the middle through Witts, Rowell and Miller but their defence also needs to stand up and reckon the likes of Greene, Hogan and Daniels might have a few too many tricks.



Mr Ed (89%) vs And Another Darcy (11%)


May and Lever might be the standouts in the Demons recruiting coups that help deliver the 2021 premiership, Ed Langdon might not be quite as feted but is another critical cog for them.  He plays game 150 this week.  They take on the Crows who get the second chance to impress at the G.  They did last time just going down to the Pies and will be smarting after losing at home to the Giants.  Darcy Fogarty and Tex are the challenges for May and Lever, but think Adelaide lack a third banana that they can kick to up forward.  Izak Rankine needs to contribute more when Adelaide don’t have the footy, especially after losing Rachele to stupidity.  The Crows need to win away from Adelaide, doubt it will be here though.  Melbourne have Max dominating the ruck, Viney setting the standard in the middle and now Petracca providing another avenue to goal – suspect that will be more than enough.



Lyon’s Roar (97%) vs Big Ben (3%)


The Saints copped the wrath of Ross after a poor performance against the Suns, they get to play North and get some form back.  North were very poor last week and the saga of Clarkson’s return makes focus of footy difficult.  The rumours of all the suitors for Ben McKay is somewhat astounding – he certainly might have all the physical attributes however his decision making and game sense would need to be a whole lot better to genuinely warrant the level of interest indicated.  Anyway St Kilda wins.



Friar Time


The Ammos are back and Friars head to Albert Park to face South Melbourne Districts bit games critical for the Seniors and Reserves to stay in tough with the top four.  The Women kick off the dew at Friar Park against Power House who have been just that in the competition this year while the thirds follow them with a game against Mazenod.


Go Blues, Go Friars


Cheers, Sal


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