Round 18 – Sal’s Preview: Undew influence


Greetings All,

The prospect of Damien Hardwick was always going to put pressure on some clubs and coaches, but what happened to Stuart Dew this week was at the height of footy cynicism.  Yes, his team was badly beaten by Collingwood and Port Adelaide but they won’t be the only club to suffer that fate.  Had they really underperformed this year?

The 3-3 record at home is not great but two of those losses are to top four contenders in Melbourne and Collingwood, a win over Geelong is meritorious as was defeating Richmond in Melbourne.  Then two terrific wins over finals contenders in the Dogs and Crows in Darwin.  A couple of losses, in particular the one to Carlton, probably gave the executioners the evidence they wanted.

It is right for the club to have high expectations; the reality is few pundits would have selected them to make the finals this year.  They have high quality young players but are still relying on recycled players to fill key roles.  They do their best week in, week out but the likes of Casboult, Holman, Collins amongst others don’t have the class up against the very best.  Collectively inconsistency will be a feature of list with this dynamic.

The great shame for Stuey is the talent they are likely to get through the draft after three of their academy prospects featured in the Allies team that has just won the national championship.  Still don’t think they will feature in finals next year – but what has been evident is that Dew has built a real footy club mentality to the club.

Plenty are annoyed that Caro “got it right” – it was like shooting fish in a barrel with insiders singing like canaries.  The executioners acted just like most footy clubs do.


Feeling Horse (67%) vs Bailed Out (33%)

An intriguing clash to open proceedings this weekend, Sydney are still only two games out of eighth, but they sit 15th so have to jumped past plenty.  The Bulldogs sit seventh but just a game away from fourth.  Lose this and it is safe to put the proverbial fork into the Swans – as added incentive for them John Longmire coaches his 300th game.  An interesting move to drop Hickey without a genuine ruck replacement, great test for McLean to be the main man against English.  The Dogs have lost Bailey Smith to illness and left out a big man leaving out Rory Lobb, his replacement Sam Darcy provides much more flexibility and frankly a brighter future.  Form would indicate that the Dogs have the edge here, however suspect that Horse will have something up his sleeve here and with so much on the line Sydney will prevail at home.


Come What May (56%) vs G Whizz (44%)

As is well documented, the G is the one spot that the Lions need to find an answer to.  On the positive side the one from ten they have was Melbourne in the Semi-Final last year, being soundly beaten by the Hawks here though maintains the question mark despite the protestations of Chris Fagan.  They need to find a way forward with either Daniher or Hipwood at least splitting the contest with Steven May.  The mill has the Demons leaving out Grundy for Gawn to tackle McInerney alone, interesting in that Max was forced out early in their previous encounter where the Dees stormed home to nearly pinch it getting back on the field after a Gabba blackout.  The effect of Dunkley and Oliver missing from respective line ups is neutralised and while there is not much logic to the Lions issues at the MCG is has me siding with Melbourne in this one.


Rusted On (99%) vs Something’s Amiss (1%)

The Pies get Steele Sidebottom back as they host Fremantle at the G.  Fremantle are just not clicking after a fade away to the Dogs followed up by a poor effort at home against the Blues, they need to show something against the benchmark.  Not sure they are in the right frame of mind to do that.


Hail the King (72%) vs The King is Gone (28%)

Steven King takes the reign at Gold Coast who host St Kilda missing their key forward in Max King – at least reports are that Max will return this year.  Whether that is wise or not is a different question.  Reckon part of the Suns’ strategy was to make the change prior to a winnable home game and with the St Kilda injury list they have a great chance.  Balancing that is their horrendous record against the Saints losing the last eight encounters.  Three of those were at the Mansion and all were decided by less than two kicks.  Then there is the new coach factor where teams just lift, that has me sticking with the Suns but not much confidence.


Three (51%) vs Thirteen (49%)

Blue fans are cock-a-hoop after winning three on the trot, four will be a test up against Port who are looking for the fourteenth in succession!  Carlton do have a couple of things to help.  Despite being unlikely to have a ruckman, Port probably have the same issue this week.  They also lose McKenzie in defence – which probably means the return of the skipper Tom Jonas.  OK so we are clutching now.  The loss of Kennedy should be a straight swap for Hewett, McGovern’s corky to be tested and suspect he won’t come up given his history.  Suspect will see the return of Marchbank.  In Port’s favour is their record in the Loungeroom going for their 10th in succession, although Carlton is not in the list of the vanquished.  The Blues won their last encounter here by 2 points back in 2016!  This is the test for the Blues – they have beaten three sides below them and generally failed against the best.  While they appear “gettable” reckon Port will have all the answers to whatever the Blues put up.


Happy at Holmes (91%) vs Phlipped Out (9%)

Great plan from the Cats to reopen the Cattery to full capacity for a signature encounter with the Bombers!  However as soon as they were aware that the works would not be complete in time this match should have been moved, the baying for that shift this week was always too late.  So to the Cattery the Bombers travel in all likelihood without both of their first picked ruckmen with Phillips out on suspension and Draper injured.  The Cats rucks can deliver anything – a flag in September and uncompetitive in other games.  Not sure it is really an issue here, the bigger issue is the lack of size in the Essendon defence relative to Hawkins and Cameron.  As good as the Bombers have been this is their Achilles heel and suspect it will be this week.


Not Sloane Down (85%) vs All the Kingsley’s Men (15%)

What a champion for Adelaide Rory Sloane has been as he plays his 250 game this week, started out with the porn star hair to match the porn star name but we quickly worked out he was a very good player with an appetite for the contest.  His Crows will try and celebrate the occasion by beating the Giants – not too farfetched given the Crow’s preferred territory at Adelaide Oval.  However, the Giants have won their last two against Adelaide here and by plenty!  Could they repeat the dose?  Adelaide should see the return of Butts while GWS get Daniels back but lose Keefe.  While the Giants recent history here is good, suspect this Adelaide side is better and they have been very good on their home deck this year.


Caretaken (21%) vs Drawing a Blanck (79%)

Brett Ratten can go back to part-time soon as Clarko awaits to return and run the Roos, they host the Hawks who lose James Blanck to concussion but will get their skipper James Sicily back.  That should be enough for the Hawks to win this.


The Unfair Advantage (2%) vs We Was Robbied (98%)

It’s the Tiger turn to beef up their percentage against the Eagles – the margins in these games could genuinely be a factor in who plays in September and who doesn’t.  This is their second crack at West Coast for the year.  While that is the luck of their draw, not so lucky has been the plight of Robbie Tarrant at the Tigers.  After a great career at North he went to Punt Road seeking success but did not see much more than the physio.  Today he put a full stop to that career, well played Taz!


Friar Time

A great weekend saw the Friars go four from four.  The Seniors put the score on the board early against Bulleen-Templestowe and held on very gusty conditions, while the Ressies held on in a close fought game.  The threes continued on their winning way over Elsternwick to set the pace in the competition and the Women were terrific against the highly rated Oakleigh to bring home the four points.  It’s a week off for the Ammos with just too many over in Europe.


Go Blues,

Cheers, Sal



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