Help the Almanac by signing up for a Ladbrokes account

Round 2: Sal’s Cryptic Preview

Greetings All,


Complaints about the drug headlines in footy this week – so I will leave that alone.  The footy chieftains want to highlight the quality and excitement that the game presented last week – and they right in doing so.  The various games that I either watched or glanced over presented as a much better spectacle than some of the dross we have been served in recent years.  But one swallow does not a summer make – so we watch with interest if this trend continues.


The rule changes have been bandied around as a significant factor.  The greatest influence is the reduction of interchanges to 90.  Whilst we saw players tire, the clubs have not had the chance to test their strategies around this change due to the compromised nature of the pre-season fixtures.  Particularly where teams lost players early to injury, in the NAB cup they were simply replaced.  Suspect that clubs will improve their management of player time and rotations in the next few weeks.  But it certainly seemed to open up the game late in quarters.  The out of bounds interpretations have the right effect on player intent but I remain unconvinced that the clearing kick from defence should be penalised as harshly as it is.  As has been written before, more leniency in this area will spread defences who now only have to protect the corridor as the boundary gives them another source for a turnover.  The absolute deliberate kick to touch should remain penalised, but the scrub from defence should not suffer the same fate.  As for the 10 metre zone off the mark, it has provided more options for the player with the ball, but the penalty is very harsh for a transgression and could have influenced a couple of results.  By the same token we would expect to see players being more “aware” of the zone as weeks go by so also a reduction in transgressions.


Aside from the quality of the games, the other big story or stories for the week has been the injury toll.  It always has effect on the season and with names like Hodge, Swan, White, Anderson and more spending long periods on the sidelines those effects could be massive.


Briefly on the drugs the players are magnanimous regarding their submission to testing.  Why should they submit to such introspection when it is not expected of rest of the community?  But community expectations are high for those with the privilege of playing AFL and as such there is some expectation of introspection.  By the same token there are many more employees of the AFL and its clubs than just the players and they should take the lead and offer themselves up for the same introspection.


And now for the footy!


Selected ($2.38) vs Rejected ($1.72)


Adam Treloar faces his other suitor in a critical game for both his choice and his rejection.  The Tigers weren’t fantastic against the Blues but got the job done, Collingwood just didn’t turn up and have some personnel challenges.  On form you couldn’t have them and Richmond getting an extra couple of days off doesn’t help.  But they have been such a resilient unit I suspect we will see a highly committed Pie outfit and reckon they can turn the tables.


Charddy Sippers ($2.32) vs Shades of Gray ($1.67)


Robbie and Sam turned it on for Port over the Saints in a game where they raised the pressure gauge up a couple of notches.  But Saints did get them out the back a couple of times and quite critically Matthew Lobbe lowered his colours to Tom Hickey.  He faces Sam Jacobs who is one of the elite, I suspect that will give Adelaide first use of the footy and I reckon Power could be exposed.  Showdowns are usually flip of the coin games and this no different – the Crows represent much better value and are my selection.


With Merrett ($4.10) vs Loss of the Jedi ($1.30)


A great win from North but at the cost of their hired runner losing Jed Anderson with a bad hamstring injury, but on the plus side Daniel Wells showed his class and value and will make the team better while he is healthy.  Their recent record at the Gabbatoir is poor and Brisbane will appreciate the return of Merrett and Zorko, but if North are to be the team they want to be they will win this.


Double Merrett ($6.40) vs More Please ($1.30)


Young Oliver had the Melbourne Fans asking for “more please” after a terrific debut.  He fronts up against the Merrett brothers who have been joined in the midfield by their own tyro in Darcy Parish.  It is will be an interesting contest within what should turn out to be a significant Demon victory.


Get Stuffed Lyon ($1.22) vs Go Rusty ($5.10)


Freo stunk it up last week, but according to Ross they just weren’t ready to play.  I doubt that will be an issue in front of the Purple Horde and getting Herman [Munster? – Ed] and Johnson back will help.  Coming up against the Suns where Gazza blew off the rust with a lazy 35 possessions.  Rocket might have been a little harsh, but as a team they were quite profligate with the footy once the result was settled.  Doubt Freo will be quite as bad and should win.


St Nick ($4.30) vs Loungeroom Lizards ($1.28)


What a great career Nick Reiwoldt has had so far.  Has suffered nasty injuries but has set the benchmark on how hard a forward will work blowing up scores of highly rated defenders on the way.  Well played on 300 games!  He gets to celebrate it in the Loungeroom, but against a team that have taken over the couch.  The Bulldogs own the place now and have the next six in its confines.  Both sides are looking to play quickly, but I suspect Footscray have the edge in class to ruin Nick’s party.


U-Turners ($3.05) vs Dangerous ($1.47)


Stevie J kicked plenty around the corner for the Cats – and he missed plenty, but got away with it.  His efforts at goal last week that drew ire were no different – but with a coaching role perhaps not the best choice.  The reaction would have been interesting if they had of split the middle.  They were run over by the Demons and face Geelong who look very dangerous after disposing of the Hawks.  The Giants do not present as tough a task with the Cats to send alarm bells further through the competition.


The Victors ($2.12) vs The Vanquished ($1.79)


Last year these teams played off in the Grand Final and for West Coast there can be no real revenge.  However a win over the Hawks will give them great belief for 2016.  I have doubts about their ability to defend on the MCG and this game will help them get better at it.  The Hawks have lost their skipper adding toe a growing injury list.  Schoenmakers being the Big Banana up forward is a challenge and without Roughead and Hale to provide more dangerous tall options they look stretched.  Whilst I have my doubts on the Eagles at the venue, the Hawks have been winged and I am selecting West Coast to feel a bit better about themselves come 6:00pm Sunday night.


Zach Attack ($5.70) vs Pie Munchers ($1.19)


Zach Touhy becomes the 4th Irishman to play 100 games, a fine effort.  His Blues will be looking to put in an even better effort than the Richmond loss, however I suspect it will actually have to be a couple of orders of magnitude better against Sydney who devoured the Pies last week.  Another hopefully honourable loss for the Blues.


Vale Ronnie Corbett who has said goodnight for the last time.  Great entertainer, great partnership and great weather reports.  Just glad I am not living in Hissing Down!


Still another week before the Ammos begin in anger, the Friars taking on Caulfield Grammarians in this week’s dress rehearsal.


Go Blues, Go Hammers, Go Friars

Sal Ciardulli


Leave a Comment