Round 2 – Sal’s Preview: No, It’s Not Fine!

Greetings All,


Unsurprisingly the judiciary features again in the news. The Dangerfield suspension may seem harsh based on history but leaves no doubt as to the League’s intent.  They are the custodians of the game and need to ensure it is both played and seen in an environment where players are protected as much as possible.  The actions of players at the top level filter down to the lower levels and juniors.  Optics are important which is why the fines meted out to Joe Daniher and David Astbury for flaying elbows are insufficient.  By good fortune they did not do serious damage, but the potential to do was there.  It is clear financial penalties have not been a deterrent for players or seen as an imposition by the fans, a poor standard has now been set.  Importantly they will be considered as ‘let off’,  such acts will be seen as acceptable as it filters further down into local and junior levels.  Such acts are not acceptable at lower levels and should not be at the top level.


Was completely wrong about the sub rule.  It would appear the Tigers have exploited it perfectly replacing Vlastuin for an injury unlikely to keep him out this week.  Would have preferred AFL to come out quickly and indicate that neither Vlastuin or Silvagni are able to play this week.  That not being the case then let’s just remove the term injury from the name of the sub and go back to what the players hated a couple of years ago.


Now for the footy!


Worth a Zac ($2.06) vs Moore Please ($1.93)


The Blues were honourable in defeat (again) while the Pies were turgid in theirs with the exception of Darcy Moore.  Would seem to make the selection obvious!  The Pies are ‘backs to the wall’ and have to respond, it is easy to see the Blues consider last week was good enough to beat them.  Grundy has had the torch placed on him early, no such pressure has been put on Pittonet who was torched by Nankervis.  Zac Williams into the Blues will assist the midfield as will the inclusion of Sidebottom for the Pies.  As Captain Obvious would say, “The game will be decided on which forward line can kick goals.”  The Pies really struggled, suspect we might see more of Pendlebury and De Goey in the front half to try and be more creative.  The Blues were slightly better but will need to ensure Moore is appropriately occupied.  Probably only loyalty that has me picking Carlton.


EnDangered Species ($1.65) vs Duck Feed ($2.48)


Another two losers clash on Friday Night, with the Cats and Lions both on the receiving end of upset results.  Geelong lose Dangerfield and still have Jeremy Cameron on the sidelines.  Brisbane escaped injuries but had no answer for the irrepressible cygnets on the night.  Does Chris Scott need to get his team to change gears and move the ball faster?  Or can they adapt anyway?  They have a few with leg speed but can they be fast enough as a collective?  Brisbane don’t lack the speed, they seemed to lack the intensity and the Swan’s feasted.  It was Oscar McInerney’s first game as the number one ruckman for the club and expect him to improve, Rhys Stanley will be a different test than Tom Hickey last week.  These are pretty evenly matched sides with the loss of Dangerfield critical, more critical though is that both of these teams excel on their own deck.  This is on Geelong’s so I expect them to be in front at the end.


I would give everything, just to be like him ($1.37) vs Frampton Come Alive ($3.60)


The two aforementioned conquerors clash in early game Saturday.  Sydney unleashing a couple of beauties last week include a man called Errol, certainly had swashbuckling impact in his first appearance.  The kid Logan looked pretty good too!  While the Crows simply smothered the Cats then sped away.  Tex was back in form with Billy Frampton great support up front.  Sydney have the prospect of Buddy returning, while the Crows will lose Jake Kelly.  The other factor for this match will be the ground conditions, the last week will have really tested how good the SCG drainage is.  Another tough one where just going with the home side.


Fantasialand ($1.17) vs What’s the Point ($6.20)


Orazio opened his account with Port on familiar ground at the Loungeroom with 4 goals showing he will add to Port’s potency.  They take on the Bombers who faded badly to lose by that solitary point.  Tough to take for first game coach Ben Rutten.  This doesn’t get any easier going to the Adelaide Oval, expect Port to power over Essendon.


The Butler Did It ($1.73) vs Come what May ($2.30)


Dan Butler sealed the deal for the Saints last week, while for the Demons Steven May dominated in defence to keep the Dockers at bay.  St Kilda will have the return of the King to strengthen the forward line, although the Dees seem well equipped to cover the tall Saints forwards with Tomlinson, Lever and May – can they cover the speed on the ground?  An important game for bragging rights as both these teams are looking to stake themselves as the ‘next’ contenders.  Melbourne should have the edge in the ruck with Gawn up against the rookie Paul Hunter.  It should provide them the edge with first use of the footy and makes them my selection.


Hard to Swallow ($1.35) vs A Pain in the Guts ($3.55)


Best wishes to Robbie Tarrant who is recovering from kidney surgery, he will be handy hopefully returning for the second half of the season.  They travel to the Gold Coast who have their own woes with Matt Rowell suffering another long term injury.  Nevertheless they were very good against the Eagles, typical of the Gold Coast early in the year before they get tired.  Great debut for North from Stephenson playing in an unfamiliar midfield role, can he sustain the form?  Home ground and early season form has me picking the Suns here.


Give me Stats ($5.40) vs Balta on Tap ($1.22)


Great at the G last week to have Balter on tap, not so great for Blues was watching Balta dominate in defence.  It begs the question about whether the retirement of Alex Rance has been a blessing for the Tiges.  They now have a 10 year defender who is likely to have been traded if Rance was still leading the backline.  They take on the Hawks who got the Bombers by a point after Tom Mitchell collected the footy for fun in the second half last week.  If Barassi wants stats, Tom can deliver.  The Hawks won this encounter in 2020, not sure they have the personnel to do it in 2021.


Speaking English ($1.56) vs The Oscar Goes to ($2.74)


The rucks for the Dogs look so much better with Stefan Martin complementing Tim English, if they can both stay healthy they will create challenges for any opposition.  Different styles but both effective.  They made life difficult for Grundy last week and take on Nic Nat and Vardy this week.  The Dogs will need to improve their delivery into the forward line as so many forays were intercepted last week.  The Eagles don’t have Moore but they do have McGovern.  They also have the best Oscar.  Oscar Allen looks like he is ready to make the jump from third banana to be king banana in the forward line.  The Dogs are back in their loungeroom, their mids will win enough ball and I am trusting that they will fix the forward entry issues to get over the top.


Pearced Off ($1.92) vs A Matter of Trust ($2.04)


Alex Pearce injured again for the Dockers, he is having wretched luck but should be back in a couple of months.  The immediate challenge is that he will watching with plenty of mates!  They take on the Giants with at least a couple of things in their favour, first of all at home.  The other is the Giants are completely untrustworthy, two goals up half way through the final quarter on a heavy 10 and they conceded another four goals!  The Giants should be good enough given the personnel challenges for Freo, they are not to be trusted with my selection.



Turf Time


The main meeting in Victoria is at Bendigo with a terrific card.  A few I am interested in: Defiant Dancer (R1, #5) can win if she runs to her best form.  Saracen Knight (R4, #6) abject failure in the Wangaratta Cup, a repeat of his last effort off a freshen up goes close.  Mozzie Monster (R7, #7) is a bit like the Giants with trust issues, the favourite will be hard to beat but she will appreciate the trip out to 1400m.  Be looking for Each Way odds on them all.


Then it is Slipper Day take two, with conditions not as predictable and updates to many of the fields so we can’t just ‘rinse and repeat’.  Some rain lingering so still expecting a heavy track, looking for the mudders again.


Saturday Rosehill


Race 4 – Ranvet Stakes (G1, 2000m, WFA)


A couple of additions require consideration but the top three don’t change.  Going the safe way with Verry Elleegant (6) who has fitness on her side, the main threat being Addeybb (1) who might just need the run but can win if he is forward enough.  Master of Wine (3) is undefeated at the track.  Nettoyer (9) is a duck, so are Sir Dragonet (3) and Collette (7).  Reckon Collette (7) is best of the three.


Selections – 6-1-3-7


Race 5 – Rosehill Guineas (G1, 2000m, 3YO SW)


The addition of Grandslam (5) to the field should ensure the pace, whether he can repeat his performance in the Alistair Clark on the surface is questionable.  None of the new entrants cause selections to change from last week.  Three Waller runners and Bowman gets Wheelhouse (6) has placings on heavy, worth the risk.  No doubt Mo’unga (3) and Lion’s Roar (1) will be tough to beat, while the filly Montefilia (15) gets out to a favourable trip.  Of the visitors Lunar Fox (2) has been running in top races in Melbourne, untested on heavy but has a win on soft ground.  Could be in it if he handles the track.


Selections – 6-3-1-15


Race 6 – George Ryder Stakes (G1, 1500m, WFA)


Uncle Bob has removed Arcadia Queen and set a more conservative path, wise due to the questions on her capability on wet ground.  That is not an issue for Funstar (13) who gets the conditions she likes over a suitable distance.  Interesting that Maher-Eustace have entered Junipal (11) here, came of age in the back half of 2020.  This is a step up but the stable places them well usually.  Avilius (2) beat home Funstar (13) and loomed to win the Chipping Norton, that hit out should have him spot on here.  Star of the Seas (5) comes into the field after a successful trip to Melbourne and loves the wet.


Selections – 13-11-2-5


Race 7 – Golden Slipper Stakes (G1, 1200m, 2YO SW)


Not many of these have seen a heavy track so there could be some unseen ducks.  There are a couple that have won on the heavy so they do need consideration.  The problem being that the one I had last week has been scratched!  So it is full steam ahead for Four Moves Ahead (13) excellent in the Sweet Embrace to remain undefeated.  Respect for the Blue Diamond winner Artorius (3) where he was just too tough, exactly what it takes to win this race.  Can’t leave out GSOB who always puts the right ones in the slipper, reckon Anamoe (5) is the better.  Home Affairs (6)  won the Silver Slipper on a Soft7, conditions might be close to that.  Profiteer (2) could be primed and able to hold them all out, a risk I am prepared to take.


Selections – 13-3-5-6


Race 8 – The Galaxy (G1, 1100m, HCP)


No alterations to selections from last week.  The quintessential duck in Jungle Edge (5) takes on a field of handy sprinters.  Is it one campaign too many?  I will be with GSOB and Tailleur (12) gets in on the minimum and never further back than second ever.  Splintex (9) undefeated here and on heavy tracks looks well in on weights.  Eduardo (1) has his work cut out with top weight but he loves the contest as does Bella Vella (10).


Selections – 12-9-1-10


Quaddie Time


We will have a crack at Sydney, will be tough but value will look after itself if we nail it.


Leg 1 – 1, 2, 5, 11, 13

Leg 2 – 3, 5, 6, 8, 13

Leg 3 – 1, 4, 9, 10, 12

Leg 4 – 4, 6, 12


375 Combinations, $30 investment returns 8% of the dividend we hope!


Go Blues,


Cheers, Sal


The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in 2021. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order HERE



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  1. Spot on about needing suspensions as real deterrents for “cheap acts”. No sympathy for Dangerfield. Had frustrated “make him earn it” written all over it the way he charged at Kelly with no hope of getting there prior to disposal. Ageing champs get frustrated and cranky. Lucky to only get 3.
    Dogs will be far too quick for my Eagles. Our midfield really struggled against Suns last week. McGovern and Gaff had their worst games for years. Our intensity and threat drops 50% when Nic Nait goes off. Vardy is footy’s Bob Cunis. Now that Oscar Allen is maturing as a forward don’t think we can risk him rucking.

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