Round 20 – Preview: Have you had enough or do you want some more?

Greetings All,


Last weekend’s games were a mixture of high scoring blowouts or turgid low scoring scraps with a couple of exceptions.  So the question being raised is “have we had enough?”  The eight is set let’s just get the finals going.  From a 2016 perspective it is a reasonable perspective, but in most years the last two spots are likely to still be open and for this year the top four is wide open.  The imbalance of the fixture being likely to have a bearing on its final make up but that is for later.


First and foremost, this is a game of attrition.  Teams have to get through a game playing at sustainable level to ensure consistent output for four quarters and we have seen the impact on teams that lose players during games – the reduction in interchange has limited the advantage but when you lose three like the Dogs did against St Kilda chances are significantly affected.  This has been the case for many a year and the clubs decided they did not like the green vest option.


It is also a game of attrition through the season and this where I do not want to see the season reduced, however it does appear the quality of the footy being played now has dropped off.  It could be because teams went too hard too early and a few players are spent – certainly understandable in younger players – but then Adelaide have only played 27 and they are going OK.  Purely as an observation we are back to stoppage driven play where players won’t risk moving the ball on in case a footy game breaks out – umpiring can sort this out by paying a few more free kicks in those scrimmages.


The integrity of the competition though is affected by the lack of consequence for finishing lower on the table – many would argue positive consequences.  The result being that we will see some blowouts from the top sides over the bottom sides over the next few weeks as percentage is like to decide the finals barrier draw.  Blow outs are OK and they even occurred in days before the draft – they just didn’t get seen on TV!


Let this season play out and next season will present another set of conundrums.


And the play out begins this weekend!


The Old Pies ($1.42) vs The New Pies ($3.30)

The newspapers have me confused – I always thought that Collingwood stories sold papers but blimey they have been pretty full on with the Tigers this week.  Not really with anything new either – Richmond have been struggling all year and GWS might handout a couple more beltings by the time the season is done.  Redemption is available for them this week in a battle of the also rans.  They will be fired up for this one, but the Pie midfield simply has too many numbers compared the heavy load Martin and Cotchin have to carry.  Could see a Richmond win, but suspect Collingwood will take this one and throw some fuel on the Tiger Fire.


Strike One ($1.30) vs The New Eagles ($4.30)

Michael Talia gets a strike and everybody knows about it – how many more are there that we don’t know about?  Karl Amon indicated the real Port turned up to pound the hapless Lions – the fact that they don’t turn up against quality opposition reminds me of a team that resides further west.  How will they arrive for this encounter with Sydney?  It is a critical game for the Swans as their next couple are tricky assignments against the Saints in the Loungeroom and Roos in Hobart.  Suspect their midfield numbers will provide sufficiently to pass this assignment.


A Little Weid ($5.20) vs Hardwick Gone ($1.23)

Another Friar makes his debut with Sam Weideman stepping out for the Dees (and he’s not that little).  A tough assignment against the Hawks who misread the newspaper and dropped their Hardwick.  They do get Cyril back though.  There is some chance of complacency with the two game buffer, but not enough chance to tip against them.


Go the Barrel ($8.00) vs Handballed Shane ($1.12)

Watched Tom Lynch last week – what a great work rate he has – just should have launched a torp with that last kick!  His team was competitive in an ugly scrap; they host the Giants who will be keen on percentage.  The Suns are made of sterner stuff now with a few good ‘uns back, however they are light on in the ruck department especially up against Mummy and Lobb.  They resorted to double teaming big Max last week.  That ascendency should be enough for the Giants to roll on to a top four finish, will Mummy get a kick?


Unlibbarated ($2.40) vs Majak Happens ($1.70)

What a critical game this is for the Dogs and Roos, the loser probably to be consigned to eighth place although plenty of water still to flow under that bridge.  Which may not be that bad as it may provide a MCG final.  Footscray lost a couple more in Macrae and Libba which will test their midfield depth, but their tenacity and effort can’t be faulted.  Waite is gone for the Roos but Daw is a pretty good replacement and he and Goldy should hold sway in the rucks.  That should give North the edge although certainly not underestimating the fight in these Dogs.


Where’s the Sauce ($1.03) vs Mice of the Jungle ($29.00)

Jacobs out for the Crows probably comes at a good time to blood a new ruckman coming up against the Lions whose ruckman is only playing his second game in Archie Smith.  The Lions copped a belting last week and the Crows will be looking to repeat the dose to get their percentage up and hopefully snare second spot.


Sky Walker ($2.50) vs Still Dreaming ($1.65)

A win last week could have put the Saints right in the finals frame – but the loss has left its hopes purely mathematical.  So your telling me there’s a chance!  They have been terrific in the Loungeroom, but also won their only game at the G this season.  The Blues play host to them and are bidding farewell to Andrew Walker after 202 games – not always the tidiest player but has a phenomenal highlight reel and has been a terrific player for the Blues.  His debut in 2004 was a beauty I was trying to follow that game on a Blackberry waiting for a flight at LAX.  His mark over Jake Carlisle was simply the best I have seen live (I had a better view of it than Bosustow’s).  It should have been Mark of the Year – but that year the league decided that the best goal and mark should be popularity contests and amazingly Collingwood players won both.  Back to the game – the Blues have battled honourably against the powerhouses which should hold them in good stead here, but the Saints have something potentially to play for and probably have the weight of numbers through the middle.  But still gonna pick the Blues.

One more on Andrew Walker – methinks he would have been a much better player with better coaching.  A Captain Obvious statement but they all relied on his talent instead of teaching him the intricacies of the game.  There are several others in the same situation still running around in blue.


Purring ($1.02) vs Shaping the Eight ($36.00)

The Bombers are being cast as cannon fodder for finals aspirants who are looking to build their percentages in the chase for second, suspect the Cats will purr along and put themselves in a good position this week!


Herman ($4.80) vs Nic Nat ($1.20)

Two of the competitions best ruckmen may make their return this week.  Not exactly sure why Sandilands is returning – four games to play an aging body and surely being fit and firing for 2017 should be more important.  But then he is a footballer and probably just wants to play.  For the Eagles the return of Natanui is critical – despite winning 5 of the last 6 and Get Stuffed Lyon talking them up they are not playing anywhere near good enough to present a threat in September.  Nic Nat is the one player that can change all that.  It will be tough for them this week and I imagine Freo would enjoy nothing more than to spoil their crosstown rival’s aspirations.  I suspect they just might.


Friar Time

First and foremost – Good Luck to Sam Weideman!  As for the footy the Under 19s again tried valiantly against a powerful St Bedes unit, this week they open the Triple Header at Friar Park against another finals aspirant in Fitzroy.  The Seniors played well for most of the match but for a spell in the 3rd quarter where the OGS displayed why they are the team to beat for this year’s D1 title.  Old Mentonians though are in prime position and will put their credentials up in the main course at Friar Park this week.  A win to the Friars or a NOBSP loss will remove any mathematical possibility of the Friars playing in D2 in 2017.


Go Friars, Go Blues,


Cheers, Sal



  1. Earl O'Neill says

    A fun read, thanx Sal.
    A lot more ‘stoppage’ football now, but that’s winter. The New Age we enjoyed in the first six weeks seems a long time ago but is soon to be reborn.

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