Round 20 Preview – Paddy Whacked!

Greetings All,


The teeth were gnashed early in the week regarding Patrick Dangerfield, his tackle and the penalty. In the end the we got the right outcome, the MRP showed consistency and got the decision right, Geelong and Paddy looked hard at whether to challenge and got it right not to. The only real issue was the bleating circus about the impact on the Brownlow, yes rules have changed and there are new ways of being reported and suspended but the award has stood the test of time as “The Fairest and Best” with suspended players ineligible. As for the agency that refunded $20K to punter who backed Dangerfield, what a crock – he knew the risk, he bought the ticket – I say let him crash!


But on to the games and a bit of a look into the not too distant future.


Dangerless ($2.18) vs You Wouldn’t Tippett ($1.83)

Geelong are four from four at the Cattery this year, however it should be noted the last team to topple them at home was Sydney. The restrictive in close game that the Cats used so effectively against the free running Bulldogs, Crows and Power will suit the Swans right down to the ground – they love the congestion. All the second stringers had great games against the Blues last week – a real test will be presented this week without Dangerfield it can’t just be left to Joel Selwood. By the same token the Swans are living on a knife’s edge and go in without Josh Kennedy. He was well held last week and that had a significant impact on the final result. Another ripping game and tough to select, just think that Paddy will be the difference and without him it will be too much left to too few and Sydney to get back on the winner’s list.

The ramifications of a loss for Sydney are significant, the Blues and Dockers at home will get them to 12 wins, I reckon they need to win either this game or Adelaide at the Oval to have chance to host a home final. Along with this game the Cats have another two at home but against top four aspirants in GWS and Richmond, the other fixture against the Pies at the G. Winning 3 out of 4 will get them to 15½ wins, which should guarantee a top two finish and squawking for Kardinia Park finals to get louder!


De Lids On ($1.59) vs Roo Food ($2.62)

In the middle of the year Brett Deledio seemed like a luxury item for the Giants as they cruised through the fixture, his return now is vital as they deal with unavailability of a number of key players. No Cameron, no Greene certainly opens up the possibilities for the Demons who were once again consumed by North Melbourne. Gawn should give them some advantage in the ruck, but the loss of Hogan requires another restructure of the Demons attack. At their best the Giants win this, but it is such a critical game for Melbourne that I think they will restrict them and get a vital win on the board.

Mind you it is as critical for GWS who face top eight prospects in all their remaining matches with the Round 23 clash with the Cats looming large. The Dogs in the Loungeroom followed by the Eagles at home make up the remainder. They need to at least split their last four to have chance of keeping a spot in the top four and would need to win them all to get a home final in week one. Melbourne have it a bit easier but can’t afford to slip up, next week’s encounter with the Saints being crucial for both club’s chances – a genuine eight pointer? Followed by Brisbane and the Pies all at the G should allow them a big finish, but the Pies would love nothing better than to spoil the party. Split their games and they should see finals action, beat the Saints and they do themselves a huge favour.


Joe ($1.29) vs Charlie ($4.30)

At either end of the ground the shining lights for the Bombers and Blues will line up, Charlie Curnow is 50 games in arrears of Joe Daniher with a similar early record. Joe Daniher is simply one of the most exciting players on the scene since Buddy Franklin, their similarities are remarkable. Tall and athletic, unreliable but raking left footers, run like the wind – Buddy still has Joe on strength, but Joe’s hands are much cleaner. As for the game the Blues are fading badly while the Bombers still have a sniff, the predicted inclement weather might be in the Blues favour but not enough.

Essendon are only a game out of the eight with a healthy percentage, with three games against teams at the tail end of the competition plus Adelaide in the loungeroom. Win three of them and they are more likely than not to play in week one of September. Carlton will play finals, but not in 2017 and highly unlikely in 2018.


The Other Buddy ($4.70) vs Go Dog Go ($1.25)

While Joe and Charlie impress Eric Hipwood is doing the same for Brisbane, they host the resurgent Bulldogs.  Some ducks and drakes with Captain Bob named as travelling emergency. A real danger game for the Bulldogs, Brisbane rested a number of key young players last week and the great Dayne was suspended. They’ll be primed for this, but the Dogs are back doing all the tough things that won them the flag last year – more importantly they are playing with more trust in each other. Dogs to win.

They will have to in order to continue their defence into September – after Brisbane they face the Giants, Port and Hawthorn. Due to their poor percentage they need to win at least two more to have any chance of getting into the eight, win three and there is the potential of a home final. Brisbane are in a similar position to the Blues, but have some advantage in able to build a genuine home ground advantage.


Up Hill Battle ($1.52) vs Rocketeers ($2.66)

The wheels have come off the Freo wagon but where would they have been without the Hill brothers? With the Hills, Fyfe, Neale, Mundy and Walters it makes for a handy midfield but there are too many holes through the rest of the team. They host the Suns who tend to pick a pretty good team, but invariably have key players pull out. Ablett and May last week, they are in the selected team at the moment and if they play they are a chance to win. Freo are more likely to line up as selected, are at Subiaco – so are my selection.

Neither of these are finals prospects.


Daw Shut ($2.62) vs Very Wells Thank You ($1.57)

Goldstein returns to the Roos after Majak Daw succumbs to injury, will he tease them for one more contract? They take on the Pies who are playing some pretty good footy especially with the influence of Daniel Wells, not sure he has the fitness to go as long as Shaun Burgoyne but he adds that kind of class to the Pies. I think that class might be the difference.

At 51 points up during the 3rd quarter last week the Pies life support system looked like it might keep them going, alas Mitch MCGovern pulled the plug from the wall and any finals chances expired.


Nicking Off ($1.80) vs Not Playing it Again Sam ($2.20)

The retirement challenge was on this week with two greats declaring that this season will be their last in Nick Riewoldt and Sam Mitchell, to that list we should add a third great whose announcement was a week earlier in Matt Priddis. All have been wonderful players and servants for their clubs each of them having their own special qualities to be remembered for.  Saint Nick’s athleticism and workrate is stuff of legend, regularly running his opponents into the ground.  Sam Mitchell was not blessed with speed, but his lateral movement rarely had him caught as he distributed the footy ambidextrously to his teammates. Maybe not as showy as some of his teammates it was no shock to see Matt Priddis win a Brownlow, always working under the umpires nose either winning the footy in close or applying tackles – West Coast fans truly appreciate his greatness. By the way it is not at Subi, St Kilda will win.

Both teams are like the boy with the barrow and have the job in front of them to make the eight. For St Kilda the Melbourne clash next week looms large after that they have North and Richmond. To get to 12 wins they need to win three of them, I am not sure they have been consistent enough this season to do that. While the Eagles probably only need to win two, they have two more home games and one of them against the Blues. The other though is round 23 against Adelaide who will want to be sure they don’t screw up in the final round like they did last year. Their away games are this week and against the Giants – their record says they are unlikely to win those.


Brownlow Time ($1.90) vs Stuck in the Rough ($2.06)

The individual honour awaits Dusty along with a pretty fat contract somewhere – for the good of the game I hope it is with the Tigers. As a club though they have bigger things on their mind even if the markets don’t think so. They will still be missing Jack this week so a forward bail out target remains a challenge although they dealt with it adeptly last week.  It won’t be as easy against the Hawks who are going as well as any team at the moment.  Missing Hodge to organise the defence could be a problem.  They will be keen to win in Jarryd Roughead’s 250th game – a superb team player who has gone through adversity few others have dealt with during their career. Well Played Rough!  But I think the Tigers are too hungry.

Finals aspirations vary for these teams, the Tigers are looking to lock in a top four spot and the cards keep falling their way.  Win two and they have it; Geelong (KP), Fremantle (Subi) and St Kilda (MCG) are on the menu all pretty tough.  If St Kilda are cooked at round 23 that might help, this week’s result is critical.  More critical for the Hawks though whose task is simple – win the next four and they are a chance.  North and Carlton should not present too many difficulties if they win this week – then the final encounter with the Bulldogs could be a ripper.


Jekyll and Hyde ($1.58) vs Shades of Gray ($2.52)

Both South Australian teams had final seconds heroics, their opponents committed some final seconds horrors – to the winner the spoils and it sets up a ripping Showdown.  The Crows showed that they can play their best and worst all in one game and much of the year it is how they have played – irrepressible at their best but prone to the occasional lapse with a very porous defence.  They get three good ‘uns back this week.  Robbie Gray and Paddy Ryder’s heroics got Port home in a tough battle, but one that keeps the top four prospects alive.  They need to win this to keep it so and I am picking them because the underdog usually wins the Showdown.

Adelaide have top position for the taking unless they shoot themselves in the foot again, a game and percentage clear should get them there.  However the pistol might be in the pocket with a pretty tough close, following this week they face the Bombers in the Loungeroom, Sydney at home then West Coast at Subi.  Reckon they can win two of those and lock in home finals.  One more win for Port and they play in September, but they will have their sights set on top four – they have a percentage advantage on Richmond and GWS can they win enough to get over them?  The Pies, Dogs and Suns stand in the way – win the Showdown and I suspect the critical game will then be against Footscray.  I suspect it will have more to do with how Richmond and GWS handle their tough runs home.


Amateur Hour

It is pretty much up to the mathematicians now for the Friars to avoid relegation, a young outfit which has been competitive but not quite able to play out four quarters.  Another spirited effort last week against Ormond, but a bad spell coughed up five goals which turned out to be the difference.  The Under 19s got a critical win over Mazenod.  This week it is under the flight path at PEGS for a triple header.


Go Friars, Go Blues,

Cheers, Sal



  1. I was tipping Sydney until I saw Kurt Tippett had been selected.
    It’s not a stretch to say he is playing for his career tonight.

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