Round 20 Preview – Take a whiff of this!

Greetings All,


After last week’s failings of the MRP, they went a couple better this week.  The madding crowd is lining up to pot the system, but what if the system is pretty good but those implementing it are the failings?  Before addressing the cases this week, the one of key interest is the suspension of Nat Fyfe from earlier in the season.  Some of the commentary this week to change the rules for the Brownlow mid-season is just preposterous, the award is for Fairest and Best and suspensions disqualify the offenders.  There is valid discussion as to whether or not SuperNat should have been suspended, but the decision was made and the rules around this award have stood the test of time.

What is of concern is that we have seen similar incidences since that have gone unpunished.  That is damning on those enforcing the system.  The cop out is that there are no two cases the same and the system does not use precedents in determining their decisions.  I recall hearing that mantra from Brian Collis who ran the tribunal many years ago, but many years ago there was not over a dozen cameras on every game to record every movement.  These days with every game televised and recorded there is ample opportunity to use prior indiscretions and the associated penalties to guide the adjudicators providing consistency and predictability to their decisions.  If that were the case a few more head high bumps would have been penalised and we would not be so worried about Nat Fyfe.

Now for this week and I did not have enough eyebrows to raise with some of the adjudications.  First of all Conca; two weeks might be OK for the offense but surely there was at least another for the bravery and stupidity of the act.  A discount for an early plea was not warranted.  Then there was the Steve Johnson case, this is a case where I believe the points system works.  I have no issue with the ultimate result of StevieJ not serving a suspension, but nevertheless his actions were unnecessary and antagonistic.  In the same manner I am annoyed about those charges thrown out because the force used did not warrant a report – as in the case of Marc Murphy.  In those cases I suggest that a number of points be put onto the player’s “carry over”, 20 would appear about right.  You get caught doing that rubbish 5 times and you have a week off – not dissimilar to the yellow card system.  The fines system as being discussed has not proven to be a deterrent but purely tax collection.

Finally there was Daniel Merrett, I’d love him to be on my side – aggressive, fearless and with a bit of talent.  But his spoil on Pedersen was crude at best.  The MRP have three grading levels which they can use – I can cop that Merrett’s action was not intentional.  Some would argue that he ensured an impact on the contest was made even if it was late.  But it was surely in the realm of either reckless or negligent and most of all he did not show the required “duty of care” in the contest.  Getting us back to Nat Fyfe who did not show the appropriate “duty of care”.  This was also the AFL’s opportunity to get this right and appeal against this decision and send it to the tribunal, once again they failed in their duties and missed an opportunity to show leadership to all the other leagues trying to run clean and safe competitions.

Is  the smell test what the AFL really lacks?  Let the MRP or any other part of the AFL come up with a penalty or plan – but make them put it to someone independent to check the odour level before it reaches the masses.  It gives them the chance to redress poor decisions which they never do once the news is out and it might just help their reputation.

Then there were another couple of suspensions that should have been dished out.  Many may not like Mick’s media manner – but one of his mantras to his uni students is “report the news don’t be the news”.  Mark Robinson and Damien Barrett could well heed that advice after their unedifying spat last week, a spell on the sidelines would give everyone a break!


The Tigers are sniffing a chance as the race for the eight tightens up, but I suspect the top four is pretty much a done deal.  With such and open race all games bar one involve a contender.


Conca’d Out ($2.48) vs A Winderful Life ($1.65)

The Tigers lose another to stupidity and face the Bombers who will lose Jason Winderlich at the end of the season.  Ravaged by injuries through most of his career Winderlich has provided a spark to the Bombers this year and will be missed.  But he will be there on Friday night as they look to get back on track after a game effort in Sydney, they are up against the rampant Tigers chasing six on the trot.  This is a line ball game that I am favouring Essendon to win with a more even team – however they will come unstuck if they do not pay appropriate attention to the Tiger stars and particularly Dustin Martin who has been allowed far too much latitude by the opposition in recent weeks.  So whilst the Bombers might be the selection even I could be tempted by $2.50 on the Tigers especially with injury doubts on a few Bombers.


Where’s the Finish Line ($6.60) vs Rib Tickled ($1.17)

All-Australian Full Back Scott Thompson and his padded ribs make their way to the nation’s capital to take on the Giants who are limping to the end of their season.  The Roos could suffer a let up – but highly doubtful.


Night Owls ($1.53) vs Beach Boys ($2.74)

The lads from the coast are talking up their prospects in the Loungeroom after a couple of wins there this year, but there is a major factor from those games missing.  The Blues are trying to find the right time to play but unfortunately for Jeff Garlett and Mitch Robinson the broadcasters don’t like 5:00am.  They may have played well against Freo, but Cameron Wood’s error was preceded by so many more that did not allow them to put the game away.  The loss of Henderson takes away a lot of flexibility and the tank theorists would be wondering whether he would have been mothballed if the Blues were a chance.  They do have chance against the Suns and I reckon they will make up for last week’s disappointment, but again the satchel swingers have put a lot of trust in a flaky outfit so punters might be enticed into the Suns at $2.50 or better.


Top Seeds ($1.06) vs Dee-solation ($17)

The Hawks plough ahead in stark contrast to Melbourne who plough anywhere to look competitive.  Roos may have disassociated himself from last week’s performance – but it was his style of play they try to execute.  Eventually he will have to teach them how to find a way forward to score – a few goals this week would be nice for the fans but there won’t be enough.


Cat a Tonic ($1.48) vs Fyfedom ($3.05)

After the rant above on SuperNat and the Brownlow – I sure hope he wins one but not in 2014.  He is the shining knight among the cast of drones that Get Stuffed Lyon has forged and well worth the entry ticket alone!  Can they beat the Cats who will be looking to avenge their defeat at this venue in September last year?  Pav has been selected but there must be some doubts and there are questions around McPharlin’s movement.  They still have most of the other ingredients – in particular Herman who was a key to last year’s win.  Whilst they have the ingredients they need a more even contribution and relying on Fyfe to carry them over the line won’t work at Geelong.  On the other hand I did not consider the Cats too impressive last week – but it was a dangerous game and they won.  How Geelong manage the scourge of Ballantyne and Crowley will be important – Freo’s chief protagonists do know which buttons to push in the Cats team.  But I do think that Tomahawk and the Cat attack will prevail and score the 10-12 goals required to beat Freo.  Again though the bagmen are being pretty generous on the visitors who appeal at the $2.50 or better again.


Hospital Handball ($3.10) vs Buddyberry ($1.47)

With the Port facilities  being disinfected to hospital grade, Coach Kenny will hope it also flushes out the malaise that has afflicted his team.  The Pies shut the corridor off last week and Port could not react.  Sydney are even better at stifling the game before they escape at pace to feed their handy forward pack.  The addition of Hannaberry and Franklin improves the Swans even further.  The addition of Trengrove will certainly assist with the structure for Port but I suspect that Sydney will have too many guns in its arsenal.


Brownless ($2.74) vs Charddy Sippers ($1.55)

Fears for the Lions after the loss of their king have been unwarranted as Leppa’s young tyros have produced some terrific results.  In particular they are well on the way in re-establishing the much feared Gabbatoir.  Which makes this a very interesting encounter against the other flakes from Adelaide, whose supporters would have tasted splinters in their Chardonnay last week.  With every game having implications on their finals chances the Crows should be well motivated for this match, but their opponents will be looking forward to the contest.  In Jenkins and Walker the Crows have a pair of handy targets up forward and I think they can get enough supply to keep them firing for September.  Another underdog that should be about $2.50.


Goodbye St Leonard ($3.85) vs Washington Generals ($1.33)

It would not be often that the Saints are cast as the Globetrotters, but with Lenny Hayes playing his last home game for the club they will have a strong band of their loyal flock.  Can they reproduce their Freo form?  I suspect it might be too much for them and this time the Generals in the form of the Dogs will rebound from their poor effort against Hawthorn.


Corporate Conundrum ($1.92) vs No Swanning Around ($2.04)

If North and Adelaide are flaky then how do you describe the paradox that is the Eagles?  Can they be trusted to back up against Collingwood?  The Pies did not need Dane Swan last week as they made it a defensive struggle – will the same work against the Eagles?  If the Eagles can get the game open then I suspect they will win comfortably, however if the Pies can constrain the game as they did last week they have more than enough quality and desire to prevail in tight games.  I reckon the Eagles might lift and make it two in a row throwing further possibilities for the finals.


Friar Time

After leading NOBS all day a poor final quarter from the Friars let them down being overrun by an experienced outfit.  But no matter the result this scribe was more than pleased his heir made his senior debut and played a more than serviceable game.  This week the lads face another finals aspirant in Old Geelong in their efforts to stay above the relegation line, this will be the last game at Donvale Reserve for the club.  Meanwhile the Under 19s travelled to South Road with an undermanned side to take on Old Brighton, maybe not at full strength but certainly fully committed they charged away to a comfortable victory.  This week at Friar Park they clash with Old Trinity for top position on the ladder in a great test before finals action.


Go Blues, Go Friars

Cheers, Sal



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