Round 20 – Sal’s Preview: Time for a Knees Up

Greetings All,


A couple of great stories this weekend with comebacks.  Alex Johnson gets to comeback after playing his last AFL game in the ultimate game of 2012 and subsequently enduring twelve bouts of surgery including five reconstructions.  The Crows are out of the conversation for September footy, win all four and who knows.  They will be assisted with the return of their quarterback Brodie Smith after a 10 month hiatus with an ACL reconstruction.  Then there is Nathan Freeman who doesn’t actually make a comeback, he finally gets to the line for his first AFL match after being drafted originally by the Pies back in 2013.  The dreadful irony being that he was drafted with Matt Scharenberg who has ruptured his ACL for the third time.  Closer to home the son and heir has also been given the all clear to return to footy this weekend after suffering the horrible fate 12 months ago.  Best of luck to all those returning and also to those on the recovery trail.


It is getting close to finals, the Tigers look to lock-in  a Grand Final berth, much to play out though to find their challenger.  Let’s see how this week’s fixtures will pan out.


The Benchmark ($1.44) vs The Tom Toms ($3.25)


The Cats have primed themselves for this one against the Tiges, they thought they were close in this contest about six weeks ago.  They are in form and have Tom Hawkins on fire, unfortunately they will be missing Tom Stewart at the other end.  His loss in defense could be made up by the move of Joel Selwood to the back half – great one on one player and good decision maker – might be a key move for this year’s assault.  That is provided they are a contender, the news cycle is so short a mere five quarters ago the Cats were in all sorts of bother and playing in their own backyard.  The Tigers are the benchmark, the mounting injury list could have some impact.  Their cornerstones though are resilient.  Richmond have been beaten by teams that have contested well against Rance and his cohorts, for the Cats to win they will need to ensure they do the same.  Just not sure the Geelong forwards provide the right level of defensive pressure so the Tigers to continue on.


Brownlow Tom ($2.14) vs Big Tom ($1.85)


Tom Mitchell continues to rack them up with impunity whether he is tagged or not, expect the Bombers will put a bigger effort to lock him down and restrict his influence.  If it can be achieved it will go a long way towards winning the encounter.  The Bombers were too quick for the Swans last week and will match up well against Hawthorn for speed here.  The Ceglar – Bellchambers match up will be critical –  if Bomber Tom can control stoppages and provide silver service to his midfield as he did last week then the Bombers should prevail.


Starkers ($1.86) vs Done Waiting ($2.12)


The Lions bring in another newby with Brandon Starcevic (Son of Craig) earning his debut as they host the Roos.  North travel from the chill of Hobart to the temperate climes of Brisbane, importantly without their gun distributor Shaun Higgins.  They do get Jarrad Waite back who will spread the load up forward.  The loss of Higgins is important as is the Gabba as a home ground advantage – Kanga fans are puzzled that Brisbane are favourites – maybe the satchel swingers have it right as I think they will win too.


Rising Tom ($2.16) vs Rocking Tom ($1.84)


The showdown has become a massive contest especially for Adelaide.  A loss and it is definitely all over for 2018 plus they would like to make life as difficult as possible for their crosstown rival.  Port would like nothing more than to plant the final nail into the Adelaide coffin.  The Crows get some handy ones back, potential rising star Tom Doedee and Brodie Smith – it will make them very competitive.  Just think Port have so much to play for and their recruits in Rockliff, Watts and Motlop are starting to deliver.  Port in a fierce contest.


The Love Bite ($1.65) vs Ratted ($3.25)


Tom Hickey seems to have won the battle as the Saints prime ruckman, not sure who he is up against this week as the Bulldogs try and get their ruck options right.  Their Ballarat match yielded little with poor weather and a poor result, at least they face St Kilda in the pristine surrounds of the Loungeroom – just not sure how many will be on the couches.  Great to see Nathan Freeman get a run and think the Saints might get up in a game of little consequence.


Snappy Tom ($1.75) vs Grammar Tom ($2.30)


Tom Papley will spend Saturday night nipping at the heels of the Pie defenders that will include the Grammar lad Tom Langdon.  The Swans and Pies are both decimated with injuries – plenty off the ground and a few on the ground who are flying the flag for their club.  On form the Pies are going better despite the injuries, Sydney seem to have hit the abyss.  They do get Jack and McVeigh back to steady the ship and Alex Johnson is a great story.  Would usually favour them at the SCG, this year they have a poor record there.  The Pies are great travellers and in a flip of the coin game I reckon the travellers will prevail.


Green Shoots ($9.00) vs Weed Killer ($1.12)


The Blues Green Shoots were terrific last week and showed signs that there is light at the end of the 2018 tunnel.  The shoots could be trodden on by the Giants who are out to show that they are ready to take the mantle of the main contender.  Suspect they will do that reputation no harm this week.


Almost a Legend Tom ($1.18) vs Between the Sheets Tom ($6.00)


The West Coast Tom has a name just an i short of being a legend of the game, Barrass is going quite OK himself!  They take on Freo whose Tom is more synonymous with the bedroom and bathroom.  Sheridan is playing for his footy future over the next couple of weeks.  That’s explained now to explain the Derby.  The Eagles second half last week was poor but back home they are a better team even up against a team that shares the venue.  Shuey back will assist in contested ball, Freo still without their two most influential players.  West Coast to win.


Fast Food Tom ($1.04) vs Gone Tom ($24.00)


Even Demon fans have been astonished by what Tom McDonald has produced up forward this year.  Initially viewed as a shock trooper in his forward forays, his smarts and efficiency have made him a key ingredient.  Another Tom will be missing from the opposing forward line forever with Lynch indicating to the Suns what was already known.  Likely to turn up at a “destination” club in Melbourne it will once again highlight the damage free agency has done to the league’s equalisation aspirations.  Is he worth it?  Physical attributes certainly suggest so – not sure the numbers stack up.  Dines out on the minnows, his record against the best is not so impressive.  Admittedly his team has not been the best going around, his average of less than 2 goals per game does not stack up that well compared to his contemporary Jeremy Cameron at over 2.5 per game.  Suspect a stronger club will make some difference.  He is not there nor is Steven May, the Demon Tom to win this one.


Friar Time


A plug first up!  Ex-Friar Damian Callinan’s one man routine “The Merger” has been adapted to celluloid.  The film will take centre stage at the Melbourne International Film Festival premiering next Saturday at the Comedy Theatre.  A portion of the humour coming from the time Damian spent at the Friars in the early days.  The film looks a beauty, you can view the trailer and get more details at


As for the footy – the Friars held on to stave off Old Paradians and deliver their first defeat of the season, a battle won with much more to come for the season.  The Reserves went the other way with OP proving much more efficient on the day.  The Under 19s had the Zach Tuohy fairytale with a goal after siren to defeat PEGS while the girls took out the points over Oakleigh.  They are the headline act this weekend hosting Williamstown CYMS in the 1st Semi Final at Friar Park in the prime time slot of 2:00pm.  The Under 19s take on Old Scotch while the Senior team head to Albert Park to face our first senior Grand Final opponents in Power House.  That premiership from 30 years ago will be celebrated along with the Under 19 premiership from the same year and the senior from 1998 at our final home game for the season next Saturday.  Ribeye ‘n Risotto Lunch


There is also still room for the Garry Wilson lunch today at the North Fitzroy Arms.


Go Blues, Go Friars, Go Matt, Go to lunch!


Cheers, Sal


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  1. Tom Barass back for my Eagles. His size and strength lets Gov take more rebounding risks.

  2. Cats are certainties Sal, just not sure if they’re certainties to win or lose.

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