Round 21 – Preview: I see Red, I see Red, I see Red

Greetings All,


A week pretty much dominated by a single act that surprised not only the victim and those who were watching, but also the perpetrator Andrew Gaff.  The commentary during the week that such acts do not belong in the sport, putting AFL above other sports.  Such acts do not belong in any sport apart from the pugilistic varieties that are prevalent.  They have plenty of fans – I am not one of them.  Unfortunately the marketing and adjudication of AFL often contravenes the idea that such acts do not belong in the sport.  Jake Niall’s piece in The Age during the week highlighted the folly of last week’s Hawthorn-Essendon game using the infamous “line-in-the-sand” match to attract fans.  He so correctly pointed out the Hawks revival was not from that match but from the goldmine of the following draft with the selections of Roughead, Franklin and Lewis.


Then there is the lack of enforcement of the rules of the game, it has progressively become more lenient where players have been pushing the line.  The week Andrew Gaff crossed it.  Umpires have turned a blind eye to unnecessary niggling and harassment of players.  Defensive and negative tactics have been largely unpunished.  Coaches have been accused of causing the problem, what bollocks!  If the rules were enforced more diligently rather than sparingly coaches would soon understand the folly of such negative tactics, at the moment the two or three frees a tagger concedes per game is worth it to stop the influence of key opponents.


The MRP system has been horribly lenient – there is no such thing as a “tummy tap”, it is a punch and it deserves sanction.  In play actions are being treated more harshly than off the play actions.  Zak Jones was appropriately suspended for a late bump on Kyle Langford, however his off the play direct punch to face of Zach Merrett warranted only a fine.  A week prior Daniel Howe received a 3 week sanction for an in play act that resulted in a nasty injury, however for an off the play direct and deliberate punch to the face he only received a 2 week penalty.


All this is really just noise for the league to tidy up.  Andrew Gaff is ultimately responsible for his own actions and from all his communication has taken that on.  He understands now that wherever that punch was supposed to land on Andrew Brayshaw it should never have been thrown.  Red cards have been a feature of the lower competitions for many a year now, occasionally the umpires get them wrong but overall they have cleaned up the game at these levels.  The flagship competition has resisted the introduction of in game sanctions in case they get it wrong.  Leave the cards out of the umpires hands – there is enough video for a review of such an incident to inform umpires of the need for an ejection.  The evidence was clear and damming – It should have happened to Gaff, it should have happened to Bugg, it should have happened to Hall.  Maybe if it happened to Hall the others may never have happened!


At the end of it I hope Andrew Brayshaw can make complete recovery, that Andrew Gaff can do the same and they can reconcile.  It was out of character but he did it.  Then I hope the competition makes a stand on off the play violent conduct no matter how insignificant it may appear.


Onto this week’s contests with the jockeying for finals berths and barrier positions on in earnest.


Don and Dusted ($1.21) vs Dan and Dastardly ($5.60)


Another nail in the Bombers push for finals was delivered into the coffin last week, the mathematics says there is hope the draw says there is not.  They get to host the Saints who have pretty openly revealed their in season move on Dan Hannebery, not something we want in the game.  Not sure putting it out there is in their best interest either as a few more clubs are likely to line up for a player of his capability.  Some risk for the Bombers coming off last week’s let down, they are in better form and should prevail.


Smoking the Ceglar ($2.40) vs A Narkle in the Eye ($1.71)


The concern about the Hawks in the absence of Ben McEvoy has been resolved with solid contributions from Jonathan Ceglar on his return from injury, they are now pushing for a top four position.  Hosting their modern day rivals the Cats in what are predicted to be apocalyptic conditions at the G.  Makes it difficult to choose, such conditions will not favour the Hawthorn possession based game, it will favour their main driver in Tom Mitchell who is built for such conditions.  The Cats don’t mind a contested game with Dangerfield and Selwood who revel in the heavy, they get some quality back also in Narkle, Stewart and Parsons.  Stanley returning is also a plus, on recent form if he can influence the contests Geelong can lift themselves back into prime contention.


Come what May ($21.00) vs Soldoing On ($1.04)


Have the Tigers lost their “Fifth Beatle’?  Toby Nankervis has been important in Richmond’s dominance, Ivan Soldo is stepping into his role this week.  They will be tested by the Suns who get Swallow, May and Lyons back, they are trumped by Prestia, Houli, Broad and Graham.  The Tigers have most of the band back together as they tune up for September, this is a practice gig before the big tour.


Showed Up ($1.48) vs Gaffered ($3.05)


The Showdown delivered the usual contest with Port losing ground in their chase for the top four, meanwhile the Derby delivered its usual spite which has dominated this week’s news.  A critical game for both clubs and their aspirations, the Eagles will need to adapt for a campaign without their running machine in Gaff.  The Portress against interstate clubs is usually a happy place, not against the Eagles though.  West Coast have defeated Port in every encounter at the Adelaide Oval, picking that will stop this week.


Sons in the Gun ($1.30) vs Show Time ($4.20)


The Pies lose all their Father-Sons this week with Darcy Moore injured while Josh Daicos and Callum Brown have been omitted – a handy in with De Goey returning.  They take on the Lions who continue to play exciting footy without getting the chocolates.  Brisbane are primed for another exciting loss in the Loungeroom this week.


Sweet Sixteen ($1.51) vs Pride of South Australia ($2.96)


The Crows prevailed last week to take the South Aussie champ mantra.  For the season Adelaide are in purgatory, mathematical hope to make the finals without any genuine chance to get there.  They can stuff up a few on the way as they did last week.  Losing Talia does not help.  The Giants toyed with the Blues last week leaving only sixteen players on the park at times – they have the big picture in mind.  The replacements for the injured players are handy, the loss of Simpson being the biggest challenge.  Lobb is forced into the ruck where he does not appear that comfortable with no obvious backup for him, they do not lose much up forward since Cameron has returned.  Adelaide have the talent to challenge, they have never played in the national capital and GWS have won their last eight at the venue.  Giants to press on.


The Glimmer ($1.34) vs The Tease ($3.90)


North get their playmaker back with Shaun Higgins returning – they are not quite in finals purgatory playing three teams out of the top eight to close the season – there is hope.  The first hurdle is the frustrating Bulldogs.  Footscray have disappointed for much of the year however in patches they have played some great footy reminiscent of 2016.  They are the “girl with the curl”.  Their best can beat North, they have too many “L”s in the form guide to pick them.


The Ship has Sailed ($1.28) vs Kreuzing In ($4.40)


The season cannot finish quickly enough for the Dockers and Blues, this game has nothing riding on it.  Freo should have the advantage at home, in Carlton’s favour they are not facing Sandilands and Fyfe who have habitually torn them apart.  No wonder Fyfe was keen to get back prematurely.  Last week had to be the final straw for Carlton – no need waiting for the league to provide a priority pick – the request needs to be made.


Attack ($1.45) vs Defend ($3.20)


Sunday’s game at the MCG will see diametrically opposite coaching and style mantras.  The Demons have scored 172 points more than the Tigers who are 78 points ahead of the next best.  Sydney have long been one of the most miserly defenses in the competition.  The Swans are at risk of missing September footy for the first time in many a year.  Melbourne don’t like a scrap, the Swans thrive on them.  If Sydney can control the speed of the game and Buddy maintain last week’s form they win.  Not sure they have all the personnel to do that so picking Melbourne to have another romp.


Friar Time


A milestone week for the Friars last week with the girls winning their first final over Williamstown CYMS.  The Under 19s put Old Scotch to the sword.  The senior teams had solid wins over Power House who made the games as ugly as the windy conditions that they were played in.  In the penultimate round of the regular season the Under 19s travel to the bohemian delights of Brunswick to kick the dew off Gillon Oval.  Back at Friar Park the senior team take on St Johns who are right in the relegation battle.  Sunday sees the Friars travel back into the bohemian lands with the Women playing Old Ivanhoe in the Preliminary Final it will all be happening at Bill Lawry Oval in Northcote.


Go Blues, Go Friars, Go for the priority pick!


Cheers, Sal


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  1. Spot on about the tagging/scragging and the off the ball cheap shots. The MRP and the Umpiring Dept have allowed this to get to critical proportions and it needs to be penalised out of the game ASAP.
    It’s a game for heroes – not cowards.
    Gaffer taped? Hadn’t thought of that line, but he is the unwitting poster boy for where throwing indiscriminate punches eventually lands. Self inflicted injury.
    My Eagles should have signed Usain Bolt as a replacement running machine. We’ll be ok when JK comes back, but tomorrow might be a bridge too far.
    The Ben Stokes trial in the UK is interesting reading in a week where he won a Test for the poms over India. Reads like a guy with a serious drinking problem to me, and he needs to give up the booze or it will keep getting him (and his victims) in hot water throughout his life.
    Onya Sal.

  2. Not sure I’d include Parsons in the same sentence as Stewart & Narkle regarding quality. I thought the incriminating photos he must have of Chris Scott had disappeared. Appears not.

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