Round 21 – Sal’s Preview: Into the Home Straight

Greetings All,


What a diversion the first test was!  Much space taken up with the rapture of the Australians and doom and gloom for the English.  However the oft quoted “nothing is as good as it seems and nothing is as bad as it seems” needs to heeded.  Australia was probably one Steve Smith failure from a loss and Archer into the English attack will present a completely different challenge for the batters.  Enough cricket – it is Round 21 as clubs make their runs over the final furlong.


Front Bench ($1.40) vs Back Bench ($3.40)


For some bizarre reason the AFL have scheduled a Friday Night game in the capital in the midst of winter.  The addition of a well-timed Antarctic blast and the possibly of snow make it more so.  The Giants are in the ministry and looking to firm their position to be elevated to the inner cabinet.  They should have the Hawks measure, they have drifted to the back bench but not without a couple of Abbottesque headlines along the way.  With the expected climatic conditions they could make another big statement, just think GWS will be able to quell the uprising.


Anti-Aircraft ($1.44) vs Ramped Up ($3.20)


Port shot down the high flying Bombers last week in another turnaround of their form, getting back to Adelaide Oval gives them a great chance for two in a row.  They host the Swans who were desperately unlucky against the Giants, if they can maintain that level of intensity they will challenge Port.  Getting Rampe back in charge of defense will be a significant boost.  The home ground and ruck strength give Port the edge here.


May Day ($2.84) vs Coxless ($1.54)


Steven May will stiffen the Demons defense for their encounter with the Pies, however he will be of little use unless his teammates become less profligate with the ball.  Melbourne simply turn the ball over too often and too often in dangerous parts of the ground making them too easy to score against.  The loss of Cox for the season removes an X-factor for the Pies, he has struggled this year but did blossom in September last year.  They still should have too many guns in the middle of the ground to overrun Melbourne.


Chasing Eight ($1.06) vs She don’t lie ($15.00)


JJ Cale’s anthem was heard out of the Gold Coast as one of their younger players faces four years on the sidelines with a positive test.  In the meantime the club has also put a couple of players on notice dropping Jack Martin and Peter Wright, both talented players but don’t play at the intensity required.  They need to against the Brisbane machine who are looking to claim their eighth win in succession and push hard for a home final in week one.  Brisbane weren’t at their best last week and still prevailed – a good sign – suspect they will make it eight.


Feeling Saad ($2.12) vs UnLiberatored ($1.86)


Some key outs for the Dons and Dogs, the former losing five to injury including one of their key rebounders in Adam Saad.  His loss is balanced by the Dogs losing Libba and their architect from defense in Caleb Daniel, occasionally bites off more than he can chew but generally makes good decisions and executes well.  McKernan back is important for the Bombers as Zac Clarke looked uncompetitive last week, they will like their chances up against Tim English.  He should not be taken lightly as he continues his improvement.  Heppell will be handy too!  This is a tough game to select, the Bombers were turgid last week and should respond, the Dogs need this to keep the mathematics going.  The coin came up Footscray.


They’ll Love to Have a Beer ($1.35) vs Hop on Board ($3.75)


Mitch Duncan might not be in the realm of Dangerfield, Ablett or Selwood – probably just how the Cats like it as he accumulates an average of over 22 possessions per game.  He celebrates his 200th game this week at home against the Roos who hopped back on the winners list last week.  The Cats are struggling and will be pleased to get back home, this is probably the perfect test for them as we know the Kangas will be up for the contest.  Suspect Geelong are looking to make their run into September and will bounce back here, otherwise they are a very shaky frontrunner.


China Broken ($1.60) vs Cat Killers ($2.60)


The Saints lose Doulton Langlands to injury but may get Steven and Hannebery into the lineup, they take on Freo who were superb in taking down the Cats last week.  On the road though is a test for them.  This game is an important one for Brett Ratten, Freo do have scalps on the road this year but failed both time in the Loungeroom this year.  St Kilda will be expecting a good performance however Freo do have their big four up and going.  If Sandilands can dominate and deliver to Fyfe, Hill and Walters the Saints are in for a tough time, however suspect Marshall will be competitive enough and help his team over the line.


The Corporation ($1.26) vs Pyke vs Jenkins ($4.50)


The Eagles are fine tuning for their defense, they were too well drilled and efficient for the Blues last week and get to hone their craft against the Crows this week.  Rumourville exploded this week with talk of physical altercation between Don Pyke and Josh Jenkins.  Emphatically denied by the coach and not surprisingly, Josh is not guilty of many physical encounters.  Notably he remains out of the team that needs to win to maintain their tenuous grip on eighth place.  Don’t think they will, but percentage might just give them a reprieve.


Just a Titch ($1.17) vs Kreuzing ($6.80)


Shane Edwards gets to game 250 – what a stalwart he has been for the Tigers, went through plenty of tough years but is a vital cog as they hurtle towards the finals.  In the way of the Tiger train this week is the Blues who will be keen to atone for last week’s defeat.  Will be a pretty tough task although bolstered with the return of Kreuzer, Jones and Thomas.  Richmond have also fared well at selection with the possible inclusion of Nankervis, Stack and mid-season draft selection Marlion Pickett.  With conditions expected to be difficult a ground ball game suits both these teams, Richmond are just better at it and should win what I hope will be a great game.


Friar Time


The girls bowed out of the race for 2019 going down to a solid Westbourne Grammar team.  A great effort from the team who will regroup and prepare for the attack on 2020.  The Under 23s came out and recorded a very important win over the second placed St Kevins, they take on Fitzroy in an important game to try and climb over the Snow Dogs into the four.  The senior teams are back this week with games against Power House down by Albert Park at the Ross Gregory Oval.


Go Blues, Go Friars


Cheers, Sal


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  1. Love your weekly previews Sal. As I am less and less consumed by the minutiae of AFL (just my Eagles and the odd highlight) your five minute preview is all I need to know to set up my weekend viewing and prognostications. Sounding sagacious with my golf buddies standing on your shoulders. Cheers.

  2. Could we have Rampe in charge of the “defence” please?

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