Round 22: Footy previews from Sal, plus some race tips.

Greetings all and welcome to the Penultimate Round of regular season,


“In the race of life, always back self-interest – at least you know it’s trying” – Jack Lang


It’s great that Patrick Dangerfield has his regular spot on radio, great for his profile and generally good to hear the thoughts from a player’s perspective.  It just does not make them right.  His opinion that shorter games and a shorter season will reduce the number of injuries is just that – opinion.  It is not based on any facts or evidence.  We have not seen any data regarding when injuries occur either in games or in the season, from my perspective the only injury that I have seen this season possibly due to fatigue was the hamstring tear of Adam Treloar.  It occurred late in the game so fatigue “could” have been a factor.


The game is already too ballistic – reducing the game time could only make this worse in my opinion.  Players will be fresher – they will go harder and impact injuries will be more severe.  If the players feel too fatigued then they and the coaches have not adapted their games to cope with endurance required.  Perhaps the Tigers have and it may explain the healthy list they have maintained for so long.


Shortening the season?  Similar arguments apply – we have had 22 games seasons for as long as I can recall.  If injuries are growing as a result of the length of the season – then clubs and coaches have not adapted to deal with it.  Clubs loading up their lists with immature players could also be a factor, who is getting injured, the young bulls or the old bulls?  Not sure I can envisage the honchos providing a free kick to the various other codes that are not talking about shortening their seasons.


The biggest issue in the game – in my opinion – is the disparity between clubs and the difficulty to make up ground.  The structures to balance the competition such as the draft and the salary cap are completely compromised with the introduction of free agency.  Free agency was introduced at the behest of the players and they want to relax the rules even further.  The players should be heard, their opinions are important – they are also backing the horse called self-interest.


A couple of weeks ago we celebrated comebacks – two of those unfortunately short lived.  Alex Johnson’s wretched luck continuing – terribly sad to watch,  hope he can recover – footy is secondary now.  The same for the son and heir who reinjured his knee on Saturday – will find out next week what direction the road back will be.  Neither of those re-injuries occurred late in a game or quarter.


A few knockouts and self-inflicted wounds last week, what will this round bring.


Houli ($1.50) vs Saad ($2.96)


Bachar Houli and Adam Saad are important players for their teams, this week they are important players for Australia promoting diversity and tolerance within the game and beyond to the wider community.  And there is a footy game on.    At the start of the week it was hard to envisage Richmond being beaten here, since then it appears they are shutting down a couple of jets  and moving to cruise mode before the defense begins in earnest.  An injury toll now exists, suspect much of it precautionary but one of The Beatles is among them.  Essendon have been flying high so will feel pretty confident, two factors weigh heavily against them before even considering the opponent.  Orazio and the MCG.  Fantasia is the spark for the forward line not sure they have enough to ignite without him.  1 from 7 at the G this season including a loss to the Blues.  Complacency the only threat to the Tigers.


Easy Bucks ($1.51) vs Sinking Ship in the Harbour ($2.92)


Charlie Dixon might be the most important player in the competition, with him in the team Port had a weapon that might combat the Tiger defense.  Without him they need to find a way to create any type of offense.  The Pies defense appears undermanned, they continue to step up and deliver.  Playing at the MCG is an added benefit, real doubt must surround the fitness of possibly the second most important player in the competition in Paddy Ryder.  Suspect this match will take Port out of the eight this week.


Domesticats ($1.07) vs Nat the Fyfe ($13.00)


The lazy Geelong midfield get back to familiar territory this week to receive the rapture of the faithful.  It would have hurt Billy Brownless to call them out, the Cats are also correct to defend themselves indicating that in any match a piece of vision could be extracted and it might be a one off.  That one off situation for Geelong though was at a crucial moment in the game where everyone needed to be switched on and wasn’t.  Not sure lazy is a fair tag – suspect internally there were not many excuses made.  They take on Freo who get their superstar back.  Nothing riding on these last two games, it shows how much he just wants to play the game.  Geelong at Geelong.


Shawly Not ($1.81) vs Deestroyers ($2.20)


How big a hole will the loss of Heath Shaw be to the Giants defense – they have two games to work it out before finals – in reality they need to click straight away to ensure a top four finish.  Losing Josh Kelly does not help their cause.  Could not help but be impressed with Sydney’s win over Melbourne last week, while there were plenty of self-inflicted wounds by the opposition the Swans ensured they made the most of them.  Aliir was outstanding in defense, Heaney all over the ground – if he can maintain that form the Swans will be very dangerous.  Favouring the Giants without any real conviction, should be a great contest consigned to the graveyard slot!


Not Good to be Nathan ($5.80) vs Big Boy Back ($1.20)


Was not a great week for the Saints with rumour and innuendo of forthcoming turmoil, even worse if your name was Nathan.  Nathan Brown for his suspension and Nathan Freeman being the only player to be dropped after the performance against Essendon.  Would have thought they would try and see as much of him as possible before the end of the season.  They take on the Hawks who have everything falling into place, they are beating the teams they have to and have a healthy list.  McEvoy returns, they should be able to dispense with the Saints


Softies ($4.50) vs Oh Robbo ($1.26)


Did someone pay Nick Robertson to make those comments about the Suns?  Was about the only way to garner much interest the Queensland Championship.  On paper and form hard to select against Brisbane, I am going with the Suns in this no team is likely to accept the label soft being put about them in a public forum.  This is their chance to rectify that immediately.


Shades of Grey ($4.90) vs Barking for 2019 ($1.25)


Jeff Kennett came out and declared his club would not wear white again, the Blues came out and said they are contractually obliged and may have to wear that insipid away strip again in 2019.  The difference between the Hawks and Blues can summarised with those two statements.  Have never heard a bigger bunch of rubbish about suppliers and design, local clubs can get a design, manufacture and delivery in weeks these days.  It is beyond time for the Blues to stand up and make a strong statement about something – anything!  Would be handy to have one on the ground also after the capitulation in the third quarter last week, the coach might have been filthy about it.  He has a runner, he has a bench what was unravelling was obvious early in the quarter and nothing happened.  Oh and they will be beaten this week by the Bulldogs who are showing encouraging signs over the last couple of weeks.


Oops – I did I again ($1.74) vs The Yardstick ($2.30)


Plenty of luck went the Eagles way last week with injuries to key opposition players in a repeat of last year final against Port, you still have to execute and they did that with aplomb in the last two minutes of the game.  How do you not double team McGovern.  Meanwhile Melbourne remain the measuring stick for the competition, if they beat up on you you’re no good, if you beat them you’re a chance.  Plenty of bluff and bluster from the Demons about their chances this week – exactly that for mine until they do something.  Against the Eagles in Perth would be a good place to prove yourself.  Can’t see it happening.


Walking a Fine Line ($1.44) vs A Shot in the Foot ($3.20)


Tex Walker cooked himself last week, the Crows are cooked, they have the chance to put the final touches on the Kangaroo stew for 2019.  A game of pride for the Crows – their final game at home for the season should see them put on a fair performance.  North just need to execute and compete as best they can and not fall away as they did to the Dogs last week.  The home ground advantage gives it to Adelaide.


Friar Time


Big day midday Sunday at Sandringham with the Womens team ‘playing a Grand Final against Old Melburnians.  They over ran Old Ivanhoe in blustery conditions at Williamstown last week.   For the majority it is their first season footy, they have done so well and have been a great addition to the club.


For the boys the finals are pretty much set with 3rd place locked away unless the Turtles achieve a major miracle over 2ndPlace Old Paradians.  Last week the Seniors and Reserves put away St Johns as expected.  This week they face Bulleen Templestowe who ensured their place in the division last week at Ted Ajani Reserve in last game of the regular season.  The Under 19s took a forfeit last week and face Oakleigh to try and hold on second place in percentage battle with PEGS who are playing the bottom team.


The Queen Returns


This is the weekend Blues fans have been waiting a couple of months for!  The first Group One race of the season, to make it better it sees the return of Winx in a race that has been renamed in her honour.  That all happens at Royal Randwick, while at The Heath the race might not be group one nominated but a serious field will line up for the PB Lawrence Stakes.


Royal Randwick


Race 6 – The Winx Stakes (G1, 1400m, WFA)


Some chatter about the threat that Kementari (7) may present to the champ.  He is a serious racehorse, a look at the ratings says that Winx (10) is in a different league.  The concern is that she is aging and may not come up, if that were any possibility I doubt CJ Waller would be running her.  While he is she will win.  Happy to have the Godolphin charge for the exacta.  The field is pretty good but all early in their campaigns, putting D’Argento (9) in for the next spot followed by Ace High (8)




This the meeting to watch with an eye for greater glory in the weeks ahead.  The 3 year olds line up in the Vain and Quezette in preparation for the latter riches in spring, Native Soldier (R5, #5) and Sunlight (R6, #1) are of the most interest, these are races to learn from but they still payout if you find the winner.  The PB Lawrence Stakes (Race 7) might a Group 2 race but it is littered with Group One performers, most of them first up for the campaign.  Watch and Learn – in particular I will be watching Humidor (3), Red Cardinal (10), Kings Will Dream (11), Grunt (13) as well as Widgee Turf (9) who has race fitness on his side.  The Regal Roller (Race 8) sees Osborne Bulls (3) run for the first time in Melbourne, had a very impressive Autumn in Sydney.


Quaddie Time


Silly if you didn’t have a crack with such a meeting at Caulfield


Leg 1 – 1, 6, 10

Leg 2 – 1, 2, 3, 9, 11, 13

Leg 3 – 3, 5, 7

Leg 4 – 7, 13


108 combinations so that $30 investment will deliver almost 28% of the dividend



Go Blues, Go Friars, Go Girls!


Cheers, Sal


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  1. Spot on about the coaches flogging willing horses until they break down. Whatever happened to planning a preparation? Whatever happened to resting in the pocket?
    AFL is like 2yo’s prepared for the Slipper. You break 90% of them down on the training track so one can win a couple of million. Doh!
    Hope the son and heir is on the recovery path. Friars and Blues need all the support they can get.

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