Round 22 Preview – A Winx and a Smile

Greetings All and welcome to the penultimate round of the season,


The intrigue continues into the makeup of the finals, however the evidence is mounting that the silverware is likely to finish up out of Victoria with Adelaide, Sydney and GWS heading the boards of the oddsmakers. What will change by Sunday night? For the racing fans – Winx is back this week!


Charddy Sippers ($1.72) vs The Auditors ($2.34)

Another potential Grand Final preview, but an unlikely scenario should the Crows win this one and make the Swans chances of a top four finish quite difficult. Tex and Rory have come through their tests to be selected, whether they both run out is a different question.  The Swans are bolstered by the inclusion of skipper Josh Kennedy. The Adelaide midfield have been winning plaudits for their efforts and are now balancing their performance rather than riding on the back of Rory Sloane. Sydney though is the big test – they forensically examine the real capability of their opponents and more often than not find flaws unseen by previous investigations.  The Sinclair/Tippett ruck duo will get their own examination from “Sauce” Jacobs.  The home ground is certainly a factor, but there is so much on the line for Sydney and I reckon their forwards might just be able to expose the Crow defence. Sydney in a close one.


Bob ($1.85) vs What Problem? ($2.08)

We celebrate players at either end of the spectrum in this one! The dream is still alive for Bob Murphy but a lot of stuff has to go right for the Dogs – just like in 2016! One of the greats of the game, fair, skilful and smart – loved by opposition fans almost as much as his own. Hopefully we get to hear and read his wit and wisdom through the next phase of his career. Well played Bob!  Also well played was Dan Houston who solved plenty of problems and picked up the rising star nomination last week. For the Friars among the readership – he is the son of Jim Houston and was a regular at Friar Park in his younger days adorned usually adorned in navy blue! This one is in Ballarat with arctic conditions predicted. Teams need to switched on, both of these have failed to “turn up” a few times during the year. Port have a propensity for it when on the road and just think they might be absent again.


Son of a Gun ($2.86) vs All Abuzz ($1.51)

The fans have waited all year and now the progeny of a great will step out – welcome to AFL, Josh Daicos. It will be a very special day for Pie fans to see him play, half as good as the sire will still be a treat! They face the Cats who get Duncan and Buzza back in the team to try and solve their Collingwood riddle. Despite the disparity on the ladder the Pies have won their last three over Geelong in good style and all at the G. The Cats are still missing Selwood and Hawkins with recent form also favouring the Pies. A lock for top four is on the line for the Cats, I reckon that will inspire them to get this one over the line.


Rub of the Greene ($1.23) vs Save the Tears Sticks ($5.10)

Not sure Toby’s actions last week is what we desire to see in the game, but the reaction from all and sundry was over the top. Players protecting themselves going for a high ball has been going on for a while, it is part of the repertoire for Jarryd Waite and Joe Daniher.  The high contact warrants a free kick, but I doubt a report would have been laid against any other player. A fine sees him play again this week along with four other handy inclusions. They face the Eagles and their “star” talisman Josh Kennedy. “Sticks” sheds a tear every time he plays Carlton, the Melbourne media scrum admonished themselves this week for not recognising how good a player he is. I reckon the tears are wasted and media can stop beating themselves up – at least about this. JK is a fine player, he taunts the Blues every time just as he taunts most poor teams and especially at home. He is not a great player until his record against the top teams improves no matter where the game is played.  He pretty much epitomises his teams failings – they are on the road again this week up against a top team.  His team will lose and his return will be less than satisfactory.


Time to Boult? ($3.80) vs Blue Masters ($1.34)

Luke Hodge has been in losing teams to the Blues. They were in 2004 and 2005 – since then Hawthorn have owned Carlton, with a few pulverisation and spiflications along the way.  Carlton hopes grew early in the year as the Hawks faltered, but they have returned to solid form while the Blues have found the back end of the season too tough.  Some big decisions are to be made as they reset and Levi Casboult presents as a big one – with other clubs seeing him as the potential key to glory.  On his day Levi is a beauty – the best contested mark in the competition, good backup ruckman and pack spiflicator providing quality crumbs for small forwards to feed off. Off his day, he becomes a bit of a liability – it generally all comes down to his work rate. Kicking has improved dramatically under Sav’s tutelage, but the demons remain under the kosh as seen against the Bombers a couple of weeks ago. That all comes back to lazy coaching in his junior days and early at Carlton.  Love him to stay at the Blues, but understand his attraction to other clubs who might be prepared to pay overs. Not completely without hope for the Blues, but just too many demons in their heads not just against the Hawks but about winning overall.


In the Twilight ($3.30) vs A New Dawn ($1.40)

The sun sets on another season for Gold Coast, last week’s lack of competitiveness against the local rival epitomising the club. Mark Evans has much more work to do than select a coach!  They host the Bombers who have responded mightily from the challenges of 2016 and are probably better for it exposing a couple of stars in the process. They also got the benefit of James Kelly, who provided great leadership last year and continued with excellent service this year.  Pops has declared time on a terrific career riddled with premierships. The Bombers must win to keep their chances of finals alive, which they will do. For the Suns no matter which way Gary Ablett goes – the question should be asked whether getting that one shining star was the right strategy?


Watts Up? ($1.16) vs Queensland Champions ($6.80)

Jack Watts remains in purgatory as he started the year, a sign of how tough it is to get into the Melbourne team.  The Demons are on the cusp of finals and up against a fast improving Lions.  They have coughed up a couple they shouldn’t have during the year – but not this one which will seal a berth in September and just maybe at the G!


Fre Fall ($3.35) vs Caddy Shacked ($1.41)

Dimma may not have liked the “roar of affirmation” from the Geelong throng last week, he will be pretty pleased that Freo are struggling and their fans are not turning up as there is no stronger “roar of affirmation” than the one at Subi.  The loss of Caddy is balanced with the Dockers losing Lachy Neale.  Freo might be falling but I suspect “Get Stuffed Lyon” has the bigger picture in mind and getting Harley Bennell some game time will be part of that.  Subi holds no fears for the Tigers winning four of their last five and should get the job done.


Holy Butchers ($1.40) vs Harry’s Twin? ($3.20)

The Saints gave up their finals chances early last week by simply butchering the ball and handing Melbourne a hefty quarter time margin.  All is left for 2017 is to give Saint Nick the send-off he richly deserves and look towards 2018 – their best is good enough but the gap with their worst remains a chasm.  North may debut Ben McKay – twin of Harry at Carlton – another tall forward to look at as they build for the future.  If he can deliver and compliment Ben Brown, they have a forward structure to be reckoned with for the future.  Saints on the rebound for mine.


Amateur Hour

The beads are still moving for the Friars who kept slim hopes of surviving in D1 alive with a 47 point win over NOBSP last week.  This was followed with the announcement of Kristan Height as Senior Coach for 2018.  The Under 19s kept their finals chance alive defeating Parkside.  Another triple header at Friar Park this week with the Under 19s kicking off the dew against fellow aspirants Glen Eira/Old McKinnnon and the seniors facing Oakleigh.  The Friars desperate to stave off relegation and Oakleigh looking to seal a finals berth.


Go Blues, Go Friars

Cheers, Sal


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