Round 22 Preview – It’s just business!

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Greetings All,


The Blues have done plenty wrong over recent years, but I have been pretty happy about the way they have approached the last couple of weeks and it has nothing to do with the Dee-molition on Sunday.  Firstly the removal of Lachie Henderson, he does not want to be there and plans to go to a competitor what value would he be remaining in the environment.  If Carlton’s season had any chance of coming to something and Henderson were able to be a part of that the decision might be different.

Then they completed “a process” in selecting the new coach who “ticked all the boxes”.  Maybe not quite all for some as he did not play an AFL game, but his coaching credentials are fine and with plenty of experience.  Sport around the world is littered with excellent coaches who did not play at the elite level.  The concern about the Wayne Brittain experience is unwarranted.  Finals in his first year, horrendous injuries the next and a nervous buffoon as President acted in the traditional Carlton way.  So far so good but can this board commit to the journey?

As for the Hawks they acted exactly as they should.  Bolton is already loaded with plenty of Hawthorn IP, he get even more as the finals campaign approaches they had no choice but to part ways.  Moreover, his mind will surely be on the Blues role.  Malthouse got this right with Neeld, but I hope Brendon has more success.


I have always espoused the 22 round season as readers of this weekly diatribe will be aware.  However the actions of the clubs out of the race for glory this year has me pondering not only its value, but the integrity of the competition as we head to the “business” end.  Lack of motivation has always been an issue, but the number of players at the lower clubs that have been mothballed has made some of the games in the last couple of weeks more uncompetitive.  Scott Pendlebury was derided for telling it like was for the game against the Tigers last week, his Pies have put five away for the season in the last two weeks.  Maybe the 17 round season with a 9 week 12 team finals season is the way to go?


Now selections for the Penultimate round of the season!


The Ninth Life ($1.44) vs Ain’t got that Swing ($2.85) 

The Cats welcome back Daniel Menzel, while Pie fans hope the game does mean a thing and they can get some swing!  Collingwood can get some joy in knocking the Cats out of contention with a win, but that prospect should be enough for Geelong to find enough to win and keep hopes alive for a 9th successive season in the finals.


Lobbed Out ($1.22) vs A Bolt On ($4.50)

With the Giants out of the race they have made wholesale changes including the removal of young ruck tyro Rory Lobb, who would have been facing the Blues next hot property in Matthew Kruezer.  One of the Brendon’s challenges will be to keep him!  Despite the victory last week the Blues are weakened losing Murphy and Carrazzo, Yarran back helps with skill but not too sure about endeavour.  By the same token with finals out of the question the Giants motivation maybe compromised although they would be keen to be better than last week.  GWS should have the edge but the Blues are on show in front of the new gaffer.


Launceston ($1.01) vs A Pride of ($17)

A fixture that almost promotes the shorter season discussion!  Brisbane playing for pride while the Hawks will be keen to get their eye back in.  Something they do pretty well in Launceston.


Jack’s Back ($1.67) vs Kennelled ($2.25)

The Dogs returned from Perth with their tails between their legs.  The 77 points not that bad though as the Eagles piled on plenty once the victory was sealed.  The Roos had a great victory and welcome back Jack Ziebel.  Prior to last week their recent wins were over the easybeats, Freo might not be in the best form but they are still on top of the ladder and did boot seven goals in the opening quarter.  It was a resounding win and not dissimilar to the couple of finals they won last year.  Both teams are in their favourite loungeroom and they both like a fast track – it should be a beauty.  The North forwards look slightly more dangerous than their counterparts and the Real Brownlow Threat should provide their midfield a good supply.  They are my choice, but there is plenty of resilience in the 2015 version of the Dogs that gives them a chance.


Cheers to Chappy ($6.75) vs The Finger ($1.12)

Not everyone’s favourite Dusty, but a bit of repartee with the fans is surely good for the game!  He gets his chance to let the Bomber fans have it this week as they bid farewell the Cat champ and Bomber stop gap in Paul Chapman.  Whilst Chappy has been serviceable for the Bombers his skill, tenacity and leadership will go down in folklore for the Cats.  The Tiges will keep the dream alive and have too much on their sashed rivals.


Lynch Mob ($3.60) vs Along for the Ryde ($1.35)

Tom Lynch and his cohorts Charlie Dixon and Sam Day will present a challenging trinity for the Port defence at home, but at the other end Paddy Ryder might be a handful after his superb lone hand in the ruck against Hawthorn last week.  Port looking to finish full of running and be the best team out of the eight should get this part of the assignment right.


Wanna Betts ($2.1) vs Donkeys ($1.75)

Adam Simpson’s charges head to Adelaide to face Eddie’s Crows in what promises to be a terrific game.  Prior results from the weekend might determine desperation levels, but Adelaide will want to give themselves every chance of a home final.  Both teams have ominous forward lines and their defences tend to play off their men rather than tight checking.  Those defenders do work very well for each other prepared to support and assist, but some concern about the loss of Wellingham who has supported and assisted as well as anyone this year.  Added to that his link up play, decision making and disposal are very good.  Great to see Friar Andy Otten back from an ACL injury for the Crows.  Just favouring the Crows in this one.


Telling Fibulas ($1.08) vs The Andersons ($8.50)

The Nat Fyfe shinbone will be much talked about over the next two weeks and hopefully for the Dockers it is only two weeks.  The Skipper is selected to return but is also under an injury cloud, things not going quite right for the Purple Haze and Get Stuffed Lyon is in spin mode!  He faces his mentor in Paul Roos who has done his share of spinning this week and wants his team to play angry, maybe as angry as some their fans after last week!  They are up against the masters of playing angry and I suspect the masters will prevail.


USA ($4.50) vs Canada ($1.22)

The ruck contests in this one resembles an international ice hockey showdown with Jason Holmes fronting up against Mike Pyke – the Sage will be loving the quality of their ruck work!  Richo has said the Saints won’t drop off and will be happy in the Loungeroom – they present clear and present danger for the Swans who should be superior but have had some horrible lapses this season.  The Swans should have too many guns for St Kilda and are my selection, but the Saints pace could throw up a challenge.


Friar Time

The season is done and dusted for the Friars with seniors finishing 5th after a fantastic win over 2nd placed Kew to close out 2016.  Of note were a couple of outstanding senior debuts from Under 19 players, but unfortunately their mates went down to Mazenod.  The D1 finals look fascinating affairs with St Mary’s Salesian taking on Old Geelong in the 1st Semi.  The Saints have bounced off the pounding the Friars handed them and won their last five including beating the OGS last week.  Puruntatameri has got his groove back and will be dangerous, but I suspect some ducks and drakes from the OGS will see a completely different outfit this week and put paid to Saints impressive season.  Ormond vs Kew in the 2nd Semi.  Ormond have been strong at the business end of the season whereas Kew have had more than a few challenges and I suspect will still be without there spearheads Brazzale and Maibaum.  The forecast of rain and a probable heavy track puts this in favour of the big bodies of Ormond to bounce back into C section.


Back to the Track

The First Group One event in Melbourne is set for decision at Caulfield this Saturday with the Memsie Stakes (G1, 1400m, WFA) and typically for the first big race of the season there is a mix of fit and firing winter charges and a few spring stars with other riches in their plans.  The likelihood of a rain affected track makes it a difficult race to read a lot into, but there are selections to be made in a very tough race.  Looking for ankle deep form and P G Moody’s Hi World (14) is undefeated in the muck and has to rate highly.  Weary (8) from the Waller fleet has good 2nd up form to go with the webbed feet, he was followed home by the evergreen Temple of Boom (4) in the Missile and Volkstok’n’Barrell (11) looks a class act.  Plenty of other hopes but let’s see if this gets my eye in!

Caulfield Race 8 – 14-8-4-11




Really tough with the likely track conditions but let’s see how we kick off.

Race 6 – 2,7,14,16,18

Race 7 – 1,3,4,10,13

Race 8 – 3,4,8,11,14

Race 9 – 3,4

250 Combinations so a $25 investment will get you 10% of the dividend if you’re lucky enough!


Go Blues,

Cheers, Sal

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