Round 22 – Sal’s Preview: The retiring season


Greetings All,


We have been inundated with retirement announcements in the last couple of days from fading stars whose tanks have run dry to a journeyman who is in the best form of his career.  First of all there are the Premiership heroes in Trent Cotchin, Luke Shuey and Isaac Smith all have been great players for their clubs and certain to be fitting additions to the various halls of fame for club and competition.  Then we had Andrew Phillips pull the pin, showed signs at GWS and Carlton but has been a consistent contributor since joining Essendon and finishing at the top of his game.


Then there is Ben Cunnington.  Certainly not at the top of his game – who could blame him for the challenges life has dealt him.  His recovery to get back to the game he loves was heroic.  Might not have done everything on the park that Clarko demanded this year, he has a greater perspective on life.  At the top of his game he was peerless as an inside player, when he went well North usually did to.  Tough, uncompromising and gave as good as he got.  They will all have special send off games in the next few weeks with a couple still in the hunt for finals.


A quick look at the form ladder shows an enticing encounter between the top two teams this week.  However the great anomaly remains Port who are 12th on form but hang on to 4th on the big table.


Team P F A Perc
Carl 20 526 316 166.46%
Melb 20 514 424 121.23%
GWS 16 422 361 116.90%
Syd 16 455 420 108.33%
Geel 12 461 328 140.55%
Bris 12 416 363 114.60%
Coll 12 436 425 102.59%
Rich 12 451 486 92.80%
WB 8 442 365 121.10%
Adel 8 448 409 109.54%
Haw 8 453 416 108.89%
StK 8 354 383 92.43%
GC 8 370 404 91.58%
Ess 8 381 482 79.05%
Port 4 411 489 84.05%
Fre 4 333 457 72.87%
WCE 4 308 494 62.35%
NM 0 302 457 66.08%


How will they all change this week.



Nicked Off (58%) vs Jacked Off (42%)


Tough injuries for the Pies and Cats to deal with – Nick Daicos absent for a few weeks and Jack Henry’s 2023 comes to an end.  A win for the Pies should lock up pole position of more importance is to arrest the form slump, for the Cats a win would likely elevate them into the top eight, a loss not disastrous but more pressure on the final two games.  Collingwood’s main issue will be how to cover the loss of Daicos and Sidebottom in the midfield, but a couple will need to play bigger roles.  For the Cats they need cover the continued absence of Tomahawk – they have coped so far but the Port Adelaide defence ranks 17th in the last five weeks.  The Pies defence has better coverage so going with them to get back on track.



Ben Ten (10%) vs Flipped Off (90%)


A couple of retirees contest this one in the Loungeroom.  North feisty last week and the Bombers were careless – expect Brad Scott to address that and Essendon to win this and stay in the hunt but with two tough games to follow.



Join the Party (89%) vs Miller Time (11%)


Joel Amartey ain’t Buddy but he is a competitor and giving life to the Swans forward line.  They are chasing their 5th win on the trot against the Suns who get Touk Miller back and have Sam Day in for game 150.  Gold Coast have the capability to win this but their form away from home is poor.  A loss likely to take them out of the mathematics for finals and suspect that will be the case.  A win for Sydney likely to elevate them into the eight.



Hugh Go (89%) vs Taylor Made (11%)


What a player for the Lions Hugh McClugagge is tough, brave, skillful although fans might like his goalkicking to be a bit better.  He celebrates game 150 against the Crows.  A win for Adelaide puts them right in the mix a loss not disastrous but would need to win the last two.  All this while also willing Taylor Walker to get on the scoreboard and claim the Coleman.  The problem for them is that this is in Brisbane where the Lions are undefeated and the Crows woes on the road have been well documented.



Going Dutch (29%) vs Petty Theft (71%)


The top two form teams take each other on with plenty riding on the result.  The Blues finally got a rising star nomination for running machine Ollie Hollands, will have plenty of work to do on the G to cover Hunter and Langdon.  Melbourne lose Petty to injury for the season balanced by the return of Oliver.  Suspect the return of Grundy is somewhat in response to Carlton who play two ruckmen.  Hard to go against the Blues who are on their best winning streak since 2000.  The inclusion of Oliver might just give Melbourne the edge – but while on a roll must stick with the Blues.



Outpointed (10%) vs So You’re Telling me (90%)


At this stage the Maths has Freo still in with chance – but possibly not by the start of this game.  They need to win all three and West Coast have been fodder for most all year.  Their effort last week was terrific against the Bombers and could have won if not for some draft saving manoeuvres late in the game from the bench.  Is the Derby different?  Another crosstown encounter went to the underdog last week – could West Coast make it four from four?  Not sure they want to.



Pie Eaters (21%) vs On Bail (79%)


The Baileys Smith, Dale and Williams provide plenty of quality for the Dogs and they should be stronger with the return of Keath giving them more defensive options.  They face the Hawks in Launceston off there great win over the pace setters.  Hawthorn are Jekyll and Hyde pulling off some great wins, but also suffering some horrendous defeats.  The age is one factor, reckon tactics might be another.  When Mitchell pulls the right strings they are great, but it’s a disaster when he gets it wrong.  A real chance here at York Park but just think the Dogs have too much to play for.



Holler for a Marshall (55%) vs Cubbies (45%)


Rowan Marshall is a mighty ruckman, but reckon he needs some genuine assistance perhaps Tim Membrey can provide that against the Tigers this week.  Much has been documented on the aging list of the Tigers, however there are plenty of youngsters to match.  They only had four players over 30 last week but 5 players with less than 50 games and three of those under 10.  Martin and Grimes in changes the mix a bit this week, is it enough?  Not sure, but think the Nankervis-Soldo teaming might give them the edge.



Poort (73%) vs Brigg it on (27%)


Despite the brave effort last week overall Port have been poor of late and their defensive weaknesses exposed.  They get some relief this with two of the Giants forwards out suspended in Daniels and Bedford, with Toby Greene the ace in the pack to deal with.  Kieren Briggs has made the ruck role his own for GWS he faces another young ruckman in Dante “The Inferno” Visentini who is also going OK.  It becomes a battle of the midfield the Giants have depth and running power, Port have top end talent in Butters, Rozee and Horne-Francis and need support from the remainder.  It’s not make or break for Port, but they have to win to remain in the frame for a home Qualifying final.  That should be enough to drive them over the line here.



Friar Time


Three from four was great but it was the Seniors that went down to the Unicorns making a precarious run to the finals, handy that the fourth team also went under.  The Women had a great win over Glen Eira and the Threes gat back on the winners list over Box Hill North.  This week the seniors play host to the ladder leaders Parkside and must win to stay in touch, the reserves face a similar scenario.  The Women remain a game adrift from Ajax in fourth but well ahead on percentage, their final game is against Bulleen-Templestowe who sit in 7th while Ajax take on the 2nd op team.  The 3rds are locked into top spot and have their final hit out before finals against 2nd placed MHSOB.



Track Time


Bit of a nondescript meeting at the Valley although we do see the return of Inundation (R9, #8).  We will just have crack at the quaddie this week.


Leg 1 – 1, 2, 5, 6

Leg 2 – 4, 5, 7, 8, 11

Leg 3 – 4, 6

Leg 4 – 10, 11, 12, 13


Represents 160 combinations, a $30 investment return 18.75% of the dividend.


Go Blues, Go Friars, Go Matildas


Cheers, Sal



To return to the  home page click HERE


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE




Leave a Comment