Round 23 Preview – Almost done for some!

Greetings All,


The pain is nearly over for those fans whose teams gave up hope of September long ago, but at least the finals are shaping up as a real contest.  As this is written all games bar one have a bearing on the make-up of the finals, however should Richmond win the remaining games become novelty events.  With discussion of the fixture again coming up, perhaps there should be some debate to play Round 23 in the same manner as the EPL final round with all the games played simultaneously.  Sure there will be issues with meeting the broadcast requirements but between the Free to Air and Subscription providers there are enough channels to cover 9 games, in fact all 10 EPL games in the final round are covered by pay TV alone.  Ground logistics would present some issues but not insurmountable, then play them all on a Super Saturday Night to provide free air to all the local leagues as their season’s reach their nadir.


But there are so many games to cover it is time to take them apart.


No Ball ($11.00) vs Tuning Up ($1.09)

The Pies had one of their greatest victories ever over the Giants last week is it any wonder that benefactors are jumping aboard with gifts of past glories, the team photo from last week will surely become a collector’s item in years to come!  It was surely a terrific build up for their encounter against the reigning champs.  The reality is that with such a devastating injury list they will be hard pressed to beat the Hawks, no doubt their efforts will be earnest but unless the Hawks take their foot off the pedal I can’t see the Pies having to wait till Monday to loosen the valve for the end of the season.  This week’s team photo will also become a collector’s item as the Pies and the game farewells Luke Ball – one of the games great warriors.  Brave beyond wisdom, unscrupulously fair and always prepared to sacrifice for the team.  Well Played!


Pre-season Please ($3.00) vs Post Season Please ($1.47)

The Blues might have been tired last week, but so should have every other team.  Signs weren’t good when Dale Thomas collected his take away dinner during the second quarter, I assumed there would not be much joy!  Mick’s musings on the length of the game and season is purely a diversion from the fact that the team he took in last week is just not good enough.  He has dropped the first year players this week for a few tried hacks – they are playing for their future but I suspect for some the card is stamped.  The Bombers displayed how keen they to take their place in September and have lifted themselves over the line in the last two weeks.  In reality there is not much on the line in this match.  A huge Bomber win might lift their percentage, but that would be dependent on Melbourne beating North to claim 6th which would not alter next week’s fixture.  A loss could drop them to 8th but requires a Richmond win over Sydney.  The Blues are ready for the end of the season and whilst they would love to inflict a defeat on their mortal enemy, I doubt they will be quite up for it.


Wrestlemania ($1.48) vs Galway Pipes ($3.05)

The most meaningful game of the round with the victor getting a genuine opportunity for the title, the vanquished most likely to provide the support cast for the theatre of September.  The home ground advantage means a lot for Freo, but they will be without Fyfe and question marks on Pavlich and Barlow who are named, Port’s resurgence can be mapped to their player availability and will go in at full strength although there is some concern about the Hoff.  Port’s desire will be to attack and entertain, will Get Stuffed Lyon go head to head or lock it down?  I suspect the latter and score on the counter using the pace of Walters and Ballantyne.  Port took the Blues apart last week but were gifted 110 of their 140 points via turnovers, Freo will not make that gratuitous and their defensive structures are better to defend against turnovers when they do occur.  Should be a terrific game, but suspect that Freo’s advantage at home will get them a top four position.


Pyke Out ($1.38) vs All Aboard ($3.50)

The Tiger bandwagon is overloaded and fortunately for them the injury room is not.  The thought that Richmond can’t win if Sydney go full bore, does not do the Tiges justice.  They do have a good recent record against Sydney and they were not far behind them earlier in the year in one of the most turgid affairs of the season – in fact the Tigers’ last defeat.  The other factor is that Richond is playing a very talented forward line with Reiwoldt, Deledio and Martin all very capable and very good one-on-one players.  The Sydney defense is a mean unit, but if they can be isolated they could be exposed.  Then of course there is the care factor, they will know exactly what they need to do to finish on top and no matter what they will host a qualifying final the following week.  So the Tigers can win but I suspect it might just be the bridge too far.  They should rate about a $2.80 chance given the question marks on how Sydney will approach this game.


North Melbourne ($1.10) vs Melbourne ($9.20)

North have dropped a couple they should not have, but I doubt they will have any issues here.  However the Kangas will know exactly what is required to ensure 6th place and by game time there may be nothing to worry about.  Could Melbourne finally take four points in the Loungeroom?


Management Consultants ($1.16) vs Beames me up ($6.60)

The Cats have managed three players out of the side from last week and seem to be anticipating the Kardinia Park factor and enough of their best side will get them home.  Meanwhile off some pretty bold recruiting requests during the week the Lions will be keen to challenge Geelong and go few points better than last year.  Not sure I quite understand the benefit of returning Leuenberger to the team for the last game – but it is great to have him back to fitness.  I expect the Cats to prevail but not by much.


Lap it up ($2.96) vs Coxless ($1.47)

The game says farewell to Karmichael Hunt – there can’t be too many sub-50 game players who get a lap of honour.  The press is singing to the AFL drum on the success of his adventure – to me the only success has been to his wallet.  Meanwhile the Eagles have rolled the dice managing Dean Cox from the team – has he played his last game (for the Eagles)?  If games go as I expect he has at least one more as they do enough to beat the Suns and other results fall their way.


Charddy Sipper ($1.06) vs Gwilt-Edged Sword ($15.50)

He’s got the Porn Star name and hairdo to match, but Rory Sloane is a serious footballer who notches up his 100th game.  A consistent performer and loves a scrap but too often he is left to shoulder the load for his inconsistent teammates.  I suspect his mates will be OK this week up against the Saints who will collect the kitchenware but looking forward to the number one draft selection!


Super Subbed Out ($1.33) vs Mummy’s Boys ($3.85)

The Dogs bid farewell to Gia who has been promised not to wear the green vest in his last hurrah – another fine career closes.  Most players at the Giants are at the other end of the scale although Josh Hunt says farewell to the AFL.  There will be plenty of candidates for recruit of the year – but surely Shane Mumford ranks with the best.  He has been invaluable for these young tyros and may lead them to another victory on Sunday, but I suspect not.


Friar Time

The seniors survived in Division One but could not get themselves up for a win on the final day.  However in the Under 19s both teams reigned with the Northies climbing of the foot of the table and the Section 2 side locking in top spot on the ladder with a solid win at Parkdale.  This Saturday they take on Uni Blues who climbed into 2nd with the surprise defeat of Old Trinity.  Encounters during the season were split with both sides recording convincing home wins.  A terrific encounter awaits at 2:00pm on Saturday at Friar Park – which is looking a treat in preparation for the first final ever to be played on the sacred turf!

In the Divvy 1 finals – the rampant and undefeated Therry Penola take on Williamstown CYMS in the 2nd Semi Final.  The CYs have plenty of talent with their best side on the park, but Therry have been all conquering and it is hard to see how they will be overcome.  Mind you the annals of ammo history (and other comps too) are riddled of stories where the super team through the season are bundled out in straight sets.  Fanciful for mine and Therry to win.  In Sunday’s 1st Semi NOBSP take on the OGS – both teams struggled against the Friars but eventually were well enough organised and drilled to win.  Results were split on home ground terms through the season in close affairs making this one very tough to call.  Going with the OGS team game to get over the stars from Brunswick in a very tight tussle.


Opening the Group Ones.

The first Group One race for the spring takes place at the Heath on Saturday with the Memsie Stakes.  I use the term time-honoured somewhat loosely, the industry gives up the term Group One a bit too loosely also.  The Memsie is a Weight for Age event over 7 furlongs – these races are a dime a dozen.  The breeders want more of these races to spread black type across their sires and broodmares, the more there are the less special they become.  So either get fair dinkum about what should be a G1 race or introduce a higher category such as Group Classic to real prime time races.


But nevertheless the Memsie Stakes (G1, 1400m, WFA) will be run and there is a winner to find.  What can’t be denied is that this is a G1 field, however this is really a preparation run for their main target races later in the spring.  For Moment of Change (3) there can’t be a better fit – undefeated over this journey and a good second up record plus the spruiking from PGM makes the top selection.  Going with the Missile form for the rest with Messene (7), Sweet Idea (11) and Boban (2) to fill the holes, but also looking closely at the race for the remainder of spring in mind.

Selections Caulfield Race 8 – 3-7-11-2


Group racing on the day begins with the Stakes (G3, 1100m, SWP), we have the second level of sprinters competing and a mix of race fit horses up against those coming off the winter spell.  If Moment of Change is to win the Memsie then surely its conqueror last start must rate a huge chance here and Hard Stride (6) is great chance but has to carry an extra 3kg impost.  Notably the jockey from that victory Craig Williams rides Vain Queen (15) at the foot of the weights – a 66% winning strike rate including one at Caulfield is enough to rate her on top.  Pago Rock (5) is a specialist over this journey and stablemate Rifleman (11) brings good form from Sydney.

Selections Caulfield Race 5 – 15-5-6-11


The HDF Macneil Stakes (G3, 1200m, 3yo SWP) sees the colts and their not so fortunate counterparts sort out the pecking order for the major male juvenile events of the spring.  Of note there is one of the fairer sex in the field in Novel Dancer (15) who is not without a chance and a couple of Friars with an interest.  Chivalry (9) is of interest to me – poorly drawn but has a big finish and happy to be the top selection providing there is no leader bias.  Other in my top 4 are Nostradamus (3), Zululand (1) and Nordic Empire (8) – but a race that could shape the spring.

Selections Caulfield Race 6 – 9-3-1-8


Sportingbet Sprint Series Heat 1 Stakes (G3,1200m, Mares SWP) looks to be another set up for Gregers (3) but she does have some quality opposition.  A Time for Julia (6) has proven herself, Thiamandi (7) is a winner and Commanding Jewel (2) returns and might be the best mare in Australia.  Plenty of others with hope but Gregers (3) the one to beat.

Selections Caulfield Race 7 – 3-7-6-2



A tough assignment this week with the final leg wide open.  Will try and narrow it down and hopefully it is all worth it!

Leg 1 – 1-3-8-9

Leg 2 – 2-3-6-7

Leg 3 – 2-3-6-7-11

Leg 4 – 3-6-9

Get the first 3 in an pray!  240 Combinations so if you spend $30 and win a nice 12.5% of the dividend will meet you,


Good Luck!


Go Blues, Go Hammers, Go Friars 

Cheers, Sal


Leave a Comment