Round 23 Preview – The Tipsters’ Nightmare

Greetings to all and for many a farewell to your team for 2013,


A season to be remembered for many of the wrong reasons, but there is still a premiership up for grabs and a couple of the top chances teetering with both form and injury!  Could this be the season where one of the bottom half of the finalists rewrite the record books?  Possibly even the ninth placed team?  No matter the romance of the idea, the history and the stats say NO!

The final round of the season is critical for many, but none more than the those looking to bring home the bacon in the office/family/pub/mates tipping competition.  The final round of the EPL is maintained pure with 11 games to finish the season all at the same time on Saturday afternoon, there is limited room for skullduggery or “managed” outcomes compared with AFL TV driven schedule where sides chances wax and wane as the games are decided.  There are six games this weekend that could influence the makeup of the finals, but very few being played concurrently.  The progressive nature makes tipping tough with team motivations changing as results from the previous games flow through.  Hopefully those of you in the hunt are in a competition where tips can be changed up to match time.  Not to mention the effect on the AFL competition; TV contracts and ground limitations make it very difficult for the AFL to schedule all the games together but it should not be seen as an insurmountable problem.

A hectic trip to Hobart this week meant only a brief time could be spent with “The Great Sage from the South”.  After covering his trip to Europe and exploits of the offspring in their parents absence, we were able to share a schadenfreudian moment on the plight of the Bombers.  But after that there was a salient comment from the Sage.  He proposed that club doctors should be appointed with limited tenure to ensure they remain sufficiently “out of the club” and less likely to act and make decisions that might be seen to be in the club’s interest over the player’s.  Doc Reid is desperately trying to maintain his reputation – the public evidence so far has shown that he did indeed provide warning and was to a certain extent viewed as an outsider to the Danky program.  I guess the question is “did he do enough?”  Or was he so much part of Essendon that he could not bring himself to raise concerns beyond the inner sanctum?  Doc Reid aside the views of The Sage are as usual full of merit.

Several disagreed with the view that Ryan Harris should have been put in cotton wool for the last two dead rubbers.  I will freely admit to enjoying watching his performance in those two tests, but was disappointed in hearing of a 6-10 week recovery from a hamstring tear.  Just needed to sit back and think of Brisbane – at least he won’t be sent to India.


But it is onto trying to find the last nine winners!

Blood Letting ($2.80) vs Sitting Pretty ($1.53)

This is not a game that has any effect on the finals, these two will play each other next week in a qualifying final.  Who will be up for this encounter?  I reckon they will both be keen to do well but as the game progresses the pressure will wind off – the coaches will be sure not to play much of their hand.  The Swans could lose their last 3 of 4 – not a problem compared to last year where the same thing occurred.  However as the Sage pointed out there are holes opening up.  With so little up for grabs this is not a gambling proposition, but for the record I think Hawthorn will sit pretty and take this encounter.


Kosi Fan Tutti ($2.32) vs Informed Player Management ($1.73)

The ultimate no bet game – even though it is one of the influential games as Freo can get third if Geelong lose.  But Get Stuffed Lyon has looked at the probabilities and decided to give half his team a breather, are they tanking or is it smart?  To the victor the spoils and they have done enough through the season and locked in their spot, I dare say if not for some match practice for Herman and Pavlich he would be happy to forfeit.  The Saints have little to play for but would dearly love to give Kosi a victorious send off, a win won’t hurt their draft spot.  The actions of GSL makes this the ultimate no bet game and for the record I reckon the Saints might just do it.


Toma-hacked ($1.06) vs Miracle Required ($14.00)

For Brisbane they have the second simplest equation to make the finals, beat Geelong – the Blues lose and they are in.  Their last victory at Kardinia Park was in 2003 and the average margin of 56 points in the encounters since.  The Cats need to sort out its plans for Tomahawk – as important as he is – a mobile full back will be a dangerous proposition.  Cats to win.


The Miracle ($1.92) vs Cats ($2.04)

What a season for Port after last year, they are a beaming example of how a club can be turned around in a year.  The Blues have been dead many times this year but other events breathe life back into their prospects on an almost weekly basis.  Surely this week they can do it for themselves and clinch a finals berth.  Should they lose and other results conspire to have them breathe again – they will surely be the worst credentialled team ever to play finals!  Selecting them to win, will only make them second worst and be the last victors on Footy Park.  If they don’t I can imagine many others sharing a schadenfreudian moment.


Embling Along ($1.92) vs A Learning Season ($1.94)

Mathematically both of these teams can make the eight, but would require a victory of enormous proportions.  The Crows have been undermanned for much of the year but will have much more depth next year as a result, they have also developed a number of players to play different roles.  The Eagles say goodbye to a couple of premiership heroes in Adam Selwood and Andrew Embley, they also say goodbye to a season that was supposed to be much better!  Neither team will achieve the margin required, but expect Adelaide to be in front at the end and add another home loss to the Eagles and maybe a nail to Woosha’s coffin.


Essen-Done ($3.35) vs Tucked Off ($1.41)

A player who has also have more lives than a Cat has made the decision himself.  Shane Tuck has been retired by a procession of coaches.  Through it all he has either changed clubs, the club changed coaches or showed his value to complete a terrific career.  Will he be in the team for the following week, I am sure he will be doing a rain dance to improve the odds.  Up against Essendon who definitively have nothing to play for and in all fairness the players probably don’t even care.  Tigers to win.


Hunting Season ($1.12) vs It’s a Wonderful Life ($7.80)

Will this be the last venture onto an AFL ground for Karmichael?  I certainly hope not, he has bought a different physicality to the game just a shame he has no fluency with fitness.  But young Jimmy Stewart is at the other end of the spectrum.  His wonderful life has had him as an elite junior and part of the Pie junior academy as they contemplated him as a father-son selection (Son of Craig).  Alas no and selected by the Giants, whipped off to Sydney from his school days at Scotch, he makes his debut at the end of a wonderful coaching life for Kevin Sheedy.  What an great ambassador for the game he has been?  Not always my favourite, but always with a positive attitude to everything.  Oh yeah – The Suns will win in what could be the Grand Final 2020 preview.


Not so Jolly ($1.65) vs Argentina ($2.38)

This is the ultimate no bet game, at least until the Blues result is known.  The Pies have named Hudson over Jolly and so far Didak has survived, the loss of Ball will be painful.  He has provided plenty of the inside work that has allowed Pendlebury and Swan to be so good over the last few weeks.  Beams a handy replacement.  What strip will the Kangas front up in?  If they are alive at game time, I sense they will be a great chance over Collingwood who might want to win but can afford not to.  But as I have selected the Blues, their season shot, Collingwood will be able to coast in.  Watch for a change in my selection if the Blues get rolled.


Crossed Off ($1.10) vs Annus Horribilis ($7.40)

Unfortunately for the Dees this Annus Horribilis does not just apply to this year!  Up against the Dogs who farewell one of their great soldiers in Daniel Cross.  Kudos to both parties here, the Dogs have set their path and told Cross has was not part of it.  Cross took that on the chin and wants to continue his career, there could not be a more outstanding role model for a club like GWS or Melbourne to pick up.  Is Sunday a job interview?  No matter what Footscray will finish the season on a high.  The Dogs look set for a very competitive 2014, the Dees need to look at Port Adelaide for inspiration.


Back at the Track

The first group one event of the season is set down for judgement at the Heath on Saturday.  The Memsie Stakes (G1, 1400m, WFA) has attracted a field just about worthy of a Cox Plate with most of the field having won at the level and most of the them being set for either the Cox Plate or Melbourne Cup.  Plenty of warning from MA Kavanagh that the yet to be defeated Atlantic Jewel is not wound up, I heard a similar tune a couple of weeks ago with Puissance de Lune.  Nevertheless her odds are pretty tight, so hunting for some each way options but in reality another great race to watch and learn.  Ajeeb has race fitness on his side and 2nd to PdL isn’t bad going.  The derby winners in Super Cool and It’s a Dundeel have pretty good first up form and may present as good a value as you get them all spring.  Plenty of other hopes but for the record.

Race 8 – 14-12-9-10


Junior Friar Time

Unfortunately the Friars paid the ultimate price for a lapse in concentration two weeks ago against Williamstown CYMS and has ultimately cost a place in the finals.  (Mind you the CYs played pretty well!).  However the Under 19s are in the first semi-final this weekend against of all opponents Williamstown CYMS at Willy, good luck for the lads!


Go Blues, Go Friars and go the undefeated Hammers!


Cheers, Sal

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