Round 23- Sal’s preview: And now the end is near….

Greetings All,


After 22 rounds of intrigue we reach the last furlong and all that is left is jockeying for barrier positions.  The week itself has again exposed a few coaches riding the horse called self interest in trying to protest their clubs position in the draft.  None more so than Brad Scott who declared that the tools in place to balance the competition are working.  He is right to protest his club’s interest, he also should know as well as anyone the difficulty of getting talent into struggling clubs.  The Roos have splashed the cash over the last couple of years with barely a nibble.  Keeping the draft clean is the right thing to do, it is already horribly compromised with compensation picks, academy picks, father-son picks and probably priority picks.  The biggest issue in competitive balance is poor teams having to pay 92.5% of the salary cap with only 50% capability, getting that right would genuinely see those clubs be able to attract the free agents to the clubs the league would like to see improve.


On to the jockeying


The Outsider ($1.70) vs Don’t Wanna Go BJ ($2.40)


The mathematics have Port as the only possibility to enter the finals race, the reality is they would need to gain at least 16% points to climb over the Cats who are hosting the lowly Suns and are likely to go on a percentage grabbing rampage themselves.  They are hosting the Bombers who will farewell Brendan Goddard who hasn’t categorically retired, his body should have told him a lot last week.  Well played BJ who was almost a premiership legend, suspect he will depart on the wrong side of the ledger this week.


Favoured Felines ($1.02) vs UnDew Influence ($36.00)


Much chagrin from a couple of readers last week on the cosy path the Cats get to the finals, closing out the season with a pair of home games against lowly opposition.  They were always going to play the Dockers and Suns at home at some stage, where it is in the season makes no difference.  They genuinely deserve to play home games – to that extent it is the luck of the draw.  It will get a half decent side into September possibly over some better credentialed opposition, to win the flag they have to be good enough to win anywhere.  Stewy Dew has his work cut out this week and next year, he probably thinks it’s unfair to play at Geelong in the last round too!


Tuning the Band ($1.11) vs Leaving the Biggs Time ($9.20)


The Tigers get a couple of key members back for the dress rehearsal against the Dogs who are losing another of their 2016 heroes with the retirement of Shane Biggs.  Nothing really in it for the Tiges but they don’t flirt with their form and should win.


Should be Docked ($6.20) vs Get ‘em While They’re Hot ($1.18)


All sorts of pressure in the west on the Dockers after last week’s capitulation, expect a better performance at home against the rampaging Pies.  They are in great form and might the Tigers biggest challenger.  Ultimately Collingwood will be too good for Freo.


Outfoxed ($1.73) vs Back in the Rough ($2.34)


The biggest game of any consequence this week with winner likely to grab the treasured fourth position.  Fox makes way for Grundy and natural matchup for Roughead who returns for the Hawks.  Sydney seem to have found form with a great win over the Giants, the Giants were wounded.  The Hawks are doing everything they need to.  Buddy’s fitness in doubt, horror record this season at home, selecting Hawthorn to remain in the top four.


UnenDowed ($7.40) vs UnDoedee ($1.14)


Poor years for the Blues and Crows as they limp to the finale – Dow misses for the final game in what has been a handy first season, not as handy as Tom Doedee who misses for the Crows.  Both teams will enjoy the end of this game, I suspect Adelaide more so.


The Spanner ($2.54) vs Oh My Darling ($1.64)


Brisbane at the Gabba could be the spanner in the works for the West Coast assault on the premiership.  Suspect West Coast will be well prepared, Darling being fit enough is a key and they should get the benefit of hosting finals at home.


Finally ($1.52) vs The Kelly Gang ($2.86)


After 12 years the Dees are back in the finals.  Last week was a huge effort, the result alone makes them worthy finalists.  They face the Giants who welcome back Josh Kelly and be pleased that Phil Davis can take his place.  They are still missing few key players while the Demons are pretty healthy.  This is the other big game of consequence and the result may hinge on whether Rory Lobb can compete effectively against Max.  Still think he has a bit to learn so going with the Demons in what should be a super contest.


Ho ($3.70) vs Hum ($1.35)


The season closes with another game of little consequence.  The Saints host North, the Roos have played above expectations for the season their opponents below.  That should remain and North to win.


Friar Time


What a weekend for the Friars with four wins.  One of those wins was the ultimate with the Girls winning the flag in their first season.  They played an outstanding game booting 7 straight in arctic conditions to topple the favoured Old Melburnians.  Eilish Boyd has become an internet sensation with her dashing goal to seal the game. Come on Eilish!


The three mens teams did their work to shore up finals positions and set up this week’s encounters.  The Under 19s take on South Melbourne Districts at Friar Park early on Saturday in the 1st Semi.  While the senior teams head in different directions on Sunday, with the twos facing UHSVU in the 2nd Semi at Coburg at midday followed by the 1st XXII taking on Yarra Old Grammarians at 2:20 at Box Hill.


Go Blues, Go Friars


Cheers, Sal


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