Round 23 – Sal’s Preview: Let the Finals begin



Greetings All


Not sure we have ever gone into the penultimate round of the season with so many teams still in the hunt.  A quick look at our form ladder with a couple of moves but it becomes less relevant as we close in on finals.  Hawthorn in particular have taken down the Pies and Dogs and are fourth on form and the Saints fifth but some questions on the quality of the vanquished in that climb.  The Tigers plummet to 14th while Port dropped a spot despite the victory.  The relevance diminishes though as we approach the season’s end.



Team P


A Perc
Carl 20 488 327 149.24%
Syd 20 494 422 117.06%
Melb 16 491 426 115.26%
Haw 12 448 395 113.42%
StK 12 389 361 107.76%
Coll 12 456 449 101.56%
GWS 12 422 425 99.29%
Bris 12 399 421 94.77%
WB 8 429 343 125.07%
Geel 8 437 374 116.84%
Adel 8 444 393 112.98%
Fre 8 422 392 107.65%
GC 8 387 412 93.93%
Rich 8 420 504 83.33%
Ess 8 352 462 76.19%
Port 4 441 501 88.02%
WCE 4 306 512 59.77%
NM 0 316 418 75.60%


So let’s look at the weekend’s festival.



No Moore (45%) vs Outgunned (55%)

 The Pies get to host in the Loungeroom without the skipper Moore and also missing De Goey and Hill but at least get Steele Sidebottom back, they take on the Lions who will be missing Gunston but get back one of their better ball users in Coleman.  The Loungeroom holds no fears for the Lions who have a great record there, while the Pies tend to be hit or miss.  Just not sure about the Pies motivation as they have locked up pole position – they don’t want to flirt with form but Brisbane have so much more to play for a win virtually seals two Gabba finals.  The best of Collingwood wins but reckon the Lions will produce better.


Red Card (95%) vs Corr Values (5%)

The Tigers have the big send off for Trent Cotchin and Jack Reiwoldt – what grand players they have been for the Tigers.  Both part of an unforgettable generation.  North Melbourne get to be the Washington Generals and expect to get the usual result despite the efforts of Aidan Corr who has provide good value for the Kangas this year.


All the King’s Men (33%) vs When Harry…(67%)

The Blues run started 8 games ago in the second quarter against Gold Coast – since then the Suns have deposed of their coach while the Blues have been rampant.  Despite that their spot in the finals is not locked in so should be desperate to win this, for the Suns it is about redemption their loss last week making finals impossible.  The motivation is one of pride and not necessity.  A couple of interesting milestones for the Blues with Matthew Cottrell and David Cunningham both notching up 50 games.  Cottrell has taken four seasons to reach the mark while through injuries Cunningham is in his eighth including missing the entire 2022 campaign.  Some discussion about the Blues losing their balance with McKay’s inclusion – this run of wins began with McKay and Curnow running rampant.  Blues have all the real motivation and should win.


All the Kingsley’s Men (85%) vs It’s Curtains (15%)

There is no other game with as much riding on it as this with both teams having tough fixtures to follow.  The Giants have the benefit of playing at home and a couple of livewires returning in Daniels and Bedford, the Bombers get their two most dynamic players back in Stringer and Draper.  While GWS were mauled last week in Adelaide suspect they can get back on the winners list here, the Bombers have won their last couple but by close margins to the two bottom sides.  They will be playing for their lives next Friday against the Pies while the Giants can sit and watch the rest of the round go by before facing the Blues in the last game of the season.  They will know by then exactly what will be required to play finals – maybe nothing!


In the Battle (35%) vs Hit the Boundary (65%)

There are no boundaries for how good Jeremy Cameron is – at least for the umpires who can’t take their eyes off him instead of doing their job!  The Saints have to deal with that plus the return of Tom Hawkins.  Geelong were good in patches against the Pies if that can stretch over four quarters they win.  It’s the stretch that is the issue but also for the Saints who have played well recently but also in patches.  The Cats win and destiny is in their own hands a loss will make for a very nervous week and reliant on other results.  For the Saints it’s win and you’re in.  Think they just might and get themselves a relatively relaxed trip to Brisbane for Round 24.


I Zak (72%) vs Ramping Up (28%)

Yet another game with high stakes as the Crows host the Swans, both get good ones back in Rankine and Rampe respectively.  The Crows have done well despite losing a number of their best defenders, somewhat balance this week with the Swans losing Amartey.  Their record at home is known however they are 1-3 against Sydney at the venue but the last meeting was in 2020.  The ramifications for Sydney are win and you’re in, for the Crows it is virtually the same with West Coast next week.  A loss would have them only playing for Tex and the Coleman.  While the Crows are formidable at home just think Sydney have got a sniff like last year and just know how to win these ones.


Unlibbarated (99.8%) vs Donkeys (0.02%)

The West Coast board only get to panic on the coaching after a 100 point loss to Fremantle – surely not!  They have been a basket case all season just because you get monstered by your despised foe they start thinking of change.  Absolute absurdity – any decision on the coach’s tenure should have been made well before this point – at least internally.  They get to face the Bulldogs who have committed to their coach – although a few with misgivings.  They go in without their heart and soul in Libba which should not matter in this one.  They hold their spot this week before the dreaded trip to Geelong to close out the season.


Taking it to the Max (92%) vs The Eight Shapers (8%)

The Hawks get another chance to shape the eight after beating the Pies and Dogs facing Melbourne at the G.  The Demons have no shortage of motivation with a win to cement a top four position plus Max Gawn’s 200th game.  Such a barometer for the Dees what plan will Sam Mitchell have to curtail his influence?  They will be feisty but the loss of Lewis will hurt their structure which is all important against the May and Lever led defence.  Demons to seal top four.


Champs of the West (22%) vs An Oath to Ken (78%)

Kenny gets another couple of years at Port.  He has continually revamped this team to be competitive and in the hunt for two home finals before a potential tilt at the flag.  Time will tell if has been too long but this year’s results left little alternative anyway.  They head to Perth to face Freo fresh off their coach killing rampage last week.  The best of Port wins, they have the motivation, so think they will.  The rider being that they lack in the ruck and Luke Jackson has found some form.


So if all goes to this script – We get no change in the top eight with only Essendon and GWS any chance to replace the Dogs who face Geelong whose season will be done.  It does not go to script very often!


Friar Time

 Four from Four was a great result – almost.  The Women did their job beating Bulleen-Templestowe well, however the fourth side AJAX played later against the third side who had no chance of going to second and won convincingly.  A great season not many teams go 10-6 and miss the finals!  The seniors posted a strong win over the ladder leaders Parkside, but still remain outside the four on percentage with two games to go.  The Reserves are a game outside and similarly positioned after a good win also.  The Threes completed the regular season with a strong win over MHSOB – they meet again at Friar Park on Saturday Afternoon in the 2nd Semi.  The seniors and reserve games have been brought forward and they are critical encounters against the in-form Brunswick outfits.


Track Time

We are back at the Heath this week with Group racing returning along with the first Group One for the year at Randwick with the Winx Stakes.  Almost impossible to find the winner there but if the price for Golden Mile (SR8, #7) holds up then an each-way ticket might appeal.  Generally open affairs at Caulfield Race 6 the Regal Roller is intriguing – Umgawa (R6, #8) and William Thomas (R6, #11) are at long odds but ran well last start, then there is Detonator Jack (R6, #7) distance might be too short but hasn’t missed a place in nine starts.  Mr Brightside (R9, #1) won the Lawrence last year and fronts up again, would not be taking “yours for mine” about it – perhaps an up and comer like Attrition (R9, #15) appeals each way.  (also nominated in the Winx Stakes)

Quaddie (Caulfield)

Tripod season is alive!  We have shorties in the second and third legs but reckon they could get rolled so we are going wider – if they win then the return might not be great.  But nothing wrong with a return!

Leg 1 – 1, 3, 5, 9, 10, 11

Leg 2 – 1, 2, 7

Leg 3 – 1, 3, 5, 15

Leg 4 – 1, 9, 12

Represents 216 combinations, a $30 investment return 13.89% of the dividend.


Go Blues, Go Friars, Great Job Matildas


Cheers, Sal


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