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Sal’s Round 3 Preview: Come on Ump!

Greetings All,


The adjudicators have been in the spotlight again this week.  Jordan Bannister’s response to some of the noise this hits the spot, umpires have a split second to make decisions.  Sometimes they will get them wrong, often it is in the interpretation – the rules are full of grey areas – we don’t give them a wrap when they get them right.  The rule makers do not make it easy with their desire to keep the ball moving, resulting in decisions we may not like but are correct to the letter of the footy law.  Sometimes those rule makers are made look foolish by coaches whose job it is to try and find any advantage for them team as we saw with a couple of the ruck scenarios last week.  Shaun Grigg nominating as the ruckman and then being blocked, the Cats not nominating a ruckman at all and Cyril taking up the role occasionally for the Hawks.  These were probably not in the intent of the lawmakers, however it certainly makes for interesting tactics and will look with interest on how some of those are countered.


Then there was the MRP – apart from Preuss getting off for a blatant and unnecessary knee into his opponent the suspensions were all pretty much spot on.  The one that I believe needs review was the Tom Lynch – Grant Birchall clash that has left the Hawk nursing a broken jaw and four weeks on the sidelines.  Not for one second do I think that Lynch was malicious or had any intent to injure his opponent, however his actions did cause injury.  Would the reckless category fit?  Maybe.  We have seen bumping cleaned up where the bumper must show a duty of care for the bumpee, I am not sure that the same measure cannot be made in marking contest where incidental knocks to the head are punished appropriately.  A suspension would be too harsh for the incident, but perhaps fine would get the message to everyone.


But enough of last week it is week three and who of the eight winless sides can get on the board?


Buddy Time ($1.40) vs My Left Foot ($3.35)


The ultimate entertainer plays game 250 – Lance Franklin – will annoy anyone when playing against their side but when he is on song there is none better.  The celebration is up against the Pies who are not only winless but are playing some pretty turgid stuff.  The year is not done with, however it appears that injuries are not the only lament at Collingwood some real structural challenges up forward.  Adam Treloar copped it sweet with criticism of his left foot kicking, just got burnt too often giving the ball away.  Some of the stuff directed towards Nathan Buckley is very premature, but he has built this list in his image and at some stage this year he will need to be accountable.  The Swans have been given an honourable loss for last week, which was fair enough given the personnel selected and have lost Tippett.  As result I am certainly giving the Pies some chance, however the Buddy show at the SCG has me choosing the Swans.


Bellerive ($4.70) vs The Kelly Gang ($1.24)


A bit of spice in the 9 million dollar match after the “leaking” of the North Melbourne offer for Josh Kelly.  Coach Cameron I suspect is correct that it is a tactic – not one I’d complain too much about given the talent he has on the Giant’s list.  Playing in Hobart will favour North who dished up a pasting at their last encounter here in 2012.  From that match 11 players remain on their list and 9 of them selected.  I suspect that the talent of those nine plus their additions should be too strong for the Roos who were desperately unfortunate last week.


Catchin’ Cotchin ($2.78) vs Hometown Heroes ($1.56)


It was Trent’s turn last week with a complete captain’s game – he and Dusty will have their work cut out facing the Mitchell-Priddis-Shuey triumvirate.  Added to the Tiger challenges they are struggling for ruckmen – although Nankervis rates well up against Giles.  Richmond are not without hope and their army will be roaring for every free after the hubbub of West Coast’s win last week, however just like last week I don’t think the umpires will make any difference and I expect the Eagles to put one on the board away from home.


Steve McQueen ($1.43) vs The 2-3 Punch ($3.30)


The Cats pulled off the great escape last week, was it good fortune or good play?  Probably a combination of both, they will not be able to afford any poor play against Melbourne who played very well when it mattered against the Blues.  The loss of Hogan and Lewis though will be an issue – Jordan Lewis has pretty quickly asserted himself on the group and directs traffic well, Jesse Hogan will always be handful for the opposition’s best defender.  As a result the assignment for Geelong is a bit easier and I expect then to kick more that 50% of the total scored in the match.


Harbourside ($2.62) vs Bubble Guzzlers ($1.59)


This is a genuine showdown with the two Adelaide teams occupying the top two places on the ladder.  Crows have upgrade the Charddy to the bubbles as the pundits leap aboard.  It might only be after two rounds but there a quality scalps among the vanquished, the same be said for Port notching the Swans on their belt.  The loss of Jenkins and Hombsch sort of balances the teams out, although I felt losing JJ provided even more run for the Crows.  Adelaide are probably better prepared for the stoush after a tough game against the Hawks, whereas the Port demolition of Freo is like a taste of candy.  Nice to have but of not much nutritional value!  But they can’t control who they play.  The rucks are crucial here, Ryder has returned in fine style and “Sauce” Jacobs is also flying – whoever can assert the most influence will have a factor in the result and I think that Sauce might have the edge and I am selecting Adelaide in a beauty.


Freo woe woe ($6.00) vs Umpire’s Pets ($1.19)


A few coaches will be thanking Get Stuffed Lyon for taking the heat that should be placed on them – the early assessment seems simple – Freo do not have enough good players even though they do have a couple of the best.  Complicating the problem is that they are an older team, many of those not good players will not get any better.  They have their work cut out this week against the champs.  Will the home crowd baying balance out the dream run the Doggies have been getting from the adjudicators?  Beveridge put his point across that maybe the opposition should examine why it is happening rather than sooking – I pretty much concur.  They play footy in a style we want to watch – that should come with few benefits.  It won’t make any difference this week – the Dogs to reign.


Alight the Wagon ($1.19) vs Beams Me Up ($5.80)


The Saints band wagon has hit a couple of bumps and there are a few jumping off – not helped with the absence of Dempster, Reiwoldt and now Steven.  Dempster has been a great servant at both Sydney and St Kilda, hope all goes well in his retirement.  They face Brisbane who could not hold out against the Bombers, but must be ecstatic with the form of their new captain Dayne Beams – while their previous one Tom Rockliff is going well too.  Suspect the wagon will get back on track this week – but for how long?


Black Out ($4.60) vs Red and Back ($1.26)


Carlton wearing a Blue Out Guernsey might just be the wrong colour in this one as the Bombers look pretty handy.  They may have been shaky against the Lions, but they put the game away when they needed to.  The Blues suffered the opposite problem working themselves to a lead but just not being able to assert themselves.  I suspect a similar pattern this week and the Bombers to prevail.


Sunsets ($3.35) vs Has the Sun Set? ($1.40)


The round closes with two teams desperate to show something.  The Suns, Rocket Eade and Gary Ablett are all in the gun and will be desperate to put on an improved display compared to last week.  Another piece of “leaking” with rumours circulation about Hawthorn and Steven May –  timing is everything.  The Hawks though need to knuckle down and get their game back.  Are they gorn?  It is a daring scribe to nominate that – however the evidence is mounting.  Mostly to me around the older brigade who are struggling to the cover the ground.  The replacements Mitchell and O’Meara collected 74 disposals between them amounting to 18% of the Hawk possessions but mostly via handball – in fact the Hawks collectively handballed more than they kicked.  That is not what we have seen over the last few years.  With the evidence exposed the Suns should be able to plan around some these weaknesses, I can visualise a scenario that puts Hawthorn 0-3.  But there is pride, the Hawks have plenty and there is not much evidence that the Suns do – Hawthorn to win.


A Winx and a Smile


The second day of The Championships at Royal Randwick but not quite the level from day one.  Although anytime we see Winx run is well worth it.  Hopefully not to much precipitation and we will see a fairer track produced.  I know they are jealous of Derby Day in Melbourne but there was no need replicate the track bias!  Which made the performance of Chautauqua even more meritorious!  We have four big one up for decision.


The VRC Oaks did produce one of the most extraordinary and memorable wins and the ATC Oaks (2400m, 3yo Fillies SW) sees a couple of the protagonists meet again.  The tactics of Lasqueti Spirit (1) stunned everyone including the other jockeys to win the VRC edition, I doubt she will get away with that again.  By the same token she has been running in open company with the same modus operandi and not being disgraced.  Harlow Gold (5)  was next over the line at Flemington and I suspect she will catch her this time, the question is who else might do it better.  The prospect of a heavy track must favour the New Zealanders who took out last week’s derby.  Bonneval (3) won the NZ Oaks over Devise (6) fit that profile and have Hugh Bowman and Damien Oliver engaged respectively.  Not discounting Nurse Kitchen (4) who beat Harlow Gold (5) home in the Vinery.


Selections Race 6 – 5-3-1-6


Paying $30,000 down to tenth in the $4M Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m, WFA) but with Winx (9) in the field the club could not even get 10 contestants.  She wins so what about the rest.  Hartnell (1) has the credentials to be called the bridesmaid and I expect he will be again followed by The United States (4) and Exospheric (2)Happy Clapper (3) could bring a few cheers, but suspect last week’s great effort in the Doncaster will be felt.


Selections Race 7 – 9-1-4-2


The Sydney Cup (3200m, HCP) does not quite get a Melbourne Cup field but is still an intriguing contest.  Charlie Appleby has brought a couple from Europe in Penglai Pavillion (10) and Polarisation (14), his strike rate in the spring was extraordinary so expect good runs.  But none have been running better than Big Duke (7) who drops 6kg from his emphatic win last week, the only question being his recovery after the run in the slush.  Annus Mirabilis (8) won the Adelaide Cup before an ordinary effort in the Mornington Cup – but taking out that run he must be a chance, as is Tally (4) who steps up to the 2 miles for the first time and Assign (5) for the Weird One who just loves winning staying races.


Selections Race 8 – 7-10-8-4


The final Group 1 is the Coolmore Legacy Stakes (1600m, Fillies and Mares WFA).  A real collision of Melbourne and Sydney form with a couple of fillies added to the mix.  If Silent Sedition (1)  can handle the right handed track and the conditions her form wins this.  From there it is wide open Elle Lou (10) at big odds is in fine form discounting her last start and loves the slush, Bowman is engaged on Danish Twist (7) although some question on the distance.  DK Weir brings Real Love (4) to perhaps take the running double, she usually competes on open company back to mares might suit her.  Zanbagh (5) has drawn the car park and comes into reckoning if the swoopers are winning and the fillies must be considered especially Foxplay (17) who was super in the Vinery.


Selections Race 9 – 1-10-4-7


Amateur Hour


The VAFA kicks off this week with Friars travelling to the delights of Brunswick to take on fellow D1 stalwarts Brunswick NOBSP – it will be a latte on the way and stopping off for a craftie on the way home.  The Under 19s open the Friar Park season hosting PEGS.  Then a week off for Easter then the big opener at Friar Park featuring a triple header and the famous Ribeye and Risotto luncheon feast.


Go Blues, Go Friars,


Cheers, Sal







  1. it’s hard to see how the Eagles are so short, at the G with the Tiges in decent form and their new midfield depth bearing fruit.

    Having said that, I remember the way they out-thought and out-played us during our golden run in ’15, possibly we had bye fatigue but possibly we just gave the ball back. In which, the re-selection of the “good size and aerobotics” of K McIntosh is disturbing. we have 4 key clangerers – Houli, McIntosh, Hunt and B Ellis – and now 3 of them are back in the team.

    much better, and younger, users in C Ellis and Markov stuck in the magoos, despite showing good signs last year : (

    Hardwick will need to coach 100% better than he ever has for us to overcome this.

    good day for cooking onion jam….

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