Round 4 Preview: The Clock is Counting Down!


Paschal Greetings All,


What a season we are having with more questions being posed than the ones being answered! Footy is alive and well!


Especially footy at the MCG! It has everything – the right size ground, open to the elements, magic atmosphere, a kaleidoscope of history and a great range of options for refreshments. But it’s not all rosy for this fan! The advertising hoardings that are constantly moving and changing colours makes watching from ground level particularly difficult when trying to follow the players that are also on the move. But hey, why not use technology for technologies sake! Heading upstairs solves that issue with the surface becoming the backdrop instead of the fence.


It does not resolve my greatest gripe – I choose to go to the footy for many reasons – a complete view of the game, being part of the atmosphere, even partaking in refreshments.  One other is the suspense and the unknown – the footy is a movie with a different ending every week. This week’s release from the AFL that their timing partner is now allowed to advertise on those damned boards with a countdown clock completely destroys the suspense, the unknown and the ending for the fans at the game. Last week’s Carlton – Essendon game might not have been the greatest game of skill, but it was a tight tussle played in torrid conditions. The Blues were hanging on grimly with the Bombers always only two kicks away from taking the lead, it was the kind of game that had the crowd moving with every contest. But all the movement stopped with a groan when the AFL’s timing partner flashed up that there was only 70 seconds remaining – with the ball deep in the Blues attack the Bombers now had no chance – it may have put the Bomber faithful out of their misery but did nothing for the atmosphere or the game.


If I want a countdown I’ll go to the basketball – where the rules have been adapted to make the countdown clock add to the spectacle. As has American football, they have introduced rules specifically to stop time wasting in the final two minutes of the game.  It works well for these stop-start games and there have been some incredible comebacks engineered in those final two minutes. However Australian Rules does not have two minute warnings, time outs or any other manufactured stoppages – apart from umpiring decisions it is a game of continuous flow just like the world game. This decision of the AFL to go for the dollars over the fan’s experience is a particularly poor one in my opinion and given a choice of time pieces I won’t be going with one from the AFL partner.


So hopefully the games at the G are even closer at the 70 second to go mark this weekend and that this pontificator gets a few answers right!


Rainy Day ($1.44) vs Emergency Call ($3.25)

West Coast kicked poorly and did not handle the wet conditions when they came to Melbourne last week, back in Perth on the home deck they should be in a much better space. Meanwhile the Triple-0 Swans are in desperate need of a win. Their last two losses have been described as meritorious, but in reality they downright failed to turn up against the Pies. A couple of their guns are down in Hannebery and Parker, but some positives in that they are getting games into some pretty impressive youngsters. How do they handle Mitchell? Suspect that could be a job for Jack. The venue does not hold too many fears for the Swans, but it is a happy hunting ground for the home team who I suspect will have a bit too much experience and do enough to win.


Joeys ($3.75) vs Freo’s Curs ($1.35)

Good Friday sees AFL for the first time – not sure we need it myself but I am sure there will be plenty watching the young Roos take on the Defeated Dogs who fell again to Freo in the west. The Roos are trying and will get better, but Footscray back in the loungeroom have too much on the line to drop another one.


Are they Gawn? ($1.39) vs Freed-o ($3.80)

Get Stuffed Lyon released the shackles and some youth with terrific results last week – it certainly helped that Sandilands, Johnson, Mundy and Fyfe also had great impact. They face the depleted Dees who have lost their source with Gawn gone for 3 months, still missing Lewis and Smokin’ Hogan the depth will be tested. It was pretty good last week until missing Max became a factor and the Cats took over. Freo has a great record over the Dees and represent great value at $3.20 or better but I am not sure last week wasn’t a flash in the pan and suspect Melbourne can get up even without Max!


The Capitals ($1.33) vs Paddy Whacked ($3.80)

The Giants take it to Canberra and take on the Ryder less Power. To add to Port’s woes – Lobbe gets injured and they are up against Mummy! That’s enough for me – Giants to win.


Shooting Up ($2.16) vs Should I Go or Should I Stay ($1.79)

I reckon Gazza’s indecision is bugging the Suns, there would seem to be some sort of clash!  However his return to form with the rest of the team produced a stunning result last week.  Meanwhile a few of Bolton’s shoots grew a bit last week with Marchbank and Plowman playing key roles in the victory over the Bombers. Can either team reproduce it this week?  The Suns not only got Ablett up and going but Swallow, Martin, Hall and a few others contributed – importantly they were too quick. They might just be for the Blues also, however I am playing the bias card this week and reckon Carlton can back up with another victory and balance the ledger. A few might even suggest the F word, not I!


Sloane, Sloane, Sloane ($1.17) vs The Pharmacy ($6.40)

A few Monday Night experts lamented that Rory Sloane was not rated as high as he should be – perhaps they need to talk to a few folks outside their circle.  Rory Sloane is a star and has been for many years, he is sublimely skilled and as brave as they come. Has a bit of the Jimmy Bartel about him also – does the right thing, in the right spot at the right time. His team takes on the Bombers who have a coach who is getting right into the spirit of the comedy festival by suggesting his team lacked chemistry after the loss to Carlton. They did lack an even contribution with a couple of stand outs but too many off their game, perhaps they had the wrong formula! They need to have everything right and maybe that win over Hawthorn was not as good as it seemed at the time!  Adelaide in Adelaide looks like one of the toughest road trips this year and I doubt the Bombers can win this.


Duck Shooters ($1.89) vs No Respect ($2.10)

The earlier commentary of the Swans failure to arrive should in no way take anything away from the Pies who attacked the game ferociously and maintained the rage despite the eventual response from Sydney. It was a win full of merit in both its planning and execution and not the first time Collingwood have won on the road after a week under the cosh. Their opponents, St Kilda, treated Brisbane like Rodney Dangerfield giving them no respect and nearly paid for it before the ultimate “No Respect” action from Montagna.  Makes this week an eight point game with both clubs holding September ambitions. Going with the Saints because of their more developed forward line, but certainly not discounting Collingwood whose midfield might just be too good.


Rodney Dangerfield ($3.25) vs Another Rodney ($1.42)

While Brisbane were on the end of the Saints lack of respect their opponents have their own battle getting respect despite winning their first three. Does the Tiger win over the Eagles get some respect? They can’t help the draw or the weather – they have beaten who ever has been put in front of them and seem to have a more offensive style which is working well.  Richmond will beat Brisbane but still have something to prove.


Supporting the Sponsor? ($3.10) vs Melcats ($1.43)

Another loss and the Hawks will have record to match their vehicle sponsor, they will be doing everything they can to avoid the four zeros but will it be enough. The evidence canvassed in last week’s edition had plenty added to it on Sunday night. How will Clarko address the speed issue? It can’t just be Billy Hartung again.  The Cats play in the big smoke again and have found a bit with the emergence of Parfitt and Parsons. Form and logic says the Cats win, but last week’s results showed that attitude and effort are much more important. I don’t think Hawthorn will leave anything on the table this week and open their account. If not then I doubt it will just be sayonara for the season.


On the Third Day

Of the Championships they only run two Group One events. Last week saw the mighty Winx dominate again and the Kiwi’s salute in the Oaks while the Sydney Cup was abandoned in tragic circumstance with Almoonqith breaking down and being a risk to the remainder of the field.


The Champagne Stakes (1600m, 2yo SW) sees the babies take on the mile for the first time. Invader (1) won the Sires Produce and is always a good guide for this.  Eshtiraak (3) ran as favourite in the VRC edition of the Sires and failed but followed up with a good win over 1500m, Whispered Secret (8) has a win over this course and Aberro (6) is interesting coming here off a pair of seconds in the Victorian provincials.

Selections Race 6 – 1-8-3-6


The All Aged Stakes (1400m, WFA) closes out the big ones for Sydney and this is usually a clash of the milers coming off the Doncaster and the sprinters stepping up off the TJ Smith. I like those stepping up that have succeeded over a longer journey, Voodoo Lad (4) fits the bill. However DA Hayes has often indicated Redkirk Warrior (2) is the best in the stable so I just have him ahead, but wary if the track remains heavy. Le Romain (1) must have a huge chance 3 2nds from 3 start over the distance and Tivaci (8) is always closing hard in his races.

Selections Race 7 – 2-4-1-8


Amateur Hour

A week off with Easter for the Ammos. The Friars started well over Brunswick NOBSP but a couple of structural adjustments got the home side back in the game before the storm hit and really blew the game in their favour. No excuses just too good overall.


Go Blues, Go Redkirk Warrior,

Have a great Easter, stay safe!

Cheers, Sal



  1. Happy Easter, Sal.

    The Roos are trying alright!

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