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Round 5 Preview – A sad week for footy

Greetings All,


I never met Patrick Cronin but heard the news whilst at the MCG watching Melbourne-Collingwood from my son whose teammates went to school with him at ‘Friars.  Out with his mates celebrating his first senior game despite the shellacking from the opposition – a life should not end like this.  There have been too many other victims of such attacks, this senseless and tragic waste of young lives needs to stop.  Terry Wallace is right to say education is needed, but who needs to be educated and how is the message delivered?  As part of that education it would be great if the AFL along with all their associated competitions dedicated resources to spread the messaging out among its players and supporters so that hopefully no other family or friends have to endure this heartbreak again.  Rest in Peace.


Whilst footy could take a leadership role here, the AFL leadership did make a decision this week to end the Grand Final replay.  Media street have been magnanimous in their approval, but that does not necessarily make it right.  Much has stemmed from the Collingwood – St Kilda match, it was a pretty tough affair just as GSL likes it – the replay finished up as flat as pommy beer with the Pies winning in a cakewalk.  However I am old enough to remember 1977; not only Twiggy’s pack mark and flat punt but also Arnie Briedis’ waywardness in front of goal, then there was the pang of the draw and we are back here next week.  It was a week of anticipation for another great contest, queueing for tickets at Box Hill at an ungodly hour to get a few standing tickets for the replay.  The game itself was not as tight – a high scoring affair where the Roos got the jump early and kept a determined Collingwood at bay despite another week of errant kicking.  Remember without the GF replay we would not have had the magnificent Phil Manassa run and goal.


However, times move on and the logistics of a national competition make the decision to remove the replay the right one.  The five minutes each way seems a reasonable manner to break the deadlock, but the “Golden Point” falls short for mine.  Many argue it should be a golden goal, but anything “Golden” is questionable.  First of all, since the siren won’t sound theoretically no-one will know when the game is in gold time – except the TV audiences and the coach’s boxes.  Yes, they can communicate to the players but the fans at the game will be none the wiser.  But the major issue is fairness – the side closing with the 3 goal wind advantage becomes an overwhelming favourite.  Maybe it doesn’t blow at the G that much but this will apply to all finals and most other finals venues are wide open to the elements.  My preferred option is to go again for another five each way, but we could have our own version of the penalty shoot-out with 5 players from each team having shots from 40m out directly in front.


What does concern me now will be the attack on the glorious draw?  So I have relented for finals and now Grand Finals but let’s leave the rest of the season alone.  Have already heard media types argue that games need to have a winner and a loser – what a bunch of bollocks!  Surely as a society we can still handle the questions and ambiguities that the magnificent draw offers up.  Our reactions to a draw teach us how to act when not quite everything goes right, but it doesn’t all go wrong.  Some may take the Crackers Keenan option swinging wildly at anything in his path at the end of 1977 GF, others will be more circumspect – but we should all embrace the possibility of a draw and learn about ourselves when they come to fruition.  (As a West Ham fan I am learning a lot about myself!)


Some interesting results last week and plenty of teams and coaches in the spotlight this week.  We will start to see some true form as some of the early gift scheduling balances out.  On to ANZAC Round which again has a few delectable offerings.


Tale of the Tape ($1.45) vs Champagne Guzzlers ($3.15)

The Hawks survived the Saints with the assistance of an umpire who could make better use of a tape measure, again they found a way to win.  They take on the Crows who are being feted and celebrated after a great win over the Swans.  On form they are a huge chance over Hawthorn who have not quite found the right gear this season.  Adelaide match up well to the Hawks and in Rory Sloane they have the contested ball winner to take on anyone.  Footy though is played 90% above the shoulders and am worried about too much adulation in Adelaide up against the Premiers who will be eager to improve on their performance last week.  Hawks to win at the G in what should be a beauty.


Randwick ($1.71) vs In Peril ($2.34)

A poor choice of words found the Eagles in strife this week with the racist overtones in the term “Yellow Peril” to describe their original outfit – Golden Disaster would have been a better choice – cannot stand mascot pictures on the strip.  They head to the SCG to face Sydney who will be upset with the loss but not the effort over Adelaide.  A great test for both sides, but history way out in favour of the home team.  In fact, the Eagles have not won at the venue since 1999 and have not played there since 2010.  Sydney to strike back.


Missing May ($3.40) vs Gunslingers ($1.39)

The Roos have broken away from the pack by simply having bigger guns than their opponents and willingly engaging in a shootout.  No complaints from an entertainment perspective, they lead the competition in scoring but rank 14th in defence.  The Suns will miss May for most of May, that will really be felt this week with all the North talls up forward.  Up front the Suns have Lynch and Day who will be dangerous against the vertically challenged North defence – but suspect the North forwards will outstretch the Gold Coast defence and finish up with more goals.  For the stat watchers Gold Coast have won the last three over the Kangas so that $3 or better looks reasonable.


Cross Breeds ($1.16) vs Queensland Champs ($7.20)

The Dogs are looking less like the pure breeds we saw at the start of the season but are still winning.  The loss of Johanissen further compounding their challenges distributing the ball out of the back line.  They have a few stepping up with the opportunity none more so than “Ronnie” Biggs.  They face Brisbane who were terrific in overrunning the Suns, but the Dogs in their Loungeroom might be beyond them.


Something Fishy in the Harbour ($2.26) vs In Purr-suit ($1.76)

Port might be 2-2 but there is a stench emanating from Alberton.  In 2014 they stunned the opposition with their ballistic footy – it is now de rigueur for everyone and they are not keeping up.  Kenny joins Bucks and Dimma in the kitchen!  They host Geelong who ground their way to victory over the Bombers, their best looks very good but not all cylinders firing yet.  Plenty of talk from Port this week, if they do not back it up with a matching performance the rumblings might even make it to Melbourne.  Tipping Geelong but certainly wary of the foe.


Moral Victors ($2.50) vs Jeremy ($1.66)

Maybe not getting those four points will bump them up in the draft order at the end of the season but probably not as good as a win over the champs would have been.  These Saints are playing good footy and have plenty of talent, the problem this week is that the Giants are pretty well loaded up on talent and they get Jeremy Cameron back in.  Terrific test for Tom Hickey against Mumford.  Expect St Kilda to be competitive and fair value at $2.40 – but suspect the Giants might just out talent them.


Owin’ Four ($1.15) vs Blue Levi ($6.80)

There are plenty more problems at Carlton than Levi Casboult’s kicking!  Glad the coach and captain have backed him, maybe a couple more folks getting a shot at goal might help.  They will not be easy to come by against the equally winless Dockers.  Only one team will be winless at the end of the game – unless we get a glorious draw! Which is what it would be for the Blues.  Freo to go one ‘n four.


Watts Going On? ($2.20) vs Lifting de Lids ($1.74)

Not only is Delidio back but also Ivan Maric for the Tigers who will be better for their return, but are their immediate issues more deep seated?  Recent history says when their best are playing they can match anyone.  Meanwhile is Jack Watts becoming the Demons bellwether?  Jack is not an instigator but has the polish to complete the good work of his teammates, when he gets supply his midfield is doing well and he can win his share of contests.  That midfield is more than Nathan Jones now with the emergence of Viney, Tyson, Brayshaw plus Bernie Vince and a couple of others spreading the load.  The question is whether they can stay consistent as they will need to be against a desperate foe, I am with them to do it this week and prolong the Tiger misery.


 Cloke Daggered ($1.37) vs Go to Joe ($3.50)

A massive test for Pies and Bombers lying 15th and 16th to see whether this ANZAC day match is right for them to be the headline act?  Have always been ambivalent to the calls of tradition, but I guess they can claim that as it has been over twenty years since they rigged the fixture.  This game means so much for Collingwood and Nathan Buckley irrespective of when it is played, his team showed glimpses last week but are really struggling at both ends of the field.  Travis has been maligned – but gee he has a few mates.  The defence has been built around teamwork, but they are all playing for their own survival.  Meanwhile the Bombers are forcing teams to grind out results but they do have a shining beacon in Joe Daniher, he will be a tough match up for the Pies and could swing it for Essendon.  Suspect the Pies will bring the right intensity this week and get win number two on the board.


Friar Time

A great contest against Therry Penola but alas coming up just short.  The week sees the Friars head to Toorak to face another D1 stalwart in Prahran Assumption in a key match for the club.  The Under 19s got over the previous week handing out their own 12 goal drubbing of Old Carey, they face Old Ivanhoe at Friar park this week.  On another Friar note Christian Petracca may debut for the Demons this week.


Go Blues, Go Hammers, Go Friars

Cheers, Sal


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