Round 5 Preview – If you don’t mind, Umpires

Pascal Greetings to all,


Lots of changes made to the rules over the break to open the game up, but scoring is still poor plus some extremely negative approaches from clubs that are capable of attacking footy.  The number of the devil is making some difference but only for about 30 seconds. Unless a goal is scored directly from the centre bounce not much has changed.  Clubs still keen to get someone behind the ball, there appears to less daring run out of defence unless it’s the Bombers.  The kick out from fullback is still mostly wide out to the wing, it just goes 10 metres further.  The opening up of play and set pieces to go coast to coast are there but used sparingly.


None of this really a surprise with the negative outlook of most coaches who shore up the defence first and hope to kick a few goals the other way.  Fortunately, a couple of clubs are looking the other way with an aggressive approach to the game. Let’s hope they find success and the trend catches.


The other trend that needs to be addressed is the umpiring; have been befuddled by the inconsistency within games all year, paying highly technical infringements but missing some of the bleeding obvious.  The Setterfield tackle a case in point – how they missed it was beyond me. Even if the controlling umpire was unsighted, he has two mates – one of them must have picked it up.  This has been coming for a couple of weeks with sling tackles that don’t knock players out not being penalised.  Not sure it’s the umpire’s or their master’s fault but let’s hope it improves as the season progresses.


The season does progress and we have a few morsels to consume over Easter.


Speed Bumped ($2.42) vs High Beams ($1.70)


Beams comes back for the Pies to face his former club, reckon they have covered his loss pretty well with Neale and natural improvement of the younger midfielders.  Doubt that Martin will give Grundy the same control as last week, should provide Brisbane with some impetus.  Was a ten goal loss at the G a road bump or sign of trouble?  What we do know is that it has become difficult for teams to win more than three on the trot and that young teams will have “off” days.  It will be important to put in a solid performance this week.  It possibly also exposed the difficulty of coaching a young side without a runner and we might see more of these blowouts unless they develop effective communication and leadership on the ground.  The Pies just need to play footy that we can watch – the possession obsession got the points last week but it was horrible.  They have the talent to play a more attractive brand and suspect we might see some of that this week.  Enough of it to get The Pies over the line, Brisbane certainly a chance on their own dung hill.


Rolled the Dice ($2.44) vs Fast Forward ($1.68)


The Roos took the gamble going to the tribunal, just not sure why.  Just for the look of the game, McDonald had to get a suspension.  They take on the Bombers who have turned their season around in six quarters and look dangerous with fast moving, attacking footy.  North had a great win on the weekend, not sure they can keep up with the Bombers though so Essendon are the pick.


Kings of the West ($1.27) vs Mot-lopped ($4.50)


After some last quarter luck against the Blues a couple of weeks ago, the following two have exposed Steven Motlop’s inconsistency.  When he good he is great, when he is not good he doesn’t deliver the effort required for the team.  They need all that effort up against the Premiers who battled but still proved themselves champions of the West.  Can’t see them being beaten in Perth.


Warded Off ($1.17) vs Get Stuffed Again ($6.60)


After such a bright start in Round 1, the Dockers returned to Ross’ DNA clogging up the game and making it a scrap.  Might have been their best chance without Fyfe and kept the damage to a minimum, just not what we want to see.  They head to Canberra where they may produce similar tactics against the Giants who put their mark on the competition beating Geelong at the Cattery.  Shame to lose Callan Ward – such a mighty player – tough, hard and fair!  Despite losing Ward, Giants will prevail here.


Hell ($1.46) vs Heaven ($3.10)


The Demons might have left Hell for a bit after getting a win on the board over Sydney, while the Saints are riding a heavenly wave after a hellish pre-season.  What we have seen of the Saints has been the maturing of their young list into bona fide AFL players.  Some of them rising up to top notchers, others becoming valuable and capable players within the team.  A very difficult game to assess – how good was Melbourne or how poor was Sydney?  The Saints just keep delivering.  Just going with Melbourne that they might have some confidence back, wouldn’t back them with stolen money.


A Beatle Returns ($1.46) vs Going Horse ($3.10)


The Tigers victory last week will do so much for their belief in system and style after the concern of losing their best four.  Dusty is back this week to rebuild the band.  They take on the Swans whose only victory has come at the expense of the cellar dwellers.  They have been one of the most disappointing teams of the year – should Longmire and his team start to come under scrutiny?  They appear to lack depth across the team and lack star power, Franklin excepted.  They are known to dig deep in these “backs to the wall” games, I want to see it before I pick them.


Bontempelli ($1.43) vs Cripps ($3.25)


Two of the best midfielders in the competition face each other on Sunday, however one of them has plenty of other capable assistants while the other is stuck with a loan hand.  The poor decision making and skill errors that riddled Carlton’s game last week was inexcusable for players who are full-time at the job.  The Blues are likely to get Kruezer back in the line-up who should have an advantage over the improving Tim English.  English will develop into a good ruckman and contributes around the ground, however Grundy put him to the sword in ruck contests last week.  The Dogs just have too many better players than the Blues.


Next to pay the Bryce ($1.22) vs Take a Bowes ($5.30)


The Suns persisted last week as they have all season to win another close one thanks to Jack Bowes late snap.  He finished it but the whole team worked to get to a position to pinch it.  Being able to grind out those wins will hold them in good stead for the future.  They face the disappointing Crows whose message to Bryce did not have much effect on the rest of the team – who’s next?  It’s not Sam Jacobs, out for another six to leave their ruck stocks depleted – which give Witts a big advantage in this one.  It is back at Adelaide Oval where the Suns have never shone and suspect the same to continue this week.


Jaeger Master ($3.00) vs Intruded ($1.48)


The Cats had their house robbed last week by the Giants.  Possibly says more about the Giants and the Cats can put it down to one of those days.  They won’t able to have another facing the Hawks who also had one last week against Saints.  O’Meara back will make a big difference, just not sure they will have the midfield depth to cover Kelly, Dangerfield and co.  The Hawks to have another one of those days and the Cats to get back on the winners list.



That Carnival is Over


The Championships come to a close this week after we saw the final race of the mighty Winx – she delivered again, who will replace her?  Perhaps the winner of the previous in Verry Elleegant who was supreme in the Oaks.  Then there is Avilius, Mystic Journey, Arcadia Queen – this year’s Cox Plate could be a beauty!  Hope a couple of you got on Shraaoh in the cup! Just a couple of Group Ones this week and sticking with a couple of favourites to salute.


Royal Randwick


Race 6 – Champagne Stakes (G1, 1600m, 2yo SW)


The babies stretch out to the mile and reckon the placegetters in the Sires will fight this out. Loving Gaby (9) came back to edge out Castelvecchio (1) for second, the trainers don’t have any concern about the extra furlong so is my top pick.  The caveat is how long she has been up for and this could be a run too many.  If it is then Castelvecchio (1) will be hard to beat.  Power Scheme (2) won over this trip last week so must be a chance here and Lady Lupino (10) toppled a well fancied commodity last start – don’t think she has headed north for a holiday.


Selections – 9-1-2-10


Race 7 – All Aged Stakes (G1, 1400m, WFA)


The inside draw might be an issue for Osborne Bulls (2) but going to trust that Bowman can find the right run and this fellow the Group 1 victory he is destined for.  The main threat will come from Pierata (3), drawn out but racing in good style.  Champagne Cuddles (12) ran well in the TJ and might present some value here as does Naantali (14) who has her biggest challenge but is good form and excels over 7 furlongs.  Prepared to risk the raider D’Bai (6), but always wary of the unsighted Appleby horse.


Selection – 2-3-12-14


Quaddie Time


Does the first leg almost give us a freebie?  Certainly a risk but happy to go with the top two, The All Aged is wider as are the other legs.


Leg 1 – 1, 9

Leg 2 – 2, 3, 6, 7, 12, 14

Leg 3 – 2, 4, 9, 10

Leg 4 – 6, 8, 16


144 Combinations, $30 returns 20.8% of the dividend.  Noting 16 in the last leg is an emergency.


Friar Time


A thumping win for the senior teams over Power House last week.  The Girls came up a against a strong Therry outfit and went down by a couple of goals and the Under 23s went down in a close one to Old Scotch.  Under 19s took a week off as we look to get them on the park after Easter.


Go Blues, Go the Bull


Cheers, Sal


  1. With you about the technical nature of the umpiring this season Sal. Grandad would have called it “tickytouchwood”. Lots of literal interpretations of rules for minor infringements. But almost no contextual interpretation of larger actions against the spirit of the game. Look like they are being coached by High Court Judges. We had “look at moi” Razor Ray over here last week. Spare me. Runs of frees to the Dockers I couldn’t understand. Then equally confusing ones to us to even up. Spare me.
    The Eagles will be one of the teams that take the game on from kick ins – particularly in the second half when teams get tired and their defensive structures fall apart. Jetta did it several times against GWS and Collingwood, so his absence last week added to a stodgy affair. The ability to kick long, hard and flat with minimal hang time is one of the most underrated skills in the game. Jetta, Hurn and McGovern do it better than most (though McClanger throws in a fair few ordinary ones – he never dies wondering – haven’t seen him spoil in 5 years).
    I still like the rule changes as marginal improvements to the game in the longer term. I reckon we have underestimated the effect of no runners making players risk averse. No-one wants to be the first candidate at the Monday team review.
    Your views (on everything but racing) are always appreciated and essential reading.

  2. The AFL should apply the Law of Unintended Consequences to any rule changes they make.

    For example, it’s now apparent that the new kick in rules (apart from giving a grossly unfair advantage to the defending side when it forces the point), while it might slightly increase the chances of a “slingshot” score at the other end, mainly makes a rebound score at the same end much less likely. In other words, it decreases, rather than increases, the likelihood of scoring.

    Oh, and great tipping Sal – that’ll learn ya.

    And you leave “Docker” Ray Chamberlain alone. First umpire in recorded history to go on a rampage in our favour.

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