Sal Ciardulli on Brent 'The Cuff' Macaffer, The Just Shot Blues

Round 5 Preview – KB Time

A joyous Paschal season to all,


The first few weeks of the season has seen the media, the coaches and some in the public rejoicing in the umpires not paying free kicks.  Until last week I thought I was pretty much alone in thinking it was crap and that the game might have been better as a result.
My main concern prior to last week was flagrant disregard for some of the basic rules and in particular disposal of the footy and especially when tackled.  Players having prior opportunity to dispose of the footy being tackled and simply let the ball “fall” out and resulting in yet another stoppage!  As Tim Lane wrote in the Sunday Age that is what the coaches love – stoppages mean control.  But the beauty of our game is in the mayhem and not in the order.


But what really turned me last week was the treatment of Trent Cotchin by Brent Macaffer.  I don’t blame Macaffer he simply took advantage of the latitude provided by the umpires – who under instructions are not to pay frees if they are “probably” there.  They might as well pay none at all!  The game will tidy up and open up if all indiscretions are penalised instead of it being the raffle it currently is.  Yes players like Macaffer, Crowley, Jackson even Franchina have a place in the game – but let’s make them genuinely beat the ball players like Cotchin.


Interesting the current push with Rugby League to further reduce their interchange numbers – with the specific aim to make the players tired, open up the game and let the stars shine!  I reckon KB might be on to something!  Anything to reduce the congestion we see at the moment.


But for all that there is a celebration to take place.  His team might be battling but Jonathon Brown reaches 250 games this week.  He enjoyed great success early in his career and has remained loyal to the Lions ever since.  He has been a great forward, however I think we missed his capability as a midfielder.  He played a few dominant games there before going down with one of his numerous injuries.  JB has been a fantastic Lion King and the last remnant from the triple treat – a team that could really entertain!


But its onto the extended Easter round of footy, which promises a couple of solid encounters and hopefully not as many blow outs as last weekend.


The King’s Cubs ($4.40) vs The Ty’d is Out ($1.28)

The Tigers are in disarray and turmoil after last week, but are still solid favourites against the Lions.  In what looked like a tough season for Brisbane has turned into a nightmare now with injuries to Leuenberger and Hanley.  Will the removal of Ty make a difference? I suspect it will be hard to judge but the Tiges should get back on the winners list.


Bucks Rules ($1.89) vs A Cunnington Plan ($2.08)

Great for Bucks to defend Macaffer’s tactics but bemoan the lack of protection for Cloke – I reckon somewhere in the middle is right.  By the same token while Cloke may not be kicking goals his work rate and presence was still a factor last week.  But this week they take on the resurgent Roos, whilst there are questions on Sydney any win up there has great merit.  This will be a test for them and how they can curtail the scoring power of the Pie midfield.  The Kangas will be more competitive than the Tigers were, but the legend of the Shinboner Spirit has often proved to be folly against Collingwood.  This is a mouth-watering encounter that I just favour Collingwood in, but North at $2.10 is certainly worth consideration.


Where’s Laurie? ($2.38) vs The Hermanator ($1.70)

Laurie Levy and his troop might need to head to Sydney and try to save the Shot Ducks, the Swans are notoriously slow starters but there must be some real concern now.  They face Freo who may have shot blanks against the Hawks but all guns were loaded for the Bombers last week.  Whilst the Bombers did not really have a recognised ruckman, Herman certainly showed the importance of a dominant big man.  They get Nat Fyfe back and the Bloods might rush back Tippet.  With the questions about Sydney and some of their older players, Fremantle are my selection.


Whiskas (1.94) vs Flagons ($2.02)

The Cats dined on the Eagles at the Cattery last week; they return to homely Subiaco but face a rampant Port that flowed all over the Lions last week.  Whilst Geelong are very tough at home, the Eagles were particularly uncompetitive which has to be a concern against the Port running machine.  With that and the concerns on the fitness of Natanui, Port is my selection in a toss of the coin game.


Oh My Goddard ($1.13) vs Not All Wright ($8.00)

Injuries affect some teams more than others – for the Saints losing Nathan Wright will hurt but will provide another youngster valuable experience.  I don’t think the loss of Goddard will affect the Bombers this week – but it might in future weeks if he does not recover quickly.  Bombers should get back on track.


Petaluma ($1.19) vs Missed their Mummy ($6.00)

Shane Mumford’s physicality was missed by the Giants last week – if he remains unavailable as suspected then the Crows will have their way with them and really be able to enjoy a better drop this week.


Dee-lighted ($3.75) vs Costa Del Sol ($1.35) 

As suggested last week anyone at $5 against Carlton was good value and the Dees were too hungry.  Up against the Suns this week, the satchel swingers don’t appear to rate that win.  Not sure what to make of it, on a cold day in Melbourne the lads with the tans might not be that comfortable.  At their best they beat Melbourne and I suspect they will, however Melbourne at anything over $3 represents great value.


Bunker Shots ($1.61) vs Just Shot ($2.46)

The Dogs escaped from the sand in Canberra with a solid win over the Giants – whereas the Blues took a further step into the mire against the Dees.  As a playing group they look completely shell shocked with little confidence in themselves or their teammates.  The potential return of Judd might assist but it is a big ask, balancing that is the probable loss of Jamison.  Will Mick pick a team that can hit the scoreboard?  The defensive system at the moment has more holes in it than the Oscar Pistorius story!  For the Blue to prevail though they will also need to negate the Footscray midfield – rising in quality and getting deeper.  Loyalty only has me selecting the Blues and would only back them with someone else’s cash!


Curse Please ($2.56) vs Scary Monsters ($1.60)

Geelong will hope the Hawk win in the finals was an aberration and that the curse can live a bit longer, but the Hawks have been frighteningly good against all-comers thus far.  And as their supporters remind me – there are a few more to come back into the team.   Geelong have not been too shabby either, however I am favouring Hawthorn to bat deeper in the experience stakes.  With that said $2.50 is pretty luxurious for an undefeated side and Geelong are well worth a shekel.


Back to the Bog

They are racing everywhere this weekend and it would be remiss of me not to mention the human race at Stawell for their mighty annual carnival for the Gift.  I’m sure Dips will be revelling in the history, the atmosphere and a few refreshments.  Then the biggest Picnic Meeting in the world at Oakbank – a treat for anyone that can make it.  I’d be keen for the AFL to put the Blues in Adelaide on Easter Sunday in 2015.  But the main attraction for the Sport of Kings remains at Randwick where from all reports the track is yet to dry out.  Makes it tough to prognosticate especially 84 hours out!

I am wary of NZers coming over for this carnival especially if it’s wet, Viadana (4) makes the trek for the Queen of the Turf Stakes (G1, 1600, F&M WFA) however so far they haven’t fired first up so happy to risk.  Especially against Catkins (3), an outstanding galloper who always gives her all.  Not giving up on Red Tracer (1) especially back to her own sex and if it is still wet.  Then the fillies Solicit (9) and Gypsy Diamond (10) are in good form also.

Selections Race 5 – 3-1-10-9


In the Australian Oaks (G1, 2400m, 3yo Fillies) Lucia Valentine (2) has made an impact from across the ditch coming from last to win the Stormqueen and beating many of her rivals here in the process.  Zanbagh (1) is a consistent performer and second in the VRC Derby puts any distance query to rest.  Suavito (5) missed a placing for the first time last week but is awkwardly drawn and Rising Romance (3) also closed off well last week.

Selections Race 6 – 2-1-5-3


Many question the status of the Sydney Cup (G1, 3200m, HCP) and with some justification after the weights had to be raised by 2kg for this event.  But overall the more two mile races with good prize money the better and we might see a Melbourne Cup chance come out of this race.  After everything about NZers first up I have to have a shekel on the Auckland Cup winner just for the name Who Shot Thebarman (3) – is clearly a chance but not my top selection.  Let’s Make a Deal (9) did not quite get to the Melbourne Cup, but a win here will get her there and everything has been aimed for this distance.  Another mare Epingle (6) has a similar profile and Tupac Amaru (7) nearly got there in the Derby and represents a chance for the Sheikh.

Selections Race 7 – 9-7-6-3


Then we have the $4M grand final with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1, 2000m, WFA) which goes without the Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente who is now retired due to injury.  But the other players from Ranvet clash again, amongst a fantastic field.  A bit like the Blues I am sticking with It’s a Dundeel (2), would be a shame if he won his last race I hadn’t backed him.  Tommy Berry gets on Carlton House (5) for Lizzie and if he can ride it as well as McEvoy did in the Ranvet he is a huge chance, form says Silent Achiever (10) is going brilliantly in the conditions and Hawkspur (6) was terrific in the Doncaster.  No better trainer than CJ Waller and Boban (1) missed the Doncaster for this.

Selections Race 8 – 2-5-10-1


Quaddie – Last week we went a bit too skinny in the last leg and the divvy was too small to lay off, but at least we had an interest in the last leg!  It’s no easier this week.  Going with a dual quaddie strategy with one relying on the favourite in the Oaks and the other spreading the Oaks but narrowing down the other legs.


Go Lucia!


144 Combinations. $10 investment for 7% of the dividend


Wider Oaks


120 Combinations. $20 investment for 17% of the dividend


Friar Time

The Seniors hung in against Williamstown but were blown away after the final orange break and the reserves suffered similar defeat.  However the Under 19s won their first game in Section 2 against Caulfield Grammar, while the development team in the North Section went down to Yarra Valley.  No games in the Ammos for the Easter break,


Go Blues, Please

Cheers, Sal


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