Round 7 thoughts and predictions from Sal

Greetings All,


There is some well-considered discussion on the state of the game from aesthetic perspective at the moment.  36 players in 25% of the ground is a problem, I have yet to hear a Richmond supporter complain!  That solution is simple tire the players out by significantly reducing or removing rotations.  The solution I want though is for the Blues.  Whether the fans like it or not time and honesty will be the only way to get out of it.  The model is there – rebuilds work as seen by the last two premiers.


The Doggies only had a couple of players in their premiership team that came from another list – neither of those were established players when they crossed although a Tom Boyd did cost some coin.  The Tigers were a little different.  They certainly chased the stars, missing out on Treloar who I don’t think regrets his decision, but probably regret his choice of words.  They had five of their 22 coming from other lists – of those I would suggest only Prestia would have been deemed in their previous club’s best 22.  Grigg possibly also.  So while they chased and failed, there was some fine work done back at base.  Cotchin, Martin, Rance and Reiwoldt all coming out of the draft.  Both clubs were considered “Gorn” the year prior.  Footscray were in disarray sacking the coach and the captain walked out, Richmond bounced off a 113 point drubbing in the final game of 2016.  But the work to build those teams started a long time earlier.


The Blues need to take the time and dare I say it “stay the journey’. They also need to be honest about the players on the list who not only can play but also want to play.  Garry Lyon prefers the Blues list over the Saints – the Saints have beaten them the last three meetings. The desire in St Kilda in each of those matches far exceeded Carlton’s.  Garry was being nice to the Blues.  He listed a number of players in the Blues top group – including Lachie Plowman!  He is a nice player with the game on his own terms, Carlton just don’t play many of those.  He along with a few other highly rated selections and trades desperately need to develop an appetite for the contest, a team can only carry so many third up defenders. They just lose too many one-on-ones, the young player excuse doesn’t cut it when they lose those contests to other young players.


Patrick Cripps should to be elevated to either captain or co-captain.  He carries an enormous load on his ample shoulders, he sets the tone and the example for the effort levels his team mates should commit to.  Giving him the team might also give more confidence to demand more from them.  Marc Murphy has not done anything wrong – but a statement needs to be made to the playing group.


Removing the coach would do nothing with a list that is in the shape it is in, take out the 2nd, 3rd and 4th best players from any team and they would struggle.  Surely though they could play with more daring and get the damn thing in the front half with the likes of Casboult and Charlie Curnow up there.  Especially when you are coughing goals from skill errors in the back half.  Maybe they don’t deserve Friday night footy and the inspection that comes with it harsh, maybe that spotlight is also exactly what the club needs.


They are not gracing our screens this Friday night, let’s look at who is and who might win.


Ski Patrol ($1.46) vs Slayed ($3.10)


The much vaunted Geelong midfield seem to be fantastic when the ball is going their way but not terribly interested it’s not.  They get another difficult assignment at home, better get the cross-country skis out rather than the downhill ones they have been using.  The Giants though have been slayed by injury with Cameron and Deledio joining Lobb, Greene and Kelly on the sidelines.  Geelong have their own injury concerns missing Ablett, Taylor, Henderson, Menzel and Parfitt.  The media blowtorch applied to the Cats should get a reaction, the Giants are yet to register a win at the Cattery, it should point to a Geelong victory on Friday night.  Giants not without a chance though.


Eureka! ($1.19) vs Lynched ($6.00)


Have the Bulldogs struck gold in Ballarat.  They certainly had some good fortune with injuries to key Suns in Lynch and May.  With those players missing I just can’t see them being good enough at either end of the ground.  Bullies to get two in a row!


Return of the Fang ($2.52) vs Return of the Stomp ($1.64)


Both sides get a couple of handy ones back from suspension in McKenna and Sicily.  Can the Bombers bounce back after two ordinary performances?  Facing Hawthorn gives them an extra reason to approach this game with a bit more gusto than we have seen lately.  Clarkson will plan accordingly for a physical encounter and come up with a scheme to counter the bluster.  Essendon will be better, however the Hawks play the MCG well and suspect they will prevail.


Who’s the McGoverner ($1.76) vs Blue Cornes ($2.28)


The Eagles reigned in the derby, furthermore they are stating a case as being one of the top sides for the season.  The case against says they have only beaten one team with any real finals credentials in Geelong, they don’t set the fixture and can only beat the teams they meet.  Their week has been jolted with Jeremy McGovern putting contract discussions off till the season’s end, because he is enjoying his footy so much!  They meet Port this week at home, a good test for both teams who have finals on their mind.  One could almost call it an 8 point game – but that is rubbish.  Port’s major loss is their runner Chad Cornes whose language crossed the boundary last week and has penance to pay, they have a major gain with the addition of Paddy Ryder.  His inclusion will help counter the Natanui and Lycett combination, however the western fortress has developed quickly and I suspect will consume Port this week.


Gibbs ($1.06) vs Wright ($17.00)


The Blues face Bryce Gibbs for the first time since his departure, overall the move will be good for both clubs – it just does not seem like it for the Blues.  Matty Wright went the other way and has been the Blues best forward since arriving.  The loss of Charlie Curnow will really hurt the Blues up forward, while Tex’s absence will make little difference for the Crows.  Carlton’s last visit to Adelaide was a trainwreck against Port, the result could be similar this time.


Cat Burglars ($1.23) vs Daw Slammed ($5.20)


The Swans faltering in a couple at home was made up by stealing the four points at the Cattery last week.  Hosting North who have left Majak out, given a rest to Waite but do get Higgins back.  North not without hope as not everything is going to plan for the Swans at the SCG, however I suspect Sydney will get it right and prevail this week.


Dusty ($1.16) vs Fyfe ($6.80)


Two of the best face off at the G with Freo to test their improvement against the Tigers.  Richmond are yet to beat another top eight side from 2017, not much they can do about it they can only play the opposition presented.  Just not sure what is happening with the so-called seeded draw.  The Dockers have done extremely well with a tougher fixture so far.  Too much sideshow stuff this week for Freo should see the Yellow and Black roll on.


Up for the Battle? ($3.30) vs A Bright Spargo ($1.42)


The Saints know they will have to fight and have named Josh Battle in the team for Sunday.  They take on the other “team most likely” in the Demons – haven’t their paths diverged!  Great debut from Spargo last week for Melbourne.  Their record in the Loungeroom is getting better, Max Gawn found his mojo last week – Melbourne to win.


Double Dayne ($3.50) vs Tiger Tested ($1.39)


The Pies travel to the Gabba after putting up a great effort against the Tigers, just not able to stay with the leaders for long enough.  The Lions will appreciate being back on home soil and need both Beams and Zorko to fire, at the moment Dayne Zorko is struggling to deal with the attention he is getting after a great season last year.  By the same token it would not hurt for a couple of the senior players like Taylor, Robinson and Rich to step up.  The Pies a proving the virtue of patience as a team and also with the progression of Matt Scharenberg and look hard to beat.  Not discounting the Lions though, teams are not final but the lineup looks stronger, anything over $3 worth some consideration.


All the favourites are chosen, there is bound to be at least one upset – just got to pick the right one.


Ernie ($2.50) vs Kevin ($2.82) – Draw after 90 ($3.70)


The A-League season comes to a close trying to find some air in the maelstrom of other football codes.  After indicating my waning interest as a result of Sydney FC’s domination, Melbourne Victory finally defeated them to put them out of “Dunny Seat” contention.  It has the feel of September 18, 1999!  The Blues beat the Bombers – but that was their Grand Final.  On a more personal perspective the Newcastle maestro Ernie Merrick led Victory to their first title with Kevin Muscat his on-field general.  When asked about their time together Kevin forgot the edict “if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all”.  The Melbourne team have gradually improved through the season, they will miss Rhys Williams in the heart of defense.  The Jets have got themselves back in form at the right time of the season.  Would like a Melbourne team to win, but reckon karma might bite Kevin and Newcastle to notch one up for regional Australia.


Friar Time


A solid win for the Friars last week over St Johns highlighted by Lewis Neate snagging 9.  The twos and Under 19s both recorded wins but were well tested.  This week sees four home games with the Men’s senior teams up against the Bushrangers from Yarra Valley in what should be a good contest.  The Under 19’s take on Ivanhoe while the Girls resume against Old Ivanhoe.


Enjoy the weekend,


Go Blues, Go Friars


Cheers, Sal



  1. Peter_B says

    On the money as always Sal – though I thought the other Chad (Wingard not Cornes) might have been a bigger out for Port. Will be a great contest. Sheed and Jetta out our midfield run is getting threadbare, but we have found a way so far. Polec has been in form and certainly owes the Eagles some payback from last year’s final. 28 degrees tomorrow in Perth’s Indian winter. Should be a great day out and hopefully a result.
    No-one has cracked the Tiger code yet but it looks more kamikaze than creative to me. A couple of key injuries and who knows? The second best team in the comp is…………………………? We’ve sort of worked out the bad teams – but who knows who the good ones are.
    Keep the Bluebagger faith Sal, when their bodies and experience start to match up to their latent ability they will be a side. But will Murphy and Kreuzer’s bodies wait for them?

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