Sal salutes John Kennedy Snr, questions coronavirus logic, and runs his eye over the form guide at Caulfield

Greetings All,


Vale John Kennedy!


“Kanga” was a giant of the game as a player, coach and administrator. His contribution to the game was unparalleled and rightly bestowed the honour of being named a legend of the AFL a few weeks ago. The legacy lives on this weekend with his Grandson Josh playing his 250th game. He was both a thinker and a doer, the game is indebted to him.


An extraordinary week for the competition and one now where any sense of fairness is gone. Coach Johnny might be questioning whether Conor McKenna ever had the virus. In a world of uncertainty, I am comfortable to suspect he did and remain isolated. What does appear uncertain to me is the number of “contacts” Conor had and that only one teammate is considered at risk. The video shown of training shows plenty of teammates in close proximity – perhaps I don’t understand the science of it but if the virus has rampaged through families then it’s hard to believe his teammates are not at risk.


Everything is a “what if” now. What are the consequences should an opposition player be afflicted after playing against those Essendon players that trained with Conor? The legal push to free James Stewart from quarantine simply shows that they just don’t get it.


Then we have the implications on the competition with the restrictions being placed on travel for Victorian teams. Premiers from other states were acting like me after a Collingwood defeat with the spike in Victorian cases. How and where games are played from here on in will be as much about politics as it is about footy! Let’s just hope they get played.


The challenges of early prognosis were evident last week with a raft of late withdrawals from selected sides including Martin, Greene, Kelly and Cunnington. Not sure it would have swayed selection but it does make it tough.


Your Joshing ($1.79) vs Son of the West ($2.24)


While remembering his Grandad, Josh Kennedy plays game 250 – he has been such a great player since being cast off from the Hawks after 13 games. It worked for both clubs with Josh a premiership player and now club captain. Another premiership player in the news is Matt Suckling, one of three exclusions with Rylee West being one of the inclusions. Both teams responded strongly after losses in Round 2, which one can maintain the rage?  The loss of McCartin takes away a go-to player up forward, Horse might need to make use of his 2nd ruckman as that bail out target down the line. Blakey and Heeney are good in the air but just do not have the body size. The Bulldogs look better equipped to kick a winning score, however the Swans will really want to win this for their skipper and reckon they will.


Greene Back ($2.12) vs Grundy ($1.85)


Friday Night Lights! Looking forward to this – the Pies hummed into gear against the Saints. They have a formidable travel record, not so great at this venue losing their last two and winning only one from their last five against the Giants. The Giants have been poor but will be better for the inclusion of Greene and Kelly, their issues though are how they are playing the game and it sharply needs to improve if they are to win this. Grundy has been sensational for the Pies so Sauce Jacobs will need to lift. Predicting he will and his team will “turn up” and direct their energy to the game and not the opponent. If they don’t, I suspect the P-Plater might have his licence under review.


King Charles ($1.62) vs Homesickness ($2.48)


Port are setting the pace winning plenty of plaudits, however the season is young and there are real doubts about their opposition in the last couple. The Eagles should provide a sterner test provided they could be bothered to turn up. Their attitude to the huddle concept beggars belief with the coach leading it. This was always going to be a challenge – surely you just need to suck it up and embrace it. The big positive for Port is Charlie Dixon fit and firing – he was superb last week, West Coast are better equipped to compete against him with Barrass and McGovern. It is crunch time for West Coast and reckon they will all get behind Nic Nat and get themselves back on track.


In Geary ($2.92) vs Mart In ($1.50)


St Kilda failed their test last week and have another examination this week against the premiers, hopefully with their skipper back in the team. Richmond too have respond after being soundly outsmarted and outplayed by the Hawks. Selection will be interesting as a few of the cubs put in a few non-tigerish efforts while a couple of high profile forwards had virtually no effect on the game. Suspect there were lessons learnt and some re-education done during the week for them to restore order and win this one.


Isolation ($1.81) vs It’s the Pitts ($2.16)


It is good for the competition that most of the Bombers are available – just slightly disappointed as a Blues supporter. Both teams are pretty good when playing their best, consistency over four quarters is the challenge.  Marc Pittonet has been terrific for the Blues in his two games, might be able to reduce the reliance on Matthew Kruezer for them to compete. A great win over the Cats, but a worrying final quarter that is frequently followed by a poor opening the next week. Just think Essendon play their best footy for longer and should be fresh to take the points this week.


Dew Influence ($1.76) vs The Fyfedom ($2.30)


Stuart Dew is really putting his stamp on the Suns as they claimed another scalp on Sunday. Freo have only been marginally better and pretty much all down to efforts of Nat Fyfe, Sonny Walters is getting plenty but butchering it. Jarrod Witts is starting it all for the Suns and think he will dominate again to see them notch another victory.


KOTJ ($1.17) vs Statsmen ($6.60)


The baptism of fire Matty Nicks has walked into at Adelaide will continue with this visit to the Gabba. Not sure how much control he has, however he needs to take it and stop the likes of Ricciutto playing out their woes in public. Roo has defended their recruiting decisions – really it comes down to one. They have a bumbling midfield at the moment and Bryce Gibbs can’t get a game. They might not have had too many choices on the departures – the incoming are all their own. Lions and Lachie to win.


Off the Bye ($2.74) vs Feeling Blue ($1.56)


The Cats were ambushed by the Blues last week and, as good as the Blues were, I thought Geelong were pretty comfortable in their own skin after the Hawthorn game. Attitude means so much and 5% off can be the difference. With the incidental bye, Melbourne’s last game was also against the Blues as they withstood the late charge to hold on. I suspect the Geelong attitude will be corrected this week and provided they can manage the likely dominance of Max Gawn order will be restored.


Kennedy’s Commandos ($1.63) vs Benny Back ($2.56)


Cunnington out is a huge factor in any game for North Melbourne – he might not be the most polished but he drives this team in the contest. He will have to against the Hawthorn midfield where O’Meara provides both the grunt and polish. He was sublime last against the Tigers. The Hawks will be drawing on memory of Kanga as will North where he also coached. A real flip of the coin game and reckon the Kangaroos will have the attitude right to get over the line here.


Track Time


Currently a Soft-6 at Caulfield with not too much juice in the forecast so we can pretty well do the form for current conditions. The rail out 12 metres might make it tough for backmarkers and those drawn wide.


Happy to take the early lunch and leave the babies in the opener. The Derby favourite Thought of That (R2, #1) returns after receiving the ultimate gear change reckon he is well placed in this and handy to have the claim for Michael Poy who is riding as well as anyone at the moment. The 3rd is tough with over half the field being last start winners, without much confidence giving Mystery Shot (R3, #7) the nod to remain undefeated. With $7 the field the next is no easier! GSOB has a three-pronged attack and looking for an Ollie special from the inside gate with Sakura (R4, #9). The 3kg claim for Leale (R5, #1) has me with her over the two favourites who drawn to the outside.


Hopefully we have one of them home to build our bank for the Quaddie Attack. Will be at least 1, 2 and 9 in the quaddie but the key selection will be Proper Rogue (R6, #9) up in grade but down in weight and well-drawn here. Need to start watching for the inside being worn from here on in. Alfa Oro (R7, #9)  was too good at Flemington, never missed the quinella, has some good opposition but reckon will win. Another shortie in Harbour Views (R8, #4) the bandwagon is full again so no great odds this time. Looking for scratching in the last Victoria Star (R9, #13 EM1) missed out getting a run last week more confident being first in the waiting list. If more drop out then Howlowcanyougo (R9, #16 EM4) is worth a shekel each way.




Leg 1 – 1, 2, 6, 7, 9

Leg 2 – 9 (add 4, 7, 12 if you want more running for you)

Leg 3 – 4 (add 1, 3, 11)

Leg 4 – 3, 11, 13, 16


Go Thought of That, Alfa Oro and Harbout Views!


Go Blues,


Cheers, Sal


Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


Do you enjoy the Almanac concept?
And want to ensure it continues in its current form, and better? To help keep things ticking over please consider making your own contribution.

Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE
One-off financial contribution – CLICK HERE
Regular financial contribution (monthly EFT) – CLICK HERE


Leave a Comment