Round 1 – Sal’s Preview: Just for openers






Greetings All,

And welcome to another season of hope!  The AFL is looking bright with plenty of contenders for the title, memberships are up – the game at the top level could not be better.  However a peek under the covers exposes the poor job this administration has been doing in its role as the custodian of the game.  The summer has been littered with stories of struggling clubs either folding or going into recess, the dearth of umpire numbers.  In Tasmania, in spite of all the talk of a team in the national competition, one of the great clubs in Glenorchy are struggling to field a team.  Meanwhile the Jackjumpers joined the NBL, became the talk of the town and, while junior footy struggles, basketball is booming.  While Gil has fiddled, Tassie has burnt.

Not to say contenders for his role abound, one hopes they do not go for another AFL internal promotion of a sycophant.  Somewhere along the line if HQ believe they are the custodians then they need to start making decisions for all of footy and not just the elite.

But we do start with the elite and a feast to open proceedings.


Hop On Board ($1.72) vs Going Dutch ($2.36)

 Tiges and the Blues heading down different paths with their new faces.  Hopper and Taranto bring more experience into an experienced line up as they try and keep the window open, the question being whether any of the 30+ players fall away.  The Cats have provided a model that says they won’t.  The Blues bring in two rookies Hollands and Cowan for the opener – a very unCarlton thing to do – the key thing for the club this year is to improve the bottom six, so new blood is better than the serial offenders.  Said last year it would take a win by the Blues for me to tip them in this match, reckon the warm conditions might suit them too.  So sticking to my word.


Maybe Baby ($1.60) vs McWent ($2.62)

A few challenges with selection here as we await the arrival of Jeremy Cameron’s child – his presence has a major bearing on this match.  The Cats likely to be without Tomahawk, no Jeremy will provide plenty of challenges up forward despite the entry of Ollie Henry.  The Pies also head down the experience path with McStay and Mitchell adding depth, Lipinski is no frills but effective his absence will hurt.  It hinges on Jeremy but just think the Pies might pull this one off.


The Saviour ($1.87) vs In the Hunt ($2.06)

Clarko comes back to North as their biggest recruit but are missing a few of their key players in Mckay and Coleman-Jones while West Coast will be without Nic Nat and Elliot Yeo.  They are in transition with Jayden Hunt the only player with experience added to the list.  Tipping them to rain on the Clarko parade.


Home Boy ($2.04) vs Where there’s a Will ($1.95)

JHF gets to go back home and Port also picked up Willie Rioli to add to their midfield and offensive talent – the worry for them is at the other end.  Their opponents in Brisbane have added depth where they need to.  Mckenna will add pace to the backline, Will Ashcroft will bolster the Midfield and Jack Gunston will make an exciting forward line much smarter.  Port will be tough at home but Brisbane should win this and stamp their credentials as a key contender.


Two Headed Monster ($1.66) vs Four Headed Monster ($2.46)

 Melbourne will unveil their unique differentiator with Grundy and Gawn to play together – if it works opponents will have a tough time getting the footy with the midfield they will be feeding.  They face the Dogs who have their own unique set up – with Darcy, Lobbe, Naughton and Ugle-Hagan poised to play in the front half, they have also stiffened at the other end with Liam Jones back at the Dogs.  The key difference though is Lachie Hunter – flipped to the Dees and a great accumulator patrolling one wing and Langdon the other should give the Dees the edge.


Miller Time ($2.46) vs Is it Buddy Time ($1.66)

Touk and the Suns picked up a few over the break but none as important as having Max King back in the team.  They were very competitive in 2023 and expect them to improve again.  Will test the Swans at the mansion as they look to squeeze another year out of Buddy.  Expecting Sydney to be too good here and put the horror of the Grand Final behind them.


Caddie Shack ($1.71) vs Worth an Izak ($2.34)

GWS will unveil the number one pick in Aaron Cadman as Toby Greene takes over as the skipper – some big personnel changes at the Giants will make them an interesting watch in 2023.  As will be the Crows who have gone chips in on Izak Rankine – great ability, can he produce consistently back at home?  Going with the Giants at home.


Eyas ($2.36) vs Strung Up ($1.69)

The Hawks have traded out their experience and are left with the babies, expecting a tough season.  Suspect Sam Mitchell will remember some of the beatings they took when he was younger before they grew up together.  Has he uncovered a new Roughead, Lewis, Franklin or Hodge yet?  They face the Bombers who are again without Jake Stringer – they lose a match winner but should not be an issue against the Baby Hawks.


Lyon Eyes ($2.82) vs Action Jackson ($1.53)

The Saints and Dockers are either end of the spectrum with respect to health.  The Saints not only have a long injury list not many are coming back soon, Freo only have one definite out this week.  Makes it pretty simple despite playing in the Loungeroom.


Track Time

The Melbourne Carnival is winding down as Sydney’s ramps up with multiple Group One events led by the Golden Slipper.


Moonee Valley

 R7 – All Star Mile (1600m, WFA)

 It’s the Valley’s turn to host Melbourne’s pop up race and it’s drawn a pretty good field.  The beauty of Alligator Blood (2) winning the Futurity is that we might get a better price on I’m Thunderstruck (1).  Would have liked to have seen a bit better in the lead ups but this has always been the target.  Nugget (13) has an outstanding record at the distance and worth an each way ticket and the Hayes pair Mr Brightside (4) and Gentleman Roy (11) always put in solid runs.  Reckon the winner is in the top two but wide open for the holes.

Selections – 1-2-13-4



 R4 – Rosehill Guineas (G1, 2000m, 3yo SW)

 Hard to go past Pericles (5) who was very impressive last start, not sure how the inside will play but thought Elliptical (2) the main danger.  Manzoice (1) will be better for the run and Ausbred Rising Sun (8) is lightly race and could improve.

Selections – 5-2-1-8

 R6 – Ranvet Stakes (G1, 2000m, WFA)

 Melbourne Cup Winner Gold Trip (1) hits this second up after a very good first run, might not be his target but looks well suited.  The unknown is the Haggis horse Dubai Honour (3) has solid Europe form which is often good enough.  Mo’unga (2) always finds one better but runs consistently if we are wary of Haggis then we also need to consider Raise You (4) out from Ireland.

Selections – 1-3-2-4

 R7 – George Ryder Stakes (G1, 1600m, WFA)

 GSOB has chosen here for Anamoe (1) over the All Star Mile so he is an easy pick and reckon he can nail the exacta with Golden Mile (9).  Fangirl (6) will have some supporters and Communist (10) steps into open age after a solid win in the Randwick Guineas.

Selections – 1-9-6-10

 R8 – Golden Slipper Stakes (G1, 2000m, WFA)

 Not many so the Diamond-Slipper double but reckon Little Brose (1) has a great opportunity – well drawn and close out his races strongly.  He has the scalp of the favourite Cylinder (5) who has experience here but running in pretty small fields.  No doubt the GSOB/JMAC combo give it a huge chance.  Top tip would have been Steel City (15) but for the horror draw and Barber (2) was a cut above most of them but for the Blue Diamond failure.

Selections – 1-5-15-2

 R9 – Galaxy (G1, 1100m, HCP)

 Uncommon James (2) might be just that and was very impressive winning the Oakleigh Plate.  It was great race and Asfoora (6) also ran well and does meet Jimmy 1kg to the better.  Andermatt (11) is hard to catch but this is the right track and right distance – Zoustyle (4) was also pretty handy in the Oakleigh Plate.

Selections – 2-6-11-4


Sydney Quaddie

 Always tough on the big days and a two year old raffle makes it tougher – but that might just mean a better payout.  Will go Anamoe one out.

Leg 1 – 1

Leg 2 – 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 15

Leg 3 – 1, 2, 4, 11

Leg 4 – 2, 4, 6, 11

112 Combinations a $30 Investment will return 26.8% of the dividend.


Footy it’s great to have you back,

Go Blues, Go Thunder


Cheers, Sal


To return to our Footy Almanac home page click HERE.


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 things keep ticking over please consider making your own contribution.


Become an Almanac (annual) member – CLICK HERE.



Leave a Comment