Sal’s Round 1 Preview: Go Blues, Blue and Blue

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Greetings all and welcome to Season 2019,


A tough one for a Blues fan to face up to – yes they are improving the challenge being how fast relative to the remainder of the competition. Right now though all teams are equal and we look into the crystal ball to see how they might finish. Not quite the depth of analysis as previous years, possibly due to my trepidation for the season or a pretty busy schedule!


West Coast












North Melbourne

Port Adelaide




St Kilda

Gold Coast


Had plenty wrong in the past, I am sure there will be a few here!  We might know more after the weekend, Thursday night games making prognostication tough without selections. Don’t forget to join the Almanac’s Tip the Top 8 comp. It’s explained in the link to the Footy Tipping at the top of this post.


Here’s some thoughts on Round 1:


Walsh ($7.60) v Lynch ($1.16)


The Blues open up with 6 new faces to the club highlighted by the top draft pick Sam Walsh, while the Tigers have named their answer for the preliminary final defeat in Tom Lynch.  Will he be the pea for the Tigers – suspect the 6-6-6 will suit him well.  The Blues defense will be seriously tested with Jack also to be taken care of.  At the other end Carlton dish out their share of headaches with Curnow, McGovern and McKay – don’t quite have Tigers track record!  Congratulations go out to Marc Murphy on his 250th game for the Blues and second Friar to reach this AFL milestone after John Blakey.  Hope he can celebrate a victory – suspect it will have to wait.


Beams ($1.68) v Rohan ($2.44)


Is Dayne Beams the answer for the Pies?  They don’t need to make up a great deal and can justifiably expect to be better this season with a better run with injuries plus improvement of some of the younger players.  Beams will certainly make up for any slowing of the Pendlebury/Sidebottom machine, but that does not appear to be happening anyway!  The Cats have included Rohan and Dalhaus who will bolster their defensive efforts in the front half, reckon they needed to address some defensive shortcomings at the other end too.  The Cats still have the divine trinity for the midfield, they are going to get pretty tired chasing the Pies battalion in there.  Just too much depth through the centre for the Pies plus Grundy looks in great form, they should begin in style on Friday Night.


May ($1.28) v Lycett ($4.00)


The strength of the Dees in 2019 is evident with none of their recruits over the off season likely to play in Round 1 – two injured and Steven May astonishingly suspended!  Port have recruited astutely with Lycett providing a good back up for Paddy Ryder and Ryan Burton will add some polish in the defensive half.  Not sure they will be much better in 2019 while Melbourne’s window is now ajar!  Despite a concerning injury list the Demons should get the right start to the season.


Chayce ($1.36) v Koschitzke ($3.70)


The Crows and Hawks are another two clubs with pretty steady lists.  No big changes for the Crows although the potential for Chayce Jones to get a run in the opener, while for the Hawks they have a young Kosi but their big ins Wingard and Scully are a couple of weeks off.  Adelaide were great in the lead up matches and at home are the selection


Neale ($2.90) v Hickey ($1.52)


A sign the Lions are on an upward trend was that Lachie Neale chose to go to Brisbane – they have been doing a fantastic job building a culture where players want to be.  In addition they are a great team to watch – the results need to follow though.  No bigger test than the premiers.  The Eagles look pretty solid, however their ruck stocks are challenged with no Nic Nat and losing Lycett – they will be well served if Hickey and Vardy can deliver early in the season.  Would love to see the line ups – going for the upset here with the Lions to serve notice for 2019.


Duryea ($2.52) v Blakey ($1.64)


The Dogs remained steady with Taylor Duryea and Sam Lloyd adding depth to the list, really need either Schache or Boyd to become the key forwards they were recruited to be.  They take on the Swans who have similar issues up forward if Buddy is not there.  A big ask for a rookie Nick Blakey to be a key forward, it is  critical that Sam Reid can get close to a full season.  Another game where selections could sway this selection, however sticking with the Swans while Bevo is trying find his runner.


Max ($1.27) v Ben ($4.50)


A few other recruits for the Saints and Suns, but both clubs will be looking forward to the prospect of the King boys featuring in their future.  For the Saints it has been a grim pre-season with not only Max King and Dan Hannebery injured but losing Carlisle, McCartin and Roberton for indeterminate stretches also.  Suns building from the ground up (again) will really have set themselves for a big opening game, I am wary of the wounded Saint and think they will lift to win this one.


Mummy ($1.65) v Shiel ($2.44)


There is no bigger in than Shane Mumford, the Giants just need to wait a few weeks for his punishments to be served.  In the process they lost Dylan Shiel to their opponents in the Bombers.  He will certainly complement the likes of Heppell, Parish, Merrett and co.  Hooker and Daniher out hurts Essendon’s chances – GWS without Ward helps.  Not much in this thinking the Giants at home will have the edge.


Hogan ($2.00) v Polec ($1.94)


Perennially I underrate the Kangas and suspect I may have done so again, their surgical recruiting of Polek and then also picking up Pittard for a pittance assist with their need for extra running power.  They head west to take on Fremantle whose injury list is long and their key recruit Jesse Hogan just does not appear to have the appetite for the game.  Horror week for Freo, Get Stuffed Lyon is good at using that stuff to prepare his team, reckon they will prevail.


It’s Sydney, It’s Autumn, It’s Raining


The Golden Slipper highlights the racing this week with another four Group One races at Rosehill and the last Melbourne Group One of the season at Moonee Valley on Friday Night.


Friday Night


Moonee Valley


Race 7 – William Reid Stakes (G1, 1200m WFA)


Talk of a match race between Sunlight (10) and Written By (9) is not quite right, they do stand out but there are certainly other hopes.  Of those two I can’t see how the colt can beat the filly, she has finished ahead of him at every meeting so far.  I do expect a better run from him around the bend.  Shoals (5) has a great second up record and there are no better pilots than M Zahra, then not discounting Voodoo Lad (2) loves the pace on and loves the valley – can see him potentially steaming over the top if they can run on.


Selections – 10-5-9-2






Race 4 – Rosehill Guineas (G1, 2000m, 3yo Set Weights)


The Autumn Sun (1) shone in the spring blitzing the Caulfield Guineas, turns out the field was pretty ordinary in that race.  Further questions were raised after his first up win this campaign where he did not dominate the race.  No questions though in the Randwick Guineas where came from the back of the field to win well.  Is this just a procession for him?  I suspect so – the New Zealanders often come to Sydney and thrive in the wet, his one defeat was on heavy ground.  Crown Prosecutor (3) won the NZ Derby at $105 beating Surely Sacred (4) while Madison County (2) was only 2.7 lengths off The Autumn Sun (1) last start.


Selections – 1-4-2-3


Race 5 – George Ryder Stakes (G1, 1500m, WFA)


So this one is a procession with Winx (4) in the penultimate start of her career.  This is not the usual race for her where she beats up on the same horses that usually follow her.  There are a couple of horses with booming finishes that I am keen to see against the very best.  Land of Plenty (1) and Ringerdingding (8) fit the bill and have won on soft ground, they probably have the Doncaster in mind but think they can run well.  Dreamforce (2) is running consistently while So Si Bon (3) is starting to take a bite out of the prize money instead of his opposition.


Selections – 4-1-8-2


Race 6 – Ranvet Stakes (G1, 2000m, WFA)


I have not forgotten Unforgotten (12) – 3 from 4 at the track, an unknown in wet conditions and third to Winx last start.  The alternative is Egg Tart (13) – 3 from 4 in heavy but has not saluted at Rosehill, 4th to Winx last start.  Avilius (2) needs to win a Group 1, no real excuses in the Australian Cup – take that run away and he is odds-on in this race.  KMac back on board a big plus.  Shllelagh (11) was awesome in the Australian Cup, she loves Flemington not sure she has the same affection for Rosehill where she is unplaced from two starts.  If it is bottomless the NZ mare Danzdanzdance (10) will be a real chance.  Plenty more chances in a great renewal.


Selections – 13-2-12-11


Race 7 – The Golden Slipper (G1, 1200m, 2yo Set Weights)


Far from my favourite race in the world, it has all but destroyed the breeding of stayers in Australia.  This edition though is a ripper and we have seen races since spring putting up horses with the credentials to win.  It got more interesting when one of those spring winners Tassort was beaten and then withdrawn from this race.  A wide open affair where the barrier draw has not been a friend to my previous main selection.  Loving Gaby (16) was dominant in here debut and did not get clear in the Blue Diamond – the wide barrier might help her get clear running but the record of wide barriers in this race is not good.  Two other highly ranked chances suffered worse fate Yes Yes Yes (1) and Exhilarates (15) drew wide gates.  For the winner I think GSOB holds the aces with Microphone (2) and Tenley (9)Time to Reign (3) did beat Tassort last start and Lyre (7) coming off the Blue Diamond win also rates highly.  Cosmic Force (5) was impressive last week reckon the seven day back up is tough for the babies.


Selections – 2-9-16-3


Race 8 – The Galaxy (G1, 1100m, HCP)


Another race with a horse to prove themselves at the top level.  JMac gets on board Nature Strip (4), said “he is the fastest horse I have ever ridden over 800m” – the last 300m has been his undoing.  Can Waller find the key to get him to settle.  Reckon he will one day – just not sure this week.  Graff (6) was super in the Newmarket and undefeated over this journey.  Redzel (1) is a champ, loves it wet – Ball of Muscle (2) has gone to another level and can’t be ignored, concern for both is whether they can win at the weights.  Viridene (8) gets weight relief after a handy third to them last start.  Jungle Edge (5) always in the mix on a wet track.


Selections – 6-8-1-2


Quaddie Time


Perhaps go the early one with a pair of gimmes!  The late one is tough with a couple of wide open affairs.




Leg 1 – 2, 10, 11, 12, 13

Leg 2 – 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 15. 16

Leg 3 – 1, 2, 4, 6, 8

Leg 4 – 3, 5, 9


600 combinations, $30 investment will return 5% of the dividend.  (Maybe a couple of scratchings will bump it!)


Go Blues, Go Winx, Go Blue in the Slipper!


Cheers, Sal


Footy Tipping: Join our 2019 AFL tipping competition HERE.






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