Sal’s Tips: An Ochre Shadow bears down

The finals put an extra bit of excitement in the greetings this week,

Email has already been flowing and we still have Friday to go!  Unfortunately much of the discussion in the media has been about the flow of players that will wear the Sunset Strip with Ward, Palmer and Davis formally announcing their defections.  What do we expect from Scully?  Maybe the jungle drums were wrong and he had not yet made up his mind, by the same token the rule not allowing announcements till the end of the season makes it very difficult on the player and clubs amidst the speculation.  I love the culture where our players do not announce any change of clubs mid-season, but maybe that is out dated.

I would hope though should any announcements be made mid-season with players from my club leaving, then I would hope those players were then shunned from the team unless it was in contention as a premiership threat.  Why put games and experience and dollars into someone who is not part of the club’s future.  I just can’t get Rugby League because of it.

The other aspect for the Sunset Strip is that there has only been 3 (and possibly 4) announcements this week – indicates to me that the other available spots on the roster look like being filled by players from the finals clubs.  Was sorting of hoping they were chasing Hoops, but he beat them to it by announcing his retirement today.

Before the games a quick check of the Exchange market for the Flag.  Collingwood took a bath last week and are now out to $2.08 – this is a much more realistic price and as the EFL Division 3 Runners Up will be lamenting the season counts for nothing on Grand Final day.  The Cats at $4.20 and Hawthorn $6.60 are really the only other two in the market, expect the winner to shorten significantly.  If you don’t like the Pies balanced wagers on these two could the go!  West Coast at $16.50 is mathematically appealing and a home final will just about ensure a preliminary final date – I just can’t see them winning in October even if they made it.  Any of the others would be a miracle, they are not good enough to win four in row against the also rans let alone the elite members of this peloton.

The final week of footy tipping and got ‘em all bar the Roos in my column!  But when reality hit I still picked the Blues over the Saints when it came to the crunch and finished second in the Smith Feutrill tipping comp!  An even greater reason to despise the Saints!


Pivotonians ($1.74) vs Half off the Bye ($2.32)

 I have lamented often that a team’s last performance is factored in too highly in the price displayed.  Once again this is the case with Geelong winning what was not much more than a training run last week.  There was some commentary that suggested the game was on in the second quarter, I suggest that commentary came from the bar!  I did not get to the bar till the 3rd quarter and up till then Collingwood were doing marvellous impressions of Black and White witches hats.  As for the Hawks half a team coughing and spluttering against the Suns, is equally meaningless.  This game is a much tighter affair than the Betfair market suggests, but with their recent dominance over the Hawks Geelong deserves to be favourites.  I reckon they should be about $1.90, which makes the Hawks at $2.32 good value.

Geelong’s record since that fateful day in 2008 speaks for itself, however this will be the first time they have clashed in a final since!  The stakes are high with the winner likely to get a softer run in the preliminary final.  I reckon if Hawthorn can get the game played on their terms with a loose man in defence and more open space on the forward line for Buddy and Cyril to work in then they have great advantage.  Where this can fall over against Geelong is that they have one of best “loose” defenders in the game with Scarlett, it then becomes contest about who has the best free defender until one team must change the game and go Mano-e-Mano.  Whilst it will advantage the Hawks if they get the set up they want, I am still selecting the Cats by 13 points only because I reckon across the board they have better quality in their players.  But it is certainly a game (as are all the finals) that could go either way which does make Hawthorn a potential investment opportunity.


Witches Hats? ($1.23) vs The Master’s Apprentice ($5.30)

 Mick vs Woosha does make for an interesting finals match up.  But really the market here is again influenced too heavily by last week.  The Pies had a night off without too much major damage done and West Coast effectively had a bye.  The Collingwood non-selection of a second ruckman is interesting after all the speculation during the week and I am not sure whether or not they have a counter for Big Cox and Nic Nat. (Really wanted little Dick to be playing for the Pies this week!)  But in Jolly they trust and they have been very successful with their selection for quite a while now.  The forecast of storm and pestilence was probably also a factor and it surely does not bode well for the West Coast forest and for that reason I am confident of a Collingwood victory.  If the weather is not as diabolical as anticipated then West Coast might be competitive, but punters should be looking at the line rather than who will win.  My line is Collingwood by 38 points.  (Noting that line betting in finals is fraught with danger!)


The Killer Bees ($1.45) vs The Hart Foundation ($3.15)

 I can hear the dulcet tones of Jack Little spruiking “This Saturday Night at Festival Hall!”, alas we are just down the street in the loungeroom to watch two football teams maul the daylights out of each other.  Paul Roos is excited about this game, he should be made to watch it for the next 52 weeks it is all his fault with 2 of his disciples leading the tag team combinations.  There are plenty of heroes and villains to continue the wrestling comparisons and throw in Zac Dawson and we have a comedy act for extra spice!  The Saints by the fortune of their win last week managed to have the home final and as such deserve favouritism and whatever we say about Get Stuffed Lyon and their style (or lack of it) it has got them to the finals with a very good recent record.

In the meantime The Bloods have got themselves into the finals with a clean last few weeks, but there is the Richmond game that hangs them out to dry for me.  Of the two Sydney try and play the more attractive game and that makes me want them to win, however in the Saints loungeroom it is claustrophobic and that is how Lyon loves it.  Saints to win a tight contest by 9 points, being tight makes Sydney some value at $3.15.  However a bet on a low aggregate score for the game should deliver.  All they need to do is put these two in a cage and sell it on Pay per View.


My Left Foot ($1.46) vs The Other Left Foot ($3.15)

 Has a more important game hinged on the feet of two young men?  A great pity for the Blues in losing Matthew Kreuzer to one of the stranger injuries we have seen, I am glad the club has made the decision not to play Humphrey.  Hopefully it is recognition and understanding of where Carlton stands in the pecking order of the league at the moment and too risk such a player would only be for short term gain.  On the other hand Essendon are choosing to play their young tyro in Michael Hurley, in what may sound contradictory I also think it is the right decision.  Hurley is clearly a competitor and for the Bombers a win over their hated foe would put the stamp on a solid first season under the Golden Boy.  What happens after that will not bother them and Hurley will have months to recover properly.

The result of the last game between the teams is no guide with Watson, Fletcher and Hocking all out of the Bombers team.  This will be a much closer contest.  The Blues lack of height would usually be a worry, but with weather likely to be a factor again on Sunday I suspect both teams will leave taller players out.  Carlton are asking a lot of Warnock and so they should, this will be a good test and Setanta is an adequate and competitive backup.  Up forward though Betts needs to produce in a big game or I will start calling him Milne and Garlett has to calm down and nail his opportunities, a bit of leadership to calm him down would not go astray either.  (They just can’t catch him)  Similar can be said for the Bomber forwards.  However it is the midfield that will make the difference and Essendon get close games is they can contain Judd.  I suspect his last two matches might have been the calm before the storm so it will take a big effort.  I can once again see a very close game like in the first meeting for the year, but this time Carlton by 1 point!


With the Pies and Eagles being a virtual no interest game, I will be keeping an eye on events at Moonee Valley.  Not a great card, but certainly worth looking at a few cup hopefuls in the 5th in particular Peter Moody’s stayer The Macedonian and Anudjawun.  The sprint will throw Shrapnel up against Kulgrinda, but there are certainly a few other quality sprinters in the field.  And the Dato Tan Chin Nam will feature Whobegotyou as a short priced favourite – favourite track and lining up for his 3rd DTCN.  However I am very interested to watch Alcopop in this race – saw him win the Penny Edition in Adelaide.  Adelaide form is not usually a great guide – but he won coming from the back of the field completely against the day’s pattern of racing where leaders dominated.  He might be back in business and in for a big spring.


Bakes I hope this week’s instalment has met both qualitative and quantitative KPI’s!


Go Blues,

 Cheers, Sal



  1. John Butler says

    Hold the faith Sal.

    The Blues just need to break their finals duck.

    I’ve always regarded Dean Wallis as a good omen for Carlton.

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