The 2016 Ted Baker Cup – Finals Week One

Greetings Tipsters


Lotta gardening work coming in; I’m wearing shorts and singlet; must be finals time.


We had a week off for the Lyon-Scott bye, good for the women’s footy to get airtime and show us how good it can be.  Good for players to get over niggling injuries, not so good for those who wanted to keep riding the momentum, maybe not a good thing for the winners of the Qual Finals who will hit the Prelim having played one game in nearly four weeks.


Still, it’s happened, nothing to be done now.  Oft said that finals are a new season so we’ve had spring break, time to get back to it.


Tonight, West v West out West.  Does anyone give the Dogs a chance?  It’s a long ground, might suit their running brigade but can they kick enough goals?  High scoring hasn’t been a strong point for them this year.  Eagles scored 324 more points in the H&A, conceded 69 more, if you think such stats relevant for finals.  Scoring’s the pointer, Eagles did a great job of containing the once-were-rampant Crows forward line last season, ah, two weeks ago.


Five changes for Footscray, tho most returnees have had only two or three weeks out, but unless Tom Boyd (what a great deal that was for the Monaros!) earns his million in one game, it’s Freaky Friday for the sons of Scray.  Geez, as if losing Moana Hope to Collingwood wasn’t bad enough…


Friday, the Jeff Kennett Cup.  It’s a funny thing to say about teams that finished the H&A second and third, but neither was completely convincing. Hawthorn’s confidence and instinctual teamwork scraped ‘em over the line several times, Geelong dropped games to the likes of Carlton.  Hawks have a weakness against fast running teams and it doesn’t happen often, maybe twice this year, an effective tag on Sam Mitchell can be the decider.


Cats have a bit more pace and, potentially, aerial strength.  They’re likely to get a week off.


North have lost their last four games so you might not think they’d be much of a chance at the Adelaide Oval.  I aint so sure, in a lot of ways, evenly matched teams with grunt and grit that’ll make the finals but fall short of the True Contenders.  Neither has especial pace or brilliance, Betts aside, so four goals to Eddie will likely see the Crows over the line.


Whosoever may win gets to fly to Sydney.  Gillo is walking into work every day saying “Three weeks of finals in Sydney!”, hi-fiving the receptionist, the interns at the photocopier, throwing Forward Planning prospecti at the roof, Mike Fitzpatrick shows up for a meeting, “Mike, three straight weeks of finals in Sydney”, Gillo slaps his back again and again and…  Mike gives Gil the look that only a Rhodes Scholar Premiership Ruckman Captain can…


Years ago I had a terrible job and would have long lunchbreaks in the pubs, stopped in the Landsdowne one day and the publican put the 1979 Grand Final on the big screen.  I only went back to the office to collect my bag of CDs, beginning a period of chronic disillusion that would characterise every subsequent government job.  I am now self-employed and very satisfied with it.


Swans v Monaros.  Jeff contacted me, allegiance aside, who would I tip?  We talked about it, there’s advantages either way.  Monaros are quick on the outside, so Mumford v Naismith then Ward v Kennedy on the inside.  Truckload of talent in the forward lines of both teams, I’d love to see a shootout but we agreed it was unlikely.  Three, four goal margin tops.


Both Quals have great tales behind them and hold promise of being great football matches.  There are tales yet to be told in the Elims.


Gonna be a good weekend, folks.


Cheers Tipsters


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About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.

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