Time for a Think Tank

Happy Olympics to all,

This European Summer has been a killer for sleep – but we toil on.  Meanwhile Brock McLean ensures that the local game keeps plenty of news inches filled.  But really did he say anything we did not already know!  There has been much blubbering about the penalties that should be inflicted on the Demons, any penalty they receive would grossly unfair.  First of all no matter how many “investigations” have taken place they are not the Lone Rangers here – Carlton, Essendon, Collingwood, Fremantle, West Coast, North Melbourne all spring to mind as clubs that have “optimized” their readiness for the following season.  Secondly, and more importantly, the league is at fault for having a system in place for rewarding mediocrity.

The league’s altruistic desire of maintaining football socialism is fine – however it is at the cost of the integrity of the competition an alteration of the draft system is required rather than draconian penalties.  An alternative ordering of draft selections has been mooted where the order is altered from 9th to 18th – this fixes the tanking issue but does not do anything for socialism.  A better system would be to start establishing the draft order through the season as teams drop out of contention for the finals.  In other words teams get their draft spot once it is mathematically impossible for them to compete at the business end.  Looking at this season with 5 games remaining and a simplistic view; Melbourne, Gold Coast and GWS already would have the first three positions.  The Dogs and Port are 20 points outside.  Theoretically they can make it, but should one or both of them lose this week then they would take the next one of two spots and so on for the following weeks as Brisbane, Richmond and other teams drop out.

The benefit of this system is that once a club’s draft position is established there is not the incentive to lose and while clubs have a chance to make the finals they should be playing to win.  I doubt this would entirely stop players being sent to the doctor early and I am sure there will be experimental positional and personnel choices – but at least there is no benefit provided apart from a bit more knowledge.  However I also reckon the AFL has a few more issues to deal with on the socialist front!

Last week saw this prognosticator get the burger!  About time and $2.70 on the Blues was generous.  Now for Round 19?

Hoop Dreams ($1.33) vs Not Done With ($3.90)

Hawks have one of their best chances to break the hoodoo in hoops this week.  The Cats are strengthened with the inclusion of JPod who with the Tomahawk will present a challenge to the Hawk defense whose knock it is that they can be marked against.  They key will be to make Gibson accountable and don’t allow his spoiling to be a factor.  The issue for the Cats is that even without Buddy Hawthorn look ominous and in fact have broadened their avenues to goal.  My swaying factor for the Hawks though is the loss of West for the Cats – I am yet to be impressed with the Big O.  The odds though are very generous for the Cats and worth a shekel at $3.50.

Crossed Out ($9.00) vs Goldy on the Ceiling ($1.12)

Nothing to look at here – the Dogs are going far too poorly on and off the field and the Roos are coasting into the finals.

Only 5 to go ($7.60) vs Got to Have Hartlett ($1.12)

Port have arguably their two best players back in Shulz and Hartlett – they have not been playing that badly to be at these odds against some very tired young men.  Port to win – but watch for the efforts Chad and Brogan against them!

Not worth a Zac ($2.82) vs Rosa Coloured Glasses ($1.52)

The Eagles lose their defensive general and question marks hang over Big Cox and Kerr – Freo will not have a better chance to take the Eagles.  They are just about at full strength aside from Herman’s toe.  Get Stuffed Lyon has indicated that they need to win to be vindicated and I reckon they might with the doubts on the Eagles who are spluttering a little at the moment even though they did beat up on Brisbane last week.  $2.80 is great value.

A Bit Rich ($2.44) vs Gillette ($1.69)

Far too many close shaves for the Tigers lately – but all the stats say they are heading in the right direction.  I am not so sure – they too are mostly healthy and the bottom of their list really needs to get better.  Heading in the right direction doesn’t matter – doing it faster than the other clubs is what counts.  Brisbane might be doing that – although last week was ugly.  They have a better team in this week and at home – $2.40 is juicy and I reckon the Tiges are in for more pain.

Shut the Dawes ($1.47) vs WatterShed ($3.10)

This is the moment for the Saints – playing well but now fronting the Pies at the G.  Collingwood might not be in the best form, but they have selected a very strong team as they prime themselves for next month.  The Saints have been much better than expected – and they are a chance if Kosi can run into a couple of Pies instead of Saints.  However the Pies for mine, $3 though is a fair price for St Kilda.

Stank or Tank ($1.38) vs What’s the Matera ($3.50)

At the G Melbourne should prevail and are my selection.  However the midfield of the Suns with Smith, Hunt, Bennell, Ablett, Rischitelli and Swallow is pretty good which makes $3.50 somewhat appetising.

What’s he Brocken? ($3.10) vs Want their Mummy ($1.45)

The Blues have got through the last two with an undermanned line up, they get some quality back but are up against a very good Sydney team.  The respective midfields are in form and the return of Mummy very important, but it needs to be to offset the loss of Reid.  His absence will change the pressure on the Blues defense and I hope will give them the edge to be my selection.  But admit it is mostly via the heart!

Charddy Sippers ($1.19) vs Kleenex ($6.00)

Adelaide on song have always been a very good front-running side, meanwhile the Bombers lament their oversupply of soft tissues.  If the game goes to form as I suspect it will, the Bombers will be in a fight to keep their position in the top eight and they might need more soft tissues!  The threat to Adelaide being a huge effort to honour Timmy’s boy playing his 150th – what a great player he has become.

Go Blues, Go Friars

Cheers, Sal

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