We have to talk about Melbourne!

Da-da-da-da to all,

Well for this week anyway! What was that cooking slogan again? Now to keep the lid on!

All the shenanigans between Eddie and Mick turned out to be a bit of bonus for a few other clubs who should have been in the spotlight. Whilst I might not be Buckley’s biggest fan, I thought he handled himself with aplomb in a situation that he had little control over but was a central figure. It would be folly to think there was not a little schadenfreude in my demeanour this week though!

But onto to one of the teams under the pump – The Dees are in all sorts of bother. The Club desperately needs a salesperson, sadly they lost one of the best in Jimmy who always projected hope and enthusiasm. At the moment the lead spruiker appears to be a first year coach, his main job is clearly hard enough. The president, Don McLardy would appear to be an excellent operator and was perfectly suited in his role prior to Jim Stynes having to relinquish the role however it does not appear to in his nature to be the out front club leader. Someone needs to step up like Jimmy did and Eddie at Collingwood and David Smorgon at the Dogs and lead the club and take the supporters along for the journey. There is obvious Elephant in the Room that would appear the answer, maybe he knows his own limitations but he certainly does have the links to find the best candidate.

Out on the ground the experts indicate the players are confused with the game plan and their decision making is indecisive as a result. I must concur with the great sage from the south, game plans are a bunch of bollocks if you aren’t getting the pill to have to make a decision. Until they win more of the footy we can’t even see the game plan. The one aspect that on the ground the Dees cannot escape is their dismal recruiting during what should have been a very lucrative time. They appear to have a number of solid citizens that will play many a game, but not sure there are any superstars of the competition. For my wife and daughter’s sake I hope I am wrong. Perhaps the best selection they have had will turn out to be Tom Scully, the concession selections they received for him give them another chance at the top of the tree and they will get Todd’s boy, Jack. Has had an outstanding junior career and shares his father’s competitiveness.

A quick review of last week’s efforts, a simple one on the tipping front, batting 100% going into Sunday Night. At the death I relented and picked the Tiges based on Woody’s sound advice around the Dees lack of midfield grunt. But then the Roos played a scintillating game against Geelong and deserve all the accolades they have received. My perspective though is that they also played a perfect game for the loungeroom, the test will be for them to take it to larger outdoor arenas. The one aspect of their game that I thought was very impressive was their spread of midfield goal kickers, whether or not that was due to the lack of pressure from the Cats I don’t know, but goals from the midfield are gold and often the differential in matches. If it continues they will be a VERY formidable opponent if they are not already – but it is only April. (All Blues fans need to remember that!)

Now onto this week’s round which unusually has a number of closely matched if not enticing encounters.

Ross Who? ($1.43) vs Get Stuffed Lyon ($3.25)

Hmmmm….what a tantalising contest between a team coached by Ross Lyon against a team trying to escape the grip of Ross Lyon on their playing style. One for the aficionados I would suggest. Thankfully Nat Fyffe will be playing. Much discussion this week about the reception that the “professional AFL coach” will get from the Saints fans, I suspect there will be a fair amount of humour with the reception they give to Zac. Overall thought Freo has the talent to win, but their odds are reflective of their record on the road and until that changes I will be tipping their opponents.

Everybody Aboard ($1.14) vs Biggles ($7.60)

The Blue Bandwagon is chock-o-block and judging by the odds for this game too many putting money where their mouth is! Both sides go in undefeated, with plenty questioning who they have beaten. Carlton passed their acid test last week, Essendon’s win over the Kangas should be viewed in a whole new light after last week. The Bomber’s though are strewn with injury and the Gold Coast game looked very draining. For the 3rd week in a row the Blues benefit from the shorter break – this does get reversed later in the year. For all that Carlton should win – however those non-Blues should take a good look at the Bomber odds – I will be leaving them.

The Days of our Pies ($1.27) vs Renovating the Shack ($4.30)

The market here really describes the challenges Collingwood are facing – usually the horde have plonked on their team to be well under the odds. Compared to the previous game reviewed the odds between combatants should at least be similar. I will agree Port have improved but are still to win away from Adelaide, the Pies have lost two of their best in Thomas and Shaw but there is still plenty of quality left and they will be smarting. I cannot see a surprise here in fact against my usual pattern $1.30 on Collingwood is good value if you can get it.

Not Bill Collins 42.51 ($1.01) vs The Last Quarter ($55)

With Adelaide’s inaccuracy (42-51) and the last quarter heroics from the Giants surely there is value in betting on GWS to win the last quarter and give great hope to Vlad and their fans. But the result is a foregone conclusion.

Brown ($1.37) vs Ablett ($3.35)

A very interesting encounter – but I refuse to use the manufactured marketing name for the contest! Gold Coast played a terrific game last week and certainly showed improvement – in particular K Hunt – his off the ball work seemed very intuitive and smart. (He gives hope for Izzie) On the other hand Brisbane were as responsible as Freo for the turgid affair last weekend – but it was all to a plan. This week at the Gabbatoir with both Brown and Black – I think they will be too strong for the Suns who need to overcome the sapping conditions they played in last week.

Any Questions for Ben? ($1.85) vs The Mayblooms ($2.18)

A Saturday Night Special if there ever was one! A mouth-watering clash between two of the titans, not just because their stature but also because of their physicality. Personally I don’t think either team has that trait across the board, but there is no doubt they both possess more than a couple of the harder nuts in the game. As impressive as Hawthorn have been, I reckon they have weaknesses in the two areas that the Eagles can exploit. The Eagle Forward Forest will be too big and strong for Schoenmakers, Stratton and Gibson in defense and they don’t appear to have the flexibility to put Roughy back there if required. The other area is obviously the ruck with Big Cox and Nic Nat up against David Hale and support from Roughy, I expect they will provide the likes of Priddis, Kerr, Shuey,…a great advantage. But they will earn it up against Mitchell, Sewell and Lewis. The benefit for the Hawks is that with the return of Gilham and Bailey they will be much better positioned in future encounters, not to forget Luke Hodge. Eagles to win, but Hawks worth a look if they get to $2.30

The Question Mark ($1.21) vs Cat Food? ($5.50)

This is the longest price I have seen Geelong at for a game a Kardinia Park for many a year – that effort from the Roos last week certainly raised plenty of questions about the Cats. But the last quarter from both of the last two games also showed the pride and belief they have – and for that reason I would not want to be a Tiger this weekend. I doubt it will be 157 points again, but I will be surprised if the Cats don’t make a statement.

Pussy Killers ($1.89) vs Horse Feathers ($2.08)

Then we get a Sunday Special – can the Kangas produce two in a row – I believe they certainly have the effort in them. However this week they face the grinders on a deck likely to be rated a heavy 10, not ideal conditions for Happy Handballers. I reckon they have their share of workhorses also, but not quite in the league of the Bloods. Sydney to win, Kangas entertainable at $2.20 but not for me.

Deesperation ($3.20) vs Dog Day Afternoons ($1.44)

The Dees have important inclusions, the return of Brent Moloney provides the missing midfield grunt and hopefully we get to see the debut of Tom Couch (Son of Cat Champion and Brownlow Medallist, Paul) The Doggie ins don’t add as much for mine, or maybe it’s just my opinion of The Shermanator. They are well fancied favourites and deserve to be given what the Dees have dished up, but the discrepancy is too great. Their forward line is still raw and while the Melbourne backs have been ordinary the opposition they have faced have been tougher than this. I am also going to trust that they get the Jimmy factor right this time and produce their first win of the season.\

Now for the neddies and the Group Ones stay up in Sydney this week with this being Doncaster Day. Big issue is going to be the state of the track after a deluge this week. The first of the biggies is the Oaks – a shame no Atlantic Jewel or Mosheen – gives 1-Streama the chance to dominate the field as Moshen did in the VRC Oaks. For some value the Hayes runner 3-Rock Robster has a last start 2nd over 2400 and Craig Williams on board, track conditions a query – the value will be on the NSW tote if you can. (and of course if it runs a place!)

On to the time-honoured Doncaster Mile (not the one between the Shopper and the Donny Inn) – the heavy track already has taken toll with three scratchings. On anything but heavy More Joyous and Shoot Out stand out but both have failed in all runs on the heavy. Happy to go with Gai’s outsider 19-Fast Clip (each way) and add 1-Rangi, 6-Sincero and 13-Hurtle Myrtle in the tricks.

Finally the Galaxy – an easy one for me – Heavy track – 2-Temple of Boom, the quality field makes him an each way proposition

The Friars take on the Unicorns down at South Yarra on Saturday in Round One – should be a good contest up against a side coming down from the division above.

Go Friars, Go Blues, Go the Temple!

Cheers, Sal

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