Category - 2013
The final six teams in the AFL-abet are assessed!
PORT ADELAIDE POWER
The Power have been very good in 2013. Their only real blemish was a thumping at the hands of Richmond last weekend (they were still good in the North loss).
Justin Westhoff played like a man inspired in the first 4 rounds, Hamish Hartlett is finally on the park and Travis Boak has taken his game to a new level as captain. Kane Cornes is experiencing a footballing renaissance, Wingard is showing us why he went #6 in the 2011 draft and pint sized Jake Neade has become an instant cult figure.
Ken Hinkley hasn’t yet proven himself a master coach but he is looking a far better man manager than his predecessor. You need only watch the same players that sulked through last year who are now playing with a sense of purpose and (fulfilling every fan’s most basic aspiration for their team) having a crack.
The loss against Richmond was the first major reality check for Hinkley’s mob in 2013. With a tougher draw in coming weeks, the honeymoon is over and we’ll get a bit of perspective on how the Power stacks up against some quality teams.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
While Port’s 5-0 start was a pleasant surprise, 3 of those victories came against Melbourne and the two expansion sides. The other two wins were against Adelaide and West Coast who aren’t exactly flying high either. However, most would’ve thought the Power a 2-5 or worse side at this stage.
As stated earlier; with Carlton (Etihad), Geelong (AAMI), Dogs (Darwin), GWS (Skoda) and Sydney (AAMI) to come – we’ll find out a lot more about Port’s mettle by the end of the next ‘quarter’. 7-5 come round 14 beckons; anymore will be a bonus, any less a regression.
If Brisbane 2013=Carlton 2005 & Collingwood=Hawthorn 2009/10 the Tigers probably=North Melbourne 2010/11.
Richmond bolted out of the blocks winning the first 3 games of the season against Carlton, St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs but then received a major reality check with consecutive losses against Collingwood, Fremantle and Geelong, before pummelling Port last week.
A major criticism of Brad Scott’s tenure at North has been that while the Roos beat up on the crap teams they are consistently found wanting against the competition’s heavyweights. That is about where Richmond is at.
However, coming from a far lower base (in 2010 many were comparing Richmond to Fitzroy 1996) with steady improvement since 2010 – ‘flat track bully’ seems the next logical step for the Tiges.
Dustin Martin is in good nick, Trent Cotchin likewise, Deledio is heating up and Chris Newman looks a freer player for giving up the captaincy. There is a lot to like about Richmond, they play an attractive brand of football and the have got to 4-3 without all guns blazing.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
Looking at the draw pre season, most would’ve thought the Tigers a good enough side to be 3-4 at a minimum at this stage.
The next stanza of 2013 presents the opportunity for Richmond to really set up their season. Melbourne (MCG), Essendon (MCG), West Coast (Subi), Adelaide (MCG) and Dogs (Etihad) all represent winnable games for the Tiges if they are at their best. However, consistency won’t be their strength at this stage of their development. Richmond should be 7-5 at worst by the end of the next quarter.
ST KILDA SAINTS
For a team that has been up toward the pointy end of the ladder for the best part of a decade, a slide is usually inevitable. Most could see it coming with St Kilda, which is most likely a major reason (apart from cash) why Ross Lyon took the money and ran to Freo.
If the Saints continue to fall down the ladder Lyon’s villainy will grow within the club’s supporter base. He will be the man who failed twice in netting a flag, took a flat earth philosophy to developing youth and then scarpered at the first sign of trouble. In reality, he was a couple of lucky breaks away from tripling the Saints’ premiership tally.
On face value, the Saints results in 2013 are hardly earth-shattering for a team that has: a core of players past their prime, lost a key player to free agency, still has the aftertaste of two grand final failures and is in a total state of transition while trying to adjust to a new coach’s gameplan tweaks.
However, their have been some surprises; the Gold Coast loss was unexpected and disappointing, on the flipside no-one would’ve considered them to beat Carlton and Nick Riewoldt’s form has been an inspiration.
Scott Watters has also been adept at managing external expectations as well as the initial transitional phases of this team. While they could do with a star or two; David Armitage, Jarryn Geary, Ben McEvoy, Jack Steven and Dylan Roberton have all stepped up. Youngsters such as Murdoch, Newnes, Ross, Saad, Siposs and Wright have also dispelled the myth that the Saints have no quality youngsters coming through.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
As stated above 2-5 is about where most would’ve had the Saints pre season.
If other veterans can have half the form renaissance of their lionhearted skipper, they’ll go through the rest of the season undefeated. With Adelaide (AAMI), Bulldogs (Etihad), North (Etihad), West Coast (Etihad) and Melbourne (MCG) to come, St Kilda has a window of opportunity to push up the ladder towards the top 8 as none of its immediate opponents are flying.
The Saints should be aiming for 5-7 by the end of the next ‘quarter’. At worst they’ll be 4-8.
It’s steady as she goes for the reigning premiers. Whilst the Swans have been convincingly beaten by fellow flag fancies in Geelong and Hawthorn – they’ve been comfortable in beating the 5 bottom 10 clubs they’ve faced so far.
Jarrad McVeigh has been sensational and Mike Pyke is playing like a man who has had the fear of Tippett God put into him. Dan Hannebury, Kieran Jack and Josh Kennedy are perhaps the best inside midfield combination in the game.
There is plenty of room for improvement though; Adam Goodes has battled for form and Lewis Jetta has had all but none – if those two get off the chain; Sydney will be even harder to beat. Kurt Tippett will make his debut in the back half of the season and regardless of his own form, his presence will give the dangerous Sam Reid a real chop out.
A soft draw has no doubt helped, but the Swans aren’t showing any obvious signs of a premiership hangover.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
5-2 is par for the Swans at this stage. A tougher series of opponents awaits Sydney in the next ‘quarter’: Freo (SCG), Pies (MCG), Dons (SCG), Crows & Port (AAMI x2) should provide a sterner test for the reigning premier. All 5 games are winnable, at the absolute worst Sydney will be 8-4 come round 14.
WEST COAST EAGLES
For time immemorial there has always been an ‘it’ team of the pre season that has ultimately flopped in the season proper. While it may seem strange to say at 3-4, West Coast has filled that role.
While the Eagles have had their injury problems, wins against Brisbane, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs don’t look that credible in 2013. Whenever faced with a better than garbage opposition the Eagles have fallen short. It has been a disappointing opening stanza for a team that many had pegged as flag favourites in the pre season. Top 4 hopes have just about been extinguished.
Josh Kennedy, Dean Cox, Matt Priddis, Scott Selwood and Daniel Kerr (when fit) have been solid. Jack Darling has been up and down, ditto Andrew Gaff and Will Schofield has had a poor season.
Injuries have been cruel to West Coast: Darren Glass, Nic Naitanui, Beau Waters and Mark LeCras being absent has held the team back. While he wasn’t an out and out star, the departure of Quinten Lynch has had a negative impact structurally.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
Perth has been far from a fortress for the Eagles in 2013. 1-3 at Subi has been a sub par performance. Injuries notwithstanding, most would’ve had the Eagles anywhere between 5-2 or 7-0 at this stage of the season. Football’s a funny old game.
North (Subi), GWS (Skoda), Richmond (Subi), St Kilda (Etihad) & Hawthorn (Etihad) presents an interesting road ahead for West Coast. The GWS game is the only genuine gimme game but the rest aren’t exactly unwinnable. With key players coming back, the Eagles should be 6-6 at worst by round 14.
After a stunning upset victory in Round 1, the Bulldogs have come crashing back to earth, losing 6 games on the trot. The Adelaide and West Coast losses were uncompetitive and while they had their moments in other games, the Dogs haven’t seriously threatened for a win since their annihilation of Brisbane.
Western Bulldogs are in a not dissimilar position to St Kilda; an ageing core, with few players of quality coming into their prime and senior players struggling for motivation in a defined transitional period with the knowledge that their shot at a flag is probably gone. A lack of key position depth and fitness/injury concerns have also dogged (pun intended) the team formerly known as Footscray.
The Dogs really need to unearth a long term key forward or two – Liam Jones is a better 2nd or 3rd banana, while Roughead and Cordy haven’t been convincing. Coach McCartney has earmarked Tom Williams for a key forward role but yeti sightings in the Kalahari are more common than Tom Williams on a footy field.
Adam Cooney has been in fine form, along with Nick Riewoldt, Kane Cornes and Luke Hodge he is having a career renaissance. Griffen has also been good when on the park.
While there is genuine consensus that this is a team in a state of flux and rebuild, McCartney will be feeling the pinch if they can’t win a few games in the back half of the season.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
1-6 is about where (if not slightly better than) most pundits would’ve had the Dogs at this stage of the season. Gold Coast (Metricon), Saints (Etihad), Port (Darwin), Collingwood & Richmond (Etihad x2) is the road ahead for the Dogs. On current form it is hard (not impossible) to see them being better than 2-10 by round 14.
If you love heavily contested and defensive footy then the round eight clash between Sydney and Fremantle is for you. With both teams knocking on the front door of a top four spot there’s plenty at stake.
The Swans are essentially adhering to expectation with losses to fellow contenders Geelong and Hawthorn, and they’ll be keen to get back on the winners list after returning from Melbourne empty handed.
Fremantle’s ruck department may have gone the way of Celebrity Splash but that hasn’t stopped them from putting together three straight wins and building some momentum. Sydney has won nine of the last thirteen between the two, including seven of nine at home, although the Dockers will have plenty of confidence after experiencing victories at the SCG in 2010 and 2011.
The Dockers aren’t big ball winners but given how impressive their defensive output is it’s largely irrelevant and when they do have ball in hand they use it well. On average Fremantle opponents win more possession but they do little with it which is primarily due to the suffocating pressure the Dockers apply and their disciplined zone work. Fremantle have the fourth best uncontested marks differential, hold opponents to the sixth fewest effective kicks per game and fourth worst kicking efficiency which results in a lot of frantic circle work via handball. With opponents constantly on the move and a live ball often in play the Dockers are able to force rushed decision making and acquire the most valuable asset in the game, opposition turnovers. Behind league leader Geelong the Dockers rank second for turnovers from kicks differential and as a result sit fourth behind Essendon, Geelong and Port Adelaide for points from turnover differential. They’re a very disciplined outfit under the guidance of Ross Lyon and unless your skills are on song and among the best in the competition they’re incredibly tough to break down.
Offensively Fremantle will attack via the best option available whether long or short but almost always by foot; they rank fourth in the AFL for long kicks and sixth for short kicks, whilst maintaining the league’s highest kicks to handball ratio. When they do find a target the Dockers don’t mess around ranking second behind only Brisbane for mark and play on percentage. Individually Fremantle are all about the no “I” in team mantra with no player inside the AFL’s top twenty for disposals per game or marks inside fifty per game, instead it’s a vast array of players spreading the load which is partly forced given their injury list but to their credit hasn’t become a serious issue.
Personnel wise Chris Mayne and Michael Walters have been great up forward totalling eleven marks inside fifty each and combining for thirty-three goals. Matthew De Boer, Michael Barlow and David Mundy are all top ten in the competition for tackles with Mundy and Barlow doing the grunt work at stoppages. Nathan Fyfe will return from suspension which is critical as he ranks second in the league (per game) for inside fifties, fourth for contested possessions and eleventh for clearances.
Defensively is where the Dockers really impress with Luke McPharlin and Paul Duffield the avenue out of defence ranking eighth and eleventh for rebound fifties. The pair is also filling the hole with great reward and both sit top ten for interceptions. Zac Dawson and Michael Johnson are combining for eleven one percenters per game whilst Garrick Ibbotson has been somewhat of a revelation leading Fremantle in uncontested possessions, ranking top twenty for effective disposals and eleventh for interceptions. It’s a very settled back-six and one that can burn you both ways.
Sydney operates with a little more predictability via foot compared to the Dockers and almost always opts for the long option. The Swans lead the league (by a fair margin) in long kicks and are dead last in uncontested marks but are nowhere near as married to moving solely by boot ranking in the competitions bottom five for kick to handball ratio, and mark and play on percentage. From a negating perspective Sydney are right alongside Fremantle in the upper echelon of defensive units holding opponents to the fifth fewest effective kicks per game, fifth fewest uncontested marks and third lowest kicking efficiency. You can safely bookmark that whoever brings the better skill set to the table will more than likely pocket the four points.
Sydney will look to keep the game as contested as possible and with their cluster of inside talent and tackling ability it’s no secret as to why. Josh Kennedy ranks second in the competition for contested possessions and clearances, Ryan O’Keefe sits third for contested possessions and eighth for clearances, whilst Kieran Jack is second overall for tackles and twelfth for inside fifties. Luke Parker further ads to the Swans inside muscle ranking top ten for tackles and we’re all aware of the exploits from veteran Jude Bolton. On the outside Dan Hannebery has taken his game to the next level and is in Brownlow level form averaging sixteen uncontested possessions per game. Like Fremantle the Swans are lacking a consistent target up forward but have a slew of contributors when it comes to putting points on the board. Ben McGlynn, Adam Goodes, Jude Bolton, Mike Pyke and out of form forward Sam Reid all rank inside the top fifty for marks inside fifty with McGlynn, Goodes, Bolton, Reid and Jarrad McVeigh combining for fifty-three goals on the season.
These two teams match up quite well and we may find ourselves in a low scoring arm wrestle with both sides harbouring such dependable defences. For Sydney Heath Grundy and Ted Richards rank top five for interceptions whilst the forever underrated but ever dependable Nick Smith has continued ploughing his trade as Mr Consistent. Nick Malceski has been the most effective avenue out of defence leading the competition for rebound fifties and is seventh for bounces, there’s no doubt a forward tag could have significant dividends for the Dockers especially with the injured Rhyce Shaw still missing.
Mike Pyke may just find himself with the most important role on Saturday night with Fremantle’s Jonathon Griffin absent due to season ending knee injury number four thousand. Griffin’s production will be sorely missed, he was sitting fourth for effective hitouts an area where Pyke himself is no slouch ranking eighth. With Sandilands still five weeks away and Zac Clarke yet to see senior football this season Pyke’s work in the middle, up forward and plucking contested grabs around the ground will be crucial.
Last week the Dockers were blitzed by the Magpies at clearances, surrendering forty-five points with the majority coming in the third quarter. Fremantle were absolutely lethal on the counter attack though recording the fourth highest points from turnovers for the round outscoring Collingwood by fifty-two points. The same narrative has held strong for the season to date with Fremantle sourcing the fourth fewest points from clearances but the fourth most points from turnovers for a differential of +118 which highlights their defensive work and mirrors their output from last season. The turnover is particularly valuable for a side with the Dockers makeup; their small forwards are able to consistently find space, get the jump on their direct opponent and track back to goal with great effect.
Sydney on the other hand are more focused on generating scoring punch from their midfield and sit sixth from points from clearances and sixth from points from turnover differential. The worry for the Swans is that last week the Hawks showed how vulnerable they can be on their way to seventy-eight points from turnovers against the usually clean Swans. After experiencing the wrath of Hawthorn you’d imagine Sydney would be focused on tightening the screws. That could prove quite tough against arguably the best defensive outfit in the competition in Fremantle.
Last Time They Met
Last time Fremantle and Sydney played the Swans were victorious by thirteen points at the SCG in a tight contest. As expected the game was fought on contested grounds with the two teams combining for 332 contested possessions and 147 tackles, with the Swans winning both counts. Sydney narrowly edged the Dockers in the skills department finishing with a +7 effective kicks advantage but it was Fremantle who would have been kicking themselves due to wasted opportunities.
Shane Mumford would be absent and the Dockers ruck unit of Aaron Sandilands, Kepler Bradley and Zach Clarke dominated Mark Seaby and the hitouts 63-25 resulting in ten more clearances and ten more inside fifties but it wasn’t enough as the Swans experienced backline stood tall.
The big talking point for Fremantle this week will be that loss of their ruck prowess with no Sandilands, Griffin or Kepler Bradley to press their advantage. For the Swans Mark Seaby is long gone and Shane Mumford will again be missing but big Canadian Mike Pyke should be able to assume the role as the premier ruckman on the park with Jesse White in support if Sydney opt to go tall (eleven hitouts last week).
Sydney were starved of tall’s last time the two teams met yet still managed to win despite being decimated in the middle. Fremantle now face a similar challenge and given the Swans impressive midfield you’d have to think the circumstances this time around favour Sydney.
Who Will Win and Why?
There have been questions about Fremantle rotating all season and this week will serve as another test of Fremantle’s depth and Ross Lyon’s creativity in the coach’s box.
One issue for the Dockers will be whether or not they can find one alternative up forward to aid their smalls. Last week Alex Silvagni looked the liveliest of the pinch hitting options although his finishing was wayward kicking just the one goal from five shots. Jack Hannath and Zac Clarke have size but lack experience. Outside of Mayne, Walters and Hayden Ballentyne’s usual production it’s hard to see Fremantle locating a consistent target inside fifty and doing enough on the scoreboard to get a win especially when Sydney’s defence is set. The Swans will no doubt be keyed in on limiting their turnovers as well after such a reckless outing against Hawthorn. Charity will be limited.
Ryan Crowley will slow down a premier Swans midfielder but with so much talent on the field for Sydney it’s impossible to keep them all quiet, even for a side as good defensively as the Dockers.
Only twice has the margin between these two exceeded 40 points with twenty of their twenty-five matches decided by margins in the range of 13-38 points. This matchup should be no different and a tight defensive tussle looks to be a given with both sides relatively similar in how they operate and how they score.
When coming off a loss and returning to the SCG the Swans have posted a 19-4 win/loss record since 2006 so expect them to be hungry and focused. Sydney’s extra touch of class in the middle and home ground advantage should be enough to see them back in the winner’s circle.
Tip: Sydney by 21 points
You can Follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottyBarby
WEST COAST EAGLES v NORTH MELBOURNE
Friday May 17, 6:40pm, Patersons Stadium
B: Jacob Brennan, Darren Glass, Will Schofield
HB: Shannon Hurn, Eric Mackenzie, Beau Waters
C: Matt Rosa, Scott Selwood, Andrew Gaff
HF: Mark LeCras, Jack Darling, Chris Masten
F: Josh Hill, Josh Kennedy, Daniel Kerr
Foll: Nic Naitanui, Matt Priddis, Luke Shuey
Int: Brad Sheppard, Sharrod Wellingham, Dean Cox, Adam Selwood
Emerg: Mitch Brown, Bradd Dalziell, Mark Hutchings
In: Kerr, A. Selwood, Waters, Masten
Out: Brown, Dalziell, Smith, Hutchings
B: Scott McMahon, Scott Thompson, Jamie Macmillan
HB: Daniel Wells Nathan Grima, Michael Firrito
C: Sam Gibson, Shaun Atley, Ryan Bastinac
HF: Ben Cunnington, Drew Petrie, Brent Harvey
F: Lindsay Thomas, Majak Daw, Leigh Adams
Foll: Todd Goldstein, Andrew Swallow, Jack Ziebell
Int: Lachie Hansen, Sam Wright, Aaron Black, Aaron Mullett
Emerg: Kieren Harper, Taylor Hine, Will Sierakowski
ESSENDON v BRISBANE LIONS
Saturday May 18, 1:45pm, Etihad Stadium
B: Jake Carlisle, Dustin Fletcher, Cale Hooker
HB: Elliott Kavanagh, Michael Hurley, Michael Hibberd
C: Brent Stanton, Jobe Watson, Dyson Heppell
HF: David Zaharakis, Patrick Ryder, Brendon Goddard
F: David Myers, Stewart Crameri, Jason Winderlich
Foll: Tom Bellchambers, Heath Hocking, Ben Howlett
Int: Nick Kommer, Jackson Merrett, Jake Melksham, Mark Baguley
Emerg: Nathan Lovett-Murray, Will Hams, Tayte Pears
In: Stanton, Ryder, Kavanagh, Merrett
Out: Lovett-Murray, Davey, Gumbleton, Hardingham
B: Mitch Golby, Daniel Merrett, Ashley McGrath
HB:Joel Patfull, Justin Clarke, Elliot Yeo
C: Jed Adcock, Brent Moloney, Pearce Hanley
HF: Dayne Zorko, Jonathan Brown, Ryan Lester
F: Jack Redden, Jordan Lisle, James Polkinghorne
Foll: Matthew Leuenberger, Tom Rockliff, Simon Black
Int: Andrew Raines, Rohan Bewick, Brent Staker, Sam Mayes
Emerg: Patrick Karnezis, Josh Green, Sam Docherty
HAWTHORN v GWS GIANTS
Saturday May 18, 2:10pm, Aurora Stadium
B: Taylor Duryea, Brian Lake, Luke Hodge
HB: Shaun Burgoyne, Ben Stratton, Grant Birchall
C: Isaac Smith, Sam Mitchell, Bradley Hill
HF: Michael Osborne, Lance Franklin, Liam Shiels
F: David Hale, Jarryd Roughead, Luke Breust
Foll: Max Bailey, Brad Sewell, Jordan Lewis
Int: Matt Spangher, Jonathan Simpkin, Jack Gunston, Paul Puopolo
Emerg: Cheney, Guerra, Grimley
B: Stephen Gilham, Joshua Bruce, Aidan Corr
HB: Adam Kennedy, Tim Mohr, Toby Greene
C: Lachie Whitfield, Callan Ward, Mark Whiley
HF: Tomas Bugg, Adam Tomlinson, Rhys Palmer
F: Taylor Adams, Jeremy Cameron, Devon Smith
Foll: Jonathan Giles, Tom Scully, Stephen Coniglio
Int: Dean Brogan, Anthony Miles, Tim Golds, Dylan Shiel
Emerg: Curtly Hampton, Kurt Aylett, Samuel Frost
In: Miles, Bugg, Golds, Whiley
Out: Reid, Treloar, Townsend, Williams
GOLD COAST SUNS v WESTERN BULLDOGS
Saturday May 18, 4:40pm, Metricon Stadium
B: Trent McKenzie, Sam Day, Danny Stanley
HB: David Swallow, Rory Thompson, Greg Broughton
C: Matt Shaw, Gary Ablett, Jarrod Harbrow
HF: Harley Bennell, Thomas Lynch, Jesse Lonergan
F: Brandon Matera, Stephen May, Aaron Hall
Foll: Zac Smith, Jaeger O’Meara, Dion Prestia
Int: Jack Hutchins, Campbell Brown, Jared Brennan, Luke Russell
Emerg: Tom Nicholls, Clay Cameron, Tim Sumner
B: Jason Johannisen, Jordan Roughead, Dale Morris
HB: Adam Cooney, Tom Young, Brett Goodes
C: Clay Smith, Matthew Boyd, Ryan Griffen
HF: Robert Murphy, Liam Jones, Daniel Cross
F: Luke Dahlhaus, Jake Stringer, Daniel Giansiracusa
Foll: Will Minson, Liam Picken, Tom Liberatore
Int: Lukas Markovic, Koby Stevens, Jack Macrae, Nick Lower
Emerg: Mitch Wallis, Tom Williams, Tom Campbell
In: Goodes, Stevens, Stringer, Macrae
Out: Addison, Austin, Tutt, Wallis
COLLINGWOOD v GEELONG CATS
Saturday May 18, 7:40pm, MCG
B: Nathan Brown, Ben Reid, Harry O’Brien
HB: Jordan Russell, Nick Maxwell, Marley Williams
C: Steele Sidebottom, Dane Swan, Luke Ball
HF: Jamie Elliott, Quinten Lynch, Brent Macaffer
F: Ben Kennedy, Travis Cloke, Sam Dwyer
Foll: Darren Jolly, Scott Pendlebury, Jarryd Blair
Int: Andrew Krakouer, Jarrod Witts, Josh Thomas, Paul Seedsman
Emg: Alan Didak, Ben Sinclair, Caolan Mooney
In: Ball, Russell, Witts, Williams
Out: D. Thomas, Shaw, Clarke, Mooney;
B: Andrew Mackie, Tom Lonergan, Corey Enright
HB: Cameron Guthrie, Harry Taylor, Joel Corey
C: Mitch Duncan, Jimmy Bartel, Steven Motlop
HF: Mathew Stokes, Steve Johnson, Billie Smedts
F: Allen Christensen, Tom Hawkins, James Podsiadly
R: Trent West, Joel Selwood, George Horlin-Smith
IC: Josh Hunt, Jordan Schroder, Jackson Thurlow, Mark Blicavs
E: Josh Caddy, Shane Kersten, George Burbury
In: Corey, J. Hunt
Out: Kelly, T. Hunt
SYDNEY SWANS v FREMANTLE
Saturday May 18, 7:40pm, SCG
B: Nick Malceski, Ted Richards, Nick Smith
HB: Marty Mattner, Heath Grundy, Dane Rampe
C: Lewis Jetta, Ryan O’Keefe, Dan Hannebery
HF: Jarrad McVeigh, Sam Reid, Jude Bolton
F: Tommy Walsh, Adam Goodes, Ben McGlynn
Foll: Mike Pyke, Josh Kennedy, Kieren Jack
Int: Mitch Morton, Shane Mumford, Craig Bird, Luke Parker
Emerg: Tony Armstrong, Andrejs Everitt, Jesse White
In: Morton, Mumford, Walsh
Out: White, Armstrong, Lamb
B: Lee Spurr, Zac Dawson, Michael Johnson
HB: Garrick Ibbotson, Luke McPharlin, Alex Silvagni
C: Danyle Pearce, Ryan Crowley, Paul Duffield
HF: Michael Barlow, Chris Mayne, Nathan Fyfe
F: Matt de Boer, Zac Clarke, Michael Walters
Foll: Jack Hannath, Clancee Pearce, David Mundy
Int: Cameron Sutcliffe, Hayden Ballantyne, Hayden Crozier, Nick Suban
Emerg: Tom Sheridan, Tanner Smith, Tendai Mzungu
In: Clarke, Fyfe
Out: Griffin, Mzungu
CARLTON v PORT ADELAIDE
Sunday May 19, 1:10pm, Etihad Stadium
B: Mitch Robinson, Michael Jamison, Lachie Henderson
HB: Zach Tuohy, Dennis Armfield, Simon White
C: Kane Lucas, Chris Judd, Kade Simpson
HF: Ed Curnow, Andrew Walker, Jeff Garlett
F: Brock McLean, Jarrad Waite, Matthew Kreuzer
Foll: Robert Warnock, Marc Murphy, Heath Scotland
Int: Josh Bootsma, Troy Menzel, Tom Bell, Shaun Hampson, Sam Rowe, Aaron Joseph, Jaryd Cachia
In: Waite, Rowe, Joseph, Menzel, Bell, Bootsma
Out: Betts, Ellard, Yarran
FB: Lewis Stevenson, Alipate Carlile, Cameron O’Shea
HB: Dom Cassisi, Tom Jonas, Andrew Moore
C: Kane Cornes, Travis Boak, Brad Ebert
HF: Matthew Broadbent, Justin Westhoff, Angus Monfries
FF: Robbie Gray, Jay Schulz, Chad Wingard
Foll: Jarrad Redden, Hamish Hartlett, Oliver Wines
Int from: Sam Colquhoun, Jake Neade, Cameron Hitchcock, Matthew Lobbe, Kane Mitchell, Paul Stewart, Tom Logan
In: Cassisi, Logan, Lobbe, Stewart, Hitchcock
Out: Stewart, Heath
RICHMOND v MELBOURNE
Sunday May 19, 3:20pm, MCG
B: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Troy Chaplin
HB: Chris Newman, Brandon Ellis, Bachar Houli
C: Shaun Grigg, Trent Cotchin, Dan Jackson
HF: Brett Deledio, Shane Edwards, Jake King
F: Luke McGuane, Jack Riewoldt, Dustin Martin
Foll: Orren Stephenson, Nathan Foley, Nick Vlastuin
Int: Robin Nahas, Jake Batchelor, Matthew Arnot, Matt Dea, Aaron Edwards, Ty Vickery, Matt White
In: A. Edwards, White, Cotchin, Vickery, Arnot, Dea
Out: Tuck, Knights, Maric
B: Neville Jetta, James Frawley, Dean Terlich
HB: Daniel Nicholson, James Sellar, Colin Garland
C: Jack Trengove, Jordie McKenzie, Michael Evans
HF: Luke Tapscott, Lynden Dunn, Jeremy Howe
F: Max Gawn, Chris Dawes, Jimmy Toumpas
FOLL: Mark Jamar, Matt Jones, Nathan Jones
I/C (from): James Strauss, James Magner, Dean Kent, Aaron Davey, Troy Davis, Jake Spencer, Rohan Bail
In: Jamar, Magner, Trengove, Jetta, Davis, Toumpas
Out: Byrnes, Sylvia, Viney
ADELAIDE CROWS v ST KILDA
Sunday May 19, 4:10pm, AAMI Stadium
B: Andy Otten, Ben Rutten, Luke Brown
HB: David Mackay, Daniel Talia, Brent Reilly
C: Brodie Smith, Scott Thompson, Nathan van Berlo
HF: Patrick Dangerfield, Shaun McKernan, Brodie Smith
F: Sam Kerridge, Josh Jenkins, Tom Lynch
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Richard Douglas, Rory Sloane
Int: Ian Callinan, Ricky Henderson, Matthew Jaensch, Rory Laird, Jarryd Lyons, Jason Porplyzia, Matthew Wright
In: Jaensch, Callinan, Henderson
B: Jarryn Geary, Sam Fisher, James Gwilt
HB: Sean Dempster, Dylan Roberton, Jack Newnes
C: Farren Ray, Nick Dal Santo, Arryn Siposs
HF: Terry Milera, Rhys Stanley, Leigh Montagna
F: Tom Hickey, Nick Riewoldt, Stephen Milne
Foll: Ben McEvoy, David Armitage, Jack Steven
Int: Clint Jones, Seb Ross, Ahmed Saad, Sam Dunell, Jason Blake, Jimmy Webster, Beau Maister
In: Blake, Maister, Jones, Dunell.
Well, we’ve been racing without luck. Our fanciful multi and our omen bet was destroyed by the dishonesty of Ryan Griffen, whose work on the periphery was irrelevant when the Roos won the game in decisive style late in the third quarter and early in the fourth. Of course, we were pulling ourselves at half time. A disappointing result. As for My Girlfriend’s Collarbones Multi, I should’ve mentioned that they were so jagged I’ve cut myself on them in many heated moments of passion. I’m not sure what all of the excuses were for the benchless Blues, but they couldn’t get a side on the park, much like when Richmond got crippled with injury when they carried Footy Tragic’s hopes in the week previous. This week, we will again divide our $100 free bet from Sportsbet. And again, we expect all three to shit in.
Rent to Slab Multi
I’ve got the rent money this week, Footy Tragics. And it’s a disgrace to me. What’s the point of paying rent if I haven’t got any beer to drink in the dwelling I recline in? I’d rather risk it all and piss off my millionaire landlord in the event my desperate attempt to get lubricated backfires. West Coast porked North Melbourne in a final last year. And they will pork them again tonight. So we’ll have our slab in time for Saturday night. Guaranteeing a wet weekend.
$35 on West Coast to WIN @ $1.36 = $47.60
My father was around for a drink while I typed up this investment. Since my modesty has been well and truly restored after loss after loss on this website, I welcomed his input. I found Dad to be incisive, but deranged.* So I continued on alone, without much needed help, while he sipped at a martini on the balcony and I downed Melbourne Bitter after Melbourne Bitter. I hope that this particular beverage, turns out to be inspirational. Here are our selections for this week:
West Coast TRI BET over 15.5 pts @ $1.71
Essendon PICK YOUR OWN LINE -32.5 @$1.32
Fremantle LINE of +17.5 @$1.92
Geelong WIN @$1.33
$35 @ $5.76 = $201.73
Choose your own Omen Bet
As expected, I woke up this morning. Underjoyed, I went out the front to get the morning paper. The Age weighed heavy against my torn rotator cuff. My dog followed me and started barking at the sun. In a suprising turn of events, she turned her back to the sun and defecated. I knew the shit was an omen. But I wasn’t sure what she meant. Were the dogs shit? Or would they shit on the Suns? I got her to flip a coin. It came up tails. Dogs to WIN.
$30 on Western Bulldogs WIN @ $2.35 = $70.50
When the inevitable occurs and our investments prevail, we will have a cool $219.83 for The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia
*My old man won a trip to Europe last year when he declared Richmond certainties to win by over 60 points against Hawthorn. He won enough to take my youngest brother too and probably enough to take me if he wanted too.
In case you missed it: Clarkey’s Quarterly Review Part One: Adelaide to Fremantle
Part two of the quarterly review. How will your team do?
Somewhere in the cosmos; British Standards Institute computer programmers, the Mayans and Nostradamus are having a meeting. The consensus is, that while they may have all unsuccessfully predicted the end of the world at some point, they were never silly enough to foretell Geelong’s demise.
Despite key recruits Josh Caddy, Hamish McIntosh and Jared Rivers having minimal impact as well as Steve Johnson missing the opening rounds of the season – the Cats haven’t missed a beat in 2013. Harry Taylor has been huge, Taylor Hunt was stepping up prior to injury and Matthew Stokes is in career best form.
Lead by inspiration skipper Joel Selwood, Geelong were still hungry enough to get the better of the Hawks, Roos and Blues in games that could’ve gone either way in the opening three rounds. Since then, they have dispatched Sydney, Western Bulldogs, Richmond and Essendon with authority.
Despite the departures of key players in Ablett, Ottens and Scarlett in consecutive years – the Cats keep on keeping on.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
While it would’ve been folly to write off such a great team, even the most optimistic Cats supporters would be pleasantly surprised with their team’s undefeated start to the season. With their draw, 4-3 or 5-2 wouldn’t have been an outrageously disrespectful pre season prediction to this point.
With Collingwood (MCG), Port (AAMI), Gold Coast (Simonds), GWS (Skoda) Brisbane (Gabba) you’d be brave to say that the Cats couldn’t go through the next ‘quarter’ undefeated. At worst they’ll be 10-2 at the beginning of round 14.
With their old warhorses still dishing up quality, some key players to return as well as youngsters such as Christensen, Duncan, T Hunt, Motlop, Murdoch, Smedts and most recently Jackson Thurlow starting to have a consistent impact Geelong’s demise doesn’t look imminent.
GOLD COAST SUNS
After probably taking a backward step in 2012 the Gold Coast Suns have improved vastly in 2013. In their first two seasons in the competition the Suns won just three games in each, 7 rounds into 2013 and they’ve already equalled that feat.
Gary Ablett is still the undisputed champion player in the competition and Rory Thompson and Charlie Dixon are having breakout seasons. Harley Bennell has also picked up where he left off last season. Zac Smith is more of a presence than the 2012 model.
The Suns have been authoritative in pummelling GWS and Melbourne, were unlucky to fall short against the Lions and had an impressive comeback victory against the Saints in the opening round.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
While most pundits would’ve expected an improved performance from the Gold Coast in 2013 it would’ve been bold to expect a 3-4 start to the season. Less than 3 wins wouldn’t have been completely unexpected or unacceptable (a loss to GWS might’ve).
The Suns have a tough run over the next ‘quarter’ with the Bulldogs (Metricon), Hawthorn (MCG), Geelong (Simonds), North (Metricon) and Essendon (Etihad) to come – it’s hard to see Gold Coast racking up wins.
The Suns will be 3-9, 4-8 or 5-7 come round 14. No better.
During 2012 the Giants exceeded most expectations by winning two games. The common thought was that if Gold Coast could only scrape 3 wins with Gary Ablett and a number of talented players in their prime – what hope did the Giants have with Callan Ward, a bunch of kids and a few old hacks?
GWS will be more competitive in 2013 but it may not translate into wins – percentage is a more accurate guide. While the odd thrashing such as the loss to Adelaide may still happen the magnitude of defeats should reduce over time.
Callan Ward has been the Giants’ best again, while Sam Reid’s form has been a pleasant surprise and Jeremy Cameron continues to have football lovers referring to him as the next Carey.
On the flipside; Tom Scully is still looking an expensive flop, Jon Patton’s ACL was devastating and Jon Giles is having a dose of the second year blues.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
Their bottom of the ladder status should come as a surprise to no one, nor their winless status. The only real opportunities for a sneaky chance of victory were against the Suns & Dees. The Suns’ midfield is simply too good for the Giants at this point in time and Melbourne should’ve always won at the MCG.
The Giants will lose to Hawthorn (MCG), West Coast (Skoda), Carlton (Etihad), Geelong (Skoda) as well as Port (Skoda) and will be 0-12 come round 14.
The Hawks have just one blemish on their 2013 season; a loss to Geelong, which should come as no surprise to anyone as Hawthorn are the Cats’ bitches.
Buddy Franklin’s contract status hasn’t seemed to affect the team, however his personal form has taken a dip over recent weeks – although it isn’t quite at Travis Cloke circa 2012 levels just yet.
Sammy Mitchell just keeps on keeping on and Luke Hodge is having a stunning renaissance for a player who looked cooked at the end of 2012.
Losing Cyril Rioli to a hamstring injury was a cruel blow as he was having all the makings of a genuine break out year.
Ryan Schoenmakers ACL injury was also a tragedy for a much maligned young player who was beginning to finally find his feet at this level.
Overall, Hawthorn are looking in good shape and they are due to get some players back and they could well be on their way to avenging last year’s Grand Final loss.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
The problem with being a really good side is there is usually only one way to go. Most would’ve expected 6-1 or 7-0 start to the season for the Hawks.
Hawthorn has a golden run with the draw over the next few weeks which should go a long way to securing a top 4 finish, which is essential for any club’s hopes of premiership success.
With GWS (Aurora), Suns (MCG), Melbourne (MCG), Carlton (Etihad) and West Coast (Etihad) to come the Hawks should cruise to a 10-2 record at the absolute worst by the end of the next ‘quarter’.
Horrific is the word that best sums up Melbourne in 2013. While most pundits might’ve been sceptical about the Dees prospects – it was hard to imagine Melbourne being worse than they were in 2012.
Lo and behold the club has firmly secured its status as the AFL’s incompetence limbo champions.
To recap the Dees were smashed by Port, hung drawn quartered and burned alive by Essendon, blasted by the Eagles, belted by Brisbane’s teenagers, walked over by Carlton and vaporised by the Gold Coast.
Complete blushes were only saved by a 12 goal quarter against GWS but overall it has been ugly and surely the Giants would have to start favourites when they next meet.
The club is now faced with the unthinkable prospect of axing a coach in the second year of his contract; the club can’t afford to sack Neeld and can’t afford to keep him on for a multitude of reasons.
The only shining lights this season have been Michael Evans, Colin Garland, Max Gawn, Jeremy Howe, Matt Jones, Nathan Jones and Dean Terlich – but how many of them would be anything but fringe/role players at better clubs? It’s a hopeless mess.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
1-6 was just about the worst possible outcome when assessing the Demons’ prospects to this point of the season before AFL 2013’s first bounce.
With Richmond (MCG), Freo (Subi), Hawthorn (MCG), Pies (MCG) and Saints (MCG) to come there are no wins on the horizon for the MFC. The only ‘snowflakes chance in hell’ is against the Saints in round 13 – but St Kilda play honest footy and play for their coach which is enough to beat Melbourne by 8-12 goals at the moment.
Melbourne will be 1-11 after the next ‘quarter’.
NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS
The Roos have begun to slowly turn around their fortunes after a luckless start to 2013. North had their chances against Collingwood, should’ve beaten Geelong and could’ve beaten Hawthorn. The only genuinely poor performance for the season was the third quarter against Sydney in round 3.
Andrew Swallow has been terrific, Scott Thompson has looked in All-Australian form at full back, Todd Goldstein is back in form and Lindsay Thomas is having a career best season. Majak Daw is providing some real x-factor up forward an is a genuinely exciting prospect.
With Daniel Wells and Brent Harvey yet to hit peak form as well as scope for improvement in the likes of Ben Cunnington, Kieran Harper, Jordan Gysberts and Ben Jacobs – things are looking up for the Roos.
It is important for North to now get some wins on the board to push for the finals as being an honourable 9th is little consolation to restless fans, see: Tigers, Richmond.
Forecasting to the end of Round 13
While they have been good 3-4 is probably where most of us would’ve had North at this stage of the season. Playing three of last year’s top 4 teams plus the Cats was never going to be easy – to their credit North have notably closed the gap between themselves and the competition’s upper echelon.
As stated above North now have to translate some of these good performances into wins. With West Coast (Subi), Adelaide (Etihad), St Kilda (Etihad), Gold Coast (Metricon) and Fremantle (Subi) coming up – the Roos will be backing themselves to win 4 of those matches. At worst they’ll win 3.
It’s budget week and with the 7th round completed of the 28 week AFL season; what better time to reflect on how your club has fared in 2013?
Adelaide have endured a disappointing opening stanza to the 2013 season. In hindsight with Kurt
Tiprat’s Tippett’s departure, a tougher draw and increased opposition attention, this year always loomed as a bit of a banana peel for the Crows. However, for a team that was a whisker away from a Grand Final appearance less than 8 months ago, a 3-4 record is lacklustre.
Up until his season ending knee injury, Taylor Walker struggled; this has also been compounded by the poor form of Jason Porplyzia. The ‘crisurtunity’ caused by the Mullet’s absence will give the likes of Josh Jenkins, Shaun McKernan, Lewis Johnston and Tom Lynch (who made an excellent start against the Giants) the chance to nail down a key forward role.
The backline has offered no rebound out of defence, they desperately need players such as Matthew Jaensch, Jared Petrenko or Bernie Vince to be cutting opposition teams up from half back – all have been fringe players this year and are at a crossroads in their respective careers.
Finally, Sam ‘Sauce’ Jacobs has looked a shadow of the dominant ruckman he was in 2012 and it’s actually making Angus Graham look a viable alternative.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
The losses to Essendon and Port were a shock; the Crows would’ve been budgeting for a 5-2 or 4-3 record at the beginning of the season. However, there is room for improvement – the likes of Callinan, Douglas, Jaensch, Porplyzia and Vince need to start playing like role players rather than fringe dwellers. As mentioned above, Sam Jacobs is also a far better player than what he is dishing up at present. Ultimately, the loss of Walker has ended any faint premiership hopes. Finals are still a possibility.
Over the next ‘quarter’ season they face St Kilda (AAMI), North (Etihad), Fremantle (AAMI), Sydney (AAMI) & Richmond (MCG). Sadly for Crows fans there’s a fair chance they’ll be 4-8 come round 13.
In 2013 the Lions seem to be channeling the Carlton teams of the mid 2000’s. Dominant in the pre season and deplorable when the real stuff rolls around. For a team expected to make real strides this year and push towards the top eight, their performance has been – a narrow win against Gold Coast and an effective bye against an awful Melbourne – short of a complete disaster. They’ve been flayed by the Dogs, brushed aside by the Crows, crushed by North, thumped by the Swans and knocked out by the Eagles.
They have had injury worries but the sheer magnitude of the defeats against any decent opposition, the over reliance on Jonathan Brown up forward and Simon Black as the creative architect in the midfield are obvious problems for Michael Voss in his fifth year as coach.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
The upshot is that they still have Daniel Rich to come back and Simon Black is yet to return to full fitness as well as the fact that they have played four of last year’s finalists in the opening 7 rounds (not to mention they get to play the awful GWS at home and get another bye against Melbourne).
However, they would have expected to knock over the Bulldogs in round 1 and would’ve hoped for at least one win against either Adelaide or West Coast at home. After their strong pre season form, most would’ve expected to see the Lions batting at 3-4 or 4-3 rather than their paltry 2-5 record.
With Essendon (Etihad), Carlton (Gabba), Collingwood (Gabba), Fremantle (Subi) and Geelong (Gabba) to come in the next ‘quarter’, an optimist might see them winning a game. I don’t. They’ll be 2-10 come round 13.
The overuse of the word “process” by Mick Malthouse has been one of the more annoying soundbites of 2013. But truth be told the Blues haven’t been too bad this year.
Whilst a 3-4 record is hardly world beating stuff, Carlton was competitive in their first three losses against good opposition and were brave after being cruelled by injury in their loss to St Kilda.
They appear to be a better drilled team under Malthouse and are learning to work hard both ways. They have also managed to dispatch average opposition with relative ease.
The improvement in the all round games of Armfield, McLean and Walker has been noticeable and it is important for this middle tier to improve quickly en masse to somewhat negate the effect of Chris Judd’s rapidly fading powers.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
In 2010 Mick Malthouse guided Collingwood to a flag with disciplined structures carried out critical mass of good to very good players creating depth in spades.
Carlton’s success will ultimately depend on the likes of Betts, Garlett Gibbs, Judd, Kruezer, Murphy, Waite, Walker and Yarran playing to their ultimate potential as well as Armfield, Carrazzo, Hampson, Henderson, Jamison, Lucas, McLean, Robinson, Scotland, Simpson, Touhy, Warnock playing their roles well.
With Port (Etihad), Brisbane (Gabba), GWS (Etihad), Essendon (MCG) & Hawthorn (Etihad) coming up the Blues should be at least 6-6 after the next ‘quarter’.
If Brisbane is channeling Carlton of the mid 2000’s, Collingwood are channeling Hawthorn of 2009/10 – talent isn’t really the issue, motivation and fitness is. The Pies look a shadow of the team that lost just 7 out of 51 games in 2010/11.
The most bizarre thing about it is that the individual performances of the key midfielders namely Pendlebury, Swan, Beams (2012) and Sidebottom have been as good as or better than during the Pies’ days of domination.
However, as a collective the manic pressure that was characteristic of the Pies during the final years of Malthouse’s tenure has been missing. Opposition teams have scored more heavily against the Pies as a consequence.
It doesn’t help that Luke Ball, Darren Jolly and Nick Maxwell have missed important chunks of seasons with injuries. Nor does it help that Harry O’Brien, Ben Reid and Dale Thomas haven’t been able to consistently reproduce their 10/11 form. The Pies have also struggled to develop immediate replacements for the X-factor that Alan Didak and Leon Davis brought to the team in 2010/11.
The losses to Essendon, Fremantle & Hawthorn were generally uncompetitive and un-Collingwood like and the natives are restless.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
With three games against 2012 finalists and one road trip in the first 7 rounds the Pies would’ve hoped for better than a 4-3 start to the season.
With Nick Maxwell, Luke Ball and Dayne Beams to come back into the team, Collingwood will be hoping for an improved output.
With Geelong (MCG), Sydney (MCG), Brisbane (Gabba), Bulldogs (Etihad) and Port (AAMI) coming up – Collingwood should be 7-5 or better at the end of the next ‘quarter’.
Horrible season off the field, excellent season on it – it’s the curious case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Peptide. For all the chaos surrounding the club, the players have reacted wonderfully well, waltzing to a 6-1 record.
Even the most optimistic Essendon supporter would’ve been cautious to predict the club’s victories over Adelaide, Fremantle and Collingwood.
The addition of Brendon Goddard as well as the further development of Dyson Heppell and David Zaharakis has given the Bombers a much needed injection (nyuck nyuck nyuck) of class through the midfield and half back.
Michael Hibberd, Jake Carlisle and Tom Bellchambers are enjoying break out seasons and with the skipper consistent as ever the Bombers have shot up (nyuck nyuck nyuck) in most pundits’ premiership estimations.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
As stated earlier, the wins against Adelaide, Collingwood and Fremantle were very unexpected pre season.
You also wouldn’t have been completely insane in the pre season to think that Melbourne might’ve had a sneaky chance in round 2 given the Bombers were their bogey side.
Wins against the sliding Saints and the horrible Giants at Etihad would’ve been a minimum expectation internally, but externally most would’ve had the Bombers at 1-6, 2-5 or 3-4 at this stage of the season.
With Brisbane (Etihad), Richmond (MCG), Sydney (SCG), Carlton (MCG) and Gold Coast (Etihad) coming up, there are a couple of banana peel games thrown in there for the Dons. This second stanza of 2013 could make or break their top 4 chances but at their 6-1 form the Bombers should be 10-2 by the end of the next ‘quarter’.
Considering that Pavlich and Sandilands have missed most of the season, the Dockers are tracking wonderfully well at 5-2, not to mention they had the Bombers beaten at half time in Round 3.
Ross Lyon has brought structure and most importantly confidence to Freo. In 2010, under Mark Harvey, the Dockers took a skeleton side to Launceston and were soundly thumped by Hawthorn – in 2009 the Saints did the same thing under Lyon and beat the Hawks. That’s a credit to Lyon coached teams, not a knock on Harvey, as most clubs would’ve experienced similar outcomes given the same personnel input.
Fyfe, Hill, Mundy, McPharlin, Pavlich and Sandilands when fit make up Freo’s star core, the rest of the team is generally rounded out by good to average role players in Ballantyne, Barlow, Bradley, Crowley, Dawson, Deboer, Duffield, Griffin, Ibbotson, Johnson, Mayne, Mzungu, Pearce x2, Spurr, Suban and Walters – Lyon is maximising their output.
Forecasting to end of Round 13
Freo have had their fair share of injury woes: Sandilands is forever absent, Pavlich was underdone and is now injured, McPharlin and Fyfe have missed intermittently and now Bradley as well as Griffin are gone with season ending knee injuries. However, channeling Monty Python’s Black Knight and Robert Patrick in Terminator 2, Lyon’s Dockers just keep on keeping on in the face of seemingly hopeless odds.
So far they’ve easily beaten the Eagles, Bulldogs, Suns and Pies along with a narrow win over Richmond. 3-4 wouldn’t have been a bad start for Freo, 5-2 is excellent.
The Dockers face Sydney (SCG), Melbourne (Home), Adelaide (AAMI), Brisbane (Home) and North (Home) during the next ‘quarter’. They should win at least 4 out of those 5 games to be 9-3 come round 14.
1: Jackson Thurlow:
What is it with Geelong and developing quality kids? They’re doing a reverse Melbourne and producing a gem with every pick, the latest being the sixteenth selection in last year’s draft, Jackson Thurlow. He may have faded late but when the game was getting away from the cats in the second quarter Thurlow stood tall and offered plenty finishing with thirteen disposals at 77% efficiency, four marks, three inside fifties and two tackles in his first half of AFL footy. Another debut for a Geelong prospect, another gun unleashed.
2: Geelong’s Second quarter:
Speaking of jealousy, if the Cats recruiting and development division doesn’t make opposition blood boil with envy then their on-field exploits should. Twenty-one points down and seemingly under siege the Cats all of a sudden flicked the switch to remind us all that they’re the Lords of transition football. All it took was a ten minute burst prior to half time to see Essendon’s great work undone and their healthy lead a distant memory. In the Footy Tragic preview we noted that the Bombers pressure would have to stand up for four quarters and it did early as Essendon accumulated twenty tackles in the opening term, in the second quarter though the Bombers efforts wilted and they would register just the five tackles to go with fifteen turnovers.
After a string of losses there was plenty of attention on the Tigers this week and matters only got worse when they’d have to travel to take on an in form Port Adelaide minus their captain Trent Cotchin. Any concerns were quickly put to rest though with Richmond smacking the Power with an eight goal opening quarter. The backbone of the Tigers scoring punch this season has been their exploits at stoppages. Ranking second behind only Hawthorn in points from clearance differential the Tigers were at their extracting best sourcing thirty-seven points from clearances in the first term thanks largely to Shane Edwards who was responsible for kick starting three goals. Richmond’s stoppage work was superb but it was their usage around the ground which was even better with the Tigers accumulating a whopping two-hundred effective kicks (second highest among all teams this season) at a kicking efficiency of 79.3% (highest among all teams this season).
4: Michael Walters:
When Collingwood took the lead early in the fourth quarter the Dockers needed a hero to step up and attach the cape for some serious wharfie time. Enter, Michael Walters. The livewire forward kicked two of his four goals late in the final term to sink the Magpies and further stamp his claim for an All Australian Guernsey. Walters is averaging career high’s across the board but it’s his offensive firepower which has been so valuable. The twenty-two year old now has nineteen goals on the season, leads the Dockers in score involvements and is getting it done defensively as well with 3.3 tackles per game.
5: Majak Daw:
The hype has been suffocating and now we know why. Never has a man given me hot flushes like that on a football field since the great Wayne Carey, there’s isn’t a clean towel left in this establishment. We knew Majak was capable of the odd jaw dropping piece of brilliance but who the hell saw that coming on Saturday afternoon? I still double-take every time I see a headline or highlight referencing Majak kicking six goals, then I remember that he could have easily kicked ten. Eighteen disposals, seven marks inside fifty, four hitouts, four tackles and six goals exceeds anything that even the most enthusiastic Majak supporters could have predicted and it was fantastic to see. There’s still a long way to go but we’ve got a sniff of what he’s capable of, if he can find some consistency, look out.
1: Essendon’s third quarter:
With the contest in the balance and neither side taking the wheel the good old fundamentals of the game would become the key and it was Essendon who failed to implement them. The Bombers would amass more disposals, more inside fifties, more scoring shots and would use the ball better in general play but would ultimately let themselves down when it came to kicking the footy between a pair of posts. Essendon would finish the third quarter with one goal from their eight scoring shots (two behinds were rushed) compared to the Cats who would kick six goals from their seven scoring shots. Accuracy has been costing teams games of footy forever (Fifteen year later and 8.22 still haunts me) and it cost the Bombers a boat load of momentum on Friday night.
2: Chris Knights Injury:
Talk about the ultimate bittersweet moment. Richmond supporters saw their emotions morph into the “Giant Drop” at Dreamworld five minutes before half time after Knights snapped a classy goal only for the camera to pan back and show footage of the former Crow in serious pain. The slow motion replay not only destroyed appetites across the nation it confirmed the worst for the Tigers with Knights likely out for a significant chunk of the season. The silver lining is Nathan Foley made it through unscathed on his way to thirteen disposals in little more than a half of game time.
3: The Second Quarter between Brisbane and West Coast:
With Richmond and Port Adelaide winning the early remote battle a switch to the clash up north couldn’t have been more ill-timed. The second quarter was a lamb shank bonanza with players spraying the pill all over the place and seemingly missing targets on purpose. At half time only fourteen of forty-two players on the field had a disposal efficiency greater than 70%. Brisbane finished the second quarter with more ineffective kicks than effective kicks which never happens, and West Coast weren’t far behind. I’d watch twenty minutes of Gary Rohan injury montages before sitting through that quarter again.
4: Collingwood’s Fourth Quarter Rotations:
The Jon Griffin injury was a disaster for the Dockers but it gave Collingwood a prime time opportunity to dominate in midfield. To the Magpies credit they did exactly that generating six goals from clearances to zero from half time until Caolan Mooney put them in front in the final term, but it was the middle period of that final quarter which brought about numerous brows being furrowed, specifically my own. Collingwood appeared to have all the momentum before deciding to simultaneously rest Scott Pendlebury on the bench whilst leaving Dane Swan up forward essentially putting the entire onus on a stoppage unit consisting of a bunch of guys who aren’t great at stoppages. It resulted in Zac freakin Dawson looking like the most capable clearance player in the competition and it saw the Dockers crush the Magpies in a quick five minute burst where they kicked three consecutive goals to kill the game. Am I just salty because I wagered on Collingwood to cover the second half line which they failed to do by just two points? Of course not… Am I lying? Possibly.
For years they’ve been the go to stat and darlings of the special comments commentary caper, now they’re just a number with false meaning. What happened, clearance indicator? How worthless are you now? Like the high school crush who turns up at your ten year reunion with three prams and an extra forty kilos, clearances are no longer the number one desire and have now been replaced with the sleek and sassy turnover. Essendon finished with a +19 clearance advantage on Friday night, they lost. Collingwood finished with a +15 clearance advantage on Saturday night, they lost. The days of clearance infatuation are over, these days we’re all yearning for those sexy points from turnovers.
You can follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottyBarby
I was really happy with the way the bet was going, Footy Tragics. Until both of Richmond’s ruckmen got injured within 45 seconds of each other in the third quarter when Geelong had just started to get some rhythm. Cotchin’s inability to walk from the get-go didn’t help either. He’s kind of important to The Tigers.
This week, our $100 free bet from Sportsbet will be divided into three separate investments, as we desperately go in search of a winner. Each bet, will have a different punting mindset. One will be an aggressive multi, where we go in search of that big dividend in attempt to cure cancer with the stroke of a digit. Another will be all about your pre-drinks before a night out on the town, as we declare a wager unbeatable. The odds will be skinny, much like my girlfriend. You should see her collarbones…But I digress… Finally, our third wager will be an omen bet, based on an odd sequence of events while I walked my dog during the week.
The good teams don’t win every week. And some of the top 8 aspirants are actually mediocre to shithouse. We are looking to capitalise on that fact here:
WESTERN BULLDOGS +27.5 ($2.70) pick your own LINE
BRISBANE +42.5 ($1.38) pick your own LINE
FREMANTLE +30.5 ($1.25) pick your own LINE
CARLTON -23.5 ($1.92) @ THE LINE
Melbourne v Gold Coast EITHER TEAM UNDER 15.5 ($2.55)
$35 @ $22.80 = $798.10
My Girlfriend’s Collarbones Multi
We all need beer, some of us are happy to pay for it, others aren’t. Take this bet on if you want to drink for free this weekend. Adelaide have had a horror run, but Dangerfield is about due to take his skinny jeans off for a couple of hours and win a match off his own boot.
No Leonard Hayes = No St.Kilda. Kreuzer back in makes up for Waite out. The Blues are certain to get the win here.
ADEALIDE to WIN @ $1.05
CARLTON to WIN @ $1.25
$35 @ $1.32 = $46.30
This week I marveled at the run and carry of my kelpie cross staffy, Zara. A four year old brindle, her muscles rippled as she scooped up ball after ball, completely disregarding her well bred opponents as she lay the ball at my feet. It was business as usual until we started moving towards my car out on the main road. Zara took quite an interest in a dead adult kangaroo on the path to the car park. Zara is a particularly strong bitch, and when I finally pried her away from the dead roo, she took his head with her and bolted for two narrow gum trees as far apart as goal posts. The whole thing just felt like Drew Petrie.
$30 to WIN on the Western Bulldogs ($9)
$30 x $9 = $270
We at Footy Tragic expect all of these wagers to get up – a lazy $1014.40 of profit for The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. If not, perhaps we should consider getting all of our readers involved in our decision making moving forward…
I’m not even going to go into last week’s bet, Footy Tragics. I’m too excited about the end of Round 5. We’ve got some form to look at. And from this round on it’s going to get easier and easier to take a position on a game. We can expect value. We can expect the term “certainty” to be thrown around. We can expect to back the odd winner. Last year, I abstained from punting on football until Round 7. This year, I’m happy enough to be out there in Round 6. This week, our $100 free bet from Sportsbet for The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia will be invested with optimism.
The first match of this week’s three-legged multi will involve Collingwood and St. Kilda. Neither has been setting the world on fire. The Saints are definitely a side in decay, but they aren’t a team full of Dal Santos. Leonard Hayes is still a force to be reckoned with and Nick Riewoldt has showed signs this year that his best isn’t completely beyond him. While Riewoldt hasn’t got the best track record against the Pies in recent times, he still managed two goals late last year when an umpiring decision went against them in the dying seconds to cost them 2 premiership points, and another two goals the time before late in 2011 when Collingwood’s 14.5 was too good for the St.Kilda’s 10.10. Collingwood are riddled with injury and blokes who aren’t fully fit. Toovey is gone for the year. Beams, Maxwell and Young are out. Shaw and Daisy Thomas aren’t fully wound up. Jolly is back from some time out and I’m not convinced Dane Swan is up and running either. St.Kilda don’t have much, but if they can force a genuine contest, they are in the match and I think they will go better against the Pies than people think. Collingwood’s form and injury woes clearly haven’t been a factor in determining their quote of $1.18 head to head. We can get a 42.5 point head start with the Saints and still get $1.40. (into $1.35) Hopefully Lenny can bring Dal Santo and Montagna into the game early, to guarantee some involvement from them.
The second leg will involve the Kangaroos at the surprisingly short quote of $1.41 for the win against the Power down in Tassie. If it were in Melbourne, the line of 17.5 would be tempting, but the poor old Roos have got no supporters and no coin, denying them the luxury of a bankable 4 points here. Port Adelaide used their get out of jail free card last week when they should’ve been down by ten goals at half time against West Coast. They looked completely outclassed at home in the first half, despite the addition of Wines and the improvement of Wingard, Hartlett and Westhoff to name a few. Their birthday run should end this week against a side that squandered massive opportunities against Collingwood, Geelong and Hawthorn.
The final selection concerns the Cats and the Tigers on Saturday night. Geelong had the week off last week against the Bulldogs while the Tigers almost stole a fourth unimpressive win after taking no risks with King and Chaplin. Those two return, while Chapman and Hawkins are big inclusions for Chris Scott’s men. These two sides have been mismatched for about five years. The result a foregone conclusion. But last year Richmond showed they’d made the necessary improvement to at least scare a complacent Geelong side when they rocked up and almost knocked them off at Skilled Stadium. It’s a hoodoo that has lasted since 2006, and Richmond might not be ready to overcome it, but it is a hoodoo that’s going to be broken this year or next as those Geelong stars in their early 30s fade and Richmond’s budding elites in their early 20s mature. This clash may well prove to be the match of the round, and it can only be so if The Tigers can get within the line of 17.5. So the final selection this week will be Richmond at The Line ($1.92)
This Week’s $100 Investment
St.Kilda at a LINE of + 42.5 ($1.35)
North Melbourne to WIN ($1.41)
Richmond at the LINE of +17.5 ($1.92)
Multi odds $3.65
Round six will see a pair of teams at opposite ends of the opportunity spectrum facing off. On one end we have comeback kings Port Adelaide who have grasped every chance like a pack of savage ferals and as a result sport the crown of AFL darlings. The Power has already equalled their season win total from a year ago and couldn’t be more head over heels with the way their year has started. Kern Hinkely has his troops firing and new President David Koch has been the fresh Sunrise the club required. Most pundits had Port bookmarked for a year of cellar dwelling but if their on-field exploits to date are anything to go by they could be having a stern say in finals proceedings.
For North Melbourne it’s been an opening five weeks engulfed in dreaded “what if” scenarios after losing winnable games to the competitions last five premiers in Sydney, Geelong, Collingwood and Hawthorn. The Kangaroos average losing margin of just 15.5 points is the second lowest of teams with multiple losses this season but everything about the Roos suggests that they’re a top eight talent losing to top four calibre opposition. In other words, they’re simply adhering to expectation.
Port Adelaide and North Melbourne have been very similar in their output to date with the Power holding the primary advantage when it comes to restricting opposition, although given the two teams strength of schedule to date this comes as no surprise. Where the two squads differ is finding spread and space with Port Adelaide having four players inside the top twenty-five for uncontested possession compared to North who have only Sam Gibson representing inside the top forty. The Power is also second in the competition for uncontested marks behind only Essendon at 86.4 per game which is by a large a product of facing Melbourne, Gold Coast and GWS in the early rounds. In their games against the Crows and Eagles, Port Adelaide found success in the contested areas experiencing a +11 contested possession advantage (on average) and +2 clearance advantage whilst their uncontested marking disparity dropped from +14.4 to -16.5. If anything those changes represent a Port Adelaide side that is versatile and one who is capable of adapting to how the game is being played.
The Kangaroos meanwhile have gone all Travolta and Cage on us, switching faces from a season ago. Gone is the happy handball and in its place is a less reckless and more skill based short kicking reliant style. Despite ranking second in the competition for effective kicks per game and third behind only Geelong and Hawthorn for kicking efficiency, the Roos are still prone to butchering the backside out of the footy when going forward.
North Melbourne are as good as it gets at recognising a contest and extracting said pill, it’s the disciplined route one approach that has concerns about the versatility of North’s forward line flooding in like a busted water main. Being spoilt for choice isn’t of interest to these Roos and against Hawthorn we saw it in spades with predictable forward fifty entries playing into the hands of the Hawthorn defence more frequently than repeated episodes of Two and a Half Men. The continuous blind hoofing to a group of players was so infuriating it ignited a frustrated sequence of air karate in this North Melbourne member’s lounge room.
The problem with the Kangaroos (in my opinion) is that they’re far too drilled when it comes to adhering to the message as opposed to embracing a little flair and thinking outside the box. It’s great to see that Brad Scott’s instructions are getting through but players need to embrace choosing the right option in the moment, not the one recommended during pre-game. The biggest craving for Kangaroo supporters right now is watching a forward actually leading into space, preferably away from a pack and not at training.
The Midfield Battle
The midfield arm-wrestle is often the most telling aspect in regards to dictating a result and expect this clash to be no different. North’s stoppage work has been the catalyst for their impressive standing against quality opposition this season and see’s them ranking second for clearances per game compared to Port Adelaide who rank sixteenth. The problem for the Roos is their inability to harvest full reward from their stoppage advantage; despite a clearance disparity of +40 the Kangaroos have sourced just seven more points than Port Adelaide from stoppages this season.
Defensively North Melbourne have allowed the fewest clearances per game which has resulted in opponents sourcing just 133 total points from stoppages this season, the second lowest total in the AFL behind only Richmond, whilst Port Adelaide opponents have averaged 36 clearances per game, the ninth fewest in the AFL. Port Adelaide’s 158 points allowed from stoppages ranks fifth in the competition defensively.
The Value of Turnovers
North’s +9.2 clearance disparity per game clearly indicates that the Kangaroos are failing to generate enough bang for their buck from their midfield dominance, and it’s a problem that needs to be addressed given their lacklustre punch on the counter attack.
We all know how much weight turnovers hold and at the moment there’s nobody doing a better job than Port Adelaide whose opponents are averaging a league leading 55.2 turnovers per game. Port has taken advantage ranking seventh in the competition for goals from turnovers compared to the Kangaroos who have to work much harder for their points ranking sixteenth.
One interesting point to note is that Port Adelaide’s 5-0 record has come against teams with the five worst disposal disparities in the competition. This would normally be brushed aside but given Matt Priddis was injured early last week it’s no surprise that the Eagles midfield youth brigade failed to grab the wheel when things started to turn sour during the third term. The Power’s remaining opponents in GWS, Gold Coast and Melbourne have arguably the weakest midfields in the competition, and the Crows midfield has been completely off the boil since round one. North Melbourne current sits fifth for disposal disparity behind Essendon, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn and Sydney, and should win first use given their stoppage output against seasoned opponents this year. Port Adelaide have zero players inside the top twenty-five for contested possession and only Travis Boak (twenty-fourth) is inside the top twenty-five for clearances. North Melbourne’s Andrew Swallow, Jack Zeibell and Ben Cunnington are all in the top twenty for contested possession, and top fifteen for clearances. Expect the Kangaroos prowess at stoppages to provide the likes of Gisbon, Wells, Bastinac, Mullett, Atley and Thompson with plenty of outside ball.
*Teams Who Faced Port Adelaide
Last Time They Met
Do I really have to relive this cold sweat inducing nightmare all over again? North had won five straight contests between the two before taking the lead role in a wet the bed performance for the ages. With the Roos 29 points up at the halfway mark of the final quarter the majority in attendance were either falling asleep or directing middle fingers in the direction of Matthew Primus. All of a sudden the Power came to life as Jay Schulz morphed into a hybrid of Tony Lockett and Darren Jarman, freakishly plucking anything shanked within a fifteen meter radius. Port kicked five goals in the final ten minutes to somehow walk away with a two-point win despite finishing the match with a -18 inside fifty differential.
Danyle Pearce shredded the Kangaroos midfield with 24 of his 30 disposal effective but has since departed, as has former coach Matthew Primus so there’s really not too much to gain here as personnel and playing styles are vastly different. That being said eighteen of the Kangaroos twenty-two from last weekend’s clash against Hawthorn featured in the Port Adelaide meltdown; you’d imagine the revenge factor would run deep for the Roos in this one.
Who Will Win and Why
These two teams rank first and second for free kicks averaging a combined 47.6 per game so we could be in for a whistle blowing bonanza.
North Melbourne should have the most telling advantage in the midfield stakes but this is a Power side playing possessed footy so expect an entertaining encounter. A fast start will be crucial and having won all four first quarters prior to last week the Kangaroos will look to press from the get go.
Port Adelaide has been struggling to get out of the blocks to date but has won an equal league high five third quarters this season compared to the Kangaroos one. They talk about the third quarter being the premiership quarter and it definitely holds true this season with the three undefeated teams (Geelong, Port, Essendon) winning all of their third quarters this season, with Port also winning four of their five final terms as well which basically means us North Melbourne members won’t be comfortable unless we’re four thousand points up at the thirty minute mark of the final term.
Both teams are relatively healthy using 26 players in the opening five rounds with only Sydney having used fewer players to date. The loss of Jackson Trengove who leads the Power in one percenters will hurt in defence, especially with the Kangaroos ranking sixth for points per game on the back of a tough fixture. Expect one of Robbie Tarrant or Lachie Hansen to return alongside Drew Petrie, Aaron Black and Coleman medal leader Lindsay Thomas in order to really stretch Port Adelaide’s back-six.
The Power’s forward line will no doubt be at its damaging best again. Justin Westhoff currently sits fourth in the competition for marks inside fifty, Jay Schulz has averaged 5.6 goals per game in his last three outings against the Kangaroos, Chad Wingard leads the AFL in score involvements with Jake Neade the equal league leader in goal assists. Add livewire’s Angus Monfries and Robbie Gray to the mix and it’s a forward line littered with talent and one that I am ridiculously in love with. Nathan Grima (seventh in one percenters), Michael Firrito and Scott McMahon could have their work cut-out trying to contain the havoc whilst penetration out of defence from Scott Thompson and Aaron Mullett (eighth in interceptions) could be limited.
Tip: Kern Hinkely pls…
This is Port Adelaide’s first ever visit to Tasmania but it won’t be a memorable one. As good as the Power has been the Kangaroos are still a class above.
North Melbourne by 25 points.
You can follow Skett on Twitter: @ScottyBarby