Essendon set to demolish Dogs

Where: Etihad Stadium, 7.50pm, Satuday 30th June
TV: Channel 7 and Fox Sports 1 from 7.30pm
Radio: ABC774, 3AW, Triple M
Odds: Essendon $1.22, Western Bulldogs $4.50, Line Bulldogs +28.5

Essendon take on the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium, and the battle of the midfields will be something to see. The Bulldogs’ captain Matthew Boyd continues to be in rare form, with support from Ryan Griffen, Daniel Cross and rising gun Tom Liberatore: the Dogs have a relatively strong midfield. But up against the stars of Jobe Watson, the consistent running of Brent Stanton and the shutdown skill of Heath Hocking, they will face a tough task at Etihad Stadium.

This midfield battle extends further, with both Essendon and the Bulldogs effectively running eight-man midfields. Interestingly, Nathan Lovett-Murray has been named in the midfield, however, Lovett-Murray has been either the starting substitute or given the red vest in four of his nine games in 2012, and as a result has often struggled to get involved in games against quality opposition. The loss of Angus Monfries to injury has forced this in-side upgrade, and Lovett-Murray’s performance will be one to watch.

On the Bulldogs’ side, the inclusion of Ryan Hargrave and Lukas Markovic gives the Dogs defensive strength against an Essendon forward line that will aim to deliver once more to Michael Hurley, Stuart Crameri and Paddy Ryder, all of whom performed well against Fremantle last week. The performance of Brian Lake once again looms as critical: if Lake can shut down both Hurley and provide rebound on half-back it will go a long way towards the Dogs coming away with a win.

However, the critical concern for the Bulldogs can and should be their continued makeshift forward line. The loss of Daniel Giansiracusa to a foot injury amplifies the problem, with the attacking responsibilities left to young Tom Campbell for the Dogs. It’s hardly an ideal situation, but the delivery of Liam Jones, Shaun Higgins in his 100th game and the makeshift forwards of Campbell and Jordan Roughead will be key, but their tall forwards also leaves them open to exposure by the pacey rebound of the Bombers’ midfield.

Prediction:
The Dons will simply have too much, and their defensive unit will be strong.

Essendon by 37.

Teams:
Essendon
B:
Michael Hibberd, Dustin Fletcher, Cale Hooker
HB:
Kyle Hardingham, Jake Carlisle, Dyson Heppell
C:
Courtenay Dempsey, Jobe Watson, Heath Hocking
HF:
Stewart Crameri, Patrick Ryder, David Myers
F:
Kyle Reimers, Michael Hurley, Ben Howlett
Foll:
David Hille, Brent Stanton, Nathan Lovett-Murray
I/C:
Sam Lonergan, Leroy Jetta, Jake Melksham, Cory Dell’Olio
Emg:
Ricky Dyson, Tom Bellchambers, Elliott Kavanagh

Western Bulldogs
B: Ryan Hargrave, Brian Lake, Dylan Addison
HB:
Robert Murphy, Lukas Markovic, Easton Wood
C:
Daniel Cross, Matthew Boyd, Christian Howard
HF:
Shaun Higgins, Liam Jones, Adam Cooney
F:
Jordan Roughead, Tom Campbell, Liam Picken
Foll:
William Minson, Ryan Griffen, Clay Smith
I/C:
Justin Sherman, Thomas Liberatore, Luke Dahlhaus, Tory Dickson
Emg:
Lindsay Gilbee, Ayce Cordy, Mark Austin

BigFooty Team Board Previews:

Essendon

Western Bulldogs

Follow it live on BigFooty’s Game Day Thread 

Giants’ Chance For Redemption

WHERE AND WHEN: ANZ Stadium, Saturday June 30, 7.40pm
LAST TIME: Sydney Swans 14.16 (100) d Greater Western Sydney 5.7 (37), round one, 2012 at ANZ Stadium

The Greater Western Sydney Giants return to the scene of their AFL debut to play the Sydney Swans, the side who first beat them, and it should be a match to watch.

The Swans were somewhat blasé in their win over the Giants in round one, winning by 63 points – which was below most estimates – and they’ll be looking to improve on that coming in with good form.

The Giants, however, will have a point to make, having improved every week, and are no doubt a stronger and more skilled outfit that the one from thirteen weeks ago.

Sydney Swans

It’s been well-noted that the Swans are in very good form this year, having won four of their past five games to sit second on the ladder coming into Round 14.

John Longmire has caused some fantastic improvement from the Swans who, despite barely falling out at all from their premiership and runner-up performances in 2005 and 2006 respectively, can now be said to be legitimate premiership contenders.

Their midfield so far has been nothing short of brilliant, with Josh Kennedy still a genuine chance at taking out this year’s Brownlow Medal. Kieren Jack, Jude Bolton, Ryan O’Keefe and Lewis Jetta have all also been superb.

But their number one ruckman’s form in Shane Mumford has been questionable ever since his back injury and then return, and you’d hope that he can get back to his best, which is just about the competition’s best.

Given their rock-solid backline, their talented and diverse forwards and their clearance-winning, goal-kicking midfielders, it’s hard to spot a real weakness in the Swans’ current side.

Nick Malceski as an emergency, not being able to make the side, just goes to show that strength.

GWS Giants

GWS have had a good introduction to AFL footy, despite only winning one game – Kevin Sheedy’s emphasis on the basics in contested footy, discipline and effort has paid dividends so far and will continue to do so.

Combine that with a talented group of midfielders such as Dylan Shiel, Toby Greene and Adam Treloar and it will soon become one of the best in the competition.

Although Taylor Adams will miss this week due to a club-enforced suspension, there’s no reason why the Giants can’t perform well through the centre.

If they want to win they’ll need to give Jeremy Cameron and Jonathon Patton as much opportunity as possible to take the contested grabs they’re capable of.

Former Port Adelaide ruckman Jonathan Giles will need a huge game to give the Giants first opportunity, as their defense likely cannot sustain a bombardment of inside 50s.

It’s in the middle where they can pinch this.

Players to Watch

Adam Goodes: On his return from the left quad he tore in Round 6, Goodes struggled to have a real impact and was eventually substituted out. You’d hope for the Swans’ sake he was warming back to AFL footy and should get more game time this week.

James McDonald: One of the senior leaders at the Giants, the former Melbourne captain should cop some heat for his hit on Luke Parker in Round 1. However, he should have the mentality to ignore this, and will need to play well for the Giants to leave an impression.

Prediction

GWS have been impressive so far in their debut season with their competitiveness and determination to win the contest no doubt the standout features.

However, at ANZ, the Swans are simply too hard around the contest and too quick and classy on the spread for the Giants to nullify.

Sydney by 58

Squads:

Sydney:

B: Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy, Alex Johnson

HB: Nicholas Smith, Ted Richards, Jarrad McVeigh

C: Martin Mattner, Ryan O’Keefe, Lewis Jetta

HF: Ben McGlynn, Sam Reid, Jude Bolton

F: Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Adam Goodes, Andrejs Everitt

Foll: Shane Mumford, Josh P. Kennedy, Kieren Jack

I/C: Craig Bird, Daniel Hannebery, Mike Pyke, Tony Armstrong

Emg: Nick Malceski, Trent Dennis-Lane, Harry Cunningham

No change

Greater Western Sydney:

B: Luke Power, Tim Mohr, Shaun Edwards

HB: Chad Cornes, Phil Davis, Tomas Bugg

C: Tom Scully, Callan Ward, Adam Treloar

HF: Toby Greene, Jeremy Cameron, Adam Tomlinson

F: Devon Smith, Jonathon Patton, Nathan Wilson

Foll: Jonathan Giles, James McDonald, Dylan Shiel

I/C: Curtly Hampton, Rhys Palmer, Dean Brogan, Adam Kennedy

Emg: Sam Darley, Mark Whiley, Nick Haynes

In: Curtly Hampton, Adam Tomlinson, Chad Cornes, Adam Kennedy

Out: Sam Darley, Jack Hombsch, Mark Whiley, Taylor Adams

The Suns won’t shine in the Wild West

WHERE AND WHEN: Patersons Stadium, Saturday June 30, 2.40pm
LAST TIME: West Coast 13.7 (86) d Gold Coast 10.7 (67), round 11, 2011, at Patersons Stadium

 

The West Coast Eagles face an entirely different beast after last weekend’s top of the table clash with Collingwood, coming up against a bottom of the ladder Gold Coast at Patersons Stadium on Saturday. The Eagles ran the Magpies agonisingly close but couldn’t get the four points in Melbourne.

They head back home while the young Suns take one of the longest trips in footy to Perth to face a daunting task. The Suns are yet to win a match this season and with a list decimated by injury and facing the dreaded sophmore blues they’ve merely had some outstanding individual performances by the likes of Gary Ablett and Harley Bennell to tide them over.

On paper, the signs aren’t all bad for the Suns. They pushed the Eagles to within 19 points last year in Perth and are coming off a bye, nearly claiming their first victory in round 12 with an agonising seven point loss to North Melbourne. But even the most bouyant of Gold Coast supporters and sympathisers know that running the red hot Eagles close will be a big ask from a young side missing a lot of important cattle.

West Coast have come under scrutiny this year, first for ‘ducking’ allegations towards a tactic used to draw high tackles, and last weekend umpiring head Jeff Gieschen admits the umpires missed several throws committed by the Eagles against Collingwood. It will be interesting to see how the umpiring decisions play out.

 The Rundown

West Coast: The Eagles loss to Collingwood last weekend compounded with Hawthorn’s victory on Friday leaves the Eagles out of the top 4 for the first time this season. With only a game separating the top five sides on the ladder currently percentage is crucial. This is their only fixture against the Suns this year and a big win will go a long way to firming up a spot in the Top Four.

The Eagles have only made one change, with Tom Swift being given the week off after a couple of weeks in the green vest. Debutant Murray Newman (taken with the Eagles first pick, 23, in last years draft) will take his place. Newman is a speedy inside midfielder, but will most likely play in the forward line for the Eagles as he gains experience.

Gold Coast: Although the Eagles have their fair share of injuries, they have the experience to cover many of their losses. The Suns don’t have that luxury and it seems to be looking worse week by week. They lose another old head in Michael Rischitelli to injury this weekend, but at least gain Jarrod Harbrow back to add some rebound to the half-back line.

Along with Rischitelli, the other three outs for the Suns (Luke Russell, Rory Thompson and Seb Tape) are all struck with injuries too. Along with Harbrow, they bring in big key-forward Charlie Dixon along with Matt Shaw and Steven May.

Key Players:

Beau Waters – The Eagles’ Vice Captain is well known for his courage and aggression in all aspects of the game and has been a talking point for the last few rounds. He racks up disposals but also sets a huge example to his team-mates of what he believes is required for success. Expect him to go hard into any contests in the backline and load up on rebound 50s while doing it.

Jack Darling – The Eagles’ leading goalkicker this season has more responsibility on his shoulders than ever in his young career with many first choice Eagles forwards not playing. Darling and Quentin Lynch combined relatively well against Collingwood, but Darling really needs to step up and kick a bag to give himself confidence that he can be that kind of key-forward. A match against an inexperienced Suns backline is as good an opportunity as any.

Karmichael Hunt – With many hardened and skillful bodies out for the Suns, the rugby converts role becomes more important than ever. Hunt has improved dramatically this season, not just in possessions, but in the sheer amount of team things he does. If he can continue to block, tackle and go ferociously at the ball it will allow players like Ablett and Bennell to get free and open more often. West Coast aren’t one to shy away from the contest – Hunt needs to give them a reason to.

Sam Day – The Suns have been crying out for a powerful forward presence ever since their inception. Although their ruckman are usually good for a goal or two a game between them, they cannot continue to rely on their midfield so much. Over half their goals against the Kangaroos came from the midfield and with their bevy of smaller forwards, they need a big target to bring it to ground.

Day is a number three draft pick and was always expected to need time to come on, but the Suns need his presence sooner rather than later. If he can have another game like he did against Port Adelaide in Round Nine (three goals, six marks, five hit-outs pinch hitting in the ruck) then coach Guy McKenna will leave the ground a lot happier.

Prediction

The Suns aren’t a realistic chance in Perth no matter how you swing it. Expect them to come out firing on all cylinders, but to then peter out in the second half. If they give the Eagles a scare and keep improving that should be enough for them. West Coast will want to put them to the sword to secure an all-important percentage boost coming into the business end of the season.

West Coast by 58.

Teams:

West Coast
B: Beau Waters, Darren Glass, Patrick McGinnity
HB: Shannon Hurn, Eric Mackenzie, Mitch Brown
C: Andrew Gaff, Matthew Priddis, Brad Sheppard
HF: Josh Hill, Quinten Lynch, Chris Masten
F: Nic Naitanui, Jack Darling, Daniel Kerr
Foll: Dean Cox, Scott Selwood, Luke Shuey
I/C: Matthew Rosa, Ashton Hams, Jacob Brennan, Murray Newman
Emg: Sam Butler, Thomas Swift, Koby Stevens

In: Murray Newman
Out: Thomas Swift
New: Murray Newman (Swan Districts)

Gold Coast Suns
B: Alex Sexton, Matthew Warnock, Taylor Hine
HB: Sam Iles, Steven May, Trent McKenzie
C: Matt Shaw, Karmichael Hunt, Harley Bennell
HF: Jared Brennan, Charlie Dixon, Liam Patrick
F: Daniel Stanley, Sam Day, Brandon Matera
Foll: Tom Hickey, Josh Caddy, Gary Ablett
I/C: Zac Smith, Jarrod Harbrow, Joel Wilkinson, Kyal Horsley
Emg: Jeremy Taylor, Aaron Hall, Andrew McQualter

In: Jarrod Harbrow, Charlie Dixon, Matt Shaw, Steven May
Out: Luke Russell (Hamstring), Rory Thompson (Ankle), Michael Rischitelli (Hamstring), Seb Tape (Knee)

BigFooty Team Board Previews:

West Coast

Gold Coast

Follow it live on BigFooty’s Game Day Thread 

 

Magpies Search For 10 In A Row.

Collingwood have established themselves as a force. Last year’s stumble to the line and change of coach has re-invigorated a group that has been repeatedly cut down by injury: the signs are good and the confidence is high. After round three’s debacle against a rampaging Carlton, two months ago, all were questioning whether Buckley was up to the challenge, but in time such queries have eroded.

On the other side of the coin, Fremantle continue to struggle to get into gear. After a surprising victory against a more favoured Richmond in Melbourne, to then go limp the final term against the Bombers again smacks of a season where consistency is an issue.

Injury concerns aside, the Dockers are slowly getting the hang of the ‘Lyon’s Cage’ and look to set themselves up for a decent crack at making the Top Eight.

Why Should You Tune In?

Collingwood: Just tuning in to watch Collingwood is a delight in itself. When midfielders and part-time half forward flankers Dayne Beams and Steele Sidebottom go near the ball, everything seems to happen. Such a finally tuned midfield machine managed to break the shackles of the Eagles forward press last weekend and used a clear balance of skill and pace to work the ball forward.

In the absence of Scott Pendlebury, even the obscure talents of Marley Williams and Jamie Elliot have come to the forefront to provide a useful spark of pace and skill in the absence of Ben Johnson and Andrew Krakouer.

It also will be interesting to see how Collingwood go with playing that many youngsters. They seemed to handle that magnificently on last Saturday, but one must wonder when the tipping point is pushed too far. Irishman Caolan Mooney makes his way into the team which sees off the experienced Marty Clarke. Collingwood’s stars should and need to fire, because you wonder if they are quelled for long periods whether the kids have the experience to see off the hardened Dockers.

Fremantle: The Dockers are now caught in the warp of being one of the sides  locked on 6 wins and 6 losses. With the worst percentage of the bunch, you’d assume Fremantle need to start pinching a few they shouldn’t to get their noses in front in the race to September. Fremantle have now knocked off two middle tier sides in the Saints and Tigers in Melbourne, completely rendering the interstate excuse redundant. Expect Freo to come at the Pies and a blowout is inexcusable, no matter how good Collingwood are in theory.

Futhermore, it is interesting to see how the Dockers tactically handle this game. After being criticized for  not scoring enough, they’ve managed to work harder and move the ball faster in their last two games at home. The Crows and Bombers kicked 100+ plus, but the Dockers gave themselves chances against two highly fancied sides.

Should they employ the stoppers on Collingwood with numbers around the ball, they have every chance to at least breakeven. A rough, contested game might unsettle the Pies kids in the draining aftermath of their colossal encounter last week.

Prediction

Fremantle still are without the X-Factor in Nat Fyfe and miss the enormous influence of Aaron Sandilands. If they don’t let the ball get wide too often, they can stay with Collingwood. The high end talent and gut running the Pies will decide this contest and may just ultimately be enough.

Pies by 30.

Collingwood
B:Heritier O’Brien, Nathan Brown, Marley Williams
HB:Nick Maxwell, Ben Reid, Alan Toovey
C:Simon Buckley, Dale Thomas, Jarryd Blair
HF: Alex Fasolo, Chris Dawes, Heath Shaw
F:Dayne Beams, Travis Cloke, Tyson Goldsack
Foll: Darren Jolly, Dane Swan, Steele Sidebottom
I/C:Sharrod Wellingham, Jamie Elliott, Caolan Mooney, Jackson Paine
Emg: Martin Clarke, Cameron Wood, Tom Young

In: Caolan Mooney, Jackson Paine
Out: Martin Clarke, Tom Young
New: Caolan Mooney (Ireland)

Fremantle
B:Nick Suban, Luke McPharlin, Adam McPhee
HB:Alex Silvagni, Michael Johnson, Tendai Mzungu
C:Michael Barlow, Ryan Crowley, David Mundy
HF:Garrick Ibbotson, Zachary Clarke, Christopher Mayne
F:Hayden Ballantyne, Matthew Pavlich, Lachie Neale
Foll: Jonathon Griffin, Matthew de Boer, Clancee Pearce
I/C:Greg Broughton, Dylan Roberton, Jayden Pitt, Nick Lower
Emg: Michael Walters, Thomas Sheridan, Lee Spurr

In: Hayden Ballantyne, Dylan Roberton
Out: Jesse Crichton, Hayden Crozier (Illness)

Hawks and Blues set to Define their year

WHERE AND WHEN: The MCG, Friday June 29, 7.50pm
LAST TIME: Carlton 8.18 (66) def by Hawthorn 10.18 (78), round 22, 2011 at Etihad Stadium

Tonight’s contest at the MCG appears set to become season defining for both clubs, with the respective chances of Carlton and Hawthorn relying upon a strong performance tonight.

A loss tonight would mean disaster for both sides, with Hawthorn needing to remain close to the top four and Carlton desperate to regain a spot in the top eight after appearing like certain September combatants after five weeks.

The Blues have lost five of their past six games, their one victory coming against a lowly Melbourne outfit. Coach Brett Ratten faced rumours before the season that anything less than a September campaign – one which included at least one victory – would see a change in coach at Carlton.

Now they are in the middle of a form slide which has seen them fall out of the eight and battling for the final spot with four other clubs.

It was a similar tale at Hawthorn, but Hawthorn rallied and responded. They received brutal amounts of criticism after their losses to Richmond and Sydney, but slowly they’ve managed to regain the form which saw them such a danger last September.

The Hawks are a game behind second spot on the ladder, but currently sit in fifth spot. A win tonight not only improves their credentials, but goes a long way to giving Hawthorn the double chance that is often required for a serious premiership tilt.

Final Say

It seems simple enough, but one side is in form, whilst the other is not. Hawthorn have options up forward, depth in the midfield and that should be enough for them to stave off the Blues.

Hawthorn by 26

Teams

Carlton

B: Zach Tuohy, Michael Jamison, Nick Duigan
HB: Bryce Gibbs, Matthew Watson, Christopher Yarran
C: Heath Scotland, Chris Judd, Kade Simpson
HF: Dennis Armfield, Shaun Hampson, Andrew Walker
F: Jeffrey Garlett, Matthew Kreuzer, Eddie Betts
Foll: Robert Warnock, Mitch Robinson, Andrew Carrazzo
I/C: David Ellard, Aaron Joseph, Brock McLean, Joshua Bootsma
Emg: Paul Bower, Andrew Collins, Frazer Dale

Hawthorn
B: Brent Guerra, Josh Gibson, Benjamin Stratton
HB: Matt Suckling, Ryan Schoenmakers, Grant Birchall
C: Jordan Lewis, Sam Mitchell, Isaac Smith
HF: Cyril Rioli, Lance Franklin, Shane Savage
F: Luke Breust, Jarryd Roughead, Paul Puopolo
Foll: David Hale, Shaun Burgoyne, Brad Sewell
I/C: Clinton Young, Brendan Whitecross, Liam Shiels, Jack Gunston
Emg: Thomas Murphy, Kyle Cheney, Bradley Hill

BigFooty Team Board Previews:

Carlton

Hawthorn

Follow it live on BigFooty’s Game Day Thread

Weekly Punt: Geelong Bet of the Round

Last week the Weekly Punt posted a loss. Again it was not a major setback as we still managed two out of five lines, and of the three line bets that didn’t come up, in all those games the line was covered in the last quarter. A kick, or a bounce the other way and things could’ve been very different. The good news is that we always follow up with a week of profit after a weekly loss.  

The Cats recent record shows they are extremely dominant against Port. Ignore the final result for The Cats last week, they should have beaten one of the inform premiership favourites in The Swans last week. The Cats are back and we are also back on their bandwagon. Centrebet is offering -49.5 on the line this week for the fit reigning premiers against the injured Port Adelaide.

Hawthorn despite been premiership favourites most of the season have been very good value on the line, beating eight lines – the second best in the league. They have really started to hit their straps with some strong wins, while Carlton has lost five of its last six games. With The Blues still with significant outs, Hawthorn should be better than the -22.5 handicap offered by Betfair.

Collingwood may have almost lost and Fremantle may have almost won in their respective games last week, but Collingwood at home with their excellent record against The Dockers, we expect that Collingwood will win even more comfortably than the -38.5 handicap offered by Sportsbet this week.

GWS last week were showed up by Melbourne, and it appears that their season may be finally hitting the young talent hard. The Swans are in winning form and are starting games better than anyone this season. With another fast start expect the game to blow out more than the -66.5 offered by Centrebet.

The Suns languish on the bottom of the ladder with no wins and have only beaten the lines four times this year. With significant outs for The Gold Coast, expect West Coast to dominate the game at home. The handicap of -66.5 for The Eagles this week is a sound bet.

Brisbane has now started to hit some form and are looking now a tough opponent at the Gabba, with Melbourne’s significant outs expect The Lions to beat the line for the third consecutive week (most teams this year have done so) of -26.5 offered by Sportsbet.

With The Bombers now having an almost fully fit side against Bulldogs who are now out of form, -29.5 handicap offered by Sportsbet should be covered by Essendon this week.

 

Current Betting Fund: $2,697 Total staked so far: $1,003.5

 

Geelong v Port Adelaide – Handicap (-49.5) – $200 @ $1.91 Centrebet

Hawthorn v Carlton – Handicap (-22.5) – $200 @ $1.96 Betfair

Collingwood v Fremantle – Handicap (-38.5) – $150 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

Sydney v GWS – Handicap (-66.5) – $150 @ $1.91 Centrebet

West Coast v Gold Coast – Handicap (-69.5) – $150 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

Essendon v Western Bulldogs – Handicap (-29.5) – $100 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

Brisbane v Melbourne – Handicap (-26.5) – $100 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

 

(Bet is on team in Bold)

Odds correct at time of posting. Latest odds at odds.BigFooty.com

 

 

 

 

The VFL Wrap – Round 13 2012

BigFooty News will be running a quick weekly wrap up of the Victorian Football League.

The VFL was formed as the VFA in 1877 and was renamed the former in 1995. It took on its current status in 2000, as the reserves league to the Victorian AFL clubs, as well as mantaining its traditional clubs and still creating a pathway for the best local players.

Round 13

Sandringham 10.17 (77) defeated by Casey Scorpions 11.15 (81)

Trevor Barker Beach Oval, 1:10PM Saturday 23rd June

Leading goalkickers: Beau Wilkes (SZ) 4, Cameron Shenton (SZ) Ricky Petterd (CS) Stefan Martin (CS) Jordan Gysberts (CS) 2.

The Votes: 3. Brett Peake (SZ), 2. Adam Cockie (SZ), 1. Evan Panozza (CS).

Sam says: A close match for the duration, the Zebras edged Casey with a three-goal-to-two last quarter. The last quarter was however plagued by bad kicking in front of goals. Beau Wilkes continued his good form for Sandy with four goals. Prolific ball-winner Tom Couch was kept to only 14 disposals.

North Ballarat 14.15 (99) defeated Frankston 10.8 (68) 

Eureka Stadium, 2PM Saturday 23rd June

Leading goalkickers: Bill Driscoll (NR) 3, Paul McMahon (NR) Aaron Black (NR) Shaun Marusic (FD) 2.

The Votes: 3. Matt Campbell (NR), 2. Mitchell Bosward (FD) , 1. Myles Sewell (NR).

Sam says: The Roosters were in control of this match from the first bounce and were never going to lose. Matt Campbell impressed for North Ballarat and Myles Sewell continues to astound me as to why he hasn’t been picked up by an AFL club yet. As a stand alone side, Frankston held their own but having only one multiple goalkicker is never a good sign.

Northern Blues 2.9 (21) defeated by Geelong 9.18 (72)

Visy Park, 2PM Saturday 23rd June

Leading goalkickers: Lincoln McCarthy (GC) Jordan Schroder (GC) 2.

The Votes: 3. Cameron Eardley (GC), 2. Simon Hogan (GC), 1. Orren Stephenson (GC).

Sam says: We all knew the Blues were bad, but never this bad. Two goals for the whole match is horrendous and Geelong really should have won by more if not for poor kicking. The Cats ruckman were dominating again, with fomer VFL Team of the Year big man Orren Stephenson giving his midfielders the tap 39 times.

Bendigo Gold 17.6 (108) defeated Werribee 8.15 (63)

Windy Hill, 2PM Saturday 23rd June

Leading goalkickers: Justin Maddern (BG) Matt Little (BG) 4, Robbie Castello (WT) 3, Steven Stroobants (BG) Sam Lonergan (BG) 2.

The Votes: 3. Mark Baugley (BG), 2. Matt Little (BG), 1. Cam Pedersen (WT).

Sam says: The Gold kicked away after only leading by a goal on quarter-time. Bendigo’s big men Matt Little and Justin Maddern continued their good form with four goals each. Unfortunately for Bombers fans, Scott Gumbleton had a poor game with only two ineffective kicks. Roo Cam Perderson impressed for Werribee with 17 disposals and 25 hitouts. Bendigo are looking good so far this season and will definitely feature in September.

Coburg Tigers 10.23 (83) defeated Collingwood 9.3 (57)

Mantello Holden Oval, 2PM Sunday 24th June

Leading goalkickers: Caolan Mooney (CM) 5, Luke McGuane (CT) 2.

The Votes: 3. Matt White (CT), 2. Daniel Vendetti (CT), 1. Caolan Mooney (CM).

Sam says: In reality, Coburg should have smashed Collingwood. Their goalkicking however let them down, particularly in the last term. Collingwood’s new Irish recruit Caolan Mooney looks the goods with 10 disposals and 5 goals. The word from the Westpac Centre is that he is the fastest player the club has ever seen. Matt White had 28 disposals for Coburg.

Round summary: Sandringham reassured themselves as a real contender while doubts arise about Casey. Geelong will be there abouts in the finals while the Blues have shown how bad they really are. Things are definitely happening up in Bendigo with the side gelling well before they break-up with Essendon at the end of the season while Collingwood are putting up decent fights despite depth. Port Melbourne were playing in the Foxtel Cup while Box Hill and Williamstown had the bye.

The ladder:

1 Port Melbourne 36
2 Casey Scorpions 36
3 Werribee Tigers 28
4 Bendigo 28
5 Sandringham 28
6 Geelong Cats 24
7 Williamstown 22
8 Box Hill Hawks 20
9 North Ballarat 20
10 Coburg Tigers 16
11 Collingwood 8
12 Frankston 6
13 Northern Blues 4

 

To Tweet Or Not To Tweet?

At its worst social media is like giving an idiot a megaphone and putting them in the middle of Federation Square. They will shout their every thought for everyone to hear whether they like it or not.

Unfortunately for Brock McLean he experienced it at its worst and from multiple perspectives. McLean was on the receiving end of this megaphone wielded by one quite witty ‘idiot’. He experienced first hand how easily people can get at others on Twitter.

McLean was also able to fill the role of the ‘idiot’ himself posting an ill-thought response only to quickly realise how many people can hear what you shout into that megaphone.

What this latest social media gaffe by an AFL player brings to the fore yet again, is the place of social media in the AFL.

The majority of the public has a social media account these days and AFL players don’t seem be much different. The only contrast is that they have a larger audience and rightly or wrongly they are held to higher standards of behaviour by the AFL, their clubs, the media and the public.

With this kind of scrutiny it one would think the players behave themselves online. However there are countless examples of social media misuse, you only have to look back a week to see the most recent example.

In most of these circumstances the comments are irrelevant and are not worth mentioning but when the media watches player accounts looking for the next big scandal care must be taken.

With factors such as reputations and sponsors on the line clubs may have to take action. Despite how ridiculous, do not rule out the possibility of restrictions being imposed, there is too much to lose.

Despite this risk social media is not all bad. Most players know how to use it well. They can be entertaining. Players can use Facebook and Twitter for their personal lives as most people do. These platforms also allow the average punter to get to know the players they worship on a Saturday a little better.

It also gives the players a right of reply. Dane Swan’s tweet ‘Off to bed with a bucket of KFC. Yummy!!’ in response to comments about his weight are the perfect example of how a player should use Twitter in the face of criticism – with humour.

The simple solution is common sense, not restrictions. The players know the rules and expectations and should be able to adhere to them easily; and if a player lacks the common sense to stay out of trouble, maybe they should ask a friend to check their Tweets before posting. It would solve a lot of problems.

This is the way the Salary Cap is meant to work

Collingwood are facing a salary squeeze. While St Kilda keep annoucing the signing of some of their mid-range players, almost everyone expects Brendon Goddard to be left with nowhere to sit when the music stops at the end of this year. Carlton can’t afford to address their list needs because they are paying their current players too much.

Welcome to the season of the salary cap, where the lack of actual football these last three weeks has meant that the footy media has turned its attention to matters relating to the retention of players and how much they will be paid.

Two years ago Gary Ablett left Geelong. He took much more money from the Gold Coast than he was being offered by Geelong, and what he was being offered was all Geelong could afford. That money, now not being spent on Gary Ablett’s salary, then went towards the retention of other players. The year after Ablett left Kardinia Park, Geelong won another premiership. All’s well that ends well.

Geelong and Collingwood share four of the last five premierships. It’s natural for them to face an uphill battle to fit all their required players under the salary cap, considering they are the best performed teams. The phrase that gets thrown around is “takes less money to stay”, rather than be paid at “market value” somewhere else.

The best example of a salary cap squeeze was Essendon in the early 2000s. They eventually lost premiership players Blake Caracella, Damien Hardwick, Chris Heffernan & Justin Blumfield. The youngsters who replaced them in the side never performed to the same level, and Essendon haven’t won a premiership in twelve years, or won a final in eight.

Here’s the thing: that’s exactly what the salary cap is designed to do – help redistribute the talent. While the AFL cannot enforce a “talent cap” because it would involve inexact and subjective judgments, they can enforce a “salary cap”. When the squeeze eventually hits, you can play it out like Essendon and move on effective foot soldiers looking to be paid “market rate” and replace them with unproven youngsters, or you can just keep on keeping on like Carlton did and eventually you’ll get caught with cheating the salary cap and the AFL will come down on you like a ton of bricks. Simple.

What distorts the effectiveness of the salary cap is players taking less money to stay at a successful club. Put simply, the salary cap is in place to prevent clubs accumulating a disproportionate amount of talent on their list, and if players are being paid less than market value, then the effectiveness of the salary cap is compromised.

It’s easy for successful clubs to do this because the amount of money between what they are being offered by their current club and their market value is often less than $100,000. Let’s face it: AFL footy is financial small fry compared to the money earned by other sporting stars around the world. If a player is offered $300,000 per year to stay at their successful club, and $400,000 per year to move, then at the end of the day the player will probably only see $50,000-$60,000 of that money once their agent and the taxman have had their share.

With Ablett and Tom Scully, this was not the case – the difference between the two offers was probably more like $500,000 per year, which using a 60% rule after taxes and agent fees, translates into nearly $6,000 per week extra into your pocket. Wouldn’t you love to be on that sort of coin?

The reality of the situation is perhaps Collingwood shouldn’t be able to keep Dayne Beams and Travis Cloke. Perhaps St Kilda shouldn’t be able to keep Brendon Goddard, although this is a little different because St Kilda currently sit in the middle of the pack, and haven’t won anything. Geelong couldn’t keep Gary Ablett, although now they apparently have the money to afford a young midfield stud like Travis Boak.

The longer term point to make is that, in this era of transition and new teams, eventually the AFL will want to get back to a situation where clubs don’t spend long out of the finals. Geelong, Collingwood and St Kilda have each made at least the last four finals series, Hawthorn and Sydney four of the last five. On the other side of the coin, Melbourne haven’t made the finals since 2006, Port Adelaide since 2007, Richmond since 2001. The cycle of ebb and flow in the AFL has stopped to a dribble, and one way that can be altered is a more equitable distribution of the league’s talent across the 18 clubs.

And that means players being paid at market value. Collingwood supporters will be annoyed if they lose one of their good players, and considering I wear his number on my back to watch games, I’ll be annoyed too if Brendon Goddard leaves St Kilda. But for the good of the game, that may just be what needs to happen. Perhaps that is the way the system should work.

3 Things You Should Know For Your Great Gabba Getaway – Press Release

If you’re an AFL fanatic, you’ll know that there’s nothing better than travelling to the grounds of an opposing team and cheering on your side as they thrash the home team. Since the beginning of Brisbane football, when a new era of AFL began and the mighty Brisbane Bears took the field in 1987, the support for AFL in Queensland has continued to grow. The unlikely bears triumphed in their first game, creating a rivalry between southern teams, which has survived throughout the years. Many out of state fans now travel to The Gabba, to cheer on their team as they take on the Brisbane Lions.

If you’re planning a Brisbane football holiday, be sure to follow these tips for an unforgettable experience!

The Best Seats in the House

While The Gabba is a spectacular sporting ground, there are a few things that you should take into consideration when booking your tickets for the big game. If you choose to sit in the lower sections of the grounds, don’t sit towards the back if you’re coming to watch the game. Unfortunately there is sometimes limited vision, with sight being blocked by the upper tiers of the stadium. If you’re looking for some behind the posts action, however, sections 13-17 and 32-37 in the lower section would be best, while sections 52-57 and 73-75 would be perfect for those who prefer a bird’s eye view of the action.

Before the Game

As with most major sporting venues, food and beverage prices sky-rocket as soon as you walk through the gates. Luckily, for travelling football fans, Woolloongabba is a vibrant suburb, just on the border of the Brisbane CBD – home to some great cafes, bars and restaurants. To save some money and experience a little of the Brisbane culture, pick up a pre-match snack or try one of the many Woolloongabba restaurant’s; all within walking distance to The Gabba.

Drowning your Sorrows

The Lions always lift in front of a home crowd and are always a chance to cause an upset! If your team should do the unthinkable and lose a game at the all-mighty Gabba, there are plenty of ways to drown your sorrows in Brisbane. The Chalk Bar, just metres from the grounds, is always packed with devoted footy fans on game night – a great place to go over the finer details of the game with fellow supporters. If your team has just lost to Brisbane, however, prepare yourself for a lot of trash talking – especially if you’re proudly wearing your team colours.

If you’re not up for a bit of friendly banter and would rather forget all about the game, located just 30 minutes from Brisbane are some of the world’s greatest theme parks. A number of holiday specials are available when visiting Queensland theme parks, so try to make the best of a bad situation and forget about your teams shocking performance by strapping yourself in for the ride of a lifetime!