Finals 1, 2013

Finals week 1, 2013

Scores after round 23 for Longggey in Herald Sun Tipping comp.

Tips correct: 7 for a score of 151 (147 real winners + 4 bonus points) and improved from 7,504  to 5,070 out of 66,779 tipsters. So finished in the top 8%, which is a fairly good effort after stating slowly.

Accumulator: 10.33 (very good!!) for a total of 188.92 and improved from 1,254 to 884 out of 11,801 tipsters.  This comp continues during the finals.

Last Man Standing Comp: Eliminated in R14. There were 2 people left in the comp before R23.  One tipped the Suns (as recommended in this website) and the other bomber out after selecting Collingwood.  Well done to that winner. Streak:  tipped 3 of 3 certs correctly – streak now up to 38 (with Cats squeaking in; and the Suns and Dogs romping home).  As before, the tips weren’t hard this week, it was just a matter of avoiding Fremantle & Collingwood this time.  The ranking improved from 82 to 55 out of 68,788 tipsters.

50/50 tips: 2 out of 2 correct for the round
Right:  Saints to win or get within 6 points; and Suns to win by more than 38.  So now at 26 out of 54 = 48% for the 50/50
(anything over 50% is good!)

Early thoughts for Finals week 1:  the clear favourites are the Hawks, Cats, Pies and Tigers.  The best cert looks to be Collingwood.  The Hawks and Cats also look the goods, while the Tigers and Blues is the toughest one to work out.

A quick finals preview:
Hawks: looking good to win in week 1 where they would expect to play Freo or Geelong.  Good depth and few real injury concerns.  Then there is the Buddy report to deal with.  Their challenge will be to win 2 hard games in weeks 3 and 4, probably including the Cats who have beaten them 11 times in a row (but not in a grand final since 1963)

Cats: The logic for a Cat flag is simple really.  2007, 2009, 2011…..
If they can win their surprise home final at KP, then the path looks clear to get to the “easy” prelim and into a grand final.  VFL team is on top and injuries not too bad.  Ruck is a slight worry.  There team is also markedly different from the 2011 premiership team; so they would have a lot less grand final experience than either Hawthorn or Sydney.

Dockers: A win at KP would almost certainly propel them not a grand final.  A loss would see them highly likely to meet the Hawks in a prelim.  Maybe they were 1 win or so away from 2nd and an almost guaranteed grand final berth.  They have a few injury concerns at present.

Swans: tough and experienced, but their injuries seem to be catching up with them.  Capable of surprising, but the best that they can expect is probably a prelim.

Tigers: a finals win would be a boost for them; if they can make it to a prelim, that would be fantastic

Pies: will be hot favourites in F1, but then may need to go to Perth!!

Port: has the toughest assignment of all and will have to travel each week in the finals.  Did a great job just to get there!

Blues: snuck into the finals after getting some tips from Steven Bradbury.  Have a friendlier draw than Port.  A prelim would be a bonus, but only got in after the Dons were demoted.

Games                  Tip / By    Variance       Outsider is:
1 HAW V SYD       HAW  23      HIGH           a tiny chance
2 GEEL V FREO    GEEL 23      HIGH           a small chance
3 COLL V PORT   COLL 45      HIGH           NO HOPE
4 RICH V CARL    RICH 9        EXTREME   a definite chance

Variance: differs depending on unknown technical and fundamental issues – like possible injuries and tracking of form trend

Medium means the website is expected to be close to the mark

High means expect some likelihood of the website being several goals off the mark

Extreme means expect a possible wide variation from the website’s predictions

The Hawks to do it again

Since the Hawks won away last week vs the Swans, they should really win at home this time; especially as this time it is in Melbourne.  It’s almost that simple, but some notes need to be made.

Cyril has been named, but the coach says they will test him on Friday.  As this is the first game, you will know probably the outcome before putting in your tips.  Rumour is that he will be withdrawal. The emergencies are Shiels (under a bit of an injury cloud himself, but the best fit as a replacement), Duryea and Savage (subbed out last week).

The Hawks can win without Buddy.  He isn’t the biggest story here.  The Swans ins and outs are much more interesting.  They “lose” 4 players who are all on the fringe: the soon to retire Morton (sub last week), Biggs (did okay), Cunningham and Brandon Jack.  Their inclusions are all of much higher quality.  But Jetta is significantly underdone, having played R10 and then not seen again until last week when he managed 55 minutes in the NEAFL.  And, having played on Saturday, he gets 1 day’s rest LESS than everyone else.  So do the Swans let him rip at the start and plan to sub him out with a nice lead in the game?  Or start him as sub and hope he will burn them off as a fresh player.  Tippett is also under a cloud, but expect him to play and he should be okay.  The interesting one is Hannebery.  He will probably (not definitely) play, but is in some doubt to be right.

So, even with Buddy and Cyril out, the Hawks are still better off injury-wise.

The other bit of news is that the Hawks were able to do a heavy block of training a few weeks ago (which top teams should do) and this will help them now.  They weren’t able to do this last year as their top 2 status was not certain.  Conversely, this year the Swans were not able to do this heavy block of training – because they had too many injuries.  So they might not be as sharp as the Hawks. 

The Hawks will be tipped with confidence, but they are not quite certs.

Maths (in points)

Ability: HAW + 12 POINTS

Home Ground: HAW + 15

Current Form:   HAW + 9

Team Changes:  SYD + 9

Psychological:    SYD + 6

Freshness:    EVEN

Injuries:     HAW + 2

Total:     Hawks by 23 points
Accumulator tip:  HAW ~ 1.55

Post Match Review:  Hawks were tipped by 23 points and they won by 54.  Analysis was reasonable.  The experts had tipped the Hawks by only 14.  But, in retrospect, the fact that the Swans were not able to do the heavy block of training (at the same time as Hawthorn were able to do it) was a more significant negative than previously thought. It is also work looking at the SC scores for the INS of Sydney.  It shows Jetta 35 (as sub) Hannebery 32 (obviously not right), Smith 46 & Tippett 55 (down on his better recent efforts).  Add to this Jude Bolton (ill and missed R22 & came back R23) scoring only 39 and you have trouble.  It appears that the Swans’ long injury list + extra load put onto the remaining fit players during the season is now taking its toll.





The Cats to win their home final

The Dockers have already played down at KP this year; and it was close to their worst performance all year.  But they did have injuries on the day.  And they also copped an angry Geelong that had let a 52 point lead slip first up after a bye at Brisbane.  Of more concern for the Dockers than the R14 result is having to travel to Victoria 2 weeks in a row.  Before last week, their form had been terrific against lesser opposition.

Of course, they do have 10 players that didn’t make the trip last weekend.  Things to be noted about the Dockers’ 10 changes:
A: usually any more than 7 changes means a team has virtually no hope.  This rule is to be disregarded in this instance, because the changes last week were artificial ones.  To look at the REAL changes (from 2 weeks ago), we get the INS as Sandilands & Silvagni; and the OUTS Hannath (omitted), Johnson (injured).  Clancee Pearce missed 2 weeks ago, then played last week and got injured. So there have not been too many changes. 
B: The major changes to the team is still not ideal.  The most similar issue to this of late was the Hawks in 2011.  They played the last round in QLD vs the Suns and left out 8 players.  They then had to play the Cats on a 6 day break in week 1 of the finals.  They started like a shot out of the gun and led 3:5 to 2:0 at QT, but were blown away thereafter to lose by 31 points – their biggest loss to Geelong since 2005.  A lingering thought exists that, on the basis of the Hawthorn 2001 experience, that the Dockers might get absolutely smashed. It wouldn’t be a total surprise, but the evidence just isn’t that strong to be convincing.
C: There is a small doubt on the fitness of Hill, Suban and Walters.  Expect them all to play. McPharlin was on the plane to Melbourne and named as an emergency.

For the Cats, a surprise is that Guthrie was expected to return and is an emergency.  Blicavs was not expected to come up.  His was replaced by Vardy.  But maybe West might be needed if Blicavs is in doubt.  But West isn’t an emergency; Walker is the tall in the emergencies.  Good news for the Cats is that Varcoe is gradually running into form.  Conversely, the Tomahawk is a concern.  A late chance is a distinct possibility, but who might go out?

Both these teams have formed a technical “Good, Shocker, 3rd week” pattern.  As such, the expected positive news for each club will cancel itself out.  In any case, both teams’ R23 shockers were somewhat artificial.

The Cats would probably need something to go wrong to lose this one; and things are falling into place just like 2011.  The fact that the Dockers eliminated Geelong in F1 last year would probably work in the Cats’ favour this week.

Maths (in points)

Ability: GEEL + 6 POINTS

Home Ground: GEEL + 18

Current Form:   GEEL + 4

Team Changes:  FREO + 15

Psychological:    GEEL + 2

Freshness:    GEEL + 6

Injuries:     GEEL + 2

Total:     Cats by 23 points
Accumulator tip:  GEEL ~ 1.36

Post Match Review:  Cats were tipped by 23 points but the Dockers won by 15.  Analysis was not great, although it was hard to assess how well the Dockers would come up.  Obviously, they came up well.  Also, the bloke that the Cats are really missing (surprisingly) is Dawson Simpson.   There was one late change for the Dockers (Silvagni off for McPharlin) and 2 late changes for the Cats (Hawkins and T Hunt out for Walker and Guthrie).  One wonders why the tall coming in wasn’t West???? Is he injured?   Also, possibly the home final (as opposed to Etihad) was a disadvantage to the Cats.  This is because the Dockers knew they had to come to Victoria anyway; and there was a bit of hysteria at Geelong about the home final.  Finally, the Cats had been on a winning run of 4 and just fell over the line in R23 against the Lions.  This often indicates that the team is due for an upset loss (although one doesn’t expect it to occur in a final).  But the Cats played the game EXACTLY like the technical chart suggests – IE they look to have the game in control, but tend to get be poor late in the game and lose narrowly.  This was ignored due to the fact that the game was a final.  SORRY!!





The Pies are the CERTS of the WEEK

What a great story port is in 2013.  Most experts tipped Port to be bottom 4 and Ken Hinkley was called the last man standing when he got the coaching job.  This website tipped them to finish 13th with 9 wins!  They managed 12 wins. 
But this is where the good news is going to end for Port.  The Pies are certs.  They are a higher rated team and playing at home; and with better form.  The experts’ rating this one as a 4 goal game is generous to Port.

The Pies are in a “good week, shocker, 3rd week” pattern.  As a top rated team (usually this means the top 6, but can vary), they would be expected to exceed expectations this week by a little bit.

Maths (in points)

Ability: COLL + 24 POINTS

Home Ground: COLL + 18

Current Form:   COLL + 7

Team Changes:  PORT + 2

Psychological:     EVEN

Freshness:     EVEN

Injuries:     PORT + 2

Total:     Pies by 45 points and CERTS of the WEEK
Accumulator tip:  COLL ~ 1.26

Post Match Review:  Pies were tipped by 45 points but Port won by 24.  Analysis was horrible!!!!  Although this website wasn’t the only one to label the Pies as certs.  The assumption was that port had done well just to make the finals and wouldn’t be able to win away from home.  But they jumped out well and, when they looked like being overrun, they pulled away.  A few things to note:  Reid copped an injury last week, but nobody even mentioned him as being a doubt.  But he only scored 39 SC points.  That was balanced out by Gray being some doubt for Port and only scoring 25 SC points.  The Pies turned the ball over and made some terrible errors.  It is noted that the Pies and Cats were the 2 finals teams that underperformed last week, but excuses were made for both of these teams.  And they both underperformed in F1 (Cats by 33 and Pies by 51).  Interesting!!  Of course, the Dockers also underperformed in r23, but with many stars rested.  The only other thought was that the Pies were struggling all year to get their key players up and fit.  Maybe, in the end, it took its toll (similar to what happened to the Swans)..




This is the tough one – Tigers just in an EXTREME variance match

The Blues beat Richmond in R21 after coming from 5 goals down at QT.  Based on that, the Blues are certs.  However, the Tigers had injuries in that game.  As well as a few positional moves which helped (Hardwick admitted this week that it was the best coaching effort of the year), the tigers just ran out of fit players.

Of more relevance is the fact that Richmond haven’t played finals since 2001.  The Blues, while being just average for most of the time, have made the finals in 2001, 2009/10/11.  And they also have more finals playing imports than Richmond.  The Tigers have Chaplin, A. Edwards, Grigg and Maric to have played finals.  The Blues have their group of players from 2009-11, plus Judd and Scotland (if they play) bringing finals experience from elsewhere as well.

Which team that has played a prelim is in the longest “prelim drought”?  “Richmond”, some people say.  But the actual answer is Carlton and Melbourne (who last played in a prelim in 2000).  In 2001, the Tigers eliminated Carlton in F2 to make it into their most recent prelim.  Also, since the final 8 began, the Tigers have made the finals twice (before 2013).  On both previous occasions, they had the double chance and were comprehensively beaten in a prelim.

There may be a slight doubt on Houli’s fitness for Richmond; while Judd surely will be underdone for the Blues.  And Brock McLean is also in some doubt.  And have the Blues already played their “final” last week?  In fact, they have virtually been playing finals since the bye.

These factors make this game the one and only EXTREME variance game of the round.  Beware!!  But if both teams play to their potential, the Tigers should win.  That’s still a big IF.  Choco Williams should be a bonus to the Tigers in this finals series.

Maths (in points)

Ability: RICH + 6 POINTS

Home Ground:  EVEN

Current Form:   RICH + 1

Team Changes:  RICH + 3

Psychological:    CARL + 3

Freshness:     EVEN

Injuries:     RICH + 2

Total:     Tigers by 9 points
Accumulator tip:  CARL ~ 2.70

Post Match Review:  Tigers were tipped by 9 points but the Blues won by 20.  Analysis was better than it looked!  The key to the forecast was EXTREME variance.  And extreme it was!!  The Tigers turned a 32 point lead early in 3Q into a 20 point loss.   The Tigers were not greatly helped by Conca going down early.  It also appears that the Tigers might have “already played the game” in their heads and that’s why they ran out of puff.  Mick Malthouse suggested as much in his press conference. Maybe Jack Riewoldt wasn’t 100% fit.

Best cert: The Pies (they were really terrible!)

Best Outsider: The Blues have a real chance is the Tigers are not on the ball (they stormed home to win)

Best 50/50 (a segment which picks the game which the experts have wrongly rated):  Pies to win by more than 28 points (never a hope)

Happy tipping!  This is not a week for outsiders on the whole