It’s Swans & Doggies For Me!

Swans win because they are more consistent, play more instinctively as a team and their effort is unconditional. I still have questions over Mackie’s desperation at times. Enright’s selectivity this year and their dependence on Hawkins to fire. On the other hand the Swans are relentless, hard and tough around the contest, perhaps lack the flair and instinct of the Cats but more than make up for it with raw courage and conviction. 

Aliir is an absolute beauty who belies his experience and seems to have the composure of a 150 game veteran. His decision-making in traffic is sublime as is his skill execution. He reads the play like he wrote the book and has the uncanny ability to leave his opponent on the death knock to go third man up and assist contested marking situations. I’m an Aliir believer.

Heeney doesn’t worry about the pressure in games and just lights it up when he is needed. Love watching this young guy. His attack on the footy and elite ability to win one on one contests give his team mates the confidence to just kick long to him one out. Game-breaker.

Similarly Mr Reliable, Dane Rampe is one tough unit. He’s an animal. Tough, relentless, never beaten. 

The only concern I have with the Swans is their selection and potential for unfit players not being able to contribute to the required standard. Kurt Tippett with his jaw problems and Gary Rohan with his bruised knee.

If Rohan is near his best look out. I speculated some time ago he is a massive finals factor. He is the type of player that is unmatchable on MCG during the pressure of a final. Speed, leap, agility, competitiveness are all X-factor attributes that make him an opposition coaches nightmare.

Aliir, Heeney and Rohan are the players I love to watch most and feel they will be the decider of the result. All that great talent and we haven’t even mentioned Hannebery, Kennedy, Parker, Jack or Buddy (who incidentally I think will be well held tonight).

The mighty Western Bulldogs will throttle the Giants tomorrow in a David and Goliath tussle that will be very close. The Giants are clearly the Goliath with their vast array of first round draft talent (23 to be precise) – plus another 3 coming this year. It is inconceivable (frankly obscene) that in a COMPETITION, the governing or administering body can provide such a “leg-up” to a newly formed team. It defies the logic of the whole competition concept and meaning and in my mind utterly devalues the principles of a competition and by extension the premiership. But that’s another story.

Luke Beveridge is an absolute master coach. The best I’ve seen since Denis Pagan in my view. His ability to manage, interact, motivate, direct and lead is ultra impressive. He has the uncanny ability to say the right thing at the right time, he has deep affection for his players and he knows what is required to prepare a team for a highly contested and pressurised event. 

I picked the Bulldogs for the premiership in June and I’m not backing off one bit. This is the game they must win of course to participate and if they do – look out!

Bontempelli – enough said……………

The guy is an absolute gun with a very controlled and mature head on his shoulders (more of the Beveridge influence). Johannisen will be the star tomorrow night against the Giants. Boyd and Morris will hold the defence adequately together and we are all hoping Stringer lets himself “slip” and throws caution to the wind with his attack on the contest. Dahlhaus is the most underrated inside, competitor in AFL ranks and won’t die wondering about the result.

One must have great respect for the Giants as the talent in their team is off the charts. They have an arrogance that is nurtured and advocated in the remote AFL domiciled district of Greater West Sydney but we are talking Preliminary finals now and the Bulldogs don’t get intimidated.

They hit the contest very hard, they pull the trigger with disposal – especially handball – and have the valued commodity of being prepared to lose to win. Don’t underestimate that factor. Many sides are not prepared to risk failure for success or a mistake for an opportunity. This is the fundamental that finals are built on,  especially the most difficult one to win – The Preliminary Final.

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