Taber Talk – Preliminary Finals, 2012 AFL Finals Series
Posted by Vietnam Swans on September 20, 2012
He was the then Hanoi Swans’ President in 2005/2006. He held aloft the spoils of our first international victory in 2006! He’s hard-hitting, opinionated and as controversial as ever – even picking zero from two in last week’s semi finals. He’s our very own Daryl “Smooth” “DT” Taber and each Thursday during the 2012 AFL Finals, he returns with another edition of Taber Talk.
BIRDS OF ALL FEATHERS, FLOCK TOGETHER
Week two of AFL Finals footy brought us the close finishes we were craving. Both games were up for grabs during time on in the last stanza. So now we are left with the best four clubs in the competition this year! And all birds- Hawks, Swans, Magpies and Crows. Three states of Australia are represented in the preliminary finals. AFL chief, Andrew Demetriou, would have preferred a team from the West in the nest as well, especially considering next year we are taking our game international with an ANZAC Day game in New Zealand. He’ll be seeking advice from our very own multi-media-mega star/National President about marketing Aussie Rules internationally (see Vietnam television profiles Swannies in 40 minute documentary).
I woke to a great headline on http://www.afl.com.au last Saturday morning TEXAS HOLD ‘EM in relation to the impact Big Taylor ‘Tex’ Walker had on the Crows v Freo tussle. Our game needs more characters like Tex, Ivan Maric, Jake ‘the push-up’ King and Eddie ‘parachute pants’ Betts. Professionalism can go too far sometimes so hopefully there’ll always be room for AFL players to express themselves on and off the field.
Just the mention of the following ‘Characters’ will evoke memories for long time AFL Supporters ……Peter ‘Crackers’ Keenan, Rene ‘The Incredible Hulk’ Kink, Paul ‘The Flying Dutchman’ Van der Haar, Gary ‘Crazy Horse’ Cowton, Robert ‘Mad-Dog’ Muir, Peter ‘Percy’ Jones, Val ‘Woof’ Perovic, Rugged Ronnie Andrews, Dermot ‘The Kid’ Brereton, Wayne ‘The King’ (Duck) Carey, Tony ‘Plugger’ Lockett, ‘Big’ Carl Ditterich, Bruce ‘The Flying Doormat’ Doull, Martin “I’ll Head Butt Ya’ Pike, Warwick ‘Wazza’ Capper, Roger ‘The Hitman’ Merrett, Lethal Leigh Matthews etc. If we’ve left out a few of your favourite characters please let us know on our ever popular blog!
Swans v Pies ANZ Stadium Friday Night
The Pies have won the last 11 matches against Sydney including an eight point thriller in round 20. It also includes wins in the last 7 times these two have met at ANZ Stadium. The Pies are coming off a six-day break. To their credit, they will add a 4 hour return bus trip to Sorrento to pay their respects at John McCarthy’s funeral. On the same day they’ll fly to Sydney. They have some more injury concerns after last week’s emotionally-charged victory and face a refreshed Swans outfit that will welcome back Heath Grundy.
Interestingly, both teams have two members of the same families playing. Brothers Sam and Ben Reid could even line up on each other. If these ‘look-alikes’ changed jumpers and played for the opposition a lot of people wouldn’t notice. Both Heath and Rhyce Shaw will also be out on the same flanks thriving on their defensive, running, rebound roles.
There will be some great battles as you’d expect in a preliminary final. There’s the Mumford v Jolly match-up ‘hand feeding’ hard-core midfielders that all seem to specialize in tackling and centre clearances. Just imagine the contests when these guys stand toe to toe with each other. In the red and white corner we have Hannaberry, Kennedy, Bolton, Jack and O’Keefe. In the Black and White corner we have Swan, Beams, Pendlebury, Wellingham and Thomas. The Swans have the edge in courage and the Pies have the edge in class. These athletes can all help out in defence and also go forward and kick goals.
Two key considerations are the respective influences of Goodes and Cloke. If Cloke ‘clunks’ a few grabs and gets his confidence up just 3 or 4 goals could make all the difference. Goodes can play half forward and/or as a midfielder and also kick 3 or 4. The Swans only kicked eleven goals to beat Adelaide while the Pies only kicked ten to down West Coast. So don’t expect a goal fest. Maybe extra time will be needed to decide this contest? I’m convinced the double-six day break brought Freo undone last weekend and they had more fit troops then than Collingwood do now.
I’ll go the Swans in an intense struggle.
Hawks v Crows MCG Saturday Twilight
So have all the Hawks been resting comfortably this past fortnight? ‘Clarko’ looked very relaxed watching Adelaide’s win last weekend. There were none of the usual signs he was about to launch a tirade of expletives or punch holes in the spectators around him.
Actually, he is a little concerned about the Hawk defence. They are without a true, in-form, reliable defender of the ilk of Darren Glass, Ben Rutten and Teddy’ Richards. Schoenmakers is the chosen one to stand the power forward and last time out he looked suspect in marking contests. He has heaps of potential and this fortnight could be the defining point in his career. The Adelaide forwards will try drawing Gibson, the specialist third man up, away from marking contests to create genuine contests for their ‘talls’. Tippett has had many questions asked of his recent performances and will be working as hard as anyone. Two weeks ago Stratton also looked very unsure of himself early against Collingwood. There’s a few upsides for the Hawkers. Lewis and Clinton Young will come in and we can expect Hodge and ‘Rough’ to improve further and even more class from Rioli and Burgoyne.
This week should we expect the Crows to improve their strike rate in front of goal? They’re overdue. As usual, Porplyzia was exceptional in this area even when under great pressure. Their defence was fantastic last week led by Rutten and Reilly but have an even bigger challenge this week with the Hawks main targets well supported by Gunston.
Crows ruckman Sam Jacobs is unlucky not to be named in the All Australian Team. He has had the most effective tap-outs this year and will find it easier this week against a ruckman his own size. Freo smashed Adelaide last week in the clearances! Dangerfield and Thompson must get first use more often. Look for Rory Sloane to continue his snippets of brilliance. He has the potential to be a superstar.
I expect the best ‘Extractor’ from clearances, Sam Mitchell, and the deft disposal of Luke Hodge to be major factors in a Hawk’s victory. I also think the margin here could blow out as there are some sore and sorry lads wearing the Crows colors and stocks have been depleted each week.
Oh, and did I mention Buddy?
Now, over to the Polldaddy: