We hope everyone is rested & had some wonderful Australia Day family time. It does feel a little unusual having another break after only 2 Rounds but maybe this is the new norm. It would be nice to get some momentum in after Christmas but this might also work for teams that are struggling & need some time to reset, rather than carrying bad memories into the following week while eagerly checking selections to see if they got moved or dropped. We've had some time to do some deep dives into different areas of the stats over the break so we'll be putting forward some interesting stats on all teams over the next few weeks for the entertainment factor.
As we've seen in R10, fortune favours the brave as selectors bite the bullet, break up the secret hand shakes & pre-season guarantees for new players to their clubs & focus on what's best for the club & how they can change attack & freshen things up. Quinns did that wonderfully in R10 & came down to Mt Lawley with a different look & game plan & it worked superbly with bottom beating top of the ladder. So we started thinking what teams have made significant changes this season & what did that look like. Here's a table of how many different players each team has used so far:
Bassendean 1 17
Mt Lawley 18
Quinns Rocks 22
Bassendean 2 23
So we see the top sides haven't changed much & any minimal change you would imagine is due to blokes on holidays or other commitments rather than a selection change. Again the number are way down on the last few years so either sides are more settled or there's just not the depth there used to be. For example, over the previous 2 seasons we had 2021 see 246 players throughout the season, in 2020 we had 244 players used over the 18 Rounds but this season we still only have 207 players used, with only 8 games left. So you would imagine that we'll only use 220 players for the season which is 20 players less than usual. So are selectors just been lazy or is there a method for this significant reduction.....I suppose only time will tell.
Back to R11, for the first time this season we could easily justify selecting ALL away teams to win this Round & that would be a massive contradiction to the current stats for the Home sides. I do like that Home side advantage this year so I'm going for a few Home side upsets to see if there's something more to the stats. The reality should show that if the first half was dominated by the best teams & Home form then surely the best teams are still the best playing Away, therefore over the coming Rounds, shouldn't we expect to be seeing a significant increase in Away wins?! Let's keep an eye on that as every point will be gold dust to most sides.
ROSSMOYNE v BASSENDEAN 1
R Lang, R Vind, T Churcher, G Maesepp
J Carter, A Petchell, P Chappell, W Armstrong
W Harvey, R Halse, G Collier, H Slowiak
C Edson, M Barrett, G Eades, N Edson IN: W Armstrong OUT: P Voon
J Krstic, T Lynch, M Whitely, N Kirkup
R Ellis, L McKay, M Watson, G Stokes
S Alden, R Kenyon, D Snelgar, B Tie
S Davies, L Pike, D Killisch Von Horn, J Carrigan IN: No changes OUT:
The River Rats were brilliant on R10 & got a massive boost to their Finals credentials after a 20 shot win away against a side unbeaten at home all season. They are now out of trouble & only a few points off that coveted 4th spot. Their home form is brilliant, as they have only lost 1 game at home all season & that was to the top side. For context this side at home last year in PL won 5 of 9 beating a better Basso side than what's presented this Round by 8 shots, Cambridge, North Beach, Ossie Pk & the mighty Sorrento who are killing it this season in PL. Don't be fooled, these blokes are the real deal at home. The slight concern at home is that Rossmoyne are not putting teams away & most of the home wins are quite close. Therefore Basso should be in this right up to the last few ends but will need to play very well to beat this side at home.
Basso are running 2 from 4 & running a 2 from 5 coming into the final stretch of the season & already 10pts off that only clean ticket into the big dance will seriously knock their chances. They need a big win here to even maintain the chase & hope Cockburn can pull off a major upset, if so game on for a few sides. Basso is only 2 from 5 away & going 2 from 6 won't help the cause.
We previously had the Lions to win this one & keep the pressure on the top sides but the more we write & look through the stats the harder the sell is to justify beating a really solid home side. Basso could win this one late & it wouldn't really be an upset but I feel this one will go down to the wire. With Basso's late win last week building the confidence & knowing they have won nearly 7 rinks more than the River Rats they'll be focused on trying to grab that one big result to carry the Agg. They are the only team left to have 3 skippers in the top 10 so there's plenty of firepower. If Alden can nab Carter it will go along way for Basso's chances. Home side for me, in a very close encounter, less than 8 shots.
Rossmoyne 6 - 2
WARNBRO v WANNEROO
K Cousens, T Dellar, S Ryan, D Sudden
B Kalinowsky, W Baker, T Lutey, C Foster
D Pattullo, A Shone, D Wagstaff, P Hartnett
Dr G Jackson, K Bancroft, I Gibson, A De Brouwer IN: G Watts, L Kellow OUT: P Hartnett, K Cousens
C Buchholz, L Bryson, B Bucowski, R Burns
C Parr, M Nievelstein, S Denny, J Tailor
N Costello, D Anderson, N Palmer, H Whitman
K Toster, B McMurdo, ????, B Jefferies IN: B Nelson, D Triffitt, D Griffin, G Jack OUT: N Costello, N Palmer, B Jefferies, ????
The Wizards need this one big time or their chances of survival will disappear before mid-Feb. Dropping the full allocation last round didn’t help their score board as they need a few points every game to stay in touch. Even though they were beaten pretty handily across all 4 rinks there wasn’t necessarily a blow out rink & that’s a good sign when playing one of the top sides away. They are back home & are 3 from 5 at home with the 2 losses against the top sides so I think their home form will stack up.
The Roos are back on track after beating the top side, they got annihilated next Round down at Cockburn but have bounced back in superb fashion over last 2 Rounds at Home by taking nearly the full 16pts. The Roos have snuck into 4th spot & that’s probably the only Finals spot left for the chasing pack as I can’t see the top 3 not playing Finals. They have a few points on 5th & 6th but you would think that margin will close over the next 2 Rounds.
I worry about Wanneroo playing away & once the cross the Swan my worry doubles. From memory they don’t win many with only R4 last year against a poor Kats side & year before against the Millers, where both teams got demoted those years. For that reason I think we’ll edge the call towards the home side for another upset of sorts. 4th place should easily beat 9th all day long & I certainly think the Roos could grab 7pts or more but I smell an upset so let’s see what happens.
Warnbro 6 - 2
BASSENDEAN 2 v SORRENTO
P Madigan, B Dinnison, G Foti-Cuzzola, R Sheppard
E O'Sullivan, T Alden, S Bermingham, C Barnes
N Strachan, N Hall, R D'Souza, K Durward
M Cook, P Hutchinson, R Maynard, J Holman IN: C Barnes OUT: D Blight
I Linford, P Crow, J Konig, D Greig
R Bone, C Grisbrook, P Webb, R Jeffs
J Brown, A Anderson, D Dunstan, W Morrell
R Rogers, B Collins, W Elliott, B Kiely IN: D Greig, P Webb, R Jeffs OUT: M Sharrett, R Hutchinson, S Mortimer
The battle is in full flow for survival at Basso for this 16. They’ve got themselves a few nice wins recently & are chipping away with 1 or 2pts most weeks which is working in their favour.
The Swans had their purple patch whitewashed last Round but this is still a game they’ll be pretty confident in winning. They won’t mind the fast grass & their record at Basso holds up well. Sorrento need to grab the points within this mid-section of the back 9 as their final 3 games are as tough as you'll see anyone have all season.
D’Souza got them a point in the corresponding fixture & the rest weren’t far behind that day with only 10shots in the Agg. So I think they’ll go close in this if they can bring their A game. If the Lions can get O’Sullivans or Strachans rink on a weaker Swans rink I think they can pull off another upset here. Sorrento should win this one, they’re 10pts ahead, chasing Finals & holding significant superiority in percentage but if Basso win then they close the gap to 7th to just 1 game.
Bassendean 2 6 - 2
QUINNS ROCKS v GOSNELLS
S O'Neill, B Crawford, A Barker, C Taboni
S Smith, R Cantrill, T Burrows, S Cavanagh
L Oldham, H Ward, C Bartle, M Humphrey
J Berecz, M Hinchcliffe, P Geenacker, L Johnson IN: No changes OUT:
G Nicol, T Close, N Tulett, P McElvie
B Holland, G Lynch, M Rickard, R McKay
R Foy, E Gahan, P Gale, D Bradbury
F Carbone, C Hickinbotham, P Deas, A Hodge IN: R McKay OUT: S Harris
Actually quite an interesting game here for both sides as a huge amount rests on this result. Quinns are running hot after that epic win at Mt Lawley & Gosnells couldn’t be hotter taking a ridiculous 16pts in the last 2 games.
Quinns need a home win & the sides look unchanged from last week so they’ll have a huge chance against a top side who are inform. Generally I do fancy that Quinns have a chance & could run the Kookaburra’s close but the reality would need to be front & centre for Gosnells, in that if they can’t beat the bottom side how can they profess to feel they deserve a ticket to the big dance.
Quinns are due a big win at home & won’t it be huge if went back to back wins against top 3 sides. Could they beat the longest losing streak this season & go from 0 form 6 to 2 from 2? If the play like last Round they’ll be close but if they can’t get Berecz on Nicols I fear a blow out rink. It might seem like a standard game here but a big result for either side means a lot on the ladder.
Gosnells 6 - 2
COCKBURN v MT LAWLEY
J Marevic, I Mateljak, B Vidovich, G Reale
W Tepania, D Bandy, B McMillan, J Kop
M Simunovic, M Musulin, D Gurr, D Gibson
M Abonnel, J Ricci, B Blagaich, B Dropulic IN: B Blagaich OUT: V Dropulic
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GAME OF THE ROUND:
And finally last but not least so we'd like to put some time into this one as it's a season defining game for both sides before we run out of words for this week. After the Roosters played a thriller in the Lions den they'll be pretty eager to maintain that form knowing they just need 1 or 2 big bowls to go their way but they can't keep losing those tight games. A loss here for the Roosters at home would seriously derail their Finals chances so it's a massive game for Cockburn & for the rest of the 1 White chasing pack. Mt Lawley would love a big win as 2nd & 3rd have tricky away game. Their margin at the top has more than halved & a good win here could get them back out to a 2 games advantage with only 7 games left, you would think that's enough to see them home. Can't see any Mt Lawley selections for this week so they seem to be holding the cards close to their chest but no doubt will rock up early for a roll as seems to be the norm of late, which is good to see their intentions are there to win.
The Mounters dropped their bundle badly in their last game losing at home to the bottom side but that's probably the wake up call they needed to roll up the sleeves & focus on where they want to be next season. The pack have closed & if they don't get hold of the Cockburn surface quickly, the game will be very hard to reel back in. They'll know dropping the Agg here & if the Kookabura's grab the Agg at Quinns then they'll only be a handful full of points between the top 2 or 3 sides. Mounters took the Roosters in the corresponding game by a dozen shots & it's hard to see the Roosters reversing this as they are simply not closing out the close games.
On paper this is an easy decision where the Mounters grab the Agg by less than 15 shots. Cockburn are nearly 20pts behind Mt Lawley, the Mounters are 4 from 5 away with 2 of those wins breaking the 100+ shot mark, Mounters have the only unbeaten rink in the division, have the highest scoring Agg, have a great record against the Top sides & most importantly Cockburn are running a shocking 1 from 4 over the last few Rounds. Super easy decision, no brainer, isn't it?! HOWEVER, I'm going to try & give my smokey of the season a final chance & boy oh boy are they burning my chances with these close losses. Here goes, reasons why Roosters might win: they are sitting 5th & still have only won 1 away game from 6 all season, they had a shocking front 9 where they played most of the top sides away & played the majority of their games away, their score differential is only 6% off Mt Lawley, they have the best defence in 1 White conceding the least of any side week after week, they have lost some very tight games, Mounters are 2 from last 4, Roosters still have 2 skippers in the top 10 for a 5th placed side & most importantly they are lethal (& unbeaten) at home & have Mr Lethal himself in Abonnel's rink. To emphasize this point, the Roosters have only conceded, on average, 56 shots at home so far, that is incredible defence & every shot will matter for the Mounters.
The Roosters play 5 of the next 8 games at home so if they can pull off a big upset here watch out for a freight train coming down the home stretch. I think if this one is close then the Mounters have this all the way for 6 or 7pts. The stats show that even when some rinks aren't playing well they find a way to win by minimum margins. However, we picked the Roosters after R6 final predictions when they were playing a lot better but we'll give them 1 last chance. If Cockburn can get 15-20shots ahead then I think this will be their only chance by winning big & that's a possibility if they can get that 1 big blow out rink & get lucky with the matchups. Should be a rippa of a game & well worth getting down to view.