The TABradio Q&A

DB: We’ll start with the horses before we talk footy, TC. Another weekend and another opportunity to chat about this excellent crop of three-year-olds. What tickled your pickle out at Belmont Park?

TC: I think clearly the highlight was Rokanori’s win in the last. I was a small knock on him going into the race given he was returning from a WA Derby campaign, but he just reaffirmed the fact that he is a very, very good horse. Searchin’ Roc’s was the other eye-catcher and made a fantastic return also. Importantly she will get the added weight relief come grand final day in the Belmont Guineas next month. Who do you think is the better Guineas chance out of those two and are at they at the top of the list?

DB: Tough to answer. Searchin’ Roc’s is a super filly and will only be better for having a good experience at the races, coupled with that run under her belt. Rokanori, like you said, is just flat out a good horse. His trial was huge and that was a good field he beat, including the filly. I can’t separate them at the moment, although I feel they are marginally ahead of Devoted, who heads up the all-in market with TABtouch. Any love from you towards Otheroneson?

TC: Lots of affection from me. I think in the market at the moment he would be the one that interests me the most, albeit I’ll wait for his current price of $4.50 to get out a bit. He beat Atlantis Beach and Sluice Box at his most recent start and they are subsequent Saturday winners. What about Kaymay and Above The Peg, who were very good over a mile and 1400m there on the weekend?

DB: There are the big four three-year-olds which we have mentioned and I suspect they are a little bit in front of those two. There’s no knock on Kaymay and Above The Peg, but they’d need to elevate for mine. How do you view the challengers?

TC: I’m not ruling a line through The Velvet Queen. She needs to prove she’s up to this level, but her turn of foot suggests she is a nice filly. Have your thoughts on the Belmont Sprint changed or are you still aligned to Valour Road?

DB: I’m with Valour Road still. Loved his return and the step to 1400m second-up looks ideal. How about you?

TC: Agree with all that. I have a similar thought with Kaptain Kaos, who is going to be better suited at 1400m second up. It’s going to be a very good race. Can we please talk football?

DB: I was waiting for that from yourself, a parochial Collingwood supporter. You went along there yesterday. What were your observations?

TC: For the second week in a row, Fremantle struggled to deal with the wet and slippery conditions. Collingwood adapted much quicker and played a much better game in the wet, ie soccer it forward, tap it on, take territory. Conversely, Fremantle were a little cute with ball in hand. Two weeks ago, you had Fremantle among the top four teams in the competition. Has the past fortnight changed your opinion?

DB: No. They remain in the top four for mine. Granted, they are in a bit of a spot at present, but their body of work over the opening two months was strong. They aren’t going to find it any easier against Melbourne on Saturday at the MCG, but it represents a great audit at a crucial time. They are well coached and have a lot of weapons. They’ll be fine. How do you assess their plight?

TC: I’m also happy to keep them in the top four teams in the competition. Clearly they’ve had a couple of down weeks, but at their best they’ve shown their system and brand of football will stand up in the biggest games of the season. Not to mention they have a dual Brownlow medallist to add into their line-up in the not too distant future. This morning on The Sports Daily you had some strong views on Luke Shuey and whether he should play on. Would you be surprised if we wasn’t at the club in 2023?

DB: No, I wouldn’t. I love Luke Shuey and he is going to be remembered as one of their greats. My issue is he continues to battle his body and the one-wood he possessed at the peak of his powers, an ability to explode away from congestion, is not accessible any more. We need to see what the latest injury issue is, but you would think he’s running out of time. Am I being harsh or has he earnt the right to go on into 2023, which he is contracted for?

TC: No. I don’t think you are in regards to the first part of that. He’s a shadow of his former self. As one of the club’s all-time greats, of course he has earnt the right, but the club and Luke might need to sit down and have a firm discussion about the prospect of retirement. Without him in that midfield next year, I still am of the belief they have enough old heads to hold their own and usher through the next wave of on-ballers at the club.

DB: Are you up in arms like so many others regarding the standard of umpiring?

TC: I wouldn’t say up in arms, but certainly I think the game at the moment is being over-officiated. To have 63 free kicks in a game of football (Hawthorn v Brisbane) is far too many. Having said all of that, up until the last fortnight, the football has been really good to watch. You were against Carlton on Friday night. Were they the big winners of round 10?

DB: Absolutely they were. I’ve been a bit late to the Lygon Street party. For them to be 8-2 is a feather in the cap of Michael Voss and his match committee, along with the players. They’ve exceeded my expectations. Talking of exceeding expectations, the Miami Heat lead Boston 2-1 in the Eastern Conference finals in the NBA. Are you retaining faith in the Celtics?

TC: I am absolutely holding the faith, but clearly game four tomorrow morning at home is a must-win encounter and they’ll get a really good look given Jimmy Butler is doubtful with a knee injury. For mine it remains a Boston-Golden State showdown in the NBA Finals.