Men's Round 3 / Women's Round 1 Previews

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the punter of great shadiness is back once again for your bi-weekly predictions for Round three of the 2014 AFL Quebec Men's Regular Season and Round One of the Women's Regular Season.

Laval Bombers v Montreal Demons.

For the first time this season the Lava...l Bombers will host the Montreal Demons this Sunday at Parc Cluny, kick off at 12:30pm

That’s right Demons, 12:30pm!!!

The Montreal Demons are coming off one of the biggest defeats in AFL Quebec’s history, handed out in round 2 by the men from the west, and will be firing on all cylinders come Sunday to show the competition that they are not the laughing stock of the league and are in fact a serious contender when in full flight.

Rumors coming out of the Demons camp this week are that coach O’Farrell will be moving his pre game warm up from the back seat of players cars to the field. A wise move, if last weeks performance is anything to go by. Shady also hears whispers of spearhead forward Kyle Graham is building confidence in his knee and could be a starter along with the fiery Irishman Lawless who could also be named for his first Demons game this weekend.

If the Montreal Demons cannot do what they did last game, it will prove to be a good contest as both teams have a lot to play for this week. The Demons will have to tighten up through the midfield and star players O’Farrell and Jacob’s need to take their game to the next level if they are to out bomb the Bombers. If this happens, mixed in with positive performances from Pouessel, Cicek, Whyte, koser and Cuellar this season the Demons will be a force to be reckoned with.

The Laval Bombers on the other hand are well and truly living up to their name of bombers early on this season, after two rounds crashing hard and fast to the bottom of the ladder, and after coming so close to banking 4 points last week against their fierce rivals the Old Port Dockers, will be as hungry as a church mouse to get their season on track.

It is rumored that the Laval men could be welcoming back their star premiership ruckman Zac Strevens for his first game this season after a lengthy stint on the sidelines due to strenuous immigration issues. This inclusion could be the spark that coach Fairbrother and the team need. Mix in the Boulerice brothers, Wienand and the rapidly improving Michael Dodt and the Laval men will have more spark then l’internationale des feux loto-Quebec (international fireworks comp montreal)!

Star midfielder Bogdan Rotaru has shown that he is in the top class on midfielders this season, but Rotaru needs to start having a larger impact on games if the Bombers are going to be a contender this season. If Rotaru can start putting the ball between the two big sticks, mixed in with the forward presence of Pitchen and the inform goal kicking machine Auger, the Bombers may just have more fire power then the U.S army.

Shady thinks that the Demons have too much pride to yield two defeats two weeks in a row and will prevail in a tight battle. 9 points to the downtown men.

N.D.G. Devils v Plateau Eagles

Forget about the rumours of Wooders salary cap rorts, the whispers of Demons tanking, the reports of egotistical Bomber infighting after an 0-2 start and forget the Dockers premiership window now being closed because the “old-timers” don’t want to catch a chill, Sunday’s main event doesn’t involve any of them. This weekend it’s all about women’s footy: the newly formed Plateau Eagles and N.D.G. Devils. The preliminary matches are done, the draft is complete, the line-ups have already been pencilled in and the real stuff is about to start. Now four premiership points are up for grabs, and now the road to the 2014 AFL Quebec Women’s Premiership Cup begins.

Wednesday’s inaugural women’s draft showcased the abundance of talent for both squad’s that will grace Parc Cluny this Sunday, and picking a winner will take some expert list analysis only Dr. S. Punter Ph.D can provide…

The N.D.G. Devils will be led by Dan Robinson, the highly sought after head coach commenting after Wednesday’s draft; “Football is 90% mental and the other half physical. We drafted on those principles and aim to play attacking footy and outscore our opponents each and every game. If we can do that, I believe we can win more than we lose”.

The devils were delighted to snare Alicia Farladeau in the draft, the rookie referred to as a “jet” by league scouts and a potential game changer come Sunday afternoon. The N.D.G. squad also secured the three-Leginos: Aimee, Margo and Emily. Robinson’s ability to gel the trio that includes classy ruck Emily Legault, explosive on-baller Aimee and ever-reliable backline general Margo will be the cornerstone to the team’s success. Described by some pundits as the jewel in the team’s crown and the best thing since Taco Tuesdays, Dora Bartulovic gives the Devils another match winner who will be a nightmare for opposition players to match up on. The Devil’s selection of Torstyn Riddle was no surprise to anyone as the team looked to fill the much needed spot of a really really ridiculously good looking focal point up forward. While yours truly thinks it was a masterstroke selection, there are still queries on her ability to turn left. It’s at this point red flags over draft tampering start to raise their head, the Devils managing somehow to also sign rockstar duo (you earn rockstar status when you are referred to by either/or a single name or letter) defensive anchor “Mimi” Eboka and Veronique “V” Chasse. The icing on the Devil’s food cake (Mmmm, note to self, pop into TA for a pie and a lamington…) is the exciting addition of Geraldine Durand-Groulx. Rumour has it that the up and coming rookie was the focus of a fierce bidding war between both the Eagles and Devils after an impressive goal and glimpses of brilliance in her preliminary match.

Far from left out, the Plateau Eagles shared in the draft riches and also managed to install an AFL Quebec icon as head coach with the appointment of triple-premiership player/coach Paul Fairbrother. As a pillar of the Laval Bomber’s dynasty in the men’s competition, Fairbrother’s close ties to the red and black organization were evident on draft night as the Eagles earned the moniker “Zombie Bombers” with some of their selections. When pressed on the Eagles mantra for the year ahead Fairbrother remarked “I only have two words for my Eagles nest - believe in yourselves”.

Recently in Europe seeking treatment for leather poisoning, Elaine Gilmore was a prized pick for the fledgling Eagles outfit and will surely be one of the key ingredients to the Plateau’s premiership (TA) pie quest. Unfortunately for head coach Fairbrother, the Irish sensation won’t be available for this round and will be a massive out for the Eagles. She will be joined by the velvet sledgehammer Kelsey Martin. Martin’s idyllic girl-next-door persona masks an interior that possesses a ferocious attack on the ball and ability to turn a game in an instant. She will be a key to the Eagle’s success and a future leader of the club. Nicknamed “The Weapon”, Leah Jack Bender’s performances in the preliminary matches saw her stock shoot through the roof. Take it from me, Fairbrother has pulled off one of the coups of the year in signing this young rookie. The Eagles forward prospects also look bright with the drafting of dynamic duo Kate Allbon Sargeant and Lindsay Belzie. The smiling assassins are a tried and trusted pair of goal kicking machines that will likely feature amongst the league’s top goal scorers (and worst dancers) come September. The Eagle’s list looks even better with the additions of Marie-Soleil Jacques and Emilie Luneau, two women who have already shown that they are going to make big waves in women’s Aussie Rules. Fairbrother went on record as saying “We want talent, heart and smarts, Emilie and Marie-Soleil give us that in spades”. Another “Zombie Bomber” selection was that of Jane Fenelon. Heralded as one of the games best football brains, but worst colour co-ordinators, Fenelon’s on-field leadership and clearance expertise will be an invaluable addition to the talented line-up. Fairbrother’s selection of Robyn Graham could be the steal of the year. Known to have also been a high-priority of the Devils, Graham’s versatility at both ends of the field make her one of the most valuable commodities in the league and a massive “get” for the Plateau Eagles.

The league has formed two talent-laden squads both capable of taking home the points if they get their balance right. Regular season wins are massive, especially when the prize on offer is a double-chance at ultimate glory come finals time. The Devils have the key position players to dominate in the air, and the Eagles will struggle to fill the hole left by Elaine Gilmore this week. A close one early, the Devils to run away comfortable victors by 36 points.

West Island Eagles v Old Montreal Dockers

Now folks we turn our attention to the second match of the round between the top of the table Wooders and the resurgent Dockers. The Wooders are coming off the biggest win in AFL Quebec Regular Season history while the Dockers have steadied the ship with their first up win last week versus the Laval Bombers. It’s pretty hard for this punter or any bystander who witnessed last week’s demolition of the Demons to tip against the Wooders, alas, lets analyze this match up a little further.

It would seem that the Wooders have advantages all over the ground, which maybe more or less correct. But if the Dockers have any chance of winning its going to have to rest on the long boots of Neil Koch, Judd Kozikowski, and captain Ronan Shaughnessy. If they can move the ball straight down the middle and keep it off the ground they may stand a chance. However, as soon as that ball is fumbled and goes to a contest on the ground the Dockers can forget about it. Super speed men Dan Robinson and Wilfred Houvien will clear that ball before the sensory neurons in Koch’s hands have relayed the information to his brain that he has missed the mark. Last week the aforementioned duo from the Wooders linked out up in the centre with experienced ruck man Phil Manassa to form a formidable mid field. Perhaps Shaugnessy will try to counter the Wooders speed by tagging them with his own quickies Guy Joel and Brian Lee but unless aeronautical engineer Randy Andrada has managed to design some kind of rocket powered footy boot to give to his compadres, this punter still can’t see it being enough.

There is one potential bright light of hope for the Dockers in the return of AFL Quebec legend and founder Luke Anderson who will team up with first gamer Steve McCammon and second gamer Jarrod Faranda to form a strong Australian trio. It can never be counted to highly how valuable Australian experience can impact the game.
It’s hard to find a flaw in the Wooders line up. Down back you have key guys in Thomas Core, Marc St Germain, and Matty Payne, and then up front the formidable line up of Ian Martin and goal kicking machine Fabio Petosa. Add to that the always hustling and fatigueless combination of the Lavoie brothers, Marc-Antoine and Gabriel, and last week’s player of the round Pierre Olivier Chemin.

There are some trains of thought that might believe that the Wooders have already peaked too soon or perhaps are getting a little too over confident of themselves. But for mine, the engine on the Wooder train is just getting stoked and hasn’t even left the station yet. Unfortunately for the Dockers, they have drawn the short straw this week and will be the next body lying on the tracks in the wake of the rampaging Wooder locomotive. At least AFL Quebec might be able to get a group discount on funerals at the Notre Dame des Neiges cemetery for all the dead teams that the Wooders are leaving out there at Parc Cluny each week.

Shady Punter tip: Wooders by 6 goals.


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