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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Bay Sheffield - Top 10 overall and Best SA 6

Bay Sheffield - Top 10 overall and Best SA 6

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1 Bay Sheffield - Top 10 overall and Best SA 6 on Thu Dec 24, 2015 10:32 am


My Top 10

In alphabetical order

Sebastian Baird
Dean Dobric
David Gross
Luke Houlihan
Khan Marr
Jack Newman
Sam Osmond
Dylan Panizza
Stuart Rooke
Ed Ware

In terms of SA athletes I rank the top 6.

1. Luke Houlihan’s semi-final runs at the Bay last year and Stawell were super impressive. His last 50m is scintillating. In full flight he is exciting to watch. He started OK in the Bay final but then tightened up under the pressure of John Jakeman. At Stawell he got a horrendous start in the final. Two very contrasting performances but experiences that he would have no doubt learned from. The impressive part about his Stawell Gift final was the comeback from being several metres down. He was probably conceding 2m to an inside even timer in Tjimarri Sanderson-Milera after about 40m yet ran him down.

He seemed to have a bit up his sleeve in the semi at the PreBay meet. He looked very smooth and did what he had to do. In the Brighton 70m final he was passed by Brett Richards then came back and drew level only to be beaten by 5mm. I think his last 50m is about 2 to 3m better than any SA athlete ahead of him. He knows that if he can start well he has the finish to blow the field away. And finally he is coached by a previous winner in Anthony Tohl who of the current coaches has coached the second most Bay Sheffield finalists including a 1st and 2nd.

For that reason I lean towards him as the best SA chance.

2. Sam Osmond has won 2 Gifts at Port Adelaide and the Pre-Bay. From the Pre-Bay where he won by a metre he goes forward 0.75m – the same as 2nd placed Brett Richards and more than Sebastian Baird. Like Houlihan, he might lose ground in the first 70m but his last 50m is very good for an athlete on 9.50m. Another 10m at Camden and he wins by 2m. He was running away from them. Like Houlihan, Osmond is also in a squad that has produced multiple finalists including a first and a second. And that is worth a metre alone.

3. Sebastian Baird.  Brighton Gift winners normally make the final. Sebastian Baird goes forward 0.50m after winning Brighton. He also won the 70m at Western District in a pretty hot field. The PreBay Gift semi & final were consistent – he finished virtually the same distance behind Brett Richards in both. Up until Brighton I had him outside the top 5 SA athletes but winning Brighton is worth a metre in confidence and it was enough to convince me he pushes Richards back to my fifth ranked SA athlete.

4. David Gross. Has been doing what enjoys doing – making finals but staying off the number one podium position. Only back 1m from the mark he ran 2nd off last season. Personally I think he has been treated very leniently given his record in this sport. Whilst I concede that traditionally the runner-up in the Bay Sheffield gets an automatic 1m re-handicap, in Gross’s case I believe it should have been more especially given the advantage he had over the majority of the field. 1m doesn’t bring him back to the field enough. He still has a significant advantage over most other athletes. At Brighton he was a clear 3rd, over a metre clear of the rest. If four SA athletes are in the final I think Gross will be among them.  

5. Brett Richards. The doubt has always been the three runs in the day at Colley Reserve. Last year he should have won the 70m but in the final he came up short. His Henley Gift win was good but there were a few athletes missing and a few others not ready to compete at their best. His Pre-Bay Gift 2nd was good and he does meet Baird and Houlihan better off. Baird just about matches him to 70m and with the confidence gained from his Brighton win I think Baird had more improvement in him than Richards. Likewise his lack of big race experience has him just behind Gross.

6. Clay Watkins. Made the final in 2013 off 3.25m after getting one of the easier semi-finals. Has to be in better race condition than he was in 2013 where he went in with very little lead up starts. Goes forward a metre from Brighton which gets him a little closer to Baird and Gross but still short in my view. Certainly if he gets a semi where he is not far off the pace in terms of heat times he does have the ability to lift. My top 5 have all been on the dais in 70’s and 120’s and have had more starts to assess them.

Next best in handicap order – Brian Wilson, Mitchell Tucker, Lewis Abdul & Tim Johnson.

"Let's Go While We're Young"

2 Interesting on Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:30 am


Great insights and research...thanks for taking the time to put that together.

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