OPINION: Predictions – The I’m-Right Zone.

As the ovation cedes on the curtain raising first round of the 2014 Buce League there is only one thing on the lips of pundits and punters – outrageous predictions. I, Eddy Downtown, would like to invite you into another dimension. A dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance, of things and ideas. You’ve just crossed over into the… I’m-Right Zone.

We begin our predictions, ladies and gentlemen, by analysing the results of the first round.

The threatened-with-extinction Hawks and the solid-flowing Wu-Tang Clan drew 4-4 in their opening bout whilst the revived Team Blek lost 3-0 to the barely recognisable Team Venture. The Toecutters started the campaign with a bye round.

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The draw between the Hawks and the Wu-Tang Clan is an exciting result. Both teams brought points to the party, Tang reaffirming their ability after a pointless pre-season against Team Blek; in which they scored no points. These are two strong teams. The Hawks have three proven footmen in Matthew Lee, Andrew Shakespeare and Michael Allan. Shakey an undisputed champion of Buce, Lee a sportsman with high pressure experience and Michael Allan the promising output of a renowned academy. This is not where the value stops. Three brothers in the game will support a quick gelling of the team. A great chemistry exists between on and off field partners Tim Abel and Kody-Ann Condon which can prove valuable in this team game. These two are no slouches in coordination either. This might mark the emergence of the strongest female competitor in Buce. The Hawks are experienced and have proven they can score points. A team whose only shortcoming may be participation.

Wu-Tang on the other hand have conviction. A strong belief and an eagerness to play. They slumped in pre-season but have started strong in this first round. Flynn Comerford and Theo Rogers dwarf the field with their physical presence and we have strength in… ‘Ruddo’. Jackson Cowen and Noah Church providing flair in an otherwise physically-orientated team. I, however, can see a sluggishness possible in these youngsters. The ‘swagger’, or ‘New School Cool’, factor remains evident and could put them in danger of being ‘too cool’ for competition. Arrogance cited, they may not take their competitors seriously when they see a girl or child. I don’t see problems if they get on the scoreboard early but chasing might be the weakness of this team.

Match two saw Team Venture record a 3-0 victory against Team Blek which as we know may not be a face value representation of these two teams. These two teams enter as the strongest and most decorated squads.

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Team Venture were always the favourites entering this competition. They have multiple Buce champions in their squad. Charlie Rogers has always been the golden competitor of this sport with multiple recognitions of his talents and records labelling his achievements. At his side stands Ashley Everson, another proven Buce champion, whose disciplined training has given him the most physical presence of any player in the sport, is a force on the field and can break apart defences with quick, strong movements. Chris Beavon is a sought after addition and his reputation is dotted with achievements in freestyle football. This guy knows how to use his feet. However he suffers from the ‘Wayne Rooney’ syndrome – that of fitness concerns when he isn’t regularly playing. It might take a few games for him but we’ll see a trim, taut tiger later in the league. This is the team to watch – they have reserves in Buce legends Alec Forbes and Lewis Freeland and can most likely win the league.

Blek are a team that benefit from a backbone of supporters and players that have stayed relatively unchanged from equal last in 2009 to champions in Summer 2010. They’re contenders and always seem to want to get better. It’s a disappointing start for a team that expects and has recently been delivering. Hamish Rogers and Angus Bevan are crucial members of this team and are the difference between success and failure. Both possess a strong understanding of the game and a very particular set of skills; skills they have acquired over a very long career. They’re the most serious team on the field and that focus drives them into each game looking to win. The break between the leagues might have affected their focus but I feel this is another team to watch. Suffering from a lack of team depth, however, they may fall on their own sword when it comes to match day reliance on two great players.

The Toecutters recieved an easy three points from a first round bye. This might be the only three they receive in this tight market.

This team has fallen apart. They lost stalwart Keith Rogers, the strength of Matthew Hair and Glenn Everson a.k.a. Miami Vice Captain (in his earlier days when he sported a Tom Selleck on his upper lip). They’ve lost the core of their team only retaining Drew Cowen and Patrick Gordon both undoubtedly great players but the players who least evoke the Toecutter’s ‘kill’em and bill’em’ philosophy. They’ve filled the gaps with their children – yep. Young, small and soft children. I think they’re something like 4 and 6 years old. This is at best a recreational team and cannot fill a professional place in the highest tier of Buce. They’re sporting 5/8ths of a team each game and cannot possibly recreate the physicality that was the Toecutters. I just hope Keith doesn’t bother to show at any games.

You can expect a close top order in this league and it’s very exciting to be able to spectate. My outrageous predictions for the end of the season are:

1st – Team Venture
2nd – The Hawks
3rd – Team Blek
4th – Wu-Tang Clan
5th – Toecutters

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