Written by AFL Online on 22nd Mar 2008
Welcome to another year of REBâ€™s rubbish. Before you read on please be aware that last season I was the modern equivalent of Lou Richardâ€™s famous â€˜kiss of deathâ€™ so please take these selections with a healthy
dose of Sodium Chloride.
Carlton vs. Richmond MCG
back half looks fairly strong and there is a lot of run with Jordan
McMahon, Chris Newman and Joel Bowden combined with the significant
obstacle of Graham Polak to restrict Carltonâ€™s forward line. With Adam
Hartlett at CHF and the troubled Fevola in the foward line I think that
there might not be much defensive pressure applied to keep the ball
inside the forward 50 for the Blues. Carlton does have the edge in
midfield but the Blues ruck stocks look a little stretched and Troy
Simmonds will be cherry ripe to atone for an injury interrupted season
Richmond by 23 points.
Port vs. Geelong AAMI Stadium
last time Geelong played Port with a few players missing Port dominated
all day before the Cats hit back with the Power winning a close one.
With Ottens, Wojincski and Rooke all set to miss that makes a total of
five players missing from the Grand Final winning side so expect more
of the same. Trent West will debut for the Cats but Iâ€™m not too sure
about the selection of Kane Tenace over Brent Prismall (deep breath
REB). There are two more factors in favour of Port in this game,
firstly the location (Geelong has a dire record at AAMI Stadium) and
more importantly, pride. Port will be hell-bent on showing to the
football world that they can mix it with Geelong and will be most keen
to put any possible Geelong bogey to rest.
Port by 10 points.
Collingwood vs. Fremantle MCG
is the toughest game to pick and those who get this one right will be
off to a flyer in their tipping comps. Looking at the line-ups on paper
you would have to favour Fremantle as Collingwoodâ€™s defence has no
gorillas and is short of experience with James Clement and Simon
Prestigacomo non starters. There doesnâ€™t appear to be a match up for
Matthew Pavlich (a problem most teams will have when they play the
Dockers admittedly). Another factor is that Collingwood in recent
seasons have been something of a slow starter and were truly awful in
the pre-season. However, in the Pies favour is that there were many
matches last year when the younger bodies in defence held up and they
powered away to a series of unexpected victories. Freo at the MCG is
always a decidedly suspect tipping proposition and I would advise
against tipping the Dockers against a top four hope in Melbourne.
Collingwoodâ€™s forward line can match the output of Fremantleâ€™s and the
Magpies will control the midfield. Yep, Iâ€™ve convinced myselfâ€¦if not
Collingwood by 17 points.
West Coast vs. Brisbane Subiaco
made no secret of the fact that I still have a healthy respect for the
capabilities of the West Coast Eagles Football Club. Hopefully respect
for the Brisbane Lions is something that Woosha would have instilled
into his new look combination. The last time the two sides clashed in
WA, it was all about Ben Cousins ï¿½ this time it is all about the four
points. The Lions look suspect in the back half and despite the best
efforts of Merritt and Roe I expect the Q Man and Ashley Hansen to
prove significant factors in the eventual West Coast victory.
West Coast by 33 points.
St Kilda vs. Sydney Telstra Dome
believe that St Kilda will be the early season bolter this year and
they will begin their campaign with a hard fought victory over a better
prepared Swans team than is usual for this time of year. Make no
mistake this will be a tough encounter. While the Saints were playing
pretend (as in funky rules, not dodgy form) football for TV audiences,
Sydney were honing their game style playing by real football rules. St
Kilda has the edge in talent and that forward line is going to cause
headaches for many defences this season. I reckon Schneider might
really hurt the Swans in this game, he looked pretty sharp to me this
pre-season as did the Saints.
St Kilda by 11 points.
Western Bulldogs vs. Adelaide Telstra Dome
Bulldogs will be primed for Brad Johnsonâ€™s 300 games (must be something
in the water down there at the Whitten Oval, theyâ€™ve got a few of them
now) milestone but Adelaide are a team that regularly takes the
Bulldogs to school, at home or away. The Crows forward line has been
revived by a fit Burton, the sparkling form of Jason Porplyzia and the
emergence of former Basketballer Kurt Tippett. Rucks remain the
question mark but I think the Crow midfield might be able to read
former Crow Hudsonâ€™s ruckwork. The Bullies defence looks light on I can
see the Crows hitting the ground running at a venue that suits their
style of play. The Crows will be awkward opposition during the first
half of the season and the Bullies will be first to find this out.
Adelaide by 32 points.
Hawthorn vs. Melbourne MCG
Hawks are extremely vulnerable right now due to four players missing
from suspension but Melbourne with Bate and Sylvia missing do not have
the talent on the park to take advantage of this. Melbourne are relying
on a bunch of kids and a collection of veterans with that middle tier
of players, or next generation of Demons a glaring omission. Itâ€™s going
to be a long winter for Demons fans and getting beaten by a team with
most of their first choice midfield missing will get many Demons
supporters looking at their Thredbo brochures.
Hawthorn by 41 points.
North Melbourne vs. Essendon Telstra Dome
some strange reason, it is still fashionable to underrate the Roos.
This trend has proven to be more durable than the Mullet. While the
Roos midfield depth might not be what is available at some other clubs
the forward line looks very good with the return of Nathan Thompson to
add to other options in Petrie, Edwards, McMahon and Corey Jones. Many
of these players can play at both ends of the park which make the Roos
a very versatile combination. Essendon will throw everything at North
and have already shown that they will run, run, run and might have
North covered for pace but the turnovers and goals will come. The Roos
have an excellent record against Essendon in recent times and I expect
this to continue on Easter Monday.
North by 29 points.