Written by AFL Online on 11th Jul 2008
This week there are a few absolute doozies to pick. Whoever can correctly select the winner of the Richmond v West Coast match is going to look pretty good this week. Also the Bombers vs. Lions game also looks tough to tip. Carlton will also be favoured by many to knock off the Saints for the first time in a long time while the Port v North match is another head scratcher. And is this round that the Hawks finally slay the Swannie bogey? Take the following tips with a large dose of salt!
Carlton vs. St Kilda MCG
Carlton’s recent run of good form will be put to the test against a team that has been its nemesis for over seven years. The Saints have defeated the Blues ten times in a row with Carlton often having poblems combatting the tall forward structure the Saints can normally put on the field. Even though the Blues have an improved midfield these days, the problems facing both Riewoldt and Koschitzke up forward remain. Carlton will display their improvement but the Saints would have taken great heart out of defeating the Roos on the Gold Coast and can deliver a heavy blow to Carlton’s finals aspirations here. St Kilda, but not by the regulation amount of this decade.
St Kilda by 27 points
Collingwood vs. Adelaide MCG
Life gets no easier for a rattled Adelaide as they venture to Victoria to take on a resurgent Collingwood fresh from an excellent victory over the Sydney Swans. The Crows forward structure is simply not working and the match up of Tippett on the in form Wakelin does not inspire too much confidence. The Crows have been afflicted by an attack of Richmonditis in the skills under pressure department in recent weeks and too much is being left to too few. This is never the case for the Pies who share the load and are now eyeing a top four spot once again. Even though this round I am going to select teams who have had the ‘wood’ (pardon the pun) over their opponents, this is one match up where I reckon ownership might change hands. Collingwood comfortably over an unsettled Crow outfit away from home.
Collingwood by 27 points
Geelong vs. Fremantle Cat Park
Smart man that Peter Bell. You couldn’t pick a better time to hang up the boots than when your underperforming team has to venture to Cat Park in July. I’ve been to Geelong in July several years ago and I only thawed out last month. This won’t be a fixture to treasure for the visitors. While the Dockers outplayed the Cats last time around, they’ll find that Geelong have slipped a gear or two since then. The return of Ottens will give in form Aaron Sandilands something to think about and with Scarlett back on board to combat Matthew Pavlich the options start to look a bit bleak for the Dockers. Dreamteamers take note..Jimmy Bartel is about to explode!
Geelong by 49 points
Essendon vs. Brisbane Telstra Dome
Brisbane’s loss won’t prove to be Essendon’s gain this week when the smarting Lions play under the roof against the Bombers. The venue will suit the Lions a lot more than the MCG and with Bradshaw and Brown up front and the return of Travis Johnstone to the midfield spells trouble for the Dons who have had all sorts of trouble with Jonathon Brown in the past. The Bombers have tightened up their defence in recent weeks but remember their three recent wins have come against sides that don’t have a two pronged power forward set up in West Coast, Carlton and Fremantle. While the Bombers fans aren’t too worried about me tipping against them yet again (as they keep winnning LOL) but this time I reckon I’ve got it right.
Brisbane by 31 points
Port vs. North Melbourne AAMI Stadium
The Roos were most unimpressive to say the least after losing to the Saints after sprinting away to a four goal lead but the Power have been shocking all season. However, the inclusion of Chad Cornes is a real boost for the Power and while they welcome some experience back into their line up, the Roos are sending over a very young team with Shannon Grant and Corey Jones feeling the blade of the selectors axe. While the win loss count in Roos v Power clashes is heavily in favour of North, I feel that in recent times Port have started to even out the ledger. Don’t expect Port to tank and don’t expect North to win here.
Port by 11 points
Hawthorn vs. Sydney MCG
Hawthorn will be pumped up for this dress rehearsal for the finals against a side that has dominated them in recent times. Hawthorn are a team that enjoys uncontested football but you simply don’t get that against this Sydney team, especially when they’ve been in the gun all week after an inglorious effort against the Pies at ANZ Stadium last week. The big in this week is of course, Adam Goodes who has a history of tearing it up against the Hawks. The Hawk defence will be hard pressed to hold the likes of O’Loughlin, O’Kefee and reborn Cat Henry Playfair who has a talent for hauling down contested marks. I’m tipping that the Swans can be a side that can ‘pick apart’ Clarkson’s cluster and expose a back six that can become unaccountable. Not for the first time you’ll see a Swan side struggle to kick a winning score against the Pies to kick the ton against the Hawks. I’m on the Swannies here.
Sydney by 32 points
Western Bulldogs vs. Melbourne Telstra Dome
Poor old Melbourne can’t take a trick. They win thier first match for ages and then have to back up against the rampaging Bulldogs on the Telstra Dome, a ground that suits the Dogs more than it does the Dees. The Demons are probably about to play their best football during the run home but that won’t be enough against the tenacious Bulldogs. The Bulldogs will go in without Ryan Griffen but Aaron Davey has been suspended for being a bad boy and McLean is out for the year also so there is no advantage there for the Dees. The Dogs are too strong all over the ground but expect Melbourne to put in a much better showing here than when it was pumped in the second round of the season.
Western Bulldogs by 33 points
West Coast vs. Richmond Subiaco
This match is quite possibly the most difficult match to tip all season. As the season progresses, the Eagles appear to be getting worse and worse with several players rapidly approaching or are well past their used by date. Daniel Kerr is now a lone hand in the midfield and the Eagles also have injuries to boot. The Tigers on the other hand, show glimpses without threatening to play four quarters of football. This has resulted in a collection of wins against lower ranked sides with the draw against the Dogs being the standout this season. With Richmond being away from home and without Matty Richardson and Graham Polak, the balance ever so slightly swings towards a West Coast side that has played it’s best football at home. The Eagles can win thier third match in a game that will be very much a battle of the kis.
West Coast by 8 points