Written by AFL Online on 2nd May 2008
On a bit of a roll in recent weeks as back to back eights has me on 38 points for the year (36 winners only of course) but according to some that makes me one week closer to a complete and utter wipeout. Looking at this round there are a couple of jagged rocks that could yet sink the good ship tipster. Will the Eagles fire up seeing Juddy return to the West in a Carlton jumper? Can the Power win in Victoria without the Chadmeister?
Can Collingwood and Sydney end the run of the undefeated teams they face this week and what chance the twin towers sending the Cats fans home a mob of sour pusses? Will the Tigers change their stripes and snaffle a rare victory over the Sainters? Make no mistake Round seven is tough and will separate the men from the intelligent sensitive people who live longer than us.
West Coast vs. Carlton Subiaco
I overrated West Coast at the start of the year and to some extent last week but I’m not going to continue that into this round, even though Judd’s return should and probably will create a real spark for the Eagles. For about the fifth week in a row the Eagles have made a raft of changes and with players such as Hurn and Hunter missing from the defence and Glass not fully fit, the Eagles look cherry ripe to have a big score kicked against them. Fev had a stinker last week but he’ll bounce back this time around and expect Fisher and Betts to also join in the fun. The Eagles will start well and give the fans early hope but these Blues have a real sniff now..perhaps they could join the WA Liberal Party. Carlton will get the win at Subi it nearly pinched two years ago with the Eagles fighting a desperate rearguard action but alas they are on their last reserve of troops.
Carlton by 35 points.
Geelong vs. Brisbane Cat Park
Plenty of people are willing the wheels to fall off the Cat machine but don’t expect it to happen this Saturday against the Lions. The Lions have made great strides so far this season but not enough improvement has taken place for it to defeat Geelong on a 16 degree day at Cat Park with showers forecast. In the midfield expect Ling to take Simon Black again but even though he won’t be as stunningly effective as last time (Black nine touches, a career low), expect him to put a lot more pressure on him than was exerted by the Deebacle of last week. Travis Johnstone will miss as will Nigel Lappin so that leaves a lot of inexperienced midfielders trying to help out Black and Power against the premier engine room in the AFL. Geelong will be keen to put on a good performance here after a few lacklusture games and the Lions will pay as Jimmy Bartel once again shows why he’s the best mudrunner in the comp.
Geelong by 28 points.
Hawthorn vs. Collingwood MCG
It is fairly tempting to select Collingwood in this match – the Pies have won four of the past five against the Mayblooms and have rarely played away from the MCG this season. They were played back into form by the Bombers last week and have players such as Paul Medhurst in career best form and welcome back skipper Scotty Burns for his 250th game and a rested Anthony Rocca into the winning combination. Hawthorn, like Geelong last week were not firing on all cylinders but still managed to get the four points. Looking at possible match ups it is positively scary from a Collingwood point of view – who will cover Buddy, Roughead, Rioli and Williams? O’Brien to Franklin looks like the logical move but you could easily see Buddy tearing this match apart. Meanwhile the underrated Hawk defence seems to have some of the Pies forwards covered. If Campbell Brown goes to Medurst and restricts his output, then all of a sudden more pressure will fall to Cloke and Rocca. I believe Rocca can stretch the Hawks but the Hawks look better in midfield and that talented foward line will provided with more than enough opportunites to fashion a winning score.
Hawthorn by 15 points.
Adelaide vs. North Melbourne AAMI Stadium
The Rooboys have been doing it a bit tough lately. Last week they slugged it out against Sydney in that draw. As was shown last week by the Cats’ effort against Freo, the Swans style of game is taxing on their opponents and the Roos might struggle to come up here. The week before that they played another extremely tough match against Collingwood. I predict that the Roos will be roadkill at the very same venue where they flopped in last year’s finals. The Crows have had an injection of youth and have a good record against North, having won the past six matches and nine of 13 so far this decade. Expect that trend to continue with the Roos hitting the wall a bit too early.
Adelaide by 29 points.
Richmond vs. St Kilda Telstra Dome
Richmond can reverse a recent trend of losing to St Kilda by knocking them off at Telstra Dome this Saturday night. The Saints are struggling for goals at the moment and in this area of the game the Tigers don’t appear to be troubled at all. Wallace’s decision to free up Richo has proven to be a masterstroke and having the big Tiger roam the ground hauling down marks at will should provide Ross Lyon with more than a few headaches in this match. The Saints are overpossesing the ball at the moment but Richmond’s run and kick philosphy might just succeed where Essendon’s failed against the same opponent a few weeks ago. The Sainters have brought back the G Train but the guy couldn’t get a kick in the magoos last week so this move smacks of desperation. The Tigers will have one eye on the fixture and notice that they have the Cats next week and will want to secure the four points here. Richmond has remarkable depth in big men at the moment and this negates one of St Kilda’s strengths. With Polak, Richardson, Simmonds and Pattison all on deck they have the edge of the Saints who will be trying to play Kosi everywhere in King’s absence. Richmond have gone close in recent weeks without getting the chocolates but this week everything will be sweet…while the Saints will be sour for another week.
Richmond by 10 points.
Sydney vs. Western Bulldogs SCG
The Bulldogs have been most impressive so far this season bar a quarter or two against the Tigers in the drawn match two weeks ago. However, the Dogs are about to be locked in the kennel by a Swans side that will be aiming to keep this a low scoring contest in the continuing absence of spearhead Barry Hall. The Bulldogs have improved on their inside game this season and that has enabled them to claw their way back against Richmond and defeat the new generation Crows but this week there are some real hard nuts to counter and nowhere to hide against Sydney, a team that has made an artform of closing down the Bulldogs in recent seasons. While I can sense a change of the guard in the Richmond v St Kilda match up I can’t see it happening in this fixture. In the past few games against the Dogs the Swans have won easily and kicked the ton or pretty near to it to dispose of the Bulldogs. While the Dogs will get a bit closer this time I reckon they’ll come up about three or four goals short. The Dogs are about to get a reality check.
Sydney by 22 points.
Melbourne vs. Fremantle MCG
The Dockers have had a horrid season that started off with Haselby doing his knee and most recently losing a heartbreaker to the Cats after twice appearing to have wrapped up the match. However, the footy gods have at last smiled on Freo as the fixture has drawn them to play one of the two teams I believe they could actually beat this weekend. While I don’t believe that their current ladder position is an accurate reflection of the Dockers’ ability, I reckon they’ll be very flat this week when they head to the G. If they were playing anyone else but the Demons I’d be tipping against them. I reckon there is no way known the Dockers will back up last weeks stellar performance with a similar effort this match. However, against the Demons this won’t matter. You just can’t tip the Demons at the mom
ent due to the massive amount of times they kick it straight back to the opposition. All teams committ clangers of course but the Demons are making an artform of it and once Freo get a sniff they’ll roar away from the Demons. Lately the Demons have had good final quarters once the game is all over but I reckon they’ll shoot out of the blocks only to be hauled in by the Dockers who will go on and win running away. Sandilands will have it much tougher against Jeff White and Nathan Jones and Cameron Bruce are playing well but elsewhere the cupboard is pretty much bare. Freo to live on for another week.
Fremantle by 47 points.
Essendon vs. Port Telstra Dome
Port’s draw this year has been a bit rude, Geelong, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, West Coast away and the Saints is a tough ask, even for a reigning grand finalist. After this week the Power play the Hawks, Sydney, Freo in Subi again and then face a trip to Geelong. This means that the Power will be very keen to put away a struggling Essendon that has been absolutely wracked with injuries this season in a run similar to Melbourne’s of last year. Essendon allow the opposition a lot of space to run and this is exactly what has been denied Port’s runners for the majority of the year. The only times they’ve had that space was early on against Brisbane and the first three quarters of the West Coast match. Port’s ball carriers will get plenty of the ball and this spells a Cricket score on the lightning fast Telstra Dome surface. Port matches Essendon’s strength of pace but absolutely pantses them in the area of skill. Port’s momentum will build for another week with its third straight win before the draw gets all medieval on their arses again.
Port by 64 points.
I have to admit that for the first time in a couple of weeks I’ve gone for a ‘hunch’ tip. All logic says that St Kilda should defeat the Tigers but I can’t bring myself to tip a side that brings back a struggling forward based on past performances. It is a similar selection at Collingwood I believe. I reckon the Pies were a better side without Rocca last week but perhaps the Pies missed an opportunity to play the big fellow back into form against one of the worst defences in the comp.