Yes Folks, it’s the split round and the school holidays have arrived for AFL players across the nation. Nowhere is the schoolyard theme more evident this week than at Richmond where all of the younger students have brought an apple for teacher and have been promptly rewarded with senior selection. Some of the senior boys have been sent to Mr Magoo’s class for a spell in a move that many say doesn’t add up – has it divided the club? The Bluebaggers upset the applecart for me last week as I simply refuse to tip them and when I do they turn into the Bluebuggers and lose yet again. Carlton fans will be delighted to learn that this week I’m getting on board that St Kilda bandwagon.
Carlton vs. St Kilda The Dome
For once Carlton and myself have something in common. We are all heartily sick of hearing about St Kilda and how good they are. However, this is were the similarity ends as I believe the Blues are about to go an even dozen straight defeats to the Saints where Ratts is under the laughable illusion that Carlton can actually defeat a good side. It’s one thing to beat up on the Lions missing three key defenders but this week the Blues face up to the stingiest defence seen since Stalingrad in 1942. Carlton have shown improvement this year but still aren’t beating their vast array of bogey sides and St Kilda is the monster bogey for the Blues. With such a big bogey, I’m picking St Kilda by 9 points.
Western Bulldogs vs. Port Darwin….yes, Darwin!
The Doggies and the Power will square off in a game that is likely to double their average attendance for the season in a city that has the population of a couple of tribes and a dozen dogs. Apparently it is the dry season up there at the moment so unlike the NAB cup games in Darwin, you can expect just the three quarters of torrential rain so expect plenty of flooding in this match. A lot of dogs are just hitting their straps at the moment and will relish punishing the Power who are allergic to pressure and have many players who will only run hard when a mate asks to help them move house. I can’t see the Power getting up in this one. I’ve jumped off this side in a big way so for mine it’s the Bullies by 44 points.
Richmond vs. West Coast The Dome
Jade Rawlings hates football tipsters. What other conclusion can you come to when he leaves out Bowden, Simmonds, Pettifer and Coughlan against a young West Coast side that has now lost 444 away matches in a row? The Tiggers will go in with the cubs but they’ve chosen what would have been a winnable fixture to do it in. Surely the club’s long suffering fans deserve a victory and I’m not sure the cubs are going to be able to go on with it. For the Eagles Big Cox will stand up in the ruck, The Q man will be lining up for goals, Glass should prove very hard to crack down back and Le Cras…..Le Cras…er..should play very well also! I’m finding it easier to tip waitresses who leave their tops on than tipping winners this year so Jade Rawlings a pox on thee!! It will be past most of these Tiger Cubs bedtime by the time the game ends so it’s the West Coast by 11 points.
Hawthorn vs. Brisbane Tassie
‘All over the shop’ Round continues with the Hawks showing their map of Tassie to the visiting Lions on Sunday. The Lions can’t take a trick with defenders at the moment. Apparently the whole squad have put their hands up to play in the forward line so Roughead and Franklin will kick 20 goals apiece as they run around unchecked in the empty backline. Both of these sides have had such similar seasons it is positively scary. Both sides have had multiple injuries in the backline and depleted ruck set ups. Both sides have the twin towers in the forward line, both sides are 6-5. This game is almost a case of both sides playing with themselves. Seeing as the Hawks have had far more experience in this than any team in the competition then this will hand the game to the Hawks. Hawthorn by 25 points.
Adelaide vs. North Football Park
Poor, poor North. At full strength they are not much chop but they are really starting to rack up an injury list that almost rivals Hawthorn, Geelong or Brisbane. To make matters worse they are playing an Adelaide side that is playing with a freedom not seen in years. Just who is going to stop Kurt Tippett? Will the North players recognise Taylor Walker? Will Michael Doughty find anyone good enough to tag? All these questions and more will be answered when the Blackbirds aim to put four and twenty Rooboys into the Pie now that they are red hot after being a little crusty earlier on in the year. The Adelaide Cows have the cattle and will go on and record a comfortable win as there is just so much at steak for Professor Craig’s men. A place in the eight beckons as this week as Collingwood should once again beat their bitch Sydney. Adelaide by 45 points.
Essendon vs. Melbourne The Dome
The Bombers are flying at a lower altitude in recent weeks but you’re in real trouble if your plane can’t get over the Demons. However the word about the town is that the Demons might be some sort of silly chance here. Melbourne blew it big time in their biggest game of the year in front of a packed ground and a captive TV audience and will be hell bent on giving the Bombers a Devilish reception. There is little doubt that this season has shown that while the Red and Blue heart beats true they still can’t hit targets. The Bombers appear to have far too much run for Melbourne who have more than their fair share of one paced midfielders. I expect the typical Melbourne 2009 model to be rolled out on Friday night – a brave effort that just falls short. Essendon by 15 points.
Sydney vs. Collingwood Homebush
The Sydney Swines have been a bit sick lately. Like a terminal patient they are slowly sliding into oblivion with only brief amounts of spirit being shown when the patient is in their home enviornment. Yes folks, beware the dreaded Sydney Swine Flu! Expect another sick display by the fading tarts of the AFL as they will once again fail to come to grips with the Collingwood puzzle. Swines coach Paul Roos is renown as a big thinker in the game but he must be one of the few coaches out there that has failed to disarm the Pies ’round the flanks’ attack which means the Black and Whites have to work pretty darn hard to get their Sausage Rolls. I know I keep saying this but the Swines are still relying on the same guys they were four years ago using a game plan that doesn’t appear to work anywhere except at the Basketball Court. You just can’t bank on the Swines at ANZ Stadium even though they have won matches there already this season. They won’t win this one. Collingwood by 38 points.
Fremantle vs. Geelong Subiaco
Anyone who is tempted to select the Dockers on the basis of last year’s thriller at Subi is missing the point. Last year the Dockers were a more experienced combination and that experience almost accounted for the Cats who only managed about 30 minutes of football on the night. The Cats have upped the ante since then while the Dockers results have remained the same, although with a much younger playing group. You can expect the Dockers to give a fair bit of cheek here but no way will the Cats allow themselves to be serendaded off Subi by that awful Freo song. Geelong’s subpar effort against the Eagles last week does Freo no favours at all and with the Cats finally starting to get some players back I would expect them to record a reasonably comfortable victory. Gary Ablett will be heartbroken to hear that Barnacle Crowley won’t be suiting up but once again Freo will be able to count on Lurch Sandilands to dominate Mark Blake. The Cat midfield will rove his taps and pump plenty of ball into the forward lines and the Cats will extend their away winning run to 13 matches. Geelong by 39 points.