Some truly excellent football last round with the match of the season living up to all the hype with big Gardy proving the difference in the end. There seems to be more than the usual run of injuries happening this season with a lot of big name players spending a little time on the sidelines. For the bottom sides having players on the side lines it is of course ‘tanking? us?’ and for the contenders it is *ahem* team management. Well, that will do for the Cats this week anyway. I might just roll on down to the Gabba in my Hoops….might even get a game! The Pies v Dogs game is the match of the round this week..if Collingwood can defeat the Doggies then people will sit up and take notice. Then they’ll be favourites and promptly start dropping matches again like we all know they should. As for the Saints and the Cats it will be hard work for both teams this week and I reckon the Saints will extend their lead over the Cats to two games with a host of Catters out of action this week.

Western Bulldogs vs. Collingwood The Dome

Surely last week the Doggies were taking the piss? Well someone was. They buried a bone in style last week but will find things a bit tougher against the Pies who are playing their best football in many years. For the past few seasons the Pies have put themselves into the lower reaches of the eight but have let themselves down by dropping games to dud teams but that hasn’t happened this year (unless you count Carlton ha ha). Alan Didak is nearly playing up to the scintillating form he has shown in many finals of the past (LOL) and Josh Fraser showed a lot of character last week to turn the tables on a guy who doesn’t actually play in the ruck. Fraser might have problems encountering Ben Hudson because he is so rough and tough…in fact..tough enough to grow a red beard. The Doggies runners will have the pace advantage over the Pie midfielders but that didn’t seem to stop Collingwood last week as they shut down the Bombers. I reckon the venue and the smaller Dog forward line could prove to be the difference. There isn’t an obvious match up for Presti and Collingwood prefer the G to the Dome (they’ve lost six of their last nine at the Dome). This will be a close one and I reckon the Dogs will salute. Seeing as I haven’t tipped a Friday night game right all season that’s great news for Collingwood fans. Western Bulldogs by 13 points.

Sydney vs. Essendon Basketball Court

The Swans at their preferred venue can keep their season alive in this incredbily important match at the SCG. The Bombers haven’t been getting off to a flying start in matches this season and a tardy start in Sydney against the desperate Swans would not be in The Albino’s playbook for this match. I am tempted to pick the Bombers here but the Swans look like they can cover Hall with O’Loughlin, O’Keefee, Goodes and Grundy more than enough goal scoring power in a game that they will look to make a low scoring contest on the small ground. For the Bombers they get Jobe Watson back and he was a crucial out for them last week. Watson has really kicked on this season and he’ll have an important Jobe to do this week. This match will be a cracker. With Essendon clinging to the top eight and the Swans clinging to past glory it will be on for young and old. I reckon the Swannies but only just in a Thriller *insert Vincent Price evil laugh*. Sydney by 3 points.

Carlton vs. Richmond The G

The thought of this match up almost inevitably turns one’s mind back to the start of the season. Carlton were coming and apparently so were Richmond. The second part of that equation bit the dust with Cuzzy’s dodgy Hammy but the Blues are clinging on to their pre-season illusion mostly on the back of Chris Judd who has had a monumental season leading from the front for the Bluebaggers. If you have a teenager hanging around your house playing crap R&B rubbish and cleaning out your fridge and he hasn’t received a telephone call from Jade Rawlings yet then his AFL career is probably over. Recent Tiger teams have been a vertible ‘who’s that?’ and I’m still spewing that Silvester didn’t become a Cat. Much to the consternation of Blues’ fans I’m tipping them to take care of the Tiges who appear to be in the early stages of a 13 year plan which will deliver them to 9th spot in the year 2022. Carlton by 38 points.

Brisbane vs. Geelong The Gabbatoir

What is left of the Cats will limp into BrisVegas on Saturday night and the Lions will be licking their chops and hoping to turn back the clock a few years to a time when the Lions regularly dined out on pussy. The Cats have some absolutely huge outs for this game Steve Johnson, Cameron Ling, Darren Milburn and worst of all Matty Scarlett won’t be playing. This will be a real backs to the wall effort for the Cats which would be perfectly understandable seeing as they got raped by Chamberlain in that last quarter last week DOH. So the Cats are wobbly. But can the Lions take advantage of it? To be pushed around by the Power Puff girls is never a good look, it’s a bit like losing an arm wrestling match to a Girl Guide. Voss has reacted at the selection table by getting the axe out and once again Travis Johnstone feels the cut. You can grow a beard Trav but you’re still a Marshmellow. Perhaps the fact that is in the Cats’ favour is that we got done last week. Geelong will be filthy and the players who are coming into the side won’t be feeling the effects of the tough St Kilda battle so what on the surface is a negative could become a positive.
EDIT: Varcoe and Ablett have joined the absentee list for Geelong and I reckon they might bite the bullet and leave out Harry Taylor as well. For this match that makes it Ablett, Varcoe, Kelly, S Johnson, D Johnson, Ottens, Ling and Milburn all unavailable. We can’t beat the Demons with the line up we are sending to Brisbane !@$!!!

Brisbane by 19 points.

Adelaide vs. Fremantle Football Park

The Blackbirds mid-season roll will continue on with a benefit match against the Freo kids who just don’t know how to win a match. Freo are dodgy enough as it is but without Pav AND Lurch it’s impossible to make a case for them in foriegn territory against a side that is playing some solid football at the moment. This game is only good for Fantasy Football. With Freo it’s never the real thing and one of the highlights of this game might be watching Mark Harvey banging his head on the desk in the coaches box in frustration. Should be worth the admission fee alone. Adelaide by 49 points.

Hawthorn vs. North Melbourne Yawk Park

Hawthorn have been a gift to comedians everywhere this season and they saved their finest work for last week’s match against the Bulldogs. At half time of last’s week’s slaughter half the Hawk fans went home and the other half rushed the food vendors with orders of Donuts and Hot Dogs ha ha. This week though the Hawks have been copping a hammering in the media. Now the only people worse at working out what is going on in footy than me are the idiots in the mainstream media. When they start jumping up and down and breaking everyone’s balls that team normaly comes out and has a good win. I can just imagine Crocker sitting at home in his favourite armchair with his pipe and slippers reading the papers thinking to himself Shut up! Shut up! Shut Up! Back in the forgiving surrounds of Tassie I expect the Hawks to hit back hard and rediscover that winning feeling as North bow out. Hawthorn by 16 points.

Melbourne vs. Port The G

Port Adelaide will not drop this game. Plenty of people reckon they might but the difference between this match and last week’s Demons v Eagles game is that Port aren’t tanking. The Eagles are one win away from losing a priority draft pick, Port on the other hand are one loss away from perhaps missing the eight. Teams in the middle of the ladder can’t afford to drop matches to Melbourne and the Demons aren’t solid enough for long enough to make it two on the trot no matter how crook Jimmy is. Chad Cornes makes a welcome return to the Port side and his experience and versatility will add plenty to the side. Port will live to fight another day and Melbourne will just have to keep fighting. Port by 26 points.

West Coast vs. St Kilda Subiaco

In a great piece of fixturing St Kilda, like Geelong will be coming off a crunching grudge match and heading on the road a week later. Well, at least the Saints get a week unlike the six day break the Cats get. St Kilda are miles in front of the Eagles of course but it will be interesting to see how the St Kilda side goes without the security blanket of the closed roof at the Dome. I’m surprised that Saints haven’t lobbied to have this match shifted to the Dome like the other 21 matches they play there this year. Also, with this match being played at Subi the Saints won’t have that goalpost who provided a goal assist against the Cats available. The Eagles are thinking that they can’t beat the Saints so it is safe to bring back Dean Cox and Daniel Kerr…that could have been very embarrassing if they had saluted against the Demons last week. Woosha’s plans have been thrown into disarray by the crappiness of the Hawks but an honourable loss will be delivered by the Saints and the next Nick Nat awaits the Eagles in 2010. St Kilda by 23 points.

Close round I reckon bar the Crows and Blues games.