Gidday viewers and a special thanks to Saint for naming this week’s round after yet another dismal effort last round. It’s a good thing I don’t bet on footy all that often I can tell you! At this time of year the interest is all about who will make the top four and who will make the eight and this year is no exception. In recent weeks Sydney and Collingwood have been duking it out for fourth but a new contender in St Kilda has emerged and with a soft run home they might just get there. The match between St Kilda and Collingwood could well be for fourth spot with Sydney facing some tough matches on the run home. The battle for the eight is far from settled with the Tigers making a late bid and the Crows not out of yet despite suffering a lenghty injury list. Perhaps the Lions are the vulnerable side in the eight but they can do themselves a big favour by beating the Tigers this week. Anyway, let comedy hour commence!
Hawthorn vs. Geelong MCG
An interesting fact in this match is that Geelong has not defeated the Hawks at the MCG for 45 years. They don’t play there all that often but its been a long time between drinks as far as the Catters go with this match up and venue. Both sides are having their depth tested at the moment with Geelong’s well documented missing trio (plus an unavailable Hawkins due to his stress fracture) and Hawthorn’s absentees which include Shane Crawford, Sam Mitchell who late mail suggests he may miss and possibly Luke Hodge as well if his Missus drops his kid tonight. Geelong has the superior depth and has the defensive capabilities to cover the talented Hawk forward line. Look to Mooney to have a big match tonight.
Geelong by 33 points
Essendon vs. Collingwood MCG
The Dons were more than a bit unlucky to lose to Richmond last week and the injury toll continues to climb out there at Windy Hill with coach Knights having about 25 to choose from for this vital match against Collingwood. Realisitically Essendon’s season ended when Joel Bowden teased them on the goal line last week so in this instance the Pies have more to play for. Collingwood were pretty ordinary last week and will bounce back into form and remain in contention for a top four spot against an Essendon side down on troops. Expect David Hille to have a big match against the underwhelming Magpie ruck division but it won’t be enough for an Essendon victory.
Collingwood by 29 points
West Coast vs. St Kilda Subiaco
The St Kilda show will roll on for another week against the West Coast Tankers who will be shattered without skipper Darren Glass lining up in the most unappealing fixture of the round. St Kildas best players are as good anyones (except Geelong ha ha) and they are in good form at the moment. Nick Riewoldt played the best game I’ve ever seen him play last week and when his radar is on he looks the superstar that Saints fans and the pshycophantic media often claim him to be. Kosi picked a good week to get suspened and he’ll enjoy watching a comfortable Saint victory while his mates slog it out at Subiaco. With so many kids in the team it will be a long night for Eagles fans. Dal Santo to get a zillion touches.
St Kilda by 62 points
Richmond vs. Brisbane Telstra Dome
Richmond have kept their season alive with some pretty good football in the last couple of weeks and this week they welcome back Matty Richardson and are playing at home against a side that has been very ordinary in Melbourne this season in the Brisbane Lions. However the Lions welcome back experienced pair Sherman and Adock and also look stronger than they have done in many weeks. I reckon the Tiges were more than a bit lucky to defeat the Bombers last week and this week will be the chance for Brisbane to claim their final eight spot and end the Tigers run at the finals. The highlight of this game will be the marking machines Richardson and Jonathon Brown and a packed house at the Dome of excitable Tiger fans.
Brisbane by 11 points
Sydney vs. Adelaide SCG
The Swannies have been very ordinary of late but showed tremendous courage to overcome the Blues with a short bench last week. The Crows really don’t have any postives in the column for the last five weeks. The youngsters aren’t really standing up and the experienced men are getting hurt. This week’s team selections shows the desperation in both camps. Whatever is really wrong with Barry Hall we don’t know but a two week club imposed suspension seems to be a token gesture. It should really have been a long break from the game or don’t suspend him at all. I don’t think much has been achieved here with Hall and he may explode again before the season is out. Jason Porplyzia’s selection is a gamble, there is no other word for it. Porplyzia has had a weak shoulder nearly all year and the match up of Porplyzia and Kennelly would be an amusing one as they run circles around each other’s bad shoulder. Speaking of shoulder though it is the Swans who appear to have the cattle to put the shoulder to the wheel and do the hard work. With Neil Craig shuffling the deck chairs, it will be the Crows who sink further out of the race for the finals.
Sydney by 23 points
Port vs. Fremantle AAMI Stadium
Port may appear to have put the cue back in the rack last week as Chad Cornes went in for his surgery but I can’t go past them at home against the deplorable Dockers at Football Park. Expect Kane Cornes, Dom Cassisi and Steven Salopek to dominate in the middle of the ground against one of the weakest midfields in the league. The Dockers would be bouyed (a little nautical joke there) by last week’s win against the Demons but that Melbourne side was full of kids who look like they hadn’t done thier homework. Now that Port is out of tanking territory they will be trying to finish off the season in a positive manner to bring back some of the fans through the gates. With the pressure off both sides to some extent, this one might be the unexpected jewell of the round.
Port by 15 points
Melbourne vs. North Melbourne MCG
The Roos coming off the back of an important win against the Pies last week have far too much too lose for them to unexpectedly drop this game. Even though Melbourne have included some experienced players in McDonald, White and Carroll for this match that won’t be enough to stop the Roos from shoring up their spot in the top eight. Drew Petrie was absolutely huge last week and he won’t get a better chance to shake off the ‘inconsistent’ tag than against an undersized Melbourne. It’s hard to make a case here for Melbourne, so I won’t.
North by 44 points
Western Bulldogs vs. Carlton Telstra Dome
I’ve been wrong about a great many things this football season but one call I did get right was that Carlton would drop more than thier fare share of close matches after spending much of the decade tanking their arses off. Last week’s match may have been one of those games I was referring too. This week they have to back up against a snarling Bulldogs outfit that had its pants pulled down at Cat Park last week. What did the Blues do to deserve this? Oh yeah, that’s right ha ha. The Dogs will be hellbent on destruction this week and will take it out on Carlton who will be a little deflated as the realisation that another year is over sinks in. Nick Stevens looked a little down last week so it will be interesting to see if he can fight back this week. I reckon Akker could star this week as he generally plays well when he gets his head in the press. Bulldogs to bounce back.
Western Bulldogs by 41 points