The cynic in me is wondering why this particular round is marketed as ‘Rivalry Round’. I thought all of the other teams were our rivals but there you go. How many St Kilda fans rush out to grab that fixture anxiously trying to work out when they will get to play their arch rivals the Western Bulldogs? How many Hawks fans are wondering why they aren’t playing the Cats or the Bombers this week? Yes, I’m confused as well but you probably worked that out by looking at my tips.
Six winners last week for a total of 11. I’m going ok with the margins of the ‘match of the round’ but not picking as many winners as Our Rose or Habibitutal who are on fire so far this season but every REB has his day!
Western Bulldogs vs. St Kilda Telstra Dome
The Sainters won’t be getting lost that’s for sure as they play their third successive match at the Dome. Coming back into the side in a welcome inclusion is Brendon Goddard back from his knee injury in a fixture that has seen the Saints victorious in seven of the past nine meetings. While the Dogs look a bit harder than last season and have shown they don’t chuck in the bone when on the back foot, they don’t look ready to end St Kilda’s early season winning streak. King and Gardiner still have plenty in the tank and will prove to be a massive impediment for any Bulldog supremacy out of the middle. With the Saints midfield getting first use and feeding the big forwards, I predict that the Saints will go marching in, after the Dogs give an almighty yelp.
St Kilda by 14 points.
North Melbourne vs. Hawthorn Telstra Dome
The Hawks will be champing at the bit to get their tallons into the Roos who have been a bit up and down so far this season. Thinking of a way to concuss Corey ‘Dreamteam’ Jones in the first 30 seconds of the match might be in coach Clarkson’s planning for this game. If you see Zac Dawson in his trackies with a baseball bat head out to the forward line then look out Corey! In recent years these games have been as ugly as Paris Hilton’s nose with the Roos more often than not squeezing the life out of the Hawks who would rather generate run and use the uncontested footy to advantage. The younger Hawks like Tuck, Osborne, Ellis, Stokes and Rioli will be too much to handle even though Campbell and Thomas will also provide a headache for the Hawkers. I reckon Hawthorn have too many guns up front with Roughead to create havoc as every Roo hops on Buddy. Hawks comfortably.
Hawthorn by 31 points.
West Coast vs. Fremantle Subiaco
Even though West Coast have two extra players in Chris ‘pay me’ Tarrant and Roger ‘Apple Turnover’ Hayden they might still struggle to get over the line against the Dockers in the now infamous Western Derbee. Even though the Eags have one more win on the board than the Dockers I reckon Freo are closer to putting in a good one here. For some strange reason the Docks think beating these blokes is more important than winning a bloody final so I’m going to conveniently forget how they burnt me last week and give them another chance. At the moment the West Coast appear to be leaving too much to too few (namely Cox and Kerr) and this is in stark contrast to the multitude of options that Freo tried and failed to cover last week. Freo’s ship will come in and they will open their 2008 account.
Fremantle by 25 points.
Brisbane vs. Sydney Gabba
Last week Sydney showed that when they have an edge on an opponent that they can be quite adaptable and can actually kick a few sausage rolls. Sydney seem too experienced here and those experienced men and the young uns too would have got a healthy dose of confidence in spanking last year’s grand finalist back to the stone age. Brisbane have been plucky so far this season but were more than a little lucky in accounting for Collingwood last week. Sydney have had the better of Brisbane in recent years with four wins and a draw from their last five meetings. It will be a bridge to far for the Lions and the Sydneysiders will fly home with the points.
Sydney by 18 points.
Essendon vs. Carlton Telstra Dome
It is Carlton’s turn to win in the annual Dons vs. Blues swap meet as these two have alternated for the last few years with Carlton generally scamming the early season upset win and then Essendon getting their revenge during the Tanking season. Coach Knights has opted for an attacking game plan but I reckon this will actually suit Carlton whose most recent wins were against the Power and the Bullies who opted for that style of game. The Dons look a little unsettled at the moment and the inclusion of three ruckman will really put the heat on Hille. The stuffing would have been knocked right out of Essendon last week and I reckon the Blues will take advantage and end the club’s long losing streak with a sweet victory over the Bombers in a shootout with both teams cracking the ton.
Carlton by 9 points.
Geelong vs. Melbourne Cat Park
This game could get ugly and not because Cameron Ling and his twin sister will be at the game (Did you see that chick? ). An interesting article during the week indicated that the Demons were trying to implement a ‘Port’ style of game plan where you handball more often and run the ball but the Demons team doesn’t have the skills or the tank in order to execute it. Instead, they will be be executed, after all the Cats beat the Power by 20 goals Bailey ya clown so you might just be using the wrong game plan! The Demons need plenty more from their experienced men and sooner or later they will put their hand up and might even do so in this match. If this match was at the Dome it could have been ‘reach for the record books’ time but I don’t see this happening. There won’t be an upset, but the Dees will show something at last and begin the long road back to respectability.
Geelong by 68 points.
Richmond vs. Collingwood MCG
Even though Richmond has acquitted itself well against the Pies in recent times I can’t see them knocking off Collingwood in this match. The Pies will be filthy (what’s new ha ha) that they didn’t get the chocolates in BrisVegas last week and will take it out on the Tigers who still have a way to go. I can see Richmond being right in this late in the game but eventually the Magpies fantastic tackling will give the Pies opportunists one too many chances to snaffle a goal. Richo will be looking to have a day out but it might be the smaller Pies forwards who end up being the critical factor late in this match.
Collingwood by 23 points.
Adelaide vs. Port Adelaide AAMI Stadium
The Power were embarrassed last week and normally when this club is left red faced it comes out snarling. However this week they have a bit of a problem. Neil Craig has made a habit of making Mark Williams look very foolish in match day situations and appears to have a hypno toad effect on the Power coach. The willy professor always seems to be one step ahead and always come up with a remarkable forumla that seems to steal the victory away from the Power just when the points appear to be in reach. So far the new experiment at Crow land has been a resounding sucess with the previously staid Crow attack spreading its wings and flying. In the meantime Port has a number of forwards who have hardly got warm this season in Westoff, Motlop and Ebert. Despite the improved efforts from Tredrea the attack is just not making a mark at the minute. That spells doom against the Adelaide back six and I reckon the Crows will carve up Port and continue Port’s miserable start to the season.
Adelaide by 38 points.