Not too many surprises in round 3 (hang on, why did I only get five winners DOH) apart from the Bombers somehow managing to defeat the fab one, er…fab four ha ha. This week’s round has that ‘easy to tip’ look about it that can be quite ominous. After this round we might find out a bit more about Sydney, Collingwood, Port, Richmond and North who all badly need wins this week to establish some credibility.
Brisbane vs. Collingwood Gabba
The Pies venture north to a venue that hasn’t been kind to them in the past. Collingwood have only won one match at the Gabbatoir and last week the Gorillas looked pretty solid in the slush on their way to a rare victory over the Swans. Brisbane’s improved form this season can be attributed to the quick understanding of coach Voss’ gameplan which is a credit to the communication skills of the new Lions boss. It has finally stopped raining up here in BrisVegas but expect the Lions to pour down on the Pies who will miss some experience in the backline with the Shaw and Maxwell suspensions. Brisbane by 20 points.
Sydney vs. Carlton SCG
You can just sense the clock ticking on this Swans outfit at the moment. The flame hasn’t completely gone out but as the season goes on they will find it tougher and tougher to get up for matches in my view. Round 4 and coming off a loss to the Dons is not a great time however for the Blues to attempt to defeat Sydney for the first time since 2000. While the Swans were not what they have been for most of those clashes of the past and the Blues are definitely better, I don’t think they’ve bridged the gap enough to end the streak of losses at the basketball court in Sydney on Saturday. The Carlton backline has been severely compromised by the loss of Jamison as it forces Waite to be more of a ‘stay at home defender’, robbing the Blues of run. The Blue ruck division looks underwhelming also especially with Darren being in Jolly good form. Carlton will have a Blue day, Sydney by 13 points.
Hawthorn vs. Port The G
Port Adelaide will pay the price for a lack of discipline by its senior men for a second consecutive road trip when they meet the unsettled Hawks at the MCG on Saturday. If Peter Burgoyne and Dominic Cassisi were in the side you could almost mount a case for the Power but without them the only case they’ll have is a coffin. While the Hawks welcome back Sewell, Lewis, Campbell and Taylor they have also lost Ellis, Birchall and Gilham through injury. Port are starting to get a flat track bully reputation and a loss to the harder bodies of the Hawks will only enhance that reputation. Hawthorn to swoop by 31 points.
St Kilda vs. Fremantle The Dome
St Kilda return to their favourite killing field against the lamest Duck in the competition this week. The Dockers aren’t an opponent that can expect any mercy for the surging Saints who are now this month’s Carlton. The Dockers have been the fly in the Saints’ beer on more than one occasion in recent years but I can’t see them being in the contest for too long this weekend. St Kilda are far too big and experienced to let this one slip. The Saints are flying and this time the Dockers will hear the siren and they’ll be pretty glad it went too. Saints to Kildem on Saturday by 79 points.
Adelaide vs. Geelong Football Park
The Cats love playing at Footy park these days which is a far cry from the days when they had the worst record in the league at that venue. After a ten day break, the Kittycats will be fresher than Miley Cyrus by the time they get to Adelaide who have desperately recalled a clearly rehabilitated Nathan Bock to take the place of the injured Scott Stevens. The roles have reversed from five or six years ago when they had the Roo crunching our young players, now it is the Cats that have the hard bodies and they will exploit the relative youthfulness of this Crows team. Cats will be too classy and the feathers will fly for a second home match for the Blackbirds. Geelong by 38 points.
North vs. Essendon The Dome
Now this is the game I’m umming and erring about. Essendon are fast, Matty Lloyd is back in business, They’ve won two games in a row, they are playing at the Dome and that suits their game and McVeigh returns to the side. North on the other hand have a dysfunctional forward line, a one paced midfield, Boomer Harvey is being tagged back to the stone age and they are distracted by Rubber Chickens and the usual Dean Laidley histrionics. So it’s Essendon then right? Wrong. Remember when the knives were out for the Tigers after round one? They went down to Cat Park of all places and actually led at Lemon time. Never underestimate the capacity of a club that has even temporarily got the ‘us against them’ attitude within the group. The Roos were the most disappointing team of last week and they’ve been hammered by the footy world in the last two weeks. You can say many things about the Roos but one thing you can’t say is they lack heart. With severe misgivings I’m giving them one more chance. If the mongrel shows itself in the blue and white this week, the Bombers won’t have the experience to counter it. North by 17 points.
Richmond vs. Melbourne The G
The Melbourne Comedy festival gets a reprise this week as the Tigers take on the Demons at the G. As a special promotion with the retail giant Target, the crowd will all be given Target T-shirts with the corporate logo on the front. This means that the entire crowd will be safe from being hit by a football for the duration of the match. This will probably be an entertaining contest for a number of reasons (well Richo is worth the price of admission on his own in my view). This game could be a bit like looking at a car crash with morbid fascination, just so you can feel sorry for the loser. Oh right, who will win? Surely it has to be Richmond. Both sides can’t hit a target but at least the Tigers have a forward line. Richomond by 41 points.
West Coast vs. Western Bulldogs Subi
Now you try telling foreigners that this match isn’t a derby. The Dogs go west young man for the second time in four weeks to face an Eagles side keen to hit back after the Saint disaster last week. The Eagles will give a good account of themselves and will take a quarter off the Doggies (perhaps the first) but it’s hard to see this Eagles unit keeping up with the Dogs all day long. It’s hard to take a side seriously when Mark LeCras is the leading scorer (although to be fair he has been effective so far this year) and players such as Gilbee, Hargreaves and Lake in the backline might just have a day out here. I reckon it’s the Dogs in this one by 45 points.
Last week: 5