Going beautifully at the moment with my tipping, last week an embarrassing four winners with upsets all over the place. I hate the way it all seems so obvious a week after the event! Despite the fact that this round has the annual Collingwood v Essendon wankfest, the real match of the round and perhaps one of the most important for the year will be played tonight at Football Park. A good round’s tipping always starts off with a Friday victory but that match will be tough to predict indeed.
Port vs. St Kilda Football Park
During the current decade St Kilda has been Port’s bitch. However the Saints are taking steps to remove this tag and have managed two wins in the last four against the Power. None of these wins though was at Football Park. Port hasn’t been beaten by the Saints at home since in its inaugural season in 1997 and for me the crucial factor in this match is the ‘no Kosi’ factor. While you can get away with an injured Kosi against Fraudmantle you’ll have no such joy against a pumped up Power led by the suddenly rejuvenated Warren Tredrea. Developing fullback Alipate Carlisle will be overjoyed to have to battle it out with Steven King rather than the more athletic Koschitzke. This will be a tough junkyard dog affair but I reckon Port will be barking by the end of it. The Power by 13 points.
Essendon vs. Collingwood The G
Lest we forget, Essendon and Collingwood didn’t invent ANZAC Day. Still, it won’t stop yesterdays teams from reliving ancient glories with their April Grand Final. Collingwood have the edge over the Bombers at the moment but the concussion of Paul Medhurst could be the fly in the black and white ointment. Medhurst changed the game against Brisbane last week with a burst of brilliance. If Medhurst does miss then the odds of the Bombers flying up increase. Unlike North last week, the Magpies will take this game head on and that will cause Essendon to turn the pill over a bit. With presti and Nathan Brown in the back half for the Pies I believe that they can cover the Lucas and Lloyd combination with an out form Lucas nowhere near to the Brownshaw show that was put out of business last week. I’m tipping that Medhurst will miss but that won’t bridge the gap by enough. Collingwood by 25 points.
Hawthorn vs. West Coast Hork Park
The battered and bruised Hawks are still missing plenty of stars and some of those that are suiting up are struggling to squeeze into last years jumpers. With a few Hawks looking well fed it is obvious for the coach to come out and say they’ve lost the hunger. The next six games for Hawthorn are less challenging than the first four though so you can expect the beginning of a resurgence this week. The West Coast Eagles will be forced to make two plane trips to get to Tassie so that makes them an untippable proposition for me this week. Obviously the Hawks aren’t anywhere near what they were last year and the Eagles have improved but West Coast on the road are still ordinary, the Hawks are still the premiers, and most importantly, the game is still at Tassie. Hawthorn by 20 points.
Fremantle vs. Sydney Subi
A shattered Fremantle will take some solace in the fact that they can limp back to home shores for this match against Sydney. The Swans have a real chance here to string back to back wins together with the Dockers at their lowest ebb since the disastrous 2001 season. With Barry Hall on the sidelines, the Swans become less predictable in attack. Young Heath Grundy has come on a bit this season and Ryan O’Keefe showed glimpses of returning to form last week against the Blues. The Swans have too many experienced heads and hard nuts to drop this game and will go on to record an invaluable away victory over a desperate Dockers outfit. Harvey has to think laterally here: If Pav goes up front then Bolton sits on him all day and the Dockers don’t score. Put him in the middle and he might generate some drive. Hang on, Harvey, think laterally? Er, no. Pav will line up in the forward line and Sydney will win by 18 points.
North Melbourne vs. Richmond The Dome
I’ve got this horrible nagging hunch here that the Tigers might win this one but quite wisely I’m ignoring it. Why waste part of my weekend even temporarily stepping inside the skin of a Tiger supporter? A good tipping rule is don’t tip Freo and don’t tip Richmond and this week I’m sticking with that rule. However I don’t have any confidence in the Roos at the moment. It was a stilted performance against the Dons last week and hardly the hit back statement I expected from them. The Roos were holding on to the ball for an age in the back half against Essendon because they didn’t have the belief to take on the young side in open combat. The Roos welcome back Aaron Edwards into the forward line so this could help straighten them up a bit with the extra target. When you look at the Tigers you’ll see that they’ve swung the axe and even Troy Simmonds has felt the cutting edge. I expect McIntosh and Harvey to have a day out here and this should provide the impetus for a Kangaroos victory. North by 29 points.
Geelong vs. Brisbane Cat Park
And another one gone another one gone another one bites the dust…both sides could run out to this song this week as the Lions rucks stocks are laid Bear and Cat tagger Cameron Ling was added to a lengthening Geelong injury list with his Achilles problem. While the omission of Ling is great news for Simon Black who is yet to recapture his best form the news is probably just as good for Mark Blake who has stepped into the number one ruck role at Geelong with aplomb in Otto’s absence. I believe that Geelong will not elect to tag Black initially but may move either James Kelly or Max Rooke on to him if he becomes too influential. The Lions are right in this game I reckon. Geelong will struggle to cover both Bradshaw and Brown. A struggling Harry Taylor will have to go to one of them. Andrew Mackie or a returning Milburn will be forced into the Harley ‘chop out’ role to assist Taylor (which is not great news for fantasy coaches) . The second factor for the Lions is that Geelong just don’t play that well at Cat Park there I’ve said it. The narrow wings don’t suit Geelong’s high possession game plan so the Lions won’t get pumped. Still, the Cats do have the answers in midfield and a forward line that has the marking power of Mooney and Hawkins, plus the crumbing ability of Ablett, Chapman, Stokes, Varcoe and Johnson should be able to post a winning score. Geelong by 16 points.
Western Bulldogs vs. Carlton The Dome
Early on in the year the everyone was asking ‘just how good are Carlton’. I believe it is time to start asking ‘just how good are the Western Bulldogs’? While many people have been talking them up as the automatic third side I’m not quite as sure about them. The three wins over struggling teams have been no more than workmanlike and in the Richmond game they turned the ball over almost as much as the Tigers who are the benchmark side in this area. Adam Cooney is out again and Rob Murphy is only just returning and Akker is suspended. This side has been getting glowing reviews it hasn’t earnt yet this season. Carlton on the other hand have had the wick turned up and been found wanting. The forward structure of Cloke and Fev up front is not working as it should with the Fev being hampered by his heel injury as well as the occasional dummy spit. I reckon this week though the Blues can prevail. Carazzo and Scotland are ins that can provide some run and the inclusion of Jamison to stabilise a struggling back half is a real plus. In recent times the Blues have been able to kick some decent scores against the Dogs and I can see that happening again on Sunday. Carlton by 23 points.
Melbourne vs. Adelaide The G
The Demons have a habit of making life uncomfortable for South Australian sides at the G and I reckon that this can be another one of those games. Melbourne didn’t get much credit for winning their first game of the season last week but the Demons managed to put together some end to end passages of play for the first time in many years. Coach Bailey has this young group going in the right direction. I reckon that the Crows will still win this game but those predicting a thrashing are going to be a fair way short of the mark in my view. The Crows are a team full of promise and they showed that they can even put a team as advanced as Geelong in the shade for a period of time. This will be a great game to watch with plenty of young players on show on both sides. This match could even turn out to be the match of the round, a bit of a hidden gem. As for the winner, the Crows are a little too polished. Adelaide by 7 points.
An interesting round with a few upsets on the cards in Richmond and Melbourne being the best bets. Surely the Tiges have to show something soon and Melbourne have shown real improvement this season. I can also see a few slogs this week. I reckon that the Cats game will be a slog as will the Port match. The best viewing game might be the last one, which is unusual for me to say because normally I can’t stand watching the Blackbirds. Blokes like Patrenko, Dangerfield, Mackay and Walker have changed all that though.
Enjoy your footy and spare a thought for fallen this weekend (no I don’t mean Terry Wallace).
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