We all got bent over and spanked last week by the so called predicatable round. This week I’ll be out to do better or more probably pick up another five winners. My monumentally mediocre tipping thus far this year has netted me the severly underwhelming tally of 22 winners. It’s a good thing I’m on a diet cos I won’t be getting the chocolates with those numbers.
The three top sides have all streaked away from the pack a bit and this is down to one thing…options. Geelong, Hawthorn and the Bulldogs have more options all over the ground (especially up forward and in the middle) and this makes these teams a little tougher to counter than teams with less options. At the other end of the ladder Port’s forward line is out of form, West Coast are struggling with injury and Melbourne’s list has gone Titanic. This means that these three clubs suffer from a lack of options and are at the foot of the ladder.
St Kilda vs. Essendon Telstra Dome
Ross Lyon has admitted defeat and consigned his ‘three talls’ to the too hard basket in preparation for tonight’s clash with the Bombers. The G Train will remain stationary this week after failing to provide a strong platform for the Saints with just seven snags so far this season (sorry, got a little off track there). Going smaller up forward might not be a bad idea when you consider that the Dons boast a formidable array of taller back half options in Ryder, Micheal and Fletcher. It really is time for Stevie Milne to get amongst the goals in Matty Stokes style but it would help the Saints if the midfielders could kick a few too. Meanwhile, in the Essendon camp there are plenty of winged Bombers. Matty Lloyd has been named but don’t be too surprised to see Courtney Johns suit up instead. The loss of McVeigh will prove crucial to the Bombers in this match. With the Bombers struggling to get their best team on the park and the Saints coming off two losses, expect St Kilda to salute here.
St Kilda by 25 points.
Geelong vs. Sydney Cat Park
The Swannies return to a venue they haven’t won at this decade without spearhead Barry Hall for the second successive time. Paul Roos obviously hasn’t checked his calendar though as he still thinks that the Cats are shit scared of Nicole Davis (who didn’t get a sniff last year in the same fixture). In fact many Sydney fans might feel they are a chance, talking up that big 2007 comeback and saying how lucky Geelong were to hang on. Well, if we have four injured players on the bench for two quarters Sydney might be in with a chance but when both teams were fit the Cats blew the Swans away in the first half in the wet, like many other sides last year. This won’t be a walk in the Cat Park for the premiers though as the Swans look very fit and have added a bit more youth and run into their team. Cam Mooney will make the most of his reprieve and by the end of the match, Roos may well leave with an up to date calendar but not the four points.
Geelong by 18 points.
Adelaide vs. Fremantle AAMI Stadium
Now that everyone is once again splitting their sides over the comedy gold as presented by the Fremantle Dockers, it would be just like them to up and knock off the Blackbirds at AAMI Stadium this week. Tarrant is out and whenever that is the case the Dockers look a much better team (harsh but true). The Dockers beat Adelaide twice last season so it’s not exactly uknown for Freo to win at AAMI. However, after last week’s meek effort against the Tigers my faith in the Purple Haze is deeply shaken. I have in the past allowed my hatred of the Adelaide Crows to prematurely predict their demise but this season they have played some decent footy and I want in on the early season bandwagon. The loss against the Hawks in Tassie coming off a slogging showdown was predictable but to me the Blackbirds are not a side that will put in consecutive flat efforts. The cannot be said of Freo. Adelaide have more consistent match winners and should go on and take the points at home.
Adelaide by 33 points.
Brisbane vs. Hawthorn Gabba
The Brown and Bradshaw show has put the Gorillas back on the football map but only 30 minutes earlier the Lions were eight goals down against a side that is fairly soft and hasn’t won a game all season. The Lions are capable of playing brilliant and shocking football during the course of the same match and haven’t quite got the four quarter thing happening just yet. This week’s opponent Hawthorn has a very ordinary record at the Gabba but they have improved just a little bit since they put on a shocker with Brisbane in round one of last year. Ah, you see, it all comes back to those options…elementary my dear Jobe Watson. While the Lions match the Hawks in midfield (just shaded by the Hawks perhaps), rucks and in the tall forwards department, the Hawks look much better in defence and have better small forwards as well. The Hawks return to just about full strength and are in form and represent a much tougher task than was miraculously overcome against the winless Power.
Hawthorn by 31 points.
Collingwood vs. North Melbourne MCG
The Pies were well and truly plucked by the Blueboys last week and won’t find the going any easier this week when they confront North at the MCG. Adam Simpson said during the week that this season the MCG was a hard surface that takes a toll on the runners with sore feet being the result. If this is the case then this factor would favour the Roos as the Pies have played three matches at the home of football already this year. The Pies also appear to be very unsettled in defence, Goldsack coming back in to replace the suspended Maxwell, Brown probably being brought back to the backline with O’Brien struggling on the Fev last week, still no Presti. Against a forward line of Thomspon, Grant, Edwards, Jones, Campbell and Thomas this is not a good look. North have their own problems in the back half with Gibson going in for a clean out but they do have the options to cover Rocca and Cloke in Petrie and Firrito. I reckon Harvey can play another Boomer and get the Roos rolling in what is the hardest match of the round to tip for mine. Collingwood to improve, but it’s North in a close one.
North Melbourne by 7 points.
Melbourne vs. Carlton MCG
On Sunday the MCG will be full to overflowing with bouyant Blues supporters who will watch their team go into a match as favourites, a rare occurence indeed in recent years. Richard Pratt has kindly printed off thousands of cardboard ‘spot the Demons supporter’ cards for Blues fans to amuse themselves during the quarter and half time intervals. Now I know only a week ago I said ‘Never again’ when it comes to tipping the Blues but Melbourne are an untippable rabble. Any team that even when they are trying can’t hit a target will get smashed by any team who is hungry and they won’t come much more hungrier than the Blues this weekend. Carlton fans probably won’t thank me for it, but I’m tipping the Blues in a canter. Carlton are a side than can rack up big totals and who minds Fev will be anyone’s guess..it will probably be the ‘battle of the hairstyles’ with Nathan Carrol with the Fev winning that as well. Don’t forget to pick up your Visy cards…fun for all the family.
Carlton by 45 points.
Western Bulldogs vs. Richmond Telstra Dome
There are probably three things you wouldn’t want your team to be doing on any given round. Going to Geelong, going to Tassie and playing the Bulldogs at Telstra coming off a long break. Richmond’s reward for its eye catching win against the Dockers is to return to a venue they haven’t won at since 2006 against an in form Dogs team who are coming off a nine day break. I believe the extra two days will be the crucial factor of this match. Richmond have shown remarkable improvement this season but will run out of gas in the last quarter and a half against a Bulldogs side that appears to now have that elusive self belief. They don’t know when they are beaten.
Quite often against a side without that winning culture that can be enough. Players such as Cooney, Cross, Akermanis, Griffen, Gilbee and Hahn will provide plenty of willing workhorses to provide Johnson, Minson and Welsh opportunities to score. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this match will be to see if Richard Tambling and some of the younger Tiger defenders can back up their good performances the week before (Still no Bowden sports fans). Recent history has shown with this group is that they do not.
Western Bulldogs by 41 points.
West Coast vs. Port Subiaco
In the ‘meh’ game of the round we have two former giants slugging it out with what appears to be their final breath at Subiaco in the twighlight game. Old farts like me might be putting on the slippers and sipping some Port (not the Power variety) and having a bit of a nanna nap as this match meanders to its conclusion. Such is the plight of these two sides. West Coast have made another raft of changes and appear to be sinking. Port don’t know whether to pick the out of form forward or the forward who has never played there on the first place – perhaps Tredders will have another string to his bow. The Eagles look flat and the Power look soft. This one is for fans only folks unless the Power can bring the coda of the round to a crashing finish by coughing up another lead. Providing it stays dry in Perth then the Power will open their account.
Port by 36 points.
There you guy folks, another five winners. But which ones I don’t hear you ask!