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Friday 15 June 2007

Carlton v Hawthorn
Telstra Dome @ 7.40pm

The rumours abound that Boyle and Croad are unlikely to play. Will it change the outcome of the game if they don’t?
After their respective pathetic performances last week, you would have to say no but as both are quality players on their day the chances are they wouldn’t have two bad ones in a row.
It has been all over the medja lately – the fact that Carlton is the 2nd highest scoring team in the comp. My only comment would be that it doesn’t mean a hell of a lot if your opposition are scoring MORE than you. Still the Blues are playing a lovely brand of footy and it is a pleasure to watch, more so than Hawthorn’s LRB version of the game.

This game should be tagged the “Unmoveable Object” (Hawthorn) vs the “Irrisistible Force” (Carlton). It will almost be as big as the original UO v IF match up between Hulk Hogan and The Ultimate Warrior in Wrestlemania 7. Let’s get back to the footy.
Whilst the Blues have been playing an open game which encourages plenty of run, plenty of movement and a multi-pronged forward line, the Hawks play the opposite. They squeeze the life out of the game and niggle, nag and shut the game down with their in-and-under players. Hawthorn also relies on a lot of run once they have managed to shut the opposition down. Mitchell, Crawford, Bateman, Lewis and Hodge are as good a midfield as any going around at the moment and they will get plenty of the ball from Campbell and Taylor. By comparison, the Blues midfield looks slow and undermanned against their more vaunted opponents. Bentick – slow, Carazzo – slow, Blackwell – slow. If the game is going to be won in the midfield, then it will be a case of how far the Hawks.

Dana Sewell has been a revelation and his tagging has become so negating that very few of the biggest names in footy have escaped his clutches. The job that he will do on Murphy will be very important. The young Blue is still struggling to shake a tagger and he won’t escape from Dana very easily. Just looking at the names makes me wonder why Clarkson would try to play such a negative game plan. He has quick, skilled midfielders in abundance and is suffocating their natural flair with this flooding rubbish. He should go “au naturale” and let them go commando.!

I think this game will be won, surprisingly, in Carlton’s forward line. If Fevola, Fisher, Lappin and Whitnall can get their hands on the ball a lot, then they should be able to kick a winning score. The Hawks backline has been measley to say the least. Not great scores kicked against it, and with Campbell Brown in “NUTS-cracking” form, it is hard to penetrate.

The main match-ups should be Brown on Fevola. Interestingly, Brown has been doing the job on bigger opponents all year and is in All-Australian form. Gilham will probably take Whitnall if Croad doesn’t play, and Guerra on Fisher would be a good match-up for the Hawks although the young Blue IS a goal-kicker and should chime in with a few regardless of who plays on him.

The big question on everyones lips is who will play on Buddy. Franklin is an enigma and I am not going to purport him to be a “Superstar” or “Champion” just yet. He needs to be more consistent within games instead of just an impact player, but at the moment he can have a magnificent impact on any game he plays. He is a quality kid and will probably break the game open in a 15 minute stint in the second quarter where he will kick 5. I would play Waite on him, as Jarred Waite seems to be the logical matchup in size and strength. Waites better marking skills could be a way to exploit Franklin on the rebound. Also expect to see Bannister run with Hodge whereever he goes.

I would like to tip the Blues but the ability to break a collective tag and flood has not been tested by the new-look Blues and they won’t find as much space as they want. I am tipping a draw!

B: Gibbs Thornton Saddington
HB: Walker Waite Scotland
C: Simpson Bentick Houlihan
HF: Murphy Whitnall Lappin
F: Blackwell Fevola Fisher
FOLL: Ackland Koutoufides Rover: Carrazzo
INTER: Bannister O’hAilpin Wiggins Russell
EMERG: Bower Hartlett Young

B: Guerra Gilham Brown
HB: Birchall Croad Ladson
C: Bateman Sewell Lewis
HF: Mitchell Franklin Crawford
F: Jacobs Roughead Boyle
FOLL: Campbell McGlynn Rover: Hodge
INTER: Osborne Smith Taylor Young
EMERG: Ellis Thorp Murphy

Saturday 16 June 2007

Kangaroos v Adelaide
Carrara Oval @ 7.10pm

North is back at home in Carrara. Disgrace. AT least it will be reasonably warm up there. They just keep getting better and better each week. They don’t know how to say die, and apart from one quarter against West Coast, they have been in exceptional form.
The Crows ran the Premiership favourites close last week but really it is a game they should have won. They will be disappointed that they lost at home, even though they were playing the red hot Pussies who are in rare form.
Good to see NUTS Wells back for the Roos.
This should be a great game because both sides are quality units. The Crows just seem to be trying to manufacture a desire for the contest at the moment when a lot of players have dropped off in recent weeks. There is no flow to their play and the old chestnut of not having a forward line is really hitting home. Even with McGregor back in the side, the forward options don’t seem capable of kicking a big score.
North on the other hand is playing winning footy. The players are working together as a fluid unit for one main purpose and goal, and there is not a lot of focus on individuality except for Brent Harvey.
Firrito should take Ricciuto and Dish on Bock. Depending on whether the big hairy Mac plays upforward or not, Shannon Watt would take him. The reliance on the small forwards such as Porplyzia, Welsh and Thompson to an extent is of real concern to Craig and they will have to find another avenue to goal this week to beat North. Looking at the names on paper however, you just can’t see where that avenue is running.
Conversely, North’s forward line does have a lot of different paths to goal. Hale and Edwards might not be huge names but they are doing their jobs. Corey Jones along with Shannon Grant and Harvey have been instrumental in North’s new-found belief. He-who-shall-not-be-named continues to sicken me with his diving but hopefully he has read of his sacking on <a href=“”>Footytalk</a> and will get that out of his game immediately.
You would imagine that Rutten will keep Leigh Brown quiet, and McLeod will run off Grant at every opportunity. If there are turn-overs down the line however, this could spell danger for the ageing veteran number 23.
Simpson will probably be tagged for the first time in his career by Shirley and this could well be the matchup that is the game-breaker.
At home on the Gold Coast, I think North will win by 2 goals.

B: Archer Firrito Pratt
HB: Smith Petrie Watt
C: Rawlings Swallow Wells
HF: Harvey Hale Grant
F: Jones Brown Edwards
FOLL: McIntosh Simpson Rover: Harris
INTER: Sinclair Lower Thomas Camp
EMERG: Sansbury Green Whyman
IN: Wells
OUT: Green

B: Johncock Rutten Bassett
HB: McLeod McGregor Torney
C: Doughty Shirley Mattner
HF: Welsh Bock Thompson
F: Porplyzia Ricciuto Stevens
FOLL: Hudson Goodwin Rover: Edwards
INTER: Massie Griffin van Berlo Knights
EMERG: Douglas Jericho Vince
IN: Massie
OUT: Jericho

Saturday 16 June 2007

Fremantle v Western Bulldogs
TIO Stadium (Darwin) @ 7.10pm

So many homes away from home in this round. This one is in Darwin and it is a Footscray home game. I know we have to take the game to the people but this is getting a bit ridiculous isnt it. I mean.. really. No offence to the Darwinians but if the infrastructure is not there, why bother. Freo were lucky last week to get a win at home against a spirited Tiger outfit. The Doggies easily took the points against an uninspired Brisbane after dropping it’s previous games.

Like Adelaide, both these sides are treading water – sometimes drowning and sometimes doing enough to stay afloat. And all that within games, not just between them. what will happen in this game is anyone’s guess. It really is hard to call. Here and now I will say that Chris Tarrant will be the game breaker. With Cross and Griffen going down injured, I can’t see the Doggies containing the Freo midfield and as a result, the Freo forwards should get a lot of opportunity to kick a decent score. Tarrant has not has his kicking boots on this year but I think he will have been doing a lot of practice this week and he should kick 5 to help the Dockers to a narrow win.
You would expect Pav to kick a few and maintain his rage after derogatory comments from Grant Thomas prior to the last round. He will find it difficult against Williams but maybe even Hargrave will run with him for a while. Harris will play on Taz and whilst Harris is in great form, you would expect Taz to spend more time on a flank as a leading target, letting Pav float down deep into the goal square. Hmm.. in thinking that, maybe Pav will kick 5 instead.
The other dangers up forward for Freo are Headland who has just about served his 5 week “suspended sentence”, and Solomon who ads a bit of grunt, albeit misplaced on many occasions. McMahon, and Morris will have their work cut out to really rebound off these two blokes but if they can do it effectively, the Doggies are in with a half a chance.
Up forward for the Dogs, Darcy needs to play well to justify his place in the side. He is acting as a decoy at the moment, but needs to imprint himself on the game amd justify his place in the squad.
Freo has loaded up it’s forward line with McPharlin and Thornton. Don’t for a minute think they will play there. McPharlin will play on Darcy and Thornton should go back to as well. Mundy on Hahn seems likely, as does Dodd on Murphy and Black on the former Falcon, Henry Higgins.
Street and Sandilands will nullify themselves. I think Peter Street is not a bad ruckman and seriously, if Footscray choose to use him as an attacking link player on the wing whilst Sandilands runs around chasing his reputation, it wouldn’t be such a bad move.
Don’t be surprised to see Crowley go straight to West to limit his output, and Walker to run with Aker as an attacking tagger will be interesting to see.
In the end though, after the cool rooms have been used ad nauseum and the Channel 10 commentators make comment about them every 3 minutes, expect to see Fremantle with the 4 points to the tune of 4 goals.

B: Hayden Grover Dodd
HB: Black Johnson Mundy
C: Walker Bell Peake
HF: Solomon Pavlich Headland
F: Thornton Tarrant McPharlin
FOLL: Sandilands Hasleby Rover: J Carr
INTER: Crowley M Carr McManus Warnock
EMERG: Cook Drum Ibbotson
IN: Crowley
OUT: Ibbotson

Western Bulldogs
B: McMahon Harris Morris
HB: Gilbee Williams Hargrave
C: Eagleton West Akermanis
HF: Giansiracusa Johnson Hahn
F: Murphy Darcy Higgins
FOLL: Street Cooney Rover: Boyd
INTER: Addison Lynch Harbrow Ray
EMERG: Everitt Minson Power
IN: Lynch McMahon
OUT: Cross (knee) Griffen (knee)
NEW: Malcolm Lynch, 19, NSW/ACT U18

Sunday 17 June 2007

Geelong v Brisbane Lions
Skilled Stadium @ 1.10pm

On current form there is no way Brisbane will get anywhere near Geelong in this game so they may be better not showing up at all. The Cats are all the rage at the moment, taking all challenges head on and there seems to be a steely resolve about Thompson and his boys. Brisbane on the other hand seems to be playing well within itself and not really doing much to improve its ladder “bank balance”.
NUTS Ottens has really stepped up the pace on his career since being freed into the ruck. We were calling for it for 3 years at and thankfully the message finally got through to the coach down there at Kardinia Park. He is playing with freedom and also lack of a man-on-man opponent so is getting his hands on the ball. A LOT! Young Blake is a more than effective back-up and the drive that these two give to Ablett, Ling, Bartel and Wojciniski is as important to Geelong’s self-belief as their solid backline is. They all seem to be working in tandem which is great news for Victorian Footy.
The Lions are just thereabouts. Some great young kids and some older blokes who are finding they can’t do it all on their own. Lappin and Black are now just shadows of their former selves since the disintegration of their Premiership teammates has taken effect. They still get a lot of the ball, but with Brown out of form, and the younger blokes like Patful, Sherman, Hadley, Clark not yet ready to play as those heroes of old, there is just not enough grunt coming from the Lions to win this game.
Matthews will be keen to try and shut down as many of Geelong’s runners as he can. I would even use Colm Begley on Wojcinski, and tag Bartel with Copeland in the middle. Just get him to run with him all day. This probably means that Hadley won’t be used in the guts as much but you win on another aspect of the game.
The main match-ups to watch will be Egan on Brown, Brennan on Johnson, Notting and Wojincski, Merrett on Mooney, and Black/G.Ablett pairing.
No-one will imagine that an under-manned Brisbane will get close to the Cats on their own dunghill, and I am tipping Geelong by 10 goals.

B: Milburn Scarlett Enright
HB: Mackie Egan Harley
C: Corey Bartel Wojcinski
HF: Chapman Mooney Varcoe
F: S Johnson N Ablett Stokes
FOLL: Ottens G Ablett Rover: Ling
INTER: Blake Selwood Kelly Tenace Hunt Prismall Gardiner

Brisbane Lions
B: MacDonald Merrett Brennan
HB: Adcock Drummond Copeland
C: Notting Lappin Stiller
HF: Sherman Brown Selwood
F: Rischitelli Patfull Wood
FOLL: Charman Black Rover: Hadley
INTER: McGrath Hooper Begley Roe Tyler Dzufer Proud

Sunday 17 June 2007

Port Adelaide v Essendon
AAMI Stadium @ 4.10pm

The most worrying aspect o
f footy for Choco Williams will be to answer how his team has succumbed to the pressure of being on top of the ladder after 7 rounds, and then completely self-destruct to lose 4 in a row. His skipper is due to play his 200th this week and congratulations to Tredders but he is badly out of touch and really struggling to find the ball.
The Bombre’s on the other hand will be absolutely stoked with its recent form. After just getting home against Richmond, they have taken all before them and gone all the way with the last two Premiers. It pains me to say it, but maybe they are a bit better than I thought. (Still won’t make the 8 however)

Port had disappointing games all through the team last week. All at the same time. How can The Chad, S. Burgoyne, Salopek, Lade, Broganjosh, Tredders, Wilson, Pearce and Ebert all have off nights at once? Something in the water they didn’t expect here in Melbourne (it’s called a lack of taste).

So where will the game be won and lost? Firstly, I don’t expect all those players to have off-nights again so it should be a decent game to watch on the Sunday arvo. Ebert just has to do more up forward. Westhoff and Gray have been great in their two games so far but Port needs more from Ebert, P. Burgoyne, and White. Expect them to get it! They will need to make sure that Fletcher has an opponent this week. Sheedy says Fletch should be All-Australian Full Back. Disco could be All-Aussie full back if he played without an opponent each week for crying out loud. Guess what Sheeds! Dustbin doesn’t play full-back! Mal Michael will take Tredders which makes it important for White or Westhoff to actually make Dustbin accountable.
The Chad was poor last week and will be keen to make ammends. Expect him to take Lucas, while Wakelin will take Lloyd. I would probably play Symes on the Cathy Freeman lookalike and try to make McPhee accountable for Salopek by running those two together.
Rodan has been a revelation at Alberton this year and he is playing with gay abandon that sees him a very valuable member of the Port side. McVeigh will probably take him, and Rodan will have to be aware of McVeigh’s penchanct for going forward and kicking goals. S. Burgoyne and Nipples (Pearce) both need to do more and whilst they won’t have it easy against Stanton, Slattery, Peverill and Hird through the middle, good assistance from Candy Cornes will ensure that at least there is a lot of ball going up forward.
I reckon Port can cause an upset at home. Port by a goal.

Port Adelaide
B: Wilson Wakelin Thurstans
HB: Symes C Cornes Surjan
C: Cassisi S Burgoyne Salopek
HF: P Burgoyne Tredrea Pearce
F: Ebert White Westhoff
FOLL: Lade K Cornes Rover: Rodan
INTER: Bentley Boak Brogan Gray Lower Pettigrew Thomson

B: Hird Michael Bolton
HB: McVeigh Ryder Fletcher
C: Slattery Stanton McPhee
HF: Peverill Lucas Welsh
F: Davey Lloyd M Johnson
FOLL: Hille Watson Rover: Winderlich
INTER: Camporeale Johns J Johnson Laycock Heffernan Monfries Nash