The previews below are written by

Firstly my apologies to everyone that I was unable to do the Previews for last week. Unfortunately work takes precedence on occasion, and being interstate meant that I was just unable to get near a computer in order to get them done, however we are back for Round 15. Surprising to realise that there are only 7 rounds left before the finals. 7 more rounds of misery for half of us.

Friday 13 July

St Kilda v Adelaide
Telstra Dome @ 7:40pm

The Saints have been disappointing for those that still think they are a force to be reckoned with. For me however, this year is panning out exactly as I expected. An unhealthy reliance upon a few blokes who are not as great as the medja think, a couple of unfortunate injuries, and not enough other blokes stepping up to the plate.
Adelaide on the other hand is a bit of a surprise. They seem to be heading towards finals with a bit of self-belief and a different focus on their training regime than in previous years and they may well make a statement come September.
This game should be a quality game to watch with their respective seasons both on the line – St. Kilda is in a little more trouble that Adelaide but a loss for the Crows could be very costly in the long run.
Maguire is back and slotting in at full-back reasonably well. It will take him a fair while to really feel back, but he is a great player and St. Kilda need him at his best. I would suggest he will probably play on Ricciuto rather than McGregor. I think the big hairy Mac will play at CHF, with Bock slotting into a flank or pocket. Gram would be a good match-up for Welsh which would enable the young Saint to use his rebound/run to exploit Bock’s lack of accountability. Regardless of how the Adelaide forwards line up, there will be a lot of movement and swapping between positions as they try to find the right matchups.
Down the other end, you would imagine that Rutten will shut-down Gehrig. Fraser just doesn’t seem likely to get amongst it these days and seems to have lost focus and motivation as a general rule. Rutten won’t need to shut him down as Fraser has already done that himself. Similarly with Riewoldt, he will try hard and Stevens will allow him to get a lot of marks on the lead but he is not at all damaging these days and is just a so-so footballer anyway. Milne again promises a lot but has been found wanting on the big stage time and time and time again. Neil Craig wouldn’t waste McLeod on the number 44 so expect someone like Torney or even Massie to run with him.
The big issue will be the midfielders, as always. Harvey continues getting the ball and using it well. Wouldn’t a McLeod/Harvey matchup be something to look forward to? It may happen from time to time during the match, but Harvey will spend most of his time in the guts, an Shirley will likely tag him or Dal Santo. Montagna has really stepped up in recent weeks and is proving to be a damaging player so van Berlo should run with him to limit his effectiveness.
Even though it should be a good game, I can’t see St. Kilda winning and I tip the Crows by 27 points.

B: Blake, Maguire, Baker
HB: Gram, S.Fisher, L.Fisher
C: Fiora, Hayes, Montagna
HF: Harvey Riewoldt, X.Clarke
F: Milne, Gehrig, Gilbert
FOLL: Koschitzke, Dal Santo, Ball
I/C: Attard, Birss, Thompson, Rix
EM: R.Clarke, Watts, Ferguson
IN: Birss, Thompson
OUT: R.Clarke, Voss

B: Massie, Rutten, Johncock
HB: Torney, Stevens, McLeod
C: Goodwin, Shirley, van Berlo
HF: Welsh, Bock, Reilly
F: Knights, McGregor, Ricciuto
FOLL: Hudson, Edwards, Thompson
I/C: Doughty, Burton, Maric, Douglas
EM: Perrie, Jericho, Mattner
IN: Douglas
OUT: Porplyzia (hamstring)

FIELD UMPIRES: McLaren, Ryan, Jeffery

Saturday 14 July

Geelong v Collingwood
M.C.G @ 2:40pm

I wouldn’t normally get excited about a match of the round that involves Collingwood but this match promises to be a ripper. I am really only excited because I am sick of the medja going over-the-top about the Pies and I want to see how well they go against a real contender. I have to accept that Collingwood itself IS a true contender but the years of hatred that have been built up are difficult to just ignore. I will say it straight out that Collingwood is actually a decent side and they are playing a good brand of hard, tough, committed football. I just hope they come-a-cropper very soon.
Geelong continues to take all before it as it storms to what could be a drought breaking year. They are getting very toey down the highway and although they won’t admit it, the town is hopping madly, praying that THIS is the year.
Rocca is straight back into the side after his indiscretion a few weeks ago. Good to see Chris Bryan back in the fold as well and I would be happy to see him played at CHB on Cam Mooney. It is unlikely to happen, but Bryan SHOULD have been played at CHB for Carlton over the past two years. He has a good grab, is a booming kick, is reasonably mobile and contests very well. Put him there Malthouse and see how he goes. Unfortunately he won’t. Goldsack will probably get him, or even o”Brien which would be an interesting match-up. If Bryan doesn’t go to him, expect Mooney to kick 6,
The midfield names seem to match up pretty well. Swan, Burns, Licuria, O’Bree, Thomas and Pendlebury against Bartel, Wojcinski, Corey, Varcoe, Ling and a sick Gary Ablett will create a lot of rotations through the centre square and around the grounds. I don’t think that either coach will really worry too much about tagging to be honest. They will back their own players to get the ball in a fair one-to-one contest. The only issue will be the accountability. If there are no direct match-ups, when the turnovers come, the questions will be asked as to who is accountable for who. It will happen on BOTH sides.
NUTS Ottens should get on top of NUTS Fraser and Egan should take Cloke completely out of the game, leaving the onus on the Collingwood mids to kick lots of goals. They are capable of doing it if they are allowed to run free so it could well be a high scoring game if the rain holds off.
There will be a tough pairing of Corey Enright on Didak and I wouldn’t expect Didak to get near the ball very often if this is the case.

Geelong by 10 points.

B: Milburn, Scarlett, Enright
HB: Harley, Egan, Mackie
C: Wojcinski, Bartel, Corey
HF: Chapman, Mooney, Varcoe
F: S.Johnson, Hawkins, Stokes
FOLL: Ottens, Ling, G.Ablett
I/C: Blake, Kelly, Selwood, J.Hunt
EM: Gardiner, D.Johnson, Byrnes
IN: J.Hunt
OUT: Tenace

B: Johnson, Wakelin, O’Brien
HB: H.Shaw, Goldsack, Maxwell
C: Clarke, Burns, Licuria
HF: Thomas, Cloke, Davis
F: D
idak, Rocca, Lockyer
FOLL: Fraser, O’Bree, Swan
I/C: Iles, Medhurst, Pendlebury, Bryan
EM: Lonie, Reid, Cook
IN: Rocca, Bryan
OUT: Reid, Cox

FIELD UMPIRES: McBurney, Margetts, Rosebury

Saturday 14 July

Essendon v Western Bulldogs
Telstra Dome @ 7:10pm

Congratulations to Scott Camporeale for achieving his 250th game. – Rah-rah-rah. I am sure there are many Essendon supporters who will be finding it excrutiatingly difficult to cheer this sort of milestone for one of their most destested opponents (historically speaking). Still, good on Sheedy for giving Campo another chance to play finals.
Sadly the Bombre’s have been decimated by injury and suspension (Ho ho…very funny.. ha is to laff!)
Hird, Fletcher, McVeigh, Davey, all gone, and a big question mark over Paddy Ryder who has been named in the ruck. Don’t expect Ryder to play at all, which would mean Laycock will take most of the rucking duties. Autumn Leaves Lloyd is back to “structure up” the Bombre’s along with Monfries and Stanton so they are some quality players coming back in.
The Doggies are only just going. No-one can really tell how far either. They are up and down like the proverbial yo-yo and this is the sort of game they SHOULD win but will probably drop. Sadly West is out injured and Eagleton comes in as an adequate replacement, if not a gun replacement.
Gee, all year I have been thinking that Essendon will trip over and fall on their knees before a mercy killing but they just keep on winning against all odd’s. Sheedy has them playing some committed tough footy, which they haven’t played for a few years but there is a steely resolve about them this year. Whether that is because Hird has indicated he won’t go on, or whether the players want Sheed’s there for another few years is irrelevant but it will be answered in this game. IF the Bombers lose, it will be because Hird is not there.
With so many quality players out, you couldn’t conceiveably expect Essendon to win but no-one except the most ardent Bombre would have expected wins against West Coast and Sydney. They will give it a good shot.
For Footscray, it’s full-forward line is a concern. Grant is underdone, Darcy is underdone and Robbins is underdone. It will be incumbent upon the smaller players to kick a lot of goals, and if Eade has the focused on maximising on Essendon’s mistakes, there will be every opportunity they will do so. Good to see Aker progressing well at his new club and I would expect him to run amok in this game.
I think the Doggies will win by 4 goals.

B: Nash, Hislop, Michael
HB: M.Johnson, Lovett-Murray, Ramanauskas
C: McPhee, Peverill, Camporeale
HF: Slattery, Laycock, Welsh
F: Lovett, Lloyd, Lucas
FOLL: Ryder, Stanton, Watson
I/C: Dyson, Monfries, Hille, J.Johnson
EM: Heffernan, Bradley, Bolton
IN: Lovett-Murray, Camporeale, Lloyd, Stanton, Monfries
OUT: Johns, Davey (arm), Hird (calf), Fletcher (susp), McVeigh (susp)

B: McMahon, Harris, Morris
HB: Gilbee, Williams, Hargrave
C: Higgins, Eagleton, Akermanis
HF: Giansiracusa, Johnson, Hahn
F: Grant, Darcy, Robbins
FOLL: Street, Cooney, Boyd
I/C: Harbrow, Murphy, Ray, Everitt
EM: Minson, Addison, Wight
IN: Eagleton
OUT: West (groin)

FIELD UMPIRES: Donlon, Allen, Wenn

Saturday 14 July

Port Adelaide v West Coast
AAMI Stadium @ 2:40pm

How the mighty are falling. First Sydney have been struggling all year and now the Eagles are find that being the hunted is catching up with them. Alas, greatness is not perpetual but at least they have a Premiership Cup and Pennant to remind them of just how good they were in the mid Y2K’s.
It’s hard to put a finger on just where the Eagles are struggling. The uninformed would simply say “Cousins” but that is too simplistic. Add Judd’s injury to that, Kerr’s suspensions, Cox’s early season absence, and a general state of disrepair to
the list at the moment, and you have a lot of problems. I think that Woosha has done well to gloss over them for the past two months but 2 wins in 6 is pretty much a death knell in current day footy.
Port on the other hand are looking up. Their mid-season issues seem to have been dealt with and the coaching staff seem to have accepted that Tredders is not the Tredders of old, but he will give a decent contest as an impact player. Westhoff is shouldering a huge responsibility at the moment and is doing it with poise and polish. Again, a credit to Choco for putting faith in this young kid, and he is repaying that faith in droves. Playing on Glass will really be a learning experience for him if that happens, but I think that Tredders will still be the main guy for Glass, and Hunter will take the young bloke.
The Chad and The Brother love getting the ball, and will get around 25 touches each, as well as the Burgoynes, and with the much-vaunted Eagles midfield no longer as strong as it once was, Port could find itself in a very enviable position with the ability to inflict more pain on the Eagles. Bad luck for “The Other” (Chad Fletcher) with his injured groin as well.
But the Eagles are not a great side on the back of one or three players. Cox is back in great form, the Jones boys are playing good footy, Priddis has taken every challenge in his stride, and LeCras continues to give another goal-kicking target up forward.
The game breaker at Footy Park on Saturday could well be Seaby. He has been just going from week to week but is improving and I think he is ready for a huge effort. He could well be sick of playing second fiddle to Cox, but if he is placed at CHF and encouraged to take risks and trust his first instinct, I would expect him to turn in a beauty. Wilson will probably take him and it could be a huge boon for anyone with Seaby in their Dreamteams this week.
Regardless of what Seaby does do, I still expect Port will win by a goal.

B: Carlile, Thurstans, Wilson
HB: Surjan, C.Cornes, P.Burgoyne
C: Lonie, S.Burgoyne, Cassisi
HF: Pearce, Tredrea, Motlop
F: Brogan, Westhoff, Ebert
FOLL: Lade, K.Cornes, Rodan
I/C: Bentley, Boak, Pettigrew, Thomson
EM: Krakouer, Chaplin, Lower
IN: Pearce
OUT: Mahoney

B: McKenzie, Glass, Selwood
HB: Waters, Hunter, B.Jones
C: Embley, Priddis, Braun
HF: Chick, C.Jones, R.Jones
F: LeCras, Lynch, Seaby
FOLL: Cox, Judd, Hurn
I/C: Graham, McKinley, Morton, Rosa
EM: Houlihan, Spangher, Thomson
IN: Armstrong, Mackenzie, McKinley, Morton
OUT: Fletcher (groin), Graham (calf), Wirrpanda (groin), Kerr (susp)
NEW: Eric Mackenzie, Selection No.29 at 2006 NAB AFL Draft from Claremont; Ben McKinley, Selection No.29 at 2005 NAB AFL Draft, from Northern Under-18s

FIELD UMPIRES: Vozzo, Head, Avon

tyle=”font-weight: bold;”>GAME 5
Saturday 14 July

Melbourne v Brisbane Lions
Gabba @ 7:10pm

Hmmm.. a home game interstate for the Demons. We have spoken ad nauseum about the benefits or not of selling home games over the past two years so I won’t mention it again here, suffice to say that I am just glad that neither side is really in the hunt for a finals appearance this year.
The Demon’s would fancy their chances against Brisbane who will justifiably be over the moon with their efforts last week against the reigning premier.
Sad to see Ricky Petterd with a collapsed lung and all of us at <a href=””>Footytalk</a> wish him a speedy and healthy recovery. He has been one of the few shining lights this year, in the absence of Footytalk’s own Clint Bartram. To really be a threat in this game however, they must get more from Aaron Davey who is suffering from the ignominy of being the only player this year to be pantsed by Ryan Houlihan. Robbo also needs to get a lot more of the ball but you can’t really complain when he kicks 5 I guess.
Brisbane as a team were brilliant last week. Copeland was crucial up forward, and Brennan showed glimpses of what he is capable of doing when he is on-song. Let’s hope that he can continue it for at least the rest of the year because he has freakish abilities and we love watching him play.
It’s also going to be great watching Leuenberger develop over the years and he should be able to learn a lot playing at FF on Carroll this week. Carroll is out of sorts in ’07 so expect the young draftee to really get amongst it during this game.
Issac Newton was great last week against the Blues and will be a difficult match-up for Merret or possibly even Roe.
The dangerous Brisbane on-ballers will be licking their lips at the prospects of their possible opponents in this match however I would suggest that Brown should take MacDonald, Wheatley on Notting, McDonald on Lappin and Mclean on Black.
Perhaps the biggest issue in this game will be how well Brisbane copes with its unexpected victory against the odds last week and how they react on the park.
I think Matthews will have them well grounded and the Lions will win by 12 points

B: Ward, Carroll, Frawley
HB: Dunn, Bizzell, Brown
C: Bruce, McDonald, Wheatley
HF: Godfrey, Robertson, Davey
F: Sylvia, Miller, Bate
FOLL: White, McLean, Jones
I/C: P.Johnson, C.Johnson, Newton, Buckley
EM: Moloney, Holland, Garland
IN: Bruce
OUT: Petterd

B: Copeland, Merrett, Roe
HB: Adcock, Drummond, Brennan
C: Notting, Lappin, Stiller
HF: Macdonald, Brown, Selwood
F: Rischitelli, Leuenberger, Patfull
FOLL: Charman, Black, Power
I/C: McGrath, Hamill, Mills, Hooper
EM: Wood, Harding, Hadley
IN: McGrath
OUT: Begley (shoulder)

FIELD UMPIRES: Ellis, K.Nicholls, Pannell

Sunday 15 July

Sydney Swans v Carlton
SCG @ 1:10pm

It pains me to have to do a preview for this game because the match will be over before it even starts. Just let Carlton have a holiday in Sydney and not have to worry about playing the game.
Sydney will be on cruise mode and can afford to be during this game. It reeks of the round 22 game in 2006 and we all remember how badly that ended for the Blues.
Carlton does have some shining lights – they are few and far between but Simpson WILL become one of the premier midfielders in the comp during 2008. Same with Murphy and Gibbs in 2009. Walker, Fisher and O’hAilpin are also something to build upon but sadly their skills are a bit limited at times for the time being. Bannister will probably run with Goodes and Carrazzo will find it difficult to get a lot of the ball when matched up by “The Vice” in Captain Kirk.
“Don Jolly” and Spida will give an armchair ride to Bolton, Fosdike, Schneider, Ablett, the Esky, and Kirk. The Blues on-ballers would be better off trying to rove to the Sydney rucks instead of Carlos but they won’t. Silly boys!
Hall will be played into form again in this game by kicking 6, O’Loughlin will kick 5 and O’Keefe 4. Sydney will have about 14 goal kickers and even Ted Richards will chip in for 3.
I can’t see Fevola actually playing. Even though he has served his penance, it would be more beneficial for blokes like Hartlett, Kennedy, Grigg, not to look up the field at the big-chinned fuzzy-wuzzy angel barking abuse at them. The best thing for the Carlton Football Club would be for Fevalio to learn respect by playing for the Bullants for a week. Funnily enough, nothing seems to have changed in Fevola’s head in 5 years. *sigh*. Hate to say “I told you so, but…

Sydney by the length of the Hume Highway, going away. If Carlton escape this game with a less than 10 goal loss, it will be considered a victory.

B: Richards, Barry, Dempster
HB: Bevan, C.Bolton, Mathews
C: Ablett, Kirk, Malceski
HF: R.O’Keefe, O’Loughlin, Goodes
F: Schneider, Hall, Everitt
FOLL: Jolly, J.Bolton, Fosdike
I/C from: Schmidt, Davis, McVeigh, Kennelly
Laidlaw, Vogels,
IN: Laidlaw, Vogels, Roberts-Thomson

B: Gibbs, Thornton, Houlihan
HB: Walker, Hartlett, Scotland
C: Bower, Carrazzo, Lappin
HF: Wiggins, Koutoufides, Murphy
F: Young, O’hAilpin, Fisher
FOLL: Kennedy, Waite, Simpson
I/C from: Bannister, Bentick, Blackwell, Grigg, Russell, Fevola, Betts
IN: Bannister, Blackwell, Fevola

Sunday 15 July

Hawthorn v Richmond
MCG @ 2:10pm

The Hawks have come back to a earth with a thud. And it’s a good thing. So sick of Hawthorn supporters getting ahead of themselves. You can be forgiven if you are still in your teens because that’s what is expected but for 30-40 year olds still getting ahead of themselves, well, they are the sort of blokes who belong in the Cheer Squad (like that Collingwood cretin in the gold jacket). There is a saying.. Life… get one! And it is entirely appropriate in this case.
Now lets look at this game. Even though Hawthorn scored their lowest score for around 30-odd years last week, and even though it is the lowest score of the year for 2007, and even though the 4 worst games of the year have all involved the brown and gold, they are not such a bad side. They were just soundly beaten all over the ground last week by a more committed team and maybe Clarkson DID allow his boys to get ahead of themselves and become complacent. It won’t happen again this week.
How can that forward line of Hodge, Roughead, Dixon, and Franklin play badly again (I know Dixon didn’t play last week).
Richmond is competitive as a rule. They have a bunch of young kids who will form the basis of a very good side in years to come and
while the loss of Deledio is unfortunate, it does give an opportuity to Hartigan or Moore to show their wares a bit more.
Dana Sewell should take Circus Foley’s and it will be interesting to see how the young Tiger copes with the extra attention from a guy who should be All-Aussie. In fact they both should be All-Australians. And the Tuck brothers should get a chance to run against each other at some stage during the match which will be interesting. In the ruck stocks, Campbell and Taylor should do it pretty easily against Pattison which therefore means the Hawks on-ballers will get a lot of it. They had want to use it a lot better than last week and because the opposition (on paper) is perceived as being weaker, you would expect Mitchell, Smith, Lewis, Young, McGlynn to provide a lot of opportunities to the forwards.
It’s difficult to talk up who will be the big dangers for Richmond. Richo, obviously, and Nathan Brown if he can continue his progress will be keys, along with Pettifer and Edwards could provide the impetus up forward to cause an upset but it looks very unlikely. The Tiger will have to gel as a committed unit, and to really shut down the Hawks runners for that to happen, but it won’t.
Clarkson’s boys will be focused and will win by 5 goals

B: Ladson, Gilham, Guerra
HB: Brown, Croad, Birchall
C: Smith, Mitchell, Young
HF: Dixon, Franklin, Crawford
F: Hodge, Roughead, Bateman
FOLL: Campbell, Sewell, Lewis
I/C from: Taylor, Ellis, Jacobs, Thorp, McGlynn, Thurgood, Tuck
IN: Dixon, Thorp, Tuck

B: King, Thursfield, J.Bowden
HB: Raines, Polak, Newman
C: Tambling, Tuck, Tivendale
HF: Pettifer, Richardson, Howat
F: Edwards, Brown, Simmonds
FOLL: Pattison, Johnson, Foley
I/C from: Hyde, Hartigan, Riewoldt, Moore, McGuane, Schulz, Jackson
IN: Moore, Hyde, Hartigan, McGuane, Schulz
OUT: Deledio (hand), White

FIELD UMPIRES: Stevic, Grun, Goldspink

Sunday 15 July

Fremantle v Kangaroos
Subiaco @ 2:40pm

Wouldn’t you just love to see North Melbourne get over the top of Freo. Imagine the fall-out from such a result. The Western Australian papers would be howling for blood and Pavlich would be walking out the door towards Footy Park. Well that is what the Melbourne papers would have you believe would be happening. At least Calib Mourish may get a look in for another senior berth at East Freo as he continues his development
North are a quality unit at the moment. Having won 9/11 and sitting equal 2nd on the ladder shows that they are playing as a unit – all focused on adhering to Laidley’s game plan and putting it all together for one purpose. Freo on the other hand is splintered and they are playing as a pack of individuals seeking to repair some perceived harm done to their own reputations rather than gelling together as a cohesive unit. All in all, it spells danger for the guys from Fremantle if this game goes according to their current ladder positions.
All the speculation regarding the Coach and the Captain cannot be having a good impact on the whole club and the best thing the Board could do is come out and say definitively that there will be no discussions on either until the year is over. That at least might stop some of the external cause of the haemorrhaging over there.
But getting back to this game. Expect the Dish to go back again after his exceptional few weeks. Freo will be expecting him forward but he will be needed against Tarrant while Firrito will take Pav. AT the other end, McPharlin will take Edwards and Grover will probably play on Brown who will start up forward.
Fremantle seem to play like a dispirited bunch at the moment and it is really hard to see where the spark will come from. Unless it comes directly from Pavlich and Peter Bell, there don’t seem to be any others who are willing and capable of putting a huge imprint on the game and changing it for the better. Sandilands has not lived up to his hype this year as yet and needs to lift. McIntosh will exploit his lack of pace and play as a linking midfielder by drifting to the half-forward line as an attacking option. Headland, the Carrs and McManus will get enough of the ball but they need to be damaging with their use and it just doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment.
On the other hand, the North midfield is fired up and playing with passion, commitment and skill.
Even though the game is at Subi, I think North might sneak a win by a goal.

B: Hayden, McPharlin, Thornton
HB: Black, Grover, Dodd
C: Headland, Carr, McManus
HF: Murphy, Pavlich, Solomon
F: Farmer, Tarrant, Warnock
FOLL: Sandilands, Johnson, Bell
I/C from: M.Carr, Hasleby, Parker, Schammer
Gilmore, Walker, Mundy
IN: Murphy, Gilmore, Walker

B: Pratt, Firrito, Sinclair
HB: Smith, Brown, Watt
C: Green, Harris, Grant
HF: Harvey, Jones, Wells
F: McMahon, Petrie, Hale
FOLL: McIntosh, Simpson, Rawlings
I/C from: Archer, Thomas, Lower, Moran, Edwards, Whyman, Swallow
IN: Thomas, Moran, Edwards, Whyman
OUT: Campbell

FIELD UMPIRES: Chamberlain, Hendrie, McInerney