Friday, 20 April
RICHMOND v WESTERN BULLDOGS,
MCG @ 7:40pm
These two teams have so far been two of the big disappointments of 2007. Richmond is yet to open its account, despite being in the situation where they could have won all three games. Footscray on the other hand has been outplayed significantly in the games it has lost and is struggling.
Itâ€™s an understatement to say that this game needs to be won by both teams. The question remains as to how each club might win it.
Richmond has been getting good drive and rebound off half-back this year with Newman, McGuane, Raines and Deledio spending some time there and with Joel Bowden continuing his good form from 2006, they have been solid down back for most of each game. Up forward, Richo has been his usual self and any discussion about his status as â€œchampionâ€ surely would have to look at his record over a long period of time.
Richmond needs to find more goalkickers and while Schulz has been serviceable so
far, he should be doing more. Same with Tivendale and Pettifer. Richmond will struggle to win games while these blokes only play in short bursts without being major contributers regularly.
As for the Doggies, the whole club needs to get back on track to justify the hype that has surrounded it over the past 18 months or all the hard work will be lost. I know that 3 games doesnâ€™t mean a lot in the context of the season but it has been the way they have capitulated that would be of concern to Rocket Eade.
The free-flowing run through the middle that has been indicative of the Footscray teams in the past two years just doesnâ€™t seem to be there and Richmond may well be able to exploit it with its ability to shut teams down. Being at the MCG may be beneficial for the Doggies as it gives them that extra bit of space to move into.
Richo should kick a bag this week with Harris still underdone and the Schulz/Hargrave match-up will go a long way towards winning this game. I donâ€™t think that Jay will be able to run with Hargrave, thus giving the Doggies the opportunity to use him as an extra runner.
Richmond has to find a use for Polak. There is little point recruiting him if he is not going to be used properly. Leave him at CHF and let the Tiges play through him on the way to goal. The Doggies have a similar problem – lack of good goal-kicking targets up forward but watc for Eagleton to make his mark this week, and Griffen, Murphy and Cooney to kick multiple goals this week.
B: Raines Gaspar McGuane
HB: Newman J Bowden Deledio
C: Tambling Tuck Tivendale
HF: Hyde Polak Pettifer
F: Krakouer Richardson Schulz
FOLL: Simmonds Johnson Foley
I/C: Polo P Bowden King Edwards
B: McMahon Harris Morris
HB: Gilbee Wight Hargrave
C: Eagleton West Cross
HF: Giansiracusa Johnson Griffen
F: Murphy Darcy Higgins
FOLL: Minson Boyd Cooney
I/C: Addison Williams Harbrow Ray
Saturday, 21 April
ST KILDA v ESSENDON,
Telstra Dome @ 2:10pm
If you read the Bomberblitz website, last weeks result will help give Essendon a steely resolve much like the â€˜99 Prelim did for it in 2000? I doubt it. Different personnel coming the worst club result in 72 years this year. In 2000, it was a great side coming off winning 17/19 games so the talent was there. The talent may well be here now but the experience certainly isnâ€™t. Make no mistake, Essendonâ€™s capitulation to Carlton will hurt and will hurt for a long time.
The Sainters on the other hand, are coming off a great game last week and seem to have their own â€œsteely resolveâ€ to correct some of its own inadequacies over the past three years.
NUTS came back into the side last week and kicked 4 from limited use of the ball. The Saints will be hoping he improves over the ensuing weeks if they are to make a statement in â€˜07. The BIG improver at Linton St however has been Gram at CHB. He
doesnâ€™t get the accolades he deserves, and along with the Fisher Boys and Attard, has formed a solid backline. Goddard could well be the gamebreaker from the St. Kilda perspective if he plays on the ball.
Good to see Matty Clarke back and he will also have a huge influence on how much of the ball the small Saints will get at the clearances. His match-up with Hille is pretty important to this game. For his own, Hille has been travelling reasonably well but Sheedy will be hoping that he does a bit more around the ground as link player.
The loss of Gehrig will hurt the Saints and this is the sort of game where NUTS and Kosi have to stand up against the better rated backmen to justify their hype.
I think the lesser lights in this St. Kilda side are the ones that Sheedyâ€™s Sherminators really have to watch. Fiora, McQualter and Attard all have a habit of doing their jobs without much medja notice. Both teams seem to match up reasonably well on paper (not that it matters) but I think Essendon will still be a bit concerned
about last week and even without Gehrig, I feel the Saints will win by 2 goals.
B: Blake S Fisher L Fisher
HB: Attard Gram Goddard
C: X Clarke Harvey Fiora
HF: Dal Santo Riewoldt McQualter
F: Brooks Koschitzke Milne
FOLL: Rix Ball Baker
I/C: M Clarke Hayes Montagna Thompson
B: Slattery Michael Ryder
HB: McPhee Fletcher McVeigh
C: Dyson Stanton Lovett
HF: M Johnson Lucas Hird
F: Laycock Lloyd Davey
FOLL: Hille Peverill Winderlich
I/C: Heffernan Monfries Watson Jetta
Saturday, 21 April
COLLINGWOOD v PORT ADELAIDE,
MCG @ 2:10pm
This is a grudge match – no doubt about it. In fact I will be putting a submission to the AFL to have â€œGrudge Match Roundâ€ officially recognised. Collingwood would be excited by the debutâ€™s from Cox, Toovey and Dick last week and itâ€™s great to see that they have all retained their places in the side. I wonder who will drop out for Ben Johnson however. Likewise, Port has been along pretty well, forgetting last weeks hiccup against itâ€™s Traditional Rival.
Malthouse would be pleased with the recent form of A. Rocca. Even though he doesnâ€™t play a full 4 quarters, his output so far this year has exceeded all expectations based on his history, and he should have a good game again. He will find it very hard against either Chad Cornes or Wakelin however. Chad Cornes would relish the match-up as Rocca doesnâ€™t like to chase andthis could be a match-up Port could exploit at CHB.
Good to see Lade named as first ruckman again. I guess Choco knew what he was doing last week but it backfired badly with the injury to Brogan. Tredders will be raring to get right back into it now he has a game under his belt but will find it hard against
Clement (if he plays). Cassisi and Mahoney are the keys to this game for mine. If they get a lot of the ballin the midfield, then White and Tredders will have a field-day.
Donâ€™t expect Swan to spend too much time forward either. He will be more useful and important either off half-back or in the guts.
This should be a great, hard, tough, contested game and perhaps the young bodies the Magpies have in may find it more difficult against tougher opponents. Power by 20 points.
B: Lockyer Prestigiacomo Cox
HB: H Shaw Clement R Shaw
C: Pendlebury Toovey Thomas
HF: Maxwell Cloke Licuria
F: Swan Rocca Medhurst
FOLL: Fraser Oâ€™Bree Dick
I/C: Richards Oâ€™Brien Burns Davis
B: Thurstans Wakelin Surjan
HB: Pettigrew C Cornes Wilson
C: Cassisi S Burgoyne Salopek
HF: Mahoney Tredrea Bentley
F: Krakouer White Ebert
FOLL: Lade K Cornes P Burgoyne
I/C: Logan Lonie Rodan Symes
Saturday, 21 April
KANGAROOS v BRISBANE LIONS,
Carrara @ 7:40pm
Another â€œGrude Matchâ€ – The Battle of Queensland. Who am I kidding trying to talk this game up. North will try hard and will be in the game for the first half but will be left floundering after that.
The loss of Hale will be significant as it means McIntosh will have to ruck most of the day on the large expanses of Cararra against Wood and Charman. Once he begins to tire significantly, then Brissie will take over.
The engine-room at Brisbane of Black, Fixter, Power, Lappin etc just seems to have too much skill and ability than itâ€™s counterparts from Arden St. Shannon Grant had a shocker last week, Harvey is getting on in years, Wells is stil to hit the heights expected of him and Simpson seems to be carrying the load all by himself.
Aside from that, it is Northâ€™s backline which seems to be the real worry. Like Richmond, the back 6 have aquitted themselves well for the majority of the games they have played but have been found lacking when a team gets a run-on against them.
Petrie, Pratt and watt are decent players but cannot cover everything when the ball is coming down with monotonous regularity – and that is what will happen this week. Gibson may well take Brown initially but expect other players to either help out, or to end up playing on him at different stages throughout the game.
Patful has had to fill the hole left by Bradshaw at FF and expect him to play and exciting game on Petrie. He better – he is in my Dreamteam.
Lions by 36 points
B: Begley Merrett Roe
HB: Adcock Brennan Copeland
C: Sherman Fixter Stiller
HF: Johnson Brown Notting
F: Rischitelli Patfull McGrath
FOLL: Wood Black Power
I/C: Hadley Lappin Charman Harding
B: Firrito Petrie Pratt
HB: Watt Gibson Green
C: Sinclair Grant Simpson
HF: Wells Jones Campbell
F: Thomas Edwards Harvey
FOLL: McIntosh Harris Rawlings
I/C: Brown Archer Swallow Grima
Saturday, 21 April
ADELAIDE v SYDNEY
AAMI Stadium @ 7:40pm
After an initial Round 1 for both teams, they are now well on the way to solidifying themselves in the upper echelon again for 2007. The Adelaide forwards – so vilified after the Round 1 loss to the Bombreâ€™s – have steadied and shown just why they have been able to kick winning scores for the majority of the past two years. Sydney is also very potent up forward and Barry Hall must have been to Lourdes last week to recuperate so quickly from his knee injury.
Ted Richards will be important in this game as he will have a difficult match-up, probably on Welsh but I think Welsh might be a bit to nimble at ground level for him. Welsh plays pretty tall too and can take a good grab.
The biggest question in this game is whether Sydney can successfully shut the game down and force a lot of in-close contests which it excels at doing. AAMI Stadium has a lot more space than the SCG so if the Adelaide runners ( McLeod, Goodwin, Doughty Edwards) can find a lot of space, then Perrie should be able to get on top of Leo Barry on the lead. There is a huge question of Perrieâ€™s kicking for goal but hopefully he spent all week taking set shots at training.
Jolly really showed that he is a quality ruckman on his own last week and hada great game. He will need to repeat it with Spida this week because Rock Hudson is slowly getting back to his best following his knee recoâ€™s. That in itself will be a quality match-up and will be instrumental in providing a lot of the ball to the respective midfields.
It is often said that a game will be wo in the midfield but this game will be won by the respective backlines and their ability to get on top of the forwards. It will be a ripper and I tip Adelaide by 10 points.
B: Douglas Rutten Bassett
HB: McLeod Stevens Doughty
C: Burton Goodwin Mattner
HF: Vince Bock Reilly
F: Porplyzia Perrie Welsh
FOLL: Hudson Edwards Thompson
I/C: Griffin, Van Berlo, Torney Knights
B: Richards Barry Malceski
HB: Kennelly C Bolton Mathews
C: Buchanan Kirk Schneider
HF: R Oâ€™Keefe Oâ€™Loughlin J Bolton
F: McVeigh Hall Ablett
FOLL: Jolly Goodes Fosdike
I/C: Everitt Grundy Schmidt Crouch
Sunday, 22 April
HAWTHORN v GEELONG,
Aurora Stadium @ 1:10pm
Will there be any defence and flooding in this game or will it be an old-fashioned â€œGeelong 1980â€™s style shoot-outâ€? Both sides are on the up after an indifferent start to the year and both will be confident going into this clash.
Hawthorn has really taken the challenge presented to it after the Round 1 match in Brisbane through players such as Birchall, Ladson, McGlynn and Footytalk.com.auâ€™s favourite – Sewell, which is just as well because Buddy Franklin is still finding his feet and his consistency.
Buddy worries me but if he can play 15-20 mins of good impact footy and kick 3-4 goals in that time, he is worth his weight in gold. One wonders just how good he could be if he was able to do it for 60-90 minutes of â€œimpact footyâ€. I wouuld be
playing Milburn on him, and encouraging him to rough him up a bit and run off him a LOT. Buddyâ€™s defensive side is yet to reach great heights yet.
Down back for the Hawks, Jacobs has picked up a stack of marks but expect him to be manned up and not left to roam free this week. Thompson may use Johnson or even Tenace for this role at various stages throughout the match.
The match-up of Bircha
ll/Mooney will be exciting to watch, and Gilham on N. Ablett will be important. Gilham has the pace to go with Ablett on the lead if/when the ball is being delivered with pinpoint precision as the Cats have been doing for the past fortnight.
Good to see â€œThurgood-Doveâ€ being given a chance and I hope he plays – either down back or u[ front. Clarkson may use him as the extra â€œtallâ€ rather than Dawson, to counter the Hawks forwards.
Watch for Campbell to provide Mitchell, Crawford etc with a lot of the ball in the absence of Ottie, and key taggers will be Guerra on G Ablett.
In what should be a close game in Launceston (York Park), I tip the Cats by 4 goals.
B: Brown Gilham Jacobs
HB: Birchall Hodge Ladson
C: Bateman Sewell Crawford
HF: Young Boyle Franklin
F: Roughead Dixon Williams
FOLL: Campbell Mitchell Lewis
I/C: From: Dawson Ellis Guerra McGlynn
Taylor Thurgood Osborne
B: Enright Scarlett Mackie
HB: J Hunt Egan Milburn
C: Wojcinski Bartel Byrnes
HF: Chapman Mooney Kelly
F: Hawkins N Ablett G Ablett
FOLL: Blake Ling Corey
I/C: D Johnson Tenace King Prismall
Selwood Gardiner Stokes
Sunday, 22 April
MELBOURNE v FREMANTLE,
MCG @ 2:10pm
The medja are talking this game up as being the last chance for either side to make a tilt at the top 8. ARe they kidding themselves?? They should be talking this game up as being the last chance for either side to avoid the Spoon – in Round 4.
If Melbourne loses, it will almost be curtains because with itâ€™s injury list, I canâ€™t see it doing anything this year at all. And it will struggle to avoid the spoon if it goes down. For Freo, the outcome isnâ€™t so dire as it has a lot of home games and isnâ€™t decimated by injury however a loss would be a significant dent in itâ€™s top 4 aspirations.
It is hard to see where Melbourne can win this game. The hardness they possessed in the past 3 years seems to have disappeared. Down back, Carroll has had a disappointing start to the year and will be hoping to take Tarrant apart. If Taz leads well and gets the ball delivered properly, it will be difficult to stop. Haselby, Black, Dodd, Bell and the Carrâ€™s
should be sufficiently well drilled and lacking in serious pressure from Green, Moloney, McDonald and Bruce to provide Taz and Pav with a lot of shots AT goal.
Good to see Pickett back and he will add to some toughness but all in all, I canâ€™t see Melbourne getting close. Freo by 24 points.
B: Rivers Carroll Whelan
HB: Ward Wheatley Bell
C: Moloney McDonald Green
HF: Bruce Miller Pickett
F: Godfrey Jamar Davey
FOLL: White Jones Johnstone
I/C: Brown P Johnson Bate Yze
Bizzell Dunn Petterd
B: Parker McPharlin Hayden
HB: Mundy Grover Dodd
C: McManus Hasleby Black
HF: Headland Pavlich Crowley
F: Solomon Tarrant Bell
FOLL: Sandilands M Carr J Carr
I/C: Cook Campbell Duffield Gilmore
Walker Warnock Webster
Sunday, 22 April
WEST COAST v CARLTON
Subiaco Oval @ 2:40pm
After all the bru-hah-hah during the week regarding what Selwood did or didnâ€™t say, the Eagles would be expected to glavanise themselves as a group and come out and smash Carlton, especially without itâ€™s best player so far this year, Nick Stevens.
Stevo will be a huge loss both in the middle and up forward, and the carlton midfield of Murphy, Gibbs, Scotland, Bentick and Houlihan just cannot be expected to match it with Kerr, Judd, Braud and Selwood.
Jordan Russell may well get the job tagging Judd, and Scotland may run with Kerr but the skill and pace of the Eagles will be a telling factor in the outcome of this game.
Glass on Fevola will be a great match-up as will the two big boys, Lynch and oâ€™hAilpin down the other end. Make no mistake, the big Irishman beat Lloyd one-on-one last week and Lloyd was lucky to get 5 with free kicks and easy kicks over the top. This match-up is worth going to see.
The key position for each club will be CHF. If Staker can beat Thornton/Waite/Whitnall
then it will make the avenue to goal a lot easier for the Eagles but in all seriousness, they donâ€™t really use a CHF verymuch. They donâ€™t need to. Calton needs Whitnall/Waite/Kennedy/hartlett to provide an option at CHF, and a domianant one at
that if it is to have a chance. They wonâ€™t, they donâ€™t and Eagles by 7 goals going away.
B: Wirrpanda Glass B Jones
HB: Waters Hunter Hurn
C: Rosa Selwood Braun
HF: Chick Staker Stenglein
F: Embley Lynch Seaby
FOLL: Cox Judd Kerr
I/C: Armstrong Brown Graham Hansen
R Jones LeCras Priddis
B: Anderson Oâ€™hAilpin Thornton
HB: Walker Waite Scotland
C: Gibbs Bentick Houlihan
HF: Carrazzo Whitnall Betts
F: Fisher Fevola Lappin
FOLL: Ackland Murphy Simpson
I/C: Blackwell Cloke Hartlett Jackson
Kennedy Russell Wiggins