The previews below are written by

Friday 4 May 2007

St Kilda v Carlton
Telstra Dome @ 7:40pm

The big talk around town regarding this game is who will match up on the respective full-forwards. For mine, the big question will be “Which Brendan Fevola chooses to show up this week?”
If it is the petulant, immature, childish clown who played last week then Carlton is in for an absolute hiding, reminiscent of its last 5 matches against the Saints who average a 93 point victory over the Blues in that time. If it is the penitent, admonished focused forward that SHOULD be playing after a Denis Pagan bake this week then many believe the Blues actually have a chance.
With so many of St. Kilda’s walk-up starters not playing, Carlton may well be in with a shot however we tend to forget those players who ARE playing. Robert Harvey, Big Fraser, Lou Gramm (Midnight Blue for those in the know), Luke Ball and Nick Dal Santo all are quality players and NUTS must relish the opportunity to find some space and practice his marking against Thornton, Whitnall, Waite and perhaps Carlos Santana o’hAilpin.
I would imagine that Goddard will take Fevola and show him how to play, Kosi will take Whitnall/Kennedy, Baker will tag Murphy which may precipitate Murphy going forward a lot, and Milne will find it difficult to shake a determined Gibbs. Carlos on Gehrig will be interesting as the Irishman likes the body contact and if Fraser is not on the move to present well, he will find it difficult to shake of the international interloper.
The key to this game could well be in the Ruck � to see if Ackland can find it in himself to play a blinder against his old club. If he and Cloke don’t get on top of Clarke and Rix, the evergreen Harvey will have 40 touches and will hit Gehrig on the tit with half of them.
In essence, I can see the Blues getting closer than 93 points- but not by much. St. Kilda by 65 points.

B: Gilbert, Goddard, L.Fisher
HB: Attard, Koschitzke, Gram
C: Blake, Ball, Montagna
HF: Harvey, Riewoldt, X.Clarke
F: Voss, Gehrig, Milne
FOLL: M.Clarke, Baker, Dal Santo
I/C: Fiora, Gwilt, C.Jones, Rix
EMG: Armitage, Birss, McQualter
IN: Gwilt, Jones, Rix
OUT: Hayes (collarbone), Thompson (knee), McQualter

B: Gibbs, S.O’hAilpin, Thornton,
HB: Scotland, Waite, Houlihan
C: Lappin, Young, Simpson
HF: Carrazzo, Whitnall, Murphy
F: Kennedy, Fevola, Betts
FOLL: Ackland, Bentick, Walker
I/C: Anderson, Blackwell, Cloke, Russell
EM: Bower, Hartlett, Saddington
IN: Blackwell, Young
OUT: Jackson (broken hand), Wiggins (hamstring)
NEW: Ross Young, Rookie Elevation, selection No.32 in 2007 Rookie Draft

Field umpires: Rosebury, Allen, Jeffery
Saturday 6 May 2007

Essendon v Hawthorn
MCG @ 2:10pm

The Bombre’s welcome back JJ for the first time this year and will be thankful of his toughness in the clinches against a very much improved Hawthorn, and his presence on the ground will fill the rest of the Essendon side with a lot of gusto. He makes the players walk a little bit taller and have a bit more confidence � things they are going to need against the Hawks.
Hawthorn should be cock-a-hoop with it’s start to the year but last weeks loss will be hurting. Hopefully Clarkson will have been able to climb that mole-hill and help his players focus on beating their old enemy.
Guerra has been getting a bit of the ball of late but on occasion, his disposal is what kills his team mates. It is just Not Up To Standard at times from someone who has been in the game for so long. He may well take Lovett when AL is resting up forward and as quick as Lovett is, Guerra would fancy himself to play tight and rough up the young forward who has a propensity to go missing from time to time.
It’s interesting that Sheedy continues to play ducks-and-drakes with the footy public by naming Hird at half-back. Kidding himself. Hird will play his normal game off half-forward and playing though the guts from time to time to get some clearances, and just running around wherever he likes for the rest of the game. Look to Brad “There is no Dana � only Sewell” to go with him everywhere he goes.
Other pairings that will be exciting to watch are NUTS Brown on the Johnson boys as they swap on and off the ball, Bateman on Davey and Croad on Lucas. This last one will tell us a lot about how good Trent Croad actually is. McPhee should take Frankin at the other end and this will have a great bearing on the result.
This will be a great game to watch and neither side will give any quarter. The result should go down to the wire and I am sick of clich�s so I will tip the Hawks by a goal.

B: McVeigh, Michael, Heffernan
HB: McPhee, Fletcher, Hird
C: Dyson, Peverill, Monfries
HF: Lovett, Lucas, Davey
F: M.Johnson, Lloyd, Laycock
FOLL: Ryder, Winderlich, Stanton
I/C: Welsh, Bolton, Johns, J.Johnson
EM: Houli, Watson, Lonergan
IN: J.Johnson, Welsh, Winderlich
OUT: Bradley, Slattery (hamstring), Watson

B: Guerra, Gilham, Brown
HB: Ladson, Croad, Birchall
C: Sewell, Mitchell, Lewis
HF: McGlynn, Boyle, Bateman
F: Franklin, Roughead, Dixon
FOLL: Campbell, Hodge, Crawford
I/C: Vandenberg, Taylor, Murphy, Osborne
EM: Ellis, Moss, Young
IN: Croad, Vandenberg
OUT: Thurgood, Ellis

Field umpires: McBurney, Stevic, Grun

West Coast v Western Bulldogs
Subiaco @ 2:10pm

All was quiet on the Western Front for a while but this is definitely a battle to be in awe of. AT least it should be. Now that baby boy Ben is back in town, I wonder if his presence will have a detrimental effect on the West Coast players. They seem to be steeled towards making another statement this year and now that the riot act has been read to them by the AFL, they will be keen to put all the unpleasantness behind them.
Footscray on the other hand is just beginning to find its feet and its pace through the midfield.
Sadly, I can’t see it really bothering the Eagles as West Coast has the best midfield around bar-none! Even Priddis has slotted into the centre without a hiccup and continues to get plenty of the ball. He will however find it tough against West who is “knocked up getting it”
Hansen is finding plenty of space and God, he leads well. Always presenting and a good strong mark. Wight will find him very difficult to stop if the delivery is spot on (and it always is). Lynch will be tonguing for some goals this week and should be right on the ball against Harris. Harris a quality playerbut against the big Q-Bomber, I think he may struggle.
Another jewel that West Coast has uncovered this year has been young Hurn. He is a gun player and rightfully deserves his spot. Don’t be surprised to see him run with Akermanis.
If t
he Doggies begin to get on top, Worsfold has the luxury of being able to throw either Hunter or Wirrpanda forward to give another option and kick some goals but I don’t think this will happen. The Eagles centre 4 gets mentioned “ad nauseum” so I won’t name their names and blokes like Eagleton, Cross and Cooney are going to have to play above themselves to win the clearances.
That won’t happen and the Eagles will win by an easy 6 goals.

B: Wirrpanda, Glass, Hurn
HB: Waters, Hunter, Selwood
C: Embley, Priddis, Braun
HF: Stenglein, Hansen, Chick
F: Armstrong, Lynch, R.Jones
FOLL: Cox, Judd, Kerr
I/C: Rosa, Seaby, Staker, B.Jones
EM: Graham, LeCras, Fletcher

B: McMahon, Harris, Morris
HB: Gilbee, Wight, Hargrave
C: Eagleton, S.West, Power
HF: Giansiracusa, Johnson, Boyd
F: Murphy, Darcy, Akermanis
FOLL: Minson, Cross, Cooney
I/C: Ray, Higgins, Griffen, Addison
EM: Faulkner, Williams, Harbrow
IN: Addison
OUT: Robbins

Field umpires: Donlon, Vozzo, Margetts

Kangaroos v Sydney Swans
Telstra Dome @ 7:10pm

Sydney is VVVEEEERRRYYYY lucky to have Adam Goodes for this game but on the other hand, he hasn’t been playing up to his usual standard this year so maybe this will be the catalyst for him really turning it on.
For the Roos. I wonder how long it will take before Simpson is granted the respect he is due from opposition coaches. He is a quality player and more reliable and consistent than some of the bigger names that get tagged each week. Will Sydney use someone like Crouch to run with him?
Edwards will find it very tough against Leo Barry but this kid can play footy. He has a good set of hands and a long-raking boot on him so with the roof shut, and some good delivery down forward, he will get plenty of opportunities.
The other big match-up will be Barry Hall and Firrito/Watt. They will need both of them to hold his output, which will mean that Everitt will not be covered as much as he should and he will have a strong impact on the outcome of this match. However, Spida may be needed in the ruck a lot more than anticipated due to the exceptional form of young McIntosh who seems to improve exponentially each week.
Another young bloke who has improved a great deal is Swallow and the Swannies will not want to take any of the young Kangaroos lightly.
Sydney however are a great side, especially in close and they will try to clog up the game and turn it into a scrap. For North to win, they have to find space to run into and avoid the around-the-ground ball-ups. Sydney will rely on Kirk, Fosdike and Schneider in the middle to shut the game down and it will be imperative that Wells, Rawlings and Grant shake their tags to get a lot of the ball.
Whilst you would expect Sydney to win this game easily, North have found something intangible this year and they will fight to the end. It may not be enough however and I tip Sydney by 4 points.

B: Gibson, Firrito, Watt
HB: Pratt, Archer, Smith
C: Swallow, Rawlings, Simpson
HF: Adams, Edwards, Wells
F: Harvey, Petrie, Brown
FOLL: McIntosh, Grant, Harris
I/C: Jones, Grima, Campbell, Sinclair
EM: Green, Trotter, McMahon
IN: Smith
OUT: Green

B: Richards, Barry, Malceski
HB: Crouch, C.Bolton, Mathews
C: Ablett, Kirk, McVeigh
HF: R.O’Keefe, O’Loughlin, J.Bolton
F: Schneider, Hall, Everitt
FOLL: Jolly, Goodes, Fosdike
I/C: Buchanan, Davis, Schmidt, Jack
EM: Vogels, Moore, Phillips
IN: Buchanan, Jack
OUT: Kennelly (knee), Moore
NEW Kieren Jack (Elevated from 2007 Rookie List)

Field umpires: Sully, Ellis, McInerney

Adelaide v Collingwood
AAMI Stadium @ 7:10pm

Adelaide at home is a “very tough proposition” (to steal a phrase from Guru Bob in the Coodabeens � circa 1988 or so). As we have written in these previews many times, it is full of under-rated stars who just do their jobs. Apart from McLeod and perhaps Vince, (inside joke) the names don’t really roll off the tongue.
Collingwood, however, is full of big names. Rocca, Shaw, Didak all have huge reputations, and Prestigiacomo is a long name too. (My humour is droll…very, very droll at 12.30am)
Back to the game. Collingwood’s backline looks too strong on paper. Clement, Presti, and the Shaw boys should prove difficult opponents for Welsh, Bock, Edwards and Knights simply because they like to run and set up the play a lot. From across the border, we don’t get to see or hear too much about the defensive side of the Crows forwards. If they don’t chase as Collingwood run forward, they will be in strife.
Similarly, the Crow’s backline likes to do the same. McLeod is almost unstoppable and Van Berlo keeps getting better and better each week. The Didak/McLeod contest will be great to watch and Didak will want to be on his toes and not give McLeod too much space. Didak’s fitness may be an issue.
Across the middle, Adelaide should be too strong. Mattner, Shirley Goodwin and Doughty should get more of the ball than Thomas, Toovey, Pendelbury and Burns which means the Crow forwards will have an arm-chair ride.
The big unknown in this game is Chris Bryan. Now that he has found his feet at Vic Park �cum-Lexus via Jock McHale, he could be anything. That big left boot and safe hands may prove to be a great addition if he plays more at CHF. He would be a difficult match-up there if Rocca lives up to his NUTS reputation.
Collingwood will give it a good shot but Adelaide will be stung into action at home and will win by 5 goals in the end.

B: Torney, Rutten, Bassett
HB: van Berlo, Stevens, McLeod
C: Doughty, Goodwin, Mattner
HF: Knights, Bock, Edwards
F: Perrie, Welsh, Vince
FOLL: Hudson, Shirley, Thompson
I/C: Griffin, Burton, Douglas, Hinge
EM: McGregor, Pfeiffer, Jericho
IN: Welsh, Hinge
OUT: Porplyzia, Reilly
NEW John Hinge, 2005 Rookie Elevation

B: Lockyer, Prestigiacomo, Cox
HB: H.Shaw, Clement, R.Shaw
C: Pendlebury, Toovey, Thomas
HF: Maxwell, Cloke, Didak
F: Swan, Rocca, Johnson
FOLL: Fraser, O’Bree, Dick
I/C: Burns, Davis, O’Brien, Bryan
EM: Wakelin, Egan, Iles
No Changes

Field umpires: McLaren, Chamberlain, Meredith

Sunday 7 May 2007

Brisbane Lions v Fremantle
Gabba @ 1:10pm

Someone please tell Peter Bell to cut it with the bullshit shenanigans and playing dead for 50 m penalties as though he is an Italian Soccer Player please. It is an embarrassment to him and his club and if that is the way he thinks he will win footy games then it is a sad indictment on the way he was taught how to play. I hope Brisbane SMASH Freo just after seeing that
disgraceful performance last week.
However let’s look at the game from a real-world perspective and not just my wishes.
Pavlich will be keen to atone for his relatively poor game last week and Merrett will get the job. He may match Pav with strength but in the air, he will struggle. Pav moves well generally and leads well up the ground � more like a CHF than a true FF so Merrett will be found wanting. Lethal could use Brennan on him but after Brennan was towelled up by an unfit Lance Whitnall last week you would hope that Brennan would take someone a bit more suitable � like Headland.
Headland himself has had his moment in the sun and will go back to struggling through each game without really exerting himself against his old side so this could be an interesting pairing.
Good to see Nigel Lappin back from his “mysterious leg injury” suffered at the feet of Luke Hodge and his addition to an already strong midfield will only serve to heighten its effectiveness. Power, Black and Lappin, together with Stiller and the Sherminator is a very good unit. They will get plenty of chances from Charman and McDonald who will relish the opportunity to play against the biggest ruckman in the land. Sandilands might get an easy ride against some lesser sides but he will need to be in exceptional form against these two blokes.
Solomon is an unknown quantity up forward and while he may start there for Freo, I would expect to see him on Notting at some stage to rough him up. In fact, I think that is where Freo may feel they have the edge. They have a lot of blokes who seem more intent on making an imprint on their opponent with their muscles and so-called “toughness” rather than with the footy and this tends to detract from their focus. I mention J Carr, Solomon, Crowley and Hasleby in particular.
Expect the Tarrant/McPharlin match to be tight as well. McPharlin has the speed and ability to read the game well which will go well against Tarrant. If Tazza gets a lot of the ball, it will be a long way from goal which won’t hurt as much.
Brisbane for mine by 3 goals at home.

B: Johnson, Merrett, Roe
HB: Adcock, Brennan, Copeland
C: Sherman, Lappin, Stiller
HF: Harding, Brown, Notting
F: Rischitelli, Patfull, McGrath
FOLL: Charman, Black, Power
I/C from: Hadley, Begley, McDonald, Allan
Fixter, Schmidt, Drummond
IN: Schmidt, Drummond, Lappin

B: Parker, Grover, Dodd
HB: Black, McPharlin, Hayden
C: Johnson, Bell, Mundy
HF: Headland, Pavlich, Hasleby
F: Warnock, Tarrant, Solomon
FOLL: Sandilands, Crowley, J.Carr
I/C from: M.Carr, Walker, Webster, Campbell, Cook, Gilmore, McManus
IN: Parker, Warnock, Campbell

Field umpires: James, M.Nicholls, Wenn

Melbourne v Port Adelaide
MCG @ 2:10pm

Whilst the Dees played a little better last week and kicked a decent score, I don’t think they will get anywhere near Port in this game. Neitz is back in the sticks but it takes a lot more than having your skipper back to make the guys play any better. They were a little better last week but I don’t think the home ground advantage will really have any bearing on this game.
Port just keep on doing the right thing. It has improved out of sight so far this year � much of the improvement coming underneath the radar of the Melbourne football medja and it is a sad indictment on them that we have to read to the machinations of Michaelangelo Rucci to bring ourselves up to speed on anything that is happening in the City of Churches. Still, Mr Rucci couldn’t have anything bad to say about his boys at the moment could he.
After demolishing St. Kilda in the wet last week, everything looks rosy down there at Alberton. Tredders is back, the Burgoynes get stacks of it (which is a disgrace because one of them shouldn’t be playing this week), the Cornes’ just play like they always have, Lade is a star and Rodan is a revelation down there.
Yze on Rodan would be a great match-up. On current form you would have to back the former Tiger but after his early season slump, the boy from Shepp is beginning to find some form as well. I think that Cassisi and Mahoney will be very important in this game as Melbourne will try to go head-to-head with the Port midfielders and these two blokes are just forgotten about, especially if Melbourne tries to play a zoning game.
Cameron Bruce is performing well in the Dreamteam stats but they count for little out on the ground (don’t they Danny Jacobs?) He may well play through the middle a lot as well in what would be a surprise move from the Rev.
White and Holland will have to try to take advantage of the fact that Brogan is out injured, and, as ruckmen, will have to present themselves as midfield options for their backline players. Carroll should fancy himself on White although the latter can really roost the ball and if he gets within range, well, good night Irene. Neitz on Wakelin should be a good tussle too, although you would think that Wakelin might have the edge on the skipper who is coming back from an injury.
I don’t like the Demons chances as Port is just playing too well as a unit and they will go down by 24 points.

B: Bruce, Carroll, Yze
HB: Brown, Rivers, Bell
C: Sylvia, McDonald, Davey
HF: Petterd, Miller, Pickett
F: Dunn, Neitz, Moloney
FOLL: White, Godfrey, Johnstone
I/C from: P.Johnson, Jones, Bate, C.Johnson, Buckley, Holland, Warnock
IN: Neitz, Jones, Holland, Warnock, Buckley
OUT: Garland, Jamar
NEW: Simon Buckley, selection No.53 at the 2005 NAB AFL Draft from Sandringham Dragons

B: Chaplin, Wakelin, Pettigrew
HB: Surjan, C.Cornes, Thomas
C: Cassisi, K.Cornes, Lonie
HF: Mahoney, Tredrea, P.Burgoyne
F: Ebert, White, Bentley
FOLL: Lade, S.Burgoyne, Rodan
I/C from: Deluca, Krakouer, Motlop, Pearce, Thurstans, Symes, Westhoff
IN: Deluca, Motlop, Pearce, Thomas, Westhoff
OUT: Salopek (hamstring), Wilson (torn pectoral muscle)
NEW: Justin Westhoff, selection No.71 at the 2006 NAB AFL Draft from Central District

Field umpires: Farmer, Hendrie, Ryan
Richmond v Geelong
Telstra Dome @ 5:10pm

One thing I want to see is some “karma” get hold of Cameron Ling in this game. After his holding free kicks in the goal square last week where HE was the one doing the holding, he needs to be punished (as well as the Umpire who fell for this type of cheating).
There is not much to say about this game really. Bomber is sick of his players being lazy and uncommitted. His players know it now and how they react as a group will be interesting. Is the message getting through down there at Kardinia Park?
Richmond has been an enigma this year. It has run each of its first five opponents pretty close, only to run out of legs in the end. This includes the match they really should have won last week against the reigning Premiers. Dare I say it, but if they had David Rodan last week…… LOL
The improvement from Richmond has come from some unsung heroes down there in Foley, McGuane and Tambling. These are the sorts of players that Richmond has to rely on in the future and while they are not ready just yet, all bodes well for 201
1. I wonder if Plough will be coaching then. In all seriousness however, it is the older heads that has let the side down at important stages so far this year, not the young kids.
Geelong is just Geelong. Chapman says nothing has changed in the 11-12 years that Milburn has been at the club. News Flash Paul… nothing has changed since 1968!! The fishbowl that is Geelong is worse in some respects for its players than Perth.
With so much pressure on Hawkins and the Ablett’s is it any real surprise?
Good to see Steve Johnson back and he will have a sting in his tail with another point to prove. Mackie will most likely take him and will have to pay him his due respect because he is a very skilled player. Raines on Chapman, and perhaps McGuane on G. Ablett will be quality match-ups. I would also play Polak on Mooney and make him earn his ball.
In the Tiger F50, Schulz needs to get his kicking boot back on. The kid can get the ball but his accuracy has let him down a bit so far this year. Not good enough from a key forward. Tambling and Richo are interesting as well. If they are on song, they could kick a bucketload of goals but if not, all does not bode well. They cannot rely on Cleave Hughes to have a similar impact as he did last week. Geelong will be more awake to him and will probably use Milburn on him to quell his effectiveness.
Through the middle, I can’t see too many tags happening. More than likely, both coaches will chance their arms and bet their players can get and use the ball more effectively than the others so it should be a free flowing game if Richmond can stop this crap chipping game they began the year with. It happened last week and they almost pulled off a miracle.
I am tipping they WILL pull off a miracle this week and win by 10 points.
B: Newman, McGuane, Gaspar
HB: Raines, Polak, J.Bowden
C: Johnson, Deledio, King
HF: Jackson, Hughes, Meyer
F: Tambling, Schulz, Richardson
FOLL: Simmonds, Oakley-Nicholls, Foley
I/C from: Tuck, Pettifer, White, Edwards, Hyde, Howat, Moore
IN: , White, Howat, Moore, Meyer
OUT: Tivendale

B: Mackie, Scarlett, Enright
HB: D.Johnson, Egan, Milburn
C: Wojcinski, Bartel, Kelly
HF: Chapman, N.Ablett, S.Johnson
F: G.Ablett, Mooney, Varcoe
FOLL: Ottens, Corey, Ling
I/C from: Blake, Tenace, Selwood, Prismall, Hawkins, King, Stokes
IN: Ottens, Tenace, S.Johnson

Field umpires: Kennedy, Avon, K.Nicholls