The previews below are written by

Friday 12 May 2007

Kangaroos v Essendon

Telstra Dome @ 7:40pm

So Bachar Houli is being congratulated on being the first Muslim to play footy at the highest level. Big Frigging Deal! It is this very delineation of cultures that is the reason for racism in the first place, not the other way around. Anyway, when is Luke McPharlin going to be applauded for being the first Baha i’ to play AFL Footy? When that happens I will shut up!

Back to this game. Well done to Houli but now is time to concentrate on the footy. Forget all the other crap that is going on about this effort and remember that you are Australian, you are a football player and you are an Essendon player above all else for 2 hours on Friday night.

There are rumours that Simpson won’t play and I think the Bombre’s would be pleased if this was the case. They simply don’t have the players to go with him, as well as Grant, Harvey and Wells. These 4 midfielders have done more for the emergence of the ‘Roos in the past few weeks than anything Essendon has given it’s supporters.

With Lloyd out injured, much will again fall to Lucas and the over-rated Johns who himself has received a knock on the head during training and is in doubt. Don’t expect Fletcher to line up there as this will be to Sheedy’s detriment if it happens. Unfortunately for Essendon, they NEED Fletcher down back. Mal Michael is playing like his heart is in PNG and young Aaron Edwards will like his chances of kicking a score tomorrow night.

Speaking of Edwards, this kid is quality. He has a good tank and likes to roam, and has a great pair of hands. Combined with his long kicking, he could kick 5 and will be the difference in the end. You may even see Paddy Ryder on him at some stage during the night.

As mentioned last week in the <a href=””>Podcast</a> Hamish McIntosh has really leapt ahead in his development and he should be too strong both in the center square, and around the ground for Hille and Laycock.

I am trying to see where Essendon can win this game and I am struggling. They will need more from Monfries, Winderlich, Welsh and Stanton. All these kids are quality players but they don’t seem to have the consistency to do what is required all the time. The biggest shining light for Essendon this year � Davey � will be his exciting self but I fear it may not be enough to get them over the link.

In the end, North by 3 goals.

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

B: McPhee, Michael, Johns
HB: Winderlich, Ryder, Cole
C: McVeigh, Peverill, Houli
HF: Lovett, Lucas, Welsh
F: Hird, Fletcher, Davey
FOLL: Hille, J.Johnson, Stanton
I/C: M.Johnson, Laycock, Monfries, Watson
EM: Bolton, Bradley, Dyson
IN: Houli, Cole, Hille
OUT: Bolton, Dyson, Heffernan
NEW: Bachar Houli, Selection No. 42, 2006 NAB AFL Draft, from the Western Jets

Field umpires: Vozzo, Margetts, Chamberlain

Saturday 12 May 2007

Collingwood v Carlton
M.C.G @ 2:10pm

Do I have to do a preview of this game? It will be so predictable that it is almost tiresome. Carlton will get away to a good start and play some decent footy for what.-maybe a quarter and half � the Collingwood will hit back through Rocca and Medhurst (playing his one good game for the year against the team he has it all over). Collingwood will lead by 2 goals at half time yet will come out in the third and bang on 8 goals in 15 minutes to kill the game. The Blues will try for about 3 minutes in the last term but will have kicked 5 points in that time and will eventually lose by 71 points and Chris Bryan will be B.O.G. Yawn.. sounds wayyyyyyyy to familiar for mine. Obviously I am being facetious.

Let’s gaze into the “Crystal Ball” shall we. O’hAilpin on Rocca should be interesting if he begins there as he would like the challenge. Rocca is not a leading forward so Carlos should be able to match him in the air. If Waite takes him, I think Rocca will be able to body him around too much � something he won’t be able to do to Carlos as much. Brodie Holland will be used as a scragging tagger on Murphy, much in the same vein as Baker last week. We all know how HE plays. Didak will be a huge inclusion up forward and it wouldn’t surprise me to see Walker play on him. Walker can be damaging when attacking and Didak has a reputation for being a bit lazy when defending so “The Phantom” should be able to use this for his own advantage.

Collingwood’s defence is undermanned � a bit like St. Kilda’s last week, and if Pagan choses to play a long kicking game plan to Fevola who will be 3 against one, it will backfire. Pagan needs to instruct his players to look for the passes into 50, and not just bomb the pill long to the square. O’Brien may take Fev
ola if Presti doesn’t come up but and Wakelin would look forward to playing at CHB on the immobile Whitnall/Kennedy combination.

Carlton’s half-forwards will really need to be defensive against the Shaw boys and the centerline of Pendlebury, Toovey and Thomas looms as a matchwinning “m�nage ‘a trios” for the Pies.

Carlton needs to get the ball out of the clearances and it is incomprehensible to see Blackwell dropped. Poor kid.

My tip � Collingwood by 5 goals plus.

B: Lockyer, Prestigiacomo, Iles
HB: H.Shaw, Wakelin, R.Shaw
C: Pendlebury, Toovey, Thomas
HF: Maxwell, Cloke, Didak
F: Swan, Rocca, Johnson
FOLL: Fraser, O’Bree, Dick
I/C: Burns, Holland, O’Brien, Bryan
EM: Goldsack, Medhurst, Nicholls
IN: Wakelin, Didak, Iles, Holland
OUT: Clement (calf), Davis, Cox, Egan (club suspension)

B: Carrazzo, S.O’hAilpin, Thornton,
HB: Scotland, Waite, Walker
C: Gibbs, Koutoufides, Simpson
HF: Betts, Whitnall, Fisher
F: Kennedy, Fevola, Lappin
FOLL: Ackland, Houlihan, Murphy
I/C: Bentick, Bower, Russell, Young
EM: Anderson, Blackwell, Saddington
IN: Bower, Fisher, Koutoufides
OUT: Anderson, Blackwell, Cloke (shoulder)

Field umpires: McBurney, Wenn, K.Nicholls

Saturday 12 May 2007

Brisbane v Adelaide,
The ‘Gabba’ @ 7:10pm

Can Brisbane continue its great form or will Adelaide be shocked into playing well after its disappointing loss against Collingwood. There is a lot riding on this game apart from just the 4 points and it revolves around confidence and belief. Should Adelaide drop this one, in addition to last weeks loss, Jenny Craig will be wondering what went wrong.

The year has started badly for the Crows, beginning with the atrocious loss against Essendon and things have not improved a whole lot. The big question about Adelaide is the same question that has been asked for years. Where are the goals going to come from????

It can fool some sides, even two or three in a row but the last few weeks has seen its avenues to goal really stifled and kick less than 30 goals in 3 weeks. For one of the “best teams” going around, this is pathetic. The big question begs � “Where is McGregor?” Wallowing in the two’s for some silly reason. Get him out there.

Brisbane on the other hand goes from strength to strength. It is playing a free-flowing, high scoring game and whilst the forwards like Brown, Patful and McGrath are getting a lot of quality ball inside 50 from the midfielders like Power, Black, Stiller, Lappin, etc, it is little wonder the Lions are full of self-belief.

Charman has given an added dimension to Matthews’s boys since his return. A great competive ruckman and a quality mark/kick for his size, he will make Rock Hudson’s day a misery. Huddo is getting back into some form but if he has to shoulder most of the rucking responsibility on his own, his game will struggle later in the match.

Mattner will probably take Brown at CHB. Brown had best be on the ball as Mattner loves to run and will want to use his pace and skills to run off the big Lion. Turnovers could be very costly in this sort of attacking game. Down the other end, Merrett on Perrie will be great to watch also. Merrett is more a “stay at home” backman whilst Perrie likes to get out on the lead and take hangs from time to time so Merrett will have to be tight on him all day. Whilst Jared Brennan has the skills to be a great player, he hasn’t been as consistent as Barney would like him, and this could be in Bock’s favour.

I tip Bock to kick 4 in a score of 10 goals and the Lions to win by 3.

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: Hadley, Begley, McDonald, Fixter
EM: Drummond, Selwood, Allan
No Change

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

Field umpires: Kamolins, Ellis, Jeffery
Saturday 12 May 2007

St Kilda v Sydney

Telstra Dome @ 7:10pm

I wonder how much last weeks games will count in this clash at Telstra Dome. I don’t think anyone should really read a lot into it, and the greatest interest will be regarding how well Lyon coaches against his old master. I am sensing a bit of Star Wars going on here. By the end of it, Ross Lyon could well be Darth Vader and Roosey relegated to just being Obi Wan. Kenobi.

The main problem for the Saints will be how to stop Hall and O’Loughlin and the Everitt/Jolly combination. It’s strange that Roos is actually one of the few coaches who will use his resting ruckman as a forward option from time to time, instead of sitting him on the pine.

St. Kilda found it easy to nullify Carlton’s forwards last week because of the poor game plan Pagan brought to the game. They won’t find it as easy to play against the Sydney forwards who provide more than one goal-kicking option. O’Keefe and Jude Bolton are highly underrated players who love to
get under the opposition’s guard. The best thing from St. Kilda’s point of view is that Lyon will not under-rate these players and will have a plan to hold them and limit their effectiveness.

Jason Gram continues to improve and to give a great attacking option off half-back. He has been instrumental in many forward thrusts and goal-assists this year and will continue this as he lines up on O’Keefe.

Up front for the Saints, big Fraser is back in form. It will take a lot for Leo Barry to stop him when he is in form and this will be a crucial match-up. Whichever player wins this could well set their side up for a victory. NUTS Riewoldt is still hacking along giving the bare minimum, but he is a “Superstar” right. Surely… and he will improve this week against Craig Bolton. He better improve or the nickname will stick forever.

Sydney should dominate the hit-outs, but with Harvey, Ball, Dal Santo and Montagna all in good form, St. Kilda will get a lot of drive from the middle but in the end I tip Sydney by 4 goals. The Saints are just a bit too inconsistent this year and I think they will find Sydney a much tougher opposition than last week.

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

B: Richards, Barry, Malceski
HB: Crouch, C.Bolton, Mathews
C: Ablett, Kirk, Buchanan
HF: R.O’Keefe, O’Loughlin, J.Bolton
F: Schneider, Hall, Everitt
FOLL: Jolly, Goodes, Fosdike
I/C: Bevan, Davis, McVeigh, Jack
EM: Laidlaw, Schmidt, Thornton
IN: Buchanan, Bevan
OUT: Moore, Schmidt

Saturday 12 May 2007

Port Adelaide v Richmond
AAMI Stadium @ 3:10pm

After the embarrassment of last week, the best thing for the Tiger is to get out of Melbourne for a fortnight. The contempt and derision they have felt at home over the past week will be lessened by being away and they will HAVE to play better than that ..surely.

Port continues to go from strength to strength. All over the ground there are quality players who just do the job with efficiency and effectiveness. Pettigrew, Surjan, Lonie, Cassisi, Rodan, White, Mahoney. None of these blokes quite has the reputation (at least in Melbourne) of the Cornes boys or the Burgoynes, but they are all quality players and whilst these types of players continue to go about their business in an unassuming manner, Port will continue to improve.

The word is that Richo will play as a mobile ruckman. This is not such a bad idea and should at least be trialled. His kicking is erratic at best but he has a great pair of hands and a big tank so he will be able to go around the ground with Lade and Brogan as a competitive ruckman. This is not the problem for the Tiges however. I wonder how much the farce surrounding Gasper’s sacking has effected the players attitudes towards the coach? Maybe we saw that last week?

There were some good signs for the Tigers last week. McGuane, Foley and Polak seemed to hold their ends up but the rest of the team was lamentable. I can’t see them getting much better either. Wallace will try to flood as much as possible to limit the damage that Tredders, White and Ebert can cause but with Joel Bowden, Newman and Raines a little out of their depth, you can expect Port to win pretty easily.

Richmond will try � no doubt � but ultimately there is an abyss in the quality of the players of each side and Port should win by 8 goals going away.

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

B: Newman, McGuane, J.Bowden
HB: Raines, Polak, Oakley-Nicholls
C: Tivendale, Deledio, Tuck
HF: Pettifer, Richardson, King
F: Krakouer, Schulz, Hughes
FOLL: Pattison, Johnson, Foley
I/C: White, Hyde, Howat, Polo
IN: Krakouer, Tivendale, Howat, Polo, Pattison
OUT: Tambling (shoulder), Simmonds (ankle), Meyer, Jackson, Moore

Field umpires: Farmer, Rosebury, Grun

Sunday 13 May 2007

Geelong v West Coast

Skilled Stadium @ 1:10pm

I am going to embarrass myself straight off the bat and pick Geelong simply because I think that West Coast are due for a loss.

There is nothing that the Eagles have done that makes me want to tip against them, just a feeling. And with the way the betting is going, a lot of people are feeling the same. Maybe it is just forlorn hope more than anything else.

So now that I have tipped the Cats, let’s look at how they can win. The most important player in this side at the moment is Wojinski. He is named at half-forward but expect him to play back as an attacking player running off Chick or Stenglein. (I wouldn’t be surprised to see Stenglein of the Gestapo play half-back himself on S. Johnson so that makes a mockery of selection in the first place.)

The other main match-ups look to be pretty good on paper. Scarlett should hold his own on the big Q Bomber, Milburn should take Hansen, Mooney should be too strong for Hunter before Hunter moves forward, Otten
s in the ruck should at least draw level with Seaby, and while it sounds so clich�d to say that Judd and Kerr are the keys, it is right. I would tag Judd with Ling and Kerr with Kelly just to keep the pressure on. If these two get it right and limit the amount of ball Judd an Kerr get, then the Kitties will be well on their way.

I am hoping the travel to Geelong will be a bit much for the Coolers and the Cats to win by 13 points.

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

B: Wirrpanda, Glass, Staker
HB: Waters, Hunter, Selwood
C: Hurn, Priddis, Braun
HF: Stenglein, Hansen, Chick
F: Armstrong, Lynch, R.Jones
FOLL: Seaby, Judd, Kerr
I/C from: Rosa, B.Jones, LeCras, Fletcher, Morton, Mackenzie, Brown
IN: Fletcher, Morton, Mackenzie, Brown
OUT: Cox (back)

Field umpires: Stevic, Allen, M.Nicholls

Sunday 13 May 2007

Western Bulldogs v Melbourne
Telstra Dome @ 2:10pm

The Doggies should be disappointed in their play last week. They did what they could to keep Kerr and Judd quiet and almost succeeded but they didn’t have ANYTHING going for them up forward on the huge expanse of the Subiaco Oval and as a result couldn’t find an avenue to goal. As a result they failed where they would have been expecting to succeed.

Johnno, Darcy and Cooney basically gave them nothing but on the smaller ground at Docklands, they would expect that these blokes be able to provide targets and options going forward.

Aker has been disappointing so far and whether his hammy is up to it at this stage remains to be seen. Expect to see him explode as there is no Clint Bartram to keep him quite. Similarly with Giansiracusa who played well last week, I can’t see Bell or Brown really holding him closely and negating his run or his use of the ball.

The Street/White contest could provide some highlights however. White has not been playing up to his high standards for some time and Peter Street found a new lease of life last year and seems to be enjoying his footy at the moment. I reckon that he will be able to climb all over White and provide West, Griffen, Gia and Cross with a lot of the ball.

Whilst the Dee’s played a bit better last week and were unlucky to lose in the end, I think the effort took a lot out of them. Yze did what he could and is playing some decent footy again. He would be more suited up forward I think, where Melbourne needs goals. Similarly, Sylvia should be down back for some grunt and hustle. He apparently likes it tough and it as the Footscray forwards are really front runners instead of “body over the ball” types, he may find a lot of it and intimidate his opposition.

Carroll will find it very tough against Darcy and Harris on Neita will be worth going to watch. It’s hard to pick a winner because Melbourne do have some great players. If they were up and running in a positive manner it would be a great match and only a toss of the coin would see a winner.

My coin landed on tails so I am going with the ‘Scraggers by 8 points.

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

B: Ward, Carroll, Yze
HB: Brown, Rivers, Bell
C: Bate, McDonald, Davey
HF: Green, Miller, Bruce
F: Sylvia, Neitz, Moloney
FOLL: White, Godfrey, Johnstone
I/C from: P.Johnson, Jones, Dunn, Holland, Warnock, Frawley, Pickett
IN: Holland, Frawley, Green, Ward
OUT: Petterd (inj)
NEW: James Frawley, selection No.12 at the 2006 NAB AFL Draft from North Ballarat

Field umpires: McLaren, Sully, Head

Sunday 13 May 2007

Fremantle v Hawthorn

Subiaco Oval @ 2:40pm

This will tell us where both Freo and Hawthorn are at. Freo has had a disappointing first 6 rounds and will be keen to atone for it’s poor record so far while the Hawks are “cock-a-hoop” after demolishing Essendon last week.

It’s difficult to fathom what has gone wrong at Fremantle. Have the players been believing their own press and just expecting to win games. Has the coach’s message been lost in translation somewhere? Or has the reputed party behaviour of the Victorian recruits somehow infected the self-belief they had last year?

Probably none of the above, but it is likely that the Dockers haven’t counted on other teams improving over summer and have taken the foot off the accelerator.

I would play Michael Johnson on Franklin. Johnson is a tall, rangy, quick defender and is good below his knees so will be a good match up on Buddy Love. Similarly, McPharlin on Boyle will be an important pairing as well. Luke hasn’t been in great touch but this is a job that he has to do well to prevent Boyle from becoming another dangerous option. If McPharlin can cut him out of the game
, it means that Franklin becomes even more important and the Hawks will rely on him even more so.

Dixon is the unknown in this equation. He helps give structure to the Hawthorn forward line and is a dangerous player. Mundy or Grover will probably get him and try to keep him honest. As Mundy is an attacking player, his run could embarrass Dixon if he isn’t on the ball.

I wonder who Brown will get? Perhaps Headland and that would be a match-up worth watching. Brown is having his best year yet and is a quality player yet Headland is slowly coming into his own after “the unpleasantness” a few weeks ago.

Sandilands and Campbell will be great to watch and I think that the young Hawk may be a bit too mobile around the ground than his Freo counterpart. The Hawks should use him on the rebound as a link man to embarrass Sandilands and show that just being tall and having a NUTS-like reputation is not enough.

Good to see Bateman back in the side as he is also a great young player and loves to run and give options. While his disposal is a bit wayward at times, he will be more suited to the halfback line rather than where he is named. Expect him to tail McManus around.

Croad and Pavlich. I wonder if they will discuss the reasons for Croad leaving both Hawthorn and Freo, or just concentrate on the footy. Pav is in rare touch after last week but as well all know, footy is a week to week proposition. I have a feeling that Pav will tear his former team mate a new one, and leave Taz to do the mopping up.

Mitchell will struggle against the close tagging of Crowley. Whilst the Hawk is a quality front-runner, he doesn’t like body pressure so who better to play on him? I have a feeling that the half-back lines will ultimately win this game. Hayden, Johnson and Mundy seem to have a bit more quality against their opponents than Batemen, Croad and Hodge. This is not to say that the three Hawks are not good enough, but just that they will struggle a bit more against their Docker opponents than the Freo halfbacks will against Crawford, Boyle, McGlynn and company.

Freo by 19 points.

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

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

Field umpires: Kennedy, Hendrie, McInerney