The previews below are written by

Friday 18 May 2007

Adelaide v Richmond
AAMI Stadium @7:40pm

Did the Tiger stay in Adelaide for the whole week to acclimatise itself after last weeks drubbing at the hands of Port. It should have although even an extra week amongst the Crow-eaters (should there be a hyphen in that?) wouldn’t do much for Richmond’s chances this week.
Adelaide are back to some solid form. A great win against Brissie at the Gabba has really steeled the Crows for a tilt at the top 4 after an inauspicious start to the year and they will go into this game full of self-belief. They are an enigma however because just when you think they are back in town, they let you down.

Adelaide’s forward structure seems good one week and bad the next. What it doesn’t seem is stable and that is the greatest danger this week. Bock, Welsh, Perrie and Vince can all tear an opposition apart on their day however strangely enough, they all seem to have bad days on the same day and this is detrimental to Adelaide’s scoring prowess.

As always, they will get plenty of run from McLeod, Mattner and Torney off half-back, and through Goodwin, Shirley, Van Berlo and Edwards through the middle and Richmond doesn’t seem to have the players available to counter this drive.

Polo, Hyde, Tambling and Deledio, along with Johnson, and Tuck seem to struggle just when they need to fire on occasions, but thank goodness for young Foley. If this kid isn’t already heading for All-Australian selection, a few more quality games will make him a shoe-in.

Wallace has wielded the axe down there at the Punt Road End but to ditch McGuane only weeks after saying he has taken over from Gasper as the main backman is pure folly. There is one bloke who needs to be dropped down there and he doesn’t WEAR nor BLEED yellow and black. More like a poo-brown and stale wee combination.

My game breaker is Jericho for the Crows. With Jackson manning him up, I am tipping he will run riot and kick 5 in a game that will be dead before half-time. Don’t expect this game to reach any great heights though and Adelaide will win by 10 goals in the end.

B: Doughty Bassett Mattner
HB: McLeod Rutten Torney
C: Van Berlo Shirley Thompson
HF: Jericho Bock Vince
F: Knights Welsh Perrie
FOLL: Hudson Goodwin Rover: Edwards
INT: Griffin Burton Douglas Stevens

B: Newman J Bowden King
HB: Raines Polak Jackson
C: Polo Johnson Howat
HF: Pettifer Richardson Hyde
F: Tambling Schulz Deledio
FOLL: Pattison Tuck Rover: Foley
INTER: Tivendale Meyer Thursfield Edwards

Saturday 18 May 2007

Essendon v Brisbane Lions
Telstra Dome @ 2:10pm

All the talk is around the Mal Michael defection to Papua New Guinea. Oh.. what is that? He is playing at ESSENDON? Nooo..surely not. Well he is playing like he is in PNG. Not exactly a great pick up by the Bombre’s and good to see Camporeale back to embarrass himself even more in the red and black. Another welcome addition is the skipper in Lloyd although the spiritual leader of the ‘Dons has been there all year. Even Channel 10 commentators still refer to Hird as “the skipper” don’t they Mr. Quartermaine!

This should be a great match as both teams match up well on each other. Brisbane will be hurting after last weeks loss and will be looking to rebound quickly against an old foe. Will Mal play on Brown? I think he would have to as Brown will absolutely murder anyone else but he would just laugh if Fletcher came to man him up.

Essendon has improved down back through McVeigh who is having a great season, and young Paddy Ryder. (Mark him down for NAB Rising Star if he is eligible). He is playing brilliant and reliable footy. Sheedy will use Hille running forward of the ball as a linkman around half-forward and Charman/McDonald will need to be mindful of that. Hille does this very well and provides a good target to play through. Mind you, Matthews may choose to do the same with Charman and since Brisbane does not make as many errors by foot as Essendon, this could well work in the Lions favour.

Winderlich is another Bombre who is having a good year. He is quick and has good skills as well, so will be a good hard-running half-back. Harding will have to watch his attacking movement and try to prevent Winders going when Essendon is in control.

I like the idea of Brennan on Lucas. Brennan is an enigma as well but this could just be the challenge he needs to really come to the fore. He has played some decent games at CHB but needs to get back on track against Lucas to justify Lethal’s faith in him. I am betting he will keep Lucas to 2 goals only, and they will be lucky ones. Merrett on Lloyd will be an interesting duel and it depends on how sufficiently recovered the dodgy hammy is.

Copeland will take Hird, Begley will have his work cut out for him on Davey and Roe could be used as a grunt back-pocket on Johnson.

My game-breaker is Paddy Ryder and if he plays a great game on Notting or Patful then Essendon will win but if they get the better of the young bloke, it will be Brisbane. For me, Brisbane by 15 points.

B: M Johnson Michael McVeigh
HB: Fletcher Ryder Winderlich
C: McPhee Peverill Cole
HF: Hird Lucas Houli
F: Davey Lloyd J Johnson
FOLL: Hille Watson Rover: Stanton
INTER: Camporeale Lovett Monfries Slattery
EMERG: Bolton Bradley Dyson

B: Begley Merrett Roe
HB: Adcock Brennan Copeland
C: Selwood Lappin Stiller
HF: Harding Brown Notting
F: Rischitelli Patfull McGrath
FOLL: Charman Black Rover: Power
INTER: Hadley Allan McDonald Drummond

Saturday 19 May 2007

Geelong v Fremantle
Skilled Stadium @ 2.10pm

We are Geelong… the Greatest team of all…We are Geelong….We’re always on the ball……

They have been singing that non-stop down at Kardinia Park since last weeks victory over the Coolers and all is rosy down there. They sit on top of the Footytalk.Reality Ladder and the talk is of Premierships already…after Round 7. But they do like to get ahead of themselves a bit at Kitty Land, something they should have learned not to do after their failings in the 90’s.

Back to the current day however. As mentioned in previous previews, it is Wojcinski, D. Johnno and Milburn who have provided a lot of the spark for Geelong recently. When you have quality runners who break the
lines through half-back, it gives the big forwards like Mooney, young Ablett and Jumpin’ Jacks boy a real advantage. Thankfully Hawkins has been dropped this week back to the “magoo’s” so we won’t have to put up with the drivel coming from the commentators all day long.

Over at Freo, Connolly will be buoyed by his team’s victory against a decent opponent at home last week and will be keen to continue the long haul to the top 4 in this match against an “unknown” entity. Which is to say we don’t know which Geelong will turn up. Will it be the Geelong who played so well against West Coast, or will it be the lazy, complacent Geelong that has permeated Geelong teams for decades? I think last week’s result could be bad for the Cats as they will be thinking they are unstoppable nowadays.

Ottens and Blake will find it difficult against the big Sandgroper who is due for a big game. Mooney will find McPharlin a very tough, close-checking opponent, Egan will have to be on his guard against Pavlich who is keen to make up for his disappointing game last week. Milburn on Crowley will be a match-up full of angst and false posturing � both pretend to be tough but really….., and Nathan Ablett will not find as much space against Grover as he would against lesser opponents.

Fremantle will like the idea of playing at Kardinia Park as the length will suit it’s game plan. The extra space will allow Pav and Taz to run into empty spaces and opens up area behind them for others to move in to. All in all, this could be a bad thing for Geelong and I think the game-breaker will be Headland who seems to be enjoying his footy now he is no longer on a holiday.

Freo by 10 points.

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

B: Hayden Grover Johnson
HB: Dodd McPharlin M Carr
C: Black Hasleby Mundy
HF: Crowley Pavlich Headland
F: Bell Tarrant Solomon
FOLL: Sandilands McManus Rover: J Carr
INTER: Campbell Duffield Walker Webster
EMERG: Cook Gilmore Warnock

Kangaroos v Carlton
Carrara @ 7.10pm

Hmmm… I was going to jump on a Jetstar flight to go to this game but didn’t want to put myself through more pain than I could handle. The ‘Roos are on a permanent trip, and it is not to Carrara. It is more likely to the final 8. Of the two sides, it is more likely to be the Blues who could be relocating before too long. The main question from this game is whether Archer will swap guernseys with Kouta or not. Perhaps he doesn’t respect the great man enough??

Congratulations to the under-rated Adam Simpson for reaching yet another milestone. Hopefully his former coach will recognise how good he is and actually put a tag on him. Look for Carazzo to get the job. Sad to see Wells hurt his knee last week and this will mean that Harris, Lindsay Thomas (Footytalk’s Boy of the Year and Swallow will need to step into the breach. Swallow has been a fantastic find for Laidley lately and the Blues will need to be careful that he doesn’t get too much space. Hamish McIntosh has been performing exceptionally well against much better ruckmen than Ackland and he should be able to provide enough ball to Rawlings, Simpson, Smith, Harvey and Grant without too much fuss.

Unfortunately for the Blues, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of speed on their bench. Bentick and Blackwell are relatively slow midfielders in the Diesel mould, only not as good, and Young is still learning the caper so don’t expect much drive from these blokes. They will need to rely on Simpson, Walker and Scotland off half-back to run the lines and deliver the ball well to Fevola and Whitnall. O’hAilpin will go down back again to play on Edwards while Waite should take Brown at CHF. Brown has been a revelation and continues to give an option up forward, something that has been lacking for Carlton at CHF most of the year. Whitnall NEEDs to play at CHF to provide that attacking option and to straighten up Carlton’s structure.

There will be two game-breakers in this game and they are Jesse Smith and Swallow, which means North will win by 25 points in the end, although for the Blues, Brad Fisher looms as a dangerous target and if he gets into the game and kicks 3, things may be a bit different.

B: Pratt Gibson Sinclair
HB: Firrito Watt Archer
C: Rawlings Simpson Smith
HF: Campbell Brown Thomas
F: Petrie Edwards Harvey
FOLL: McIntosh Grant Rover: Harris
INTER: Jones Swallow Grima Moran
EMER: Lower Green McMahon

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

Hawthorn v St Kilda
MCG @ 7.10pm

I don’t think the Hawks will be hurt by last weeks loss to Freo. They will be disappointed of course but they played so great footy and were only a bit wayward with their kicking at goal. Apart from that, they could well be 5-2. St. Kilda seems to be hitting it’s straps with a solid win over Sydney. Was it reflective of how good St. Kilda was, or how far off the boil the Swannies have dropped.?

St. Kilda has had two good wins in a row now and will be looking to improve its positioning but the Hawks are a very good unit and with a bit strong, inform forward line, the undermanned Saints backline may struggle. Young Gwilt has been a revalation down back and he should take Boyle. S Fisher should play on Dixon and the match-up that may be in the Saints advantage would be a surprising choice of Gram on Franklin. Forget the size difference, Ross Lyon would be relying on Grams running ability to embarrass and exploit Frankin’s lack of defensive pressure.

Down the other end, Croad on NUTS Riewoldt will be the key match-up which will decide the game. IF Nick can have another outing like last week, he will provide a great target for Jones, Ball, Montagna, Dal Santo and Harvey to kick to but if Croad can get on top of him and limit his effectiveness, the Hawks will be on par to rebound effectively through Guerra, Hodge, Mitchell, Sewell and Ladson.

The midfield rotations will also be vital in this game. Hawthorn simply has to stop Dal Santo, Harvey et al getting plenty of the ball. This could well mean that Sewell with run with Dal Santo all day. The Pressure Cooker won’t give the young Saint an inch.

I can’t see St.
Kilda dominating the ruck/clearances with Rix as the main ruckman so expect Campbell to give the midfielders an armchair ride which means Dixon, Lewis, and Buddy will have every opportunity to kick a bag. The game-breakers in this game will be the under-rated Hawks like Benny McGlynn and Osborne. They don’t get a lot of attention because of the other great Hawk midfielders but these guys will get under the guard of the Saints and give plenty.

I expect the Hawks to win by 2 goals.

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

St Kilda
B: Gwilt S Fisher L Fisher
HB: Attard Blake Gram
C: Jones Ball Montagna
HF: Harvey Riewoldt Fiora
F: Voss Gehrig Koschitzke
FOLL: Rix X Clarke Rover: Dal Santo
INTER: Birss M Clarke Gilbert Milne
EMERG: Armitage Hudghton Sweeney

Sunday 20 May 2007

Sydney v Port Adelaide
SCG @ 1.10pm

Port is on the way up and Sydney is on the way down. That is about all there is to say at the moment. There are a lot of questions regarding the Swannies. Have they lost their hunger and desire? Has the Everitt experiment worked? What is wrong with Goodes? Will Kennelly play? How dangerous is it’s forward line at the moment?

I think Port will win this simply because their players are up and running and seem more committed and united to do the job that is necessary. They are running in waves from the backline with Cassisi, Pettirgrew, Surjan and Salopek taking up the slack. Quality players all of them. The Sydney players just look tired and disinterested.

Tredders is due to really have an impact on a game and Barry will find it difficult to stop him when he is getting impeccable delivery from blokes like Lonie, the Cornes boys and of course the Burgoynes. Add to his big White up forward and Bolton will struggle, especially on the smaller Sydney ground. The Swannies play this ground very well and it will be Sydney’s biggest asset in the match. Keeping the play tight and close rather than Port’s open, free-flowing game will be imperative if Sydney is to win. Expect to see a lot of contested ball and ball-ups around the ground. Unfortunately for Roos, the midfielders of Port seem to be in better form around the clearances and this will be the difference

Whatever the reason Barry Hall is off the boil is irrelevant. Wakelin should be able to match him well because of this perceived slump, and Chad Cornes should get the better of O’Loughlin at CHB. Similarly Lade and Brogan should be able to jump over Jolly and Everitt, even though both the Swannies love to go forward as an extra attacking option. They should pop up for a few goals but it won’t be enough.

Port by 4 goals.

B: Richards Barry Malceski
H: Bevan C Bolton Mathews
C: Ablett Kirk Buchanan
HF: O’Keefe O’Loughlin J Bolton
F: Davis Hall Dempster
FOLL: Jolly Goodes Rover: Fosdike
INTER: From: Crouch Everitt Grundy Kennelly Jack McVeigh Schneider

Port Adelaide
B: Thurstans Wakelin Surjan
HB: Cassisi C Cornes Pettigrew
C: Salopek S Burgoyne Lonie
HF: Rodan White Pearce
F: Motlop Tredrea Ebert
FOLL: Lade K Cornes Rover: P Burgoyne
INTER: From: Bentley Boak Brogan Krakouer Mahoney Symes Thomas

Western Bulldogs v Collingwood
Telstra Dome @ 2.10pm

This could well be the match of the round. How Collingwood keeps winning against “better” opposition like Adelaide in Adelaide is beyond me but as they showed last week against Carlton, they just have a belief in themselves that they can over-run opposition. The Doggies struggled to overcome a tenacious Melbourne last week but the important thing is that they got there in the end.

Both these sides love to zone off their opponents and to run into space. Collingwood is especially good at making space on the “fat” side of the ground when coming out of defence and the Footscray’s smaller players will need to be aware of this and play for it. Instead of getting sucked ‘down the line” they HAVE to create a barrier on the opposite flanks when Collingwood is coming out.

Be aware of the switch and clog it up if they can. Blokes like Swann, Thomas, Lockyer, the Shaw boys and Pendlebury are excellent at providing these options. Eagleton, Griffen, Boyd, Giansiracusa, Cross and Cooney will have to be on their collective toes to shut this down as an attacking option for Collingwood.

The interesting match-ups will be O’Brien on Johnson. You would expect Johnno to have the better of this but young Harry is really coming along well as a defensive player and is so versatile. Presti on Darcy will be interesting as the big Dog is not yet back to great form and Presti really took Fevola apart in the 2nd half last week. Rocca will struggle as always and Harris should take him while Wight may play on the more mobile Travis Cloke.

The game-breaker will be an oldie but a goodie. Akermanis is due to play a blinder and he loves playing against the Pies. Look for him to kick 4 as the Doggies escape with a 10 point victory.

Western Bulldogs
B: McMahon Harris Morris
HB: Gilbee Wight Hargrave
C: Eagleton West Griffen
HF: Giansiracusa Johnson Boyd
F: Hahn Darcy Akermanis
FOLL: Street Cross Rover: Cooney
INTER From: Addison Ray Harbrow Higgins Minson Power Robbins
INTER: Minson Power Robbins

B: Lockyer Prestigiacomo Holland
HB: H Shaw O’Brien R Shaw
C: Pendlebury Toovey Thomas
HF: Maxwell Cloke Didak
F: Swan Rocca Johnson
FOLL: Fraser O’Bree Rover: Burns
INTER: From: Medhurst Goldsack Dick Davies Iles Bryan Davis

West Coast Eagles v Melbourne
Subiaco @ 4.40pm

This game will be over before it even begins. The Eagles will be to big, to strong, to fast, and just to damn good.

Melbourne were unlucky to lose against the Doggies but at home, the Eagles will easily account for them The Dees will try hard and will play some good footy throughout the day but on a comparison of quality, they just don’t rate as highly.

Judd – Godfrey. A no-brainer. Kerr � Johnston. Same. Hansen � Ferguson. Same. Priddis � McDonald. (pretty even). Hunter- Miller. No-brainer. Carroll � Lynch. Same. Glass � Neitz. Same.

Even just going though a few of the important match-ups you can see that the Dee’s really will struggle to get enough
of the ball close to goal to really make an impact.

Good to see young Petterd back for everyone’s Dreamteam points and it would be interesting to see him take on Priddis in the middle. Similarly, the Melbourne half-forward line looks strong against Stenglein, Hunter and Selwood but the problem will be getting the ball from the midfielders and in my estimation, they just won’t be able to get enough of it.

West Coast by 5 goals.

West Coast Eagles
B: Wirrpanda Glass B Jones
HB: Stenglein Hunter Selwood
C: Rosa Priddis Braun
HF: Chick Hansen Hurn
F: Waters Lynch R Jones
FOLL: Seaby Judd Rover: Kerr
INTER: From: Armstrong Brown Cox Fletcher LeCras Morton Staker

B: Ward Carroll Yze
HB: Brown Ferguson Bell
C: Bate McDonald Davey
HF: Green Miller Bruce
F: Sylvia Neitz Dunn
FOLL: White Godfrey Rover: Johnstone
INTER: From: P Johnson Jones Whelan Warnock McLean Holland Petterd
IN: Whelan Petterd McLean Ferguson
OUT: Moloney (groin)