Oh joy to the world! The 2010 AFL season is upon us and we have all spent the last week in a frenzy of activity enrolling in a number of tipping competitions even though we promised ourselves we would restrict ourselves this year to no more than 3 – a manageable amount.
The attraction of some of those big tipping comps is magnetic as they pull us in to dreams of great riches and the 15 minutes of fame we would get should we happen to win one. The real professionals register 10 alias names and work the odds to try and snare the end of season prize and with the money being in the $000’s why wouldn’t they?
Well, because it’s not Australian that’s why! You have to experience the ups and downs of good and bad weeks, the bad brought about by crazy results like Melbourne winning two games in a row or Richmond beating Geelong by 70 points. These upset footy results are the initiators of anguished conversation over coffee at work on Monday mornings. There is the tipster who waxes on about his brilliance because he snagged that impossible result (usually a Pom who follows soccer) and the tragic tale of the AFL expert who managed 4 from 8 (usually a guy who played 200 plus games and still coaches the kids on the weekends)! It couldn’t be much fun going to work on a Monday knowing that one of your 2097 combinations got you 8 correct under one of your aliases and you knew before the first bounce that you had to get one combination right. How do you explain that to your mates who laboured on a Friday night over 8 selections to enter into the office comp the winner of which receives about $200 and the honour of being the tipping champ for the season? That my friends is a result of the bastardry of commercialisation and the power of the retailers who inundate you with ads on your online comp, harvest your name into their data banks and spam you off season with offers of TV’s, holidays, electronic gear, male organ growth cream and Viagra! Amen.
So into the fray we go again for the 2010 AFL tipping season. Hardly worth going through all the dramas of the off season as I am sure you have all kept up with the latest. Transfers, recruitments, retirements, new coaches, discarded players, operations, pre-season injuries, the draft and of course no season is complete without an FF (Fevola Frenzy). He ended the 2009 season with a Brownlow Brouhaha and had a bit of a bingle as he crashed into the 2010 season. Hope he kicks a 100 goals….not.
Richmond V Carlton at the MCG Thursday Night
The Tigers start this season without their legend Matthew Richardson who retired and similarly the Blues will be without their half wit full forward Brendan Fevola. Based on form these are big holes to fill for these two struggling teams and if you also take away from Carlton their captain terrific Chris Judd then there might be a case to be made for a Richmond win!! Haha, just kidding. Richmond will struggle to win 5 games this year and Carlton will struggle to make the finals but they shouldn’t have to fight too hard late in the game to see the Tigers off. It won’t be a mauling as happened in the same opening game last year but the Blues should open their account with a win here.
Carlton by 33
Geelong V Essendon at the MCG Friday Night
With the Cats bagging another premiership in 2009 you would think they might lack a bit of motivation in the early part of the season, so, coming up against the Bombers at the MCG could be a danger game for openers. But consider the Essendon losses of Lloyd, Lovett and Lucas whose departures leave an ‘L’ of a hole, then add the transfers of Nash and McPhee and Bomber supporters will probably be counting their season wins on one hand. This won’t be one of them. The Cats can lift their rating whenever challenged and they will be far too good and experienced for Essendon who will not make the finals in 2010.
Geelong by 59
Melbourne V Hawthorn at the MCG Saturday Arvo
The Demons have bunkered down, lost a few players like McLean and Buckley while Robertson and Whelan have retired but conversely they have the pick of the young footy talent playing for them which bodes well for the future......but not in this game. Even without Lance Franklin the Hawks will be far too good for Melbourne. I don’t expect the Dees to finish on the bottom this year but they will finish bottom 4. The Hawks suffered annus horribilus last season and you can expect a return to the top 8 this year. A resounding win against the Demons will put them on top of the ladder at the end of round 1.
Hawthorn by 67
St Kilda V Sydney at ANZ Stadium Saturday Night
The retirements and losses for the Sydney Swans reads a bit like a who’s who for their fans. Leo Barry, Jared Crouch and Michael O’Loughlin all retired while Jolly and Hall went elsewhere. They did pick up Bradshaw from the Lions and Seaby from the Eagles but these additions aren’t enough to get them the points in round 1. The Saints continue to march on albeit they hit a bomb crater against the Bulldogs in the Nab Final a couple of weeks ago. St Kilda provided footy fans with two of the great games last year, both against Geelong, so like the Swans of old, they can play tight and tough. They will be hungry to avenge grand final defeat and don’t be surprised if that hunger drives them to another season of ladder topping wins. There might be 2 occasions this year I will tip against them. This isn’t one of them.
St Kilda by 39
Brisbane Lions V West Coast Eagles at the Gabba Saturday Night
If memory serves me correctly then this was a pretty close game last year. The Lions went on to make the finals in 6th position so they have the credentials. Stopping both Fevola and Brown will be a mammoth task for the West Coast backline and one that I am not so sure they can manage. Or manage well enough to win the game at least. The Eagles looked reasonable at times last season but lost a few close matches and won just the 8 games. They will need to find 4 more wins in 2010 to make the finals in what will be a tight season for the group of teams that will circulate through positions 6 to 13 on the ladder during the year. Bradshaw, Dalziell and Notting are the biggest losses for the Lions but they picked up some experience with Buchanan from Sydney, Clarke and Maguire from St Kilda, Fevola from Carlton, Raines from Richmond and Staker from West Coast. The Eagles lost Staker, Hunter, Wirrpanda, Stenglein, Seaby and Fletcher to name a few and went for youth in recruiting. West Coast looked good demolishing Essendon pre-season but a long road trip, two great full forwards to beat....nope.
Brisbane by 17
Port Adelaide V North Melbourne at AAMI Sunday
Already I can see the Power as being the problem child for tipsters this year. Thrash a team one week then get thrashed the next. They made the prelim of the pre-season but that competition is not a good indicator for the mediocre teams. The game is at AAMi so that’s a point in their favour and they have recruited Laidley to give them a bit of toughness. North Melbourne, once favoured to disappear into oblivion like Fitzroy have hung on, built themselves new club rooms, have a young enthusiastic side and a young, new coach. What’s the game plan gonna be Scotty? Tough as nails so you would expect the team to be the same. If you get a chance to watch this on the box you might be surprised at how good a game it will be physically and what I predict to be a closeness in the score line. Port is favoured as the home team.
Port Adelaide by 11
Western Bulldogs V Collingwood at Etihad Sunday
Considering the position of these two teams last year then you would have to agree that this should be the game of the round. Woulds and shoulds....The Bullies look the goods this season and the addition of Barry Hall has already paid dividends as he helped them to a convincing Nab Cup victory in the Grand Final against St Kilda – same venue. The main problem Collingwood has had for about 5 years is the lack of a good ruckman, apologies to Josh Fraser. Their recruitment of Jolly from the Swans is just that – a jolly good decision and it will add that bit of extra power the Pies needed at the stoppages. Luke Ball may be a bonus and Malthouse might get from him some of his early form he showed with Saints a couple of seasons ago. If not he won’t get a game – simple as that. This should be a great spectacle but the Bulldogs have had a marvellous preparation for a tough game of footy and Collingwood are notoriously slow starters.
Western Bulldogs by 18
Fremantle V Adelaide at Subiaco Sunday
The plethora of injuries the Crows had last week seem to have vanished this week. The game is at Subiaco and there has been a bit of hype at Fremantle about their chances this year. It is usually a safe bet to tip against the Dockers most weeks but they might have a bit of a chance playing at home in the season opener in front of the purple haze. Fremantle’s most notable recruit for the year is the return of McPhee – admittedly a strange move. Either Adam didn’t like Essendon coach Matty Knights or the surf is better here in the west, why else would you make such a masochistic move? Pavli up forward could pay dividends but can this Docker team kick enough goals? Can they get past Nathan Bock enough times to kick a winning score? Will the old legs of some of the Adelaide legends see them through a hot day in Perth? This could be a close game and I will grit my teeth and go for the Dockers to win their opening match and cause the greatest hype to be seen in the local papers since West Coast won their last flag.
Fremantle by 8
We thank www.footy.com.au for the preview. More news available at www.thefooty.com