AFL Preview Round 8
Just the 6 correct last week tipsters but I changed a couple of tips in a newspaper competition and scored the 8 there. Talk about shooting up the ladder!I improved about 115,000 places with the 8 correct and sit in the top 2 percentile. For a week anyway. Apologies for not giving you the same selections. At the start of the season it was easier picking winners and losers but as teams improve and others fall prey to injuries to star players it is getting as difficult to pick a winner between the middle rating teams as it is to find a politician not rorting the system. Well actually they seem easy to find but successful prosecution is another story. AFL news seems to be centred round Fremantle, in WA it is anyway. And the purple haze is gently wending its way east and is hovering above Hyden (600 kms east of Perth) and should reach us in Norseman by tomorrow night. The Fremantle Collingwood game is sold out, as expected, but the crowd make up is expected to be 30,000 Docker supporters, 12,000 Collingwood supporters and the rest is made up of disgruntled Eagle supporters hoping to see a Freo defeat, something West Coast supporters are used to. It’s a funny game. No, cricket and American Football are funny games, AFL is a great game! I mean who would have thought in their wildest dreams that a Collingwood versus Fremantle game would be the weekend’s blockbuster with the winner being clear ladder leader? I guess Collingwood fans can believe it but honestly, Fremantle supporters are living the dream. The tipping game has been a tad more difficult this season and this can be seen with top scores around the competitions of 37 – 40, well below last year’s leaders who hovered around the 43 – 45 mark after round 7. The fickleness, if there be such a word, of tipping comps is their main attraction. That’s why we join as many as we can so we can hedge our bets based on fickle form of AFL teams week in week out. It’s hard to tip teams who tell us that the game is played 90% above the shoulders because how many of us are privy to the mental, motivational state of each team before they run out onto the ground? Looking at the tipping scores, I would say not many of us. I have found that I am now falling back into tipping from the heart, that clueless gut feeling tip that carries no weight at the time of submitting the selection but screams “EXPERT” when the tip comes in. Good luck, it’s a particularly hard week of matches.
Fremantle V Collingwood at Subiaco Friday Night
An expert wrote in the paper that this was the most important game in the history of the Fremantle football club. Really it’s just another win for Collingwood on their way to the premiership. That is the statement of not only a Collingwood supporter but somebody who knows a thing or two from the inside. I rang Mick to ask him how the boys were travelling and after a few terse comments to me before he realised I wasn’t the local press he revealed that the lads were hot to trot. I checked with Eddie after chatting with Malthouse and after Maguire realised I had no financial connection with the Melbourne Storm he also said that the team was a sure thing. Freo coach Harvey is using the MUP (Malthouse Undermining Ploy) to unsettle the Pies with questions on Magpie blocking tactics but he should be using his time more rewardingly by working out how his team will win the game. In the usual spirit of public interest the TV station is providing the residents of Perth with a half hour delayed telecast. Jolly decent I thought as I will not miss an episode of Home and Away.
Collingwood by 29
Western Bulldogs V Sydney at Manuka Saturday
The Bulldogs got a big fright from the Demons last week and just won while the Swans copped a hiding from Geelong. The team that mentally recovers best from their game last week will win. The match is being played on neutral ground in Canberra so there’s another factor to consider. You can see the prediction here will be pure guesswork. Barry Hall will be playing against his old side and it would be funny to see him snot a former team mate – just for old time’s sake. Maybe not. The confidence of the Swans took a hammering last week and it might be hard mentally for the team to get back up well enough to take on the Western Bulldogs who, by the way, will be in a positive mental state after that lucky win against the Demons in the dying minutes of the match. I can’t see a score blow out here so the game will be close all day. I’m thinking the Doggies will prevail.
Western Bulldogs by 12
Melbourne V West Coast Eagles at MCG Saturday
Can the Eagles win away from home against an ever improving Melbourne? Can anybody come forward and make a case for the Eagles to win this game? Even when the Demons were really bad last year and the year before they still beat the Eagles at the MCG. Kennedy bagged 6 for West Coast last week and has been in reasonable form so far this season. Nat and Nui are doing well in the ruck, improving week to week and ably supported by Cox who is starting to shrug off preseason injury. It should be a good match up with those guys against Jamar who is rucking well for the Dees. I tipped the Eagles for a win last week but am real reluctant to do so this week. The Demons should win their 4th.
Melbourne by 17
Brisbane V Geelong at the Gabba Saturday
The Brisbane crowd will be in for two consecutive weeks of disappointment because on current form The Lions should not win against the Cats. And they won’t. Ablett was amazing last week for the Cats against the Swans. 38 disposals and 3 goals. Don’t know what’s happened to the Lions over the past few weeks but 3 losses in a row has seen them drop from the 8. I tend to think the misery will continue for them this week because the Cats have the players to hold the Brown Fevola to a handful of goals if any and they are also lethal in attack with a couple of weeks of high scores. Missing credentialed players in the backline won’t help the Lions’ cause. No worries on mental motivation here.
Geelong by 33
North Melbourne V Adelaide at Etihad Saturday
The Crows finally cracked it for a win last week although the opposition was Richmond. They will find this harder because North will come back from the Collingwood defeat as they did from the Saints loss. The game could be a draw – it will be close. The selection here will be based on form and the form shown by Adelaide is not convincing enough to make me think they can beat North. The Crows have won one game against Richmond.
North Melbourne by 10
Richmond V Hawthorn at the MCG Sunday
What is the toughest prediction to make in AFL matches this season? Well one is to predict just when the Tigers will win a game and another is to tip the Hawks to win their next game. Just can’t tick the Richmond box this week again.
Hawthorn by 41
Port Adelaide V Carlton at AAMI on Sunday
The Power had a darn close win against the Bombers last week and just a couple of days ago Carlton really gave the Saints a football lesson. This should be a good game and the fact that it is being played at AAMI makes it tough to call the Blues as winners. Apart from that big loss against The Pies Carlton has beaten Geelong and St Kilda, last year’s grand finalists. The return of Judd has added strength, leadership and experience to the Blues. Port Adelaide’s season resume does not look as impressive especially the effort against Geelong in the second half. Tredrea is a bit of a loss for the Power but Port has the oomph to go with Carlton for most of the game. Premiership quarter, the third, will decide it.
Carlton by 15
St Kilda V Essendon at Etihad Sunday
Can the Saints kick enough goals to win this game or will their backline just not allow Essendon to kick enough goals to win this game. Probably yes on both counts. This is one of the perfect examples of an injury to a critical player having a negative impact on that team. The loss of Reiwoldt has meant that the Saints need to change the game plan a bit and the fact that Kozzi ain’t firing is not helping. When a team can roost the ball into the half forward line with Nick a better than even chance of marking the ball you can use midfielders and crumbing forwards to great effect. Take that target away and the Saints need to modify. The Bombers’ back line, apart from Fletcher, is a little weak so there is an opportunity for the Saints to kick a reasonable score. 115 points should do it. You have to stick with the Saints particularly when Essendon’s form is distinctly patchy.
St Kilda by 27