Friday, July 16, 2010
AFL Preview Round 16
It has been a difficult season due to the inconsistency of those teams that occupy positions 5 to 15 on the ladder. I can't even blame the World Cup as a distraction as I never watched a single game live. The main fascination during the Cup seemed to be an octopus that never made a mistake predicting winners! Let’s kidnap him and bring him to AFL country to see how well he can pick winners here. I bet he lasts no more than a few weeks before he appears as octopus rings cooked to almost perfection on Master Chef!
The AFL was hit mid week with the proposition of introducing female umpires. The idea was not howled down so I guess there must be a reason that it might be looked upon favourably. Can a woman umpire be any worse than some of the efforts we have seen this season? Probably not. Will a certain time of the month affect the decision making process by a woman during a game? Probably. Just looking at the umpire with a suspicion of dissent might cost a player a 50 metre penalty! Swearing? I've heard some pretty colourful language from lips a lot sweeter than Barry Hall’s so I doubt a woman umpire would be offended. Depends what time of the month on that one as well. Interesting times huh?
I am driving down to Melbourne to watch Collingwood play the Saints at the MCG on Saturday. It will be the first time I have watched the Pies play there for many years and an upset win would round off the weekend nicely.
Adelaide V Geelong at AAMI Friday nightAs well as the Crows are playing which has resulted in Adelaide knocking on the back door of the final 8 one would think that meeting the Cats in their current form should stop them in their tracks momentarily. Somebody has to step up to the plate (baseball term used in footy!!) and wrestle Adelaide to the ground because they are scaring the heck out of Sydney, Carlton and Hawthorn. Geelong had a tough game last week but they still have enough talent in that team to beat a fast improving Crows. Ablett needs to remember that 32 possessions with his existing team will need to be 43 possessions for the Gold Coast Suns....should he go of course.
Geelong by 21
Collingwood V St Kilda at the MCG SaturdayBoth teams have won their last 5 games if Collingwood can count the draw with Melbourne as a win. Well, it wasn't a loss. The Saints struggled against lowly Brisbane last week and the Magpies ditto against Port Adelaide. Are the Saints struggling to adapt to the return of Reiwoldt? Can the Pies make a statement for the season? They have not been able to penetrate that Saints defence and were allowed 4.17 in the last meeting. Inside 50’s were about even so Collingwood needs to apply scoreboard pressure. Medhurst, Fraser and Leon back in the team might help. Then again........Cloke rubbed out and Maxwell still injured. Rumour has it that if the Pies can kick a higher score than St Kilda they will win. Gotta believe that!
Collingwood by 12
Hawthorn V Brisbane Lions in Tassie SaturdayCold weather and a hot game against the Cats last week may not be the ideal set up for the Hawks to continue on their winning way. Buddy luckily escaped suspension and further luck is that Hawthorn is playing Brisbane who has lost their last 5 games. There seems to be some unrest in the Lions’ camp as well and the almighty Voss may not be as great a coach as we all seem to think. But when a team is losing consistently like Brisbane then there are bound to be lots of whingers inside and outside the club who seem to find a sympathetic ear. Ask Clarkson, the Hawks coach, who was gunning for him after the first 6 rounds this season? Footy – love it.
Hawthorn by 19
Essendon V West Coast at Etihad Saturday nightThe Bombers have lost 5 in a row and supporters are calling for the head of Essendon coach Matthew Knights. West Coast is in worse shape and this result might cost Whoosha his job too. The Eagles can’t win at home so it’s doubtful they will win away. I'm tipping a draw. For West Coast their 8th consecutive loss looms and there is a definite tarnish to the glow of home town hero John Worsfold. West Coast has suffered a heap of injuries and so has Essendon but at least the Bombers somehow beat a couple of the teams above them early in the season. What Essendon hasn't done is beat West Coast this season and with the ruckus going on in their camp after that loss to the Demons last week they might just have that rocket lit under their maximus gluteus enough to take the points. We'll see.
Western Bulldogs V Port Adelaide in Darwin Saturday nightThe Power sacked their coach simply to give Port the chance of winning this game knowing that a new coach inspires the team to bigger and better things in that first week. Lack of overall talent is probably a little harder to compensate. Last week the Port players found that bit of extra for outgoing coach Choco Williams but it was still not enough to beat the Pies. The Bulldog wins against West Coast and Brisbane were expected but their thrashing of Carlton stands head and shoulders above those wins. Lucky for Port Adelaide that Barry Hall is injured. Matthew Primus, as the new coach for Port Adelaide, is keen to take on the job full time. He is a serious masochist. Laidley knew what he was doing knocking that engagement back. Dean Laidley has been offered the coaching job at West Coast after that team disposes of Worsfold at the end of this wooded spoon season so he doesn't want to do anything to jeopardise that appointment.
Western Bulldogs by 41
Carlton V Sydney at Etihad SundayThis is definitely the hardest game from which to pick a winner. Sydney ambushed a very disappointing North last week and the Blues were horrible against the Bulldogs. The Blues really need to win this one and their inconsistent form makes them ripe for the picking. Adam Goodes’ game for Sydney last week was excellent so Carlton need to put a stopper on him as does Sydney need a stopper on Judd. Both teams are very lucky that Adelaide is playing Geelong this weekend which will give the loser of this game some breathing space. The selection is Carlton simply because the game is being played in Melbourne. It will be close all day.
Carlton by 5
Richmond V North Melbourne at the MCG SundayBoth teams have proven to be difficult to select because of form but the Tigers of late have been the epitome of consistency. This will be a close game therefore the margin will be small hence there will be a lot of frustrated tipsters as the result could have gone either way. Remember the last time they met it was a draw! It’s difficult to see what players North can muster to stop Jack Reiwoldt up forward. When will the Richmond winning streak come to a stop? And who could have imagined that last sentence appearing in any AFL preview this year? 700 million watched the soccer World Cup final (I was not one of them). You sit there all day at a soccer match and see a nil all draw or a 1 – 0 win. Go to the AFL and you see scoring all day!! Only goes to show the majority are not always right.
Richmond by 4
Fremantle V Melbourne at Subiaco SundayThe Dockers really need to get back into the winning circle after a couple of losses that have put their top 4 finish in jeopardy. While the Demons are playing okay they should be no match for Fremantle at home and the Dockers have a lot to play for. Next week they meet the Western Bulldogs to finally settle 4th position. The expectation that Freo would make the finals at all was a tough one so now the talk of them being a top 4 team might be a little misplaced. Freo needs some heave ho this weekend.
Fremantle by 37