Friday, July 30, 2010

Afl Previews Round 18

AFL Preview Rd 18
Just the 5 rounds to go tipsters and it seems we will have no change to the top 4 this year either as the same teams finish 1 to 4 like 2009. Hawthorn, after a disastrous season start, has settled into 5th position from which they will find it difficult, but not impossible, to win the flag. However, without a competent ruckman, the Hawks may struggle against the top 4 teams. Within those 5 remaining rounds it is possible to score 40 tipping points but as we have all discovered this season picking 8 winners in a weekend of AFL in 2010 is harder than finding a leak in the Labour Party ranks, harder than getting a MYKI transport card to work, harder than getting Mick Malthouse to admit the Pies are a chance to win the premiership  and harder than getting a West Coast Eagles supporter to smile!! Some of the form reversals by teams from one week to the next defy logic. Tipsters are having a dickens of a time deciding on games, not so much for the possible close ones but in the games that you would normally be able to pick a clear winner based on form. 5 correct last week was good, 4 correct was acceptable and anybody who scored 6 obviously knows very little about this great game or, like some of us, has resorted to guesswork!

Essendon V St Kilda at Etihad Friday night
The Bombers performed some sort of miracle last week against North Melbourne but in this game against the Saints it will be a miracle if they can manage 10 goals. Hopefully all those lamps heating the grass on Etihad will be removed so we get a free flowing match. Yes that was a cheap shot. Not a lot more can be said about this game. The Saints have to win to maintain credibility as a premiership favourite and Essendon needs to win for Knights to keep his job. The return of Hille will be a great plus but after so many weeks away from the game it might be a while before he is really up to an effective standard. Reiwoldt is coming along just fine and the Saints will have adapted to his presence on the forward line well before the finals are upon us.
St Kilda by 44

Collingwood V Carlton at the MCG Saturday
Surprisingly we have a Saturday afternoon football game at the MCG with traditional rivals. The Blues gave the Eagles a bit of a start last week and over ran them in the second half to win comfortably. Based on form it’s hard to see Carlton knocking off a pretty hot Collingwood in front of 80,000 at the ‘G’ and the Pies would love a 6 goal start. Now Mick (Malthouse) said during the week that the significance of this game is not what it used to be as it was when we had suburban warfare. Having been part of many of those suburban battles I would have to disagree and say that the animosity between the two teams transcends any modernistic bent you want to put on it as a psychological weapon to lessen the importance of the game in the eyes of the players. People with blue scarves and people with black and white scarves hate each other when watching their teams play. Can't be any simpler than that.
Collingwood by 31

Port Adelaide V Hawthorn at AAMI Saturday
The unexpected win by the Power last week caught all tipsters by surprise but don't expect the same in this match against Hawthorn who will be a bit peeved about the draw last week. It’s back to the usual stuff for Port supporters. The fact that the game is being played at AAMI helps us determine the margin but does not affect the overall result. Roughead and Franklin will kick enough between them to beat the Power. The game might be close for the first quarter.
Hawthorn by 39

Sydney V Geelong at SCG Saturday night
How bad was Sydney last week against Melbourne? Well even a form reversal will not be enough for them to beat this Geelong team. Ling will tag Goodes and outside that most of the Cats players are in a class above the Sydney players. Admittedly the Swans could not play as badly as they did last week but if they are having a confidence crisis then this is not the game that will help them overcome that. Form reversals have been the order of the season but it would take a wild streak of imagination to think that Sydney is good enough to beat Geelong!
Geelong by 42

Brisbane Lions V Melbourne at the Gabba Saturday night
It was written that it is still possible for the Demons to make the finals this year? Well here’s their chance because Sydney play Geelong, North play Western Bulldogs and Carlton play Collingwood - all are games that can go their way to help their cause. Tipsters have been a bit quick to get on the Melbourne bandwagon and the Dees almost believe their own press. Brisbane at home? Expect an upset. Some serious soul searching by the Lions and a home crowd might be enough to upset Melbourne playing away from home again and we all know their away record. Put it this way, when you are over 10 points behind the leaders in a tipping comp you just need a ‘whiff’ of an upset to pick that way. Who knows?
Brisbane by 17

Richmond V Adelaide at the MCG Sunday
Both teams showed awful form last week so picking the winner of this game is almost impossible. The Crows and the Tigers have a couple of good forwards, average backlines, similarly talented on-ballers. Mark this down as the 3rd draw of the season. And tipsters, draws attract 3 points in most tipping competitions and while it is agreed that it is a pie in the sky selection desperation commands risk. So you come 41st in the tipping rather than 24th!! Really?

Western Bulldogs V North Melbourne at Etihad Sunday
North Melbourne has no hope in this game. If they get within 10 goals of the Western Bulldogs they can count it as a reasonable day. The Bullies are on some sort of quest and this is not the time for lower teams to think they will have a chance. They don't have a chance so it’s no good pencilling in North to give you that upset point in tipping.
Western Bulldogs by 66

Fremantle V West Coast at Subiaco Sunday
The western derby is upon us again and the hype is high for the Eagles because the Dockers are on a downward spiral. Problem is that the Eagles are already in the basement and can go no lower. Last week West Coast had a second half fade out but Freo faded out the whole game. This will be a close match and can go either way. Look out for an upset. Tarrant is back for the Dockers and it has been suggested that he will play on LeCras. Bad move. Selwood is a big loss for the Eagles but the main concern is the lethargy of Fremantle players who seem to be looking for the end of the season rather than looking towards playing finals. Up to Harvs to get his team motivated. It’s a bit of a fairytale for Fremantle and over these last few games they better start living the dream!!
West Coast by 7 

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