AFL Preview Round 20
Well tipsters here we are at round 20 already. Where has the season gone? Just the 3 rounds to go and we are into finals and like last year the top 4 contains the same teams and that was something many of us predicted. Currently the AFL is looking at some possible rule changes with the most bizarre being the one about the ball hitting the post and going through and still be called a goal or a behind! Sacrilege! This rule is as good as when the ball hits the goal post and bounces back into play then the game continues. Talk of rule changes in this area has come about because of 3 errors in the one week by goal umpires two of which could have been avoided with better calls while the Waite goal would have been hard to call even with slow motion replays. Technology is available to refer to when in doubt so use it. Cricket has gone that way, even highly contentious LBW rulings by umpires.
Interchange frequency is another victim of possible rule change. “Make the game faster” the officials said a few years ago. “Slow it down” they say now. “Leave it alone” we all cry.
Ben Cousins is back in the news again and the jury seems to be out on whether showing his tape of his drug battles is a good thing or a bad thing. A good thing for Ben may have been to worry about that movie after he finished playing and perhaps to keep a lower profile for a few months or a year if possible.
The tipping continues to be difficult mainly because form has not been consistent. So again this week we face a few matches that have teams with Jeckyll and Hyde form playing each other. Tipping selections for these games are pure guess work.
I will be attending the Collingwood versus Essendon game at the MCG and will be in the MCC members area! Wow! I have now attended more games at the MCG in one season than I was able to manage over 40 years. With the Pies heading for a few finals the possibility of more visits is strong. Anybody with free tickets and passes – you know how to contact me. Good luck on your tips this week. Competition winning scores this year will struggle to make the 120 mark!
Essendon V Collingwood at the MCG Friday NightThe only problem the Pies might have winning this game is the emotional letdown after last week’s game against Geelong. If Collingwood get over that then victory by over 10 goals should be achievable. Fletcher is out for the Bombers and the Pies have had to make a few changes as well with Medhurst in for Davis and there is a chance that Josh Fraser may play his 200th game at last. The Essendon fade out in the last quarter against Carlton last week would not fill Bomber fans with a great deal of confidence going into this match against the premiership favourites. Rightly so.
Collingwood by 60
Carlton V Richmond at the MCG SaturdayOne would have to think that the Blues have a bit more going for them than the Tigers who put in a poor last quarter against Melbourne last week and if Carlton play a last quarter like they did against Essendon then you can expect a healthy margin. Reiwoldt might have better luck this week against a mediocre Carlton backline and he can hopefully kick a few goals to stay in touch with the Coleman Medal. LeCras might be more of a threat than Barry Hall in stealing the honours. We always thought it would be amazing to see a bottom of the ladder team supply the leading goal kicker but that was because of Reiwoldt playing for Richmond NOT because LeCras plays for West Coast! Judd, Bryce, Murphy and Simpson should get the better of Cousins, Deledio and Tuck and it’s about time Betts got back into the goals to join Garlett who kicked 6 last week and won the Rising Star award as well.
Carlton by 44
Fremantle V Sydney at Subiaco SaturdayIf ever Freo had to win a game then this is it. Unfortunately we can't be sure of which Sydney Swans team will turn up. The Sydney that likes to get beaten or the Swans winning team from last week.? Home town advantage might help but Fremantle is struggling. The Dockers also need Sandilands back in the side and it seems he has passed a fitness test and that might stop Sydney dominance at the stoppages. Freo should win this at home but with players like Tarrant, Barlow, Ballantyne, Crowley, Mayne and Silvagni all out injured that’s a lot of holes to fill. Who will Fremantle place on Adam Goodes? I just can't see them winning this one. Pity.
Sydney by 11
Western Bulldogs V Geelong at Etihad SaturdayIt is difficult to see the Cats losing two games in a row. The Bulldogs have been on a winning streak but almost lost to Adelaide in a real slugfest in dirty weather at AAMI. The tip was against Geelong last week but not this week. There is this huge virus sweeping through the Bulldog team and Cooney and Hudson have been omitted for that reason. Ling and Taylor are out for the Cats but with Wojcinski and Hunt coming back in you could hardly say they have been weakened.
Geelong by 21
Port Adelaide V West Coast Eagles at AAMI SaturdayEven though it is not in the interests of West Coast to win the game it’s also hard to see that they can actually do that. Two of the bottom teams playing but there is a bit hanging on the game with the future of Primus and of course the future of some of the players. Some handy returns for the Eagles in Selwood, Shuey and Waters but the loss of Priddis and Brett Jones almost negates the returns. These are dark days for the West Coast Eagles believe me and such a proud club won't put up with this sort of season. What is the answer? An overhaul of the football department will no doubt be high on their agenda. Well they have had a lot of injuries to good players like their captain Glass and other players like Cox and Lynch have been out of form. Cox plays his 200th this weekend and it will be a sad day. Expect a close game but home ground advantage should be enough for the Power. The stats say that the Eagles haven't beaten the Power at AAMI since 1998!! Really? Don't mess with history.
Port Adelaide by 6
Brisbane Lions V Adelaide at the Gabba SundayAnother difficult decision for tipping and although the Lions scraped home with the last kick of the day against West Coast they will probably find this harder against the Crows. When you see Simon Black’s name as an interchange player you would be thinking the Lions are having a great season?? Hard to work that one out but........Jonathon Brown also plays his 200th game but these milestone events for individual players rarely seem to finish on a happy note. Neither team has a lot to play for apart from pride so a draw would be fitting but unlikely. The Crows have a guy like Nathan Bock to cut Brown out of the game and that would be enough for them to win.
Adelaide Crows by 22
Hawthorn V Melbourne at the MCG SundayWith Hawthorn losing their last couple of games their position in the 8 is now being threatened by a surging Melbourne and possibly North Melbourne. Although the Hawks’ form is questionable tipsters have to be careful not to get too carried away with the Demons who have still a bit of a way to go before they can be confident to beat sides like Hawthorn. The fairytale ends. Hodge needs to put in a Brownlow game because his form has been down of late and Roughead is having a horror season so here’s a chance to make amends. The love of the underdog wants a Melbourne win but I think this one is beyond them.
Hawthorn by 19
North Melbourne V St Kilda at Etihad SundayThe Saints are starting to get back to a bit of awesome form particularly against the lower sides. North has been playing well in recent weeks but winning this game is really beyond them. The margin was 100 points last time they met and I guess you can say if that margin is similar then they don’t really deserve to be in the finals anyway. I reckon Scotty would agree with that. I do.
St Kilda by 55