I guess there might be a smug tipster out there who jagged the Gold Coast Suns’ win but I’ll bet they are few and far between. Some of the games could have gone either way and even the AFL says that the round was one of the closest in its history with results and the best for attendance. 170,000 at the MCG over 2 days of football certainly helped with those days being Anzac Day and the Tuesday extra day holiday. If folks weren’t going away for Easter then 4 days of football made for a great weekend. I’d also be putting some money on Good Friday being added to the fixtures next year. The commercialism of Easter is non-existent in China as is the feast of Easter, a fact I’m sure most of you are aware of.No supermarket aisles filled with chocolate Easter eggs here in China as was the case in Oz since about February I was told. There was a request that we introduce some Easter customs to the kids, such as painting boiled eggs and maybe an egg hunt but the idea lost pace and didn’t eventuate mainly due to lack of interest. Any religious discussion about Easter was, of course, not allowed. On a positive note there has been nary a word about the royal wedding here in China – blessed relief! I understand our Prime Minister is in the Chinese neighbourhood this week so maybe she is avoiding Easter and the royal wedding publicity as well.
Progress with AFL introduction here is slow but I have managed to form teams in the classroom and called them Eagles, Hawks and Magpies the importance of which is completely lost on the kids. We will succeed. Weather is getting warmer and some buds on trees and bushes have nervously appeared so maybe they think the temperature will rise soon. I’m not so sure. We reached 13 today but the previous few days we never made double figures. The evening temperature still hovers around zero to 2 and 3 days ago all central heating for apartment complexes in the province was turned off! Back to the PJ’s! Although we missed out on the Easter break they still have May Day for the 1st of May here so next weekend we have 3 days off. I am sincerely hoping that doesn’t mean fireworks though.
The Easter and Anzac Day fixtures have made it a bit of a rush getting results and previews to you but we have made it! The tipping will get harder as we see form changes occurring on an almost weekly basis, much of it puzzling for tipsters but I am sure fully explainable by coaches. It seems that the Cats are drawing a line in the sand for Collingwood and in a couple of weeks’ time we will see the top two teams, probably still undefeated, play off for clear premiership favouritism. The possibility of more draws this season is high. Good luck.
West Coast V Melbourne at Subiaco Thursday night
With both teams coming off a bye the players should be rested enough to last out the game. For tipsters the form of both these teams makes picking a winner difficult. Against better judgement the tip is West Coast as the home team. The Demons haven’t travelled well and certainly not to Perth where they have not beaten West Coast since 2002. The Eagles seem a little more potent up forward and that might be a deciding factor. Expect a close game though.
West Coast by 11
Sydney V Carlton at the SCG Friday night
The Blues have had 2 close games in the past two weeks, as has Sydney. Carlton has forward problems against teams with reasonable backlines and they will struggle in this match with Sydney at home. Walker has done okay with 11 so far this season but he might get limited opportunities against a strong Sydney backline. Jack, Bolton and Goodes are equal to Judd, Murphy and Gibbs so this game is no pushover for either team.
Sydney by 12
North Melbourne V Port Adelaide at Etihad Saturday
The Power was beaten by the Suns last week. Can they get over the humiliation of that? Can North Melbourne kick a little straighter? Did Scott say his North team is better than last year? They had better start winning then. Primus apoligised to the Port supporters for their meek surrender last week against the Suns and it’s a leading question as to whether the Power players can overcome that ignominious defeat in this game against North. Neither team will make the finals.
North by 28
Richmond V Brisbane Lions at the MCG Saturday night
Richmond snatched victory from defeat against North last week and Brisbane was just beaten by the Saints. Even though both teams are lingering on the bottom and will linger longer the game should be tough as the Lions will want to open their account and the Tigers would love two wins in a row. Another draw? Possibly.
Richmond by 7
Adelaide V St Kilda at AAMI Saturday night
Neither team is showing a great deal of good form but a lot of inconsistency. Normally at home the Crows grow an extra leg but their effort against the Power was abysmal. St Kilda was at its worst against Essendon but they hopefully gained a bit of momentum from that win against the Lions last week. Experience might be the key.
St Kilda by 19
Essendon V Gold Coast at Etihad Sunday
History making win by the Suns last week against a hapless Power but they will find this a lot harder against a pumped up Essendon who really pushed Collingwood last week on Anzac day. If Essendon is still tired after the game against the Pies they might find this a lot tougher than they would have hoped.
Essendon by 39
Collingwood V Western Bulldogs at the MCG Sunday
It’s difficult for a tipster to pick against Collingwood this season although the occasion will inevitably come when they will lose a game. The Bulldogs look a bit wishy washy so far this season and that will not be good enough to beat the Pies.
Collingwood by 29