AFL Preview Round 12
I barely survived the Dragon Boat Racing Festival day for two reasons. Firstly the early morning ride, a distance of about 12kms, 24 kms return, finished at some enormous lake but the mosquitoes were in such numbers it was impossible to do a lot. Then again there was really nothing to do there either after we had eaten our traditional zongzi (sticky rice with a sweet fruit inside all wrapped in a leaf and tied with stringy plant), hard boiled eggs, fish and rice porridge. The whole Daqing area is afloat on oil but also is part of huge expanses of wetlands, lakes, man made rivers and plenty of casual water, all perfect breeding grounds for the beloved mosquito. I have never in my life experienced anything like it. No Aeroguard either although I reckon this breed would have eaten the stuff. Secondly the Olympics. I was entered into the 100 metre dash as part of a team and finished a creditable 6th (in a field of 6) but got a hammy twinge as a result. Then horror of all horrors I was in the football team. Soccer! Yep I had to play soccer. From that game I suffered a calf strain and did a real dramatic swan dive to gain some sort of sympathy from the ref but to no avail. I eventually had to play 4 games in a round robin style tournament and actually kicked 3 goals with the team finishing in bronze medal position. While writing this preview the body is still wracked in agonising pain, every muscle hurting, even when I type on the laptop!! While there is no early morning bike ride next week the Olympics continues with basketball, tennis, volleyball and certain death!
Last week 6 / 8. Should have been 7. Never mind. 62/85 = 72.9%
St Kilda V Western Bulldogs at Etihad Friday Night
Tipsters will have to figure out just which of these two teams has gone further backwards from last year. Once you have that worked out the selection should be easy. The Saints and the Bulldogs have both been woeful in some games so it’s a matter of least woeful wins. Or a draw? Some of the stars of the game like Reiwoldt for the Saints and Lake for the Bulldogs are having very average seasons as well. Is the problem just form slump with these two teams or has it been something deeper. Sure has the fans confused I’m sure. Which team can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?
St Kilda by 12
Adelaide V West Coast Eagles at AAMI Saturday
The only thing that will stop the Eagles winning this game will be one of those amazing form turn arounds by Adelaide and it’s a possibility that such an event is scheduled shortly. Eventually tipping form will pay dividends so you have to stick with it. Adelaide defeated the Eagles at Subiaco in round 15 last year so maybe it’s time the Eagles reversed the result. Cox is having a great year so West Coast should win the stoppages and Cox is being ably supported by LeCras and Priddis. If the Eagles can stop Tippett up forward they should win.
West Coast by 22
Gold Coast V North Melbourne Saturday Night
The Suns acquitted themselves well against the Eagles last week but then so did North against the Crows. It will be interesting to see if Gold Coast can give the Roos a run for their money as they seem to be able to really push the middle of the road teams. It’s still too hard to actually go out on a limb and tip them. Harvey breaks the North Melbourne playing record held by Archer with his 312th game. Is it enough to drive North to another win? The Swallow brothers face each other as well. Don’t discount the Gold Coast for that extra possible point.
North Melbourne by 18
Geelong V Hawthorn at the MCG Saturday night
This is certainly a game of blockbuster proportions and the Cats have been able to beat the Hawks every time since being beaten in that grand final. For the Hawks to win Buddy has to play to give them that edge. The Cats are due for a loss, might as well make it this week and get it out of the way. Actually on a rethink Geelong always seems to have that experience required to win the tight games. They have shown that a number of times already this season. The Hawks can ill afford slow starts or for them to go to sleep in a quarter. Geelong can be ruthless if allowed to.
Geelong by 16
Carlton V Brisbane Lions at Etihad Sunday
The Blues are going very nicely thank you and the possible return of Kruezer would be a bonus not only for this game but for their preliminary final chances as well. Brisbane played a shocker of a first half last week so they will come out firing early. Carlton should be able to absorb the shock and go on to win. The Lions have lost Merrett for almost the rest of the season. I cannot see Carlton conceding a pencilled in win at this stage of the competition. They got a fright from lowly Port Adelaide last week before flexing their footy muscle and they won’t want to do that again.
Carlton by 33
Sydney V Richmond at the SCG Sunday
The Tigers are coming off a bye and that stat is starting to gather realistic momentum. On top of that we see the Swans just keep on winning these games against the middle of the road teams. The game is at home for them and that’s another reason to tip them against the Tigers although the Swans are playing better away from home at the moment. Richmond is a couple of points out of the top 8 and if ever they needed an incentive to win then that would be it. It might be enough but their form is a bit inconsistent.
Sydney by 19
Fremantle V Essendon at Subiaco Sunday
Both teams lost their last game with Freo being completely over run in the last quarter against the Hawks and Essendon getting a nice touch up by Melbourne. Based on form both teams should lose but maybe the fact that the game is at Subiaco might be enough to swing the result Fremantle’s way. Not convinced. Hird might like his team to help him celebrate his inclusion in the AFL Hall of Fame but I doubt personal accolades like that are team drivers. The Bomber will want to avenge an unexpected loss to the Tigers as well as the one to Melbourne. Is the Essendon form dropping off? The Fremantle form certainly has dropped off and the gap Sandilands leaves is a big one – over 2 metres actually.
Fremantle by 9
Melbourne V Collingwood at the MCG Monday
The Queen’s birthday game between these old rivals will bring a nice crowd again. It helps even things out a bit in that Melbourne seems to have found it’s mojo again and the Pies are having a few injury problems as well as losing Thomas for a week due to suspension. In addition Beams is out injured and Swan has been sent to high altitude recovery in Arizona, all exclusions that will test the depth of the Pies. Even last season the Demons served it up to Collingwood twice and there is no doubt that this game will be close as well. Hard to pick against the Pies based on consistency.
Collingwood by 34