The foreigner Olympics are over in north east China and our team, Two Eagles and Beaver, had a good final day but not good enough to win the coveted overall team trophy. The weather here is bordering on hot but the humidity as a result of all the wetlands and lakes makes it rather uncomfortable. We started the day with basketball and our team of 3 was made up of a Yank, a Canuck and myself. We made it through to the gold medal playoff which we won and while I was lucky enough to score some baskets when being guarded by a small Chinese female in a preliminary round (she is married to a foreign teacher so is allowed special dispensation to play) it was probably the fact that the Yank playing in our team was NBA material and hence the main reason for our success….awesome. He stepped it up in the final game and was unstoppable. Tennis went okay and we played off for gold but won silver. With lots of Poms and Canadians and 2 Aussies we agreed that cricket would be another sport but by that time the afternoon sun had melted a few resolves and sapped the energy and add to that some crazy scoring rules and we saw a team that finished with plus 4 win the gold ahead of a team that scored minus 10!!The night was rounded off with all of us invading a local restaurant for the wind up meal. You want to know how to confuse Chinese waiters, cooks and owner of a restaurant in our area then just have 30 thirsty and hungry foreign teachers descend on the place without a booking. It was bedlam!
More importantly on the AFL tipping front I am proud to announce that last week’s preview successfully picked the 8 winners.
Last week 8/ 8 = 70/93 = 75.3%
Western Bulldogs V Adelaide at Etihad Friday night
It’s lucky for the Bulldogs that this game is at Etihad and not at AAMI because as badly as Adelaide is playing they would still be a chance if the game was at home. Both teams are showing miserable form with losses in their last 4 games but I expect the Bulldogs to win. Eade has the full backing of the Bulldog board. That means ‘Rocket’ should be actively seeking alternate employment for next year. The picture is also not rosy for Neil Craig at Adelaide. The Crows are used to success and admittedly he has an inexperienced team but the Adelaide supporters want miracles – as usual.
Western Bulldogs by 19
Hawthorn V Gold Coast Suns at Aurora Saturday
This is one game in which the Hawks will not be missing Roughead after his achilles injury last week. The Suns were easily beaten by North in round 12 and Hawthorn is playing well enough to make sure they don’t drop 2 games in a row after that loss to Geelong last week. In addition to the Suns having to play overseas there is the small problem of getting to the ground and it has taken the team a while to get to their after an aircraft malfunction. Hawthorn has lost a heap of their talls this year to injury and at the sharp end of the season this will be a major deficiency. But not in this game.
Hawthorn by 55
Essendon V North Melbourne at Etihad Saturday
This is one of the more difficult games to pick this round as both teams are as good as each other. Well maybe ‘good’ is the wrong word so let’s say ‘equal ability’. The tip will get down to which team can produce that winning form on the day. North has found some of that form while Essendon has fizzled into losing form. Another draw? Has the Essendon bubble burst? Totally deflated? Some tipsters might find a reason to think the Bombers can turn it around but confidence is a big thing in AFL and Essendon doesn’t have too much of that at the moment.
North Melbourne by 12
Brisbane V Richmond at the Gabba Saturday night
Here’s another tip that might be able to use volcanic ash as an excuse for a loss….or a win. I’ve tipped Brisbane a couple of times incorrectly and Richmond continued to disappoint by losing two winnable games that would have put them closer to the top 8. Can I finally tip a Brisbane win? The teams met just 2 months ago and the Tigers won in the last quarter. It’s the home team for me even with the pace available through the Tiger midfield. A lot will depend on conditions and a wet, greasy ball from humid weather will make Richmond’s task that much harder. The Lions and Tigers both have a lot to play for so it will be tough going in the first half.
Brisbane by 6
St Kilda V Geelong at the MCG Saturday
Don’t underestimate the loss of Selwood to Geelong for striking. Joel had stepped up into Ablett’s shoes but statistically the loss of Ablett and Selwood is 60 less Geelong possessions and maybe 4 less Geelong goals. However, the Saints are a mere shadow of themselves so far this season and it’s hard to see that form being good enough to hand the Cats their first loss. Only 12 goals kicked in the opening match of the season when these two sides last met and even though the Saints lost that game most experts thought they were still at the same level where they finished off last year. Not so. The Lenny Hayes knee injury can just be added to the pre-season crap the Saints have had to endure and it has all been a bit too much for them.
Geelong by 28
Melbourne v Fremantle at the MCG Sunday
I can’t remember a team that has ever had 3 players sustain a broken leg as an on field injury in their whole history as has been the case with Fremantle in just a season and a half. That should get a few of you searching through record books. Can the Demons turn their form around after a thumping they got last week from Collingwood? When will the volcanic ash allow Freo to fly or will they have to bus it across the Nullabor? This game will be close with the Demons prevailing in the last few minutes.
Melbourne by 7
Carlton V Sydney at Etihad Sunday
It must be old age but didn’t the Blues play Sydney only a couple of weeks ago? I distinctly remember picking the Swans and getting the tip wrong. Well, the lesson seems fresh enough in my mind so I won’t make that mistake again. Hard to believe Sydney is just half a game from the top 4 but they have won some really close contests. I don’t expect this game to be that close by the end of the third quarter. The Kreuzer return to Carlton is in its second week and Judd, Gibbs, Simpson and Murphy just keep racking up possessions. Should be a good game.
Carlton by 29
West Coast V Port Adelaide at Subiaco Sunday
We all know who is going win this game the only guess work we need to trouble ourselves with here is the margin. If West Coast come out with all guns firing the margin will be significant but if they come out thinking they will beat Port easily it might be a little closer than they bargain for. The Eagles will win. Where has the marked improvement come for the Eagles? Kerr is starting earn his reputation but old hands Cox and Embley have been on fire and amongst their best every week. Port just does not have the cattle to mix it with better teams or at least be able to sustain 4 quarters but teams that have taken them lightly have paid the price. West Coast won 4 games last year. This year they are heading for the finals. Go figure?
West Coast by 49