Last week 5 / 8 = 88/117 (73%) There are 24 rounds of footy this year so we have 8 more to go after this weekend. The top two positions on the ladder seem to be fixed with Geelong and Collingwood unless one of these teams gets hit by injuries and suspensions and suffers a dramatic loss of form. It can safely be said that Carlton will finish in the top 4 and Hawthorn should make up the other position. West Coast is appearing as a dark horse and regardless of where they finish the coaching job is safe and secure with Whoosha. Last to a possible preliminary final….that’s significant improvement. Conversely we see St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs go the opposite way without seeing a huge change in personnel. That might mean coaching changes or speculation of coaching changes. At the bottom of the ladder we see the two QLD teams and the two SA teams.The new Sydney team will join them next year at the bottom as well. However, Adelaide, Port Adelaide and Brisbane have all enjoyed the ultimate success of premierships so their current position is just part of that great AFL Circle of Life that the game’s administrators ensure happens regularly. Teams like Richmond, Western Bulldogs, Fremantle, Melbourne, St Kilda, North Melbourne and even Carlton have been waiting a long time to experience the success of a premiership. For 5 of those teams it’s possible that the drought will continue for another 20 to 30 years. These teams continually sit in the middle or the bottom of the ladder. The supporters must get frustrated. The draft was supposed to fix the problem and to a degree it did as did the salary caps and a plethora of other rules introduced to keep equity. My question is: Why, with all these draft picks and administrative interferences, haven’t these teams been able to mount serious challenges for a premiership? 50 years for St Kilda, although they have done well playing off in 3 grand finals, even longer for the Western Bulldogs, 31 years for Richmond, about 50 years for Melbourne I think, Fremantle never and Carlton about 20 years. When you have an answer let me know. Good luck with the tipping this week.
West Coast Eagles V Geelong at Paterson Subiaco Friday
Seeing that West Coast disposed of Carlton in their last game then this match will be a bit more interesting. The Eagles are coming off that dreaded bye and that should be negated by the fact that the game is being played in Perth. Perhaps! Can West Coast inflict another loss on Geelong? It’s possible. The Eagles won the Wooden Spoon last year and a win against Geelong in this game would have them being a genuine final 4 contender. Hard to believe! They have lost Lynch to suspension which will hurt them and the Cats will be without Selwood for another game and hungry to make up for the loss to Essendon last week. I don’t believe the margin will be large.
West Coast by 11
Hawthorn V Brisbane Lions at Aurora Tasmania Saturday
The Hawks would be pretty dirty about that loss to Collingwood and Brisbane barely made it across the line against Port. Form says that Hawthorn should win this easy. Tip says not that easy but certainly comfortably. For Brisbane to do any good and have a chance they will have to take advantage of a weakened Hawthorn back line and provide Jonathon Brown with lots of opportunities. The Lions also showed they could fight back from deficits with a come from behind win against the Power.
Hawthorn by 32
Gold Coast V Sydney at Metricon Stadium Saturday
Although the Swans are now considered a mediocre team it’s still a standard above that of the Suns at this stage of their development. They have a couple of injury problems as well which a team like this can ill afford. Sydney should win but it will be tight for a while. The Suns are definitely a chance if the Swans keep kicking inaccurately for goal. 6.14 last week and 9.21 the week before!! Sydney also needs to find a way to curb Ablett’s influence on the game. Not easy.
Sydney by 24
Essendon V Richmond at the MCG Saturday night
There were vastly contrasting results for these two teams last week. Richmond played rubbish and the Bombers won a game to relish! Before last week I would have tipped the Tigers as a possible winner but now I am not sure. But I do think it will be mighty close and I doubt Essendon will want to give away that feeling of euphoria from last week’s win so they should prevail. Richmond fans must be pretty disappointed with their team and its inconsistency. At one stage they were looking at the 8 and now they are 13th and a game adrift of playing in finals. The Bombers simply arrested a free fall with that win against Geelong.
Essendon by 17
Collingwood V North Melbourne at the MCG Sunday
The Roos lost to St Kilda last week and the Pies obliterated Hawthorn. But those results aside it would still be hard to make a case for North to beat Collingwood. Stranger things have happened but the Pies are travelling along nicely and North would need to play champagne football to win this one. Even with Dawes out for the Magpies they still have a long list of probable goalkickers and they also have that mean back line. Last time they met this season Collingwood won by 87 points. I think North has improved from that game but still not enough to win.
Collingwood by 52
Port Adelaide V St Kilda at AAMI Sunday
The Saints have won a few lately and you would expect that this game should hold no fears for them. The Power seems to switch off at three quarter time each week and get over run even if they have a lead. The game is at home for Port but it will be another disappointing day for their fans. St Kilda is on a mission to make the 8 and will be counting on this game to maintain their momentum.
St Kilda by 29
Western Bulldogs V Carlton at Etihad Sunday
A great win to the Doggies last week and an enormous win to the Blues as well. If the Bulldogs were hoping to gain a bit of momentum from that game last week they might find their hopes dashed with the opposition being Carlton. The Blues pulled apart the Tigers to the tune of 103 points and the current form of the Western Bulldogs does not allow a great deal of confidence in tipping them even though they have won their past couple of games. If you were reviewing this game last season you would most likely have tipped the Doggies but for reasons unknown it’s definitely a different Bulldogs side. Shame.
Carlton by 22