AFL Update: The fortunes of a few of the AFL teams that will finish in the top 4 or 5 rests on their ability to be able to field a full side devoid of injuries. Last year's grand finalists Collingwood have already lost 3 of their better players to long-term injury. West Coast Eagles find themselves in a similar position having lost Nicoski, LeCras and Kennedy to long term injuries. The loss of Goodes for Sydney Swans, although not long-term, will affect them over the next few weeks. History has shown that the team finishing in the top 4 with the least amount of injuries has a great chance of making it to the grand final.
Melbourne versus Hawthorn at the MCG Friday night
Hawthorn has the opportunity to put two consecutive wins together as they meet the hapless Demons at the MCG. Buddy Franklin was back in the goals last week and Rioli was unstoppable. The only apparent forward firepower Melbourne has is Clark who is providing a focus point to help the Demons kick goals. While the Demons are improving they are not yet at the standard to beat Hawthorn. Luke Hodge will not be available for the Hawks as he has a knee injury.
Hawthorn by 44
Adelaide versus Geelong at AAMI Saturday
Some experts are tipping an Adelaide win but I find it hard to pick against Geelong in their current form. Granted there is some insider knowledge at the Crows due to past players from Geelong now coaching Adelaide but knowledge is one thing, talent is another. The Crows are bringing in an untried ruckman by the name of Jenkins who was previously with Essendon. Adelaide pinched the game from Sydney last week so it will be interesting to see whether they have improved to the extent that they can beat last year's premiers.
Geelong by 16
GWS Giants versus Gold Coast Suns at Manuka Saturday
One of these 2 teams will record its first win unless, of course, it's a draw! In a way I guess it would be interesting to see the AFL’s newest teams go against each other. From a tipster's point of view there is a certain amount of difficulty involved in selecting the winner. The return of Ablett would be enough to swing the game Gold Coast’s way as well as that extra year of experience that the Suns have had in the AFL.
Gold Coast by 19
Richmond versus Sydney at the MCG Saturday
I expect this to be a really tough, tight game. The Sydney Swans will be missing Goodes who is out injured for about 6 weeks and leaves a large gap in their game. The Tigers had a good win against Port last week and they would be hoping to repeat the effort against Sydney. I have picked against the Swans a couple of times and come unstuck and with my past tipping form another incorrect tip would not disappoint.
Richmond by 10
Essendon versus West Coast at Etihad Saturday night
The game is the highlight of round 7 with the Bombers having lost only one game and West Coast having lost none. The match will be a good indication of just where these 2 teams are in the competition. West Coast is going through some major injury problems and that may swing the result Essendon's way. The tip is for the ladder leaders but it would not be a surprise if the Bombers won. West Coast depth will be tested and even in this game they are trying out a new player called Ryan Neates. Essendon remain unchanged from last week.
West Coast by 15
Brisbane versus Collingwood at the Gabba Saturday night
The Magpies always seem to have a problem when they meet Brisbane at the Gabba. They actually lost there in 2010 which was their premiership year. Collingwood has strung together 3 consecutive wins while Brisbane's losses have been major. If the venue is proving to be a bogeyman for the Magpies the game might be close, but still a Collingwood win. Although the Pies have lost Johnson they have regained Allan Didak and Blair is back from injury.
Collingwood by a 33
North Melbourne versus Western Bulldogs at Etihad Sunday
Both these teams last week put in 3 good quarters of football and had their chances to cause upsets in their games. So it will be interesting to see who will actually win the game. Both teams have players that can best be described as ball magnets running through the centre and at stoppages but it's North Melbourne that boasts the better goal kickers. Both teams have made a number of changes the most notable being the return of Goldstein for North Melbourne.
North Melbourne by 22
Fremantle versus Port Adelaide at Paterson Sunday
Last week Fremantle almost lost to Gold Coast while Port Adelaide was soundly beaten by Richmond. The Dockers have won a couple of close ones and this week they get to play an improved but still bottom area of the ladder Port Adelaide at home who have won just one game so far this season. Freo are still all a bit hard to beat at home. They will welcome back the return of Aaron Sandilands who will help them dominate the rucks and clearances.
Fremantle by 29
St Kilda versus Carlton at Etihad Monday night
A minor form glitch by Carlton last week against the Giants should not be taken into account when they meet St Kilda on a Monday night game. Both Judd and Waite will return for this game after being rested last week. It's hard to see the Blues losing what might be a tight game for three quarters after which you would think that they will be too strong and consistent for St Kilda. Carlton will still record a reasonable win.
Carlton by 31