Meanwhile, back at the AFL: I was looking at the injury lists for clubs earlier today and I was sort of surprised at the number of knee injuries that results in that player missing the whole season. The current count is 11 AFL players out for the season. Is that inordinately high or is that the norm? I know there have been some scientific tests done on this but they didn’t come up with any concrete reason. Sure the game is getting faster but you have to admit that with all the old suburban ovals a thing of the past and games played only at quality venues blaming the ground probably cannot be justified. Also it's not just the season the player is injured in that he misses but probably half the following season he spends trying to build confidence in using the repaired knee. Somebody could win the Nobel prize by inventing some sort of unbreakable knee ligament or even better still all AFL players have a compulsory, bionic knee transplant prior to signing their playing contract!
Collingwood versus Geelong at the MCG Friday night
No need to mention that this is the replay of last year's grand final (but I have) and it's theopportunity for both teams to have a few questions answered. The Pies go into this game with slightly better form but the Cats have certainly been their bogeyman in recent games apart from the grand final. For Collingwood to consider itself a chance of winning the flag they need to put the Cat back into the bag. They have a few players coming back from injury and the Magpies will need to be at their best to win this game.
Collingwood by 19
Port Adelaide versus North Melbourne at a AAMI stadium Saturday
Both teams showed poor form last week and were beaten although the North Melbourne loss was unexpected. Overall North look a better team and even playing at AAMI you would have to think they were a little better than the current Port Adelaide team. Primus is under the pump as coach but when a team is consistently losing the coach is always going to get a bit of pressure. The North Melbourne players will get a bit of pressure from their coach after last week.
North Melbourne by 25
Hawthorn versus Fremantle at Aurora Tasmania
It's hard to see the Dockers beating the Hawks in Tasmania but we said the same thing about Sydney and look what happened. Hawthorn had a big win last week but let's face it the opposition was Melbourne who is on the bottom of the ladder. Fremantle's opposition was not much better - they being Port Adelaide. This game could go either way but the tip is for Hawthorn to continue their momentum. Freo has the game to choke Franklin for goals but their problem is not being able to kick goals themselves. If the Dockers can win this game you better chalk them in for a finals appearance.
Hawthorn by 10
Sydney versus Melbourne at the SCG Saturday
Admittedly the Swans have lost 2 in a row against some pretty good opposition but in this game they face Melbourne -- no opposition. With or without Goodes, in fact, without possibly another 5 players Sydney will win this in a canter. Where does Neeld go as a coach with this Demon’s team? They were considered a challenge for the top 8 a couple of seasons ago. If it’s the game plan then maybe they better find another one because this one is NOT working.
Sydney by 50
Western Bulldogs versus Gold Coast Suns at Metricon Saturday
If the 2 teams had met 5 weeks ago I would have been inclined to tip the Gold Coast but in that period the Suns have failed to register a win while the Bullies have put together three out of four. You would still have to be brave to put your money on Gold Coast and I admit I'm a coward. Talking about coaches being under a bit of pressure one can only wonder at the stress levels of Bluey McKenna at Gold Coast after last week’s loss.
Western Bulldogs by 36
Essendon versus Richmond at the MCG Saturday
The season's Dreamtime game is shaping into a beauty. The Tigers and the Bombers are in good form and considering their following you can expect the supporters to flock to the ground and almost fill it. Hopefully the match lives up to expectations. Perhaps the Bombers will be a little flat after their thrashing of the West Coast Eagles last week but that would be the only reason that I might want to tip Richmond.
Essendon by 10
Brisbane Lions versus GWS giants at the Gabba Sunday
There won't be too many games that you can tip Brisbane to win this season but this game is one of them that you can. As good as the Giants were last week don't forget it was the Gold Coast Suns they were playing. Brisbane has suffered some huge losses in the past 3 weeks but they still field a more experienced team than the Giants which will give the Lions the opportunity to register a much-needed win. The Giants will continue to play as if they have nothing to lose, which they don't.
Brisbane by 30
Carlton versus Adelaide at Etihad Sunday
Considering their positions on the ladder this is one of the matches of the round. Carlton suffered a surprising loss to St Kilda last week and they would need to win this game to get their season a little bit more back on track. However the Crows are not an easily beaten opposition and they have been playing good enough football to see them sitting in the top 4. The unfortunate loss of Taylor Walker in front of the Adelaide goals might be the difference between the 2 teams.
Carlton by 12
West Coast Eagles versus St Kilda at Paterson Sunday
The Eagles don't want to use injured players as an excuse for losing but it must be beginning to tell. Fortunately this week they have a few of those injured players returning and of course the game is at Subiaco where West Coast is almost impossible to beat. Is St Kilda back into good winning form? Can West Coast bounce back after last week's thrashing by Essendon? Ask me again Sunday night.
West Coast by 21