The preview tipped 8 this week, a vast improvement on the 2 last week. Might have to go back through the records and see what my tipping score is. Picking winners from the middle tier of teams is a nightmare but then again tipping has always been a nightmare. Mick Malthouse is an astute guy and his observation that the quick addition of two teams into the AFL has seriously diluted the talent pool is somewhat true. While we didn’t really like 17 teams in the competition with that blessed bye the 18th team has just added to the problem of giving easy wins for established teams.Because teams don’t play each other twice the bias towards the weaker teams being able to play the two new teams twice is leading to some real pretenders in the finals. But I’ve always thought that 8 teams in the finals was a bit silly anyway. Rewards for mediocrity. Mick agrees with me on that one!
Hawthorn 18.12.120 defeated Carlton 10.10.70
The Carlton loss was reasonably easy to tip but the margin suggests that the Blues have some major problems. The talk of a premiership after beating Collingwood was premature as Carlton is not even in the top 8. Premiership talk about the Hawks, however, might have some validity. The Blues are in 10th position on the ladder and face Collingwood next week. They usually lift for that game but it will want to be a superheavyweight lift! The Hawks get an easy one and even more percentage against the Giants.
Collingwood 15.17.107 defeated Fremantle 12.6.78
It was an expected result with the Pies grabbing the 4 premiership points but after a slow start it always looked like Fremantle might reel the Magpies in getting within 17 points in the 3rd term after being down by 40! Pav kicked 5 for the visitors and Collingwood debuted another Irishman. It’s hopeful the Magpies can get Pendlebury back for the Calrlton game next Friday night. Fremantle should beat the Western Bulldogs and keep their hopes alive of making the finals.
Adelaide 17.4.106 defeated Richmond 13.9.87
The Tigers started the game with a goal rush kicking 8 in the first and catching the Crows a little bit unawares. But Adelaide slowly caught up to Richmond and at 3 quarter time was just 5 points adrift. A 6 goal last quarter by the Crows put the result out of doubt and when you look at the scorecard you will see that the Tigers could manage just 5 goals after quarter time, hardly enough to cause what looked like it was going to be an upset. Richmond can still make the finals but they will need to win a few more games and maybe pinch an unexpected one. The Crows look good with enough games in their win locker to finish top 4. They have another game at home against Port and Richmond can win next week against the Demons.
West Coast 25.16.166 defeated Gold Coast Suns 5.10.40
A thrashing was predicted and tipsters were correct. The Eagles turned on an exhibition for their supporters in Perth and amazingly kicked the last 12 goals of the game! This match was a percentage booster for West Coast and a demoralizing loss to the Suns. Hopefully Gold Coast coach Bluey McKenna got some family time in his home town – one of the positives he can take from the weekend. West Coast face a tough challenge next week against North Melbourne and Gold Coast…well….every game is a tough one. They play Geelong.
Essendon 21.14.140 defeated the Western Bulldogs 8.8.56
The Bombers had iced the game by the end of the first quarter when they held a 39 point lead after which, for the Western Bulldogs, it just got worse. Two hidings in a row and on current form they are almost certainly a bottom 4 team. Essendon, who have a kind run home, look like top 4 material but let’s keep that prediction quiet until we see how they go against the top teams. They meet St Kilda next week and the Bulldogs travel to Perth to play Fremantle.
Sydney 19.18.132 defeated GWS Giant 5.8.38
This was basically a repeat of the previous encounter between the teams and Sydney has certainly consolidated its position in the finals. For the Giants it’s back to the drawing board but really, the players in that team just need games under their belts before we will see a marked improvement. They might be happy about a 94 point loss seeing they meet Hawthorn at eth MCG next week. Sydney will have an interesting battle with the Brisbane Lions.
Geelong 14.15.99 defeated Port Adelaide 8.13.61
In dirty conditions over Corio Bay the Cats did what needed to be done to dispatch the Power. Apparently not a great spectacle the reason for which those that didn’t turn up to watch was justified as it was a small crowd that braved the weather for the Geelong win. It doesn’t matter how you win them they say. True. The Cats play the Suns next week at Metricon so they can add another win and Geelong is a game clear of the 8th placed team and 2 games clear of the few teams below. They will play in the finals. Port plays the SA Derby next week and as ferocious as these games are they can hardly expect to beat the Crows.
Brisbane 18.14.122 defeated Melbourne 8.13.61
In mathematics we call this result “doubling your score”! The Demons were woeful over the first 3 quarters and even though they almost “doubled their own score” in the last quarter they were still well beaten by a Brisbane team, much improved, and would you believe, in touch with the top 8! The win by the Lions was expected, perhaps the margin was not. There is a wide chasm between Melbourne and the two new teams and a similarly wide one between Melbourne and the rest. Hard to say whether they are improving after a game like this. Brisbane have found something extra, maybe the return of Jonathon Brown and the players getting used to him as part of their structure. They travel a small distance south to play the Swans next week, tough, and Melbourne is at home to the Tigers.
North Melbourne 21.10.136 defeated St Kilda 15.13.103
The real beauty of Etihad, I have always thought, is the roof that rolls over the top of the stadium and keeps out the rain providing spectators with great conditions and great football. The game was up for grabs at half time with just 2 points separating North and St Kilda but North was able to edge away in the 3rd kicking 4 goals to 1. In the last quarter both coaches said to hell with defence just kick as many goals as you can. They did. North was a lot better than the Saints in that department amongst an avalanche of 13 goals for the quarter. North’s consistency will be tested again next week when they play the West Coast Eagles and the Saints have it tough as well against the Bombers.