April 13, 2007
COLLINGWOOD VS RICHMOND - MCG, Friday @ 7:40pm
This game will be won or lost in the air, with Troy Simmonds a suprise inclusion the Tigers appear to have a slight edge.
Richmond have won their past two clashes against Collingwood, and with the Magpies unveiling three youngsters tonight at the MCG, the Tigers should have too much run and experience and record their first win in 2007 in a hard fought contest. Richmond by 13 points.
CARLTON VS ESSENDON - MCG, Saturday @ 2:10pm
The Blues were brought back to earth by a resurgent Geelong side after five straight wins, while the Bombers, with the return of skipper Matthew Lloyd and the injection of Leroy Jetta and Aaron Davey in the middle, are a vastly different proposition to the side that endured its worst season since 1933 last year.
Carlton still relies heavily on Brendon Fevola to kick them to a winning score, and with Dustin Fletcher and Mal Michael down back, the Bombers should be able to contain the Blues spearhead who was held goalless against the Cats.
With Scott Lucas continuing his good form from last year with 12 goals in the opening two rounds, and Lloyd and Hird fit and firing and the Bombers lesser likes contributing, Essendon should have too much firepower and make it three straight wins to start season 2007. Bombers by 37 points.
PORT ADELAIDE VS ADELAIDE – AAMI Stadium, Saturday @ 2:40pm
Despite missing their three leading goalkickers from last season against the Western Bulldogs last weekend, the Crows somehow managed to find enough avenues to goal to kick a winning score.
With the likely return of Brett Burton, Adelaide look much more potent in front of goal.
While Port Adelaide, the second most attacking side in the competition in the first two rounds will welcome back their skipper Warren Tredrea, who kicked seven goals in the SANFL last weekend.
This game will be won and lost in the middle.
Can the Crows shut down Port's runners of Danyle Pearce, Peter and Shaun Burgoyne and Kane Cornes, all of whom were damaging against the Kangaroos in round two.
With Robert Shirley sidelined with a fractured hand, the Crows task of shutting down Port Adelaide's midfield guns becomes even tougher, and with Dean Brogan and Brendon Lade expected to dominate in the ruck, Port should get up in a fiery affair. Port by 19 points.
FREMANTLE VS WEST COAST - Subiaco, Saturday @ 5:40pm
Despite all the off-field controversy during the pre-season, the reigning premiers find themselves in the top four and unbeaten in the opening two rounds of the season.
Conversley, Fremantle have paid the price for their lack of discpline on the field with Heath Black, Michael Johnson and Jeff Farmer all suspended, while midfield young gun Brett Peake will miss at least eight weeks with a collarbone.
The loss of Johnson has been particularly costly for Fremantle, with the Dockers leaking 38 goals to Port Adelaide and Essendon in the opening two rounds of the season.
The Dockers have had the wood on their cross-town rivals, having won the past two Derbies, but with skipper Chris Judd and Daniel Kerr in stellar form, and the likely return of number one ruckman Dean Cox and key forward Ashley Hansen, the Eagles appear to have too much firepower for the undermanned Dockers. Eagles by 25 points.
ST KILDA VS WESTERN BULLDOGS – Telstra Dome, Saturday @ 7:10pm
Both sides were totally outclassed in round two after impressive first-up wins.
The Saints look vulnerable down back with no Max Hudghton (quad) and Matt Maguire (foot) and appear to have no obvious match-up for skipper Brad Johnson.
While the Dogs will welcome back key defender Brian Harris from suspension, and you would expect Harris to line-up on Saints spearhead Fraser Gehrig in what will be a crucial contest in determining the outcome of the match.
St Kilda has had the wood on the Bulldogs since 2003, having won five of their past six, with two of those victories being by 50 points or more.
However, the Bulldogs run through the middle is a concern for the Saints and should be enough to see them get over the line. Dogs by 16 points.
SYDNEY VS BRISBANE – SCG, Sunday @ 1:10pm
The Lions have won two straight, but now the real test comes to see whether they have really improved as much as everyone says they have.
Brisbane has lost their past five straight to the Swans by an average of over seven goals.
While the Lions young guns in Michael Rischitelli, Justin Sherman, Cheyenne Stiller and Cameron Wood, who was the round two Rising Star nomination have been very impressive, they will have their work cut out against a Swans ruck division of Darren Jolly and Peter Everitt that is only just starting to click.
Sydney with the home ground advantage, superior ruck division and more options up forward should record an easy win. Swans by 35 points.
MELBOURNE VS GEELONG - Sunday, MCG @ 2:10pm
Many experts have hailed Geelong's thumping 78 point win over Carlton as the most impressive performance to date, all be it against a side that has won the past two wooden spoons.
The real test for the Cats will come on Sunday at the MCG that everyone expects them to win.
The Demons are decimated by injury, with key forwards David Neitz and Russell Robertson expected to miss at least a month with knee injuries, while key defender Jared Rivers will miss with a hamstring injury.
Geelong, with a forward line comprising Cameron Mooney, Nathan Ablett and young star Tom Hawkins, who has been touted as the next Tony Lockett by Carlton coach Denis Pagan, is too potent and should dominate a severely weakened Melbourne outfit. Cats by 43 points.
KANGAROOS VS HAWTHORN – MCG, Sunday @ 5:10pm
The corresponding match between these two sides last year was an ugly affair, with the Kangaroos going down by 22 points after kicking four goals in four quarters of football at York Park.
The Kangaroos have been brave in both their losses this season, but the Hawks with their youngsters in Lance Franklin, Tim Boyle and co. starting to deliver on their potential have too much class and firepower for a Kangaroos outfit that still relies heavily on its more seasoned stars to get them over the line. Hawks by 39 points.
Posted by Tony Keen at April 13, 2007 01:30 PM