April 05, 2007
BRISBANE VS ST KILDA - Gabba, Thursday @ 7:40pm
This shapes as being an intriguing contest between two sides who, on paper appear to be evenly matched, and will be full of confidence after recording first-up wins.
Again, the keys for both sides will be their power forwards.
Veteran defender Max Hudghton is likely to get the tough assignment of minding Jonathon Brown, while Daniel Merrett looks to be the obvious candidate for Saints spearhead Fraser Gehrig.
Gehrig was back to his imposing best against Melbourne in round one, and if it wasn't for some innacurate kicking, 4.3, he could have easily had a bag.
Despite having no Nick Riewoldt(hamstring), Matt Maguire (stress fractures) and doubts over midfielder Luke Ball, who missed the Saints flight to Brisbane yesterday, after sustaining a heavy knock in the 31-point win over the Demons and an ordinary record at the Gabba, St Kilda appears to have too much firepower up forward against a Lions side that is heavily reliant on Brown.
And with their new brand of accountable football under coach Ross Lyon, they should be able to quell the influence of Brisbane's star midfielders in Simon Black and Luke Power, who both had 30 plus possession games against Hawthorn, and make it two wins from two starts in '07. Saints by 16 points.
RICHMOND VS SYDNEY - MCG, Saturday @ 2:10pm
The Swans were very sloppy against West Coast, before rallying in the second half, piling on seven goals to one to again lose by the barest of margins, while the Tigers were impressive in patches and should have secured the four premiership points against Carlton after leading by 27 points in the third term.
Sydney appears to have a clear edge in the ruck, with Peter Everitt and Darren Jolly up against Adam Pattison and Graham Polak, and this could prove to be the difference between the two sides.
The Swans are the masters of shutting games of football down, and will look to do so at the G, in order to further exploit their dominance in the ruck.
The only hope the Tigers have of recording an upset win is to break the game open, and use their superior run through the midfield to good effect, and allow the likes of Matthew Richardson, Kayne Pettifer and Jay Schulz to run into space.
Sydney, with Everitt and Jolly in the middle, and the likes of Hall,O'Loughlin, Grundy and co. up forward, appear to have too much class and firepower and should record a relatively comfortable win. Swans by 29 points.
WEST COAST VS COLLINGWOOD - Subiaco, Saturday @ 5:40pm AWST
The Eagles put aside the off-field controversies that dogged them through the pre-season, and without five of their premiership stars, were able to record another thrilling win over Sydney by one point.
With skipper Chris Judd and Daniel Kerr in stellar form, and the return of Dean Cox to partner Mark Seaby, who outclassed Peter Everitt and Darren Jolly last weeekend, the Eagles appear to have too much class and run through the midfield and should celebrate the unfurling of last year's premiership flag with a comfortable win. Eagles by 38 points.
GEELONG VS CARLTON - Telstra Dome, Saturday @ 7:15pm
The Blues carried their impressive pre-season form into round one, with a gusty 17 point win over Richmond.
After trailing by as much as 27 points in the third term, Carlton, led by Nick Stevens was able to rally and run over the top of a dissapointing Richmond side.
While the Blues were impressive, Geelong failed to capitalise on their good pre-season form and take advantage of their tall forward line, going down to the Bulldogs by 20 points.
On paper, a forward line for Geelong boasting Ottens, Mooney, Nathan Ablett and debutant Tom Hawkins is potent, but they have yet to deliver on their potential on game day, and with Whitnall and Fevola yet to play their best football, the Blues should get over the line in a tight contest. Blues by 8 points.
PORT ADELAIDE VS KANGAROOS - AAMI STADIUM, Sunday @ 12:40pm
Port were very impressive in turning a 34-point deficit into an upset 16 point win over Fremantle at Subiaco in round one.
While the Kangaroos dominated Collingwood for three terms before going down by three points in a heartbreaking contest.
The Kangaroos have an impressive record against Port, having won 13 of their 16 contests to date, but the Power appear too have to much pace through the middle and more options up forward than the Roos that are capable of kicking a winning score. Port by 17 points.
ESSENDON VS FREMANTLE - TELSTRA DOME, Sunday @ 2:10pm
The Bombers recorded an upset 31 point over Adelaide at AAMI Stadium last Sunday, and with the return of skipper Matthew Lloyd and the emergence of several young stars, including Leroy Jetta and Alwyn Davey, who both made their debuts in round one, the Bombers look to have a new found confidence in '07.
While the Bombers were impressive, Fremantle failed to live up to expectations in round one, surrendering a 34 point lead to Port Adelaide at home.
The new look Bombers in ’07 are high on confidence, and with an unbeaten record against Fremantle at the Dome and a potent forward line boasting James Hird, Lucas, Lloyd and co. the Bombers should get up in an engrossing contest. Bombers by ten points.
WESTERN BULLDOGS VS ADELAIDE - MCG, Sunday @ 5:10pm
The Bulldogs, led by inspirational skipper Brad Johnson who bagged a career best haul of eight, confirmed why they are the most exciting team in the competition with an impressivr 20 point win over Geelong in round one.
While the Crows, minus several key players through injury, were lacklustre and paid the price, going down to the Bombers at home.
The Crows have been hit hard with injury and it’s hard to see where they will get goals from to beat one of the most attacking sides in the AFL. The Bulldogs impressive band of runners and potent forward line led by Johnson should see them record their second win in as many starts. Bulldogs by 28 points.
MELBOURNE VS HAWTHORN - MCG, Monday @ 2:10pm
Both sides were bitterly disappointing in round one and will be keen to avoid an 0-2 start to the season.
The Demons will sorely miss the hardness of young gun Brock McLean through the middle, but with their superior ruck division, and the fact that skipper David Neitz has a good recent record against the Hawks, Melbourne should get over the line in a tight contest. Demons by 15 points.
Posted by Tony Keen at April 5, 2007 02:48 PM