April 20, 2007
RICHMOND v WESTERN BULLDOGS – MCG, Friday @ 7:40pm
The Bulldogs have been bitterly disappointing in the past forntnight against Adelaide and St Kilda, while the winless Tigers could have easily found themselves alongside West Coast as the only unbeaten team in the competition after leading in the final term against Carlton, Sydney and Collingwood last week.
If the Tigers are to open up their account in '07, Richardson, who has kicked 22 goals in his past five matches against the Dogs, needs to fire, and the Bulldogs run through the middle needs to be shut down, as the Crows and Saints have done in the past fortnight.
The Bulldogs appear to have too much run and class through the middle, which should limit the impact of the Tigers key forwards of Jay Schulz, Richardson and co. and allow the Bulldogs to snap a two game losing streak with a hard fought win. Bulldogs by 17 points.
COLLINGWOOD v PORT ADELAIDE - MCG, Saturday @ 2:10pm
The Magpies staged a stunning comeback after trailing by four goals at half-time against the Tigers last Friday night, and will head into this clash with plenty of confidence.
While Port had their fair share of the football in the Showdown, they failed to make the most of their opportunities, with poor kicking in front of goal costing them three straight wins to start the season.
This game will be won or lost in the middle, and the loss of ruckman Dean Brogan with an ankle injury evens the contest up. But with the likes of Danyle Pearce and the Burgoyne brothers in stellar form, Port should have too much run and end a three game losing streak against the Magpies. Port by 14 points.
ST KILDA v ESSENDON - Telstra Dome, Saturday @ 2:10pm
The Bombers were completely dominant for the first half against Carlton, before squandering a 48 point lead to an inspired Blues side led by spearhead Brendon Fevola.
While Essendon squandered a golden opportunity start their 2007 campaign with a 3-0 win-loss record, the Saints suffocated the Bulldogs run from the outset last Saturday night at the Dome en route to a comfortable 50-point win.
The loss of spearhead Fraser Gehrig through suspension will be costly for the Saints, making the likely match-up between Nick Riewoldt and Adam McPhee more crucial.
With Scott Lucas and Matthew Lloyd firing up forward, and the Saints minus key defenders Max Hudghton and Matt Maguire through injury, the Bombers appear to have too much firepower and should win an engrossing contest. Bombers by 26 points.
KANGAROOS v BRISBANE - Carrara, Saturday @ 7:15pm
The Kangaroos were a part of arguably the ugliest match of the season thus far, against Hawthorn last Sunday at the Dome.
The winless Roos, minus key forward Nathan Thompson continue to struggle to generate enough scoring opportunities to kick a winning score, and with Jonathon Brown firing at the other end for the Lions, Brisbane should win at their old home. Lions by 35 points.
ADELAIDE v SYDNEY – AAMI Stadium, Saturday @ 7:10pm
Adelaide have been Sydney's bogey team of late, having won their past three clashes against last year's grand finalists.
This shapes as being the match of the round between two sides in good form, but with Barry Hall and Michael O'Loughlin firing up forward, and the Swans clear edge in the ruck contests, Sydney should get over the line in a contest that will be tighter than most pundits predict. Swans by 29 points.
HAWTHORN v GEELONG – Aurora Stadium, Sunday @ 1:10pm
The Hawks have a good recent record against the resurgent Cats, having won their past two encounters by an average of 11 goals.
The big question marks going into Sunday's match will be whether or not the Tomahawk can build on his impressive start to his AFL career and how the Cats will cope with the bigger dimensions of Aurora Stadium.
Recent good form against the Cats, coupled with the home ground advantage tips the contest in the Hawks favour in what should be a close tussle. Hawks by 13 points.
MELBOURNE v FREMANTLE - Sunday, MCG @ 2:10pm
Both sides were touted as potential candidates for this year's premiership at the start of the season, but both find themsleves winless after the first three rounds.
The Demons have been hit hard by injuries to key players, with key forwards Russell Robertson and skipper David Neitz among the notable absentees, while the Dockers have paid the price for their lack of discipline on the field, with several key stars sidelined due to suspension.
Without Robertson and Neitz, the Demons are going to struggle to kick a winning score, and with Tarrant and Pavlich up the other end for the Dockers, Fremantle should have too much firepower and open their account in 2007 with a comfortable win. Dockers by 32 points.
WEST COAST v CARLTON – Subiaco, Sunday @ 2:40pm
The Blues will head into Sunday's clash against the reigning premiers full of confidence, after coming from 48 points down to upset the Bombers at the MCG last Saturday.
However, the loss of Nick Stevens for the rest of the year with a neck injury is a major blow for the Blues, especially against arguably the best midfield division in the competition.
The Eagles have won their past three against the Blues, all of which were at home. But expect this contest to be closer than expected, with Carlton dominating West Coast for the best part of three quarters in the corresponding match at Subiaco Oval last year, before going down by ten points.
West Coast's superior midfield should see them get over the line in a hard fought affair. Eagles by 19 points.
Posted by Tony Keen at April 20, 2007 02:20 PM