Its ‘Bring your favourite Bomber player to training’ round. A hard round to tip but I’m going to give it a red hot Essendon go.
Hawthorn versus Port Adelaide at Etihad Stadium
At the start of the season the experts would have had this as the match of the round. 1 versus 2. A grand final preview. Someone on the Friday night commentary team would have been ‘looking forward to this one, Bruce’… probably Dennis, he looks forward to everything.
Hawthorn will use this to try a few things and maybe rest a few players. Sam Mitchell might even try and tackle something, he apparently rang Damian Hardwick for a few tips after speaking to Wayne Carey about it.
Port have been the biggest disappointment of the year and have no one to blame but themselves. If Ken Hinkley doesn’t come up with a Plan B that doesn’t involve hitting anyone in sight or tight then it could get ugly.
Jay Schultz should return and officials say he may be made to wear a Fremantle guernsey just to see if it fits.
Hawthorn won’t be horsing around here.
Hawks by 33 points
Collingwood versus Richmond at the MCG
The AFL would love 90,000 screaming fans here but lets face it, it’s not a football match or NRL state of origin game so anything over 30,000 would be a bonus.
Richmond’s bandwagon is so heavy that the whole thing has buckled and now resembles a pile of people sprawled on splintered wood. Collingwoods bandwagon is currently sitting on bricks behind Joffas house.
I hope the Tigers remember to tackle this week. Chris Newman has announced his retirement and that gives Richmond extra incentive to win a final this year and this match is the perfect time to practice how to do that.
It might also work in reverse and the Tigers of old could go down by 10 goals just to remind Newman of the good old days. But they are playing the Pies who are pretty much terrible at the moment.
Collingwood really need an assistant coach who knows what the word ‘defence’ means.
A big loss here and the media will put Hird’s target on Buckley’s back.
Richmond by 28 points
GWS versus Sydney at Spotless Stadium
The Giants will want to dent Sydney’s finals chances in another episode of the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ and this is the perfect opportunity. I hope they can adjust to the crowd, or lack of it.
Lance Franklin may not be back from coaching duties with some sections of the media doubting if Buddy will be back before the finals. Are the reserves team that desperate for a coach?
GWS stood up last week like one of those ‘Bop clowns’ and just a five-minute burst by Port’s Chad Wingard burst the Giants’ hopes.
Mathematically GWS can still make the finals, which means really they can’t or won’t and no one except the AFL cares.
Sydney ‘bridge over troubled water’ Swans won’t let the Giants cross here.
Swans by 16 points.
Gold Coast versus Essendon at Metricon Stadium
If ever Essendon were going to win, it’s here. Then again, who cares. The players clearly don’t. The AFL don’t. They spoiled James Hirds tearful farewell speech by announcing a new rights deal that destroys any other sports chances of being seen on TV ever again.
I’m certain his lawyers are looking at it as we speak.
New coach Matthew Egan, who has been appointed ahead of super coaches Mark Harvey, Neil Craig and Mark Neeld to lead the ‘new’ old Bombers, will have his work cut out. First up he’ll take a team on a three-day holiday up north. Kick the ball around a bit, get some sun, have a swim and return to a media who’ll feel sorry for them.
All he has to do is get them all on the park at the same time. Job done.
The Suns may include Gazza the mascot for his first game. Gold Coast have an injury list that resembles a shopping list by most clubs and will struggle to put a competitive team on the field. But their players understand what the words ‘competitive’ and ‘team’ mean and that will be enough to get them over the line.
Gold Coast by 34 points
St Kilda versus Geelong at Etihad Stadium
Geelong have to win this if they want another go round in September. The Cats may include Daniel Menzel who is playing for a record fifth knee reconstruction.
Reports suggest St Kilda bought in some kind of expert who explained the ball had to be kicked ‘between the big posts’ in order to win. The collective ‘ahhhh’ could be heard two streets away.
The Saints could do the Crows two favours here. End the Cats’ finals hopes and any chance they have of getting a Dangerfield signature. I look forward to hearing what Mark Stevens has to say about it.
It’s at Etihad so I give the Saints a chance, in fact I’m tipping them.
I look forward to hearing the dissenters and their reasons why they call me the names they do. I love it.
St Kilda by 7 points
Adelaide versus Brisbane at Adelaide Oval
This could be the match that ensures Adelaide plays in its first finals series in three years and it’s Dangerfield’s 150th game. He is fresh from his morning radio stint where he threw words like ‘crap’ around in response to rumours he now owns Geelong for the next 5 years.
Its all Twitter’s fault.
Tex is due for a big one and he could be unstoppable if he can kick the ball straight. He would want nothing more than having his best mate Paddy enjoy his big match.
Adelaide have a habit of winning milestone matches and the ‘Hird slayers’ are full of confidence and have Leppitsch in their sights. The inflatable lion should go down quicker than a visit to an american dentist.
Adelaide by 61 points.
North Melbourne versus Fremantle at Etihad Stadium.
This has nightmare tip written all over it. Experts waking up screaming, dripping in sweat. Tipsters crying at having to choose.
The big question is ‘Will the roof be closed?’ The stadium manager has already picked out his hiding place.
Both clubs only played one real quarter in their last match and based on that form then half of this match will be an arm wrestle.
Jack ‘The Hitman’ Ziebell is out and Rossy Lyon will flick the purple haze switch and turn this match into a dour low scoring encounter.
North Melbourne are the new Richmond and a win here would severely damage their chances of finishing ninth.
Fremantle by 11 points.
Carlton versus Melbourne at the ‘G’
If ever a match was going to make your eyes bleed, this is it.
Chris Judd gets a lap of honour to say goodbye before the game where fans will have a chance to throw plastic water bottles at him.
Both clubs have given up and Carlton will be trying as hard as it can to keep that number 1 pick intact.
The only thing worth watching here is the battle for the NAB rising star award. Cripps versus Hogan.
A tough one to pick. On form, I’d say Hogan.
Melbourne by 28 points
West Coast versus Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium
The battle of the new bandwagons. The Bulldogs have only won five times in 28 years away from Melbourne against the Eagles and this is a really tough ask. They will love the wide open spaces and Luke Beveridge has a game plan strategy (or GPS, the oval is that wide) that the players believe in.
For all the good work the Doggies have done a loss here could see them fall from fourth to seventh.
Masten is out with the AFL tribunal sending a clear message that there is no room for Mike Tyson impersonators in football. The Eagles will lose a lot of bite in the back half with him missing.
Every week is another test for the Eagles and the Bulldogs will have done their revision heading into the wild west but it won’t be enough. An honorable loss at best.
West Coast by 19 points