I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for a round of football. I feel like I’m 14 and just locked eyes with a girl who has no interest in me at a blue light disco. Pure unfounded optimism.
So in true overexcited fashion I have some hyperbolic statements, tips and predictions to make.
Sydney Swans versus Essendon Bombers
There is plenty of excitement surrounding the Swans after their Viking raid-style start to the season, and I’m going to add to it further. Lance Franklin could kick 15 on Thursday night – if he kicks straight. That’s right, commenters; bring it on after he kicks 2.5.
The way these two teams have been playing, we could have a lightning-paced scorefest on our hands.
Jake Stringer looks to have come back into the shape he should have been his entire career, and he could even kick a bag himself. The Essendon midfield has a tall task in front of them, with the rampaging Bloods conquering Richmond in the contest last weekend.
Port Adelaide Power versus Richmond Tigers
Speaking of the reigning premiers, the Tigers travel to Adelaide to take on the Power in what shapes up as a potential bar fight of a match, and Noah Balta might just be the cause of the boilover.
With this being a preliminary final rematch and with both teams coming off a loss, I expect some fire and brimstone.
Richmond were embarrassed last week, and time will tell whether the whispers are true that their almighty defensive structure has become a casualty of Steve Hocking’s master plan to dethrone them. It’s one of my favourite theories to come out of the comments section last week. What time has already told us is that early-season losses do little to slow the Tigers down. They have shown Vladimir Putin-like ability to not fade away.
Port were soundly beaten themselves last week and will be equally hungry to return to the winners column. What seemed to work well last week against the Tigers was lowering the eyes going inside 50 and the obvious domination in the contest. The Power have an arsenal of weapons in the forward line and a midfield that, if fired up, could provide the distribution.
Western Bulldogs versus Brisbane Lions
This game would be far more interesting were it to be played at the Gabba. That being said, the Bulldogs are flying. They are running and gunning with the best midfield in the game. Adam Treloar was unleashed in his natural inside midfielder role last week, and it paid dividends, with 27 touches and three goals.
Josh Dunkley and Jack Macrae were racking them up, and of course ten goals from Josh Bruce. All of this came against a dumpster fire in the Kangaroos – and who else is looking forward to playing them?.
Brisbane are a very talented team with stars all over the park, but a couple of key players are missing. I expect the Dogs to win here. I could have seen some serious potential in this game were it played in Brisbane and not in Ballarat – we might yet have had a ripsnorter on our hands.
West Coast Eagles versus St Kilda Saints
I’m tipping West Coast in a blowout. There’s not too much for me to say here. Nic Naitanui will dominate, as will the West coast midfield to dominate. Jack Darling, Josh Kennedy and Oscar Allen will treat the Saints like trashcans.
Gold Coast Suns versus Carlton Blues
I’m cautiously optimistic for this game. Both teams are running at one win and two losses and will be hovering around tenth to 14th on the ladder. But with both teams having a reasonable style of play to watch, we could see two teams make each other look far better than they are. Harry McKay versus Ben King for most goals on an average defence is on.
Collingwood Magpies versus Greater Western Sydney Giants
We won’t spend long here either. My beloved Pies – my stomach drops a little looking at this match. We have lost our last three to the Giants. They have had a style in the past that matches up well on us. That style is well-utilised talent, something we have lacked.
Going in Collingwood’s favour is the fact GWS seem to be driving their Ferrari drunk. They have had a horror start to the year, going down in all three of the opening matches in dismal fashion. Has the slow leak of stars finally caught up with the Giants?
If the Pies are to win, we need to go from trainwreck to just standard AFL level. And for God’s sake let’s play Jordan De Goey 90 per cent forward. You will be hearing plenty more from me on this match after the game.
And as my absolute excitement for the round turns to nerves for my Pies, I will stop there. I’ll have a look at Sunday’s games later in the week.