Footy on my mind

In a new format, I preview all the round 4 action of the premiership season. Read his thoughts and feel free to leave comments below.

AFL Round 4

Friday, April 15

Richmond v Collingwood, Friday 7.40pm MCG

Hawthorn v West Coast Eagles, Saturday 2.10pm Aurora Stadium

Carlton v Essendon, Saturday 2.10pm MCG

Sydney Swans v Geelong, Saturday 7.10pm SCG

Port Adelaide v Adelaide, Saturday 7.40pm AAMI Stadium

Gold Coast Suns v Melbourne, Sunday 2.10pm Gabba

Fremantle v North Melbourne, Sunday 4.40pm Patersons Stadium

Bye: Brisbane Lions, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda

Richmond v Collingwood, Friday 7.40pm MCG

Richmond                                                           Collingwood

OUTS: Connors (leg), Morton                              OUTS: Darren Jolly (knee)

INS: Thursfield, Miller                                           INS: Cameron Wood

NEW: Brad Miller (Melbourne)

Match Preview

Recent history suggests will win, and win by a big margin. I’m tipping the Pies to win big under lights at the MCG. Richmond fans should get along and support their team. Brad Miller comes in to help ease the load off Jack Riewoldt and Tyrone Vickery up forward while Will Thursfield also returns to assist an undermanned defense that will be under siege tonight. The Pies will miss ruckman Darren Jolly but have a handy replacement in Cameron Wood. Pies will win easily.

Collingwood by 42 points.

Hawthorn v West Coast Eagles, Saturday 2.10pm Aurora Stadium

Hawthorn                                                             West Coast Eagles

OUTS: Osborne (calf), Stratton (knee)                 OUTS: McGinnity

INS: Mitchell, Rioli                                                 INS: Dalziell

Match Preview

The Eagles have started the season well and improvement over summer has been noted, while Hawthorn’s dominant display last week against Richmond clearly showed why they are Collingwood’s biggest threat to take out this year’s premiership. The trip to Tassie from Perth won’t help the Eagles, although they’ve won there before. West Coast will go tall up forward to stretch the Hawthorn defense, who’ve lost Ben Stratton for the season with a serious knee injury. Without Mark LeCras and any other ground level quality in attack, the Eagles lose out against quality opposition who can run the ball straight out when it hits the deck. Sam Mitchell and Cyril Rioli bolster an up and about Hawthorn side who I think will win comfortably over the trying Eagles.

Hawthorn by 25 points.

Carlton v Essendon, Saturday 2.10pm MCG

Carlton                                       Essendon

OUTS: Thornton, Watson           OUTS: Davey (omitted)

INS: Henderson, White               INS: Prismall

Match Preview

Huge game for both Carlton and Essendon, who will be playing for the Madden Cup, which is named in honour of football greats Simon and Justin Madden. The winner will be declaring their place as top 4 material, while the loser will need a harsh reality check. The Blues were formidable last week but Collingwood had another gear in check. The worry for the Blues is the Bombers’ speed through the midfield and their quick work around the stoppages. The long-awaited return of key forward Lachie Henderson is a big plus while Simon White comes in at the expense of Bret Thornton and first year draftee Matthew Watson who struggled last week. The Bombers have dropped speedster Alwyn Davey for midfield general Brent Prismall, which is a surprise. Skipper Jobe Watson is in very good form and is leading an effective, long-kicking Essendon side who are playing with real purpose. I’m tipping the Bombers in a close one.

Essendon by 10 points.

Sydney Swans v Geelong, Saturday 7.10pm SCG

Sydney Swans                  Geelong  

NO CHANGE                         OUTS: Stokes (neck soreness), Hawkins (back), Duncan (general soreness)

INS: Lonergan, Mackie, Wojcinski

Match Preview

Geelong have had a terrific start to the season, and were at their terrifying best against an ordinary Port Adelaide at Skilled Stadium last weekend, while the Swans have been just as formidable. The Cats have an impressive record against the Swans, winning their past eight encounters and the past three in Sydney, but those away wins have been at ANZ Stadium. The Swans play very well at the SCG and are always hard to beat on their home turf. John Longmire has the Swans playing tighter, closer and tougher football mixed with alot more run than they did under Paul Roos. Their tackling and pressure has been sublime also. I’m expecting an exciting contest between these two teams who have a great balance of experience and youth.

Sydney Swans by 7 points.

Port Adelaide v Adelaide, Saturday 7.40pm AAMI Stadium

Port Adelaide

OUTS: K.Cornes, Pearce, Davenport, Stewart, Irons

INS: Ebert, Pettigrew, Salopek, Surjan, Hitchcock

Adelaide

OUTS: Stevens (illness), Davis (shoulder)

INS: Cook, L.Thompson

NEW: Luke Thompson (Geelong Falcons)

Match Preview

Adelaide were woefully disappointing in their loss to Fremantle at AAMI Stadium last weekend, and coach Neil Craig made sure they knew it. Injuries to Jason Porplyzia has cost them a viable goalscoring option, while they miss the run and carry style of Rory Sloane and David Mackay. Port Adelaide have had a winless start to the year but when it comes to Showdowns, you can chuck the formguide out the window. It’s always a toss of the coin. I’m tipping the Crows in this one, mainly due to the lack of leaders and key personnel the Power have missing. Kane Cornes and Danyle Pearce have been dropped for this game, while skipper Dominic Cassisi and key forward Jay Schulz are out injured.

Adelaide by 20 points.

Gold Coast Suns v Melbourne, Sunday 2.10pm Gabba

Gold Coast Suns

OUTS: Brown (suspension), Krakouer, Bennell

INS: Russell, Jolly, Fraser, Toy, Shaw, Hutchins

NEW: Luke Russell (Burnie Dockers, TAS), Matt Shaw (Dandenong, VIC), Hayden Jolly (Glenelg, SA), Jack Hutchins (Sandringham Dragons, VIC)

Melbourne

OUTS: No Change

INS: Petterd, Maric, Strauss

Match Preview

Gold Coast will get close in this game. Melbourne don’t travel well and they’re coming off a fortunate victory over Brisbane in Melbourne last weekend. The Demons will win, but not by much, giving the Suns hope of a first victory very soon. Melbourne weren’t that impressive at all against the Lions last week and they need to stand up and make a statement this week. The Suns are getting better each week, but it’s still early days so they’ll need plenty of time.

Melbourne by 18 points.

Fremantle v North Melbourne, Sunday 4.40pm Patersons Stadium

Fremantle                                                            North Melbourne                                                                     

OUTS: No Change.                                                OUTS: No Change.

INS: Ibbotson, Van Berlo, Crichton             INS: Pratt, Warren, Pedersen

Match Preview

North Melbourne had the bye last week but it’s too early to make a call on whether it’s a good thing or not, but we should have a fair indication of that at the conclusion of this game. The Roos have a tough draw, they’re back in Perth for the second time this year already after the heavy round 2 loss to Collingwood. The Roos won’t get a win here either. Fremantle will be pleased with a 2-1 start to the season after a lengthy injury list and players underdone coming into 2011. They’re starting to hit peak form and play the exhilarating football that brought so much success last year. Dockers will win and do it comfortably against North Melbourne.

Fremantle by 30 points.

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