Footy on my mind – round 7

AFL Round 7

Friday, May 6

Port Adelaide v Hawthorn

Saturday, May 7

Western Bulldogs v Sydney Swans

Geelong v North Melbourne

Richmond v Fremantle

Gold Coast Suns v Brisbane Lions

Sunday, May 8

Essendon v West Coast Eagles

Melbourne v Adelaide

Monday, May 9

St Kilda v Carlton

Port Adelaide v Hawthorn, AAMI Stadium, Friday 7:40pm 

I’m expecting Port Adelaide to make a fist of this one. Still winless and coming off back-to-back losses to the Gold Coast at home and then a 10-goal belting by the Kangaroos last week, players must stand up. The return of Pearce, Schulz, Boak and highly-rated first gamer Phillips will make them a better side but Chad Cornes has again been dropped, so too Surjan. Hawthorn have lost Cam Bruce for six weeks so that hurts them a little bit. Hodge is playing injured which isn’t good, they need to get him right. Rioli will be missed but they’re wise to make sure he’s 100% for next week. With the form of Buddy, Burgoyne, Mitchell and a defence standing up ok, I’m expecting the Hawks to come out firing and should have a good win.

Hawthorn by 30 points.

Western Bulldogs v Sydney Swans, Manuka Oval, Saturday 1:10pm 

Both sides enter this match on the back of disappointing losses which makes it a pretty important game for both. The Bulldogs were right with Collingwood before getting blown away in the final quarter and it was a similar story for the Swans against Carlton – the Blues pulled away in the closing stages at the SCG. The Swans started the season pretty well but they’ve struggled against both Geelong and Carlton as well of having had the bye in the past three weeks. The Bulldogs have brought in a couple big names in Giansiracusa and Hudson, who will both be crucial to get the Dogs across the line. Kieran Jack’s loss is a big blow for the Swans, he’s such an important ball-winner and can get forward to kick goals. Ben McGlynn, Jarrad McVeigh and Josh Kennedy are also crucial for the Swans. It’s going to be a very tight contest but I think the Dogs, who have only lost one of their past five in Canberra, will get a win.

Western Bulldogs by 20 points.

Geelong v North Melbourne, Skilled Stadium, Saturday 2:10pm 

The Kangaroos aren’t fearful of travelling down to Skilled Stadium, they are usually pretty competitive down there and will give themselves every chance coming off a big win last week. The way Geelong are performing at the moment though is first class. Their senior players are playing well and they’re getting a good mix with the younger guys in the side. The Kangaroos will need to go one on one through the middle of the park and try to get some match-ups that suit them. Brent Harvey might have a tough day with Cameron Ling for company as the Cats aim for a record 25 consecutive wins at the one venue. I think that run will continue at home.

Geelong by 25 points.

Richmond v Fremantle, MCG, Saturday 4:10pm 

The Tigers have shown some great improvement led by a captain in Chris Newman who probably doesn’t get the credit he deserves. Jack Riewoldt, Nathan Foley, Dustin Martin are all in good form and Robin Nahas is giving them alot of spark around the goals. Daniel Jackson is an important inclusion this week after serving his one-week suspension. They face Fremantle, who will be desperate to win an away game at the MCG this week. They don’t play there a lot and will be trying to make the most of their visit because it could be critical come finals time. They’re playing great football at the moment. Their defenders in Antoni Grover, Greg Broughton and Luke McPharlin are setting them up very well. Former Bombers Kepler Bradley and Adam McPhee are also part of the reason they’ve been able to cope with injuries and bank important wins early in the season. I am leaning towards the Dockers in a tight one.

Fremantle by 10 points.

Gold Coast Suns v Brisbane Lions, Gabba, Saturday 7:10pm 

The build-up to the first Q-Clash has been pretty intense with Simon Black having a nice little crack at some of his former teammates and Guy McKenna coming out to defend his club. There’s been a bit alot of interest surrounding this clash and I’ve got no doubt the Suns will be all fired up to rattle the Lions’ cage on their home turf. Key forwards Sam Day and Tom Lynch come in for their debuts with future vocal point Charlie Dixon out with soreness. The Lions have been very competitive in the last two or three weeks without getting the points. Josh Drummond returns in what is a huge boost for Michael Voss and his team. Their indicators show they are right up there and victory is only just around the corner. Gold Coast have been licking their wounds all week after a 139-point touch-up from the Bombers. I am looking forward to this one and I am sure it will intensify over the years but the Lions will get them at the Gabba for their first win of the season.

Brisbane Lions by 20 points.

Essendon v West Coast, Etihad Stadium, Sunday 1:10pm

This is definitely a clash between two teams on the rise. Essendon have stepped up to be super competitive this year and should go on to finish quite high on the ladder if they keep things together. West Coast are the big improvers so far in 2011. The way the Eagles are playing the game, with their zoning and pressure in the forward half, has been outstanding. That’s probably the major reason for their turnaround, as well as having Dean Cox injury-free, Andrew Embley in great form and their skipper Darren Glass down back playing excellent footy. I’m surprised the Eagles have dropped young gun Gaff while the Bombers have brought back Fletcher, Davey and Myers. I find it hard to work out why Davey hasn’t been in the Essendon lineup. I’m still not a fan of playing three ruckmen. At Etihad Stadium I think the Bombers will win though. They’ve gone to another level, they are excited and passionate, and they’re doing all the things good sides do.

Essendon by 20 points.

Melbourne Demons v Adelaide Crows, MCG, Sunday 2:10pm 

For mine, Melbourne have been the biggest disappointment of 2011. They’re not playing great football at the moment and that needs to change. Dean Bailey has made some big moves at selection dropping Morton, Martin and Bennell, while Rivers misses with an ankle. I like the inclusions of key talls Bate and Newton to help Watts up forward, Warnock gives Frawley support, while Petterd, Jetta and Macdonald will be handy if they make the 22. The Crows are back in good form after a win against St Kilda last week but the losses of Davis and Tambling hurt. Maric comes in to assist Jacobs, while Sellar, Sloane, Schmidt and Gunston will be more than handy if they make the team. Will be tight match and the side who makes the fewest errors will win.

Adelaide by 7 points.

St Kilda v Carlton, Etihad Stadium, Monday 7:20pm 

Carlton are in great form and are in the top four, with players playing well. Chris Judd has been outstanding, while Michael Jamison has been terrific down back.The Blues have a real drive to succeed to this point whereas St Kilda are battling, everything looks tough for them. It’s hard to manufacture the run, passion and competitiveness which is clearly missing for the Saints. At this stage it’s hard to pick them because they don’t seem to be playing for each other. The Saints have brought back Gamble, Peake, Clarke and Koschitzke into their squad along with a few youngsters who I believe they must play, while the Blues have added Yarran, Henderson and Watson to their squad. Carlton have a good recent record against St Kilda and that should continue on Monday night.

Carlton by 15 points.




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