Footy on my mind – round 8

WITH JUSTIN COOPER

ROUND 8

Friday May 13

Geelong v Collingwood

Saturday May 14

North Melbourne v Melbourne

Adelaide v Gold Coast Suns

Brisbane Lions v Essendon

Sydney Swans v Port Adelaide

Sunday May 15

Hawthorn v St Kilda

Western Bulldogs v Richmond

West Coast Eagles v Fremantle

Geelong v Collingwood, MCG, Friday 7.30PM

This game is going to be a cracker! Clearly the best two teams in the competition, who’ve both got this far undefeated. The Pies come off the bye but will be without Darren Jolly, Ben Johnson and possibly captain Nick Maxwell. Chris Tarrant’s return to help out Harry O’Brien and Ben Reid in defence will be important on the big stage while the re-invigorated Cats will be keen to atone for last year’s 80-point preliminary final loss to last year’s premiers. I’m expecting a tight and physical contest but the winner will be the team that makes the most of their opportunities and fewest mistakes under lights. I’m tipping an upset by the boys at Skilled Stadium.

Geelong by 6 points.

North Melbourne v Melbourne, Etihad Stadium, Saturday 2.10PM

This is a huge game for both clubs. The Dees were fantastic in their win against the Crows last week but need to now back that up. A win won’t come easy either – Mark Jamar is out with injury, Jack Grimes will miss the season, Jack Trengove will serve a 3 week suspension and Tom Scully is still a few weeks away. The Roos desperately need to make a win out of this one while they can. The absence of Hamish McIntosh, Levi Greenwood, Ryan Bastinac and Nathan Grima have hit hard to a playing list that doesn’t run deep. The debutants of Jamie Macmillan, Kieran Harper, Ben Speight, Shaun Atley, Cameron Richardson and Cameron Pedersen will please the sight of every Kangaroo fan but more patience is needed while Brad Scott develops the list. I’m tipping the Roos because of Melbourne’s key absences.

North Melbourne by 12 points.

Adelaide v Gold Coast Suns, AAMI Stadium, Saturday 3.10PM

The Crows are under pressure, so to is their coach, Neil Craig. They were extremely disappointing against Melbourne last week but expect a better outing this week. Their opponents, the Gold Coast Suns, will arrive full of confidence after a spirited win against the Brisbane Lions in the Q-clash last weekend. The Suns regain Campbell Brown from suspension, while ruckman Tom Nicholls will come in for his debut. The Crows welcome back Richard Tambling and highly rated tall James Sellar. I worry about the Crows against the Coasters. The Suns possess not only a blue-chip midfield with Gary Ablett and Michael Rischitelli, but a side full of pace and youth who are good enough to knock off South Australia’s other football team. Let’s not forget the Suns beat Port Adelaide at AAMI Stadium just a few weeks ago and they’re capable of doing it again.

Gold Coast Suns by 10 points.

Brisbane Lions v Essendon, Gabba, Saturday 7.10PM

The Lions have been competitive in the past few weeks and are scratching for a win. The club is under pressure, no more so than Michael Voss. Their opponents, Essendon, haven’t beaten Brisbane since 2001 at the Gabba but that will change on Saturday night. The Bombers have been fantastic under coach James Hird and are a top-6 side. They play with plenty of energy and use the press very well. The Lions will be 0-7 if they lose, and the return of Jonathan Brown can’t come quick enough. Testing times ahead for the Lions’ faithful.

Essendon by 20 points.

Sydney Swans v Port Adelaide, SCG, Saturday 7.40PM

The Swans should make it two wins in a row pretty easily here. Port Adelaide are struggling and have a horrendous record against the Swans at the SCG. Sydney welcome back Lewis Roberts-Thomson and will blood Luke Parker while the Power have brought in Steven Salopek, Matt Thomas and have given Ben Jacobs his AFL debut at the expense of the injured David Rodan, Cameron Hitchcock and Paul Stewart. Not much of a contest here, the Swans should win easily at home.

Sydney Swans by 30 points.

Hawthorn v St Kilda, MCG, Sunday 1.10PM

This clash will be a tight one. Both clubs who should be playing alot better then what they are. St Kilda were alot better on Monday night against Carlton, while Hawthorn got away with a win against Port Adelaide without being super-impressive. The Hawks have brought in David Hale, Michael Osborne, Ryan Schoenmakers, Luke Breust and Matt Suckling into their squad while the Saints have added Farren Ray, Zac Dawson, Nick Winmar, Ryan Gamble and Dean Polo. St Kilda will be without Leigh Montagna, and with Lenny Hayes absent along with several stars who are struggling for form, the Hawks should beat the Saints.

Hawthorn by 18 points.

Western Bulldogs v Richmond, Etihad Stadium, Sunday 2.10PM

This is a big clash for the Bulldogs in particular, who are struggling for form and without key stars Barry Hall, Shaun Higgins and Brian Lake. The Dogs have brought in Ryan Hargrave and James Mulligan to help cover the absence of Lake, while Dylan Addison, Nathan Djerrkura and Tom Liberatore have been added to the squad. The Tigers have won their past three games and have been in fantastic form. Their game plan is starting to take shape and their kids are playing with confidence. Mitch Farmer, Jeromey Webberley and Brad Helbig have been added to the Tiger squad.

Richmond by 20 points.

West Coast Eagles v Fremantle, Patersons Stadium, Sunday 4.40PM

I think the Eagles will win this because of the press, which almost resulted in an away win against Essendon last weekend. The Dockers look run down, tired and injuries to key players coming into the season have caught up on them. I like who John Worsfold has brought into the team – Chris Masten, Patrick McGinnity and Andrew Gaff – all players who provide plenty of run, an area that I believe the Eagles have the edge over the Dockers on the wide spaces of Patersons Stadium. The Dockers have added Ryan Crowley and Jesse Crichton, while former Crow Jonathan Griffin and former Magpie Jack Anthony have been named for their debuts.

West Coast Eagles by 18 points.

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