Ok so finally the real stuff starts! About time if you ask me.
So here's my thoughts on the tips:
Richmond v Carlton - The Blues look the obvious tip against a Tigers team that really hasn't shown much, and shouldn't be expected to considering their youth. And you know what, after looking at the teams I can't change my opinion. Sure there is no Judd and no Fev but the Tigers really don't have much there except hope. Blues for me probably by around 30.
Geelong v Essendon - Well, I could go into some detailed analysis, but frankly what's the point. Anyone tipping Essendon is praying. Cats should win very comfortably, 50+
Melbourne v Hawthorn - Both sides have been hit hard by injury, so much so that the Hawks have no reasonable ruckman left (sorry to Brent Renouf, but he is still in the 'developing' frame). Yes its arguable that they didn't have any anyway (sorry Simon Taylor) but at least he seemed to have gotten that pointless angry side out of his game before going down with a knee. Melbourne have probably got it worse though because they just don't have the depth of the Hawks. A close one wouldn't surprise but the Hawks should win by around 30 even without Buddy.
Sydney v St Kilda - I like Sydney this year. I think Goodes, White and Bradshaw as targets up forward is formidable. They have a gutsy midfield although one of Seaby or Mumford must step up a lot to even come close to Jolly. And as always a good back half with the added run of Kennelly. For mine there was no bad thing with Hall, Barry and O'Loughlin retiring. St. Kilda are just a class outfit all over the ground. They should be too good with too many options up forward and an excellent midfield. The heart says Sydney at home the head says the Sainters. Probably by 20 or so.
Brisbane v West Coast - The Eagles always seem to play well against Brisbane, and they have had a great preseason, and have no injuries, which is remarkable in itself. There's a lot to like about them with exciting kids, a decent back half with run and finally a key forward with promise in Kennedy. The Lions, well it is all about the midfield for me. If they can get first use and actually win the midfield battle then the game is over. Brown and Fev will need to learn to work together, but both are great forwards and I can't see how they both can be contained, but it is all about the midfield. The winner of that wins the game. I give it to Brisbane because its at home and they have a little more experience. 10 points.
Port Adelaide v North Melbourne - I was all over North early on and then two things happened. Greenwood broke his toe (I thinkl) in a tracksuit incident and most importantly today Petrie broke his foot. Having seen Croad and Egan in recent years fail to comeback, I'm a little wary of broken feet. Sadly for North Petrie is probably their most important player. I'm not a fan of Port at all. I think they lost a lot of class and frankly don't have a huge amount of talent that is not past it. However, Port at home against the Petrieless Roos, 20 points. I would have tipped North had it not been for that foot injury.
Western Bulldogs v Collingwood - This is my Grand Final preview. I cannot wait to see this game, it should be a cracker. The Pies have bolstered themselves beautifully over the break and now seem to have all the pieces on every line. My biggest query is their forward line though. They still don't have a proven key forward that can kick bags and break packs. You know what, they are almost like the Doggies of recent past. Good everywhere, but no key forward. The Doggies however have got Hall. So far so good, but will he snap (mentally or a jaw)? They are in red hot form and I can't go past them. Dogs by 6. By the way, I tipped the Dogs to beat the Pies in the Grand Final too.
Fremantle v Adelaide - This should be Adelaide in a canter, but a shocking preseason and lots of injuries has the jury out. Their midfield is very good and their forward line finally looks interesting with Tippet, Douglas, Knights and the Porpoise all rotating through. But whilst Craig is in charge they'll always be the Crowbots. Freo, well, they are a fair way off. They have talent, and they have some greats in Sandilands and Pav, but just not enough depth and class in the 22 yet. Give them a couple of years. Crows by 15