Doggies v Saints - This is going to be an epic contest. Dogs are desperate for a win against quality, and Saints are desperate to show they can win without Rooey (yeah they have done it 1.5 times before, but this is another test to discredit the doubters). It will be an interesting game of contrasting styles. The Dogs run and carry versus the dour defensive structures of the Saints. Its at Etihad where both teams enjoy success so that doesn't help a mug punter. So how do you split them? Dogs got confidence and form against the Crows, the Saints in contrast were beaten away by Port. Kosi didn't fire a shot and they struggled to score. I think the Doggies won't disappoint and will run over the Saints. 24.
Kangaroos v Demons - This could be a cracker! Both sides coming off inspiring wins and both sides have a signficant future to look forward to. The roos played to their strengths and their oppoennts weakness last week and got away with a hard fought win, the Dees just ran it through the middle and savaged a previously undefeated side. Its a hard one to pick. Can Melbourne keep going with their winning ways? Its a tough ask for a young team. Will North be able to find some consistency? Form points to the Dees, and thats the seperator. 3 on the trot and a 1 point defeat against the form team of the comp. Dees by 12
Crows v Port - Crows are dreadful. Losing Knights and Dangerfield, both excellent players, will hurt but an underdone Bock may prove useful however. Port however have looked the more competant team and seems to be up to this challenge. It is a Showdown however so anything goes. Port by 15.
Bombers v Hawks - I love this fixture every year. Its always entertaining and often has some biffo. Players don't seem to care about suspensions and fines in Essendon v Hawthorn games. There is no doubt the Hawks are the better side on paper but Essendon has had a bake for their lacklustre (I'm being kind) performance against the Pies. On top of that there is the Round 22 match from last year that will be on both teams' minds. Essendon will win if they can run with skill. Hawks at the moment are slow, and slow to set up their zone. Hawks will win if they get on top of their mental game (which is why they lost after Lloyd's massive and brilliant game changing hit on Sewell). Who will be more desperate, because the season is over for the loser. I'm going for the Hawks. Pears out and Renouf in means a double blow for the Bombers. Renouf in means Roughead will now go forward with Buddy causing a bit of match up pain (I'm not sure Fletcher is suited for stopping jobs on big forwards anymore, he prefers third man up). Hawks by 24.
Swans v Lions - I love the Swans, I think I've made that well known. But this is their first test of the season since round one. They may have form and 4 wins, but they have been against essentially the 4 bottom sides. Talk about a kind draw. The question marks on the Lions all center around Brown actually being fit and with Bolton going down it leaves a match up concern for the Swans. Not to be outdone, with Merret out the Lions will have to juggle to get the right match up for Bradshaw. This is a really tough tip, but I'm going for the Lions as they'll be hungry after the disappointment of last week. But this could be an epic. Lions by 4
Cats v Tigers - This is my shoe in of the week. Everyone expects a slaughter, and they'll get one. Angry Cats are no match for timid Tiges. Don't even watch this. It will get ugly. Cats by 80.
Blues v Pies - The Blues were very good against the Cats. They ran and carried well and much has been made of their small forwards. The Pies were also pretty good, albeit versus a poor rival. On form the Pies are ticking all the boxes, whereas the Blues have been a bit up and down. So whats the real concern for the Pies? The midfield of Carlton is arguably one of the best, and Judd has certainly added class, speed and skill. But the Pies aren't as one dimensional in this area as they once were. The Pies forwards look to have it over the Blues defenders, and the Pie defenders are better suited to tackle the Blues small forwards. It could be a great contest, really depends which Carlton side steps out, but in the end Pies should win comfortably. 25 points.
Eagles v Dockers - The Dockers are flying at the moment, the Eagles floundering. I expect Sandilands to dominate, but Pav might find a harder time of it, however I think the unsung Freo defense will blanket the Weagles forwards and Freo's slick and confident midfield will take down the Eagles counterparts. Freo also has a good recent history in these games, if my memory serves right. Freo by 30 in a bruiser.