Finally, the obituary for the bump has been written. It is simply too risky to knock players off the ball. Even one of the shortest players in the AFL, Eddie Betts, can’t help but take out a player’s head. So now, he misses four weeks for unintentionally making contact with someone’s head. Yep, four weeks, yep, he didn’t mean to do it and yep, it was close to the ball. Anyone remember Lindsay Thomas? Oh that’s right, he purposely changed direction, off the ball, in order to take out Reid and leave him on the sidelines for weeks. He should’ve been banned for at least five I hear you say, well, he copped three. Oh, and remember Justin Koschitzke, who, off the ball, stuck his elbow out and collected a player in the face, do I hear bids of six and seven? Well, he copped two. I’m confused, the players are confused, the coaches are confused and footy is becoming difficult to watch at times.
Knock on the match review panel over, now I’m going after the rules of the game committee. It is not the umpire’s fault that our game is so badly over officiated, they are pawns. The free kicks that are paid when (Geelong) players drive their heads into the hands or bodies of others is becoming a joke. The ‘too high’ rule is in place to stop players having their heads ripped off, not to prevent light knocks and touches, it’s becoming basketball, and no one wants that. Furthermore, marking and ruck contests have always been, and should continue to be contests of strength. Now, thanks to the Naitanui rule, they are jumping matches. Defenders simply have no chance unless they stage free kicks. It’s amazing how much ‘AFL people’ criticise Soccer, yet the worst part of that game, simulation, is being encouraged by the rules and officiating in the AFL.
Let’s hope, amidst all the confusion we can see some decent footy this weekend, however, it’s shaping up to be another easing tipping week.
West Coast vs North Melbourne PS 8.40pm
Kerr, Selwodd, Masten, Waters back in and Naitanui in his second game. This is the look of the premiership fancied Eagles. They are putting their strongest side of the year out on their home turf on the big Friday night stage. North will hope Brent Harvey continues from his fantastic start and will be praying Swallow is fit enough to contribute. I don’t think Majak Daw can equal his efforts from last week if he has to play on Glass or Waters whilst Petrie has been quite disappointing so far this year. West Coast are slowly finding their feet and it’s a long way to come back from for the loser of this game who will be 3-5. Both sides seasons are delicately poised, it is very much a final in May and I think the Eagles will be too strong. Eagles by 19 points.
Essendon vs Brisbane ES 1.45pm
Essendon crashed back down to Earth due to a footy less from the Cats. Brisbane simply do not know how to win, even in front of their own fans as they let a golden opportunity slip against the Weagles. Essendon welcome back Stanton and Ryder whilst Simon Black is sure to play a full game for the Lions. Too much is still left to Rockliff and Brown however and they will not be able to compete against a side keen to cement themselves in the top four. Dons by 55 points.
Hawthorn vs GWS AU 2.10pm
Hawthorn love it down in Tassie. They only difficult decision here is working out how our Supercoach sides will be affected – who will they rest? Hawks by 85 points.
Gold Coast vs Western Bulldogs MS 4.40pm
A couple of good ins for the Dogs certainly lends weight to the idea they can start to climb the ladder. Brett Goodes has been a revelation whilst Koby Stevens is certainly handy. Tom ‘the tackling machine’ Liberatore provides the grunt whilst Coonery seems to be heading towards career best form. However, whilst their midfield is strong, with big Minson consistently providing the engine room with first use, the Dogs are consistently exposed at either end of the ground. They rely too heavily on Murphy to be everywhere, Grant and Jones have not developed and to be honest, I couldn’t tell you who plays in their backline. The Suns are hot (haha, see what I did there). Gazza, Bennel and the rest of the young brigade a re dominating, Rischitelli can’t even find a way into the side. On their home patch I’m expecting the Suns to be too strong, with Dixon to kick five. Suns by 12 points.
Collingwood vs Geelong MCG 7.40pm
Greatly anticipated clash between two of the best sides of the last five years. Initially I thought it was going to be a close one but the outs for Collingwood are far too significant. Thomas, Shaw and Clarke all not playing, whilst Ball’s inclusion helps, it is not enough to drag the Pies over the line. Especially as Hunt and Corey return for the Cats who continue to move from strength to strength. Cats by 23 points.
Sydney vs Fremantle SCG 7.40pm
The big men are back for both sides this week with the inclusions of Mumford and Clarke. Fremantle will be welcoming the return of Fyfe with open arms however on the smaller ground their outsiders runners will be curtailed. Sydney simply play the ground better than anyone else – as they should mind you. Swans by 25 points.
Carlton vs Port Adelaide ES 1.10pm
Having cost the Blues the game by being suspended for being a dickhead, Waite is back this week and the misfiring Carlton forward line will welcome him with open arms. Betts and Yarran miss whilst Jamison should have recovered throughout the week to the point where he will be able to lift his arm. No major changes for the Power who are continuing their steady decline down the ladder. I don’t think they will be able to run with the Carlton midfield and I’m expecting Marc Murphy to have a breakout match and win the battle with Boak. Blues by 36 points.
Richmond vs Melbourne MCG 3.20pm
Much needed bye for the Tigers. Tiges by 80 points.
Adelaide vs St. Kilda AS 4.40pm
Both sides relatively unchanged for this crucial clash. Its interesting how given that they would both have finals aspirations, both sides would consider this game one they should be winning. The Saints will have newfound belief after upsetting the Blues last week whilst the Crows would have been smiling all week following their demolition in the Suns. They ,may have found one, in forward Lynch who bagged 10. On familiar dirt I think the Crows midfield guns will hit top form, expect Dangerfield and Sloane to dominate, whilst Thompson does the hard stuff. Crows by 15 points.