West Coast v Sydney (DS) 8.10pm All times AEST
Well, I don’t know what to believe anymore. There was once a time you could pick the Hawks and the Swans and then build your tips around them. Maybe the Eagles at home, tip against the Demons and flip a coin when you got to Richmond.
That’s all out the window. Now we’ve got the Bulldogs winning premierships, and everyone’s tipping is more inconsistent than the Match Review Panel.
The great thing is, being a football pundit means regularly being wrong is no barrier to constantly giving your opinion, with the confidence of someone who is right 100 percent of the time.
Can you imagine another job where you can be that wrong so regularly and keep your job? Well, yes politics. Fair point.
Not many other jobs though. You can’t get away with that sort of nonsense if you’re designing bridges or operating on people.
Anyway, Sydney looked awful against Collingwood, and their drop off makes little sense. Sure, they have serious injury issues, but their skills seemed to have gone out the window, and their intensity was way down.
Adam Simpson this week took issue with his team being called ‘flat track bullies’. It’s a tag that seems to get applied to any team that’s good but not great. Of course, teams that are near the top but not quite there, tend to destroy the lower teams and lose to the very top ones.
That’s not flat track bullying; it's just a top 4-8 spot on the ladder team.
The only bullying that occurs regarding the Eagles is the umpires towards opposing teams in Perth. West Coast fans should give themselves a big pat on the back for helping their team so comprehensively. I’m not mad, just jealous.
Eagles to win this.
North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs (ES) 4.20pm
This is the first ever game on Good Friday and conclusive proof of what we’ve all long suspected, the AFL hates Jesus.
When this was first floated, I thought who would want to watch these two teams?
Then I realised it would enable me to avoid spending time with family and then the Bulldogs won a premiership and became one of the most exciting teams in the competition. North haven’t changed much though; they just got rid of some of the players I knew the names of.
Last week, the Bulldogs turned in their worst performance in about a year. Oh, it was awful. It was against the Dockers too, who are barely an AFL team.
Can you imagine Bevo’s reaction? I bet he didn’t even yell, he just glared at the players and refused to read Dr Seuss to them for a whole week.
Expect them to storm into this game like Stone Cold Steve Austin interrupting a Vince McMahon speech.
The Kangaroos haven’t been as awful as many predicted, but it’s becoming painfully obvious they don’t have the tools to compete with the good teams this year.
I mean, painfully aware for North fans, it’s not painful for the rest of us.
Doggies to win this.
Melbourne v Fremantle (MCG) 1.45pm
As each day passes, weeks seem to get added to Max Gawn’s hamstring injury. I’ve been lighting a candle at my shrine to Norm Smith, but it appears to be working as well as my prayers for a premiership.
The Dees last week kicked so poorly for goal that I hope that’s all they practice at training, starting with Simon Goodwin drawing a set of goals on a whiteboard and saying, “See these two big sticks in the middle?”
Fremantle’s ‘play the kids’ strategy actual worked last week.
Usually, that’s a strategy everyone suggests but it never actually works. It’s the ‘always tell the truth’ strategy of football. Everyone says it, but it very rarely works out well.
It would be just Melbourne’s luck that the Dockers suddenly come good the moment the Dees need a win. A loss here for Melbourne would be a disaster after the missed opportunity last week.
The Dees should get up.
Greater Western Sydney v Port Adelaide (MO) 4.35pm
Port have had an interesting week, what with the brawl and that racist fan who was shocked at being called a racist for saying racist things. Do these people struggle with all forms of language?
“Why did you bring me a steak, I ordered pasta?”
“But you said steak.”
“Well, I don’t think steak means steak to everyone.”
I don’t like to compliment people, but the AFL, Port Adelaide and Adelaide should be applauded for all taking a hard line stance this week.
Perhaps if the AFL had have taken a hard line stance back in the Nicky Winmar days, or the Michael Long days or the Adam Goodes days, we might be a bit further along. Remember, Long had to drag them kicking and screaming to put in an actual policy to address this stuff.
Although, the AFL can’t be held accountable for every idiot racist, not when our body politic seems to be producing them with an enthusiasm they usually reserve for taxpayer funded jaunts.
I know talking about racism is a bit of a downer, but the good news is, it’s relatively easy not to be racist. It’s even easier to not publicly share your racist thoughts on Facebook.
What I find odd, is people saying they didn’t know these things are racist. What you missed all the racist scandals that occur so regularly you could set your watch by them? How often does a blackface incident occur in the media? Every two months or so?
Port fans in the majority, who in my experience (all jokes aside for once) are decent people, must be sick of this stuff.
Greater Western Sydney return to their spiritual home, Canberra (and there are few places more spiritual than our nation’s capital).
With Paddy Ryder out, this should be the Giants day.
Carlton v Gold Coast (ES) 7.25pm
Who would have thought the degree of difficulty would go up when playing Carlton after Hawthorn?
That’s the problem facing the Gold Coast who had a terrific training run against the Hawks last week and will be hoping to take that form into a game.
Was it a turning point for the Suns? One thing that seems to have happened is people have made Gary Ablett angry. He’s now a wrathful son of god.
This is the first trip to Melbourne this year for the Suns, a chance to see the Arts Centre Spire, the clocks at Flinders Street Station and the city’s vibrant homeless camps.
Carlton pulled off a great win last week, proving that hard work goes a long way in this league.
Unfortunately, Etihad Stadium has a roof so that a torrential downpour won’t help them this time.
I’m torn on this one. Neither side fills you with confidence. I’m tipping Carlton, but I’m not exactly brimming with certainty.
Adelaide v Essendon (AO) 7.40pm
I hope Eddie boots ten this week. Who wouldn’t want Eddie around? Apart from Carlton of course?
He’s one of the great things about the game.
Adelaide are seriously good this year. It’s just a shame it’s only round four. Staying good over a long period is hard, I learnt this playing FIFA for hours on end.
It’s been fun watching everyone in Victoria this week work out Rory Sloane is good. Crows fans have been banging on about this for at least twelve months. Typical South Australians, always years ahead.
Essendon lost to Carlton. Carlton.
There were some extenuating circumstances; it was so wet the Blues built an arc in their defensive fifty.
I can’t see the Bombers having success here.
Collingwood v St Kilda (ES) 3.20pm
The pressure has been off Nathan Buckley for a whole week. He wouldn’t have known what to do with himself.
He would have saved about ten hours just not having to do media interviews explaining why he shouldn’t be sacked.
Then he hears Jamie Elliot might be back and it’s like all the pieces are finally coming together.
Could it be that Collingwood’s five-year plan to take themselves from premiership contenders to almost making the eight is about to pay off? Fingers crossed.
St Kilda have been wasteful the past few weeks in front of goal. It seems a bit of a theme this season, teams almost or losing games due to poor goal kicking.
Sure, it happens each year but I’ve noticed it a lot more this season, and while I could check the stats, it’s easier just to go off my gut feel.
Therefore, since I’ve noticed it more this year, it’s a crisis. Sorry CRISIS.
Saints to win this at Etihad.
Brisbane v Richmond (G) 4.40pm
The Tigers continue their relentless march towards the Premiership. All that’s left is for Trent Cotchin to think about his speech and Tigers fans to stock up on whatever they celebrate with. Ice? Is it ice?
Imagine a world where Richmond are a competent team? Are we ready for this? Is that a world we’d want to even live in? Does out theoretical model of physics even allow for it?
I guess we could find out. If it is a new Richmond, they will certainly win this, if they lose, we all know the drill, fire up those memes people.
One person that will be watching with interest this week is former Lions coach Justin Leppitsch, who was sacked because the team was awful at football.
For him, this must be like having to go and see your ex-girlfriend with a new partner, only this time there’s a winner and a loser at the end. No wait, that’s exactly like seeing your ex, a constant competition to see who has ended up in the worse off position.
Richmond to win this.
Hawthorn v Geelong (MCG) 3.20pm
When the Soviet Union collapsed, it happened so quickly that it caught even the experts by surprise.
Now I’m not saying Hawthorn are a totalitarian regime, but they do have a penchant for garish uniforms, and they have fallen off a cliff faster than even the experts predicted.
That said, a footy expert is just someone who has spent a lot more time working out predictions that are just as inaccurate as the rest of us.
Calls this week about moving on Alastair Clarkson have been hysterical, even for the footy media.
Hawthorn’s problem is they used to have what I like to call ‘better, younger players’.
A reduction in these has made ‘winning’ a harder concept. See, my model doesn’t even need an Alastair Clarkson to explain the decline in Hawthorn’s form.
It’s a more elegant model. Sacking Clarkson would be like blowing a hole in your yacht’s hull because the mast broke.
Geelong seems to have avoided Hawthorn’s woes by cutting veterans even earlier. Perhaps a new approach clubs could try cutting talent even earlier, slightly before their prime.
Wait, that was Carlton’s strategy before the ‘recruit GWS’ cast offs’ approach.
Geelong to win here.
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