AFL ROUND 7
ST KILDA v GWS
Friday night footy this week is a cracking affair with the St Kilda at home (Etihad) against GWS. This should be a quick highly skilled affair.
GWS having being destroyed by Adelaide in Round one have won their last five games. They can consider themselves some what lucky last week when they snuck home against an inaccurate Dogs side. The Giants might have got the four points last week but it cost them Nick Haynes who is out long term with injury and key small forward Toby Greene who copped a two week suspension for poor discipline. On the plus side they regain captain Phil Davis and quality midfielder Stephen Congilio for his first game this year. Worth nothing GWS are still missing from their best side Ryan Griffen - Lachie Whitfield - Matt Buntine and Brett Deledio has yet to play a game for his new club.
The Saints come into this game fresh from a 75point thumping of the declining Hawks in Tassie. Even though the Saints were allowed to do as they pleased last week you would still think a win like that would give the players some confidence heading into this much tougher affair. The Saints have lost Mav Weller for this game but aside from him they are close to full strength.
The Saints are 2-2 in their four games at Etihad this year. Remarkably this will be the Giants first game in Melbourne this season.
I am leaning to the Saints rising to the occasion on the big stage against the pre season premiership faves. I can see this being a tight affair and with St Kilda getting a 15 point start i think the home team is the value. Also worth having something on the home side at the attractive price to win around 2.90.
COLLINGWOOD v CARLTON
The great rivals Carlton and Collingwood meet this Saturday afternoon at the MCG. Both sides had big and surprising wins last week.The Blues beating a poor Swans side and the Pies shocking the entire football public winning comfortably against the previous unbeaten Geelong and of a five day break as well.
Collingwood looked a totally different side last week as they moved the ball quicker and with more dare. No doubt the inclusion of Daniel Wells in the last two weeks has helped in this area. Also a fit Jamie Elliott up forward has made a huge difference giving the Pies another avenue to goal. This week they will also get back Ben Reid who was rested and Jordan De Goey will play his first game for the year after a club imposed suspension. I have a feeling De Goey will be setting himself to repay the club and have a huge game. He is a hugely talented kid and a top 5 pick from 2014 National Draft.
Carlton have been honest in just about every game this year barring the Port hammering. They have plenty of young talent on the way up and Bolton is doing the right thing by getting games into the future. They have some quality players around that youth in Murphy - Gibbs and Simpson. The one issue for Carlton is they struggle to kick a decent score. Last week was their highest score for the year with 97 points. They have one main target up forward in Levi Casboult.
Levi Greenwood did a massive job last week tagging Joel Selwood out of the game. He may well get the job on Marc Murphy this week.
The Pies will be up and about after last weeks huge win and this will be the strongest side they have put out on the field. With the club celebrating their 125th birthday Saturday night you get the feeling they're primed to give their old rival a touch up.
PORT ADELAIDE v WEST COAST
The super impressive Port Adelaide host West Coast for Saturday twilight footy. The Power look to have finally regained the form from 2014 when they pushed the mighty Hawthorn in a prelim final. They spent the last two years trying to maintain that form and were a major disappointment. This year they look back to the fit and firing side who have major leg speed. Coach Ken Hinkley has also planted Robbie Gray inside the forward 50 with great results -18 goals from 5 games this year. I'm not sure the Eagles have a match up for him?
Their opponents West Coast took care of Fremantle with relative ease last week in the local derby. The Eagles are simply home track bullies but a shade of that side when on the road. The fact that Hawthorn smashed them by 50 points two weeks ago at the MCG says a lot. The Eagles have plenty of quality in their line up so it's never safe to write them totally off but they do lack midfield pace. Mitchell and Priddis are superb in close distributing the ball out but they are very slow across the ground and don't offer a lot of defensive pressure. The Eagles get away with this normally at home but get exposed on the wider grounds interstate.
Port regain captain Travis Boak this week and don't have any players missing through injury. The Eagles were always going to miss their superstar ruck Nic Natanui this year but they will feel his loss more than any other week this year when they try to take Paddy Ryder on with Giles and part timers.. Expect Ryder to dominate the ruck and provide first class service to a midfield of Wines - Boak - Wingard - Ebert.
Take Port at the line.
WESTERN BULLDOGS v RICHMOND
Western Bulldogs and Richmond clash Saturday night at Etihad. The Doggies were back to their best last week even though they went down in a tight affair with GWS. Simply it was a game the Dogs should have won as they dominated around the ground but let themselves down in front of goal kicking 9.19. They had 13 more inside 50s than GWS which indicates how well they played.
The Tigers finally met their match last week when the Crows touched them up by 13 goals. They won't be the last side to get bashed by the Crows in Adelaide. Richmond have been refreshing this year with their more aggressive game and have surprised sides with their extra run. Of course they also rely heavily on Dusty Martin, Trent Cotchin, Alex Rance and Jack Riewoldt.
The Tigers might be 5-1 this year but if you look closer they have beaten Carlton - Collingwood - West Coast in Melbourne - Brisbane and they over ran a injury depleted Demons side who were well on top until they lost players. I'm not totally sold on Richmond. This will be the first game they have played at Etihad this year. The Dogs have played 3 times at their home ground this year for 3 wins.
The Tigers are also starting to cop injuries. Missing this week are Dion Prestia and Reece Conca. Another set back is the loss of ruck Toby Nankervis for a weeks suspension. He has been very good in 2017.
I think the Dogs took a huge step forward last week and if they can maintain that form back at Etihad this week they should be far too strong for Richmond.
SYDNEY v BRISBANE
Sydney host Brisbane in a bottle of the ladder clash. No one would have thought at the start of the season the Swans would be entering this Round 7 clash without a win to their name. Like the other powerhouse of the last five years Hawthorn their decline has been rapid. They look slow and lacking in depth. However they have at least thrown some kids into the mix.
The Swans finally get some better names back into the side this week in McVeigh for his first game of the year as well as Aliir down back and Naismith in the ruck. Tippett is still out and they have lost Rohan from the sickening concussion last week and they're still without their best defender Rampe.
The Lions have lost captain and best player Dayne Beams which is big blow for this clash. Beams omission is one of the reasons the opening line for this game has moved from -35.5 to a staggering 52.5 now. I can't for the life of me remember a team that was 0-6 starting a game -52.5. The Lions was terrible last week but i am not totally convinced the Swans are going well enough to cover a nine goal start.
Sydney 1-391 at 3.25-1
MELBOURNE v HAWTHORN
The poor old Hawks who have reigned supreme for the last 5/6 have really fallen of the cliff. They have just the one win to their name this year when they thumped West Coast by 50 points in Round 5. Last week the Hawks were beaten up in Launceston by the Saints in a game that showed up a team that seemed lacking in run and desire.
The Hawks regain two of their stars in Rioli and Birchall for their clash with Melbourne. The Demons regain full forward Jesse Hogan.
The Demons won a poor game last week vs Essendon but did so without Hogan and he will straighten them up today. One side looks to be on the way up with a young developing side who is hungary. The Hawks look like a side who are devoid of confidence in themselves and the game plan that has served them so well. O'Meara who they gave up so much for seems limited and their midfield is relying heavily on Tom Mitchell. The Dees midfield of Jones, Viney ,Lewis ,Tyson and young gun Oliver should win plenty of ball and play a huge part in the Demons continuing the Hawks misery.
Melbourne -12.53 at 1.92-3
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Round Nine +4 11 36% Round Eight +10.01 9 111% Round Seven -10.26 17 -60% Round Six -2.4 14 -17% Round Five -12.3 18 -68% Round Four -5.21 11 -47% Round Three -1.16 10 -12% Round Two -11 11 -100% Round One -0.27 6 -5% Total -28.59 107 -27%