Round 3, 2011

Collingwood v Carlton,

MCG,   Friday, April 8, 7.50pm

B: Heath Shaw, Chris Tarrant, Alan Toovey
HB: Heritier O’Brien, Ben Reid, Nick Maxwell
C: Andrew Krakouer, Luke Ball, Dale Thomas
HF: Dayne Beams, Chris Dawes, Scott Pendlebury
F: Steele Sidebottom, Leigh Brown, Travis Cloke
Foll: Darren Jolly, Dane Swan, Alan Didak
I/C: Leon Davis, Jarryd Blair, Sharrod Wellingham, Ben Johnson,
Emg: Cameron Wood, Lachlan Keeffe, Brent Macaffer
In: Nick Maxwell, Leon Davis
Out: Brent Macaffer, Simon Buckley (groin)

B: Jeremy Laidler, Michael Jamison, Matthew Watson
HB: Nick Duigan, Bret Thornton, Jordan Russell,
C: Kade Simpson, Bryce Gibbs, Heath Scotland
HF: Marc Murphy, Jarrad Waite, Christopher Yarran
F: Eddie Betts, Shaun Hampson, Jeffrey Garlett
Foll: Robert Warnock, Andrew Walker, Chris Judd
I/C: Andrew Carrazzo, Andrew Collins, Edward Curnow, Mitch

Emg: David Ellard, Simon White, Dennis Armfield
In: Andrew Collins, Michael Jamison
Out: Simon White, Dennis Armfield

All the talk about this game is how much Collingwood will spiflicate the hapless and insipid Blues by.  I personally think the reality is much different to that.
I still expect Collingwood to win but I think the game will be a lot closer than what most pundits think.

No-one in the mainstream medja actually rates Carlton as a threat this year and that may be a good thing as the Blues unassumingly build something special but it is going to take something exceptionally brilliant to get over the top of a rampant Collingwood this week.

Looking at the sides, the Collingwood Premiership names just roll off the tongue whilst one looks at Carlton’s squad and wonders where the danger is for Collingwood.
I will say straight up that I think the game will be won in the Collingwood forward 50.

I believe both teams match up very well in the midfield and they really should balance each other out in terms of contested ball wins and entries into the forward 50.  Carlton however has a very undermanned backline when matching up against Collingwoods guns.

Travis Cloke is always a danger in terms of being a big body, however I don’t think that he really ‘hurts’ teams with lots of goals.  To me, he is a good, honest toiler who struggles with his goalkicking.
The biggest threat to kicking a winning score will be Chris Dawes.  The bloke is the most improved player in the competition over the past year and his long and accurate kicking, as well as his ability to mark strongly and pick up plenty of contested ball at ground level means that Jamison will have to really be on-song to stop him.  I don’t think he can do it.

It is the Collingwood mid-sized forwards as well who have the potential to do a lot of damage.  Guys like Beams, Blair and Sidebottom will be difficult to counter and when the rotations of other big name midfielders are thrown into the mix, it looks very messy for the Blues.

If Carlton is to make any inroads into this game, it will have to find a way to counter the forward press that Collingwood has so effectively employed over the past year.  The key to do this is to understand where the space is when rebounding out of the back 50.

Collingwood uses the boundary line to attack which allows their defenders to float down and help build that arc across half-forward, and in the guts.

Collingwood’s press is designed in an arc so there will be space over the back and out on the wings.  Carlton will need to use a damaging running player such as Yarran to cut through the zone, as well as a long kicking player to kick over the top of it.

That is where Laidler and Watson will become very important.  The space out on the wings will be come vital on the rebound.

Carlton’s forwards simply cannot get sucked too deep into the play to clog up the scoring zone.  They need to hold back on their opponents when the zone press is being set and create a contest when the ball is rebounding to the edge of the zone.

Looking at Carlton’s forwards, they have the talent to kick goals against their defenders.  They HAVE to take advantage of their chances.   Garlett is an under-rated star and will become the main Carlton forward in time.  Waite needs to lift and stay focussed.

Carlton also cannot allow Maxwell to float around the backline without an opponent as this is where a lot of the drive comes from.

I expect Collingwood to win by 5 goals or so, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it a lot closer than that.

I tip Carlton only out of hope  – by 15 points.

Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast,
Etihad Stadium, Saturday, April 9, 2.10pm

B: Brennan Stack, Brian Lake, Dale Morris
HB: Liam Picken, Tom L. Williams, Robert Murphy
C: Daniel Cross, Matthew Boyd, Justin Sherman
HF: Josh Hill, Barry Hall, Shaun Higgins
F: Daniel Giansiracusa, Jordan Roughead, Jarrad Grant
Foll: Ben Hudson, Adam Cooney, Ryan Griffen
I/C: Lindsay Gilbee, Thomas Liberatore, Lukas Markovic, Callan
Emg: Nathan Djerrkura, Liam Jones, Mitch Wallis
In: Brian Lake, Lindsay Gilbee
Out: Nathan Djerrkura, Liam Jones

B: Michael Coad, Nathan Bock, Campbell Brown
HB: Seb Tape, Karmichael Hunt, Nathan Krakouer
C: Jarrod Harbrow, Daniel Harris, Michael Rischitelli
HF: Harley Bennell, Charlie Dixon, Daniel Stanley
F: Jared Brennan, Daniel Gorringe,  Brandon Matera
Foll: Zac Smith, Gary Ablett, David Swallow
I/C: Maverick Weller, Dion Prestia, Alik Magin, Trent McKenzie
Emg: Marc Lock, Matt Shaw, Josh Toy
In: Michael Coad, Maverick Weller, Daniel Gorringe
Out: Josh Fraser, Marc Lock, Josh Toy

The Doggies hit back last week with an easy victory and the GC17
were basically a hapless box of bedwetters mushed together
without a plan and without any hope.  Seriously, who on earth,
apart from Craig Hutchinson really thought that a bunch of guys
with 12 kids who had never played the game at the highest level
would be able to match it with a seasoned and hardened team?

Nothing will be different this week either. GC17 will try hard
and will have some minor successes in the game but the reality is
that it will take a long time for these kids to gell together
with any system.

There will be no tagging in this game.  Ablett is no danger at
the moment and he needs big bodies around him, as well as a
decent system and set plays in placed to allow him to get the
space he is reknowned for.  It won’t happen this week.

The biggest interest will be in how the seasoned veterans from
GC17 actually play.  Rischitelli was good last week whereas Bock,
Brennan, Harbrow, Campbell Brown and Danny Stanely were all very
quiet and very underdone.  That does not bode well for them going

The Doggies should just treat this as a training session but be
relentless about it.  A percentage booster is important and they
will need to keep the pressure on all day and not lairise.

It would be a good day for Rocket to practise some of his set
plays, zones and pressures against a team who will struggle to go

Barry Hall to kick 8.

Doggies by 75 points

Adelaide v Fremantle,
AAMI Stadium, Saturday, April 9, 3.10pm

Backs: Johncock Rutten Stevens
Half-backs: Tambling Davis Symes
Centres: van Berlo Otten Smith
Half-forwards: Knights Walker Dangerfield
Forwards: Henderson Tippett Douglas
Followers: Maric Thompson Reilly
Interchange: Jaensch Vince McKernan Martin
Emergencies: Moran Cook Petrenko
In: Symes Jaensch Tippett Martin
Out: Doughty (corked thigh) Porplyzia (shoulder) Mackay
(shoulder) Sloane (jaw and thumb)

Backs: Crowley Grover Johnson
Half-backs: Broughton McPharlin Duffield
Centres: Fyfe DeBoer Mundy
Half-forwards: Bradley Pavlich Hill
Forwards: Ballantyne Mayne Pitt
Followers: Sandilands McPhee  Lower
Interchange: Roberton Walters Suban Palmer
Emergencies: van Berlo Anthony Crichton
In: Pitt
Out: van Berlo

This actually could be the game of the round.  Both teams have a
lot of upside and would be expecting big things to happen in
2011.  Adelaide would be happy with its start to the year and
seem to have stabilised some of the early problems they had in
2010, whilst Freo are keen to solidify their status as a power
team in the competition following a huge leap forward in 2010.

Losing Van Berlo from the midfield will be a loss as Freo’s mid’s
have developed speed, run, carry and skill so one of the main
counters to that will be hard to replace. Young Pitt is going to
be thrown into the wolves a bit in order to try and replace that.

His transition between forward and midfield will be a real test.
The Crows get Tippet back into the side and whilst he is the real
messiah down there, his inaccuracy in front of goal is an issue.
Combined with Taylor Walker’s unreliable kicking as well, the
Crows will struggle to kick a decent score if their midfielders
do not chip in with plenty.

McPharlin should play on big Kurt and Grover on Walker although
they may swap from time to time.

Key matchups in the middle are hard to pick with the amount of
rotations off the bench and also through the forward zone but I
would expect Stephen Hill to cop a bit of attention from a
rejuvenated Tambling, who seems to have found his feet at his new
club and has already played more quality games than he played at

Up forward for the Dockers, Kepler Bradley looms as an unusual
and unlikely key.  We all know the big names – Pavlich,
Ballantyne and Mayne will continue to provide targets, but an
unheralded Bradley continues to somehow keep his career on life
support by chipping in with timely goals at important moments in
games.  As a 3rd or 4th forward option, he is not expected to do
much, and generally doesn’t, but he does enough.

The Dockers will obviously get an armchair ride through their
dominant ruckman but I think the pressure of the Adelaide
midfiled on the ball carriers will be enough to counter act this
and I would expect to see Adelaide reading the taps and taking
advantage of this a lot more than other teams do.

In the end, I expect Adelaide to win by a point.

Richmond v Hawthorn,
MCG, Saturday, April 9, 7.10pm

Backs: Newman Astbury Conca
Half-backs: Deledio Connors Batchelor
Centres: Cotchin Martin Edwards
Half-forwards: Morton Vickery Grigg
Forwards: Helbig Riewoldt Houli
Followers: Graham Jackson Foley
Interchange: Nahas White King Grimes
Emergencies: Nason Tuck Dea
In: Grimes
Out: McGuane (suspended)

Backs: Ladson Gilham Stratton
Half-backs: Birchall Gibson Bruce
Centres: Bateman Mitchell Shiels
Half-forwards: Young Franklin Burgoyne
Forwards: Osborne Roughead Lewis
Followers: Renouf Hodge Sewell
Interchange: Suckling Hale Savage Ellis
Emergencies: Whitecross Guerra Puopolo
In: Ellis
Out: Rioli (suspended)

Poor Cyril Said.  Did so much good last week to try and fight his
way out of the bag of cashews but then let himself down with a
brain ‘xplozn’ of utter stupidity.  Clarkson can complain about the
softness of the hit all he likes, but geez, if this match review
panel existed when Clarkson was playing, he would never have
played after the Battle of Britain.

And then we have Luke McGuane who launched himself at Faran Ray
but came off second best in terms of HIS suspension.   Young
Rance is also suspended from the Tiges which leaves the young
cubs very susceptible to a cricket score being kicked against

In reality, the Hawthorn side looks way to strong and shouldn’t
be troubled by the much-vaunted, newer looking, stronger, faster,
fitter and more powerful Richmond midfield (according to every
Richmond supporter).

Hodge is just sliding back into form after an interrupted
pre-season and he will chalk up plenty of touches.  Richmond
should run Grigg on him as a defensive forward to make him
accountable.  Unlikely to happen though unfortunately, as I
believe Hardwick thinks he can win without resorting to a
defensive mind-set.

Young suckling for the Hawks is showing a lot and as a unit, the
Hawthorn backline should be able to keep the Richmond forward
line to a losing score very easily.  Gilham is quite experienced
now and is also a quality player and Big Jack will find his body
work to be a bit more difficult to get around than in Round 1.

I didn’t think there was ever going to be anyone in footy who was
more overhyped than NUTS, but his cousin is slowly achieving that
feat thanks to the medja and Big Jack’s petulance.

Apart from Franklin and Roughead up forward, the Hawks will be
exceptionally well served by Osborne who is one of the underrated
players of footy outside of his own club, and also Burgoyne who
is fit and firing in 2011 and I can’t see Delidio and Newman
being able to keep them quite for a lot of the the night.  They
may not kick a lot of goals between themselves but they will be
able to set up the play with quality disposal and hardness at the
ball which Richmond won’t be able to counter.

Hawthorn by a lazy 6 goals.

West Coast v Sydney,
Patersons Stadium, Saturday, April 9, 8.10pm

Backs: Brown Glass Hurn
Half-backs: Butler Mackenzie S Selwood
Centres: Rosa Priddis Embley
Half-forwards: Ebert Kennedy Shuey
Forwards: Nicoski Lynch Darling
Followers: Cox A Selwood Kerr
Interchange: Gaff Naitanui McGinnity Schofield
Emergencies: Hams Swift Sheppard
In: Butler Mackenzie
Out: Waters (elbow) B Sheppard

Backs: Bevan Richards Mattner
Half-backs: Shaw Grundy Johnson
Centres: McGlynn Jack Smith
Half-forwards: Bolton Reid Goodes
Forwards: O’Keefe White Hannebery
Followers: Mumford Kennedy McVeigh
Interchange: Bird Rohan Jetta Everitt
Emergencies: Lamb Meredith Pyke
In: Johnson
Out: Meredith
New: Alex Johnson, 19, Oakleigh U18

Hmm, it has been a few years since a clash between these two
juggernauts has taken on a great deal of interest outside of the
two capital cities.  Even people in Adelaide and on the Gold
Coast are getting excited about this game.

It’s great to see MacKenzie back from West Coast and he will add
stability and strength to the backline.  I would expect him to
keep young Reid very quite and have little influence.  That being
said, Reid was exceptional at times last week and really showed
that he has a long future in the game.  He is strong, fit, can
take a mark and presents very well so watch him in the years to

All the hype this year about West Coast is around Dean Cox again,
who seems to have found a new lease on life.  The shame is that
he is 5 years older than he was in the halcyon days, and will run
out of steam in the latter parts of the year. He will find it
very tough against a quality ruckman in Mumford and neither side
will really get a real advantage in the ruck.

One of the biggest surprises in the Sydney line up is Josh
Kennedy.   The former Hawk is fast becoming a great player and
really adds a lot of grunt and skill to the midfield – which is
even more relevant now that Kirky is gone.  Watch him tear it up
a lot more in this game.

For the Eagles, their most important player would be Andrew
Embley – another one who is showing some great signs and a
welcome return to form.  Kennedy and Embley will probably find
themselves matched up at some stage during the game.

I find it hard to belive that Ted Richards is still strutting
around on an AFL list.  As a toiler, he does his job to an extent
but he is just the sort of bloke that the big Q Bomber would
relish lining up on.

I think the biggest difference in this game will be the midfield.
Sydney seems to have a bit more class than West Coast and if
Adam Goodes is called in to help stabilise its efficiency at
times, then West coast could find themselves in a bit of trouble.

Priddis is great at getting the ball but his speed and skill
level are no match for Sydney’s ball winners.

I am tipping Sydney by 4 goals.

Round by Round

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