A delicious opening game fixture features the Saints against the red hot Tigers. Richmond are 3-1 in their last four after clipping the Hawks in impressive fashion last weekend. The Saints are up and down, but when they are up they’re still pretty good.
Finally people are beginning to give the Tigers middle their dues, but we already knew that over here anyway. What stood out in the win last week was Dusty Martin putting it together for an entire game and not fading out in the fourth as he has done a number of times this season.
The Saints are still bloody tough with talent to boot but the Tigers will get up in this one. I can feel it in my water.
Geelong gets to work out the kinks, specifically winning some contested footy, against the kids from Greater Western Sydney. 201st gamer James Kelly returns to the lineup while two young boys could also make their debut for the Cats- Jordan Schroder and Lincoln McCarthy. Tom Hawkins electing to have minor knee surgery is a bummer and I don’t necessarily believe he’ll be back for the Blues clash the weekend after.
Adam Kennedy’s shoulder has given in and he’ll miss for a GWS team that doesn’t stand much of a chance.
Hawks–Roos features two out of form teams in need of a win pretty badly. North got over the line against what I would call a fairly weak Brisbane outfit last week but both sides need this, the critics are knocking. Unchanged lineups for both.
Fremantle hosting Adelaide looks to be a little one-sided on the surface even though Adelaide stunk it up in the fourth last week and lost a game to the Pies that they should have won. Regardless, Adelaide are one of the in-form teams in the comp and possess an elite midfield. Fremantle have been absolutely trounced by the Hawks and the Eagles in the last two weeks and don’t necessarily inspire a whole lot of confidence, but don’t be surprised if these boys get over the line. They could have effectively gone 7-0 to begin the season but a few poor quarters have cost them. If they somehow figure it out, Fremantle is a top-eight team. The inclusion of Taylor Walker is a big one for the Crows.
Port winning their last two have saved their coach’s job but this team still won’t beat a struggling Blues side. Yarren returns and will hopefully give them a boost as Carlton looks to regain the Magic from the first four weeks of 2012.
Another one-sided affair, Essendon will run all over Melbourne. Colin Sylvia and Joel Macdonald won’t ease the thumping that awaits the winless Dees while Leroy Jetta and Dustin Fletcher return for this excellent Bombers team. Brent Stanton is having a wonderful year but had a shocker last week against GWS. Have a bounce back old friend.
Simon Black’s exclusion due to old man’s knee hurts but he wouldn’t have helped against West Coast anyway. This team is so impressive that I’m not paying any attention to their lackluster record at the Gabba in recent years.
The Western Bulldogs were unlucky against the Geelong last week but Sydney haven’t been all that chop since Goodes went out. The inclusion of Mumford after seven weeks on the sidelines is a major factor that has me believing in the Swans, he’s one of the best rucks in the business for good reason.
Finally, Collingwood will get in an extra training session against the Suns. I keep believing the Suns will win one for old Robbo but they fail me on a weekly basis.