My tips for the round:
Saints (by 10 points)
Western Bulldogs (to be close)
5/8 courtesy of Hawthorn, Freo and Collingwood.
Well, as I said, Melbourne needs a big bag from the captain every week. My prediction for the Neitz score on a week by week basis was 5, 1, 1, 5, 1, 1, 5. which means he was due for five on Saturday and that would have kicked the Demons home but it was not to be. Arden Fast and I are contemplating long seasons.
The Bombers can consider themselves hard done by. I expect four goals a week from Lloyd, something like 5, 3, 4, 5, 3, 4. so when I saw the three quarter time score and he only had one, I thought he was good for two or three more but I didn't realise he was off the ground. That is the Bomber nightmare as called by the Bomber reporter, all the big names need to keep healthy. The other big bookend gave away a silly goal, that was called by the Bomber when he noted the tendency for some of the big guns to commit indiscretions and front the trubunal. There is probably an element of frustration, they remember the glory days and they like to physically intimidate the opposition but it is getting harder every year
Dont write off the Brisbane Lions, they were completely outplayed by the Saints for most of the game and they still kept in touch (almost) courtesy of Akermanis who showed how to kick goals, while others were kicking a lot of points.
What have the Western Bulldogs fans done wrong to deserve the wretched run of injuries they have suffered, two years in a row?
Richmond are defying the odds and showing a heap of character after a worrying start to the season. That suggests that the woodwork of the club is sound although their list is too short to worry the top sides for four quarters.
Port and Freo remain a mystery, as do Sydney and Carlton. Not to mention Hawthorn and Geelong. It is too early to know what counts as a stunning upset and what is a portent of things to come. The Hawks played some great games last year but had no consistency. And last year it was Collingwood who ended the Eagles unbeaten run.
At this stage I would not back Port, Melbourne or Norths to make the finals so there are at least three places up for grabs. Sydney had better come back to life or there will be a spare place in the top four. Western Bulldogs were the obvious side to step up until their big players started falling over.
Look out for Collingwood!
THE BOMBER REPORT
A rather frustrating game against Footscray, particularly if you live in Adelaide. The TV coverage in Adelaide dealt with the admittedly excellent Adelaide-Melbourne game and the Port Adelaide-Fremantle debacle—when has a lower standard first quarter been played? As often the case in recent years Essendon started like trains but could not go on with it. The injury to Lloyd is bad news but at least Hird is back and firing on all cylinders. The game was also a disaster for Footscray in terms of injuries to their big men—I would suggest their premiership hopes have just disappeared—both incidents looked quite innocuous.
Round 4 preview
Ever since I was a kid in the fifties Essendon-Collingwood games have been one of the games that you liked to win. For many years both sides won almost all their home games—if you wanted a hot shower at Victoria Park it paid to lose! This week is a danger game for Essendon because Collingwood is a much better team than their position on the ladder last year, when they suffered numerous injuries to key players. Essendon will have to be at their best to win. Let us hope that Hird plays as well as he usually does on Anzac Day and Hille will be back after his brain spasm. Predicted result: Essendon by one point.
THE RICHMOND REPORT
From Eat 'em alive'
The Tigers played some of their best footy of the year in the first half against West Coast on Saturday. Again there was no faulting their endeavour. The set up of the team looked good. Key players like Tuck, Bowden, Richardson, Johnson were contributing. But alas, the lack of skill and class again surfaced and we were easily, in the end, over-run by an impressive Eagles outfit.
I will say it here, now - the Eagles will win this year's flag. They are a terrific team - disciplined, fit, skillful, strong, fast and tough. And they were hurt by last year's Grand Final loss.
As for the Tigers, young Hyde was most impressive, and has a future. He showed a lot of class in this game. Tuck again was great. And there were a number of other young fellows who showed they will only get better. We do however have much development ahead before we win games. Don't back us against Brisbane this week. There are many weeks ahead I fear, before we win our first game of the 2006 season.
NORTH MELBOURNE v COLLINGWOOD
From Arden Fast
I'd like to blame the controversy over the clash of (jumper) civilisations sparked by Eddie McGuire. By the way Eddie, North Melbourne date back to 1869 not 1892 so shove that in your pipe you Johnny Come Lately. And you too Joffa. In fact this is one issue on which I must support Essendon, who also were forthright in telling McGuire and his Magpies to get back in their box. Despite their delusions to the contrary, Collingwood don't own the history of Australian football.
Anyway, the game itself was a debacle. Simply put, if the Roos keep up this lacklustre effort (Sav Rocca is excused for his brilliant solo effort up front) it will be draft concessions and off to Carrara next year.
In fact the only excuse for the insipid efforts over the past fortnight that I can see is the continued speculation about the Gold Coast. With club legends Wayne Schimmelbusch and Ross Glendinning endorsing a move on a partial basis and Keith Greig, Sam Kekovich and David King seeing a complete relocation as inevitable this issue will not go away.
PS Anyone know where I can get a second hand safari suit and some white shoes in good condition?