Tuesday, April 18, 2006


My tips for the round:

Saints (by 10 points)
Sydney (probably)
Western Bulldogs (to be close)
North Melbourne

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.

Other Results

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!


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.


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.


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?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Melbourne. Round Two Report

The Demons continue in the losers circle, thanks to the fine running game of the Western Bulldogs. If they are allowed to play the game their way the Dogs will trouble the best sides, as they did last year.

When the Demons beat the Kangaroos pre-season, courtesy of a big bag of goals by Neitz, I formed the impression that they really need a pair of bookends, a full forward who delivers every week or at least most weeks, and a dominating backman like Dustin Fletcher or Scarlett. In the meantime Neitz will kick five goals one week and one the next two weeks while at the other end of the ground the defence will always struggle against the top sides as long as Rivers has to play above his weight in the key position.

Welcome to a new contributor, "eat 'em alive" will report on Richmond. The recruitment process proceeds.

And another thing. The Bomber reporter who hails from Circular Head in Tasmania, like myself, has advised that the competition in our home district is still going on and I have corrected the blurb on the site accordingly.

The tipping competition. The organizer is away for a couple of weeks so there is no report on the ladder. 5/8 is not a great result although most of the field would have been on the Swans. It was not smart to bet against Port, I saw the third quarter of the game against the Kangaroos and I thought that their poor showing in that quarter was a mix of bad luck and bad options that could be easily fixed. I kept backing them last year on the strength of their list even when they kept losing games, so I should have had more faith this week. And I didn't check the injury list at the Crows or I would have gone for the Eagles, even away from home.

The Bomber Report.

Bombers: Round 2 Review

Judging by his performance on Saturday Jonathon Brown clearly enjoys playing against Essendon. He was clearly the difference between the two teams. However, Essendon was not far off the mark. One of the pleasing things was the form of the younger players Watson, Monfries and Stanton. Not so pleasing was David Hille’s rush of blood in the last quarter, particularly as Essendon had the ball and were about to kick to the goal square.

Bombers Round 3

This week’s opponents Footscray have been most impressive to date, but they have only played Richmond and Melbourne so they are yet to be tested. Their main attribute seems to be sheer pace which may cause Essendon a few problems. However, their big man power is suspect, and if Essendon can get the ball in quickly to Lucas and Lloyd this will cause Footscray some problems. At least these days they play at the Docklands rather than the cow paddock out at the Western Oval where on a wet day 5 goals could be a winning score. Prediction for this week: Essendon by two goals.

North Melbourne. Comments from Arden Fast

It's funny isn't it how soon we put painful memories behind us. When your team wins, its watch the replay on Fox Footy, watch On The Couch, White Line Fever, read the match reports from the Age and the Herald Sun etc ... but when you lose. What game, don't want to talk about it. Beaten by a better side on the day. The only thing good that might come out of the Roos drubbing at the Cattery is if Scarlett gets rubbed out for a few weeks.

To make matters worse, my 5 year old tipster son had a go at me for faulty advice ... you didn't warn me that Geelong were the favourites he screamed. Well go and get advice from your mother in future I advised, or something to that effect.

Oh yes, and where are we playing next year, Carrara, Manuka, Princes Park etc etc, no wonder the team lost they've got no idea what ground to turn up at.

Arden Fast may return next week if the North Melbourne footy club can be located on the map.

The Richmond Report from "eat em alive!"

Richmond's performance against Footscray last week signalled a very long, very cold winter ahead. I could not even write about it I was that hurt. We were abominable in every aspect of the game - disposal, ball handling, pace, desire for the footy, game plan, ... .

This week we showed that even though 14th looks the likely finishing position, we have some character, and a little ability (though well behind the other 13 teams).

We were outclassed by a St Kilda who remain under-done in fitness and preparation. At least we were competitive and attacked the footy and the opposition with gusto. Joel Bowden was magnificent in defense, and proves to be one of our few consistent quality performers. Even his brother, who I still find hard to accept in Richmond jumper was a contributor. Raines, Tuck, Hyde, Coghlan, and Pettifer were all battlers. Simmons was OK. Richmond came back admirably in the second half after being about 4 goals down in the second quarter, and hit the front for a short time. It was only a short time however, as St Kilda have much more class and depth.

The tragedy of the day was the loss of Thursfield for the season with a knee injury. He has shown promise as an improving young key defender. Following that we had no-one to curtail Riewoldt.

I unfortunately must continue to turn my mind back to 1967, 1969, 1974, and 1980 to find inspiring memories of Richmond as a force in competition. If only we could get Royce Hart, Kevin Bartlett, Francis Bourke, Kevin Sheedy, Ian Stewart, Geoff Raines, Mark Lee, Robert Wiley, David Cloke, and Jim Jess back on the ground ...

Eat 'em alive is the old Richmond catch cry.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Round One Progress Report

The Demons and I have started the year the way we ended last season. The Demons choked and I scooped the pool in the NSW Parliament House tipping comp. 8/8 in the last round of home and away games, 7/8 this time, but good enough.

This is a turnaround for me, last year I ran about 90th out of 200 but the organizer got me back in by promising that this could be my year. I suppose he said that to everyone.

My tips for round two are:
St Kilda by 65 (there is a points margin in one game of the round to split people who pick the same number of games.
Western Bulldogs (sorry Demons).
Geelong (sorry Arden Fast).
Essendon (not a confident pick).
Swans. Not a confident tip.
Adelaide. Likely to be close.

Sunday morning update

Looking good for 7/8 again. Go Swans, Magpies and Crows!

The Bomber report

Last week: As predicted Essendon were too good for South Melbourne who clearly had a serious premiership hangover, particularly in the first quarter. It was very pleasing to see Essendon get a big lead in the first quarter and actually go on and win the game. In recent years they have tended to get a lead early and then let it slip. What was not so good was that in Adelaide, we were forced to watch the Port Adelaide v. North Melbourne game—not much of a game unless you were a North supporter. The TV coverage did not even give progress scores from the Bombers/Swans game in Melbourne (I eventually got the score off ABC radio). In fact the commentary of the Port-North game could have been considerably improved all round. It always dangerous to make predictions after one round, but Port look like they are in for a tough year.

This week: This week Essendon travel to Brisbane who were of course flogged unmercifully by Geelong last week—could not happen to a nicer team — a lot of teams will do that to Brisbane in the next couple of years if they get the chance. It is hard to see Brisbane playing as badly this week—any team with Jonathon Brown at centre half forward has to be respected, particularly at home. Brisbane may well be where Essendon was in the couple of years after their premierships of 1984/85 when they took all before them—as they went downhill, partly because of injuries, they would be superb one week and pretty bad the next week. This week Brisbane will no doubt try and knock the Essendon players off their game—it will be a good test for the younger Essendon brigade and we will know more about them after this week. Prediction for this week: Essendon by two goals.

Top Four prediction: West Coast, Adelaide, St Kilda, Geelong

North Melbourne turn off the Power at AAMI Stadium

By Arden Fast.

Dean Laidley's men put in a brilliant performance on Sat nite to put the Roos remarkable head to head record against Port Adelaide back on track after last years finals debacle. Laidley is known around the club as "The Bible" because he's so hard to read. But his post match sentiments were clear as he praised newcomers Josh Gibson, Cameron Thurley and Kasey Green and rookie big man Hamish McIntosh who put in a sterling performance in the ruck. After Port jumped us in the first term, the cliched Shinboner spirit came to the fore led as always by the likes of Glenn Archer and skipper Adam Simpson. A flash of brilliance by Daniel Wells silenced the crowd spurred on by some early uncharacteristic misktakes and we rolled on over the top of the Teal pretenders eventually blowing the margin out to 41 points.

There's nothing more beautiful than a quiet AAMI stadium ... except when the mob is baying for blood and the ump keeps giving 50 metre penalties to your side!!!

We're off to the Cattery this week and as usual no-one gives us a chance, but you write off the Rooboys at your peril.