Sunday, July 30, 2006

Round 17

My selections

Collingwood to defeat Hawthorn
St Kilda to defeat Richmond
Adelaide to defeat West Coast
Essendon to deffeat Brisbane (hard to call)
Sydney to defeat Port Adelaide
Geelong to defeat North Melbourne (risky)
Fremantle to defeat Carlton
Melbourne to defeat Western Bulldogs (hard pick)

The Bomber checks in on round 16 and 17

Review of Round 17

About bloody time!!! An excellent win to Essendon over Brisbane, a team that has caused Essendon a lot of grief in recent years. One of the pleasing things is that Essendon won after being more or less level at three-quarter time—it is the first time this year that Essendon has won a game that was close at the start of the last quarter. The inclusion of James Hird clearly made an enormous difference—he is a handy lad to have around (there is no substitute for class), but equally clearly he only has one more year left in him at most. If it does nothing else the win will give the team back some confidence.

There is a weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth in Adelaide this week after Adelaide’s dismal performance in Perth. West Coast certainly played very well, but the GF is played at the MCG. However, if West Coast play at their best, they will take some beating.

Report on Round 16

It is pretty clear that Essendon has forgotten how to win. They could have, and should have, won both against St Kilda and Carlton. However, “should haves” do not win games. However, the last two games have been a considerable improvement on some of the previous efforts.

Preview of Round 17

This week the opponent is Brisbane who have had their own well documented problems recently. Let us hope that this unsettles them. Essendon has two things going for it, they are at home and Jonathon Brown will not be playing. Brown has made an art form of returning from injury just in time to dominate against Essendon. If Essendon can continue their recent form they must have a chance of winning, but if they hit the front they need to learn how to stay there.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Round sixteen

My selections.

Adelaide over the Kangaroos (70 point margin)
West Coast over Collingwood
Brisbane Lions over Hawthorn
St Kilda over Port
Essendon over Carlton
Sydney Swans over Richmond
Western Bulldogs over Geelong
Melbourne over Fremantle

The Bomber checks in

Round 15

Another disappointing result. Essendon certainly had their chances but just fell short. However, it was a marked improvement

Round 16

The wooden spoon clash against Carlton. These matches are always fiercely contested no matter where they are on the ladder. If Essendon kicks straight it will win.

Round Fifteen

My selections for this round.

Melbourne to defeat Richmond (25 point margin)
St Kilda to defeat Essendon
Adelaide to defeat Hawthorn
Brisbane to defeat North Melbourne
Eagles to defeat the Swans
Geelong to defeat Port
Western Bulldogs to defeat Carlton
Freo to defeat Collingwood

Monday, July 10, 2006

Round Fourteen


Fremantle over Essendon
Geelong over Carlton
Melbourne over Brisbane
Adelaide over Sydney
West Coast over Hawthorn
Richmond over Port
Collingwood over St Kilda
Western Bulldogs over Kangaroos

Arden Fast finds his tongue: Hat trick Roos collar the Dogs

After a self imposed exile from footy blog land, what with soccer... ohyeah and a slew of bad losses by the Rooboys I couldn't really bringmyself to write about my beloved blue and whites. Even mediocre winsover the Blue Boys and the Bummers hardly inspired.

But yesterday's snuffing of Rocket Eade's flying canines was something to write home about. With Brady Rawlings sticking like glue to Scotty West and Shannon "What's he like?" Watt stopping the tricolours matchwinner Brad Johnsonand wiping that bloody smile off his dial it was bound to be a good day.

Even my favourite big kid Hamish 'H' McIntosh got in the act with the first goal... Even the downside of Arch's maybe career ending shoulderinjury and Thommo's report couldn't dampen my joy. We owe the Dogs quitea few games over the past few years. The only compensation for not being in the title race is to be able to rain on others parades.

Look outBrisbane!

Round Thirteen

My selections

Kangaroos over Essendon
Melbourne over Port
Brisbane over Carlton
Adelaide over Geelong
West Coast over Bulldogs
St Kilda over Hawthorn
Sydney over Fremantle
Collingwood over Richmond

The Bomber preview

After the trivia of the World Cup (the game against Italy summed up all that is wrong with soccer, i.e. dodgy refereeing, players who roll around in agony if anyone goes near them and too much hinging on a single goal) we are back to the real thing this week. This is a must win game for Essendon if they wish to avoid the wooden spoon—North Melbourne are not playing much better than Essendon, although their last ten minutes against Carlton was impressive. If Essendon can kick straight for a change then they are in with a chance. However, I have stopped predicting Essendon victories.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Round twelve

My picks

Adelaide over St Kilda
Fremantle over Geelong
West Coast over Port
Richmond over Hawthorn
Kangaroos over Carlton
Brisbane over Western Bulldogs
Melbourne over Essendon

The Old Blue Stager Report

Kangaroos 121 d Carlton 102

This was another semi-respectable Carlton performance, although that judgement is tempered by the poor quality of the opposition. 22 of the 33 goals in the match were scored at the Coventry (southern) end - a surprising imbalance in the controlled environment at Telstra Dome. Statistically this explains Carlton's coming up short, since they managed only 3 of the 11 goals at the "non-scoring" end.

The Kangaroos dominated the 2nd and 4th quarters, Carlton were on top in the 1st and 3rd. However their first quarter dominance in general play was not reflected on the scoreboard, which again provided a simple (simplistic?) explanation for the match result. Encouragement for the Blues was provided by sound efforts from Betts and Blackwell who looked comfortable as a second-gamer in the midfield. De Luca - for whom the football adjective much-maligned was invented - had a splendid third quarter, marking strongly and kicking three goals. Stevens produced his best game for many weeks, and Murphy was characteristically good, strong at the contest and reliably sound with his disposal. Fevola had a particularly interesting evening, kicking 5 goals, offering a couple of bids for mark of the year, and damaging his knee in falling from one aerial contest. Fev is leading the goal-kicking, and has serious prospects of winning the Coleman Medal.

The Kangaroos who have also endured a forgettable season, gradually found confidence, as they were able to exploit Carlton's wayward disposal. A high proportion of their goals began with a turn-over in Carlton's forward 50. In summary, a winnable game, both in prospect, and as it ran its course, which the Blues let go. The Kangaroos proved steadier and had a few more of their experienced players deliver on the night.

Round eleven

My selections

Geelong over Essendon
Kangaroos over Richmond
Sydney over St Kilda
Port over Hawthorn
West Coast over Carlton
Adelaide over Brisbane
Western Bulldogs over Freo
Melbourne over Collingwood

The Old Blue Stager Report

West Coast 111 d. Carlton 101(alternatively West Coast defeated Carlton by three minutes).

Carlton produced their best performance for a season and a half, succumbing right at the death. While in part the way the game unfolded was attributable to a notably lacklustre performance for much of the afternoon by the Eagles, it was particularly heartening for the long-suffering Blues' fans.

Make no mistake, West Coast are a very good side. Even in the absence of the glittering talent of Chris Judd, they have multiple stars - Cousins, Embley, Hunter, Cox, Kerr, Wirrpanda, Chick et. al. - they are very well-coached, and they are virtually unbeatable at Subiaco.However, Carlton matched them for three and a half quarters - and outplayed them for much of that time.

The striking feature of the Carlton performance was that players who are regarded as woeful kicks found targets, marks were held, opponents were run down. This improvement in skills emphasised the importance of confidence. Particularly pleasing was the fact that players who've been given up as hopeless were solid contributors. Wiggins, Russell, McGrath, Betts all gave reason to hope that they might make the grade. While these players were significant contributors, Murphy, Whitnall, Scotland, Thornton, Fevola and Walker were the dominant influence on the match.

Unfortunately, fatigue told in the finish, and a five goal lead half-way through the final quarter was insufficient to withstand West Coast's superb finish.There was plenty of lamentation among the half-empty glass section of the Blues' faithful - How could they lose from 44 points up?, What were "they" doing up in the coaches' box?

Your correspondent prefers to accentuate the positive. There was evidence on display that beating Carlton might once again mean something, some time in the future.