Weekly Punt: Lions Value

Last week was an abysmal round for the Weekly Punt. Not only was it the first weekly loss, only one line came up. We can take one loss every now and again, so hopefully we will be back on the winner’s list this week. 

Both Brisbane and West Coast have paid on the line the last two weeks. The market has underrated them, but The Lions’ last win at home – even if it was against GWS – was by nearly by 100 points.

With Luke Shuey and Sam Butler to add to West Coast’s dire injury list, the game should be closer than the line suggests and we will take Brisbane on this one.

Collingwood the last three weeks have paid out on the line, while Gold Coast in the same time has done the opposite. This appears to be a no brainer, Collingwood will win and at home they should be better than the -64.5 handicap offered by Sportbet.

Carlton is still missing key players, while Port Adelaide has finally started to regain some form with two wins in a row. At home Port is no pushover; their only poor performance was against the Tigers who are now in very good form. Port on the line should be another safe bet.

The Swans are underrated, everybody forgets that about a month ago, they comfortably beat then premiership favourite Hawthorn down at fortress Aurora.

Swans at home should be way too good for The Dogs and we will take them with only -23.5 handicap with Sportsbet.

Richmond has come off their best win of the season and they have also paid out on the line seven times this year, equal with GWS.

St Kilda is still without their top two ruckmen, so expect Maric to dominate again. Richmond at +2.5 with Betfair at $1.95 on the line will have you singing yellow and black.

Fremantle in their last two weeks have been very poor, and is up against an almost fully fit Adelaide. We don’t think Fremantle will get within the -9.5 handicap come the final whistle.

Current Betting Fund: $911.50. Total staked so far: $1,018

Brisbane v West Coast – Handicap (+29.5) – $200 @ $1.91 Centrebet

Sydney v Western Bulldogs – Handicap (-23.5) – $200 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

Collingwood v Gold Coast – Handicap (-64.5) – $200 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

Port Adelaide v Carlton – Handicap (+19.5) – $200 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

St Kilda v Richmond – Handicap (+2.5) – $200 @ $1.95 Betfair

Fremantle v Adelaide – Handicap (-9.5) – $150 @ $1.92 Sportsbet

(Bet is on team in Bold)

Odds correct at time of posting

AFL Round 10 Teams

AFL Round 10, 2012ST KILDA V RICHMOND

ES – Fri Jun 01, 7:50pm

St Kilda

B: Jason Gram, Sam Gilbert, Tom Simpkin
HB: Sean Dempster, James Gwilt, Brendon Goddard
C: Nick Dal Santo, Lenny Hayes, Farren Ray
HF: Jack Steven, Nick Riewoldt, Terry Milera
F: Stephen Milne, Justin Koschitzke, Leigh Montagna
Foll: Jason Blake, David Armitage, Clinton Jones
I/C: Jamie Cripps, Arryn Siposs, Ahmed Saad, Jack Newnes
Emg: Raphael Clarke, Adam Schneider, Beau Wilkes

In: Jack Newnes
Out: Jarryn Geary (Injured)

Richmond

B: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Chris Newman
HB: Bachar Houli, Ben Griffiths, Brandon Ellis
C: Shaun Grigg, Dustin Martin, Shane Edwards
HF: Brett Deledio, Tyrone Vickery, Nathan Foley
F: Reece Conca, Jack Riewoldt, Jake King
Foll: Ivan Maric, Trent Cotchin, Shane Tuck
I/C: Daniel Jackson, Robin Nahas, Jake Batchelor, Addam Maric
Emg: Matthew White, Daniel Connors, Brad Miller
In: Jake Batchelor
Out: Matt Dea (Leg)
Milestones: Shane Tuck – 150 games, Jack Riewoldt – 100 games

GEELONG CATS V GWS GIANTS

SS – Sat Jun 02, 1:45pm

Geelong Cats

B: Matthew Scarlett, Tom Lonergan, Josh Hunt
HB: Corey Enright, Harry Taylor, Andrew Mackie
C: Cameron Guthrie, Joel Selwood, Paul Chapman
HF: Mathew Stokes, Trent West, James Kelly
F: Mitch Duncan, James Podsiadly, Steve Johnson
Foll: Orren Stephenson, Joel Corey, Jimmy Bartel

I/C: Steven Motlop, Taylor Hunt, Jordan Schroder, Lincoln McCarthy
Emg: Tom Gillies, Jesse Stringer, Billie Smedts

In: James Kelly, Jordan Schroder, Lincoln McCarthy
Out: Tom Hawkins (Knee), Jonathan Simpkin, Jesse Stringer

New: Jordan Schroder (Calder U18), Lincoln McCarthy (Glenelg)
Milestones: Harry Taylor (100 games)

GWS Giants

B: Luke Power, Phil Davis, Sam Darley
HB: Sam Reid, Tim Mohr, Tomas Bugg
C: Tom Scully, Adam Treloar, Toby Greene
HF: Chad Cornes, Jeremy Cameron, Jacob Townsend
F: Devon Smith, Andrew Phillips, Nick Haynes
Foll: Jonathan Giles, Callan Ward, Dylan Shiel
I/C: Stephen Coniglio, Taylor Adams, James McDonald, Dom Tyson
Emg: Jack Hombsch, Gerald Ugle, Nathan Wilson

In: Nick Haynes, Toby Greene
Out: Curtly Hampton, Adam Kennedy (Shoulder)

New: Nick Haynes (Dandenong U18)

HAWTHORN V NORTH MELBOURNE

AU – Sat Jun 02, 2:10pm

Hawthorn

B: Brent Guerra, Josh Gibson, Shaun Burgoyne
HB: Grant Birchall, Ryan Schoenmakers, Benjamin Stratton
C: Jordan Lewis, Sam Mitchell, Clinton Young
HF: Isaac Smith, Lance Franklin, Shane Savage
F: Cyril Rioli, Jarryd Roughead, Brendan Whitecross
Foll: David Hale, Brad Sewell, Liam Shiels

I/C: Luke Breust, Matt Suckling, Paul Puopolo, Bradley Hill
Emg: Stephen Gilham, Jack Gunston, Broc McCauley

In: Bradley Hill
Out: Stephen Gilham

Milestones: Liam Shiels (50 games)

North Melbourne

B: Cameron Delaney, Scott Thompson, Luke Delaney
HB: Shaun Atley, Michael Firrito, Nathan Grima
C: Daniel Wells, Andrew Swallow, Samuel Wright
HF: Ryan Bastinac, Aaron Edwards, Leigh Adams
F: Aaron Black, Drew Petrie, Kieran Harper
Foll: Todd Goldstein, Jack Ziebell, Brent Harvey

I/C: Levi Greenwood, Cruize Garlett, Ben Cunnington, Jamie Macmillan
Emg: Lindsay Thomas, Matt Campbell, Aaron Mullett

Milestones: Lindsay Thomas (100 games)

FREMANTLE V ADELAIDE

PS – Sat Jun 02, 2:40pm

Fremantle

B: Paul Duffield, Zac Dawson, Greg Broughton
HB: Michael Johnson, Luke McPharlin, Stephen Hill
C: Michael Barlow, Ryan Crowley, Tendai Mzungu
HF: Matthew de Boer, Christopher Mayne, Clancee Pearce
F: Lachie Neale, Matthew Pavlich, Zachary Clarke
Foll: Aaron Sandilands, David Mundy, Hayden Ballantyne

I/C: Garrick Ibbotson, Jesse Crichton, Jack Anthony, Hayden Crozier
Emg: Nick Suban, Jonathon Griffin, Jayden Pitt

In: Garrick Ibbotson, Jack Anthony, Hayden Crozier
Out: Jay van Berlo, Alex Silvagni, Jonathon Griffin

New: Hayden Crozier (Eastern Ranges)
Milestones: Paul Duffield (100 games), David Mundy (150 games)

Adelaide

B: Michael Doughty, Ben Rutten, Brodie Smith
HB: Matthew Jaensch, Daniel Talia, Brent Reilly
C: Nathan van Berlo, Patrick Dangerfield, Bernie Vince
HF: Jared Petrenko, Taylor Walker, Richard Douglas
F: Ian Callinan, Kurt Tippett, Jason Porplyzia
Foll: Sam Jacobs, Scott Thompson, Rory Sloane

I/C: Graham Johncock, Sam Shaw, Matthew Wright, Josh Jenkins
Emg: Chris Knights, Ricky Henderson, Tom Lynch

In: Taylor Walker, Sam Shaw
Out: David Mackay (Hamstring), Ricky Henderson

PORT ADELAIDE V CARLTON

AS – Sat Jun 02, 7:10pm

Port Adelaide

B: Jacob Surjan, Alipate Carlile, Jackson Trengove
HB: Danyle Pearce, Troy Chaplin, Hamish Hartlett
C: Matthew Broadbent, Bradley Ebert, Kane Cornes
HF: Matt Thomas, Justin Westhoff, John McCarthy
F: Chad Wingard, Jay Schulz, Brett Ebert
Foll: Brent Renouf, Domenic Cassisi, Travis Boak

I/C: Paul Stewart, Jarrad Redden, Ben Jacobs, Darren Pfeiffer
Emg: Daniel Stewart, Tom Logan, Andrew Moore

In: Jarrad Redden
Out: Daniel Stewart

Milestones: Travis Boak (100 games), Jackson Trengove (50 games)

Carlton

B: Aaron Joseph, Michael Jamison, Matthew Watson
HB: Zach Tuohy, Paul Bower, Joshua Bootsma
C: Kade Simpson, Bryce Gibbs, Heath Scotland
HF: Christopher Yarran, Matthew Kreuzer, Andrew Walker
F: Eddie Betts, Shaun Hampson, Jeffrey Garlett
Foll: Robert Warnock, Mitch Robinson, Chris Judd

I/C: Dennis Armfield, David Ellard, Brock McLean, Edward Curnow
Emg: Kane Lucas, Andrew Collins, Frazer Dale

In: Christopher Yarran, Matthew Watson
Out: Kane Lucas, Andrew Collins

ESSENDON V MELBOURNE

MCG – Sat Jun 02, 7:40pm

Essendon

B: Cale Hooker, Dustin Fletcher, Courtenay Dempsey
HB: Ricky Dyson, Kyle Hardingham, Jake Carlisle
C: David Zaharakis, Jobe Watson, Brent Stanton
HF: Angus Monfries, Stewart Crameri, Patrick Ryder
F: Leroy Jetta, Michael Hurley, Alwyn Davey
Foll: Tom Bellchambers, Ben Howlett, Heath Hocking

I/C: Sam Lonergan, Nathan Lovett-Murray, Jake Melksham, Travis Colyer
Emg: David Hille, Henry Slattery, Tayte Pears

In: Dustin Fletcher, Leroy Jetta, Kyle Hardingham
Out: Mark McVeigh (Hip), Henry Slattery, Tayte Pears

Melbourne

B: James Frawley, Jared Rivers, Tom McDonald
HB: Jack Trengove, Jack Watts, Colin Garland
C: Jack Grimes, James Magner, Nathan Jones
HF: Rohan Bail, Mitchell Clark, Joel Macdonald
F: Jeremy Howe, Brad Green, Luke Tapscott
Foll: Mark Jamar, Brent Moloney, Jordie McKenzie

I/C: Lynden Dunn, Colin Sylvia, Sam Blease, Daniel Nicholson
Emg: Matthew Bate, Jamie Bennell, James Sellar

In: Colin Sylvia, Joel Macdonald
Out: Jamie Bennell, James Sellar

BRISBANE LIONS V WEST COAST EAGLES

G – Sun Jun 03, 1:10pm

Brisbane Lions

B: Ashley McGrath, Matt Maguire, Ryan Lester
HB: Mitchell Golby, Joel Patfull, Josh Drummond
C: Pearce Hanley, Daniel Rich, Jed Adcock
HF: Jack Redden, Jonathan Brown, Dayne Zorko
F: Rohan Bewick, Daniel Merrett, Aaron Cornelius
Foll: Ben Hudson, Tom Rockliff, Andrew Raines

I/C: James Polkinghorne, Niall McKeever, Claye Beams, Jared Polec, Patrick Karnezis, Joshua Green, Elliot Yeo

In: Niall McKeever, Claye Beams, Jared Polec, Patrick Karnezis, Ben Hudson
Out: Simon Black (Knee), Billy Longer (Back)

Milestones: Tom Rockliff (50 games)

West Coast Eagles

B: Patrick McGinnity, Darren Glass, Will Schofield
HB: Beau Waters, Eric Mackenzie, Shannon Hurn
C: Matthew Rosa, Matthew Priddis, Andrew Gaff
HF: Chris Masten, Jack Darling, Brad Sheppard
F: Dean Cox, Quinten Lynch, Josh Hill
Foll: Nic Naitanui, Scott Selwood, Daniel Kerr

I/C: Adam Selwood, Mitch Brown, Thomas Swift, Koby Stevens, Ashton Hams, Scott Lycett, Jacob Brennan

In: Mitch Brown, Thomas Swift, Koby Stevens, Ashton Hams, Scott Lycett
Out: Sam Butler (Hamstring), Luke Shuey (Suspension)

Milestones: Patrick McGinnity (50 games)

SYDNEY SWANS V WESTERN BULLDOGS

SCG – Sun Jun 03, 3:15pm

Sydney Swans

B: Alex Johnson, Ted Richards, Rhyce Shaw
HB: Jarrad McVeigh, Heath Grundy, Martin Mattner
C: Lewis Jetta, Josh P. Kennedy, Nicholas Smith
HF: Kieren Jack, Ryan O’Keefe, Daniel Hannebery
F: Sam Reid, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Craig Bird
Foll: Mike Pyke, Jude Bolton, Ben McGlynn

I/C: Nick Malceski, Jesse White, Shane Mumford, Trent Dennis-Lane, Luke Parker, Tony Armstrong, Tommy Walsh

In: Jesse White, Shane Mumford, Tony Armstrong

Milestones: Heath Grundy (100 games), Lewis Jetta (50 games)

Western Bulldogs

B: Dylan Addison, Brian Lake, Ryan Hargrave
HB: Robert Murphy, Mark Austin, Patrick Veszpremi
C: Daniel Cross, Matthew Boyd, Easton Wood
HF: Mitchell Wallis, Jordan Roughead, Adam Cooney
F: Daniel Giansiracusa, Ayce Cordy, Luke Dahlhaus
Foll: William Minson, Ryan Griffen, Thomas Liberatore

I/C: Shaun Higgins, Liam Jones, Liam Picken, Zephaniah Skinner, Clay Smith, Daniel Pearce, Tory Dickson

In: Dylan Addison, Easton Wood, Ayce Cordy, Clay Smith
Out: Justin Sherman

Milestones: Ryan Hargrave (200 games)

COLLINGWOOD V GOLD COAST SUNS

MCG – Sun Jun 03, 4:40pm

Collingwood

B: Heritier O’Brien, Nathan Brown, Marley Williams
HB: Alan Toovey, Nick Maxwell, Martin Clarke
C: Simon Buckley, Dale Thomas, Jarryd Blair
HF: Alex Fasolo, Chris Dawes, Ben Sinclair
F: Dayne Beams, Travis Cloke, Tyson Goldsack
Foll: Darren Jolly, Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom

I/C: Alan Didak, Sharrod Wellingham, Cameron Wood, Tom Young, Kirk Ugle, Paul Seedsman, Jamie Elliott

In: Nathan Brown, Cameron Wood, Tom Young, Kirk Ugle, Paul Seedsman
Out: Heath Shaw (Calf), Lachlan Keeffe (Knee)

Gold Coast Suns

B: Jeremy Taylor, Matthew Warnock, Daniel Stanley
HB: Sam Iles, Rory Thompson, Joel Wilkinson
C: Michael Rischitelli, Karmichael Hunt, Alex Sexton
HF: Harley Bennell, Tom Lynch, Andrew McQualter
F: Campbell Brown, Sam Day, Luke Russell
Foll: Tom Hickey, Dion Prestia, Gary Ablett

I/C: Alik Magin, Trent McKenzie, Matt Shaw, Josh Caddy, Seb Tape, Aaron Hall, Kyal Horsley

In: Luke Russell, Trent McKenzie, Tom Hickey, Aaron Hall
Out: Zac Smith

Blunders of the Week – Round 9

In previous years, the competition has found itself a clubhouse leader early in the year, a side which makes a breakaway from the chasing pack and is able to establish itself as a dominant side ahead of the finals.

Think St Kilda and Geelong in 2009, Collingwood in 2010 and the Cats and the Pies of last year.

These sides cemented themselves at the top and they benefited in the long run.

Not in 2012.

Sides have regularly upset the supposedly superior teams and several premiership favourites have been defeated by sides outside the eight. As a result, this new phenomenon has left punters and tipsters baffled as they search for a side that will consistently produce the goods on any given weekend.

Fortunately, these radical differences have not affected life in the Blunders team. With more sides becoming competitive, mistakes are having a bigger influence on the results of games, leaving most of us in awe the errors made by these professionals.

Zac Dawson, Fremantle

It was a dark performance from Fremantle against local rivals West Coast, and it was mistakes like Dawson’s which truly made it an embarrassment for the battling club.

The Eagles were pulling away from Fremantle, and the Dockers’ defence was under the pump. Midfielder Luke Schuey had broken away and found Jack Darling open near the point post.

Dawson, Darling’s opponent, clearly had one thing on his mind: to stop Darling from running around the mark and improve the angle for his shot at goal.

Unfortunately for Zac, his vigilant effort to block Darling’s attempt to improve the angle allowed Darling to stroll past Dawson and kick the goal from directly in front.

Next time, perhaps remember that although playing on and snapping the shot after improving the angle is a definite preference for most forwards, it pales in comparison to the option of lackadaisically strolling into an open goal.

Lance Franklin, Hawthorn

This incident has been harped on a bit in the media this week, leading to claims of ‘selfishness’ from the star Hawk forward.

Buddy's decision-making has been in the spotlight - http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomasrdororg/

But we’re not even going to discuss the fact he could have handballed to Jordan Lewis, although it does make the incident look worse.

Buddy is one of the competition’s best, he’s won two Coleman Medals at the age of 25, routinely kicks Goal of the Year contenders and is being paid to kick goals. So when he has the ball inside 50, he has every right to take the responsibility of converting the major.

However, he makes things hard for himself.

When Franklin received the ball running into 50, he was 10 metres clear of an opponent, and he had to have known he had support around him for a shepherd if it was required. Let’s be honest, how many players could run ‘Buddy’ down from behind? There wouldn’t be many.

Franklin instead elected to run towards the boundary and attempt what was now a difficult shot, he could have ran to 20 metres out and kicked, but instead kicked from 40.

An easy shot was available for Buddy, but he tried to get a further degree of difficulty vote from the judges. It’s not needed, just do what has to be done to get your side the six points.

Karmichael Hunt, Gold Coast

I deliberated about this entry for several reasons, most of all, because Hunt has an NRL background and is still learning a lot about our game.

But having seen his improvement in the first two months of the season, there was no way I could leave out his blunder on the weekend.

Yes, Karmichael is still learning the dos and don’ts of the sport, but some things probably should be learned at this point. Things such as ‘don’t turn the ball over when you’re kicking from the back half, kick it down the line if there are no options’.

Karmichael tried to centre the ball as the Suns were attempting to methodically move the ball forward, but it was a poor decision.

If you freeze the frame as the ball hits the ground, you will see that Port Adelaide had five players in the vicinity of the ball, Gold Coast had one.

Who was on the ground?

As you can imagine, it did not take long for Port Adelaide to convert the error into a goal.

Simon Black, Brisbane

This entry proves that sometimes a blunder will be committed by a champion of the game, and Black’s mistake on the weekend was as bad as they come.

Early in the first quarter, the Kangaroos had jumped the Lions, kicking the first two goals. Brisbane needed to settle, and having the ball in the hands of Black would usually result in the right decision being made and a target being hit.

On Sunday, things were strangely different.

Black centred the ball casually, and Jack Ziebell intercepted the kick and went back and kicked the Kangaroos third goal for the day. Black has a track record of sublime ball use, so to see such a terrible error from his hands certainly came as a shock.

However, it did not stun the Kangaroos, who finished the half 52 points ahead – a lead too much for the Lions to pull back.

Hero of the Week

For winning consecutive games for the first time since 2010, Port Adelaide gets the nod as this edition’s ‘Hero of the Week’.

It may not seem like much, but it is a sure sign that Matthew Primus has his club on the right track, and definitely dismisses the talk that he had lost the faith of the players, which was dominating the headlines as little as two weeks ago.

Although they may have only beaten winless Gold Coast to achieve this feat, one has to remember the result of the clash between the sides last season, in which Port Adelaide capitulated to a memorable Suns comeback in front of their home crowd.

This year, they travelled up the coast, comfortably accounted for their opponents and set their sites on what suddenly looms as a very attainable target: three wins in a row as they face the struggling Blues at AAMI Park.

A little underwhelming Giants, but never fear

Skoda Stadium in all its glory - http://www.flickr.com/photos/edwin11/

Everything was set. The media had done their thing, trying to spark up a rivalry between James Hird and former coach Kevin Sheedy. The builders had also done their thing, getting the new stadium prepared and ready on time.

The Giants and the AFL were looking forward to a great match, maybe not expecting one scoreboard-wise, but a good spectacle nonetheless.

What turned out was a little below standard. Only 11,887 people attended the opening match of Skoda Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park, less than 50% of its capacity. The 23,000 seat stadium was split 50-50 between Giants and Essendon supporters.

Those who were there were treated to a largely boring match, with the away side dominating the Giants in all categories.

Channel 7 were trying to spruce up the match but it’s fair to say the clash lost some of its edge even before the bounce, with rugby convert Israel Folau pulling out pre-game, ruling out a Karmichael Hunt-like re-creation moment.

Also, over on the other channel, Collingwood was taking on the in-form Adelaide in arguably the match of the round.

The turf was in poor condition and it resembled how Docklands Stadium looked in the early years.

The Sydney Easter Show is held at the ground and this includes cattle grazing across the oval. This, however cannot be used as an excuse, because the former baseball venue for the 2000 Olympic Games was purposely re-constructed for Australian rules football, and it needs to have turf up to AFL-standard.

The positives of the future however outweigh the negatives of the present.

Skoda Stadium looked magnificent on the night and definitely gives the stadium across the road a run for its money; It has the largest video-screen in the southern hemisphere plonked right behind the goals and the fans appeared to be sitting in absolute comfort and had great viewing positions.

There have been comparisons with Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium, with many saying that Sydney’s ground is not architecturally as attractive and therefore not as good. This is unfair, as Gold Coast’s ground was constructed from scratch. Skoda Stadium was just built-on.

On the other side of the city, 12,756 people turned up at Jubilee Oval to watch the NRL clash between St George and Parramatta.

It’s encouraging that this match only drew 869 less people than an all-Sydney derby. Also across at Allphones Arena, there was a New Kids on the Block concert. This could’ve kept people away due to parking.

Regardless, as the Giants progress on the field, they will also do so off of it and crowds will increase.

The AFL’s plan for the club is focusing on what it will be in the year 2025, not 2012. It will not accept failure. Also, comments from the crowd on Saturday night complimented the fantastic atmosphere, despite the numbers.

What will be interesting is how many fans will show up at the Collingwood vs Giants match in Round 18.  That will be a massive test on the Sydney crowds, which since the 2003 Rugby World Cup, have been largely notorious for bad show-ups.

Grinners and Moaners – Round 9

Grinners

Richmond

Richmond's form makes for some happy tigers - http://www.flickr.com/photos/nathaninsandiego/

I’m not a believer…yet. How good is it though to have Richmond up and about? A whole generation of Tigers supporters with hope. As for the game, well, no player was a weakness.

It truly was a team victory, something which has lacked from rising Tigers sides in the past. I’m not going to buy in completely until they make the finals two years in a row, though.

St Kilda

Solid. Still can’t quite pin down if they’re actually a finals chance or not, particularly with the league as close as it is, but the Saints have been impressive the last two weeks.

Port Adelaide

Makes up for the embarrassment 12 months ago somewhat. The impressive thing is that they were challenged early by the Suns, and pushed back and won. The Power are quickly turning things around it seems, although it remains to be seen if it can be done in the long-term.

Melbourne

For three quarters, the Dees kept close to the Blues and stayed well away from any labels of being ‘bruise-free’.

Judd was nullified well, the much-maligned midfield was actually delivering and a few of the younger players stood up to be counted. If one can be impressed by a 58-point loss, though, it’s still not great.

Collingwood

Somehow they manage to win without a backline. The Pies are managing to keep low and have the attention directed to other teams despite being grand finalists in 2011.

West Coast

Smash and grab second half. Lyon’s particular brand of football hasn’t caught on 100% yet, thankfully for the Eagles.

Moaners

Hawthorn

Could the wheels be coming off early? Apart from Luke Hodge, the Hawks don’t have any major injuries, and yet for some reason, it’s just not clicking.

Carlton

Never have I been less impressed with a 58-point win. Melbourne did exactly what Essendon and Adelaide did, putting high pressure on the ball carrier and not giving them time to act.

The Dees weren’t fit enough or skilled enough to knock off Carlton, but nevertheless it was poor. They’re going to get found out even more often, and expect the vultures to circle for Ratten if they lose this week.

Brisbane

The criticism has been entirely on Melbourne, but there’s a side up in Queensland who are virtually no better. Brisbane were lucky to face Melbourne in round 1, and could very well lose to them on the return leg later this year.

Voss may be a legend of the club but things are bound to get worse before they get better, particularly with age starting to catch up to Black.

Brad Scott

That said, the win for North does have to be footnoted with the huge comeback that Brisbane made in relative terms. North were nearly 60 points up early in the third term only to win by 16 points. Big problem.

Adelaide

Couldn’t put their dominance on the scoreboard, particularly in the third term. They’ll be back with a vengeance soon enough though.

Sydney

A riddle wrapped in an enigma. I can’t believe it’s a case of ‘No Goodes, no Swans’ but what else can you put their form slump down to?

Power Eclipse Suns

PORT ADELAIDE 4.4 7.7 14.14 17.16 (118)

GOLD COAST 2.5 7.6 7.8 10.10 (70)

Valiant Port Adelaide have beaten the out-of-form Gold Coast by 48 points at Metricon Stadium on Saturday night.

Gold Coast, who re-signed under-fire coach Guy ‘Bluey’ McKenna the day before the game, went into the contest knowing they would have to give their all against the brave Power.

Unfortunately, what transpired for the Suns was another loss, and ultimate retribution for Port who were memorably the first side to lose to the Gold Coast in 2011.

The game got off to a rather slow start, with the Suns limiting the Power to just an 11-point lead by the end of the first quarter. They than managed to reduce the deficit to a meagre point at the big break.

The nightmare began after half-time. Port Adelaide put on seven unanswered goals along with seven behinds; while the Suns could only manage two points.

Three early goals were not enough for the Suns in the last quarter with their resurgence being stifled by misses from Gary Ablett and Josh Caddy.

Kane Cornes starred once again for Port in a tagging role. With brother Chad doing well at GWS, Kane restricted Ablett to just 24 touches – even managing to accumulate the same himself.

Brad Ebert once again silenced his critics by picking up 29 touches and slamming home two goals. Speedster Danyle Pearce wasn’t far behind with 28 and a goal, while the in-demand Travis Boak finished a 28-disposal game with three majors next to his name.

For Gold Coast, despite the best efforts of their captain and young guns, the injury-hit team from the North sit on 0 wins and 9 defeats – rock bottom if it weren’t for the woeful Melbourne.

Re-signing Bluey was a bold move after the board apparently demanded at least 6 wins at the start of the year – and they’ll be hoping that the stability the signing promotes will benefit the side in the long-term.

Harley Bennell was once again promising for the Suns, the number two NAB draft selection racked up 25 touches in a losing side.

Number three pick Sam Day booted three goals, but could have had more if not for some poor kicking and bizarre choices made with the ball in his mitts.

Brent Renouf belted Zac Smith in the ruck, and ‘tough man’ Campell Brown was ineffective with just 12 touches.

VOTES:

3) – Travis Boak (Port)

2) – Brad Ebert (Port)

1) – Sam Day (GC)

GOALS

Port Adelaide: Boak 3, Broadbent 2, Brad Ebert 2, Brett Ebert 2, McCarthy, Pearce, Schulz, D.Stewart, Trengove, Westhoff
Gold Coast: Day 3, McQualter 2, Ablett, Brown, Horsley, Rischitelli, Sexton

BEST
Port Adelaide:
 Boak, Pearce, Cornes, Brad Ebert, Broadbent, Renouf
Gold Coast: Day, McQualter, Lynch, Stanley, Iles

INJURIES
Port Adelaide: 
Nil
Gold Coast: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
Port Adelaide
: Paul Stewart replaced Daniel Stewart in the third quarter
Gold Coast: Alik Magin replaced Karmichael Hunt in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Foot, Jeffery, Mollison

Official crowd: 12,416 at Metricon Stadium

Blues Bounce Back

CARLTON 3.3 7.8 8.14 15.17 (107)
MELBOURNE 3.4 5.7 6.10 6.13 (49)

Carlton have returned to the winners list, accounting for a more competitive Melbourne by 58 points.

While the final margin was quite large, it was not reflective of the whole game.

For the first three quarters, Melbourne were able to take it up to the Blues and make it a contest. At three-quarter time they were only three goals down but seven unanswered goals to Carlton in the last put the game beyond doubt.

After the smacking they got in the midfield last week, the Blues’ star line had come under question but their answer was emphatic.

They dominated the Demons in the midfield, gathering 38 more contested possessions and a whopping 28 more clearances. Despite this dominance, the game was still up for grabs with a quarter left so Carlton still have a way to go.

As for Melbourne, they were able to stay in the contest for three quarters which is a marked improvement from last week, but their last quarter drop off is almost as disappointing. They continually made simple errors which meant that they never gained any momentum.

The Demons came out firing in the first quarter, kicking the first two goals.

Their defence was standing up and they kept the ball in their forward half. However, their inability to capitalise on their opportunities would come back to haunt them.

Two terrible errors in the last two minutes gifted the Blues two goals, reducing Melbourne’s lead to only a point in at the break.

In the second quarter Carlton began to gain ascendency, their class showing as they moved the ball from the backline to the forward-line with ease. Melbourne’s problems were further complicated with the loss of Brad Green five minutes into the quarter.

The Blues’ silky transition and stoppage dominance was rewarded with four goals, whereas Melbourne could only muster two goals through Mitch Clark.

The game then evolved into a gritty contest in the third with the game very much in the balance. However, each team could only muster a goal each.

Carlton had most of the play but some desperate defending as well as poor execution meant they could not put the game to bed.

The floodgates opened in the last quarter as Melbourne could not keep up the pressure. Carlton began to move forward without much resistance.

Eddie Betts was the main beneficiary, kicking three of Carlton’s seven last quarter goals to finish with five.

Mitch Robinson was best afield for Carlton - http://www.flickr.com/photos/madbart/

Mitch Robinson starred for the Blues, collecting 33 disposals, seven clearances and kicking three goals. He was excellent through the midfield and the half-forward line, delivering quality ball to the forwards as well as kicking a few himself.

He was joined by Brock McLean who stepped up in Marc Murphy’s absence and had one of his best performances in the navy blue jumper.

He provided great contested work with 33 possessions, 17 contested, proving he may be the missing link that Carlton have been looking for. Kade Simpson was also impressive in his usual outside role, while Andrew Walker continued to flourish up the ground.

From Melbourne’s point of view it was their backline that stood up. Both Jack Grimes and Jared Rivers provided run and direction off the half-back line and were able to beat their opponents on multiple occasions.

Another Demon who stood up was Jordie McKenzie who did an excellent job on Chris Judd, nullifying his influence.

Votes

1) Mitch Robinson (Carlton)

2) Brock McLean (Carlton)

3) Kade Simpson (Carlton)

GOALS

Carlton: Betts 5, Robinson 3, Hampson 2, Walker 2, Armfield, Kreuzer, Tuohy
Melbourne: Clark 3, Blease, Howe, Jones

BEST
Carlton: Robinson, McLean Simpson, Walker, Jamison
Melbourne: Grimes, Rivers, McKenzie, Watts, McDonald

INJURIES
Carlton: Henderson (groin) and Yarran (toe) replaced in selected side by Lucas and Bower, Collins (knee)
Melbourne: Bartram (knee) replaced in selected side by Tapscott, Green (lung)

SUBSTITUTES
Carlton: Kane Lucas replaced Dennis Armfield in the third quarter
Melbourne: Jamie Bennell replaced Brad Green (lung) in the second quarter

CROWD: 28,371 at the MCG

Limp Bombers Fell Giants

Greater Western Sydney            0.5   2.9    4.11  7.11 (53)
Essendon                                      3.1   8.1   13.8   18.11 (119)

Essendon has recorded a mediocre 66-point win over an impressive Greater Western Sydney outfit.

The Bombers did what they needed to do in order to claim the four points in what was a rather uninspiring contest.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelspencer/

David Zaharakis (32 disposals, one goal) and Ben Howlett (27 disposals, seven tackles) were exceptional for the visitors, while Adam Treloar (25 disposals, six tackles) was impressive for GWS.

It was a night of new promise, as the Giants’ new home ground, Skoda Stadium, was officially opened.

The stadium looked fantastic, however the turf is in need of desperate fine tuning, resembling that of horse racing turf rather than a football one.

GWS were the real story of the night however, as only inaccuracy left them out of the contest at half time.

Indeed it took the Giants nine behinds before midfielder Dylan Shiel finally registered a goal 19 minutes into the second quarter.

It was an ominous start for the Bombers, with star indigenous duo Paddy Ryder and Alwyn Davey kicking two quick goals to get the game rolling.

GWS however proved to be resilient, winning their fair share of general play, only to be undone by their errant goal kicking.

By the time Shiel put through the Giants’ first major in the second, GWS had 10 scoring shots to Essendon’s seven.

Another goal to Treloar before half-time saw the margin at 28 at the break, in what could have been a much closer game.

The second half started to follow the original script, with Essendon beginning to kick away as the resilient Giants began to tire.

The Bombers will be anxious come Monday as the Match Review Panel will take a close look at a number of incidents involving Heath Hocking for an attempted head-butt, David Zaharakis for an errant elbow and Jake Melksham for pushing a Giants player’s head into the turf.

GWS now travel to Geelong next week to take on the Cats at Simmonds Stadium, while Essendon will take on the Melbourne Demons at the MCG Saturday night.

Votes

3) – David Zaharakis

2) – Ben Howlett

1) – Jobe Watson

GOALS
Greater Western Sydney: Cameron 3, Shiel, Treloar, Giles, McDonald
Essendon: Crameri 3, Davey 3, Bellchambers 3, Ryder 2, Monfries 2, Zaharakis, Watson, Melksham, Hurley, Colyer

BEST
Greater Western Sydney: Treloar, Tyson, Kennedy, Cameron, Power, Shiel
Essendon: Dyson, Howlett, Crameri, Lovett-Murray, Dempsey, Zaharakis, Davey

INJURIES
Greater Western Sydney: Folau (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Townsend
Essendon: Hardingham (calf) replaced in selected side by Slattery

SUBSTITUTES
Greater Western Sydney: Sam Darley replaced Adam Kennedy at three-quarter time
Essendon: Henry Slattery replaced Ricky Dyson at three-quarter time

Reports: Nil

Umpires: McBurney, Ryan, Hosking

Official crowd: 11,887 at Skoda Stadium

Dockers Dismal Day

WEST COAST   0.4   2.8   7.14   11.18 (84)
FREMANTLE    1.1    3.2   3.3    5.6 (36)

The West Coast Eagles have completely obliterated Fremantle by 48 points at Patersons Stadium, rendering the Dockers’ attack useless as they notched up their lowest score ever at the ground.

Take nothing away from the Eagles, who were magnificent in defence early on – in particular Darren Glass – as they shut down Fremantle ‘s attacks and played strong rebounding football.

Luke Shuey’s attack and contested work set the tone early in the third quarter as the Eagles kicked five goals to Fremantle’s solitary behind.

The game started slowly and was dominated by congested play – a sign that Fremantle’s game plan was on top. But they failed to work the ball past the Eagles’ key defenders who repeatedly set up the play from the back half.

The second quarter was a slugfest, with the Eagles threatening in front of goal while Fremantle relied on the creating attacks on the break.

The problem for Fremantle in the first half was not the lack of attacking chances but the lack of forward line efficiency.

Zac Clarke kicked a goal, but was consistently outpointed by Glass, and the options were clear for coach Ross Lyon at the half. Leave things as they were and be over-run, or attempt to change proceedings with an early substitution.

Lyon subbed Clarke off and moved Pavlich forward in an attempt to revitalise the Fremantle front half, but it quickly became clear it was the wrong decision. Without Pavlich’s influence around the ground, the Eagles comfortably locked the ball up forward, resulting in 11 scoring shots for the quarter.

It’s a damning stat when you consider that Fremantle had only managed six for the game. You can blame the forwards, but they were obliterated in the forward 50 entries count as well (64-30) showing a clear issue with Freo’s attack.

Perhaps it is a result of the massive numbers Lyon employs behind the ball – if the run and carry options aren’t there, it will always leave a severe lack of options moving forward.

The damage was done by the midfield, who may have been slightly ahead at half-time but were completely dominant in the second half. They were lead by Matt Rosa who played the best game of his career, finishing with 43 disposals running at 86 per cent efficiency.

He was assisted brilliantly by Andrew Gaff (29 touches, 25 kicks), Matthew Priddis (28), Schuey (26) and Chris Masten (25) who controlled the stoppages with ease.

Fremantle on the other hand only had four players gather more than 20 disposals in what was a belting after half-time.

Their most fruitful quarter was the last, in which they managed to add 15 points to their tally. Dockers fans will have their patience severely tested, but it’s entirely possible that they simply don’t have the cattle to make the gameplan work on a weekly basis.

It was a staple of ‘Saints Footy’ that even in their losses they weren’t losing by much, but perhaps, as the last fortnight has shown, something is seriously astray in Fremantle.

Votes

3) – Rosa (WCE)

2) – Glass (WCE)

1) – Schuey (WCE)

GOALS

West Coast: Hill 3, Darling 2, Priddis, Naitanui, Schofield, Lynch, Rosa, Shuey
Fremantle: Ballantyne, Clarke, Mayne, de Boer, Dawson

BEST
West Coast:
 Rosa, Glass, Shuey, Gaff, Waters, Hurn, Hill, Priddis
Fremantle: Johnson, Broughton, Pavlich, McPharlin, Barlow

INJURIES
West Coast: 
Butler (hamstring tightness)
Fremantle: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
West Coast: 
Jacob Brennan replaced Sam Butler in the third quarter
Fremantle: Jay van Berlo replaced Jon Griffin in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Farmer, Margetts, Dalgleish

Official crowd: 40,905 at Patersons Stadium

 

Hayes’ Swan Song

ST KILDA                   3.1   8.7    14.14   16.15   (111)          
SYDNEY SWANS       
4.4   5.4     8.6      12.11   (83)     

St Kilda have added further intrigue and drama to an already inconsistent AFL season by defeated the much fancied Swans by 28 points in a perfect celebration of the milestone games of Lenny Hayes (250) and Farren Ray (150).

The scoreboard flattered Sydney, who trailed by as much as 50 points late in the third quarter and probably deserved to be behind by more as St Kilda wasted several opportunities in the second and third terms.

A scoring run to start the last quarter brought the margin back under five goals, but the lead was never seriously threatened.

Although the usual suspects were prominent for the Saints, they will be pleased with the performances of the newer brigade coming through, as the likes of Jack Steven and David Armitage controlled the ball and limited the Swans’ opportunities.

The game started as a see-saw affair, with both sides tentative in front of goal until Steven goaled seven minutes into the quarter.

From that point, Sydney completely controlled proceedings, locking the ball inside their forward half and causing problems for the Saints’ defenders, who were struggling to find targets to clear the danger zone.

Sydney’s early pressure forced St Kilda to wait for a quick counter attack, which allowed them to stay in touch with the Swans.

With all things considered, Sydney deserved a larger lead than the nine-point margin they held at the first break, but it would not have mattered as the Saints completely turned the tables in the next two quarters.

St Kilda kicked nine goals 13 in the second and third quarters, which compared to the six the Swans managed, set-up the match-winning lead.

The Swans were completely stifled in the middle quarters, St Kilda’s pressure shutting down their run and carry and forcing their star midfielders into uncharacteristic mistakes.

It was fitting that in Hayes’ milestone game, the hardness and pressure – attributes that have typified Hayes over the years –  around the contest were what ultimately won St Kilda the match.

In a week in which attention has focused on the retirement of Hayes, his 250th will be seen as a fitting tribute to his wonderful career once it is all done and dusted.

Votes

3) – Armitage (Saints)

2) – Steven (Saints)

1) – Hayes (Saints)

GOALS

St Kilda: Milne 3, Dal Santo 2, Riewoldt 2, Saad 2, Steven 2, Blake, Cripps, Siposs, Montagna, Milera
Sydney Swans: Jetta 3, Jack 2, McGlynn 2, Reid 2, Bolton, Kennedy, Roberts-Thomson

BEST
St Kilda: 
Armitage, Hayes, Steven, Blake, Dal Santo, Saad, Milne
Sydney Swans: Kennedy, McVeigh, Jack, O’Keefe, McGlynn

INJURIES
St Kilda:
 Geary (cut head)
Sydney Swans: Nil

SUBSTITUTES
St Kilda: 
Arryn Siposs replaced Jarryn Geary at half-time
Sydney Swans: Trent Dennis-Lane replaced Tommy Walsh in the third quarter

Reports: Nil

Umpires: Rosebury, Stewart, Hay

Official crowd: 34,737 at Etihad Stadium