With a four day break between games and the round starting on Friday, not Thursday, AFL fans should be forgiven for thinking this not normal, but it actually is normal.
With footy resuming normal programming this weekend, we are in for some seriously cracking games from Friday night’s Pies v Power, the Cats and Dons and Crows v Freo there’s plenty to look forward to.
So brace yourselves for another epic preview of the round ahead as we do our very best to squeeze out some value and find you a winner or nine from the weekend of Football that awaits us.
Collingwood goes face to face against the club their founding fathers completely copied their colours and mascot and then forced them to change them once they joined the AFL – Port Adelaide this Friday night at Marvel Stadium.
Port Adelaide also happens to be the only Magpies that Nathan Buckley has won a premiership at.
Sledging Collingwood aside, this game isn’t as easy to tip as you might think.
The Magpies are coming off a tough and testy win from their ANZAC day clash with the Bombers and Port seemed to do everything they could to get North back in the game but still managed to come away with the win.
Collingwood and Port are very good in the effective disposal department but if Port is able to contain the Maggies through the midfield, they’ll have Collingwood’s measure.
Port is the kind of team that when they have a good day, they’ll have a very good day and the odds are overs in the head to head to cause an upset in what has already been an unpredictable season.
This game has the potential to take you all by surprise so I’m going with Port in an upset.
The Dees host the Hawks at the MCG playing for the 1996 NO MERGER Cup.
The winner takes home a Velcro Hawk on a Melbourne Guernsey presented by Don Scott at the end of the game.
If you were to look up “disappointing” and “too much hype” and “drinking one’s own bathwater” in the visual dictionary, well, probably thesaurus, in this case, there would be a picture of the 2019 Melbourne Football Club team.
So far this season, Melbourne is one win, five losses and all of their losses have been blowouts.
Going into this game, the Dees could factor in that Hawthorn had a shocking first half last week and almost lost to Carlton, but they still managed to conjure up a six-goal comeback and narrow five-point win.
Given how both sides have started this season, it’s hard to believe that they actually met in a semi-final last year.
Based on current trends, the Hawks should be able to win this and win this easily.
Melbourne is a low-scoring, boring and selfish team and the genius of Clarkson will find a way to make the so-so Hawthorn side get another win and much-needed percentage in a very even season.
The Giants, who are easily the best team in Sydney right now easily accounted for the Sydney Swans last week face St.Kilda who had a bit of a reality check last week going down to the Crows.
You would think a match with two teams that are 4 wins apiece so far in season 2019 would be one to really look forward to, but the market suggests this won’t be the epic “blockbuster” you would normally want a fixture like this to be.
The thing is – recent meetings between the Giants and Saints aren’t dull what-so-ever.
There’s been draws, upset wins to the Saints and GWS had to grind out a 25 point win at home.
I just can’t see this game being a thriller though.
Jezza Cameron, Steve Coniglio and Toby Greene are finding some good form and if last week was a reality check for the Saints, this week will very much be a case of Resume Normal Programming at Moorabbin in Canberra this Saturday.
First things first, Buddy is Out.
This is bad news for the Swans but makes the prospect of the mighty Brisbane Lions (proudly sponsored by Neds) chalking up another W even better.
Coming off getting the job done in the Q-Clash over the Suns the Lions host the Swans at the Gabba in the “Teams that used to have COLA Cup”
You can put a fork in the Swans being a good team.
They are done.
Only the one win over Carlton, Buddy is out and basically, they are a bit old and a bit slow. It’s been a good run. Arguably, Sydney has been the best value for money team for the past 25 years but the system has got them.
The Brisbane Lions (proudly sponsored by Neds) on the other hand is on the up and up and the start to season 2019 shows so much promise and a 4-2 start is something that has everyone at The Gabba up and about.
It might only be Round 7, but if the Lions win this they are on the road to see September action and this game against the old and tired Swans presents the perfect opportunity.
With the Gabba crowd right behind them and the ability to know how to win and fast finish, Brisbane should easily get the job done over the Swans.
History shows that there usually isn’t a dull moment when the Bulldogs and Tigers meet each other.
Ever since Tony Liberatore saw fit to eye-gouge and scratch Matthew Knights in that infamous encounter back in 2001, there’s been a fair bit of rivalry between these two clubs.
The fact that clubs like the Western Bulldogs and Richmond have also won premierships more recently than the likes of Hawthorn, Sydney, Geelong, Collingwood, Carlton and Essendon is rather amusing.
The last three games between the Doggies and Tigers have been decided by 10 points or less, will we see this be the case again at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night?
Richmond is back to their clinical best, putting the pressure on and their ability to convert from turnovers is the best in the AFL.
Even without Jack Riewoldt, Trent Cotchin and Alex Rance the Tigers are still playing some bloody good football.
The Western Bulldogs didn’t get the win in Perth last week but they didn’t disgrace themselves.
But based on the form of recent, this won’t be a repeat of the close Dogs v Tiges games we’ve seen of recent times and Richmond should be able to dominate like they have of recent and get another win on the board.
So, both teams are coming off two losses in a row.
Two weeks ago it was a case of West Coast v the rest for the race to the flag and the Gold Coast Suns were involved in some heartstopping wins which took most of the AFL world by surprise.
The Eagles haven’t had the best fortnight. The midfield has had a Barry Crocker and they gave up a fair bit of the Sherrin to the Cats last week which cost them dearly.
This is the kind of game West Coast needs right now.
Home deck against a developing side and the good chance to get back into some solid winning form.
They won’t stuff this up.
The Blues almost had the Hawks and probably should have got the win over the Hawks in Tassie last week.
They were six goals up at one stage for goodness sake.
There is also no doubting that Carlton is mighty sick of honourable losses too, they face North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium in what should be a relatively evenly matched contest.
North is pretty damn ordinary and at least when you’ve watched the Blues this year, they’ve actually shown something.
In fact, for the first time in over a year and only the second time in the history of Neds that Carlton are favourite to win a game in our market.
All roads lead to a Carlton win on Sunday.
Blues fans, take a screenshot of this market, print it and savour the moment you were the favorite to win.
Located a whopping 2.3k from the Melbourne CBD, the regional town of Jolimont sees Geelong hosting Essendon as part of the annual “Country Clash” between the two clubs.
Geelong being a country town I can understand, given that Essendon is only 8kms from Mthe Melbourne CBD and still in Zone 1 on the Myki ticketing system how they are considered a country town, is beyond me.
Essendon hasn’t even set foot in Geelong since 1993.
Anyway, the Country Members are in for a cracking contest this Sunday at the MCG.
It’s first v tenth but given how even the ladder is, it’s actually more like two top four teams meeting each other.
Geelong did a number on the West Coast Eagles last week with a thoroughly convincing 58 point win, 35-year-old Gary Ablett is in vintage form and Gary Rohan has shown that you can trust someone with two first names.
Essendon had every right to feel robbed last week against Collingwood on ANZAC day and was within their rights to call up their insurance company to seek a damages claim.
Granted, they could have played better in the first quarter but the efforts of Woosha’s men to come back with the likes of Joe Daniher and The package Jake Stringer, in the end, made them good to watch.
Expect this one to be a thriller and get $1.01 for Gazza to be booed by the Bomber fans.
I’m making a big call, and I know my opinion matters on this stuff but this is the game of the round.
Believe it or not, Fremantle is actually sitting second on the ladder coming off some seriously big wins over the Giants and the Doggies last week and have the ability to either ruin your tips or come up with the goods to pull off another big win on the road, this time at Adelaide Oval.
Freo has already shown they are no flat-track bullies in season 2019.
Adelaide, on the other hand, have had a questionable start to the year but there win over St.Kilda last week at Marvel was one of their best in recent times and it was good to see Tex Walker at his pre-2017 Grand Final best.
You’d think the Crows should be able to maintain that good form on their home deck, but it’ll be close.