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by John Loffler

(Last week 6 from 8 total 94 from 152 = 61.8%)

My voice is a bit hoarse singing that ridiculous Richmond theme song in the shower all week so I doubt whether I will be so generous when determining the winner of this Friday night’s game. Neighbours think I’m involved in some wildlife group aimed at saving Sumatran or Siberian tigers. And the poem about Richo?

He dominates their forward line a mountain of a bloke

Played for Richmond all his life of him they highly spoke

Tiger efforts these past years have been a footy joke

When Richo blows his cool then it’s fun at him they poke

They beat the Pies, their second win, thanks to Tiger Richo

Costing me a tipping point what a flippin’ bitcho!!!

I didn’t say it would be good, just that it would rhyme!

Sad days are descending footy fans and tipsters, and I differentiate between the two because rarely do footy fans win the tipping comps as they are usually too emotionally involved with the teams. We’ve hit the rounds that start with 2 and we have only 3 of them, 20, 21 and 22  before the AFL finals followed by sporting oblivion and an opportunity for all those players not participating in finals to get back into their recreational drugs. Although the previews have been a bit off, looking at comps nation wide sees most tipping competitions are pretty much at the same level and in fact, my previews are ahead of more than 70% of expert tipsters who grace our newspapers. When you look at the AFL ladder and see this absolute log jam from positions 2 to 13 then the effort that has been expended in picking winners and the resultant inaccuracy can be justified. I’ve said all that to make you feel good, especially if you’re 8 – 12 points off the pace from the leaders who have shown more inspiration than perspiration to get where they are. All of these teams are basically playing finals footy over the next three weeks to have a tilt at getting into the top 8 so, let me warn you, the selection process over this period will get no easier and you can expect some upsets….regularly. Good luck this week.

Collingwood V Melbourne at MCG Friday Night

In the sports news on TV tonight not one expert was going for Melbourne who gave the Bulldogs a real hiding last week. I tell you, Collingwood is looking really fragile at the moment and couple that fragility with a 300 game celebration for David Neitz and we have the makings of an upset. The Pies are sitting a game and a half clear in the 8 so it is probable they will see finals action, albeit briefly, but they must win at least one more game and it has to be against a so-called weaker team because it’s going to be a major struggle to win one of the next two after this. Malthouse may not be at the helm due to the death of his father and that, by some, could be construed as a positive. Collingwood cannot string together two wins in a row but then again rarely lose two in a row so based on simple statistics they should win this one to cement a position in the final 8.  For the Pies to win it’s best I tip against them.

Melbourne by 21

Essendon V Carlton at MCG Saturday arvo

The Blues are getting better and the Bombers are getting worse mainly due to a lack of communication the Essendon players have with Sheedy. Then again we all have a communication problem with Sheedy who will be coaching his third last game of AFL football.

Carlton by 23

St Kilda V Fremantle at Telstra Dome Saturday

Definitely one of the games of the round and Freo supporters will be hoping against all odds that the Dorks can continue on their merry way. The Saints were kept to a measly 9 goals last week but that was against Sydney who seem to be marching towards another glorious finals series. Pavlich has committed to the Dockers for another 3 years on the back of a possible grand final appearance or might it be the lack of desire to play for a South Australian side which shows a glimmer of back handed intelligence. Fremantle were touted as the big thing this year and they have not delivered. Here’s their chance and it will mean an away win. Freo heave ho!!

Fremantle by 18

Brisbane V Sydney at the Gabba Saturday Night

It would be a major surprise as well as a mighty coaching effort to see the Lions make this year’s finals. Although the game is being played at the Gabba those one-eyed Lion supporters have had to put up with a bit of misery at the ole home ground. Well, there won’t be a dry eye in the place be they Brisbane supporters suffering another loss or be they tears of joy for Sydney supporters preparing themselves for another grand final appearance.

Sydney by 25

West Coast V Richmond at Subiaco Saturday night

At the risk of having to offer my adoring public another poem about Richmond and cracking the shower glass with renditions of the Tiger theme song the tip will still be against Richmond. Judd is not 100% fit but Kerr and Cousins are and they are pretty good substitutes. Much talk about this Foley kid at Richmond and his football brilliance and along with a few others in the Tiger team it is hoped that they are not thumped but provide their supporters with a bit of hope in the ensuing years of the Wallace 5 year plan. It will be a brave tipster who picks the Tigers against an Eagles team looking at finishing in the top 4 and I certainly will not.

Eagles by 33

Hawthorn V Port Adelaide at Aurora Stadium Tasmania Sunday

Here’s two teams that have surprised not only the opposition but the experts and their supporters with just how well they are going. They are equal second on the ladder with 12 wins a piece so the stakes are pretty high for both these teams. You have to finish in the top four to have a fair chance to win the flag and home games will mean a lot in September action. The game is being played at Aurora in Tassie so the crowd won’t be a big one but it should be a vocal one with two mouths per head and the game is expected to be pretty willing. You would have to expect a close game but the odds favour the Hawks at “home”. Port players will be aware that thumping Campbell Brown may end up with them fronting the tribunal but Brownie assures us that he will do everything possible to get the guilty party off the charge, even if he has to pay. What a mate!!

Hawthorn by 11

Kangaroos V Geelong at Telstra Dome Sunday

The Kangaroos can ill afford to lose this one as that would make it three losses in a row and as well as they were placed on the ladder a few weeks ago the Kangaroos could still end up in the bottom half of the final 8 come September. Commentators wax on about the Shinboner spirit, well, there had better be a lot of that in this game to get them over the line against a team who are shooting for an unbelievable 14 wins in a row. Can the Cats finally make it to a grand final? Do the Cats still have the hunger after consolidating the minor premiership? Can Laidley wring another win out of the Kangaroos?  Should be another great game played in dry conditions under the Telstra Dome roof. It’s the Cats for me.

Geelong by 17

Adelaide V Western Bulldogs AAMI Stadium Sunday

This game is being promoted as the Retirees game with Riccuito, Darcy and Grant all finishing up at the end of the season. There’s a lot of games between these guys I tell you, somewhere around 800!! And what a game it should be with the winner holding on to some hope of a finals series and the loser being cast into the depths of hell, or worse, an early end of season trip. It’s been darn hard for teams to win at AAMI most years and this will not be an easy task for the Bulldogs whose stocks are a bit lower this year compared to their tearaway finish to the season last year. If anybody can get the Bulldogs up for such an important game then that person is Rocket Eade but the Crows have been more than competitive against the average sides at their home ground. The Crows will want to put in a special effort for the captain in his last year so based on emotion, a bad way to pick winners by the way, this selection will favour the Crows.

Adelaide by 18

Article last changed on Friday, August 17, 2007 - 10:29 AM EDT

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