John Harms On AFL Round 9

Just when you thought you were starting to work the 2013 season out, and sneak some early money onto the Hawthorn-Geelong Grannie Quinella, along comes Collingwood and Brisbane to muck you up.

The Pies were back to their 2010 best last week, despite being a little under-manned. The Cats struggled. Hawthorn didn’t really have an opponent down there in Tassie but they remain the rightful flag favourites.

So we’ll see if we can get things back on track across this Indigenous Round.

Collingwood v Sydney - Bloody Collingwood! How on earth did they beat the Cats last week? And they beat them twice! They were brilliant early, worrying the Cats out of it, while sweeping the ball forward effortlessly. Then the Cats rallied and looked like they’d run away with it. But the Pies finished it off. Their pressure was outstanding, as was their determination to stay in the game when all seemed lost. If that version of Collingwood turns up on Friday night they win and win well. That’s the question though. Sydney will be doing all in their power to nullify the Pies on-ballers and turn that pressure around. I don’t think the Swans are travelling brilliantly so the Pies are the rightful favourites here. It should be a beauty. Pies by 14 points.

Port Adelaide v Geelong - I am writing this from the Barossa Valley, home of J. Westhoff, where the new Port Adelaide is all the talk. Half of South Australia is loving the revival. The other half are crook in the guts from it. But there is some agreement. Firstly, that Port are showing they have plenty of attack, and secondly, that they lack experience and season-hardness and may find it tough against the stronger sides. Port fans are aiming at 11-11, which would be a terrific result. Geelong will be tough. But there is a little window of opportunity here. If the Cats are a bit wobbly at the moment, the trip to Footy Park to take on a Power team with serious speed and quickness of ball movement, may have its challenges. Neither side starts games well which could make for an interesting first term. The Cats will do enough. Geelong by 27 points.

GWS v West Coast Eagles - The Giants’ crew are chipping away out there in the west but they’re not having much luck. If it’s not injuries it’s their wily coach getting tongue-tied (for once). This won’t be easy either. The visitors need percentage. West Coast by 80 points.

St Kilda v Western Bulldogs - The Saints were very good against Carlton but looked under-manned in Adelaide last week. The Dogs just look under-manned. This fixture may have more impact on Wooden Spoon betting where the Dogs remain over the odds for a team that has won once in recent memory. They have their chance here: their hard-nut mid-fielders need to break the hearts of their counterparts, they need to contain the everywhere-run of Saint Nick, and Robert Murphy has to have a big one. That’s all possible but it’s unlikely all those planets will align. The Dogs at the line is a good option, but the Saints should do enough to win outright. St Kilda by 11 points.

Richmond v Essendon - This showpiece of the Indigenous Round is always a big occasion and this looks like being a tight game. The Bombers at their best are a superior side at the moment, but they’re coming off a couple of losses. The Tiges were not so impressive against Melbourne. I like Essendon’s back-line in this contest. Jack Riewoldt is hit and miss while Jake Carlisle is solid. I also like the leadership and poise of Jobe Watson, and his ability to bring others into the game, and I reckon Brendon Godard can be damaging against a side which struggles defensively. The Bombers to bounce back in a good contest. Essendon by 12 points.

Brisbane Lions v Carlton - This is a much more interesting contest than it appeared ten days ago. The Lions were rather robust against Essendon and kept at it all afternoon to pull off a surprise victory. If they can find that aggression they’ll be in this for a long time. However, I prefer to have Mick Malthouse at the wheel, and I think he will find a way to dissemble the Lions. (Did I really just write that?) Carlton by 18 points.

Hawthorn v Gold Coast - The Suns may be improving and there is some merit in sitting on a 50-50 win-loss record at this stage of the season, despite the nature of the draw. This fixture will smarten them up though. Too hard. Too many big guns. Hawks by 50 points.

North Melbourne v Adelaide - North, North, North, North, North! What are you doing to me? This is getting ridiculous. You are taking me back to the Geelong of my youth and the decades that followed as well. I cannot wish that sate of being on anyone, nor can I put up with the re-opening of the old wounds. I’m sticking to my guns. Read my keyboard: “You are a good football side.” Now, make my day: go out and blow the Crows away. Fair dinkum, apart from the cash you’re costing us, you’re not helping us in tipping comps either. You must beat the Crows. You can sit on Paddy Dangerfield and Scotty Thompson and let your depth in the mid-field take control. And see if you can’t win one RUNNING AWAY. North by 29 points (please).

Fremantle v Melbourne - The Dockers got out of jail in some ways with a draw against Sydney, in Sydney. At home against Melbourne they can rest half a dozen players – during the game. Maybe park a banana lounge in both pockets and have Nathan Fyfe serve drinks with umbrellas in them to resting rovers. Freo by 60 points.

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