John Harms On Footy

Many of us who slave for a dollar work on deadlines - whether it be reports for the boss or getting the roof up - are fairly cavalier in meeting them. What did the great Douglas Adams say? “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by.”

But today there are a few deadlines which just have to be met.

Productivity will be alarmingly low across This Great Country Of Ours, on this important Friday as Australia is head down, tail up, frantically trying to find value players for Dream-Teams, trying to predict finishing orders for the AFL Top 8, and joining tipping competitions.

Nothing stands in our way.

And if that’s not enough a few of us will have our heads in the form guide for the Black Caviar Moonee Valley meeting tonight.

As well you have the Shield final from Tassie and the Test from India.

No, the Productivity Commission will have cause to be alarmed.

I’m struggling with deadline because it’s the AFL’s Top 8 I’ve been trying to sort out, and an early punt on the flag.

The draw is so important at the moment with some sides having the luxury of meeting weaker teams twice, and some having the advantage of meeting tough opponents at home. Add to this the situation that there are many teams around the mark this year and you have disparate views insofar as the Top 8 at the end of the home-and-away season is concerned.

I went through the draw game by game the other night and was saddened by the outcome. Despite a pathological need to see the worst in Collingwood, I have them on top.

Here’s my finishing order
West Coast
North Melbourne

St Kilda
Gold Coast
Western Bulldogs

Traditionally, the Top 8 changes little after about Round 9. The two Queensland sides have good early draws which may encourage them, and their supporters.

As for the flag, both Geelong and North Melbourne appear to be over the odds. Both have tough first up matches against Hawthorn and Collingwood respectively. A win for either of them will really impact the premiership betting market. Whatever happens I reckon they will be shorter at some stage later in the season.

Equally the Derby this weekend in Perth. Anything can happen, and a Freo win would alter the groundswell of support for the Eagles as Grand Finalists, if not premiers. But they will miss Aaron Sandilands who appears to have a significant injury.

Before that, we get an idea of how the Bombers are travelling, when they head to Footy Park to take on the Crows for the season opener. The Crows have lost Tippett, but they retain a wealth of talent which plays the big ground well. That homeground advantage should prove significant. It will also be interesting to see how the Essendon players respond to the fishbowl they’re swimming in. I reckon the Crows will be too structured and put too much pressure on the Bombers. It will be fast and furious.

I’m tipping the Crows by 25 and the Eagles by 8.

Value: I trust you took the Lions last week at around the $3 mark (and better for a while). This week I’m keen on the Crows at the line – to win by more than 13.5 points.