John Harms On AFL Round 10

I’m not sure what atrocities Brad Scott committed in a former life but I suspect they weren’t too flash as he is suffering the worst footy karma I’ve seen for a while. So I’m writing off North (except for the proviso explained below) and Richmond, and I’m advising premiership shares be considered in the bullish Swans again. I’m still not convinced about the Bombers flag prospects, and I agree with Chris Scott that the patchiness of the Cats is a concern.

Looking for a perfect round again. (As if!)

Brisbane v Collingwood - Poor ol’ Michael Voss. Just as his side looks like developing some grunt and cohesion a handful of his key players go down with injury and Jono Brown is sent to Coventry for flailing his arms about. So the Pies go in hot favourites even though they are bizarrely inconsistent. The gap between their Geelong win and their Sydney loss defies simple explanation but does show that if you are not totally switched on good sides will cut you up. Unfortunately the Lions are a mediocre side and so this result is pretty black and white. Collingwood by 14 points.

Carlton v GWS - Carlton will relish the Etihad conditions and the opportunity to work on their ball movement. Their talls will trouble the youngsters. J. Waite could kick a bag. The Blues by 80 points.

Adelaide v Fremantle - After their superb comeback win in the dying minutes against North, the Crows are soaring. However, they play the club most likely to pluck them from the sky. Freo are the meanest of teams with the meanest defensive mindset – the polar opposite of the final-quarter Kangaroos. The Dockers give you nothing. This will be Ross Lyon’s match. He will have plans for Dangerfield (more than one plan), Sloane and now Douglas who has been in very good form. The young mid-fielders will all provide fighting contests and Dangerfield may well win his. But it is Freo’s key backmen who provide the most obvious competitive advantage. The Crows key forwards are barely shaving. The Dockers to post a win away, by 12 points, in a beauty.

Sydney v Essendon - If you had any doubts about Sydney you can shelve those concerns right now. The Swans are strong, they have improvement in them, and Kurt Tippett pulls on the jumper later in the season. The Bombers still have a way to go, although their win-loss record is very good. They look like blooding young Joe Daniher in this – and that’s making us all feel old. Not a bad idea given his family’s connection to both clubs. This is a big test for the Bombers, especially away. Sydney will contain the Essendon run, locking down the game, winning the contested footy and using their own spread. The Swans by 15 points.

Geelong v Gold Coast - Who’d have thought that the citizens of Sleepy Hollow, where some folk still go up to the neighbour’s to make a phone call, would be turning on the lights for a night game. And playing it against a team from sunny Queensland. The Cats are in a fantastic position off the field – the envy of many clubs. They are the envy of many on the field as well. All the talk will be of Gary Ablett’s return to Kardinia Park one day to play his twilight years out of the forward pocket – and kick 120 goals a season. A nice idea. But for now he’ll be trying to wrack up 40 touches for the opponent, in a side which is showing good improvement. Last week they took it up to the complacent Hawks with good tackling pressure, good attack on the footy and reasonable ball movement. I think this game will conform to the same pattern as that match with the Suns right in it until the Cats bigger bodies and experience do the trick. On a party night, Geelong by 30 points.

Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide - I love these Darwin matches. If you’ve ever been to the Top End, or are living there now, you’ll know what I mean. Just the whole atmosphere of them. And the balmy conditions. This one is set to be an absolute ripper. Two young sides fighting it out. The Dogs coming off a good win; Port trying to find one. It may need to be the triumph of will here. I do like the way Ken Hinkley has Port attacking off half-back through the corridor and I think the Power’s talls may have an edge. Port by 8 points.

Melbourne v Hawthorn - This is the third leg in a three-week Hawthorn multi – GWS, Gold Coast, Demons – paying $1.05 (at the most). Melbourne have no hope here. They are tragically lost in the way that teams I have played for, across various sports, have been tragically lost. They remind me of the Union College cricket side, circa 1981; the Harlem Pig-trotters basketball side circa 1992; and the University Red Lions seconds from the early 1980s. The funny thing is I reckon we Red Lions would be a good chance against this sad Melbourne crew. Hawthorn by 60 points.

North Melbourne v St Kilda - I don’t think it’s over yet. I reckon North have got another crook loss in them and it would be good for the film rights if it were this one. If the Roos can find a way of botching a six-goal lead here, I think they’ll make the eight and possibly a preliminary final, then Spielberg will buy the rights and they’ll lose the Grand Final after being nine goals up half-way through the second quarter. Tom Cruise will play Boomer Harvey. Meryl Streep to play Drew Petrie. Who knows about this fixture! The Roos, surely? By 40 points.

West Coast Eagles v Richmond - The Tigers were horrible against Essendon. Their game-plan was negative and coaches will have learnt a bit about how to stop the Tigers flow – or any flow they may occasionally generate. The visitors will struggle to contain the Eagles’ numerous options up forward. They locals should not be troubled. West Coast by 24 points.

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