Round 6 Preview

by Josh Barnstable

North Melbourne vs. Collingwood (D) (N)

An enthralling contest between these two sides. The Roos, with their backs against the wall, should come out firing against a disappointing Collingwood outfit that lost to Essendon last week after young David Zaharakis kicked the final goal of the game in the pouring rain to get the Bombers over the line. Both teams have 2 wins from 5 games, the Roos getting the 4 points against Melbourne in Round 1 by 34 points and after defeating Essendon by a couple of goals in Round 4. Neither of those wins were convincing. The Pies started their season in bad fashion, losing to the Adelaide Crows at the MCG before bouncing back against Melbourne. They won a tight contest against the Lions at the Gabba by 17 points in Round 4. A win tonight should kickstart what has been a lacklustre start to the season for both clubs. The Roos are missing their star captain Brent Harvey after a badly dislocated elbow saw him retire from the match last week and will see him on the sidelines for 12 weeks. Lachie Hansen is also a casualty after he tore his hamstring in the game last week to Richmond. He will be missing for the next 4-6 weeks. The Roos are already missing Matt Campbell and Daniel Wells so they are in need of some leg speed through the midfield. This should see Ben Ross, Daniel Harris or Shannon Watt to come into the side of 22, and should also see Levi Greenwood keep his spot after making his debut last week. The Pies will welcome Nick Maxwell and Heath Shaw back into the side but Alan Didak will be missing still. Shannon Cox and Tyson Goldsack will be making way for Maxwell and Shaw.

Important Line-Ups:

Michael Firrito/Scott Thompson/Shannon Watt vs. Travis Cloke

The Roos are lacking the big men down back, with Lachie Hansen doing his hamstring. This should set the stage for Cloke, who has been poor so far this year. Expect a big showing against the under seige defence of North.

Drew Petrie vs. ?

Last year, Drew Petrie dominated the Round 16 clash to take B.O.G honours. It will be interesting to see who Collingwood will put on him. Perhaps Tyson Goldsack will be a late inclusion to take the big fella on. Nick Maxwell might get the tough task.

? vs. Leon Davis

Whoever is assigned to Leon Davis tonight, it will be a tough ask. The Roos are really lacking pace, and Davis has pace in spades. Possibly Dean Laidley will throw Lindsay Thomas onto “Neon Leon” or maybe 6th-gamer Jack Ziebell.

Big Question:

Can Josh Fraser stand up and put in a dominant display against the tall Roos? He will be up against the in-form Hamish McIntosh, with Drew Petrie and David Hale to play ruck as well. If the Roos can expose him, then they will be on their way to a win.


North by 24 points

I am going with my heart, even though my head is Black and White. The only thing going for me is that the Roos are the only team in the AFL that can pull out a good performance with their back’s against the wall.

Hawthorn vs. Carlton (MCG)

The biggest game in the round in my opinion, emotionally and for the match value. The Hawks will be spurred on by the memory of Rob Dickson who died last month in Africa while the Blues had to deal with the tough passing of former club president Dick Pratt. Hawthorn are coming off an 18 point win in wintery conditions against West Coast in just the 2nd game being played under lights at Aurora Stadium, the first was during the pre-season competition in 2005. The Blues will come into this match after a big win against the Western Bulldogs last Sunday. Carlton are in 3rd position on the ladder with 3 wins from 5 games while the Hawks are 2 from 5. The Hawks will see goalsneak Michael Osborne and defender Brent Guerra come in for Clinton Young and Cameron Stokes while the Blues lose Chris Johnson to a thigh injury, former Port Adelaide utility Greg Bentley will make his debut for the Blues after 21 games with the Power. The Hawks have one obvious weakness: their defence. Stephen Gilham is still missing, while Robert Campbell has been forced into defence to take on the opposition’s power forward, this week it is Brendan Fevola. Fevola will still be stinging after being denied a goal in the last round of the season last year to get his 100th goal of the year. The Hawks flooded their defence during that game, stopping Fevola getting that one final goal in the final minutes of the game, despite Hawthorn being 78 points in front. Tom Murphy will also have a go at stopping Fev, despite giving away 12kg. The Blues also have their problems down back. Lance Franklin, who kicked his 100th goal against the Blues last year, will be looking forward to this match. We should see him go to either Jarrad Waite or Michael Jamison. If Waite or Jamison are able to lower Buddy’s effect on the match, they will also have numerous other problems, with Jarryd Roughead, Mark Williams, Cyril Rioli, Osborne and young Garry Moss all showing they can kick 3 or 4 goals. The midfield seems to be the most intruiging battle. The ‘fab four’ of the Blues: Chris Judd, Bryce Gibbs, Marc Murphy and Nick Stevens, along with Heath Scotland, Matthew Kruezer, Andrew Carrazzo and Richard Hadley. The Hawks have some midfield depth also though. Sam Mitchell, Luke Hodge, Brad Sewell, Brendan Whitecross, Moss, Jordan Lewis, Travis Tuck, Rioli and Chance Bateman will be looking to cause some damage.

Important Line-Ups:

Lance Franklin/Jarryd Roughead vs. Michael Jamison/Jarrad Waite:

Lets face it, either Roughead or Buddy will kick a big bag of goals, possibly both but the chances are slim that both will have quiet days. Its up to Jamison and Waite to restrict both of them.

Sam Mitchell vs. Bryce Gibbs/Marc Murphy

Mitchell picked up 40 possessions last week against West Coast. Gibbs and Murphy will be looking to keep that total to at least under 25 and that will go a long way towards a win.

Robert Campbell/Tom Murphy vs. Brendan Fevola

It looks like Fevola is over his heel and inaccuracy issues. Campbell and Murphy will need to keep him to under 3 goals for a win.

Big Question:

Can the Blues maintain their goalscoring accuracy? They had a horrid couple of weeks in front of goal but cleaned up last week, booting 21.7 against the Doggies. If they can retain that then the team mood will stay high and, most importantly, Fevola won’t be getting frustrated with constant misses.


Carlton by 31 points

Fevola will have a day out. Murphy and Campbell is not enough to take on the raging forward. The Blues midfield will be too strong.

West Coast vs. Fremantle (S)

The Western Derby. Another tight contest. In fact every game this round, it has been hard to pick a winner, except for the Melbourne vs. Geelong game. The Eagles are coming off a pleasing effort against the Hawks. They led early in the final quarter only to concede 5 Hawthorn goals to go down by 18 points. The Dockers come into this match after notching their first win of the year against the Sydney Swans last Saturday night at Subiaco Oval. The Dockers led all night and won by 21 points, with Matthew Pavlich and David Mundy inspirational. West Coast have 2 wins from 5 games while the Dockers have just the one win. The game will see 2 debutants: Adam Cockie for West Coast and Matthew de Boer for Fremantle. The Dockers will be looking to Matthew Pavlich to weave some magic and help Freo get over the line. Expect Pavlich to meet possibly Quinten Lynch or Brent Staker before the first bounce. The Dockers will be without Rhys Palmer for the remainder of the year after doing his ACL and that takes away some of their midfield pace and toughness. Dean Solomon will be thrown into the middle and possibly Chris Tarrant. Mundy may play back or forward but expect him to go against another swingman, Adam Hunter. Hunter has recaptured some of his brilliance after his 2008 was ruined with injuries. Up forward for the Eagles, they have small forward Mark LeCras who has been the surprise packet of the year so far. I like small forwards. Brett Ebert and LeCras being my favourites. Ben McKinley is also back in form after kicking 3 goals last week against the Hawks. This will be a tight game.

Important Line-Ups:

? vs. Matthew Pavlich

Whoever goes to Pav, they will be in for a tough afternoon. Pavlich kicked 3 goals last week and racked up a heap of disposals to help Freo to their first win of the year.

Roger Hayden vs. Mark LeCras

This will be a ripper. Hayden, a dour, wise-headed defender should go with LeCras for most of the game. LeCras has that wow factor about him. He can kick a goal out of nothing. Almost like last week where he was running towards the boundary line and snapped the ball towards the goalsquare. It bounced end-on-end before Ben McKinley soccered it through in the goalsquare. It would have been a freakish goal if McKinley had not put his boot in the way.

Aaron Sandilands vs. Dean Cox

The best-worst ruckman vs. the best ruckman in the league. Sandilands is a class ruckman but a high percent of the ball he wins does not go to the Freo midfield, instead the opposition. Cox is simply the best ruckman in the league. He gathers 25 odd touches a game, wins most of the ruck battles and can kick a goal when needed.

Big Question:

Can Freo put together a decent 4 quarter effort like they did last weekend? Can West Coast put an end to the recent domination the Dockers have had other them?


Fremantle by 3 points

Pavlich will be the key to this match. Two wins in a row for Fremantle.

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