Will Mark Neeld feel the love?

Slow hand clap, Demetriou. I know you didn’t do it on purpose, but if you had planned to get the Bombers up over Freo in Perth you couldn’t have been more effective than to suggest their coach step down. They love him! They’ll do anything for him! They’ll walk on Freo’! They did. Hirdy’s like, They’re all against us! They’ve sent us interstate two out of three games! They want my head! Who could blame them, look its beautiful. Jobe led the team, We want your head Hirdy! It is beautiful! They want me to Step down, well we’re stepping up! Lucky for Freo he didn’t tell them that till the second quarter, probably got the news late over there.

Bottom line, I lost that tip. The other bottom line is we have to give Hirdy the benefit of the doubt, innocent till proven guilty. Any more comments like that from Demmy and we can start backing the bombers for the Premiership. Ok, Andy? Sheesh. He’s not a politician, expected to be beyond reproach. He’s a footy coach expected to ask players to go as close to reproach as possible. Its a fine edge to live on but it’s also a crowded place and hard to knock off one or the other without knocking everyone off.

Incidentally, I don’t think the Saints will give them too much trouble this week. Someone will, soon and it will be a team that doesn’t get their blood boiling. The Saints have the Goddard factor, but the bombers have Goddard and I think that’s the better end of the bargain. So long as Demetriou doesn’t come out with something like let’s investigate the Saints for past indiscretions with the chemical peroxide…heh.

The Saints disposed of Greater Western Sydney last week. The GWSers (geez guys get a nickname – I’ll have a go for you) had a couple of tough games against the best of opposition, (Port Adelaide!? yeahhhh…I reckon) and may have been looking ahead to a game they think they might win i.e. against the desperate Dees! Who’s the favourite in this one? Both sides have been building for the past few years. The GroWSers* have had the best options, while the Dees have had to drop some of their recent picks through injury or form. I reckon the GroWSers could win this. As long as Demetriou doesn’t call for ‘Neeldy’ to step down. Geez you’d think the players would give their coach a decent nickname…if they really cared…

At the start of the season the Suns might have pencilled in a possible win for this week’s game against Port Adelaide at home. Ken Hinkley and Kochie’s Power come off a massive showdown game and could be on a downer, however, the  Suns come off their own derby or ‘Q Clash’ and they lost. What a downer. Maybe they should have a nice barbie and swap war stories. Best story wins. Ports comeback from 31 points down beats the Suns narrow failure to beat the Lions despite some freakish goals.

Speaking of freakish goals which was better Gold Coast’s soccer double from May to Rischitelli for a strike from 30m out that would have had Manchester United on the phone, or the Hawks two kick traverse of the MCG with the reintroduction of the torpedo from Guerra and Franklin’s long shot from 70m to bounce through with an honourable mention to Ben Stratton for his honourable ‘andball to link the two kicks in the centre of the ground.

Back to the round, and there are some classic games being staged this weekend. The Swans play the Cats, 2012 Premier v the 2011 Premier, both undefeated. They’re always great games these, with the Cats combination of flair and hard-tackling versus the Swans hard-tackling and uncompromising hard-tackling. The formline between the two teams doesn’t provide a guide. They’ve both won games against each other at home and away over the past two years. Perhaps the Cats extra weeks of rest/training since the finals will give them the nod.

The Hawks take the Dockers to Tassie. The Hawks looked freakishly fast against the Pies with several goals off a step and under great Collingwood pressure. Not sure about Freo’ after their ‘freakish’ fade-out against Essendon at home. I’m getting freakish out of my system. The Hawks should win this and they’re looking professional enough in their approach at the moment to overcome the complacency that accompanies such predictions.

There’s another game on Saturday afternoon between two old clubs from Melbourne at one of the oldest, largest sporting stadiums in the world. The undefeated Tigers take on the injury-hit Pies. Easy Tigers by 30 points. ‘Easy Tiger!’ you may well caution, but the tigers are in form, have enormous belief in themselves, in confidence, and perhaps in love with each other, with winning, with their fans (that’s been a rocky relationship), while the pies have glaring holes in defence, midfield and the forward line. The only solid area is led by trend-setter Ben ‘the Beard’ Hudson in the ruck. Be interesting to examine the trail of trades behind him to see whether the receivers of the Beard have benefited more than the shavers.

West Coast get a chance to register their first win at home. Carlton get a chance to register their first win. The Eagles have narrowly defeated the Blues in Perth over the past two years. West Coast were arguably a better team in those games than they are at the moment, while the Blues with their extra incentive may be enough to get them across the line. The only question mark for the Blues is who has Cox? Without Kreuzer, master coach Malthouse can counter big Coxie with a run-with player. He has an uncanny ability to match good players against great players, exploiting the strengths of the lesser man to advantage.

Two games on Sunday pit four clubs with no history of rivalry, poor starts to the season and dwindling hope of finals participation despite high expectations for three of them at the start of the year. Adelaide should dispose of the Bulldogs in Adelaide. They need to get a strong victory under their belt and to get their systems bedded down. The Doggies are still blooding players and losing important players every week. They will get a good belting and bedded down in familiar surrounds at the lower reaches of the ladder.

Back in Melbourne, the Kangaroos have had three games against the best and lost all three – two of them narrowly. They play Brisbane who narrowly beat their Q Clash rivals, the Suns last week for their first win. This should be the best game of the day. The Roos need their first win of the season, while the Lions need to use last week’s victory to build the season, and need to beat fringe finals teams like the kangaroos if they’re to live up to their pre-season hype. If they’re not demoralised by their three losses, the Roos should probably boost prevail over the gallant lions, boosting their percentage in the last quarter.

About Simon Dix-Draper

Hawks since '71. Don't believe in curses. Gave to keep 'em alive in '96 (was it that long ago). Looking forward to a big season - one game at a time.

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