ESSENDON v COLLINGWOOD – MCG (2.40pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Essendon 10.4 (64) def by Collingwood 24.18 (162), R20, 2010
AT SELECTION: Essendon are going tall. Really, really tall! David Hille has been brought in and becomes the third ruckman in the side, replacing out of form midfielder Brent Prismall. Essendon make two other changes forced upon them by serious knee injuries. Flashy forward Kyle Reimers replaces Jason Winderlich and dour defender Henry Slattery is called in to play Courtney Dempsey’s role. Collingwood have made two switches. Darren Jolly comes straight back in to the ruck after missing last week through injury. He replaces his back up, Cameron Wood. High profile recruit Andrew Krakouer has been axed, with the exciting Brad Dick preferred to play a half forward role.
WHO IS MISSING? Winderlich and Dempsey are both out for the season, and join defenders Tayte Pears and David Myers on the long term injury list. Collingwood’s Nathan Brown is the only main Magpie to miss through injury.
PREVIEW: Essendon were great last week. The Bombers fought manfully against a decent Carlton side, earning a draw despite being two players down for more than three quarters. That says a lot about the spirit within the club at the moment. Normally it would be tough to bounce with tired legs for the next week, but Essendon have enjoyed a much needed nine day break. The Bombers have gone tall, hoping to exploit Collingwood’s perceived aerial deficiency during the predicted perfect playing conditions. I think it is a decision well worth trying, but doubt it will be enough to get the job done. Collingwood’s array of runners should come to the fore in the second half when the game busts open. And, if the game doesn’t go according to the script, have a bet on the crowd size to keep your interest going well into the last quarter. The crowd has never been over 92,000 since the 1995 clash. Both sides are in top form, and with great weather forecast, more than 90,000 should turn out.
TIP: Collingwood to win by 32 points
ANDY’S BET: Collingwood to win by 27 points or more @ 2.00 (Readbet)
ANDY’S BET: Crowd between 90,001 and 92,000 @ 3.00 (Sportsbet)
FREMANTLE v WESTERN BULLDOGS – PATERSONS STADIUM (8.45pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Western Bulldogs 24.14 (158) def Fremantle 12.4 (76)
AT SELECTION: Both teams make a single enforced change to their respective winning lineups. At Fremantle, Nick Lower replaces impressive midfielder Nick Suban, who broke his leg last weekend. Over at the kennel, the Doggies have lost damaging forward Daniel Giansiracusa to a hamstring injury. His spot in the side will be taken by debutant Mitch Wallis.
WHO IS MISSING? Suban’s name adds to a lengthy Fremantle injury list. Michael Barlow, Roger Hayden, Anthony Morabito, Byron Schammer and Alex Silvagni would all be playing if fit. Western Bulldogs have less injury concers with only Giansiracusa defenders Easton Wood and Ryan Hargrave sidelined.
PREVIEW: As I said last weekend, the Dockers rarely lose at home. The Doggies have a decent running side to cope on the wide expanses of Patersons Stadium, but the Dockers run the ball better than most sides. Fremantle’s double act of Aaron Sandilands and Matthew Pavlich are in devastating form and are now receiving support from the ever improving Nat Fyfe. At their best, the Bulldogs would win a fixture like this, but they are still a long way from their top form.
TIP: Fremantle to win by 20 points
ANDY’S BET: Fremantle to win by 7 points or more @ 2.00 (Readbet)