AFL In-Former Mark Ricciuto warns Brisbane Lions to prepare themselves for a hungry Bombers outfit looking to avenge their one-point Anzac Day loss when the sides meet in their AFL match-up this weekend.
Essendon take on Brisbane on Saturday afternoon at Etihad Stadium, with the Bombers coming off a disappointing one-point loss to Collingwood on ANZAC Day in a game they had their chance to win.
They will be looking to respond with a victory against a side they should beat if they aspire to play finals footy. While they lose important small back Michael Hibberd to a hamstring injury, they should regain a host of players including Mark McVeigh, Courtenay Dempsey, Nathan Lovett-Murray and Travis Colyer. They will also have the luxury of a ten-day break, while the Lions will be sore following a physical encounter with Geelong at a wet GABBA in round five.
Tagger Andrew Raines will miss the game for Brisbane after being rubbed out at the tribunal, which should ease the pressure on Essendon's midfield group.
Expect the Bombers to win this game, and win well, covering the line of (30.5) points.
Arguably the match of the round, Saturday night's game at the SCG between the unbeaten Sydney Swans and the Adelaide Crows should be a good contest.
Adelaide has a great record at the ground having won 10 of their 15 games there, including their last three. However, given the Crows last played at the SCG in 2008, and the changes both clubs have since experienced, this holds little relevance in predicting the outcome of the match.
Sydney, as they tend to do, have flown under the radar up until last weekend when they comprehensively defeated the Hawks in Launceston.
Adelaide's 4-1 record is a little flattering thus far, and the next five weeks should give us a true indication as to where they are at.
Given the Crows are coming off a bruising show-down, and Sydney accounted for Hawthorn, who thrashed the Crows to the tune of ten goals, I'd expect an in-form Sydney to cover the line of (25.5).
I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I'm going back the Tigers in to cover the line of (4.5) points against Port, and punters should do the same!
It's been a cardinal sin of mine, but it's hard to ignore the Tigers form the last three weeks, thumping Melbourne in round three and with good efforts against Geelong and West Coast, games they lost by just ten points.
Like Richmond, Port have also improved, but will need to get over the mental hurdle of another honourable loss. It's a tough pill to swallow when you feel you're improving and yet can't get the reward of four points, and it takes its toll mentally. Already without Robbie Gray, the loss of Jay Schulz will hurt the Power around goals and his absence will have an impact on the scoreboard.
If you believe in the Tigers, back them in to get the chocolates after a couple of close losses.
North Melbourne let me down last week, kicking 25 behinds, but I think they can respond this week in the west.
The Kangaroos would be disappointed they couldn't put the Gold Coast to the sword, but should go into their game against West Coast at full strength and full of confidence. North has won their last three games at the line at Patersons Stadium, including round one last year when they lost to the Eagles by just four points.
West Coast is yet to drop a game in 2012, and have won their last eight matches at the venue, however, their horror injury run has continued, with power forward Josh Kennedy joining Embley, LeCras and Nicoski on the sidelines.
To rub further salt into the Eagles' wounds, key back Will Schofield will miss the next two games suspended.
While I'm not convinced they can win, I do think the Kangaroos will do enough to stay within (26.5) of the Eagles.