Eight rounds in we're starting to get a feel for how the rest of the year will play out, and Mark Ricciuto senses that the form of some sides in this weekend's round of the AFL will require punters to bring their A-game.
Hawthorn takes on an in-form Richmond on Saturday afternoon in what should be a cracking game.
The Hawks are in terrific form, having won their last three matches by an average of 52 points, and they run into an improved Richmond side who really took it up to the Bombers in the second half last week.
Having beaten Sydney, Richmond have pushed Geelong (10-point loss), West Coast (10-point loss) and Essendon (19-point loss) right to the limit, and I expect them to take it up to the Hawks. The Tiger's back line has been far better this season, but they will need to stand up against a very potent Hawthorn forward line without key defender Dylan Grimes, who will miss the game with a hamstring injury.
I think the Hawks will be too strong for the Tigers, and expect Hawthorn to cover the line of 22.5 points.
It's an understatement to say that Melbourne have been the disappointment of 2012.
All summer we heard they were improving under coach Mark Neeld, but we've failed to see any improvement so far. If anything, they've gone backwards. On Sunday afternoon at the MCG against Carlton they get another opportunity to respond following their 101-point loss to the Swans.
Carlton will also be out to make a statement after consecutive losses to St Kilda and Adelaide. The Blues' job won't get any easier without star on-baller Marc Murphy who misses with a shoulder injury. Book-ends Jarrad Waite and Lachie Henderson are no certainties to play either.
While I think Carlton will win by 31 points, this would allow Melbourne to win with the 55.5 point start, something I think they can do given consecutive eight-day breaks and Carlton's injury issues.
North Melbourne is another side that will be looking to bounce back after Port Adelaide stole victory from the jaws of defeat.
Brisbane lifted their game last week, defeating GWS by 92 points, with skipper Jonathan Brown returning to form with five goals and full-back surprise packet Daniel Merrett kicking seven. The Lions come to Etihad Stadium with a horrible record at the venue, having lost their last four games by an average of 63 points, and seven of their last eight.
North Melbourne should get full forward Aaron Edwards back after he was a late withdrawal last week, which will no doubt straighten the Kangaroos up. As a result, I expect North Melbourne to cover the line of 24.5 points.
The final match of the round, and arguably the most anticipated, will be the Derby between West Coast and Fremantle at Patersons Stadium.
One of the game's fiercest rivalries, the battle between the Eagles and Dockers, is often one where current form means very little. West Coast lead the overall ledger 20-14, and will be looking for that to continue after a hard-fought win at home over St Kilda.
The Eagles will be buoyed by the inclusion of key midfielder Matt Priddis who should return following concussion. Despite injuries to key players, the Eagles remain top of the ladder and hold an imposing record of 15 straight wins at Subiaco by an average margin of 43 points.
Across town the Dockers are coming off a hefty loss at the hands of Hawthorn, and despite the fact they are playing at home will be sore after their road trip to Launceston last weekend.
The Eagles are flying, and I think this will continue with West Coast to cover the 17.5 point line.