The Carlton Blues defeated a rejuvenated North Melbourne Kangaroos by seven points, while the Sydney Swans took out the Hawthorn Hawks and a straight-kicking St Kilda Saints stamped their authority as a finals contender by easily overpowering Port Adelaide.

The Essendon Bombers’ luck held up, as they just managed to keep their nose in front of the fast-finishing Adelaide Crows.

The West Coast Eagles just humiliated the injury-depleted Collingwood Magpies, while the Melbourne Demons lost by four points against the effervescent Brisbane Lions.

And on a rain-soaked Monday night, the Geelong Cats defeated the Fremantle Dockers in a low-scoring match.

The competition is now entering the AFL’s compact playing rounds 9 to 12: thirty-three games in 20 consecutive days of football and most teams will play with only a five-day turn-around between matches.

Anything could happen, and the teams with less injuries and a little luck will be very influential in shaping the context of the top eight.

It all starts on Wednesday night when the Bulldogs will take on Richmond at Metricon Stadium.

The Bulldogs are travelling quite well and should bring the game right up to Richmond and do very well indeed, as the Tigers aren’t at their best right now.

I pick the Bulldogs to win by 21 points.

On Thursday evening, Carlton will play Hawthorn at Optus Stadium.

The Blues are still on a roll while Hawthorn are struggling, so I pick the Blues to beat the Hawks.

Later that night, Melbourne will take on the might of Port Adelaide at the Gabba.

It will be a big ask for the Demons so they will have to produce their A-game as Port will be out to avenge their defeat last week.

Port Power should prove to be too strong and beat the hapless Demons.

Friday night footy will kick off at Metricon Stadium, when the Bombers challenge the Lions.

I think after last week, the Bombers will run out of luck and lose to an in-form sizzling Lions side.

At the same ground on Saturday afternoon, North Melbourne will meet the Crows in what will be the battle of the cellar-dwellers.

This is the best chance for the Crows to crack their first win for the year.

Meanwhile, St Kilda and the Swans will clash at the Gabba.

The Swans have a huge injury list and somehow, I can’t see the Saints losing this one at all.

West Coast will host Geelong at Optus Stadium; after last week’s display, the Eagles are firming as favourites to take out the premiership, so hoo-roo to the Cats.

On Sunday, the Suns will take on the Giants in what may be the match of the round.

Both have young and fast sides, and weather and ground conditions will have a big influence on the result.

If Toby Greene continues his good form – and I assume he will – the Giants should win the match hands down!

Stung by last Monday’s defeat and their dismal score line of 16 points, Fremantle will be out to give it all they have against the Magpies on Sunday.

Both sides will be desperate for a win, but Collingwood have the experience to bounce back better than the Dockers can and take the victory in what I expect to be a tight finish.


Western Bulldogs

Carlton Blues

Port Adelaide Power

Brisbane Lions

Adelaide Crows

St Kilda Saints

West Coast Eagles

GWS Giants

Collingwood Magpies

Progressive tip score: 43