CrikeySports_markAnyway, I’m currently sitting in equal first in the Crikey office tipping comp with 12 picks from two rounds. The competition is called “Independent Media Sparkle Fairies”. Yep, First Dog on the Moon named it. In addition to that I run this Sports blog so when I thought of someone to do a weekly AFL tipping form chart thing for Crikey Sports’ wonderful readers, I came up with me, or First Dog on the Moon.

“Dog, want to do a weekly AFL tipping article?” I asked Mr Onthemoon.

“What, write something? I’m going to jump the shark soon,” was the cartoonist’s curt reply.

“OK then. What about if I write it and you can contribute a pick of the week or some such?” I asked again.

“Count me in.”

So we come to this. The inaugural Crikey Sports AFL tipping article, with Dog of the Week (First Dog’s insane contribution to this austere column).

St Kilda vs. Collingwood — 7.40pm Friday April 9, Etihad Stadium

Both the Saints and Collingwood are undefeated. And while Collingwood are at virtually full strength, the Saints are minus occasionally useful power forward Justin Koschitzke.

I struggle at the best of times to pick Collingwood. They are a very good team but they are missing something. Comic relief maybe? Why did they delist Shannon Cox? I am taking this Collingwood outfit too seriously. They are a very good team.

In contrast I like the cut of the Saints’ jib. It might be Brett Peake, or it might be that Adam Pattison is still on an AFL list, but by god, the Saints get it. They can also play football.

I couldn’t figure who to pick in this game, as it’s so close, so I asked Crikey editor Sophie Black (a Collingwood supporter) why the Pies will win on Friday. “Because they’re the best,” was her reply, “and Magpies are cool birds and a magpie would beat a Saint in a fight.”

Hard to argue with that.

In the interest of fairness I asked Crikey journalist Amber Jamieson (a Saints supporter) who would win. “Because St Kilda are a far superior team to Collingwood.” And then “2010 grand final”.

I am confused.

Saints by 24

North Melbourne vs. West Coast — 2.10pm Saturday April 10, Etihad Stadium

The Shinboners. North fans hate being called that. I don’t mind it, but then again I don’t follow North. Anyway, the “Shinboner” spirit will count for something after losing the first two matches of the season. Oooh, and I like Brad Scott. He knows North fans want to see a his first win as coach. He’d probably like to win for himself as well. It couldn’t have got much worse for North as they lost by 6,676,343 points to St Kilda last week. Captain Boomer Harvey had five touches. They need to rebound. Positives: have good kids

The West Coast Eagles also have lost their first two matches, so someone’s got to win. Yay! They lost a thriller to Port Adelaide last Saturday night — but their kids are looking good. Nick Naitanui is already a star (they do get a little ahead of themselves in Perth) — but the kid’s a freak. Luke Shuey has talent to burn and there’s a host of little Eagles that have enormous potential and talent. Shannon Hurn is out, which will hurt coach John Worsfold’s defensive structures. Dean Cox looks limp.

I’m picking North because it’s at Etihad and I know North assistant coach Darren Crocker and he’s a ripper bloke.

North by 17

Port Adelaide vs. Brisbane — 2.40pm Saturday April 10, AAMI Stadium

Did you know the AFL has approved the Crows and the Power to construct and use a coaches box behind the goals at AAMI Stadium — and the other team doesn’t get one?* Did you also know that Eddie McGuire says that South Australians are feral and that now if he goes to Adelaide he will probably die?** Did you also know that Port Adelaide have a secret bunker at AAMI that they use to breed Tredreas?*** Anyway, Port have played two and won two. They have a  great mix of youth and experience. Much maligned Brett Ebert has stepped up to the plate and improved his game remarkably. One thing you can never do is write the enigmatic Power off.

Brisbane. So good right now. Jonathan Brown. Awesome. So much has been written about the Lions champion captain this week that to add to that would probably lessen the effect. Voss’ risky Fevola recruitment plan seems to be paying off early as a fitter Brown enjoys the freedom the chinned one has given him. I like Voss. I seriously thought Staker was a hack and Maguire was finished as a player. Looks like Voss knows more about football than me. Who woulda thought?

This is a hard one to pick. For no good reason I’m picking Brisbane.

Brisbane by 12

**Sorta true
***Not true

Sydney vs. Richmond — 7.10pm Saturday April 10, SCG

Why the hell is Paul Roos quitting coaching at the end of the year? He’s like Mr Freakin’ Miagi! Sydney are back and they have talent across the board. The Bloods mantra is being chanted again, led by kung fu Buddhist master Brett Kirk. They thrashed Adelaide in Adelaide (long a hoodoo) last week. Dan Hannebery won last week’s rising star nod. All good news for Swans fans.

And then there’s Richmond. I feel so sorry for the Tigers. Richmond is an awesome place to live (I live there!) but the Tigers are struggling. I saw Ben Cousins at Cheeky Monkeys cafe on Swan St on Monday and he looked sad. (Well he didn’t but you know …) Coach Hardwick is doing all he can and playing the kids. I like the look of Relton Roberts and Ben Nason. Dustin Martin will be a gun.

Swans by plenty, let’s say 54

Carlton vs. Essendon — 7.10pm Saturday April 10, MCG

Can you smell what the Blues are cooking? Is it croquembouche? I like Eddie Betts. He plays his 100th game for Carlton on Saturday. But he’s no Fev. All the doom and gloom that was thrown at Carlton pre season due to losing Fevola and no Judd for the first three weeks was probably a bit over the top, but they beat Richmond round 1 and lost to a rampaging Lions last week.  There’s too much class in the Blues midfield to be ignored . Much improved defender Paul Bower is a chance to return.

Essendon. What can I say? They lost last week to lowly pathetic Fremantle*. They couldn’t even win when trying to honour club great Matthew Lloyd. They named half a stadium after him and they couldn’t beat Freo, who hadn’t won in Melbourne since Monica Lewinsky started bonking Bill Clinton! What’s going on! The Bombers are proud however, and the winless start to the season will grate on them. And they hate Carlton.

But I think Carlton will be too strong.

Carlton by 4

*I follow lowly Freo

Melbourne vs. Adelaide — 1.10 Sunday April 11, MCG

The Demons had their heart broken last week. In the kind of way that you ask a cute girl to your Year 12 school dance and she ends up getting it on with some dude you hate. The sort of way Ralph Wiggum’s heart broke in that Simpsons episode. You know the one. And they lost by point to bloody Collingwood! Of all teams. Who was happy that the Demons lost? No one. That’s who. They are starting to show something Melbourne and their kids are looking very good.

Meanwhile there’s Adelaide. What happened to the Crows? At the end of last year they looked like some sort of Eastern German run battalion during the 80s. They were a team of Dolph Lundgrens. Well drilled, they could beat anyone on their day. And now they are a rabble. This week Tyson Edwards and Andrew McLeod play in their 300th game TOGETHER — a record. Amazing considering their many off field issues. But champions, the both of them, nonetheless.

The Demons are going to do this for Jim.

Melbourne by 23

Bulldogs vs. Hawthorn — 2.10pm Sunday April 11, Etihad Stadium

Match of the round. The Bulldogs are on the board with their win last week against a listless Richmond. As First Dog said, “it was boring.” This game won’t be. Will the Hawks have the defenders to stop Barry? Will Adam Cooney continue to go nuts? So many things to like about this Bulldogs team — but this is their second test (after losing to Collingwood round one), and they need to win.

Gee the Hawks looked good on Easter Monday. Geelong were too good. But the Hawks weren’t far behind. The biggest problem Hawthorn have is their ruck division. Renouf is a one man band, and he couldn’t run out the game. Hawks need to address this to compete against the top teams. Buddy’s back and Roughead is in form. Rioli has to be the best tackler in the league. Will get better with games into Franklin, Rioli, Bateman et al.

The Geelong game will have taken too much out of the Hawks

Bulldogs by 25

Freo vs. Geelong — 2.40pm Sunday April 11, Subiaco Oval

If the Hawks vs. Bulldogs is match of the round, then this game, amazingly, isn’t far behind. Who would have though Fremantle, an enigma wrapped in a question mark, would be two and zero taking on Geelong and full of confidence. They look great so far. Their forward pressure and tackling is as good as I have seen from a Freo team. They look committed and united. Hell must be freezing over.

Geelong, so superb for so long, and it looks like it isn’t going to stop soon. Gary Ablett has a shocker but still has 38 touches. Jimmy Bartel is a freak. Freak. Corey Enright can seriously play. And so on. They travel west without Mooney or Scarlett. They have people to cover these modern legends. They are a great team and demand high standards. Remember the days Garry Hocking changed his name to Whiskas? Good times.

Should be a ripper.

Geelong by 12