CrikeySports_markHow can it be anything else but Israel Folau? He’s changed codes and has signed with Greater Western Sydney. He follows in the footsteps of Karmichael Hunt who has signed with the Gold Coast.

So it’s been a crazy week for crazy signings.

The West Coast Eagles have flagged signing two Argentinians. Fremantle’s coach Mark Harvey has his eye on Parramatta behemoth Fuifui Moimoi and it’s been revealed today that Fremantle also had a crack at former Canterbury Bulldog Brent Crisp.

But it’s Folau’s signing that’s making the headlines and according to West Coast ruckman Dean Cox players are angry at the money being bandied about for Folau’s services.

Enter North Melbourne coach Brad Scott.

In an article published by the AFL website Scott approved the NRL superstars, Folau and Hunt, making the switch to AFL:

This is going to create a lot excitement, a lot of interest among potential young AFL footballers.

I’d love to have Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau at North Melbourne, that’s for sure.

I’m bet he would.

North Melbourne are struggling on the field. They’ve received two beltings in a row by the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle respectively. They’ve had some good wins too, but they are struggling.

Off the field is a different matter. I really like the Kangaroos. I want them to succeed. But they are failing to draw big crowds to their games in Melbourne and big losses don’t help their cause.

They need some star power. Forget Israel Folau and Karmichael Hunt. North Melbourne need something different. After all,  it was North Melbourne that revolutionised football with Friday night games. Why can’t they be ahead of the curve and be the first to recruit — what I expect to be commonplace in 2187 — A-List Hollywood stars and teeny bopper sensations?

Think of the marketing potential if Canadian bopster wunderkind Justin Bieber and teen heart throb Robert Patterson joined the Arden St throng:

Kangaroo_beiber

Kangaroo_patterson

I mean really, how different is that to Israel Folau and Greater Western Sydney?

Richmond vs. St Kilda — 7.40pm Friday June 4, Etihad Stadium

Who didn’t enjoy the Tigers win last week? You’re right, probably Port Adelaide’s fans and players. On the upside that includes Sunrise ‘s David Koch. The Tigers had a record 140 odd tackles in the aquatic themed AAMI Stadium. Jack Reiwoldt is coming on leaps and bounds as a player and a leader of the young Tigers. The Richmond midfield led by cubs Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin will be scary good in the not too distant future. Try Simmonds comes in for his farewell game. I like Snake — have done since his Freo days — but the game has passed him. Can they get up?

St Kilda ended up thrashing Adelaide last week. But for three quarters they were tested. Does that say more about the Crows or the Saints? I’m not sure. Minimal changes have been made by Ross Lyon. Jarryd Geary in for the injured Zac Dawson. It’s almost as if the Saints are humming away until their skipper, Nick Reiwoldt, returns and then they will hit the nitro. Speaking of being on fire — Leigh Montana’s game last week. If he plays like that again the Tigers can forget about a win. He needs to be stopped.

I want to tip the Tigers, I do. But I can’t.

Saints by 24

Carlton vs. Melbourne — 2.10pm Saturday June 5, MCG

This was meant to be the game when Melbourne players got to beat up Brock Maclean because, you know, he played at Melbourne. But poor Brock. His form has been so bad he’s been dropped and Dees fans will have to wait until 2011 for this chance.  Lachie Henderson is also dropped. Replacing them are Ryan Houlihan and Jarred Waite. Be interesting to see if someone from Melbourne tags Bryce Gibbs. His 45 possession game killed West Coast last week (but it didn’t according to West Coast coach John Worsfold).

The Dees welcome back Tom Scully, Jack Trengove and Matthew Bate. I’m really looking forward to this game. Some exceptional young talent across both teams on display.

I’m tipping Melbourne. I think an upset is brewing here and the Demons would have learned a lot from playing Geelong last week at Skilled Stadium — whereas the only thing that Carlton learned against the Eagles is that Bryce Gibbs can kill a team when he doesn’t have a man on him.

Dees by 7

Adelaide vs. Fremantle — 2.40pm Saturday June 5, AAMI Stadium

Former Crow Chris McDermott has started an internet campaign to get Freo skipper Matthew Pavlich back to Adelaide. It won’t happen. If he’s trying to save the Crows he might has well get Tony Modra, Darren Jarman and Shaun Rehn back while he’s at it. This is an  interesting game. Tyson Edwards last game — he’s a champion for the Crows, no doubt. But will this game have ruffles some feathers?

Meanwhile Fremantle are travelling beautifully. The Crows will have their hands full stopping Pavlich and Sandilands — and to rub it in — Michael Barlow returns. Stephen Dodd has been named to play his 100th game. An honest trier, Doddy is much liked by Freo faithful but he’ll find it hard to play often — if at all — going forward.

Pavlich loves playing Adelaide.

Freo by 31

North Melbourne vs. Brisbane — 7.10pm Saturday June 5, Etihad Stadium

North need a win. They have added some speed in Daniel Wells and Cruize Garlett — but what they need to add is an appetite for victory. I was really impressed with Jack Ziebell last week. He’s going to be a super player for the Kangaroos from many years. How do they beat the Lions? They have to play like they did in the last quarter against Freo. If they serve up the rubbish they did last week it’s going to be a long season for the North Melbourne faithful.

And Brisbane. They didn’t look like they could win another game all season and then all of a sudden that beat Collingwood! Luke Power and Simon Black were superb. Such wonderful natural footballers both of them. If they have good games and Fevola and Brown kick goals it’s hard to beat them.

But I think North can win this one. They like Etihad and will rebound strongly (I hope) after two unacceptable performances.

North by 11

West Coast vs. Geelong — 5.40pm Saturday June 5, Subiaco Oval

If only this was going to be a friendly encounter between an Eagle and a cat as this video so beautifully captures:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdJqzVQEgIQ[/youtube]

But it won’t be. This will be a massacre.

Unfortunately I think the Cats will play with these birds for a bit before they go in for the kill. Despite all the media speculation regarding Gary Ablett’s future you have to admire the way Geelong go about their business.

West Coast will go in hard. They will try their guts out. But Geelong will be too tough, too skilled and probably, in the and, too fast for the Eagles.

Cats by 42

Sydney vs. Essendon — 1.10pm Sunday June 6, SCG

Sydney were unlucky last week to lose by 2 points to Hawthorn. They looked good but couldn’t pinch the win. Daniel Hannebery has impressed me greatly — actually all of Sydney’s kids are impressive. But what has happened to Ryan O’Keefe? He needs to lift.

Meanwhile the Bombers are traveling beautifully. They beat the Doggies on the big stage last Friday night. Brett Stanton superb. Can they win again? Will they continue to prove the doubters wrong?I like what the Bombers have been constructing. But they lose Dustin Fletcher to suspension but welcome back a host of inclusion including Andrew Welsh and Jake Melksham.

I think the Swans will win here. It’s been building.

Swans by 14

Hawthorn vs. Port Adelaide — 2.10pm Sunday June 6, MCG

Can Hawthorn make the finals? Mathematics say yes. But they can’t afford to keep losing Lance Franklin, who’s suspended again. Fit and firing — with all their components working — Hawthorn are still a very good team. They’ll welcome back a raft of ins, including Chance Bateman. Luckily for them they are playing a deflated Port Adelaide at the MCG.

Port. Someone was going to lose to Richmond at some point and it was them. What is concerning for Port is the lack of steel — passion even — that their players are playing with. Would they run through a brick wall for each other, for the club? I’m not sure. They need Robbie Gray back. And Daniel Motlop has been named. He needs to find last year’s form in this game. He needs to take the game by the scrufff of the neck. He owes his teammates that.

Hawks too strong.

Hawthorn by 30

Collingwood vs. Western Bulldogs — 4.40pm Sunday June 6, Etihad Stadium

Match of the round. I can’t wait to watch this game. Both teams have something to prove after losing last week. If the Herald Sun‘s phonetics monkey full strength indicator is to be believed, then the Pies are at 99% of their capabilities. This does not bode well for the Western Bulldogs.

John Anthony and Shane O’Bree have felt the sword for last week’s loss to Brisbane. Collingwood can welcome back two of Leon Davis, Tarkyn Lockyer, Josh Fraser, Leigh Brown or Paul Medhurst. They do have depth does Collingwood.

The Doggies have had a turbulent week with Aker-gate. I think the form and absence of Akermanis and skipper Brad Johnson is what is hurting the Dogs. They are the mojo of the Dogs. Who among the Western Bulldogs players will take it upon themselves and stand up? It can’t keep being Brian Lake. He needs help.

Pies by 10