Completely wrong about Buddy and the Hawks and Goodes and the Swans, surely I'll get it right with Stephen Hill and Nic Nat.

Completely wrong about Buddy and the Hawks and Goodes and the Swans, surely I'll get it right with Stephen Hill and Nic Nat.

I don't mean to boast.

Actually, yes I do. There's no way I could write the next few paragraphs if I didn't.

Who told you to back the Crows at $4.50 to make the top-four? Oh yeah, that was me.

The Adelaide Crows were a great top-four bet at $4.50. If only I'd been smart enough to take my own advice.

The Adelaide Crows were a great top-four bet at $4.50. If only I'd been smart enough to take my own advice.

Who urged you to wager on Patrick Dangerfield (then $67, now $8) for the Brownlow medal? Guilty as charged.

Who suggested Josh Hill would have a breakout year for the Eagles and kick 35 goals (so far he has 33)? I'll have to own up to that one too.

Who predicted West Coast would fall out of the top-four, while Freo would scrape into the top-eight? Guess my hand's going to have to go up yet again.

In the interests of fairness, I also feel compelled to point out that most pundits seemed to think the Eagles would struggle with injuries and the Dockers would jump a couple of spots under Ross Lyon.

And that I was dumb enough to tip Richmond to play finals (the mushrooms I had on my pizza the night before writing that must have been magic), describe Hawthorn's pre-season flag favouritism as mere bandwagon jumping on a grand scale and fail to believe Sydney could make the eight.

Additionally, I have a total of zero dollars invested on either the Crows or Dangerfield but got carried away before Essendon's plummet from grace and invested money on Jobe Watson to win the Brownlow.

So, umm, yeah, I guess you could say White Or Wrong predictions come with all the certainty of a Kepler Bradley set shot on goal.

Nevertheless, out comes the crystal ball again, as I put my own on the chopping block and peer deep into the heart of September.

Or, at the very least, this weekend.

West Coast

Outcome most likely: Should make easy work of North Melbourne this week in Perth but stats say they can't win a big game against elite opposition on the road. Between them this year the Dockers and Eagles have two wins outside WA against top-eight sides - and both came against the Kangaroos, who finished seventh.

Selection poser: Assuming Josh Kennedy plays and Eric Mackenzie comes back (seeya later Mitch Brown), then Andrew Strijk is the query. Had the ball only five times against Hawthorn last week and must be under pressure when Koby Stevens and Tom Swift are waiting eagerly in the wings to be brought back in and dropped again after one game.

Random but not entirely unrelated question but where the hell has Ash Smith been? Is there radical hairdo/visible tattoo selection quota at West Coast and Chris Masten is taking up all of it?

As for Matt Rosa, it will be a He-Man effort if he gets back but surely you don't take the risk this week in a game you ought to be winning anyway?

Time to shine: Not sure what happened to Nic Naitanui against the Hawks. Forgetting the "crossing-the-line" ruck debate, he looked half-anonymous last Friday, which is kind of hard when you are 201 centimetres, run like a gazelle and can leap over Aaron Sandilands in a single bound (there's an Olympic event I'd pay to watch - five step run-up, then jump over Sandi - in footy boots).

Tipping Nic Nat will be back to something like his second-effort best versus the Roos and that Todd Goldstein will have the studmarks on his shoulders to prove it.

Best case scenario: Typically, "best case scenario" answers the question of "what happens if everything goes right?". But we're going to be a bit more realistic than that here.

BCS for the Eagles is beating the Roos this week, scraping by Collingwood the next and then going down to Sydney or Adelaide the following week. Sorry Eagles-supporting friends, I just can't see them having the legs to go any further in such an injury-plagued season.


Outcome most likely: Honestly? The Dockers supporter in me wants to think otherwise but realistically it's some form of semi-competitive performance against the Cats, in which Freo is within striking distance at half-time but outpointed after that. It's one thing to beat Geelong at home in round one. Quite another to do it on the road, in a final, without your star centre-half-back and when the Cats are only one freak snapshot artist off being at full-strength.

Selection poser: Replacing the hamstrung Luke McPharlin is the biggest one and there are various arguments to be made for Antoni Grover and Alex Silvagni.

But what about a (hopefully) fit-again Kepler Bradley coming back to take on Tom Hawkins. The AFL's ultimate man-child getting shut down by a 26-year-old bloke who has looked, moved and slouched like a 43-year-old since he first loped into the league. I'd like to see that!

Time to shine: One day, Stephen Hill is going to get the ball, realise that he can outsprint every player on the park, take eight bounces and then - instead of lowering his eyes and unselfishly trying to hit up a leading forward - roost it through from 65 metres. 

Please let that day be this Saturday.

Best case scenario: Maybe that the Dockers can stay competitive into the last quarter? Loath to hope for anything more than that, for fear of being a jinx. But everything is crossed.

Best of the rest:

Adelaide to hand a right royal shellacking to Sydney, thus proving my theories that the Crows are the real deal and that the Swans (belatedly) aren't much chop.

Collingwood (a rather tasty looking $3.35!) to do something similar against the Hawks, Geelong to again win the flag (will make Freo's competitive first-half effort on Saturday look pretty good) and, for the sake of my bank balance, Watson to win the Brownlow.

Take it as read, folks! Or don't. Completely your choice.