Knightmare for Robert Walls

With his opening breath of last night’s radio broadcast of the Essendon-Bulldogs NAP Cup match, 3AW commentator Robert Walls wasted little time in dusting off his trusty old vaudeville-style I-hate-the-Bombers act, expressing his frustration at the flood of Windy Hill-related media recently. Every second day it seems, Wallsy has had to put up with pesky Essendon content in the paper…clearly breaking the run of Carlton/Judd/Twigley references he looks forward to every other day…

Well, Wallsy will have to put up with some Essendon excess for another week at least, the Bombers advancing to the semi-finals and looking somewhat impressive in the process. The Dogs may have contributed to that impression with a sluggish performance – and they may well have been affected by the trip to Darwin last week – but, honestly, they played like their flight home had been circling above Tullamarine for six days and they had walked off the plane ten minutes before the bounce…

For all their promise so far this preseason, Essendon have yet to face a team that is a) really good, or b) well prepared. That will change next week when they face either Geelong (most likely) or St Kilda so the Matthew Knights revolution will face its biggest test very soon. Robbie Walls can hardly wait…

Manuka Oval, Canberra- 3:40pm (local): St Kilda v Geelong (FOX)

The St Kilda “half-decent ruckmen” experiment was due to continue in Canberra today but Steven King is definitely sitting out, and the fragile Michael Gardiner is no certainty either. Perhaps they can substitute those big guys with life-size cardboard cut-outs…nobody in Canberra will know the difference!

But the Saints have been able to use this preseason to fine-tune their game plan for handling countless request about injury-prone players, if their Nick Riewoldt knee injury rumour mill treatment is any indication. Unless that was a cardboard cut-out as well…or CGI.

The Cats did it easy last week and might be on the way to breaking the hearts of bookies everywhere – not that anybody is getting carried away with the preseason or anything. The highlight of this match for Geelong would have been watching Cam Mooney talk rubbish to premiership teammate turned Saint Steven King. King won’t be there (coincidence?) so the Cats will have to be content with cruising to victory.

Telstra Dome, Melbourne – 7:10pm (local): Hawthorn v Carlton (TEN)

The Hawks managed to squeak past a traditionally uninterested Sydney in last week’s NAP Cup opener but a slightly more interested Carlton at the Dome will be a greater challenge. Not that Hawthorn is out to win at all costs either, the coach is clearly towing the preseason party line.

Oh my God, oh my God…a new recruit and premiership midfielder will debut for Carlton tonight! Yes yes yes!! Oh, settle down Blues fans, not Him…it’s just Richard Hadley. While Hadley’s debut will be worth checking out, of more interest will be how Carlton plans to cover the loss of Brad Fisher – particularly if they give this young fella a go. That first kick of his last week was pretty classy…

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