Small Forward Off
This could get exciting if we see two of the most exciting players in the AFL plying their trade at their respective end of the ground. Eddie Betts’ best work is something to behold and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s work is getting better each week highlighted by last week’s match winning snap against the Roos.
While we are on Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti surely it’s time he got a nickname that doesn’t take 30 seconds to say. I’ll leave that to the experts, I’ll just come up with something ridiculously socially inappropriate, and no, I won’t give examples.
Essendon are close to tipping point with injuries now losing Hurley who would probably have gone to Tex. This means Hooker likely has to stay back which removes a level of flexibility recently afforded to Worsfold as Hooker has been able to provide a forward options when provided. Crows look better balanced despite still missing Lynch and should get the points.
Port Power – on/off?
Port were terrible last week at home in a game they needed to win. The job gets no easier this week as they head over to the MCG to take on Richmond who are on a roll having won their last three games. Port are taking the “Power” thing a bit too literally and have clearly adopted the characteristics of an alternating current. They will come up against some fierce resistance this week. That’s as far as I’m willing to take that metaphor.
The Tigers are building nicely to finals and if they can get Riewoldt and Lynch working well together, they are a huge threat, not just this week but for finals too.
This is a game that Port Adelaide, on current form, should not win – so I’ll go with Port in this one by 11 points.
Gold Coast Sunset
There’s not much to look forward to this in this one. Normally a 17th vs 18th holds some sort of morbid fascination, like watching two of the school nerds in a playground fight – neither of them know what they are doing but at least they are evenly matched.
That’s not the case in this game. Carlton has a good list and David Teague has got them showing something that Brendan Bolton was unable to shake out of them. Gold Coast haven’t been great, on the back of two fearful hidings from Richmond and Adelaide. This could well be a hiding too which would put a lot of space between 17th and 18th and will leave the AFL with a real headache. Extra picks won’t work here – no one wants to go there. Is it time to package them up with a set of long sleeve jumpers and send them to Tasmania?
The difference between a stuttering season and gaining momentum can be very small and this is the case for Collingwood. Had they not nudged out the West Coast Eagles by one point they were on three consecutive losses, heading North and looking at a fourth. As it stands, there is some momentum and belief, despite the likely loss of Darcy Moore and Scott Pendlebury. Collingwood look like gaining Taylor Adams and Jeremy Howe which will go some way to offsetting these losses.
GWS have their own problems, now losing Coniglio to compound the loss of Josh Kelly and Callan Ward from what should be a start studded midfield. Mumford has to come back to take on Brodie Grundy and while he may match Grundy at the hitouts, he won’t be able to keep up around the ground. Roughead in current form at least breaks even with Cameron which leaves the job to the GWS mids and small forwards. Will be an interesting contest – Pies for me.
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North heads North to go South
Aren’t the Lions irresistable? They’ve edged their way to third and are only percentage away from 2nd. Could they get a home final?
Here’s a big test for Rhys Shaw’s semi resurgent Roos. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti put a big dent in their flickering finals aspirations and now they come up against a bona fide finalist in Brisbane. The Roos passed the test against Collingwood three weeks back working the Pies over with elite pressure. They will need to bring this against Brisbane and if they can are a genuine chance. This makes the Goldstein v Martin ruck match up vital. If Brisbane can get first use via Martin, North won’t be able to match Brisbane’s slick ball movement.
What else to do on Saturday?
Another one it’s hard to get too excited about. This could be a good time for a date night so you can regain some of the points you used up watching World Cup cricket for seven weeks.
Fremantle have dropped their last four matches. They’ve had a terrible run with injury but they’re not Robinson Crusoe although they look like getting Hogan back this week. It’s the intensity has dropped right off for the Dockers. Only Nat Fyfe kept them in the game against Hawthorn last week and the lack of support eventually wore him down.
Sydney aren’t going much better. They’ve dropped their last two but backs to the wall Sydney fight like no other. Sydney also are missing some big names and there are none bigger than Lance Franklin. Buddy’s understudy though has shown plenty. Expect something special from Nick Blakey on Sautrday night, despite the attention of Joel Hamling. Sydney here, but a couple of goals.
Geelong v Hawthorn Reprise
It has been a long time since there was this much real estate between Hawthorn and Geelong on the ladder. As it stands, this is 1st vs 11th – a variance which would have been greater had Hawthorn not won their last two.
I’m hoping this game is played like the matches we’ve seen for the last ten plus years where the game was hard fought and the margin tight. The Cats have lost two of their last five so are no certainties here. Look forward to some cagey Clarkson moves to start – Chris Scott will need to prepared for anything but will have some moves of his own. Scott has better talent on the field though so while this will be closer than it should be, Geelong should get the points.
Demons sell their Soul
Normally the devil is the recipient of the soul courtesy of some cagey dealings. This week the Demons have again sold part of their soul to the Eagles and transferred their home game to Alice Springs. The only thing to be said for this is that West Coast have of late played the MCG as well as any other. So while most of their fans are drinking hot chocolate in the chalets of Mount Buller, a small number will fly to the red centre to see the Dees take on the Eagles who will be annoyed after dropping a home game to Collingwood.
Melbourne have made underachievement an art form this year and don’t expect it to turn around this week. The Eagles will see this as an opportunity to boost percentage in the run home.
Coaching Capers v19.1b
Here we go again, another (late) mid season coaching change. It’s tough for the Bulldogs who have got their season back on track and eyeing an unlikely spot in the eight with four wins from their last five games. Now they come up against a Brett Ratten coached St Kilda which all but guarantees a loss to the Dogs.
Two things of interest here – Did Richardson have the handbrake on and will Ratten take it off and let the Saints run free with nothing to lose?
The most exciting part of this game though is the growth of Josh Dunkley and his work in the mid field with Marcus Bontempelli. The Dogs’ list is looking up – add in a couple of big backs at the next draft and as these boys grow together, they could be something exceptional.
Dogs here, despite the new coach.