This round is all about consolidating your spot in the eight. I don’t think it will be pretty and from a neutral perspective, not all that entertaining. There are only three games that will be worth watching, but several results will be critical in the scheme of things.
So here it is my smoky, shock, sure thing and smashing of the week.
7:40pm on Saturday AEST at Patersons Stadium
Now I have put this as my smoky because my Eagles bias may get in the way here. West Coast has found some form recently with wins over Geelong and Port Adelaide, and with a home ground advantage it should see them go in as favourites.
Collingwood will look to rectify their shock loss to the Kangaroos last weekend as they strengthen their midfield with the return of superstar Dane Swan.
Eagles supporters will look forward to the return of forward Josh Kennedy. It will be interesting to see how he goes after such a long time out of the game.
Eagles by 8 points
Shock: Port Adelaide Vs Brisbane
2:10pm on Saturday AEST at AAMI Stadium
Port Adelaide has begun the search for a new coach this week, announcing its panel of selectors on Tuesday.
The most important thing for the Power now is to convince Travis Boak to stay at the club.
Brisbane caused a great upset last week, showing grit and determination to come from behind after trailing Adelaide by 38 points early on.
The Lions are building something special for future seasons and will look to improve their away form.
Port Adelaide by 5 points
Sure Thing: North Melbourne Vs Fremantle
3:15pm on Sunday AEST at Etihad Stadium
The Kangaroos – now they are impressive! Their uncontested ball and spread is a joy to watch.
Brad Scott is starting to see the consistency in his side’s performances, and their forward line is beyond scary.
Fremantle is also playing great footy, but away from home against the in form team of the competition, the Dockers are dreaming.
The Kangaroos will cement their spot in the eight and look forward to finals football.
North Melbourne by 32 points
Smashing: Gold Coast Vs Carlton
7:40pm on Saturday AEST at Metricon Stadium
Carlton was extremely impressive last week and surprisingly, the Blues are still a chance to secure a finals birth.
I don’t want to take too much a way from this game but you would expect that Carlton will be going out for blood and this will get ugly really quickly.
The Suns have shown glimpses of brilliance in games. Harley Bennell will be a star of the future and next season they could push sides for the whole four quarters.
But this game is already over in my opinion.
Carlton by 90 points
Richmond Vs Essendon
7:50pm on Friday AEST at Melbourne Cricket Ground
Simple as this – Essendon needs to win to regain some respectability for the club, supporters, members and more importantly, keep its finals hopes alive.
The Tigers will be disappointed with its season and will want to beat its old foe after a close loss in round eight.
It will be a big crowd, but the most interesting battle going on will be who gets three votes. Trent Cotchin or Jobe Watson?
Richmond by 18 points
St Kilda Vs GWS
1:45pm on Saturday AEST at Etihad Stadium
Not even Eric Banner in the coach’s box could help St Kilda over the line last week, and unfortunately it spells the end for the club’s finals aspirations.
It has been a tough season for the young GWS side and I doubt this one will be any easier, with St Kilda looking to end the season on a positive.
St Kilda by 42 points
Sydney Vs Hawthorn
4:40pm on Saturday AEST at Sydney Cricket Ground
This game decides top spot and the AFL minor premiers. Both sides will be looking to secure the home final.
Three big ins for Hawthorn with Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin, Sam Mitchell and Josh Gibson available. Buddy will be looking to end the rumours and show why he is the best player in the competition.
The SCG could cause some problems for the Hawks – the Swans are nigh on impossible to beat there.
It will be close.
Hawthorn by 8 points
Geelong Vs Western Bulldogs
1:10pm on Sunday AEST at Skilled Stadium
The Bulldogs were okay for a quarter last week, then it was the same old story – a lacklustre performance against a side that has been brilliant all year.
Geelong is in great form. With a great blend of youth and experience, you wouldn’t want to come up against these guys in the finals.
If Tom Hawkins is as good as he has been for the last few weeks, I’m banking on a bag of 10.
Geelong by 57 points
Melbourne Vs Adelaide
4:40pm on Sunday AEST at Melbourne Cricket Ground
The season is almost over for the Demons and Mark Neeld will be thankful for it.
But he will have to endure another thumping over the weekend, as Adelaide look to rebound from last week and get some much needed practice on the MCG.
I can’t really offer much in regards to this game, it will be deplorable and one sided.
Adelaide by 70 points.