It’s Round 20, and after a dismal effort by our deputy sport’s editor Paul Bastin last week (let’s just say his predictions were slightly off target) I thought I would give the preview a shot. Looking at the round ahead there are a few games that could be decided by a coin toss.
But my sports team have told me to man up; so here is my Smoky, Sure thing, Shock and Smashing for this week.
Smoky: West Coast Vs Geelong
8:40pm Friday AEST at Patersons Stadium
West Coast has hit the wall. Injuries are certainly catching up with the young squad who have been unable to keep the same team on the park for consecutive weeks.
West Coast have suffered three loses out of their last four matches by an average of 55 points, it is clear that the club is struggling.
Geelong on the other hand is back. Who could have predicted the Cat’s ecstatic win to keep the ‘Kennett curse’ in existence? A goal to Tom Hawkins after the siren sealing the deal, he’s on fire kicking 14 goals in his last three matches.
The only concern for the Cattery might be in the ruck department, with Orren Stephenson to shoulder the load.
The Eagles will welcome the return of skipper Darren Glass after his week suspension, and the home ground advantage is sure to help. But with a tired forward line and the Cat’s finding their feet, Geelong will sink its claws in and climb the AFL ladder.
Geelong by 15 points
Sure Thing: St Kilda Vs Melbourne
MCG Saturday at 1:45pm EST
Now I’m not one to make outlandish comments so I won’t, but this game will be done and dusted by the first quarter.
However when the two sides last met in Round 5, we saw great intensity from Melbourne and after last week’s win against the Gold Coast they are sure to be up and about for the contest.
But with no key forward, no outside runners and no ‘A’ grade players, Melbourne will struggle to contain St Kilda, who need to win the remaining four games of the season if they are any chance of making the finals.
Maybe check the line bet with this one.
St Kilda by 57 points.
Shock: Sydney Vs Collingwood
7:40pm Saturday AEST at ANZ Stadium
This could be a preview into the first week of the finals. Collingwood are no doubt the favoured side on paper and for some reason Sydney still don’t receive the respect that they have earned.
The ANZ stadium might strengthen Collingwoods chances with the Swans playing only their third home game of the season at this ground. Either way, this game is going to be close.
No Dane Swan will make the decision for a hard tag on Pendlebury a lot easier, but losing their Captain and star Jude Bolton evens the playing field.
The Swans will look to keep their winning streak of nine intact are sure to post a big score even without Sam Reid.
But it seems Collingwood have the edge over Sydney in recent years so i’ll use that as my deciding factor.
Pies by 9 points.
Smashing: Hawthorn Vs Port Adelaide
1:10pm Sunday AEST at Aurora Stadium
Poor, Port, Power. The week doesn’t get any better for the Adelaide mob. After losing their coach this week, they come up against arguably the competitions best team.
The hardest thing for Hawthorn during this match was deciding to again rest big Buddy Franklin.
I really feel this could get ugly, with the Hawks most certainly looking for redemption after a disappointing loss to the Cats last week.
No point in telling you any stats for this encounter.
Hawthorn by 100+points.
Adelaide Vs Fremantle
2:10pm Saturday AEST at AAMI Stadium
Now this game promises to be entertaining. Despite being criticised earlier in the year for a lacklustre game plan and an inability to score, Fremantle have stepped it up a notch scoring over 100 points in three consecutive weeks. Maybe place a cheeky bet for Matthew Pavlich to kick a bag of 5 plus.
The Crows at home is a massive test for the Docker’s and losing defender Luke McPharlin, who is in All-Australian form, to suspension is something the purple haze could have done without, especially when the Crow’s have such a tall forward line consisting of Taylor ‘Texas’ Walker and Kurt Tippet.
Adelaide will cement its top four position to a roaring home crowd.
Adelaide by 20 points.
Gold Coast Vs GWS
4:40pm Saturday AEST at Metricon Stadium
A lot has been said about this match, which has been dubbed the ‘Lachie Whitfield cup’, in other words who is getting the number one pick come draft tome.
This match should be a cracker; a plethora of talent from the Gold Coast young guns matches the hardened recruits from GWS. The Sun’s will look to win their first in 17 attempts at Metricon Stadium even with a long list of injuries.
Suns captain Gary Ablett will look to bag another three votes and strengthen his claims on the Brownlow Medal.
Suns by 24 points
Carlton vs Brisbane
7:40 pm Saturday AEST at Etihad Stadium
Does anyone seriously care about this game? Brisbane are a side building, their good form in the middle of the season has started to dwindle. Carlton on the other hand have been ‘coming’ since Chris Judd’s arrival, the football world is still waiting.
Carlton should ‘Kreuze’ through this one with a solid win (had to add some substance to this review).
Carlton by 35 points.
Richmond Vs Western Bulldogs
3:15pm Sunday AEST at the MCG
The dogs will be looking to bury this weeks mischief from Tom Liberatore after he was caught ‘holding the ball’ so to speak.
Down at tigerland it looks like another failed season. But chins up if you’re a Tiger supporter, you’ll win this and look to build for the following season.
Richmond by 35 points
Essendon vs North Melbourne
4:40pm Sunday AEST at Etihad Stadium
‘Wowwee’ as Brian Taylor would say, this game is going to be massive. Two massive forward lines at either end, I reckon this one will be a shoot out.
North have a bit of a worry about in the center, they lost the clearances to the Dogs last week and are still without Jack Ziebell, the Roo midfielders are going to have to work tirelessly to prevent a reoccurrence of round one.
North have been the inform team of recent weeks and the Bombers have begun to look tiresome. Either way, the prize is finals football; the game will be fought tooth and nail.
North Melbourne by 11 points.