The last game of round twelve will mark the end of 22 straight days of footy, and teams are slowly starting to sort themselves out on the ladder, with a few on the outside being within striking distance.
Sydney vs GWS
The round will kick off at Optus stadium as both the Swans and the Giants are well rested following their bye in round eleven.
The Swans head into this match after losing six of their last seven matchups, coming up against a close to full strength Giants side. They have plenty of excuses, most notably their massive injury list consisting of the likes of Heeney, Kennedy, Naismith, Franklin and now Allir Allir forced to sit out due to an injured toe. Their youngsters in the likes of Rowbottom and Dawson have done their best to carry the load, and Blakey returning will no doubt boost their spirits, but they will need a special performance collectively to be able to get over the top of this Giants outfit.
The Giants have won three in a row, and they are starting to ramp up at the right time with just over a month left before finals. They have dominated possession in those three matches, winning the uncontested possession count by a high margin. Jeremy Cameron has been in form, kicking at least two goals in six of his last seven games. They currently sit in 8th spot, and a win here will put them out of the top 4 just by percentage.
The Giants have close to a fully fit side and are rolling. I don’t see the Swans posing a challenge in their current state.
Prediction: GWS by 32
Geelong V Port Adelaide
Friday Night Footy will once again take place at Metricon stadium between two powerhouse teams in the Cats and the Power.
Geelong will get to test themselves once again against the Power, after they would have been disappointed with their performance against the Eagles in round 9. Their win against the Saints was impressive, but if they beat the Power they will no doubt be at the forefront of the conversation regarding premiership favourites. They put on a clinic against the Saints, winning contested possessions, uncontested possessions, clearances and inside 50’s. Their delivery into their forward line was first class, as they recorded 14 marks inside 50 which led to many of the five goals of Hawkins and four goals of Rohan. It will be interesting to see wether they can replicate this performance.
The Power have stamped themselves as the team to beat this season, notching impressive scalps against the Tigers and the Bulldogs in the last fortnight. Ollie Wines had an unbelievable game, tallying 28 disposals and a goal to go along with eleven tackles. Boak (31 disposals) returned to his dominant self after only managing to get 10 touches against the Bulldogs, and their forwards in Gray (3 goals) and Dixon (2 goals) were just as imposing. A win here would put them two games clear in first spot, and although home advantage is irrelevant this season, the protection of the top four is still prominent.
This is the match of the round, and it’s hard to pick a winner, but I am tipping the Cats to outclass the Power in a nailbiter.
Prediction: Geelong by 8
North Melbourne V BrIsbane
North Melbourne will be looking for their fourth win of the season when they come up against the red-hot Lions.
The Kangaroos fell to a new low this season, after getting decimated by 57 points at the hands of the Demons. They got clobbered in the contested possession (100-119) and the uncontested possessions (168-190) which ultimately translated to a tough night for their forwards, with Larkey kicking four of their five goals. Brown going down early didn’t do them any favours, but it wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the match with the Roos being beaten in all positions. Expect Rhyce Shaw to swing the axe in preparation for this game after a handful of poor contributors.
The Lions got a win back against the Bulldogs after falling to the Tigers, and it was an impressive win all around. Lauchie Neale had another three-vote calibre game with 36 disposals and a goal, whilst Hipwood had his best game of the season with five majors. They look hungry to redeem themselves following their straight exit from last years finals series, and they can possibly regain top sport on the ladder depending on the results of other games, placing themselves in prime position to attack.
The Lions are flying whilst the Kangaroos have some soul-searching to do. A one-sided affair is more then likely.
Prediction: Brisbane by 30
Melbourne V Collingwood
The Demons will be looking to make it two in a row against the Magpies at the Gabba and put themselves in the eight.
The Demons have looked impressive in their last two weeks, albeit their wins came against the 16th placed Kangaroos and the 18th placed Crows. Oliver (31 disposals, 1 goal), Petracca (29 disposals, 1 goal) and Brayshaw (29 disposals, 1 goal) put in a mammoth performance as a collective midfield unit, leading to plenty of scoring opportunities for their forwards who split the reward between eleven different goalkickers. They are likely to regain Gawn, Viney, Lockhart and Neal-Bullen for this clash, and if Collingwood don’t bring their A game, then the Demons are a genuine chance.
Collingwood managed to hang on against Adelaide by four straight kicks in the midst of a mounting injury list. In good news however, they are likely to regain Elliott and Hoskin-Elliott, and Pendlebury will undergo a test and may be available for selection. Those will no doubt be three huge ins for the Pies, who had to heavily rely on Adams, Sidebottom and Crisp to carry them towards a win. Lynden Dunn made his long awaited return and managed to kick a goal much to fans delight, and second gamer Ruscoe kept the scoreboard ticking over with two of his own. A loss here would place them in the 7th-11th range of the ladder, something that they will want to avoid, thus making a win absolutely crucial.
The Demons looked impressive in their last two wins, but if Collingwood regain those big names then I think they will be able to take care of the job at hand comfortably.
Prediction: Collingwood by 20
Fremantle V Carlton
Fremantle will take on Carlton at their home ground at Optus Stadium.
The Dockers are 2-0 in their last 2 games, beating both Collingwood and Hawthorn. Fyfe has proven to be a necessity for the Dockers who were struggling without him, but now that he’s back, the Dockers look dangerous on any given night. He recorded 28 diposals and a goal to go along with Brayshaw’s 33 disposals. Walters is likely to make a return this week, and will bolster the Dockers lineup even further. Justin Longmuir went on record saying that Hogan is set to play in defence this week after many weeks of struggle in the forward line, and if this move pays off, then the Dockers loom as a very dangerous team from here on out.
The Blues were competitive against the Eagles last round, keeping the margin to only 11 points at three quarter time, but they lacked the firepower to combat the Eagles, and fell away late to lose by 22. Their captain Cripps has been out of form in a statistical sense and will need to lift for the Blues to avoid losing three in a row. They let the Eagles control the game far too easily, conceding 175 uncontested possessions, and if they let the Dockers do the same, then they are likely going to be in for the same result
Carlton were in form prior to their last two losses, and perhaps that can be put down to inkuries. Nontheless, the Dockers seem like they’re hitting their groove and I am tipping them to beat the Blues.
Prediction: Fremantle by 17
Western Bulldogs V Adelaide
Sunday footy will kick off at Metricon as the Bulldogs take on the winless Crows.
The Bulldogs are in a bit of a form slump, losing their last three. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as those losses came against quality teams in Richmond, Port Adelaide and Brisbane. Nonetheless, it showcased that the doggies are still not at the required level to challenge for a premiership as of yet, but they can get back to some winning form against the Crows. Macrae had an unbelievable game with 40 disposals (unheard of in these shorter quarters) whilst Bontempelli found some of his 2019 form with 30 disposals and a goal. They struggled to contain Brisbanes forwards for most of the match, and if their defence doesn’t figure it out soon then the Crows might have something in store for them by the name of Himmelberg.
The Crows are still yet to win a game, but they are inching close to one. They were competitive against Collingwood with Laird (37 disposals) and Matt Crouch (29 disposals) having solid games, whilst Brodie Smith returned from injury with a nice 21 touches. They will regain Sloane for this clash, but it will come at the expense of Doedee and Lynch. I don’t think they are out of it.
The Bulldogs should win this one comfortably, but the Crows are inching close to a win, and they will be in store for some trouble if they let their guard down.
Prediction: Bulldogs by 15
St Kilda V Essendon
St Kilda will take on Essendon at the Gabba in what looms as a crucial clash for finals aspirations.
The Saints put forth a disappointing effort against the Cats, losing by 59 points. They only had one player who managed to get more then 20 possessions (Steele) and only had three goalkickers in Phillips, Billings and Battle. They will be hoping to get back to the same form that saw them tally their seven wins thus far. Gresham will unfortunately miss this game due to a back injury, but they are likely to regain Ryder, Jones and Ross.
The Bombers fought back to salvage a draw against the Suns after trailing by 12 points at three quarter time. Stewart kicked his first majors of the season (3 goals) whilst Merrett, Mcgrath and Shiel were instrumental in the midfield, ultimately falling short. They will be hoping to regain Hooker and Townsend for this clash after Zaharakis has been ruled out with a quad injury.
This is a must win for Essendon, but the Saints should bounce back after their dismal performance against the Cats.
Prediction: St Kilda by 15
West Coast Eagles V Hawthorn
The Eagles will take flight on their home deck once again when they take on the Hawks to finish off Sunday footy.
The Eagles are sitting pretty in 4th spot heading into this round after winning their last six matches. Tim Kelly (22 disposals) seems to have found a groove in this midfield, and the pillars in Kennedy and Darling have demonstrated their chemistry once again in 2020, combining for 4 goals and 7 marks. They might have a huge inclusion in McGovern, further bolstering their case to make it 7 in a row and finish in the top two.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the Hawks who have lost four of their last five matches. The win out of those five matches came in round nine against the Blues, after they trailled early by 3 goals to finish off outscoring Carlton by 50 points in the remaining three quarters. Burgoyne and Patton will be available for this clash, making their list one of the healthiest in the league.
The Hawks are in a good position to bounce back after their loss to the Dockers with a relatively healthy team, but they face a brick wall in the form of the Eagles who are in blistering form.
Prediction: Eagles by 20
Richmond V Gold Coast
Monday night footy will finish off round twelve at the Gabba as the Tigers and the Suns take each other on.
Richmond have done an excellent job hanging on in terms of ladder positioning without their stars, and they now will be bolstered by the returns of Cotchin and Houli. This mirrors their run last year where they kept grinding away early in the season and then rampaged home just in time for finals. They lost their last match against the best team in the competition (Port Adelaide) as they failed to record any player above 20 disposals. Riewoldt still managed to snag three goals whilst Lynch was kept quiet with one. Their run home to the finals starts on Monday,
Gold Coast are heading into this after a thriller that ended in a draw against the Bombers. They had a chance to win the game off of Izak Rankines boot from 50 meters but he failed to make the distance. Weller, King and Day were their multiple goal scorers, but an alarming thing to come out of this match was the fact that they struggle to close out close games, as evident in their matches against the Saints, Bulldogs and now Bombers. They will need to find their best form if they want to knock off the Tigers.
The Suns have been a surprise packet this season, but the Tigers will be too strong.
Prediction: Richmond by 25