Port Adelaide v Richmond
Richmond to win by 1-39 @ 2.8
What a week for both clubs, getting a knock back to reality with a 37 and 45 point loss respectively after starting the season 2-0.
Richmond were dominated from the outset by the young Swans on their home turf, in what ended up being one of the most embarrassing losses for the club in a long while. They were beaten comprehensively across the board in most statistical categories, with not a single Tiger managing to tally 25 disposals.
Port Adelaide also suffered a 6-goal loss to West Coast, albeit not as embarrassing as Richmond’s, it still left much to be desired as they were dominated in disposals (412-351), inside 50’s (57-40) and clearances (41-27).
This repeat of the preliminary final is by far the match of the round, with it being unlikely that these two top quality sides have two bad weeks in a row. This should be a tight match-up throughout, but I’m backing in last years premiers to put forth a response and get back on track.
Gold Coast v Carlton
Carlton Blues -2.5 @ 1.88
This is a huge Saturday Night clash for both clubs, as the loser will go on to be 1-3 for the season, an uphill battle for any team, but especially ones that are trying to make the 8 for the first time in years.
Carlton managed to get their first win on the board for 2021 in remarkable fashion, knocking off the Fyfe-less Fremantle by 45 points off the back of a 7-goal performance by McKay that is sure to get the Blues faithful excited
The Suns however, had a less exciting week, losing to the Crows by 10 after leading during stages in the last quarter, and losing Witts to a season-ending injury. This leaves the Suns without a ruckman for the foreseeable future, with Smith, Conroy and Day all sidelined with their respective injuries.
I think the Suns will eventually adjust to not having a genuine ruckman, but I expect the short-term effects to be significant and for Pittonet to have a field-day, giving first use to his midfielders, including Cripps who had his best game of the year thus far with 34 disposals and 11 clearances. They should cover the line comfortably.
Fremantle v Hawthorn
Fremantle to win @ 1.5
The Dockers are back on their home turf to take on a Hawks outfit that just fell short of last years runner-ups.
Fremantle will likely regain Nat Fyfe for this clash, in what is a huge boost for a team that lost clearances 43-29 against the Blues. A win here would put them 2-2 for the season, in what would be a major improvement on their 2020 campaign after starting 0-4.
The Hawks ultimately left their comeback too late after trailing by 4-goals at three quarter time, kicking 4 of the last 5 goals of the match but still fell short by 5 points. This is another example of them digging themselves into holes early in games, after also trailing Essendon by 39 points at half-time in the first round and making a comeback to win by the slimmest of margins.
Fremantle came away as 16-point winners last time they played Hawthorn at Optus, with their midfield in Cerra (26 disposals), Fyfe (28 disposals) and Brayshaw (33 disposals) dominating the Hawks. I expect a similar story to unfold on Sunday