Round 10 Preview
Updated: Aug 4
Straight into Round 10 on a Monday. What a bizarre world we are living in at the moment.
At least it should be a good game to kick things off, and a friendly 7:10pm timeslot leading straight into On The Couch.
Small wins. Small wins.
Port Adelaide v Western Bulldogs
So the Tigers gave Port Adelaide the blueprint for beating the Bulldogs last weekend - get it in quickly and let your marking players do the work.
With Dixon, Westhoff and Georgiades firing, Port Adelaide have the personnel to do the job and expose the Bulldogs talls. But through the middle, do the Dogs have the edge? Dunkley returns, Macrae is unstoppable at the moment and Bontempelli gives them something different, so it's up to them to limit supply to the Power forwards and get the ball going their way.
Tricky matchup here due to the varying strengths of either side. The Dogs might need their forward line to dig in and convert their chances, because we know Port Adelaide have enough offensive weapons to post a winning total.
Pick: Port Adelaide by 11
Richmond v Brisbane
No result would shock here. Both sides up to the level and should find themselves in a finals series with a bit of luck. The Lions certainly have the better block of form and a very fit list, so they are deserved favourite. How much do the days break play a part in this fixture block? Richmond with a 6-day break, the Lions backing up off a relatively easy win four days earlier.
We get to watch Andrews v Lynch, Grimes v Cameron, Martin v Neale (although probably not directly), and two sides who are used to having it in their own half for long periods of time.
The Tigers are still one of the best ball movement sides in the competition, particularly from the back half. Brisbane's pressure makes them one of the best at creating forward half turnovers. Who will execute better?
Don't underestimate the return of Vlastuin to that backline, either. With Grimes locking down on Cameron, he gives them another rock solid defender who can provide an attacking element when they need it.
A lot has been made of the Tigers' injuries in recent times, but with a couple coming back now (Cotchin, Vlastuin) their issues might be a little overplayed, particularly with Noah Balta's outstanding form filling in for David Astbury. Richmond aren't as wounded as you might think yet still a little while off their best 22. They have enough weapons to really challenge Brisbane tonight.
If the Tigers can get their "layers" right up forward they can certainly hit the scoreboard often enough - get to the drop of ball inside 50 after Riewoldt and Lynch make a contest, but don't all charge right under their feet and leave yourself with no second wave if Andrews etc get a decent spoil away. It's critical to every side, but really important tonight against a confident Lions outfit.
Wouldn't talk you out of picking either side here.
Pick: Brisbane by 2
Geelong v North Melbourne
The Roos found some confidence last week, posting their first win since Round 2. The Cats were up for the fight against the Eagles and were really impressive without grabbing the victory.
A few important players are set to return for the Cats, and with all the players missing for North Melbourne it's hard to see them causing an upset here.
Pick: Geelong by 22
Adelaide v Melbourne
They will dead set blow the joint up if the Dees lose this one. There's a query on Max Gawn's fitness, an even bigger query on the ability for Melbourne to get the job done, and a huge query on whether Adelaide can win a game all season.
For the second-part of a Wednesday night double header, you couldn't have scripted this matchup better.
The President has done the football equivalent of going from zero to 100 miles per hour in about 30 seconds with his comments. Would love to say more but...wow.
The Demons couldn't lose to that Crows team...could they?
Pick: Melbourne by 18
Collingwood v Sydney
After being embarrassed by the Eagles, we were glad the Pies were going to come up against Fremantle and bank a win to start a reasonably easy stretch of games for them.
Well, they somehow lost to the Dockers and come up against a brave Swans side who haven't been an easy opponent all season despite losing five of their last six games.
With a fair bit of pressure on Collingwood, they will need to make a statement here to remain confident in their finals and premiership chances. For a forward line full of guys who regularly hit the scoreboard, they've found it incredibly difficult to kick goals lately.
The Swans will go to work on how the Dockers managed to keep them to 49 points. A similar scoreline this weekend and they might go close...
Pick: Collingwood by 14
Gold Coast v St Kilda
Thursday seems so far away with all the games to be played beforehand, but really looking forward to this one. The Suns need to find their flair again, and might just get a chance here as St Kilda don't always own the footy or the territory battle, even in their wins.
With a bit of creativity there is an angle that says the Suns have a chance here. The query is whether they can contain the swarm of St Kilda small forwards who have terrorised teams recently. If Gold Coast can't limit the supply and post a big enough score up the other end they will find it tough.
Pick: St Kilda by 15
Essendon v GWS
The Giants have been lethal up forward when they eventually get it in there, while the Bombers have been anything but lethal without many of their recognised goalkickers on the field. The scoring ability mismatch is hard to ignore.
The Giants might not get it all their own way though - GWS are the worst team at winning the ball back through the midfield, alarming if they are to really challenge for the flag this year. It probably won't matter in this game, but they would be keen to get back to causing turnovers through the middle and giving their forwards as much supply as possible.
You'd love to see the Bombers just go with speed at every opportunity and exploit an apparent lack of accountability or pressure through the middle. Time will tell...
Pick: GWS by 22
Round 10 Burning Question:
Will the "Days Break Factor" become extremely relevant over the next few weeks?
This is really the start of the shortened break period, so team selection combined with some residual fatigue could really play a part in a few results. But it's impossible to tell what will be affected - More blowouts? More early soft-tissue injuries? More upsets? Maybe a few comebacks?
While we don't want four and five day breaks to become a regular thing in future seasons, at least it gives us the chance to watch some footy every night...