Round 12 Preview
Round 12 starts with the Sydney derby - in Perth. We can expect a bit of niggle and perhaps not a lot of scoring, although the rain radar seems clear enough to give them a chance at providing the viewers with a Thursday night shootout.
The rest of the round is an intriguing one - two great games between Geelong and Port Adelaide, and Melbourne and Collingwood which will go a long way to shaping the make-up of the final eight. Then we get a fair few mismatches on paper. Is anyone capable of an upset this week? Time will tell...
Sydney v GWS
Fresh off a bye, we get to see these two face off in an intriguing grudge match. A good way to start Round 12.
Big game for the Giants midfield here - they should get every opportunity to take advantage of an undermanned Swans outfit, and capitalise on their ability to score from Centre Bounces in particular (#1 lately)
The Swans need to get back to what they do best - turn the game into a scrap, deny the opposition the ball and just find a way to post a competitive score.
Leaning towards GWS with the game at Optus Stadium - both sides get their first look at the ground here but you feel the wide open spaces might be very enjoyable for the likes of Kelly, Cameron and Whitfield...
Pick: GWS by 33
Geelong v Port Adelaide
Huge game. The Cats defense is set up perfectly to give Port Adelaide absolute hell in this one - we will find out whether Dixon and co can find some marks down there, or whether they need to find some goals from their smalls at ground level.
At the other end it’s a similar story. Geelong have been really impressive lately - largely on the back of their defense and their underrated midfield outside of their stars - but they’ve also found a few small forwards to contribute on the scoreboard. Two games ago it was Gryan Miers, and last game Gary Rohan ended up with 7 shots at goal.
Can Port find someone at ground level to do the same? The obvious is Robbie Gray - if he can perform against such a solid defensive unit, he will take Port a long way towards victory.
With Port away from their rabid fans for the first time since Round 9 and Geelong in an ominous patch of form, we will lean slightly towards the Cats here. But with Port playing a similar style to St Kilda, they would have gone to school on how to counteract Geelong’s methodical ball movement. Wouldn’t surprise if Kenny has a trick or two up his sleeve for them.
Take your pick. Nothing would surprise in this one.
Pick: Geelong by 5
North Melbourne v Brisbane
Brisbane far too good.
Pick: Brisbane by 33
Melbourne v Collingwood
Tricky. Backing in the Pies defense to cause problems for the Demons in a tight one.
Pick: Collingwood by 3
Fremantle v Carlton
Blues need to play with flair here. If they do, they can win.
Pick: Carlton by 10
Western Bulldogs v Adelaide
The Dogs just need to find their run here - should be their sole focus to run and spread and hit the short targets by foot. If they do, they should find it pretty easy to carve up the Crows.
Pick: Western Bulldogs by 28
St Kilda v Essendon
Don't necessarily subscribe to the theory that the Saints will get it their own way here, but over the course of the game they should have enough firepower to post a score that the Bombers are incapable of matching.
Saints will be keen to bounce back after being dismantled by Geelong, and with a 6 day break compared to Essendon backing up four days later, that should seal the deal.
Pick: St Kilda by 28
West Coast v Hawthorn
Very wet in Perth lately which gives West Coast another chance to hone their skills in less than favourable conditions. The Hawks might be more suited to some wet weather football, but the Eagles have far too much class across the board (and an extra day's break) to drop this one.
Pick: West Coast by 29
Richmond v Gold Coast
For the Suns to win, they need help from their forwards not named Ben King. Someone has to bob up and kick a few tonight - Rankine, Sexton, Ainsworth, Day? Tough task against that Tigers defence.
Richmond with enough firepower to grind their way to victory - their own forwards capable of building a big enough score to keep their top 4 hopes well and truly alive.
Pick: Richmond by 33
Round 12 Burning Question:
Will the Crows win a match this season?
Their run home suggests they might get another couple of looks at a win. Hopefully for all the hard working staff and players who have endured a tough season in an even tougher year, they can pinch a win and taste victory at some point.