Round 17 stuff

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Post by Booney on Fri Jul 24, 2015 9:06 am

Hawthorn v Carlton

It’s a mismatch of monumental proportions with this week’s FNF pitting the mighty Hawks against the not so mighty 16th placed Bluebaggers. The Blues had a little midseason renaissance, but that has fallen away in the last couple of weeks, not just the final margin on the scoreboard but the manner they have played. They dished up an absolute rotter two weeks ago, it stunk up so much that even Gordon Ramsay wouldn’t have had enough expletives to cover it off and then last week they got rolled by 40 points by a Fremantle side well down on form and missing a couple of key personnel. It was another lamentable spectacle that the Blues offered their fans.

In that same period of time the Hawks have had huge wins over two of their premiership challengers in the Dockers and the Swans. It has been blistering football when going forward and when defending they have strangled the opposition and given them nothing. The round 6 loss to GWS was the last time a side has managed to kick more than 12 goals against the Hawks.( They did lose one 11 goals to 8 to Sydney )

So they’re strangling sides at one and an opening them up at the other. Sounds like a shocking fetish film. Carlton are simply not going to have the stopping power nor the scoring power to match it with the rampant Hawks and while the Hawks could be excused for going easy on the Blues this week, I don’t think they will. The system they play with, the personnel they have at their disposal and the opposition they face all adds up to a thumping. Hawthorn big, by 80+ points and with the draw the way it is, Carlton can look forward to a rematch in just 7 weeks. Lucky them.

GWS v Geelong

The sides just in the 8 or just out of the 8 face each other on and off in the coming weeks and this one shapes up to be every bit as crucial as the next. The Giants host the Cats in Canberra. Not often the Geelong players get a chance to whinge about going somewhere colder than the Cattery, they sure will this week with Canberra set to struggle to 10° on Saturday afternoon. The Giants are a game clear of 9th placed Collingwood on the back of back-to-back wins over the Saints and Suns while the Cats beat the Dogs last week to get back on the winners list and keep a faint hope of finals action alive.

The next wave of Cats are starting to make their mark, Caddy, the super impressive Duncan, Guthrie and Murdoch are starting to string together more consistent performances in the midfield to give the old stagers in the back half some time to catch their breath. Motlop looks to have moved on from his little indiscretion earlier in the year and moved to being a more mature player around the ball, not just wanting to be flashy and kick the big goals while Hawkins has found a little bit of touch in the goal square.

On the other side the “old” ( I think they’re 22 or 23 ) group at the Giants are starting to deliver more and more as they get valuable back up from the kids. Ward, Shaw, Scully and Griffen are all in good touch and they are leading the way for this young group who continue to build towards a maiden finals series. These stronger bodies are loving the outside run the kids offer and when they get their hands on the pill they’re happy to oblige. GWS behind only the Hawks and Swans for uncontested ball and the Giants are behind only Hawthorn and the Eagles as the most efficient ball users. So it goes outside, they run and use it well.

On the flip side, they’re as **** at contested ball as the Cats, the bottom two ranked sides in contested ball stats. Clearly this won’t be where the game is won and lost. Form line suggests the Giants, better judgement suggests the Cats will push them all the way. While I went for the Cats last week to upset the Dogs I can’t go with them to beat the Giants with any confidence. Mind you, a Cats win would not surprise. Tough to split these two but the Giants, by 18 points.

Adelaide v Gold Coast

Adelaide burst out of the blocks last week and had 6 goals on the board quick smart on their way to their highest score since the round 7 win over the Saints while the Suns firmly entrenched themselves in the bottom two with a 3 goal loss to the Giants. The Crows will be full of emotion every time they take to the park for the remainder of 2015 at very least and they harnessed all of that emotion in the lead up to and through the running of Showdown 39.

Adelaide hit the scoreboard on the back of some good form from their mids, the 3 big names in Adelaides midfield combined 32 clearances, Thompson, Douglas and Dangerfield making the most of the dominance of Jacobs in the ruck and key big men Walker, Jenkins and Lynch prospered from it. 19 marks (7 of them I50 ) and 8 goals between them proved to be the difference in the 3 point win. In the back half Henderson used the ball well on the way out and Brown, Smith and Laird were happy to help him.

Again the Suns were all about the little bald bloke with the beard. Not Paul Chapman,by the way. Ablett led his team as pretty much only he can, 30 touches, 17 tackles and 3 goals. In Supercoach / Dream Team / Fantasy stuff that must equate to a **** load of points. Pity most of you would have traded him away weeks ago. Alongside him Touk Miller had a super day out, 27 touches, 5 tackles and a couple of goals saw him deservedly win the Rising Star nomination last weekend.

It won’t be easy for any side to come to Adelaide and beat the Crows over the next 2 months and the Suns are hardly in any sort of form to do so. I can see Adelaide taking them to the sword in front of their home crowd for the first time since the Walsh tragedy. Adelaide by 70 points.

Richmond v Fremantle :

I think we’ll find out quite a great deal about both of these sides this weekend. Are Richmond genuine and is their form and game style up to finals football? Is Fremantle on the slide or have they been measured and taken a deep breath over the last month to build towards September?

The last time these sides met Richmond inflicted Fremantle’s first loss of the year and only loss in Perth with an opening quarter blitz that stunned the Dockers, their home crowd and everyone around the country who had tuned in. Nobody thought Richmond had that sort of performance in them. The margin was only 27 points at the final siren but it was as much as 49 points during the second quarter. Fremantle saved some face with 5.8 to 3.3 after half time but it was all too late.

Richmond still rely on Jumpin’ Jack to hit the scoreboard and he leads the way with 41 but they’ve got the likes of Martin, Cotchin, Grigg, Deledio, Griffiths, Vickery and Edwards with 10 goals or more for the year and are sharing the load which is allowing Reiwoldt to get up the ground more, make the most of his mobility and best fitness level for some time.

This makes them hard to match up on as they rotate their mids through the F50. Fremantle do similar things.

Walters with 28 and Pavlich with 27 lead the way then the likes of Mayne 18, Fyfe 15, Neale 12, Taberner 11, Ballantyne 11, Hill and Pearce 10....this makes for an interesting mid field match up, but not a classic midfield match up in the midfield but a midfield match up in the forward line. Who’s mids can make the most of their opportunities forward of centre?

For mine, Fremantle are not in great touch and Richmond aren’t really flying with wins over St.Kilda and Carlton in recent weeks classic examples of just getting the job done. One of the toughest games to pick this week, I’ll take the Tigers at home, but not by as much as many will be thinking. Richmond by 16 points.

Essendon v Port Adelaide :

Urrghhh. I think I’ve started about 5 Port game previews with uuurggghhh this year. Each one of them the game that everyone “expects” Port to win. Both sides have only had the one win in the last 5 weeks with Port over Collingwood and Essendon over Melbourne. Not great from lines for either side set to get a top 10 draft pick.

In that time Port have gone with Sydney for 7/8ths of a game and with Adelaide for all but about 5 minutes while beating the ‘Pies. Essendon have been less than convincing especially in the 100+ point loss to St Kilda and last FNF to the Roos with a tight win over the Demons in there. So 12th v 14th with not much but pride on the line. Little bit of interest with Paddy Ryder facing his old side for the first time and let’s get one thing straight ( Mr Goodes ), when Ryder gets “boooo’s” from the Essendon crowd on Saturday night it will be wholly and soley because he left the Bombers mid-contract when things were rough at Bomber land. Not for any other reason, nothing sinister, nothing to do with underlying social issues.

Port have adopted a similar approach to goal scoring as the Bombers recently, heading out onto the wings looking for goal posts to no avail. With both sides struggling for any continuity from their key forwards and mids playing sideways this one does not shape up to be much of a spectacle at all. Port should have the edge in the big man department with Lobbe and Ryder facing Shaun McKernan despite him doing all he could to play himself into the VFL side last Friday night.

With the big man advantage and the fact Essendon are 18th for both centre clearances and total clearances Port should get first use of the ball. **** knows what we’ll do with it as we’ve got a real penchant for fumbling, kicking to nobody and missing targets at the moment. Port tackle more, do more 1%’ers and average 2.5 more goals per game. It isn’t a fait accompli though. Port should get more of the ball, they should get more hit outs and more I50’s. With all of that can they kick a score capable of beating the Bombers? Again, they should....

My heart says Port, of course, my head says Port, but my guts is in a knot knowing this is another of the ones “Port should win”. Aka Brisbane, Carlton, Richmond......they will win this one though. Port by 29 points.

Brisbane v North Melbourne

No sense of theatre from the Kangaroos coaching and selection panel, leave Boomer out and play him in his 400th at home! I’m surprised they didn’t “rest” him from this one, but then again, the fickle Kangaroos are capable of dropping games they should win and this is one they should win but are most certainly capable of dropping! On a serious note, congratulations to that little prick on his 400th he rips Port a new one every time we play them and I can’t wait to see the back of him. Remarkable to think a player playing today won a premiership in the 1990’s. An amazing effort and one that is most unlikely to be repeated.
( Although we’ve had two 400 gamers this year! )

The Lions are a different prospect at home, they’re rubbish on the road but hardly look like they are in any sort of form to challenge a side that has finals aspirations at this time of year. The worst stat for the Lions is their inability to score. They average under 10 goals per game and as we all know the modern game is all about scoring and scoring fast ( as Hawthorn and West Coast demonstrate ) and the Lions score less often than Cheech and Chong.

The Kangas bring in Pertie, Thomas and McDonald to strengthen their forward line and on-ball brigade. They weren’t convincing over the Bombers last week but got the job done in workman like fashion.They should be able to do the same again this week without having to pull out all stops.

With the Lions firmly entrenched on the bottom of the ladder this one should keep the Kangaroos alive in the finals race and almost consign the Lions to the holders of the spoon. Kangaroos for Boomer by 40 points.

Bulldogs v Collingwood

Another very important clash with the 6th placed Dogs taking on the 9th placed Pies. The Pies were sitting pretty, well, not pretty, there isn’t much you can consider “pretty” when thinking Collingwood and ther supporters, but they were sitting pretty in 5th place a month back but 4 straight losses and they find themselves outside the 8. The Dogs were on a 4 game winning streak that came to an end last weekend at the Cattery and any hopes of a top 4 finish might have gone with that loss.

A big loss for the Pies is Cloke, he’s pinged a calf and could miss a few weeks which isn’t ideal when the side needs all men on deck for a race to the finals. Pressure mounts on Jesse White to deliver and young Darcy Moore will have some pressure on him as he comes in to the key post at full forward. The Pies have gone tall for this one with Witts, Grundy, White, Frost and Moore all in the side to tackle the Dogs. While you can have one admirable loss, 4 in a row makes for troubled times and the Pies are in desperate need of a win.

The Doggies had some wins against the sides down the ladder before their first test in over a month at the Cattery and they failed. Not only did they fail the test they looked like they hadn’t studied for it at all. It was a terrible spectacle and if they dish that up again this weekend they’ll not be able to match it with the Pies.

Hard one to pick here as I don’t think much of the Bulldogs form line at the moment and the Pies haven’t won for a month. The missing links of Cloke and Elliott ( Collingwoods two leading goal scorers and main I50 target ) might be too much for the Pies to kick anything like a winning score with the Dogs form down back of Wood, Murphy, Boyd and Morris. In a close one, I don’t know why, but I think the Doggies by 8 points.

Melbourne v St Kilda

Much ado about nothing here. 15th hosts 13th and neither side has much left in 2015 other than working out which top 10 draft pick they get. Melbourne had a win over the Lions last week in a forgettable encounter that was the perfect remedy for an insomniac. If you’re laying awake at night forget counting sheep, think of Melbourne v Brisbane and the sandman will soon appear. The St’s fought admirably in the emotion charged Fight Like Maddie fixture against the Tigers last week but class prevailed and the St’s chalked up loss #10 for the season.

So who will step up and who will make the difference in this one?

The Dees have been led by their mids in Vince, Jones and Tyson while the Saints key contributors have been Armitage, Steven and Bruce. Bruce is the key here, if Bruce can offer a target ( as he has done so far ) to help Reiwoldt then the St’s should have the edge in the F50 marking duel to give them an avenue to goals. St Kilda have a better attack but Melbourne have a better defence, both mids have two or three keys and the rest of the line ups are pretty even.

Another very tough one to pick. Up until three weeks ago it was the Saints in better form, they’ve had a drop off while the Dee’s have still shown glimpses of their future being brighter than their past.

In a close one the Saints by 7 points.

West Coast v Sydney

Last but certainly not least is the white hot West Coast ( 2nd ) facing the red faced Sydney ( 4th ). The Eagles are taking all before them winning huge at home and taking the choccies away while the Swans would have had beaks tucked under wings all week following an absolute drubbing from the Hawks.

West Coast lose another defender this week with McGovern going down with a hammy. Sydney will be aided by Kurt Tippetts broken hand getting him out of the side but the loss of Bird to a calf ( I didn’t think cows ate birds? ) and Richards to suspension certainly won’t help. West Coast have a powerful front half and Richards steady head and intercept marking will be sorely missed this week.

Is it possible the Swans will cop two beltings in a row? I think it is. West Coast have kicked 50 more goals than Sydney this year, that’s 3 goals a game more on average and Sydney are in a dry patch with only 7 and 10 goals in the last two weeks. They also have the worrying trend of getting over run in the last quarter. Since round 10 it’s only Brisbane that they have outscored in the last quarter. Not good.

So West Coast get the chance to take top spot this week if Fremantle lose (due to a far superior percentage) and just about sure up a top two finish and home finals advantage throughout September. Will be very important if they want to avoid the Hawks until the big one at the end of the year.

On the wide expanses of Domain I think Nic Nat will make the most of his mobility advantage over Myke Pyke and have a field day giving the West Coast mids plenty of ball to send forward to the potent forward line. Sydney will need to be at their manic best around the ball to be any chance of holding up the Eagles and will need Buddy, Goodes and their mids to apply enough scoreboard pressure to the Eagles to give them any chance.

Can the Swans muster up 15 or more goals this weekend? I don’t think so and I’m calling two big losses in a row for the Swans and Richmond to replace them in the top 4. West coast by 66 points.

TTFWIW last week got you 8 winners.

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Post by Paul on Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:19 am

Great preview once again, sir.

Tough round this week.

Hawthorn - certainty
GWS in a 50/50 match
Gold Coast - showdown letdown
Fremantle can't see Richmond beating them twice in one season
North Melbourne
Essendon - 2 extra days break
Collingwood - due for a win
St.Kilda but could go either way
Sydney - to bounce back after last weeks shocker and Franklin to destroy an average West Coast defence

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Post by BloodnTars on Fri Jul 24, 2015 4:17 pm

Hawks by 60
GWS by 9
Adelaide by 38
Tigers by 10
North Melbourne by 29 (congrats Boomer!)
Port by 45
Bulldogs by 5
Saints by 27
Eagles by 15

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