Round 15 AFL Preview
Essendon vs GWS Giants @ Marvel Stadium - 19:20
On Thursday night at Marvel Stadium, the 10th placed Essendon Bombers play host to a rested 3rd placed GWS Giants. While no team prefers to play away from home, I am sure the Giants are glad this match is at Marvel Stadium, instead of the "it's still a hoodoo ground" MCG. The Bombers are coming off a large loss to the Eagles over west, meaning they have had to put in lots of travel over the past week, where the Giants had their bye weekend after a good win over North Melbourne in Hobart prior. While Essendon is a middling team this year, the Giants are in good form and will be looking at a big push into the finals.
Even with Matt de Boer being out due to injury, the Bombers have more to worry about than the visiting Giants.
GWS Giants by 32
Geelong vs Adelaide @ GMHBA Stadium - 19:50
Injuries to trio Gary Rohan, Luke Dahlhaus and Jack Henry will keep people guessing as to what the Cat's team make up will be for their game against the Adelaide Crows this Friday night in Geelong. The Cats are coming off a rare loss, which was to the Power over in Adelaide last weekend and with the Crows form picking up, the Cats will need to be playing near their best to hold off the Crows! In their last match, in Round 13, the Crows ended up running over the top of the Tigers to record a 31 point win in Adelaide, but how will they go heading across the border and down the Princes Fwy to GMHBA Stadium? This should be a good match-up of two quality teams looking to cement their spot in the Top 8, and at home, the Cats should be able to get the win.
Geelong by 17 points
Hawthorn vs West Coast @ The MCG - 13:45
The twelfth placed Hawks take on the travelling West Coast Eagles at the MCG in our first Saturday game this weekend, where these two teams are coming off very different results from their last games. After Sydney burst out of the gates, the Hawks spent the rest of the game unsuccessfully trying to catch up to the Sydney-siders. On the other side of the country, in spite of some terrible kicking for goal, where the Eagles recorded 22 points for the match, West Coast was never bothered by their Bomber opponents.
Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson has said that he is at the helm of a "middle of the table" team this year, and it is hard to not agree with him on that! As the fight for places in the Top 8 heats up, West Coast can't drop games against lower opponents, not even at the G! When you add in the chance that Nic Nat will be back, the players could certainly have that bit of extra incentive to leave as victors.
West Coast by 27 points
Sydney vs Gold Coast @ The SCG - 16:35
Sydney will play host to the Gold Coast Suns at the SCG this weekend and will be looking to continue their solid form of the past few weeks. Unfortunately, they will again have to work around Lance Franklin being out injured; the Swans will be looking to Tom McCartin, Sam Reid and Nick Blakely to stand tall in attack in Franklin's absence.
While the Suns have only beaten the Swans once from their nine attempts, that win occurred just last year and it was at the SCG. Something to think about... As the season wears on, the younger players get tired and sore while the established players kick into gear, and the Swans have many more established players than the Suns and are at their beloved SCG once again.
Sydney by 25 points
Collingwood vs North Melbourne @ Marvel Stadium - 19:25
Last week Collingwood managed to stay in front of the Bulldogs long enough to get the win, but how will they fare against the improved North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night? With the Kangaroos having the bye last weekend, they will have had a chance for the bruised to heal up a bit, and gotten more time to come to terms with the direction their new coach wants them to take. To be in with the chance of an upset, North Melbourne will need to keep up with, or just restrict, the Magpies across the first quarter. If Collingwood is able to get a decent lead early, it will be all over before we even get to half-time. After Brodie Grundy's easier assignment against Tim English last week, expect him to have a tough battle on his hands with another quality ruck in Todd Goldstein.
Collingwood by 21 points
Coming off a great win over the league-leading Cats last weekend, the Port Adelaide Power should be chock-full of confidence as they host the Western Bulldogs at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night. While the Bulldogs didn't get the win last weekend, they had six more scoring shots than their opponent and showed that they won't be easy for any team to beat! Even with cutting Westhoff of Ryder last week the Power was really impressive, and key forward Charlie Dixon should be better this week for the run. The Power will be able to match the Dogs hardness around the ball and have the personnel to take advantage of playing at home and get the win.
Port Adelaide by 18 points
St. Kilda vs Richmond @ Marvel Stadium - 13:10
In the first Sunday match, we have St Kilda taking on Richmond at Marvel Stadium. For this game we have another match where one team (St Kilda) is coming off a bad loss to good opposition (the Lions), while the other team (Richmond) is coming off their week of R&R; I wonder how many players make a quick trip up to QLD to get some sun and warmth while they can? Even though the Saints put up a good contest across the first half of their last match, they pretty much rolled over after half-time as the Lions ran rampant for a 56 point win. The Tigers would be VERY grateful for the lack of a game last weekend and will be hoping to get some of their more experienced players back for this match; players the calibre of Cotchin, Edwards and Astbury could be ready to step out again.
Richmond by 34 points
Brisbane vs Melbourne @ The Gabba - 15:20
At the Gabba this Sunday, the Brisbane Lions come up against a Melbourne Demons team looking to replicate the effort shown against the Dockers last round, where they got a 14 point win against their favoured opponents. While the Lions had to head down to Melbourne last weekend, they left with a great 56 point win over the Saints.
While Melbourne has a really good record against the Lions of late, winning their last four contests, this year presents us with a greatly improved Lions outfit and a Demons team that is struggling to find a consistent version of their form from last year. While both teams are strong in the midfield, I'm expecting the Lion's height to cause some headaches for their opponents.
Brisbane by 25 points
Fremantle vs Carlton @ Optus Stadium - 17:20
At Optus Stadium this Sunday, the Fremantle Dockers play host to a Carlton Blues outfit looking to show their supporters that there is a silver (perhaps blue & white) lining to all of the clouds seen this season. The Dockers have headed home, after being on the losing end of a Demon revival at the MCG last weekend, to meet a Carlton team that should be all refreshed from their bye round. While Stephen Hill will miss this game due to a hamstring injury, the Dockers have Fyfe and Mundy to counter the work of the Blue's Patrick Cripps through the middle. Sine 2010, Carlton has only won three of their matches against the Dockers, BUT all three of those games were in Perth and with a bit more self-belief, I think this could be a closer match than many expect.
Fremantle by 11 points