Round 22 AFL Preview

Friday
Melbourne vs Sydney @ The MCG - 19:50

Our first game of Round 22 sees the Sydney Swans travel to the MCG to take on the Melbourne Demons in a match that will have zero impact on the Top 8, and will only give the winning team a boost as they make plans for the 2020 pre-season. Both of these teams are coming off solid (Sydney) and very good (Melbourne) seasons in 2018, but both have had very disappointing years in 2019 that will see them likely to finish in the bottom quarter of the ladder. For the Demons, Steven May looks like missing the rest of the year, and at the Swans, they don't have any further injury worries, so should be looking to include players they can move forward with next season. Max Gawn should rack up over 50 hit-outs in this match, giving the Dees first use of the ball often enough to get a win.
Melbourne by 14 points

Saturday
Carlton vs St. Kilda @ The MCG - 13:45

On Saturday afternoon the MCG will play host to a match between the Carlton Blues and St Kilda Saints. While the Blues had another loss on the weekend, it was another 'not terrible' loss, being by 28 points, to another Top 4 team in the Tigers. St Kilda had a tough fought win over the visiting Dockers last round, coming out on top by just the three points, and with Dan Hannebery getting a game under his belt, he should be able to step-up his performance in this contest. Unfortunately, for the Blues, the in-form backman, Liam Jones, is going to miss the rest of the season due to a throat injury suffered last week. His loss will certainly leave a big hole for Carlton's match committee to fill and one that the Saints will look to take advantage of.
Carlton by 17 points

Brisbane vs Geelong @ The Gabba - 14:10

At the Gabba on Saturday afternoon the Brisbane Lions play host to the visiting Geelong Cats in a battle of this season's heavyweights. With these two teams, and the Eagles, tied on 15 wins, this match will be a high-quality and exciting one to watch, even if you don't follow either team but love a good game of footy! Just to further promote the Lion's chances of a deep run into the finals, they have only three players on their injured list, and one of them will probably play this coming weekend. When teams get a full list of players to pick from, it certainly enables them to go into a match with confidence in their ability to match-up well. The Lions have that ability! For the Cats, they had a big win at home against the Roos last round but didn't look fantastic in it.
Brisbane by 19 points

Adelaide vs Collingwood @ Adelaide Oval - 16:35

In a twilight match at Adelaide Oval this Saturday, the Adelaide Crows will take on a Collingwood team that has won three of their last five matches, the last two being against the lowly Suns and Demons. It is looking like the Crow's Rory Sloane won't play in this match after suffering a head knock that resulted in him having blurred vision. Hopefully, he is well again soon. For the Pies, with De Goey, Moore and Mason Cox ruled out of this match, their next rung of players are going to need to step up if the Magpies are to stay in contention for a Top 4 finish to the year. Unfortunately, it is looking like Josh Daicos may not be right for this match in time, after suffering a concussion in his last match. After the good performance last week, I'm going with the home team to outrun an injury-depleted Magpies.
Adelaide by 25 points

North Melbourne vs Port Adelaide @ Marvel Stadium - 19:25

At Marvel Stadium on Saturday night the Kangaroos take on the surging Power in a game that Port Adelaide has to win to keep their position inside the Top 8, a position they hold on percentage only. For the Kangaroos, their late-season resurgence came to an end at the hands of the ladder-leading Cats down at Geelong. In a worrying sign for the Roos 'brains trust', the team was only able to kick a single goal for the duration of an entire match; that is approximately 120 minutes of footy for just one goal! For Port Adelaide, they played one of their better games for the season to beat the Swans by 47 points. With some quality performances in the reserves, it will be interesting to see what the match committee do for this game; will they go for consistency or bring in some fresh faces to give others a rest?
Port Adelaide by 27 points

Fremantle vs Essendon @ Optus Stadium - 20:10

On Saturday night Optus Stadium will host a match between Fremantle and Essendon. As both teams are coming off a loss from last round, they will be out to make amends for different types of poor performances. With Essendon's place in the Top 8 looking far from secure after their 17 goal hiding from the Bulldogs last round, they will be desperate for a win over in Perth. On the injury front, it is looking like Aaron Francis and Darcy Parish are a good chance to come back in but question marks still hang over Jake Stringer, after he came off the ground with hamstring tightness last week. Michael Hurley will also undergo a test today, and I am sure many fingers will be crossed that he gets through. The Dockers will probably be unchanged from the team that went down to St Kilda by 3 points. If they can fix up their disposal issues, that will be the biggest 'in' they can get!
Fremantle by 16

Sunday
Richmond vs West Coast @ The MCG - 13:10

Our first game of Sunday sees the Richmond Tigers take on the high-flying West Coast Eagles in another battle of teams at the top of the ladder. While one of the teams is visiting, I can imagine fans will be out in force as we all prepare for what is to come in the finals. In a couple of big returns for Richmond, both Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin are looking likely to play in this match. The big question for the people selecting the teams has to be who will make way for two of their star players? While Naitanui appears to be making progress in his second comeback for the season, the Eagles are likely to go into their MCG encounter with a side unchanged from that which got a 10-point win over the Crows last round. In another great match-up, I would really like to take a pass on having to make a selection but will stick with the home team.
Richmond by 8

GWS Giants vs Western Bulldogs @ Sydney Showgrounds - 15:20

The Sydney Showgrounds is the place where the Giants will be hosting a rampant Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon. Over recent weeks the Giants have been showing some mixed form, with wins over the quality Magpies and Power but then suffering losses against the Bombers, Lions, Tigers, rounded off with a huge loss to the Hawks in Canberra's snow last weekend. After their fantastic win over the Bombers last weekend, expect the Doggies to make no changes to the team facing the Giants. Why would you? In some big inclusions for GWS, there is a very strong chance that Josh Kelly, Matt de Boer, and Harry Himmelberg will have overcome their injuries to take part in this important match for the clubs final ladder standings, and whether they get a home match or not. As they have won every Showground's match this year, I'll stick with the Giants.
GWS Giants by 23

Hawthorn vs Gold Coast @ Marvel Stadium - 16:40

At Marvel Stadium this Sunday, the Hawks club champion, Jarryd Roughead will come back into the side so Hawthorn fans can give a good farewell to an outgoing club champion, and going on the results across the past few months, he should get to say goodbye with a win against the Suns. For the Hawks, they will be carefully watching how Mitch Lewis, Ben McEvoy and Jack Gunston go in training, as all make the team stronger for their inclusion. Having said that, the Hawks smashed the Giants without them last round, so are changes needed to that side? Up on the Gold Coast, you can imagine the Suns are just wanting this season to end, and a trip down to Melbourne won't excite too many! In a boost for the Suns, Jack Martin will be back into the team after dominating in their reserves match last weekend. Hopefully he can inspire his team-mates onto a great performance.
Hawthorn by 42 points

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