Welcome ladies, gentlemen, and all others inclusive to this week’s episode of your favourite weekly article, Jimmy’s Mongrel Preview!

Like that dress you haven’t worn since your cousin’s wedding pre-covid, things are beginning to get a little tight in the top eight as the battle for finals contention heats up like a 4.2L Patrol motor.

Ok, enough with the shitty comparisons, let’s not waste any more time here. This is Round 21 through the eyes of a Mongrel.

 

 

Teams:

Melbourne vs Collingwood

 

Venue:

MCG

 

Snapshot:

Melbourne have now made it four wins from their past six games, including interstate trips to Adelaide, Alice Springs and Perth, thanks to their commanding 46-point win over the Dockers. The Magpies made it 10 on the trot, as cardiologists around Victoria struggle to keep up with the influx of Collingwood fans requiring pacemakers after so many tight finishes this season.

 

So what does it all mean?

If I had told you on back on the Queen’s Birthday weekend that the next time these two sides met would be on the eve of the finals, and it would be a genuine tussle for second place on the ladder, you would have laughed me down the slide and into the ice bath at the MCG. Yet here we are. The Magpies sit in third and no longer possess the worst percentage inside the top eight, thanks to the Saints. But their string of close finishes this season has left them with a percentage that history tells us is more likely than not going to be a telling factor for the depth of their finals chances. Whilst the Demons sit on equal points, but a percentage of 25% greater in second.

The Magpies have now won six of their past seven clashes against the Demons going back to 2017, with Melbourne’s only win in that time coming from the Gabba in 2020.

The run home only gets bigger for the Magpies, heading to the SCG to take on fellow top four aspirants Sydney next week before a massive last round clash with the Blues at the MCG. The Demons will also take on Carlton at the MCG in their run home, before travelling to the Gabba for a date with Brisbane in Round 23.

 

It’s a big week for:

Footy Fans

Who would have thought six months ago that with three rounds to go in the 2022 AFL home and away season, that we would be seeing Melbourne and Collingwood playing off for second place on the ladder in a Friday night clash at the MCG, likely to draw in excess of 85,000 fans. What a weekend for footy fans as a whole. This game has the potential to be the biggest fixture between these two sides (outside of a Queen’s Birthday clash) that we’ve seen for generations, as both sides come into the game with everything to lose; the Magpies with their impressively unpredictable winning streak which currently sits at 10 games, the Demons with their push to regain top peg on the ladder and assert themselves in a dominant position come finals time.

 

Last time they met:

After kicking five straight behinds in the first quarter, the Magpies stormed home in the second half, kicking nine of the last ten goals of the game to win their fourth match in a row on their way to their current run of ten straight victories this season. Mason Cox resurrected his career and was arguably robbed of the Neale Daniher medal for best on ground as his Magpies ran away 26-point winners in the Queen’s Birthday clash of Round 13.

12.10.82 – 8.8.56

 

All eyes on:

Ben Brown

A lot has been said about Melbourne’s forward line this season, largely because it has been one of their weaker points, especially in terms of tall, key position forwards. With Ben Brown set to return to the fold this week, after a period fairly described as mediocre throughout the season, the Demons will hope to get a good patch of football into their key marking target before finals, in an effort to alleviate some of the scoring pressure off the likes of Bayley Fritsch, Kysaiah Pickett, and also of their midfield.

Outside of the aforementioned forward duo, Ben Brown has been the club’s most productive tall forward target this season, albeit only boasting a tally of 23 goals to date.

Outside of Brown, the next best option in the way of talls is Tom McDonald (15) who is out injured for the season, and Sam Weideman (13) who is almost a certainty to make way for the incoming Brown. The former Kangaroo kicked 6.5 across the Demons’ three finals last season, including 3.2 in the Grand Final.

 

A Grundy Conund-y

Whether it’s this week or next week against the Swans at the SCG, we are certain to see Brodie Grundy make his way back into the Collingwood side at some point this season. The biggest question on the lips of those that have been watching Collingwood’s vein of form continue to rise with each passing week; how will they squeeze their million-dollar ruckman back into this side? Darcy Cameron has become one of the most effective ruck options in the competition during Grundy’s absence, whilst the injured ruckman’s former partner in crime Mason Cox has resurrected his career to become an integral marking target around the ground for the Pies, as well as a successful pinch-hit option in the ruck, the risk of upsetting the apple cart must be at the forefront of every Collingwood coach’s mind. There’s no way a player of Grundy’s talent and pay packet doesn’t get a game over Cox and Cameron, but going off the winning form of the latter two, it’s almost impossible to drop either of them. A lot of eyes will be on the injured Brody Mihocek and what happens with Collingwood’s forward set-up with an available Brodie Grundy.

 

 

Teams:

Hawthorn vs Gold Coast

 

Venue:

UTAS

 

Snapshot:

Impressively, the Hawks managed to slice the Saints’ 40+ point margin back to just 12 at the final siren, with only time against them in the end. The Suns too held on against the Eagles as their own margin was decimated back to just three points in the dying minutes of the game.

 

So what does it all mean?

The Suns will be looking to finish the season with their most wins in a year as a club, currently sitting in 11th with 11 wins. The Hawks are 13th with their seven wins for the season and are now locked in a battle with Essendon for who gets a top-five pick.

Hawthorn have been happy pickings for the Suns in recent memory, with Gold Coast winning their past two clashes against the Hawks by an average of 54 points, including one Covid-affected clash at the SCG and another in Darwin.

It’s two big Sunday afternoon clashes to round out the Hawks season, facing Richmond at the MCG next week and hosting the Bulldogs in Tasmania the week after. The Suns finish the season with a couple of Saturday afternoon matches, first hosting the ladder-leading Cats at Metricon Stadium before heading to Marvel Stadium where they’ll take on North Melbourne.

 

It’s a big week for:

Banking Wins

The Suns will be desperately hoping for another interstate win to add to their growing collection of this season, thus taking their tally of overall wins this season to a height not previously achieved by any other Gold Coast side in the club’s history.

 

Last time they met:

Back in Round 11 the Suns were absolutely flying. Relishing their back-to-back games in Darwin, Gold Coast manhandled the Hawks to win by one of the club’s largest ever victories (67 points).

18.13.121 – 7.12.54

 

All eyes on:

Time To Spruik Touk

Some people don’t give a shit about the coaches’ votes each week, whilst others hold the opinions of current coaches higher than most and respect their knowledge of the current game and just how a certain player impacted that contest. Regardless of how you feel about the system, Touk Miller has overtaken Clayton Oliver to sit as outright leader with only three rounds of eligible football to go. The Suns running beast polled eight of a possible ten votes against the Eagles last week to sit as outright leader, two votes clear of Oliver in second place. It’s brilliant recognition for Miller and the effort he applies each and every week to his role within the club.

 

Re-Ward For Effort

A lot has been said about Jai Newcombe’s impact on this football club in such a short time, and rightfully so. Another player that has my jolly in a frolly for the Hawks is their Pick #7 in last year’s draft, Josh Ward. The bite-sized midfielder was awarded a nomination for the NAB Rising Star in his ninth game of football this season after an impressive run that caught my eye. Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, some nasty concussion symptoms have kept him out of the side at times throughout the season, but since his return in Round 17, we’ve seen some brilliant games, including his monster effort of 34 disposals, six clearances, five tackles with 618 metres gained against the Eagles, that won him his Rising Star nomination.

 

Teams:

GWS vs Essendon

 

Venue:

Giants Stadium

 

Snapshot:

I’m not the coach, so apparently, I’m allowed to publicly say that the Giants were disappointing last week in their capitulation at the hands of Sydney, losing the New-South-Squabble by 73 points. The Bombers made the most of their opportunities and beat the Kangaroos by 48 points at Marvel Stadium.

 

So what does it all mean?

With both sides destined to finish inside the bottom six, the Giants are currently 16th with only five wins this season whilst the Bombers have climbed to 14th thanks to their recent patch of form.

The Giants hold a strong recent history over the Bombers, having won in four of their past five encounters, with the side’s last four clashes ending in an average margin of five points. The Bombers haven’t beaten the Giants in Sydney since 2018.

It’s a fortnight of home games for the Bombers who host Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium next Sunday afternoon before also hosting the Tigers at the MCG in a Saturday night blockbuster to round out their season. The Giants say farewell to their season with a pair of Saturday afternoon games, the first is a trip to Marvel Stadium to take on the Bulldogs, in the second they’ll host the Dockers at Manuka Oval.

 

It’s a big week for:

Mark McVeigh

Coming up to coach against his old club for the first time, alongside two other former Bombers that reside in his coaches box now (James Hird and Dean Solomon), Mark McVeigh has been unfairly whacked from pillar to post for his post-game comments last week, where the caretaker coach called into question the efforts of his own players and conceded that some players had already checked out for the season. If there’s one thing that we know about footy, it’s that sides love a big win after a week of headlines. If there’s a second thing that we know about footy, it’s that Essendon are almost certain to be the side that fails to match the fired up intensity of the lowly side that’s under intense scrutiny.

 

Last time they met:

Played at Metricon Stadium due to Covid implications, the Giants were 13 points too good for the Bombers in Round 19 of last season, in a largely unmemorable game that aided GWS to jump into the eight at that point in time.

7.11.53 – 9.12.66

 

All eyes on:

Red Dog

Move over 2011’s award-winning, ninth highest grossing Australian movie of all time, there is a new Red Dog stealing the spotlight on Australian screens, and he’s a running defender that loves long gallops through the middle, precise kicking out of defence and little scratch behind the ear when he gets on the end of a raking long goal from outside 50.

Mason Redman is starting to fill out the boots in the role of sanding defender that he was primed to be since being drafted to the club with Pick #30 in the 2015 National Draft. With the Bombers’ season almost at a close, footy fans will be starved of an opportunity to see Redman continue this run of form, as his side’s poor form early in the season will see the Bombers bow out of finals contention in three weeks’ time.

 

Giant Task Ahead

Whether it’s the fabled prophecy of Alastair Clarkson coming to the aid of the Giants and rebuilding this club from the ground up, or just some other battler that is handed the job, it’s going to be far from a walk to the shops. With a number of high-profile players set to leave the club this season, it’s a tough time for anybody to sell the hope of Greater Western Sydney to any potential coach, much less the players that have doubts of their own.

 

 

Teams:

Western Bulldogs vs Fremantle

 

Venue:

Marvel Stadium

 

Snapshot:

After a brilliant first half, the Bulldogs were bitterly disappointing in the second, coughing up nine goals on the trot to hand Geelong a 28-point win at home. Speaking of disappointing, the Dockers didn’t look anywhere near it on Friday night, being put to task by the Demons to the tune of 46 points.

 

So what does it all mean?

The season is teetering for the Bulldogs. At halftime against the Cats last week they looked to be on their way to the kind of game that defines their season and laces their boots to kick the door down for finals. Unfortunately for them, the Cats switched those boots for Crocs in the second half and fatally exposed the Dogs, sending them to 10th and now a win outside the top eight with only three games to go. Fremantle too gave up some prime real estate within the top four, their draw the week before and loss last week seeing them fall to sixth.

The Bulldogs have won their past three against the Dockers by an average margin of 35 points, including one at Marvel, one in Cairns and one at Optus Stadium. The Dockers haven’t beaten the Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium since 2015.

There is still a chance for the Dogs, with the Giants coming to Marvel Stadium next Saturday afternoon and a trip to Tasmania the following Sunday, you’d think they would need 3/3 to have a chance at finals, and hope for both Richmond and St. Kilda to fall flat on their faces. The Dockers have the Western Derby next Saturday night which has the potential to be huge, then they’ll travel to Manuka Oval to take on the Giants in the final round.

 

It’s a big week for:

Sam Darcy

The #2 selection in last year’s draft was taken as a father/son selection, with both his father and grandfather having played for the Bulldogs. Darcy was rated as the best tall prospect in the entire Draft pool, standing at 205cm and dominating games for Vic Metro throughout his U19’s. Having been called up to make his debut this week, there will be a lot of eyes cast over the boy that’s touted as the future of the Bulldogs’ tall stocks.

 

Last time they met:

It was way back in Round 12 of last season that the Bulldogs travelled to Optus Stadium and left 28 victors over a Fremantle side that were decimated by injuries to Nat Fyfe, Sean Darcy and Brennan Cox within the space of a few minutes.

9.11.65 – 13.15.93

 

All eyes on:

Fears For Fremantle’s Failing Forwards

Wow. That was a lot of F’s. The Dockers have become another side within the competition that is struggling to score via their tall forwards. Matt Taberner has been in and out of the side with injury, Rory Lobb has been in and out of form as both a forward and as a backup ruckman, showing that his best makes him a damaging prospect inside the forward 50 and as a marking target further up the ground. But when the former Giant is unable to get a good run at things, Fremantle’s forward line all of a sudden looks very small and very baron. Last week, Melbourne were so confident in their own back six, that they allowed Steven May and Jake Lever to patrol the backline at will, whilst their lesser quality players directly manned the likes of Taberner and Lobb, and to great avail. Taberner wound up with six touches and a single behind for the night, whilst Lobb finished the game with eight touches and no score.

The Dockers simply must find a way to bring these two, or potentially other forward options, into the game with some cause to score if they’re going to bat deep into the finals this season.

 

Dogs Decimated Defence Deplorable

There are more twists and turns to this fixture than just my poorly constructed headlines. The Dockers’ tall forwards have looked terribly inept over the past three weeks, whilst we’re at a time where the Dogs’ backline is being called into question. This could make for some pretty interesting viewing, as Luke Beveridge straight-batted questions over his decision to drop Alex Keath for last week’s clash with Geelong. Things are becoming do-or-die for the Bulldogs in terms of their finals chances, and an opportunity to scalp a top eight side on your home deck is one that they must grab with both hands this week. By

 

 

Teams:

Geelong vs St. Kilda

 

Venue:

GMHBA Stadium

 

Snapshot:

Another big tick for the top-of-the-table Cats as they overcame a first-half deficit to easily account for the Bulldogs, winning by 28 points. The Saints held a strong lead over the Hawks, before having their own lead dashed by a resilient Hawthorn, holding on to win by 12 points.

 

So what does it all mean?

A game clear on top makes it more and more likely that Geelong will be our minor premiers for season 2022. Whilst the Saints now cling to eighth spot with a tough draw ahead of them.

Up until they beat the Cats back in Round 9, the Saints had only won one of their past 12 clashes with the Cats stemming as far back as 2011.

The last time the Saints beat the Cats in Geelong was a 10-point victory in Round 10 of 1999, when Kardinia Park was known as Shell Stadium. Let’s take a look back at a few notes and highlights from that game.

 

  • The two opposing coaches that day were Gary Ayres for the Cats and Tim Watson for the Saints.
  • Kilda champion Lenny Hayes played in his 6th career game.
  • Barry Hall kicked four goals for the Saints in his 41st career game.
  • Peter Riccardi had 23 touches and kicked 0.4 for the Cats.
  • Peter Everitt, Barry Hall and Stewart Loewe combined for 33 marks that day, 13 of them contested.

 

The Cats travel to the Gold Coast to take on the Suns at Metricon Stadium next Saturday afternoon before hosting the Eagles at GMHBA Stadium the week after. The Saints will have to beat both the Lions next Friday night and then the Swans the following Sunday, both at Marvel Stadium if they’re to stay in the top eight.

 

Last time they met:

It was the rampaging Saints that handed the Cats a 10-point loss at Marvel Stadium back in Round 9, but some may argue that the loss catapulted Geelong to their current standing, given that they now lead all comers on the ladder and haven’t lost a game since that Saturday afternoon.

13.12.90 – 11.14.80

 

All eyes on:

What The Ruck Do We Do?

Jonathon Ceglar made his successful debut for the Cats against the Bulldogs last weekend, carving out a strong return to senior football for the former Hawk that crossed over the Cats in last year’s trade period. Ceglar’s form in his first game marks a healthy conundrum for Chris Scott to consider – what does Geelong’s starting ruck division look like when Rhys Stanley returns to the side? Whilst problematic, it’s a good question to have hovering over the side. Mark Blicavs will clearly be playing in one capacity or another, he is up there with Tom Stewart as one of Geelong’s most important players. We know that Tom Hawkins is likely to assume the role of ruckman when the ball enters the forward line, so what are the Cats to do with the combination of Ceglar/Stanley, especially come finals time? Is there room in this side for so many talls? Do Stanley and/or Ceglar possess the secondary talents that would justify playing so many ruckmen in multiple roles?

 

Dan The Man

One of the best stories to come out of the AFL last week was the return of Dan Hannebery to playing senior football for St. Kilda. After only being able to muster 15 games in his four seasons at the Saints after crossing over from Sydney in 2018, the three-time All Australian bounced back from his calf issues that, up until last round had kept him sidelined for the entire season. It was a sight for fans of footy to see Hannebery return to the field, much less do so in emphatic style, racking up 27 disposals and five clearances, as well as kicking a goal in the first quarter.

 

 

Teams:

Port Adelaide vs Richmond

 

Venue:

Adelaide Oval

 

Snapshot:

Yet another victim of a close but no cigar finish against the Magpies, Port kicked three of the last four goals of the game to go down by only six points at the MCG. The Tigers also rode the comeback train this week, after trailing the Lions by 40+ points in the second quarter, Richmond chipped away and won a thriller by seven points.

 

So what does it all mean?

With Port Adelaide sitting 12th on eight wins, they’ve all but accepted that it’s season over for them. A few more wins may see them rise another spot or two on the ladder, but all that does now is hamper their current draft selection. The Tigers are half a game outside of the eight, waiting to pounce as soon as the Saints drop a game.

This is one of those funny, sequential games that cause lovers of patterns to back a side purely on the history. The past five encounters between these two sides have gone one to Richmond, one to Port, one to Richmond, one to Port and one to Richmond, signalling that it’s Port Adelaide’s turn to win. Even when you check the results for these sides specifically at Adelaide Oval, you can trace the exact same pattern from their last meeting in Adelaide (2021) all the way back to the 2014 Elimination Final (their first game at Adelaide Oval), except Port Adelaide won their last game at Adelaide Oval. So if you’re a lover of the obscure patterns in the win/loss columns, then this game can’t disappoint you. Because regardless of who wins, one of those patterns will continue. Please don’t ask me what that means if this game is a draw…

Power’s final fortnight for 2022 begins in Melbourne on Sunday afternoon when they take on the Bombers at Marvel Stadium, before returning home for a massive South Australian Showdown to finish off the season on Saturday evening. The Tigers will host the Hawks at the MCG next Saturday afternoon before returning the following Saturday evening to take on the Bombers.

 

It’s a big week for:

Shai Bolton

Purely to make amends for kicking 0.5 and putting one out on the full the last time these two sides met back in Round 13. Bolton was a part of everything and as slippery as a bar of Palmolive soap whenever a tackle was attempted. After kicking 35.34 for the season, including 2.5 last week, I can see Bolton being a huge factor in this game.

 

Last time they met:

Despite a late resurgence by Port to hit the lead in the final quarter of their clash back in 13, late goals to Josh Gibcus and Liam Baker sealed the victory for the Tigers at the MCG, winning their Round 13 clash by 12 points.

11.11.77 – 10.5.65

 

All eyes on:

A Couple’a Sons Of Guns

If Dimma is a fan of theatre, he won’t play Maurice Rioli as the sub this week. The possibility of seeing both Jase Burgoyne and Maurice Rioli take the field together for opposing teams is a tantalising prospect. Burgoyne, the son of Port Adelaide great Peter Burgoyne has only played a handful of games after making his debut earlier this season. Whilst Rioli, the son of legendary Tiger Maurice Rioli Snr made his debut last year, has only played a dozen or so games himself. Burgoyne impressed me last week with his constant pressure and blistering pace out of the back line, I would love to see him matched up on the dangerous Rioli, who is known for his tackling prowess in the forward half, as well as second, third, fourth and fifth efforts at every contest, never giving up the chance to apply pressure to the opposition. Both young men are only 19 years of age, but have had solid starts to their career. I look forward to witnessing this as their first of hopefully many clashes.

 

 

Teams:

North Melbourne vs Sydney

 

Venue:

Marvel Stadium

 

Snapshot:

North Melbourne smashed the Bombers in the clearances thanks to the absence of their three key ball-winners but unfortunately weren’t able to capitalise on said dominance with repeated poor forward entries and a lack of defensive pressure. The final margin being 48 points. The Swans won the most recent instalment in the New-South-Tale by 73 points.

 

So what does it all mean?

It means that the Walsh household will be divided like the Great Range this weekend, and with the Swans now sitting proudly back inside the top four and facing the potential of a double chance cone Finals tone, it’s game on! The Kangaroos are now firmly entrenched in a battle with the Eagles to see who finishes dead last and claims the wooden spoon.

The Swans have claimed eight of their last nine encounters with the Kangaroos, stemming all the way back to the 2015 Semi Final. The last time that the Kangaroos beat the Swans in Melbourne was back in Round 6 of 2007 at ‘Telstra Dome’ as it was then known, in Kieran Jack’s debut game for the Swans.

It’s a trip to Adelaide for the Kangaroos next Saturday afternoon as they take on the Crows at Adelaide Oval, before returning to Marvel Stadium for another Saturday afternoon clash, this time against Gold Coast. The Swans have a massive top-four clash with Collingwood at the SCG next week before they too return to Marvel Stadium to round out their home and away season with a game against the Saints.

 

It’s a big week for:

Jack Ziebell

It feels like an eternity ago, but the Kangaroos really took it up to the Swans last time these two sides met, so much so that the swap of Jack Ziebell back into the forward line yielded five goals for the North Melbourne captain. Funnily enough, in his rediscovered forward position, Ziebell would go on to kick another five goals across his next eight games, with bags of two and three not coming until Rounds 17 and 19 respectively.

 

Last time they met:

In Round 4 of this season, North Melbourne travelled to the SCG and gave the Swans a mighty scare. After leading for multiple points throughout the game, the Kangaroos surrendered their late lead with a dying second Isaac Heeney goal sealing their 11-point losing fate.

13.8.86 – 12.3.75

 

All eyes on:

Stopping The Scores From Midfielders

Luke Parker, Chad Warner, Errol Gulden, Callum Mills. Each of these players has got forward to kick goals at times this season, and proven a deadly source of scoring for the Swans outside of their usual big guns in Franklin, Heeney, Papley and Hayward. North Melbourne have to focus on the highly talented midfield of the Swans and find a way to nullify their influence, especially when it comes to the scoreboard. Warner especially is in fine form when it comes to scoring opportunities, having kicked seven goals from his past four starts out of the midfield, and Gulden with five from his last three.

 

 

 

Teams:

Brisbane vs Carlton

 

Venue:

Gabba

 

Snapshot:

Both of these sides can rightfully lay claim to the most disappointing effort of last week. The Lions blew their 40+ point lead to lose yet another game at the MCG, adding to their horror run of losses that strings back to 2013. The Blues were put to task by the Crows and fed a healthy dose of relentless pressure football, leaving South Australia as 29 points losers to the Crows.

 

So what does it all mean?

Both these sides suffered embarrassing losses for different reasons last weekend, embarrassing and costly. Carlton now find themselves in seventh with a very real possibility that they drop outside the top eight if they are to lose multiple games before the end of the season. Whilst the Lions blew a very comfortable lead against the Tigers to continue their torrid recent record at the MCG, and also land themselves outside the top four, with Sydney capitalising on Brisbane’s loss and leapfrogging them to sit fourth.

The Lions have won five of their past six overall encounters with the Blues, also winning their past six clashes at the Gabba. The last time the Blues tasted interstate victory over the Lions was back in 2013.

Carlton’s final fortnight is as tough as they come, facing both Melbourne and Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon respectively. The Lions finish their home and away season with back-to-back Friday night clashes against the Saints at Marvel Stadium, followed by Melbourne at the Gabba.

 

It’s a big week for:

Both Half-Back Lines

Both Carlton and Brisbane were ultimately embarrassed last week. Carlton were put to task by a surprisingly fiesty Adelaide side that quite literally turned the Blues’ pressure game back on them and beat them at their own game. The Lions built a strong lead in the first half, but flinched when the Tigers began to flex, leading to the opposition completely outclassing, and eventually overrunning them. A lot of the blame for both sides could be placed squarely on some poor defensive efforts and lack of endeavour from their respective half-back lines. Adelaide thought long and hard on how to negate the influence of Adam Saad, and they executed their plan with precision. For the Lions, it was more a case of not having answers to combat the Tigers when the script was flipped back on them. This week we should see a drastic improvement from both sides, especially in the aforementioned departments where the lack of composure last week was costly.

 

Last time they met:

It was way back in Round 6 of last season when the Lions would travel to Marvel Stadium and take control over the Blues in the second quarter, holding a lead until the final siren and winning by 18 points.

12.13.85 – 15.13.103

 

All eyes on:

The Goals

Do you ever find yourself dreaming of the days where a pair of key forwards on each side would combine for a good old-fashioned shoot-out at either end of the ground, whilst the crafty smalls dazzled us at the feet of their taller adversaries?

Me too. Long live high-scoring football!

Now, I’m not saying that this will happen, but just let me paint a picture for you:

Joe Daniher – The versatile big-man. Often maligned with his wayward set shot kicking, but is up there with the best his size for gathering a ground ball and possesses the freakish ability to take high marks and kick long, booming goals from downtown.

Charlie Cameron – The best small forward in the game over the past few seasons, currently sits seven goals clear of the next comparative player in terms of goals kicked. Give Charlie an inch of space and he’ll take a mile, along with your defender’s dignity. Crafty, quick and deadly around goals.

Along with a plethora of midfielders and utilities, Brisbane boast a side that’s abundant with players capable of scoring multiple goals when at their best. Eric Hipwood is still edging closer to his best after his return from injury, Cam Rayner is also building his CV.

 

Now down the other end:

Harry McKay: In some ways, Harry is your old -school, traditional full forward. He has burst pace to take marks out on the lead, but is strong enough to also hold his own in a one-on-one contest. Whilst his set shot kicking has been a point of conjecture this season, the reigning Coleman Medallist is exactly that – last year’s most effective forward, League-wide. If he’s not afforded the proper attention by his opponent, McKay is fully capable of kicking a run of goals at any stage of the game.

Charlie Curnow – Whilst the constant comparison of players in our game quite frankly gives me the shits, I do feel that there is a case to argue for this ethay compare Charlie Curnow’s freakish ability to that of Buddy Franklin. Whilst different in many ways, Charlie has unbelievable speed and endurance for a player of his size. There’s an uncanny knack of knowing where the goals are at all times, and a constant sense of position, often leading to the 25 year old finding himself on the end of some unbelievable goals. That’s not to mention his terrific pack-marking abilities and the strength that he possesses, often working up the ground to provide a link between the midfield and the forward line.

 

 

 

Teams:

West Coast vs Adelaide

 

Venue:

Optus Stadium

 

Snapshot:

It was a case of almost for the Eagles against the Suns last week after a disappointing period in the middle part of the match, the Eagles were breathing fire late in the game to get the margin back to three points in the dying minutes, unfortunately not able to kick a score to put them back in front. The Crows played arguably their best game of the season against the Blues. A real team effort that oozed hard, pressure football and resulted in a 29 point win.

 

So what does it all mean?

It’s an all-out battle between the Eagles and the Kangaroos for the wooden spoon this season, with both sides currently sitting on two wins, but the superior percentage of the Eagles places them 17th. The Crows are back in the bottom four, currently 15th with the Bombers and Hawks a game clear above them.

The Eagles have claimed five of their past six games against the Crows, with the travelling side having never won in this matchup at Optus Stadium. The last time the Crows beat the Eagles in Perth was at Subiaco in 2016.

Next Saturday evening our screens will be graced with a massive Derby, as both Western Australian sides play their final home and away games in WA,  for this season. The Eagles will then travel to Geelong in their final round for a Sunday twilight clash with the Cats. The Crows host the Kangaroos at Adelaide Oval next Saturday afternoon before another all-state clash, finishing their home and away season with a South Showdown against Port Adelaide on Saturday evening.

 

It’s a big week for:

Rory Laird

Set to line up for game 200 this week, Rory Laird deserves acknowledgement, not just for this achievement, but for the oath he travelled to obtain it. Recruited from the rookie Draft primarily as a defender, and spending his early years between the SANFL and the seniors, Laird soon established himself as a mainstay in the Crows’ senior side. Eventually earning himself All Australian honours in both 2017 and 2018. After some sporadic appearances throughout his career, Laird was moved to the midfield on a more permanent basis – a move that proved a master stroke. Now alongside Ben Keays as Adelaide’s prime ball-winner, Laird is often the focal point of the Crows midfield and regularly receives opposition attention to try and curb his influence. Rory Laird is now a two-time best and fairest winner after also placing second twice, and third twice as well.

 

Last time they met:

The Crows hosted the Eagles at Adelaide Oval in Round 12 and ran away 31-point winners after the Eagles kicked themselves back into a more respectable margin late in the game.

13.10.88 – 8.9.57

 

All eyes on:

Josh Kennedy

I will proudly say as an opposition supporter that Josh Kennedy has been one of my favourite players to watch over the past decade or so. A selfless, unassuming full forward in an era where goal kickers weren’t as heralded as in years gone by. This week will mark Kennedy’s final home game at Optus Stadium, and one that will undoubtedly be an emotional event for both him, his teammates and his supporters.

 

Bringing Last Week’s Heat

This is a simple one; can Adelaide bring their intensity from last week over to Perth and unleash it on the Eagles? The style of play that Matthew Nicks had his side using last week is a style that would stack up against many other competitive teams this season. The ball is now in Adelaide’s hands, was it a flash in the pan, or can they make that unrelenting brand of football their own?

 

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