AFL Round 22 Preview
The race for the finals continues, with very little change from last week.
The Saints blew a big chance, but still, hang in there. So do Essendon, although both have a huge task ahead.
The top 4 is not wide open again. The Crows look secure for top 2, but the rest is up for grabs.
Once again (again) teams are putting their finals chances on the line in Round 22.
Surely the picture gets clearer after this week?
Here is our AFL Round 22 Preview.
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Adelaide Crows v Sydney Swans
Adelaide Oval – Friday 18th August 2017
Sound like a broken record, but yet again we get a brilliant game to kick-start the round.
Forget the start to the season for the Swans. In my opinion, they are probably the biggest threat to the Crows at this stage. This is critical though. They can still miss finals if they lose too many, and they can also still make top 4. What a season!
The only change is they get Kennedy back (and refreshed), so that’s a huge plus. They are basically at full strength now, which is a scary thing for the rest of the comp at this stage of the season.
The Crows go into this a game and a half clear on top. They have secured a top 2 spot, and probably top spot. They have been the best team all year, and hit this game unchanged and full of running.
The questions has to be asked how mentally prepared the Crows will be. They know they are playing finals, and are the team to beat. They know they finish top 2, and sometimes with this relief, teams drop games. It happens every year.
This is hard to pick because both teams are very good; however, I am going to back in the Swans with more to play for. The Crows may just come into this with finals in mind.
Swans by 4
Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide
Mars Stadium (Ballarat NOT Mars) – Saturday 19th August 2017
The match is critical. The Power are fighting to make the top 4, and the Dogs fighting to make the top 8. Any loss all but ends the chance.
What makes this impossible to pick, is not just the fact that it is played in Ballarat, but also because we never have a clue this season what these teams will throw up.
The Dogs have two key inclusions but lose two more. The Power gets the Pepper back but lose three good players (although two are surprisingly omitted).
Hard to pick, but I think the Doggies will fight to stay alive and get a slight edge in Ballarat.
Western Bulldogs by 7
Collingwood Magpies v Geelong Cats
MCG – Saturday 19th August 2017
Typically a blockbuster between two powerhouses, but this just doesn’t have the same feel. This means nothing for the Pies, except maybe saving Buckley (if that’s possible). For the Cats though, this means a big chance at top 2, especially considering they play the Giants next week.
The Pies are simply missing too many players, and playing the young boys seems like the priority. No Pendlebury, Wells, Grundy or Greenwood already, but now Fasolo, De Goey and Goldsack come out. They will give it every shot, but I can’t imagine they have the quality in enough areas to stay in this for long.
I am still not convinced by the Cats, despite an impressive performance last week. But let’s face it, the Tigers were horrid. They have been a bit lazy in games and relied on too much from too few. Still, they sit 3rd, so something is going right.
Forget the Cats reliance, they should be winning this easily against a young and undermanned Pies outfit, and especially with so much to play for.
Cats by 30
GWS Giants v West Coast Eagles
Spotless Stadium – Saturday 19th August 2017
The Eagles have been well below par this season. They simply aren’t tough enough when it is needed.
They hang onto 8th spot by percentage, and now face the Giants away, and the Crows in the final round. This match is critical because depending what happens with the Crows, they may go to Perth with their reserves.
The Giants sit in second but haven’t really been that convincing. They have been hit with injuries throughout the season, and no doubt that hurts. Check out the inclusions for this though. Cameron, Mumford, Smith and Tomlinson. BIG BIG BIG!
The Giants at home, and with the inclusions, are hard to go past.
Giants by 24
Gold Coast Suns v Essendon Bombers
Metricon Stadium – Saturday 19th August 2017
The Bombers simply MUST win to keep their season alive. One loss and they are cooked.
Not much to say here really. I couldn’t make any case for the Suns at the moment, and the Bombers simply have to throw the kitchen sink at this.
Bombers by 20
Carlton Blues v Hawthorn Hawks
Etihad Stadium – Saturday 19th August 2017
Tanking?…..I didn’t say it, the Blues did.
The Hawks are also still a mathematical chance to make finals. Unlikely, but a loss here and they are definitely cooked. They are also playing very good footy, and have been for a while now. I personally think they have some of the best
They are also playing very good footy, and have been for a while now. I personally think they have some of the best form in the AFL over the past 2 months. They have beaten the Crows, Pies, Dockers, Swans and Kangaroos. Plus a draw with the Giants, and a 3 point loss to the Cats.
The Blues have lost 8 straight, and are charging towards the wooden spoon. Half way through the season, they were playing some great footy, and then done!
The Hawks have a slim finals chance and have some greats to send off in style. Against inferior opposition, that’s more than enough.
Hawks by 26
Melbourne Demons v Brisbane Lions
MCG – Sunday 20th August 2017
After some disappointing performances the past month, the Dee’s were very good last week in a crunch match against the Saints. Could the grand old flag be headed to finals? They get a perfect chance to say yes this week.
The Lions are last but fighting to jump above the Blues. They have been good in patches this year, but let’s face it when they lose it is by 50+. Can they travel to the MCG and beat a determined and motivated Demon’s team.
I say no, and I would say no anyway. The Dee’s have a bit too much talent across the park, and now have far too much to play for. If they don’t make finals they only have themselves to blame.
Dees by 50
St Kilda Saints v North Melbourne Kangaroos
Etihad Stadium – Sunday 20th August 2017
The Saints probably blew their finals chance last week, but in fairness, the Dees were very good. They are still a mathematical chance but would need plenty of luck.
Despite their finals chance, the Saints have lost 4 of their past 5. They have Saint Nick to send off, so they should have plenty of motivation the last two weeks.
The Kangaroo’s were easily beaten by the Hawks last week, and have now won just 1 of their past 10 matches. Their problem isn’t scoring because they kick a good enough score. Their issue is keeping the opposition from scoring.
I am almost tempted to take the Kangaroo’s here. They can score, and the Saints can butcher their chances. BUT, it is the Kangaroo’s, and I wouldn’t sleep well at night knowing I picked them. My faith isn’t that high!
Fremantle Dockers v Richmond Tigers
Domain Stadium – Sunday 20th August 2017
After such a good season, this game now becomes critical for the Tigers. Not because they are in a battle for top 4, but because they were average last week against the Cats. The footy world asks questions very quickly, and the Tigers are always the first cab off the rank.
I am not going to discount them just yet, but this is a game they simply need to win or internal and external confidence will become very thin.
The Dockers came to Melbourne and beat the Tigers this season. So at home, they will feel some confidence, despite their very average form winning just 2 of their past 11 matches. Mind you those wins were against the Suns and Kangaroos, so not much to hang your hat on.
The Dockers have zero to play for, and the Tigers everything. This pressure can work against you sometimes, but the Tigers have responded for most of the year. They should be too good here but will hit a fair bit of resistance.
Tigers by 15
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