Round 14 action kicks off tonight and we put our reputations on the line picking the winners and losers and the margins.
Adelaide Crows vs Hawthorn Hawks @Adelaide Oval
At the same ground in their last game Adelaide came out victorious over St Kilda by 57. As for Hawthorn they lost a game they really needed to win going down to the Gold Coast by 16. As the season edges ever closer to the end games suddenly become must wins for those aspiring to aspiring to be in the Top Eight. That’s no different here for the Hawks as this game represents a must win for them.
In for the Crows comes Luke Brown while Riley Knight has been omitted. In for the Hawks come Grant Birchall, Luke Hodge, Luke Breust and Ryan Schoenmakers. Out are Brendan Whitecross (omitted), Kade Stewart (omitted), Josh Gibson (groin) and James Cousins (omitted).
Why Hawthorn will win: Despite having a relatively poor season so far the Hawks know that it’s now or never for them and they will have desperation on their side unlike the first placed Crows. Hawthorn have also shown that they can beat big sides this season as evident through wins against West Coast, Melbourne and Sydney.
Our Tip: Hawks by six
Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bombers @Sydney Cricket Ground
Sydney came back from a 13 point deficit at three quarter time to beat Richmond 80-71 in their last game. Whilst for Essendon they obliterated Port Adelaide by 70. This should be a close and entertaining affair as Sydney sit just outside the Top Eight whilst Essendon sit just inside it.
Out for Sydney are Kieran Jack (hip), Jeremy Laidler (achilles), Dane Rampe (arm), Alex Johnson (knee), Shaun Edwards (shoulder) and Sam Naismith (knee). Whilst out for Essendon are Mitch Brown (ankle), Patrick Ambrose (quad), Jayden Laverde (ankle) and Jordan Ridley (back).
Why Sydney will win: Dating back to 2010, Round 11 the Swans have won eight of their past nine clashes against the Bombers. This will give them great confidence heading into a must win match. It will also give them confidence with the fact that their only player last week with multiple goals was Sam Reid with two and they still beat a top side in the Tigers. If they are more effective this time around then it should be a little bit easier for the Swans to get the win.
Our Tip: Swans by 10
Collingwood Magpies vs Port Adelaide Power @Melbourne Cricket Ground
Last time out the Magpies suffered a close and potentially finals damaging four point loss to the Demons. As for the Power they did it easy beating the Lions by 40 at home. Collingwood have been fairly inconsistent lately only winning three of their past six matches. During this run they lost to Carlton who they were supposed to beat and beat Fremantle who they were supposed to lose to. They need to break out of this slump if they wish to make a final push for the finals.
The Power have a clean bill of health while out for Collingwood are Travis Varcoe (hamstring), Ben Sinclair (hamstring), Adam Oxley (groin/hip), Rupert Wills (calf) and Brayden Sier (eye socket).
Why Port Adelaide will win: The Power before getting humiliated by Essendon had been in hot form winning four out of six, rightfully justifying their spot in the Top Four. They have also shown since then a 121-81 win over Brisbane that they are jumping straight back into who they really are and that the Essendon game was just a one off. If they play like the team they actually are than this could get embarrassing for Collingwood.
Our Tip: Power by 25
Brisbane Lions vs Greater Western Sydney Giants @The Gabba
It’s the battle of equal first the last and the Giants are monumental favourites to win this encounter between the two teams. Last round Brisbane barely made a roar as they were smashed by 40 against Port Adelaide. As for the Giants, Carlton caused the upset of the season beating them by one. With all due respect to the Lions they have no hope of winning this game.
Out for the Lions are Dayne Beams (quad), Allen Christensen (shoulder), Mitch Robinson (foot), Daniel McStay (hand) and Sam Skinner (knee). Whilst out for GWS are nine different players who are suffering from different injuries and illness.
Why Greater Western Sydney will win: Everything about them is better than that of Brisbane. Whether it be wins on the season, goal kicking percentage, players. The Lions have nothing over the Giants. The Giants also possess massive threats up front in Jeremy Cameron and Toby Greene (combined 61.39 this season).
Our Tip: Giants by 60
West Coast Eagles vs Melbourne Demons @Domain Stadium
West Coast in their last game came away with a 13 point win over Geelong. As for Melbourne they were very impressive in their crushing 57 point win over the Bulldogs. A win for either side could possibly be enough to push them into the Top Four. While this would be massive for either side it would especially be so for the Demons given their recent poor seasons.
Both clubs have a massive combined 18 players sitting this encounter out. Some important players out for West Coast include Drew Petrie and Nic Naitanui while for the Demons Jake Spencer and Aaron Vandenberg are out.
Why West Coast will win: Two reasons. Reason one is they have won their past 10 clashes in a row against the Demons. Reason two is at home the Eagles have won 11 of their past 13. Teams are scared to play here and whilst the Demons will be tough, they’ll be no match for West Coast at home.
Our Tip: Eagles by 10
Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne Kangaroos @Etihad Stadium
In their last game the Bulldogs suffered a very disappointing 57 point loss to the Demons in what was a disjointed effort from the Bulldogs. North Melbourne meanwhile went down by 17 to St Kilda. The Kangaroos are currently two wins of eighth spot. A win is a must for them as seven teams stand between them and a berth in the finals.
The injured list for the Western Bulldogs currently reads Travis Cloke, Dale Morris, Stewart Crameri, Jake Stringer, Roarke Smith, Josh Dunkley, Brad Lynch and Patrick Lipinski. Whilst out for North Melbourne are Sam Wright, Paul Ahern, Ben McKay, Corey Wagner and Oscar Junker.
Why Western Bulldogs will win: They have just a little bit too much star talent for North Melbourne to be able to cope with. This includes the likes of Jake Stringer (20.19 this season), Marcus Bontempelli (13.14 this season), Luke Dahlhaus (27.3 disposals per game, 17.8 handballs per game ranked sixth and 7.4 score involvements per game ranked 15th), Jason Johannisen (14.2 kicks per game) and Liam Picken with eight goal assists this season.
Our Tip: Western Bulldogs by 12
Geelong Cats vs Fremantle Dockers @Simonds Stadium
In their last start Geelong went down to West Coast by 13 points. Fremantle on the other hand gave Brisbane only their second win of the season as they went down 121-64. For Geelong this clash is important as they chase down first sport whilst a win for Fremantle would put them in a finals position.
Out for Geelong are Lincoln McCarthy, Corey Gregson, Brandan Parfitt and Quinton Narkle. Out for Fremantle includes Hayden Ballantyne, Zac Clarke and Harley Bennell.
Why Geelong will win: They are three of three from home this year and have won three of their past four games. The Dockers are a team going in the opposite direction as they have won none of their previous three games. With Geelong wanting top spot the Dockers could be their unfortunate victims.
Our Tip: Cats by 35
Richmond Tigers vs Carlton Blues @Melbourne Cricket Ground
The Tigers blew a massive lead as they went down to the Swans by nine in their last game. The Blues meanwhile beat the Suns by 10 on the holiday strip. The Tigers are looking to break into the Top Four whilst a victory for Carlton gets them ever so closer to making the finals. This should be a very tight affair and one that is most definitely worth watching despite what recent history might suggest (Richmond has five wins in a row vs Carlton).
Only Ciaran Byrne is out for Carlton while the likes of Ben Griffiths, Reece Conca and Nathan Drummond are out for Richmond.
Why Carlton will win: They have won their past two games in a row and they were very impressive wins over the then first placed Giants and fellow competitors for the finals in the Suns. This whilst Richmond has been more inconsistent and blowing leads.
Our Tip: Carlton by seven
St Kilda Saints vs Gold Coast Suns @Etihad Stadium
St Kilda in their last game came away with a well-deserved 17 point win over North Melbourne. The Gold Coast looked decent for a lot of their game before eventually falling away to Carlton, 73-83. This game represents a good chance for either side to make their push into the Top Eight.
On the injury list for St Kilda are David Armitage, Tom Hickey and Josh Battle. While some of the players out for the Gold Coast are Matt Rosa, Pearce Hanley and Michael Rischitelli.
Why St Kilda will win: Both teams this season have been inconsistent. But the Saints slightly less so. They have shown that they can beat teams both below and above them and will be raring to go in such a vital match. St Kilda have got this one in the bag.
Our tip: Saints by 11