All the latest team news and predictions for this weekend's big games in the AFL.
Adelaide Crows vs Geelong Cats @Adelaide Oval, Friday 7:20pm
This should without a doubt be one of the games of the season as first placed Adelaide take on second placed Geelong. Both sides will want to show why they are the best and should be considered the favourites to win the Grand Final. Last round both clubs came out on top with Adelaide beating Melbourne by 46 points and Geelong beating Hawthorn by three.
Recent history indicates that this matchup has been fairly one sided with Geelong having beaten Adelaide in four of their past five clashes against them. The last time they played it was a 22-point win to Geelong. Adelaide have all the motivation in the world to change the result up for this one.
Adelaide’s current injuries are Kyle Cheney (Hamstring), Curtly Hampton (Ankle), Cam Ellis-Yolmen (Knee) and Ben Davis (Foot). As for Geelong their injury list is a lot worse and is highlighted by Scott Selwood (Hamstring) and all of Josh Cowan, Cory Gregson and Quinton Narkle who are all out for the season.
Why Geelong will win: Last week against a highly motivated Hawthorn side Geelong lost most of the major categories such as disposals, kicks and clearances yet they still came out on top with a win. If they can fix those up and play a bit stronger than theirs no reason to say why they can’t get the win.
Our Tip: Geelong by three.
Essendon Bombers vs North Melbourne Kangaroos @Etihad Stadium, Saturday 1:45pm
Last week Essendon smashed fellow top eight hopefuls St Kilda 118-57 in what did no harm to their finals chances. North Melbourne on the other hand were pretty much no shows as they got pummelled by Port Adelaide 127-57. For a side in a restless pursuit of making the finals they haven’t really shown it (have won five of their past ten games) and as a result of this look for Essendon to really take a stand during this clash.
Six of the past seven games between these two teams have been won by North Melbourne. The last one being a 74-60 win their way. In that game Essendon were kept to only eight majors. Look for their offence to be a lot stronger this time around.
Essendon’s only current injuries are with Mitch Brown (Ankle) and Patrick Ambrose (Quad). As for North Melbourne their injury list is a lot bigger and is highlighted through the likes of Jarrad Waite (Calf) and Jamie Macmillan (Finger), while Paul Ahern is also out for the season (Knee).
Why Essendon will win: Essendon currently have a 108.50% that is led by the likes of Joe Daniher (45.26), Orazio Fantasia (32.19) and Cale Hooker (27.15). Against a North’s defence that isn’t known for anything special they should be able to run up a big score.
Our Tip: Essendon by 40.
Melbourne Demons vs Port Adelaide Power @Melbourne Cricket Ground, Saturday 2:10pm
Both Melbourne (nine wins from 16 games) and Port Adelaide (have only beaten a team in the top eight once this season) have had relatively inconsistent years yet they’re both in the eight and fighting to secure a spot in the top four. Melbourne can be some-what excused for their lacklustre 46-point loss last week as they were playing first placed Adelaide and had a tonne of injuries to deal with. Port Adelaide in their game were on cruise-control making it look easy as they beat North Melbourne by 70.
The recent history between these sides is all in Port Adelaide’s favour as they have won seven of their past nine clashes against Melbourne. But the last game between these two sides was actually a 40-point victory to Melbourne - in which Port Adelaide only kicked a pathetic eight majors to go along with six behinds. Port Adelaide’s attack has rapidly improved since then and that will be on full display Saturday afternoon.
Port Adelaide at the moment have no injuries to deal with, while for Melbourne on their injured list are a massive nine players. This is headlined by Colin Garland who is out for the season with a Knee Injury along with the likes of Jack Viney (Foot) and Pat McKenna (Hamstring).
Why Port Adelaide will win: This season they have scored 100 or more points in a game eight times while Melbourne have been kept to under 100 points nine times. This will be a close game but Port Adelaide’s attack should get them over the edge.
Our Tip: Port Adelaide by 10.