Dave Cardamone takes a look at what to expect around the league on the eve of Round 20.
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Champions say goodbye
The romance in me feels as though it’s a shame Sam Mitchell did not finish his career as a one club player but as fate would have it he will play his last Melbourne game (of course finals pending) against another retiring champion in Nick Riewoldt. Both announcing they will finish up at seasons end, it will be a pleasure to watch them both go to battle against each other for the final time. They share a remarkable 656 games and counting between them, eight All-Australian nods and 11 B&Fs – both incredible servants of their respective clubs.
Melbourne can continue to grow
The Demons won’t win the premiership this year but after a disappointing performance against North there’s always next week and another challenge. The Demons face the Giants and with finals on the line and their opposition not firing on all cylinders it’s a huge opportunity for Melbourne to make amends. All eyes will be on Deledio making his first senior appearance but the return of Bernie Vince knowing he has cost his club a win will no doubt be another talking point to watch out for.
Supporters might wait this week
If there’s one thing your parents should always teach you when it comes to going to the football it is that you NEVER, EVER, leave early. One it’s loyalty as a football supporter, through the good times and the bad you watch until the end of the game, showing respect to the opposition and everyone involved with putting on the performance. Then there’s last week, Port Adelaide were done with under two minutes to play and their supporters thought so too. With last week fresh in their mind I doubt they’ll be leaving early this week particularly with the much anticipated Showdown to be battled out.
Friday night fireworks
There’s no doubt the Swans have taken a stance since Callum Mills was targeted by the Blues back in Round 6. At times bordering on white line fever as they seemingly look to target an opposition player. As last week showed it really comes to nothing when you don’t get the four points and can backfire with Buddy now one incident away from an automatic one game suspension. Geelong have a point to prove, Friday night will be their first outing without Dangerfield since his arrival, with there an opportunity for another young Cat to make his mark. A loss will see the Swans succumb to their poor early season form while the Cats will be keen to cement a top four spot, we’re in for a ripping contest.
Watch out for…
Every week this season has delivered a surprising upset. Looking at what this week could have in store for mind the biggest margin between all contests is the Lions against the Dogs. On paper the Western Bulldogs should win this comfortably but it’s a Brisbane home game, they’re playing with a lot more belief and structure so who knows? If the Dogs are down then they’ll be there for the taking and the Lions have enough class to make that happen.