AFL

The Weekend Forecast – Round 4

The Forecast’s Round 3 prediction of the Adelaide showdown being the Match Of The Round came to fruition. Great performances from both clubs. But alas the game was marred in another Eddie Betts’ racism furore, which prompted swift condemnation from the AFL.

Speaking of ugly crowd incidents, Sydney travel to meet West Coast, with the booing of one of the games legends still fresh in the minds of many. Hopefully if your reading this after the game, it was a cracking contest to usher in the Easter weekend of footy.

Now, onward to The Weekend Forecast for Round 4.

Match Of The Round – Hawthorn vs Geelong (Easter Monday)

Calls of “The end of an era” ring loudly in footy circles, describing Hawthorn’s current fall from grace. The Hawks new engine room has spluttered along and the normally reliable Luke Bruest, Jack Gunston and Cyril Rioli have been quiet. Their backline has looked lethargic and it’s clear that more time is needed for this new group to gel effectively.

Hawthorn come up against a ladder-leading Geelong side keen to continue their recent dominance of the Hawks, with them having won the last two contests but lost the three games prior (2-3 over the last five contests). Hawthorn will look done on paper especially on recent form, but time and time again we see that this game can be won above the shoulders. Both sides will be well rested so there could be an upset brewing this week.

HAWTHORN HAWKS

B Shaun Burgoyne, James Frawley, Ben Stratton
HB Ryan Burton, Kaiden Brand, Josh Gibson
C Isaac Smith, Tom Mitchell, Liam Shiels
HF Luke Breust, Jack Gunston, Brendan Whitecross
F Ty Vickery, Jarryd Roughead, Paul Puopolo
FOL Ben McEvoy, Luke Hodge, Cyril Rioli
I/C Tim O’Brien, James Sicily, Will Langford, Blake Hardwick, Daniel Howe, Ricky Henderson, Billy Hartung (Three to be omitted)
IN
Tim O’Brien, James Sicily, Blake Hardwick, Daniel Howe, Billy Hartung
OUT
Teia Miles (Omitted), Jaeger O’Meara (Knock to the Knee)
MILESTONES: Ben McEvoy – Playing 150th game, Will Langford – Playing 50th game, Blake Hardwick – Played 1st game

The Hawks have reacted to their 86-pt loss to the Suns by swinging the axe – bringing in some young in O’Brien, Hardwick, Howe and Hartung to the mix.

GEELONG CATS

B Tom Stewart, Tom Lonergan, Andrew Mackie
HB Harry Taylor, Lachie Henderson, Zach Tuohy
C Josh Cowan, Joel Selwood, George Horlin-Smith
HF James Parsons, Rhys Stanley, Steven Motlop
F Brandan Parfitt, Tom Hawkins, Daniel Menzel
FOL Zac Smith, Patrick Dangerfield, Cameron Guthrie
I/C Mark Blicavs, Nakia Cockatoo, Mitch Duncan, Sam Menegola, Jordan Murdoch, Tom Ruggles, Jackson Thurlow (Three to be omitted)
IN
Josh Cowan, George Horlin-Smith, Rhys Stanley, Nakia Cockatoo
OUT
Lincoln McCarthy (Omitted)
MILESTONES: James Parsons – Played 1st game

The Cats have omitted young forward Lincoln McCarthy and will look to bring in one of Horlin-Smith, Cockatoo, Cowan or Rhys Stanley for their Easter Monday clash. Teams will be finalised on Saturday morning.

Hawthorn   $2.94
Geelong       $1.41

30+ Disposal Market Watch

With Jake Lloyd averaging bang on 30 disposals and piling on 34 last week, he could be a bargain at $2.50 on a dry track at Subi. Hopefully by the time you read this, he has knocked up a win for the lucky punters.

I also like the look of David Mundy at $3.60. He has got 30+ in 2 of his 3 games so far in 2017, with the Docker shocker against Port his only blemish. 30 touches last week. Get on him!
(Source – Sportsbet)

On Fire

The resurgence of Marc Murphy carrying the Blues midfield has been a delight to watch. There’s an assumption his fitness is at its peak currently, as he is covering the ground very well. He’s getting plenty of tackles, possessions and sneaking forward for a few goals. He’s well up on his 2016 form.

Marc Murphy 2017 –  32 disp,  5 marks, 7 tackles, 1 goal
Marc Murphy 2016 – 20 disp, 3.8 marks, 3 tackles

Under Fire

Having Alastair Clarkson listed in the Under Fire section of this article or any similar article of the past would be extremely rare. Clarko has to find a way to win with this aging group and bring the likes of James Sicily, Ryan Burton, Dan Howe and similar players up to the elite level quickly. They have sold the farm to get Jaeger O’Meara and Tom Mitchell who are still finding their feet in the Hawks system.

The cupboard is left bare next year with no high draft picks, so a massive challenge looms for Clarkson. I cant see a Freo-style fall for this team, but Hawthorn would’ve expected a lot more effort on the Gold Coast last Sunday. Perhaps “giving a toss” about winning the contested ball is a good place to start on the road to recovery (-62 differential against Gold Coast).

Ladder Scenario

The 3 unbeaten teams, and the 3 winless sides are unlikely to change this week. But then again, the form guide has been tossed out the window with most matchups so far in 2017. Geelong, the Western Bulldogs and West Coast await the winless sides. Essendon, Brisbane and the out of form Hawks await the winners.

Out of the 3 bottom sides, Sydney have the most to gain, as they have a percentage far superior to North Melbourne and Hawthorn. An upset Sydney win in the West, along with no other major upsets affecting bottom sides (if you consider St Kilda losing to Collingwood as an upset), could have the Swans springboard to as high as 12th.

Current Ladder

12  Adelaide
12  Richmond   
12  Geelong
8   Port Adelaide
8   GWS
8   West Coast
8   Essendon
8   Melbourne

8   W.Bulldogs
4   St Kilda
4   Gold Coast
4   Collingwood
4   Brisbane
4   Carlton
4   Fremantle
0   Sydney
0   Nth Melbourne
0   Hawthorn

So concludes this week’s look at the round ahead. Always happy to see your comments in the button below on your theories for this weekend.

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