AFL

The Weekend Forecast – Round 15

After a weekend of extraordinary footy from a viewers perspective where 4 games were decided in the final moments by 3 points or less. We find ourselves in anticipation for what Round 15 can bring.

You could consider the amazing finishes of the West Coast v Melbourne game, and the Sydney v Essendon game as some kind of teaser preview of the unanimous Match Of The Round heavyweight bout this week as Sydney travel to Melbourne to take on the unstoppable Demons.

I can’t recall a 5th vs 10th game having so much riding on it, particularly with the 10th placed team starting as favourites.  Those with heart issues should take special care.

A Friday night spectacle to behold, as we launch into another edition of the Weekend Forecast.

Match Of The Round – Melbourne vs Sydney

MELBOURNE DEMONS

FB       Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta
HB      Jordan Lewis, Sam Frost, Jayden Hunt
C         James Harmes, Dom Tyson, Bernie Vince
HF      Billy Stretch, Cameron Pedersen, Christian Petracca
FF       Clayton Oliver, Tom McDonald, Alex Neal-Bullen
FOL    Max Gawn, Jake Melksham, Jack Viney
I/C      Mitch Hannan, Tomas Bugg, Mitch White, Josh Wagner

Ins in BOLD.

SYDNEY SWANS

FB       Nic Newman, Heath Grundy, Nick Smith
HB      Zak Jones, Dane Rampe, Jake Lloyd
C          Isaac Heeney, Josh P. Kennedy, Callum Mills
HF      George Hewett, Lance Franklin, Kieren Jack
FF       Gary Rohan, Sam Reid, Tom Papley
FOL    Sam Naismith, Dan Hannebery, Luke Parker
I/C      Oliver Florent, Jarrad McVeigh, Lewis Melican, Dean Towers

Ins in BOLD.

Head To Head
Sydney               $ 1.76
Melbourne       $ 2.10  (Source: Sportsbet)

Melbourne are +3.5 at the line.

This isn’t tipped to be an end-to-end free flowing game, so there’s value for total points under 177.5 at $1.92.

Former Captain Jarrad McVeigh returns to guide the Swans along with Zac Jones. Youngsters Mitch White and Josh Wagner get their chance to prove their worth in front of a national audience. Since yesterday, the Swans have firmed a little in the betting.

Houli Dooley!

The melodrama of the week surely was Bacher Houli‘s successful challenge at the tribunal, giving him a gift two-week suspension for his back-arm stiff chop to Lamb (Jed).

The AFL Tribunal found the reputable Richmond defender guilty of striking on Tuesday night following his backhand hit on Jed Lamb last Sunday against Carlton.

AFL football operations boss Simon Lethlean, announced shortly after Wednesday’s noon deadline that it had lodged an appeal, claiming Houli’s result was “manifestly inadequate”.

This is a unique situation where the AFL has successfully challenged their affiliated tribunal for the first time. Houli is now set for four weeks in the stands.

Head of the AFL’s legal counsel Andrew Woods argued three points: The original penalty was manifestly inadequate,  there was an error of law when the Tribunal made its judgement, and lastly, the decision was so unreasonable that no Tribunal acting reasonably could have come to that decision. (Source: afl.com.au)

With Mr Lethlean at the helm, the judicial process is set for a shake up going forward. The precedent is now set for future cases, and must cast some doubt into the clubs regarding the appeals process.

Who’s On Fire
It may be a bleak season unfolding for Hawthorn, although they are very much still a finals chance.

When a team struggles, there’s usually a young player who steps up and takes advantage of his opportunities.

Make no mistake, Ryan Burton is the future of the Hawthorn backline.

The 20 year old has shown maturity beyond his years stepping in from the absences of Josh Gibson and James “Chip”Frawley.

Last week Burton added another dimension to his game, playing some time forward and booting two great goals for the Hawks who eventually pulled of one of the years big upsets over Adelaide. Swingmen are an invaluable asset to any footy club, and Hawthorn have a few kids coming through in that mould.

Who’s Under Fire

Don Pyke may be high on the coaches ratings poll conducted on the AFL website this week, but Adelaide’s 6 and 0 start is becoming a distant memory. Rory Sloane’s tag woes are continuing, and it seems Pyke has not made the protection of its star midfielder a priority, while they have been winning.

Teams have worked them out, and guess what, they are losing and have slipped out of first spot.

While there is not a genuine, purposeful game plan to free Sloane, then Adelaide will continue to be at the mercy of the opposition, regardless of the ladder standing of that opposition. It’s time Adelaide got on the attack, and mitigate the tag threat, which could very well derail their promising season. Don Pyke won’t want to be the coach that lets this slip.

Sure, the Crows aren’t likely to miss the finals, but they now present teams with vulnerability. If this isn’t sorted by September, it will be out in straight sets for Adelaide in 2017. This is a battle within the battle that Pyke cannot afford to lose.

Ladder Implications

40   GWS
36   Adelaide
36   Geelong
32   Port Adelaide
32   Melbourne
32   Richmond
28   West Coast
28   St Kilda
28    Western Bulldogs
24    Sydney
24    Essendon
24    Fremantle
20    Collingwood
20    Gold Coast
20    Carlton
20   Hawthorn
16    Nth Melbourne
8     Brisbane

Not too much to get excited about ladder wise this week. The Richmond v Port Adelaide game should be the one to shape the eight. Richmond can rise to fourth,  while Port could solidify a top three berth. With a percentage of 79.6 and netting 6 wins, Fremantle could be seen as the current over-achievers.

Massive game for West Coast in Melbourne, against a Bulldogs side with some star factor returning.

An Eagles loss could well slide them out to 11th, and Perth talk-back radio would be in meltdown mode.

Head-To-Head
Western Bulldogs  $1.31
West Coast                $3.55

Just a quick mention that 2012 Swans premiership player Alex Johnson, could play NEAFL footy as early as this week after 5 knee recos and 5 years in the footy wilderness.

Keep an eye on the team selections for that one, there won’t be a dry eye or an unclapped hand in the house, regardless of where your allegiances lie.

Here’s hoping your team gets the win, and your opposition’s performance is manifestly inadequate.

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