Round 19 plays homage to to all our players from other lands, who help shape our game in the annual Multicultural round of footy. One of the most recognisable faces (and beards) in our game in Bachar Houli, fittingly returns from a lengthy suspension to travel to the Gold Coast to meet with the Suns.
Another interesting set up for this weekend’s round of matches with the Top 9 teams playing off with the bottom 9 teams.
This is a recipe for upsets, tipsters beware.
All this and more in our in-depth look at the nitty gritty of the coming weekend of footy, all right here for you in the Weekend Forecast.
Match Of The Round – Hawthorn vs Sydney
The rivalry between these teams still burns bright, and for our AFL fixture makers, you wouldn’t hesitate to put these two great teams front and centre, in front of a national Friday night audience whenever their paths cross on the yearly schedule.
Roughy’s goal to sink the Swans last time round in Sydney typifies the heavyweight battles the two teams have fought over the years. In their Round 10 clash, both teams were struggling to find their feet on the season.
Since then, the Swans have probably found theirs quicker than Hawthorn. Sydney have won every game since, while the Hawks walk the finals tightrope every week from here.
FB Nick Smith, Heath Grundy, Dane Rampe
HB Callum Mills, Lewis Melican, Jarrad McVeigh
C Isaac Heeney, Josh P. Kennedy, Jake Lloyd
HF George Hewett, Lance Franklin, Dean Towers
FF Gary Rohan, Callum Sinclair, Kieren Jack
FOL Sam Naismith, Luke Parker, Dan Hannebery
I/C Will Hayward, Zak Jones, Nic Newman, Tom Papley
Ins in BOLD.
FB Conor Glass, Kaiden Brand, Blake Hardwick
HB James Sicily, Ryan Burton, Luke Hodge
C Liam Shiels, Tom Mitchell, Isaac Smith
HF Jack Gunston, Ryan Schoenmakers, Ricky Henderson
FF Luke Breust, Jarryd Roughead, Tim O’Brien
FOL Ben McEvoy, Shaun Burgoyne, Daniel Howe
I/C Billy Hartung, Taylor Duryea, Will Langford, Brendan Whitecross
Head To Head
Sydney $ 1.46
Hawthorn $ 2.75 (Source: Crownbet)
Who’s On Fire
It’s easy to not see the valuable contributions of players in struggling teams, it’s often the ones in successful teams who are lauded.
It’s been refreshing to see the rise and development of young Docker Connor Blakely. Connor is putting together a fine 2017, despite the wavering fortunes of Fremantle.
When his surfing trip to Yallingup raised many eyebrows amongst the footy public a few weeks back, 21 year old Blakely has taken it on the chin, and repaid the club with some fine performances.
With Blakely’s output increasing with more games under his belt, experienced mids Nat Fyfe, Lachie Neale and David Mundy have been freed up to branch into different roles in the team dynamic from time to time.
Surf’s Up – Blakely’s last month
Round 14 vs Geelong – 27 disp, 7 marks
Round 16 vs Nth Melbourne – 32 disp, 12 marks, 4 tackles
Round 17 vs West Coast – 33 disp, 11 marks, 6 tackles
Round 18 vs Hawthorn – 29 disp, 9 marks
Who’s Under Fire
Carlton have to be careful not to accept mediocre performances in the process of blooding their younger talent, of which they have plenty of.
The Blues have claimed the prize scalps of Sydney and GWS this year, but have lost their last 5 matches, while being in those contests till late in games for the most part.
Coach Brendon Bolton must be commended for sticking true to his game plan and maintaining the clubs strict ethos towards the huge rebuild they are undertaking. But if Carlton want to attract talent, and members to the club, these final weeks are pivotal to the cause.
As part of any rebuild, older players are always in the firing line along the way. This year is no exception, the Blues must not fizzle away like they did last year, if they want to become a destination for free agents.
They have an extremely tough draw from here, so the pressure is on. Carlton have slightly firmed in betting since yesterday.
40 Port Adelaide
36 West Coast
36 Western Bulldogs
36 St Kilda
24 Gold Coast
16 Nth Melbourne
Not a lot to write home about ladder wise this week, where you would assume the West Coast would account for Brisbane, but the Essendon vs Western Bulldogs is the pivotal game to shape the eight. Essendon can sneak into the eight, while for the Bulldogs, the Eagles would need to lose to have a chance.
The Run Home
The Crows have made the finals without any doubt, but their race is on for the minor premiership.
The Showdown against Port and the Sydney game in Round 22 will tell us a great deal about the Crows credentials.
Saints fans will be on edge for their last month or so, sitting on 36pts, you would think they need 3 more wins from the last 5 to earn a spot.
I can only see two wins here, unless they snag one against Melbourne. Final away trip this week before finishing the last month playing in Melbourne.
Round 19 vs Port (A)
Round 20 vs West Coast (H)
Round 21 vs Melbourne (A)
Round 22 vs North (H)
Round 23 vs Richmond (A)
Enjoy the round of footy, and may your team get the cash !