AFL

The Weekend Forecast – Round 21

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The theme of the week has definately been retirements. It seems they have been announced on a daily basis, all have their own motives, and the game will be poorer for the absence of those hanging up the boots at seasons end. One of the latest retirees Steve Johnson pulls on the Orange & Charcoal once more to take on the Dogs on Friday Night Football, which brings us to our match of the round in this weeks Weekend Forecast.

Match of the Round – Western Bulldogs vs GWS

A Friday night blockbuster awaits, Jonathon Patton and Toby Greene return for the Giants, while Josh Dunkley makes an appearance along with Jake Stringer.
GWS have taken the psychological advantage with a slim 2 point win in Round 6. The Bulldogs have blown out by a few cents in the betting odds.

WESTERN BULLDOGS

FB        Shane Biggs, Zaine Cordy, Bailey Williams
HB      
 Robert Murphy, Lewis Young, Matthew Suckling
C           Lachie Hunter, Mitch Wallis, Bailey Dale
HF       Toby McLean, Travis Cloke, Liam Picken
FF        Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Redpath, Tory Dickson
FOL     Jordan Roughead, Tom Liberatore, Jack Macrae
I/C       Luke Dahlhaus, Jake Stringer, Josh Dunkley, Caleb Daniel
Ins in BOLD.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY GIANTS

FB        Aidan Corr, Nick Haynes, Nathan Wilson
HB       Adam Tomlinson, Phil Davis, Josh Kelly
C           Lachie Whitfield, Dylan Shiel, Heath Shaw
HF       Brett Deledio, Harrison Himmelberg, Steve Johnson
FF        Tom Scully, Jonathon Patton, Callan Ward
FOL     Rory Lobb, Stephen Coniglio, Jacob Hopper
I/C       Zac Williams, Matt de Boer, Toby Greene, Matthew Kennedy
Ins in BOLD

Head To Head
Western Bulldogs     $ 2.15
GWS                               $ 1.72 (Source: Crownbet)

Who’s On Fire

In a dominant display last week by the Crows in the showdown, the midfield was firing, and plenty of opportunities were created for their potent forward line.
Port were smashed in clearances 55- 35, and Adelaide enjoyed their fair share of possession having 25% more disposals than Port.
Some might say it says a lot about how the Power front up in big games, but the form and workman-like attitude of the Crouch brothers cannot be underestimated.
Brad Crouch vs Port 
29 disp, 8 tackles
Matt Crouch vs Port
34 disp, 8 tackles
These are elite midfield numbers, and the Crows are enjoying their run of good form, as they look for solutions to combat Sloane’s weekly tag.
No doubt many would have them figure highly in their fantasy and DFS teams, getting the similar or better numbers as Rory Sloane, but without all the hype. The Crouch brothers go about their business week after week, and it shows in Adelaide’s success this season.
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Who’s Under Fire

Livin’ On The Edge – Not sure if the GWS Giants are Aerosmith fans, but in the media pressers and interviews with them this year especially, they’re always referring to their more talked about players “playing on the edge”, seems to be their buzzword.
This has resulted in unprecedented suspensions, and costly 50m penalties, sometimes contributing to their losses despite their position on the ladder.
I’m not sure that i’m buying the narrative that the Giants are winning games on talent, but as we approach the business end of the season, surely playing a “hard, competitive” brand of footy would take preference over playing “on-edge” where there is no margin for error.
As the Giants will find out in a few weeks, there are possibly seven other teams just as good as they are, and it’s fine to fight fire with fire, but just don’t burn the barn down in doing so.

LADDER IMPLICATIONS

58   Adelaide
52   GWS
52   Richmond
50   Geelong
44   Port Adelaide
44   Sydney
44   Western Bulldogs
40   Essendon
40    West Coast
40    Melbourne
40    St Kilda
34    Collingwood
34    Hawthorn
32    Fremantle
24    Gold Coast
20    Nth Melbourne
20    Carlton
16     Brisbane

The wooden spoon battle is very much alive, with Brisbane a chance this week against Gold Coast, and the Blues should get belted in the West. North could fall to Hawthorn, leaving possibly 3 teams on 20 points.
This would put a some interest in the final two rounds, if results come to pass.

Meanwhile in the top eight, 6 of the teams are playing each other. Most notable Richmond and Geelong in a blockbuster down at Simonds stadium.
With Patrick Dangerfield returning along with Steve Motlop, tall target Rhys Stanley and Dan Menzel should provide some stability and more importantly, flexibility to the Cats lineup. The current $2.18 price tag represents value.

Head to Head
Richmond    $ 1.70
Geelong        $ 2.18

The Run Home

Port Adelaide
The Power find themselves back in the pack a little this week, and must beat Collingwood to have any shot at a top four.
Port fans will be cheering on Richmond this week no doubt, so they can possibly get within half a game of fourth. Port Adelaide have had a very successful season thus far, and have been relatively injury free throughout. You could probably pencil in two more wins.
Round 21 vs Collingwood (H)
Round 22 vs Western Bulldogs (A)
Round 23 vs Gold Coast (H)

Melbourne
Melbourne are said to be in an elimination final this week against the Saints, which could be more true for St Kilda than for the Demons.
The Dees are looking OK for a couple more wins from the next three, which would finish them on 12 wins even if they lose to St Kilda. Melbourne play all remaining games at the MCG.
Round 21 vs St Kilda (H)
Round 22 vs Brisbane (H)
Round 23 vs Collingwood (A)

Enjoy your Round 21 weekend of footy, and may your team step back from the edge and a step forward up the ladder this week!

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