After 16 exhilarating rounds of football we are finally nearing the pointy end of the season. And still, who knows what’s going to happen?
That’s the beauty of 2017, the fact that we’re still unsure how the final eight is going to look come September means there is still something to play for for nearly every team, as opposed to seasons past.
There’s plenty of games to look forward to coming up and still so many matches with an increase in interest with plenty of history suggesting we are still in for even more unpredictability.
Probably the biggest notable fact to come out of these next two rounds is this: The Demons have never beaten the Crows twice in one season. Never.
That, along with another mouth-watering Geelong-Hawthorn match-up, is just one game among many that has an added element of interest surrounding it. I’m just going to let the past tell you the rest.
What is history alone telling us about the next fortnight?
Power strike again
They’re sitting fourth and a plethora of people are adamant that they are barely even a top-eight side, but the Power have the second-largest percentage in the competition and are now one of the most dangerous teams going around. Two wins in the next two weeks could really set the Power up for a well-earned top-four berth, and lucky for them the stats are backing it in. Their Round 17 opponent, North Melbourne, haven’t beaten Port Adelaide away from home since 2011. The Kangaroos have also never won a match at Adelaide Oval before. The next one looks a little bit less convincing but, again, stats don’t lie. The Power have beaten the Demons in seven of the past eight encounters between the two sides. The one Melbourne win was in fact last season, but the last time the teams met at the MCG (2013), the Power were victorious by a whopping 79 points.
Two draws in a row. It’s safe to say the Giants are going to be keen to make amends. In the end, it’s the wins that get you to the top of the ladder, not the draws, and unfortunately for Sydney they will be facing the side they have lost to three times in a row in a different manner. One of the scariest prospects in terms of team potential, you don’t want to play the Giants when they have a point to prove. GWS’s average winning margin in their past three wins against the Swans has been 40 points, and in the 12 games in total that these teams have met, the average margin sits at 54 points. Another nail-biting AFL game? Probably not in this one.
Is Don. Is not good
It’s been highly-publicised that the Bombers have quite a reasonable draw to finish off the home-and-away season. But just as one makes the brave suggestion that the Bombers will make the top-eight this season, history will always be there to correct you. On paper, the Bombers should probably win enough games from here, but it’s games against teams around them on the ladder (St Kilda) that will define Essendon’s season. Friday night’s match at Etihad Stadium is one of the games of the round with two ultra-attacking teams going head-to-head on a proven fast Etihad track. The Saints have actually won four of their past five matches against the Bombers, including an average winning margin of 55.6 points in their last three wins against them.
It gets worse.
North Melbourne are 17th, but don’t let that fool you, Essendon. The Kangaroos have always matched up well against the Bombers and in 14 of their past 18 encounters since 2002, the result has gone the Kangas’ way.
The Western Bulldogs have underwhelmed so far this season but it has been far from a disgrace. They are still in contention for the finals but the wins need to start coming. It starts against the Blues this Sunday, but it’s going to be far from a certainty. Carlton have been one of those sides teams will go in against confidently at their own peril, with their nothing-to-lose game style proving wonders despite its 5-10 record. The Dogs have only ever won twice consecutively against the Blues two times since 1985. In fact, the two teams have only faced each other at the MCG four times in their history, with the Blues winning the last three of those (1995, 1996, 2007). The Blues are a big chance here and this little fun fact proves that. The Dogs right now are vulnerable.
Cats have top-two in sight
Geelong has continued to prove their critics wrong this season with consistent performances week after week regardless of personnel. Are they one of the two best sides in the league? Some would suggest not, but this up-coming fortnight gives Chris Scott a massive opportunity to leap-frog the current ladder-leaders. The Cats have won their past five matches against the Crows and we’ve seen over the past couple of seasons that they match up better against Adelaide than any other team in the competition. Add to that their well-known obvious good record against the Hawks and all of a sudden they are going to be hard to beat in September, especially if they qualify for a home final and get Simonds Stadium.
Other notable streaks to look out for in the next two rounds:
– Tigers have only lost to Lions once since 2005 (14 of past 16, draw in 2007).
– Eagles have won four in a row against the Dockers.
– Swans won nine of past 10 against Saints – dating back to 2011. Average winning margin in past five – 69.4 points.
– Lions have won four of past five against Blues.