Round 18 – Sal’s Preview: The Finals Start Now

 

Greetings All,

 

We get to the last six weeks of the season with fortunes of clubs riding on not only their results but the results of the clubs around them.  With 3 games covering the top twelve it’s fair to say every one of them has a plenty “around” them.  Let the feast begin!

 

Time for a Beverige ($1.74) vs Missing Gears ($2.32)

 

The stakes don’t get much higher in the opener of the weekend.  St Kilda could almost seal the Doggies’ fate with a win, a loss would make their ascension to the eight very difficult.  Sadly one of their heart and soul players in Jarryn Geary pulled the pin on a fine career this week after battling through several injuries.  Both clubs are affected by the dreaded protocols but the Dogs are hit harder with their most important player going out in Aaron Naughton.  They will be buoyed by the return of Bailey Smith, he and his midfield cohorts need to get on top for them to have any chance here.  The St Kilda attack looks to have too many guns for the undersized Bulldog defense.  Swings this game to the Saints leaving the Bullies with a role to shape the eight.

 

Charddy Sippers ($2.48) vs Moore On ($1.66)

 

The Tex show goes on in Adelaide while they provide plenty of mixed messaging around their desire to keep Matt Crouch.  They host Collingwood where Darcy Moore is back turning his one year injury into a one week injury!  Probably a key reason why the Pies win this, along with their love of travel at a ground that holds no fears for them.

 

Unfull Philled ($2.66) vs O No ($1.58)

 

Brisbane get some good ones back from the lurgy, but lose Oscar.  Darcy Fort is a more than adequate replacement up against the Giants.  Sad to see the injury to Phil Davis who means so much to the Giants.  At home and loaded with talent they have the capacity to upset the Lions, but which Giants team turns up is the question.  Brisbane just have to win to stay in the top four and keep the wolves at bay.

 

Patched Up ($9.40) vs Don’t be Shai ($1.11)

 

The pressure valve has been released on the Roos with the departure of David Noble and Leigh Adams stepping in.  They were great against the Pies but can they repeat and go one better against the Tigers?  The new coach syndrome will kick in and not having to deal with Lynch helps, but Richmond still have plenty of talent on the ground and should be too strong.

 

Tom ($2.60) vs Sam ($1.60)

 

Unlike the McKay brothers, the de Konings will face off, they have both been doing mighty jobs for their clubs.  We also have the McKay-Curnow vs Cameron-Hawkins battle and plenty more.  Wins for the Blues have been rare since the 1995 Grand Final, however their current line up is as well structured as any to challenge the Cats.  Geelong have added an extra dimension to its midfield with the Atkins leading the charge, it has been the Blues strength and they need to get on top.  They should have some advantage in the ruck, but the Geelong pair can create their own chaos that needs to be covered.  Logic says that the Blues have a couple of weak links down back still, but they keep on stepping up so the heart says they can do it.

 

Acreage ($1.62) vs Rumour Mills ($2.58)

 

The speculation about what the Swans will offer Buddy Franklin to play on next year seems odd, but probably the result of too many journos and not enough news.  He is playing well enough to continue and would expect to be paid relative to his value, but the Swans also need to plan the transition for when he is not playing.  If other clubs offer crazy money, then that is just what they are.  Of more importance is their trip to take on Fremantle who showed their credentials in the second half last week.  They get Blake Acres back to shore up one of their wings.  The venue holds no fears for Sydney who are 50% at the stadium, however all the losses have been to the Dockers.  Reckon they might go under 50% this week.

 

Where there’s a Will there’s a Day ($1.17) vs Nicced Off ($6.20)

 

A Seinfield game!  All about nothing but a bit of pride.  The Hawks blitzed the Crows early which was enough to get over them.  The Eagles competed well for two quarters against the Blues but failed to score for the other two.  They lose Natanui and just can’t see them beating Hawthorn.

 

Bowed Out ($1.59) vs Home Boys ($2.60)

 

It took a while for Jake Bowey to suffer a defeat and now he has the ignominy of being omitted, reckon he will find his way back.  The Demons get to host Port in Alice Springs, neutral ground might help Port but their recent record has seen them struggling away from Adelaide.  They will be desperate to get this one and stay in the race for finals, but suspect their deficiencies in the ruck will swing it the Premiers’ way.

 

Lion Tamers ($2.04) vs Tiger Tamers ($1.94)

 

The Suns find themselves in a similar predicament to Port: clutching to the hope of a finals berth.  The Bombers were terrific to win at the Gabba and are playing their part in shaping the eight.  They get their chance to do it again this week, they have stabilised their line up and look well positioned.  Gold Coast are also pretty stable, they will be desperate to make a statement away from the mansion.  Dew is doing a great job leading the club and reckon he plots another victory here.

 

Go Blues, Go Friars,

Cheers, Sal

 

 

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