Footy on my mind – round 18

AFL Round 18

Friday, July 22

St Kilda v Adelaide

Saturday, July 23

North Melbourne v Brisbane Lions

Sydney Swans v Western Bulldogs

Gold Coast Suns v Collingwood

Essendon v Carlton

Sunday, July 24

Geelong v Richmond

Melbourne v Hawthorn

Fremantle v West Coast Eagles

Bye: Port Adelaide

St Kilda v Adelaide, Etihad Stadium, Friday 7.40pm (EST)

The Saints are back playing really good footy and have changed their game style, which I like. Early on in the season the Saints were struggling – their game style wasn’t working and their key players were out of form. Their win against the highly-fancied Eagles was their best of the season for mine. The likes of Riewoldt, Goddard and Dal Santo in particular are in red hot form and Koschitzke played a key role as well. The Crows can’t put a four quarter performance together at the moment and won’t do much to worry St Kilda. The Saints play their best football under the roof at Etihad and can’t see them losing here.

St Kilda by 30 points

North Melbourne v Brisbane Lions, Etihad Stadium, Saturday 2.10pm (EST)

The Roos were pretty convincing in their shootout against the Dogs last week and I think they’re back in form. They’re starting to get back key players back from injury, which really helps them perform at their best because they’re a club who doesn’t have alot of depth on their list. The Lions were admirable against the Cats last week but have lost Jonathan Brown for the rest of the season to another face injury. The Lions beat the Roos back in Round 9 at the Gabba but I think it will be a different result here. Expecting a close game nonetheless.

North Melbourne by 20 points

Sydney Swans v Western Bulldogs, SCG, Saturday 2.10pm (EST)

The Swans have only won twice at the SCG this year, which has been disappointing for them, having had this venue as a home fortress in years gone by. They need to win this one to consolidate a top eight spot but face the Dogs, who will be keen to atone for last week’s loss to the Roos. The Barry Hall retirement factor adds alot of emotion into this game and I expect it to be a close one but I think the Dogs have alot more upside with their pace, which is an area they can expose the Swans in.

Western Bulldogs by 15 points

Gold Coast Suns v Collingwood, Metricon Stadium, Saturday 7.10pm (EST)

A huge test for the Suns here on their home turf against the best in the business. I think the Pies will win easily but the Suns do have alot of pace and class to outrun the Magpies. Hoping the Suns will make a fist of it but the Pies should be too good.

Collingwood by 45 points

Essendon v Carlton, MCG, Saturday 7.10pm (EST)

Huge game for both these high profile arch rivals. The Bombers need to win to consolidate a top eight spot while the Blues need to get on a roll to cement their spot in the top four. No Watson and Hocking for the Bombers robs them of key contested ball winners so expect McVeigh and Prismall to play more of a key role in the centre. The Blues’ have more class in the midfield than the Bombers but I think the Dons can do alot of damage on the scoreboard. Expect another high pressure contest between these two proud clubs.

Essendon by 7 points

Geelong v Richmond, Etihad Stadium, Sunday 1.10pm (EST)

Can’t see the Tigers getting close to the Cats in this one, but having said that, the Tigers need to find something in this game and make a contest of it. The Cats are back and could very easily have a field day out if the Tiges aren’t on their game. Easy pickings for me but another loss adds tension at Punt Road and I get the feeling the coach won’t be kind when he looks at the list at year’s end.

Geelong by 50 points

Melbourne v Hawthorn, MCG, Sunday 2.10pm (EST)

Really looking forward to this contest, two proud clubs going head to head. The Dees had to beat the Power last week up in Darwin and they did, but they will be tested against a boosted Hawthorn side this week, who regain Rioli, Sewell and Lewis. I worry where Melbourne’s goals are going to come from other than by Green and Watts. The Hawks boast too much class and play the MCG well.

Hawthorn by 25 points

Fremantle v West Coast Eagles, Patersons Stadium, Sunday 2.40pm (EST)

The best Sunday game on offer for mine. The Dockers and the Eagles have provided some great contests over the years and I expect another physical encounter when they meet for the 34th time this weekend. I’m backing the Eagles in this one though, they’re much improved this year and can really stretch the Docker defense with their talls. The Cox-Naitanui ruck combination is the best in the league by my books and they will have a great advantage over a Fremantle side missing Aaron Sandilands. Should be a terrific contest nonetheless.

West Coast Eagles by 12 points

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