Footy on my mind – round 21

AFL Round 21

Friday, August 12

St Kilda v Collingwood

Saturday, August 13

Hawthorn v Port Adelaide

Fremantle v Carlton

Western Bulldogs v Essendon

Brisbane v Gold Coast

Sunday, August 14

Melbourne v West Coast

Richmond v Sydney

Adelaide v Geelong

Bye: North Melbourne

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

St Kilda have been terrific – winning their past six and nine out of eleven games – an extraordinary turnaround coming from a long way back in the first 10 weeks of the season. Their biggest scalp in that period has been the West Coast Eagles, who continue to win hoping to take either Carlton’s or Hawthorn’s spot in the top four. I think St Kilda have been the best performed team and most consistent over the past three years, which is a credit to them, but tonight’s clash with Collingwood will test how good they really are. Last year’s reigning premiers are an outstanding football team who are so dominant and I struggle to see any challengers other than Geelong. If the Saints can get within 3 goals, then they’re on track but I sense the Pies would rather eliminate them tonight than face them in September.

Collingwood by 24 points

Hawthorn v Port Adelaide, MCG, Saturday 2.10pm (EST)

Port Adelaide is a mess at the moment – poor administration, poor finances, struggling on and off the field, their coaching staff is lacking genuine experience and support for Matthew Primus. Their list is actually alot better than what they’ve been showing, they boast numerous first and second round draft picks of drafts gone by but the playing group have clearly lost the desire and willingness to perform at their best to compete each week. A positive for the Power is the inclusion of Jay Schulz, who straightens them up in the front half, and he will be joined by first-gamer John Butcher. The Hawks, on the other hand, are flying and despite their lengthy injury list, have been terrific. Their development of players must be made mention of, they have 10-12 players performing who only have 40 or so games next to their name, which is extraordinary at this level. I’m hoping the Power can make it a close contest but the Hawks should win quite comfortably to consolidate their position in the top four.

Hawthorn by 30 points

Fremantle v Carlton,
Patersons Stadium, Saturday 3.10pm (EST)

This will be a close contest and the result for both sides will be huge – the Blues will lose fourth spot if the Eagles beat the Demons on Sunday and the Dockers will drop out of the eight if they lose and if the Bulldogs upstage the Bombers on Saturday night. The Dockers have done really well this season, despite their big injury list, and I reckon they would be staring at a top four finals birth had they had an injury-free run. Matthew Pavlich needs to play permanently as a forward, which would allow the club’s emerging young midfield to develop. The skipper is the key. The inclusion of ruckman Aaron Sandilands is huge as well. The Blues, though, are in better form and Chris Judd will have no Adam McPhee to contend with, who shut down the Blues skipper last time they met. With alot riding on this clash, I’m expecting the Blues to bring it home.

Carlton by 18 points

Western Bulldogs v Essendon, Etihad Stadium, Saturday 7.10pm (EST)

The Bombers, at their best, are a very exciting team to watch and last week’s 1 point thriller against the Swans was no different. The Dogs, on the other hand, are coming off the bye in the race for the finals and must win this one to cement a spot. Injuries to key players has robbed the Dogs this season and the Bombers will be flying high after last week. I’m tipping the Dogs to fall away and the Bombers to pinch eighth spot by the end of the season.

Essendon by 12 points

Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast Suns, Gabba, Saturday 7.10pm (EST)

The Gold Coast got the points in the first inaugural Q-clash earlier on in the year in what proved to be a very exciting match. This time round, I predict circumstances will be different. The Suns will be without Campbell Brown and Karmichael Hunt, and the tired bodies of the young players has to be taken into account as we approach the end of the season. I’ve really liked what I’ve seen from the Gold Coast and I think coach Guy McKenna has done a terrific job with this young, developing group. I’m expecting a tight contest but I think the Lions can grind out the win.

Brisbane Lions by 7 points

Melbourne v West Coast Eagles, Etihad Stadium, Sunday 1.10pm (EST)

Melbourne are a basketcase at the moment and have alot of issues to address – the coaching staff for 2012, Tom Scully, list management decisions and the captaincy. The positive was this week’s re-signings of Jack Trengove, Luke Tapscott and Max Gawn. They won’t prove much trouble for the Eagles on Sunday, who put alot of pressure on the opposition. I’m betting the Demons can’t wait until the season comes to an end.

West Coast Eagles by 30 points

Richmond v Sydney Swans, MCG, Sunday 2.10pm (EST)

The Tigers have made significant inroads this year and Damien Hardwick has them on the right track. They’ve shown glimpses of competitive football, matched a few middle-tier teams and even some of the top teams. They took St Kilda to a draw and pushed Carlton to 20 points, but they’ve lost games they should’ve won and have gone missing in others. The Swans, on the other hand, will treat this game as a mini-final. Lose this one, and Sydney will start to fall out of the eight. If the Tigers can be competitive for the four quarters and keep it tight, the Tiger faithful will walk away with some promise for 2012.

Sydney Swans by 20 points

Adelaide v Geelong, AAMI Stadium, Sunday 4.10pm (EST)

The Crows have been released under caretaker coach Mark Bickley, and have played with a good blend of attacking flair. Patrick Dangerfield has assumed a permanent midfield role and last week, Graham Johncock was swung forward after getting beaten down back and was the match winner at the end. Bickley has done his chances of securing the senior job no harm with two wins in a row but the clash against the Cats will be his biggest test. Geelong are the second in-form team behind the Magpies and will win this one.

Geelong by 24 points

 

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