Footy on my mind – round 24

Round 24

Friday 2 September

Collingwood v Geelong

Saturday 3 September

Gold Coast Suns v Hawthorn

Western Bulldogs v Fremantle

Sydney Swans v Brisbane Lions

Carlton v St Kilda

West Coast Eagles v Adelaide

Sunday 4 September

Port Adelaide v Melbourne

Richmond v North Melbourne

Collingwood v Geelong, MCG, Friday 7.40pm (EST)

Game of the round for mine, which promises to be a dress rehearsal for the finals. The Pies will be wanting to get game time into the likes of Chris Dawes and Alan Didak among others, so they are cherry ripe for finals. Remember that skipper Nick Maxwell is still yet to recover from a broken hand. The Cats, though, will be looking at settling on their best side in preparation for their first final against Hawthorn next weekend. Whichever side wins, will gain momentum and confidence heading into this year’s finals campaign. Expecting a ferocious, tough pressured game with plenty of intriguing contests around the ground.

Collingwood by 8 points

Gold Coast Suns v Hawthorn, Metricon Stadium, Saturday 1.10pm (EST)

I’d give the Suns a pass mark in year one for the league’s 17th club but after 15 weeks without a week off, they’ve hit the wall. The Gold Coast are yet to win a game at their beloved Metricon Stadium and that won’t change this week either. The Suns will bulk up and head to Arizona for a training camp in the off-season and as a result, will improve in 2012. The Hawks, though, will win and enjoy a pre-finals tune up.

Hawthorn by 35 points

Western Bulldogs v Fremantle, Etihad Stadium, Saturday 2.10pm (EST)

This will be a grand farewell for Barry Hall, Mitch Hahn, Ben Hudson and GWS-bound Callan Ward. At least this quartet will depart on a high note with a win over the Dockers, before the rebuilding phase under the new coach at Bulldogs continues in 2012. Whoever takes the reins as coach of the Dogs from next year will need to rejig the side and develop the young talent already at his disposal, plus the new batch of draftees that will come. As for the Dockers, well they’re limping across the line. Mark Harvey said during the week that he only has 24 fit players from the club’s list available to be selected for this game, which is damning. The Dockers have been ruined by injury this season and as a result, won’t play finals. Despite the injuries of 2011, expect the Dockers to get fit and healthy over the summer and hit 2012 with a bang to climb back up the ladder.

Western Bulldogs 25 points

Sydney Swans v Brisbane Lions, SCG, Saturday 4.10pm (EST)

A home final is on the line for the Swans here and I expect them to win, and win well. This is a danger game for the home side though, and they will want a to host a home final against likely opponents St Kilda next weekend rather than tackle the Saints at Etihad, where their record isn’t great. The form of youngsters such as Gary Rohan and Sam Reid is exciting going into the finals series, where they can create an impact. A tough year for Brisbane which has been tough on wins and big on development has started to reap rewards at the business end of the season. They pushed the Eagles to the wall in last week’s clash and they’ll fancy themselves of causing an upset this weekend. Looking to 2012, with keys Jonathan Brown and Daniel Merrett back in the side, they should climb the ladder.

Sydney Swans by 18 points

Carlton v St Kilda, MCG, Saturday 7.10pm (EST)

A very intriguing and topical clash this weekend. Carlton will be suited to the open spaces of the MCG and should take advantage of that to register an important victory. A loss to Hawthorn before last weekend’s bye hurt the Blues and a win here would give them momentum heading into next week’s elimination final clash with arch-rival Essendon. It’s been an impressive and much improved home-and-away season for the Blues, but it will count for nothing if they are bundled out of the finals for the third consecutive year in a row. The Saints showed alot last week, suggesting that they can dismantle the opposition when the dice is thrown their way, but there are still question marks. The Saints do struggle on the MCG and this is a hurdle they must overcome if they are to cause major damage in the finals.

Carlton by 7 points

West Coast Eagles v Adelaide, Patersons Stadium, Saturday 7.10pm (EST)

The Eagles head home to face the Crows in a perfect hit-out before finals. However, the question remains whether or not John Worsfold decides to rest any of his key senior men before the qualifying final against Collingwood next week. The pressure for spots in the senior team is well and truly on, and players will be competing against the Crows to stay in the team. West Coast’s tall forwards will worry the Adelaide defense and will be a threat in September, too. As for Adelaide, the fallout performance against the Tigers at home last week really summed up much of the year. When it got tough, they fell away. I suspect Saturday night will be Mark Bickley’s last in charge.

West Coast Eagles by 25 points

Port Adelaide v Melbourne, Adelaide Oval, Sunday 3.10pm (EST)

The end of the season can’t come quick enough for both these clubs, after very disappointing seasons. Port Adelaide’s troubles have been well documented but at least in recent weeks they’ve been able to lock away some of their young talent. Impressive key forward John Butcher will play a key part in the club’s future so it’s vital he is re-signed. As for what’s left on the list, if they are serious they will cut the deadwood and have the hardest and fittest pre-season they’ve ever had to make some serious improvements for 2012. A new and experienced coaching staff to support Matthew Primus must also be high on the agenda. Melbourne is better placed than the Power but there’s still plenty of work to be done. The development of talented youngster Sam Blease across half-back has been a big plus while it’s important the Demons finish off the year on a high note, giving their fans something to look forward to next year.

Melbourne by 12 points

 

Richmond v North Melbourne, Etihad Stadium, Sunday 4.40pm (EST)

The long journey finally ends here, the last match that the 2011 home-and-away season has to offer. The Tigers are up and about, giving their fans excitement heading into 2012 after a late-season surge where they’re likely to finish just outside the eight. Richmond have won their past three and will go on with confidence of extending it to four against North Melbourne. Their up and coming midfield has developed well this season with the likes of Trent Cotchin, Dustin Martin, Nathan Foley and Brett Deledio enjoying very consistent campaigns. The next step for Damien Hardwick is finding depth to help them out and a ruckman who can give them much better service than what they’re currently getting. Hamish McIntosh is one name that continues to bob up and will play his first game of the year for the Roos on the weekend. Richmond fans will get a
good look at their possible recruit for 2012. As for North, they will have been planning for 2012 this week and looking at how they can sell their fans some excitement for next season. Should be an entertaining clash between these two sides.

Richmond by 25 points

 

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