Footy on my mind – finals week 3

1st Preliminary Final, MCG, Friday 7.45PM (EST)

Collingwood v Hawthorn

COLLINGWOOD

B: A.Toovey B.Reid H.O’Brien

HB: N.Maxwell C.Tarrant H.Shaw

C: D.Beams S.Wellingham D.Thomas

HF: B.Johnson L.Brown A.Didak

F: S.Sidebottom T.Cloke L.Ball

Foll: D.Jolly S.Pendlebury A.Krakouer

I/C: D.Swan, L.Davis, C.Dawes, J.Blair

Emg: T.Goldsack C.Wood A.Fasolo

In: Dale Thomas, Ben Reid

Out: Tyson Goldsack, Alex Fasolo

HAWTHORN

B: T.Murphy J.Gibson B.Stratton

HB: G.Birchall R.Schoenmakers P.Puopolo

C: J.Lewis S.Mitchell I.Smith

HF: L.Hodge L.Franklin L.Shiels

F: C.Bateman D.Hale C.Rioli

Foll: M.Bailey S.Burgoyne B.Sewell

I/C: B.Guerra, M.Osborne, B.Whitecross, M.Suckling

Emg: J.Lisle S.Savage L.Breust

No changes

THE VERDICT

A huge preliminary final for both these two sides, the Hawks coming off a win against the Swans last week while the Pies will be fresh after the week off. Collingwood bring back key statesmen Dale Thomas and Ben Reid, while Hawthorn come into this clash unchanged. The midfield will be where it’s won and lost. Hawthorn are light on in defense to hold down Travis Cloke and Chris Dawes and Max Bailey will face his biggest test yet against Collingwood’s Darren Jolly in the ruck. For Hawthorn to win they need their big names to fire – Franklin, Rioli, Hodge, Mitchell, Sewell, Lewis and Burgoyne – and they need to also make sure they advance with neat, accurate foot passing. It’s an unattractive style but it will make Collingwood more accountable and more defensive. The Hawks also need to put a huge emphasis on tackling pressure. The Pies, though, having had the week off is a big benefit coming in and I think they’ll secure a place in next Saturday’s Grand Final.

Collingwood by 8 points

2nd Preliminary Final, MCG, Saturday 2.20PM (EST)

Geelong v West Coast Eagles

GEELONG

B: J.Hunt M.Scarlett T.Lonergan

HB: C.Enright H.Taylor D.Wojcinski

C: J.Bartel A.Mackie J.Selwood

HF: S.Johnson T.Hawkins A.Christensen

F: T.Varcoe J.Podsiadly B.Ottens

Foll: T.West C.Ling J.Kelly

I/C: P.Chapman, J.Corey, M.Stokes, M.Duncan

Emg: D.Milburn S.Byrnes C.Mooney

In: Joel Corey

Out: Daniel Menzel (knee)

WEST COAST EAGLES

B: S.Hurn D.Glass W.Schofield

HB: S.Butler E.Mackenzie B.Waters

C: S.Selwood M.Priddis A.Embley

HF: M.LeCras J.Kennedy M.Nicoski

F: J.Darling Q.Lynch N.Naitanui

Foll: D.Cox D.Kerr A.Selwood

I/C: L.Shuey, C.Masten, P.McGinnity, A.Gaff

Emg: B.Ebert A.Smith M.Rosa

No change

THE VERDICT

Huge challenge for the West Coast Eagles to come over from Perth and tumble the Cats. Their revival from wooden spooners last year to top four this season has been an extraordinary story. The Cats have rolled the dice with on-baller Joel Corey, bringing him in for the injured Daniel Menzel, after a month long absence. Like Collingwood, Geelong should be cherry ripe to beat the Eagles after the week off but I think it’ll be alot closer than what many think. The Cats can stretch  the Eagles’ defense with one of Brad Ottens or Trent West as another marking target. The Cats have a deeper midfield with alot of rotations and more scoring options through the likes of Steve Johnson, Allen Christensen, Travis Varcoe and Paul Chapman. The Eagles have a sneaky chance but they need to bring their A-game to the table and put a big emphasis on tackling pressure, but I’m tipping the Cats.

Geelong by 6 points

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