It’s AFL Round 18 and we offer our analysis of the best matches of the round and our very reliable quick tips.
If you can’t be bothered reading further, feast your ears on The AFL Protected Zone Podcast. One of the best! Listen to it before the match or at half time.
In the podcast, we discuss:
- A review of the great games of Round 17 (and there were many). And the fizzers.
- The ups-and-downs of AFL. The first one now will later be last, and so it was for St Kilda.
- A few clubs will be looking for a new coach. What maketh the good coach?
- Unsociable football. What is it and is Melbourne the new Hawthorn?
- Our 3/4 season assessment of Brownlow, Coleman, finalists and… the premiers!
- The big games of Round 18. Are we going to witness the Grand Final preview?
- A new team song for Fremantle. The painters for the dockers.
AFL Preview Game 1: Adelaide v Geelong
This is the biggest game of the season and the pundits are calling this a Grand Final preview. Which is actually an odd thing to say, because this has been a very unpredictable season. Just because Adelaide and Geelong occupy the top two positions of the ladder doesn’t mean much this year, and the Grand Final may well be played between the teams occupying seventh and eighth on the ladder – currently Melbourne and West Coast.
This is a classic high-stakes game, and goes beyond the cliché of the ‘eight-point game’. Whoever wins this game will go to the top of the ladder and leap into outright premiership favouritism.
Adelaide have ironed out some of their earlier season problems and their over-reliance on Rory Sloan and Taylor Walker. Opposition teams worked out the Adelaide game plan, but then Adelaide developed a new plan with their tall timbers in the forward line. They’re almost a brute of a team, where they’ve extended the concept of flat-track bullies to bullies of teams of all persuasions and in all conditions.
They’ve been monstering teams in the wet, the cold, the heat, the dry, the humid and the wind. They have chinks, but they’re being ironed out.
Geelong have been spluttering recently. They’ve been winning the close games, but it’s been too close for our liking. Several weeks ago, Fremantle had a shot on goal in the final two seconds to lose the game, and last weekend, Hawthorn missed a goal in the final one second. A drawn game after the siren against Greater Western Sydney. Sure, they recently had an 85-point victory over Brisbane, but that’s not saying much at all.
They’re a good team but rely on Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood too much. It really is a case of ‘stop Dangerfield and Selwood, stop Geelong’, even though Dangerfield on one leg managed to defeat Hawthorn almost on his own last week.
Adelaide seem like a more complete team than Geelong at the moment. In their last match up at Kardinia Park in Round 11, Geelong punished Adelaide, the final 22-point result masked a very ‘never in doubt’ decisive win by the Cats. But seven weeks in AFL is like time travelling to Jupiter and back – it’s an eternity.
These two teams could possibly meet in the Grand Final, but the winner of this game will have better chance of reaching the pinnacle than the loser. The big guns and pace of Adelaide will win them the game. Probably by a lot. #AFLCrowsCats
- Eddy Jay – Adelaide, 44 points
- Lintang Enam – Adelaide, 22 points
Our fearless predictions: Other AFL games this weekend
AFL Preview Game 2: Essendon v North Melbourne prediction (#AFLDonsNorth):
Essendon in a canter. North Melbourne are lost at the moment: lost games, lost players, and possibly a lost coach. We believe Brad Scott will be coaching elsewhere in 2018, and their season has fallen apart. This is not a fearless prediction. Essendon will crush North Melbourne and keep their own season alive.
- Eddy Jay – Essendon, 72 points
- Lintang Enam – Essendon, 52 points
AFL Preview Game 3: Melbourne v Port Adelaide prediction (#AFLDeesPort):
Should be a cracker of a game – fourth versus seventh, and played in Melbourne. If Melbourne put away their boxing gloves, they might be able to pull off a mini upset. But Port Adelaide is looking more complete, even though they have the tinge of a flat-track bully. Is Melbourne a flat track? We’ll find out on Saturday.
- Eddy Jay – Melbourne, 8 points
- Lintang Enam – Port Adelaide, 29 points
AFL Preview Game 4: Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast prediction (#AFLDogsSuns):
AFL might not have the title of ‘the game they play in heaven’, but at least it’s a game they play in Cairns. A bit of tropical weather might give the Western Bulldogs a flickering kick-start to their season.
They’re the reigning premiers, but sit in 11th position on the table and with a low percentage of 94. That’s not very premier-y, to paraphrase a well-known silly insurance advertisement. Gold Coast is now playing for 2018 and are also a club that might be looking for a new coach. ’Dogs to win.
- Eddy Jay – Western Bulldogs, 8 points
- Lintang Enam – Gold Coast, 21 points
AFL Preview Game 5: Sydney v St Kilda prediction (#AFLSwansSaints):
Sydney is on a roll at the moment, winning their last six in a row. St Kilda won four in a row before they were totally dismantled by Essendon last week. Sydney are playing almost total football and surely must be thinking about replicating Brisbane’s effort in 2001, who won 16 consecutive wins, including the Grand Final.
It could be danger game: St Kilda are not as bad as the result against Essendon suggests, but perhaps their confidence received a battering, and they’ll be missing Tim Membrey again. St Kilda are a better team with Membrey, but seem to be far worse without him. Everything went wrong for Sydney between Rounds 1–6: everything has gone right for Sydney ever since, winning nine of their past ten games. Make it 10 out of 11. Sydney to win.
- Eddy Jay – Sydney, 37 points
- Lintang Enam – St Kilda, 3 points
AFL Preview Game 6: Fremantle v Hawthorn prediction (#AFLFreoHawks):
It’s amazing to think that these two teams played off in the 2013 Grand Final. It was a weird colour combination: brown, gold, purple and a graphic designer’s nightmare. Fremantle seem to have psychologically and emotionally vacated Subiaco Oval, losing their last three games there and possibly thinking too far ahead about their new shiny home ground at Perth Stadium.
Hawthorn have turned their season around somewhat – they’re nowhere near as bad as they were earlier in the season, but they’re still going to miss out on the finals. Hawthorn to put in a professional display and sink the boot further into the end of Fremantle’s season.
- Eddy Jay – Hawthorn, 19 points
- Lintang Enam – Fremantle, 8 points
AFL Preview Game 7: Richmond v Greater Western Sydney prediction (#AFLTigersGiants):
Both of these teams are spluttering, but Richmond splutter more that Greater Western Sydney. Richmond received a knock-out blow against St Kilda several weeks ago and seem to be still a bit sensitive, possibley still recovering from their bruising. In their game against Sydney last week, Greater Western Sydney showed that they have got some very classy players, but are they a classy team? It was their skill that was keeping them in the game, but something’s not gelling with the Giants at the moment.
It is their team culture, or just that lack of a ‘buzz’ playing in a zone of Western Sydney where few people care about AFL? While the game against the Swans was high-pressure, the Showgrounds Stadium doesn’t have a football feel to it, and lacks intensity. We’re sure it rubs off on the team. Greater Western Sydney has won only 10 per cent of their games at the MCG – one of ten, and Richmond play there all the time. Richmond to win.
- Eddy Jay – Richmond, 21 points
- Lintang Enam – Richmond, 29 points
AFL Preview Game 8: Collingwood v West Coast prediction (#AFLPiesEagles):
These two teams have a history of playing exciting games against each other and quite often, the team least favoured to win, wins. And so it will be in this game. Collingwood have all sorts of turmoil going on at their club – coach under pressure, president under pressure, their captain is injured. But this is they type of game that they thrive in. West Coast are a bit of ‘not much to see here, move along’ at the moment. The Western Derby was a fizzer last week, even though West Coast won. So bad was the game that we awarded the prize of man of the match to a half-price meat pie. Luckily for the Eagles, the game isn’t being played at the MCG, where they have an appalling record, but it’s still being played in Melbourne, and that’s not good new for them. Collingwood to provide an upset. A pie will be the man of the match again, but it’s a different pie we’re talking about in this game.
- Eddy Jay – Collingwood, 21 points
- Lintang Enam – Collingwood, 29 points
AFL Preview Game 9: Brisbane v Carlton prediction (#AFLLionsBlues):
This would have been the match of the round in 1996, 2000, 2001 and even in 2009, when both Carlton and Brisbane played in the finals – what are rare event! But not in 2017. The main interest in this game will be to see which one of these developing teams develops faster. Brisbane are still a raw team, Carlton seem more advanced, but as long as they don’t were those awful orange socks they wore last weekend (what are they trying to do – replicate the Giants?) they should be able to notch up another win, with Brisbane putting in another honourable loss.
- Eddy Jay – Carlton, 22 points
- Lintang Enam – Carlton, 19 points