It’s AFL Round 20, and we’re into the final four matches of the home-and-away-season. Then a week off, and then… the finals! We offer our analysis of the best matches of Round 20 and our (usually) 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. Read the podcast notes.
In the podcast, we discuss:
- A review of the great games of Round 19. The winners, the losers and the drawers.
- Lose by 50, win by 50. How does a team ahead by 50 points, draw the game?
- Third draw of the year, and we reckon draws should be resolved through a game of chess.
- The world is not a fair place but was suspending Patrick Dangerfield fair? We’re not so sure.
- A review the video review system. Do it properly, AFL!
- The new concept round for 2018: Introducing The Graffiti Round.
- A preview of the big big Round 20 of classic AFL football.
- Which Way To Go, our song of the week by the Eddy Current Suppression Ring.
AFL Preview Game 1: Geelong v Sydney
The Friday Night Lights match promises to be an excellent one, even if it missing two of the best players in the AFL, Geelong’s Patrick Dangerfield and Sydney’s Josh J. Kennedy. Since Kardinia Park was renovated early this year, Geelong has not lost a game there, but this could be the first. Kardinia Park has been a bit of a graveyard for Sydney, with only four wins there over the past 25 years – 1998, 1999, 2011 and 2016 – from 17 games. That’s not such a good return but, importantly, Sydney won their last game there, and has also won four of their past five games against Geelong, and by a lot (37, 38, 43 and 110 points).
It’s the first game where ‘Geelong’ and ‘Dangerfield’ have not been synonymous, so it’s a bit of litmus test for Geelong. Into the team come Zach Guthrie and Sam Simpson, not household names, and certainly not in the same class as Dangerfield. Into the Sydney team come Jake Lloyd, Kurt Tippett, Sam Reid and Gary Rohan – that’s quite a bit of class (or potential class).
Sydney were the form team of the competition before their narrow loss to Hawthorn last weekend and sometimes a loss can puncture that form and lead to more losses, but we’re not expecting to see that. Despite this loss, Sydney are still the form team over the past 12 matches (on the Roger Results ladder, they’re two and a half games ahead – Sydney 10–2, Adelaide and Geelong 7–4–1).
It has been a long time since an away team has had two consecutive victories at Kardinia Park, but we think the Swans are up to it. #AFLCatsSwans
- Eddy Jay – Sydney, 13 points
- Lintang Enam – Geelong, 23 points
- Computer says – Geelong, 6 points
Our fearless predictions: Other AFL games this weekend
AFL Preview Game 2: Greater Western Sydney v Melbourne prediction (#AFLGiantsDees):
Greater Western Sydney seem to like playing at Manuka Oval in Canberra, and that should continue against Melbourne. We’re also predicting a leadership challenge to Malcolm Turnbull early next week, so the Giants could serve up the entree of a victory here and then go to Parliament on Monday and witness the overthrow of a Prime Minister.
- Eddy Jay – Greater Western Sydney, 21 points
- Lintang Enam – Melbourne, 28 points
- Computer says – Greater Western Sydney, 1 point
AFL Preview Game 3: Essendon v Carlton prediction (#AFLDonsBlues):
This would have been the match of the round in the 1980s and 1990s, but no longer. The Blues are almost easybeats this year, although they did defeat Essendon early this season on a very very wet day. It’s going to be a dry day at the MCG, so no chance for Carlton. Essendon too fast, too good, too hungry.
- Eddy Jay – Essendon, 62 points
- Lintang Enam – Essendon, 33 points
- Computer says – Essendon, 28 points
AFL Preview Game 4: Brisbane v Western Bulldogs prediction (#AFLLionsDogs):
Several weeks ago, we said the season for the Western Bulldogs was over but, here we are: three wins in a row, heading for a fourth, and the Bulldogs are back in contention. But they need to beware. Brisbane at home seems to be a much better team, and they have spanked Fremantle and Carlton at the ’Gabba this year. We’re going for the upset here.
- Eddy Jay – Brisbane, 16 points
- Lintang Enam – Brisbane, 19 points
- Computer says – Western Bulldogs, 25 points
AFL Preview Game 5: North Melbourne v Collingwood prediction (#AFLNorthPies):
North Melbourne held on in a thriller against Melbourne last week, and Collingwood couldn’t hold on, but neither lost nor won the game against Adelaide. A goal after the siren to draw the game, which has only happened on seven occasions in AFL history. Remarkable. North are the experts in the swirling wind, but this game is being played indoors at the Docklands. No wind, no North. Yes Collingwood.
- Eddy Jay – Collingwood, 19 points
- Lintang Enam – Collingwood, 21 points
- Computer says – Collingwood, 8 points
AFL Preview Game 6: Fremantle v Gold Coast prediction (#AFLFreoSuns):
This game has the feeling of a Sydney–Brisbane match in the early 1990s. Both teams were lacking in talent, both teams lost many games, and would regularly attract small crowds of under 10,000. At least at Subiaco Oval, there will be many more than 10,000 people. There is no incentive in this game. No prospect of finals and even the wooden spoon seems out of reach. Even Gary Ablett isn’t keen to play. Gold Coast might achieve their second consecutive win at Subiaco Oval, but not by much.
- Eddy Jay – Fremantle, 9 points
- Lintang Enam – Gold Coast, 8 points
- Computer says – Fremantle, 14 points
AFL Preview Game 7: St Kilda v West Coast prediction (#AFLSaintsEagles):
How much will the deflating loss against Port Adelaide last weekend affect St Kilda. Will the trip to Melbourne yet again play with the minds of the West Coast players? These are questions that will need to be answered, but we think West Coast might be able to provide the answers. If St Kilda lose, that’s their season over and, since we’re talking about questions, questions will be asked if Alan Richardson is the right man for the St Kilda coaching job.
- Eddy Jay – West Coast, 21 points
- Lintang Enam – West Coast, 6 points
- Computer says – St Kilda, 7 points
AFL Preview Game 8: Richmond v Hawthorn prediction (#AFLTigersHawks):
Over the past decade, a match between Richmond and Hawthorn has always been between two teams placed fourth and 12th on the ladder. And so it will be this weekend, but this time around, it’s the very unusual sight of Richmond in fourth place, and Hawthorn in 12th. Yes, we had to do a double take as well. A cracker game, but we think Hawthorn can do it. They might not make the finals in 2017, but can cause trouble for Richmond.
- Eddy Jay – Hawthorn, 29 points
- Lintang Enam – Hawthorn, 9 points
- Computer says – Hawthorn, 1 point
AFL Preview Game 9: Adelaide v Port Adelaide prediction (#AFLCrowsPort):
This is Showdown 43, and both teams are locked on 21 wins each. For some reason, many in the media are saying this will be the biggest and the best Showdown ever. Well, we’re in the media too, and we’re not saying that. We think it will be great, but not the greatest. Having their buffer at the top of the table and virtually guaranteed of a top two spot, Adelaide might start thinking about finals, and Port Adelaide, very very keen to lose their title of ‘Flat-Track Bully’, might be just that little bit more hungry for victory. But not by much.
- Eddy Jay – Port Adelaide, 12 points
- Lintang Enam – Port Adelaide, 16 points
- Computer says – Adelaide, 8 points