Geelong v Sydney
(Kardinia Park, 1.45pm AEST, Saturday, April 28, 2018)
Could be the game that ends an era for the Sydney Swans? Lance Franklin and Dan Hannebery are two star players on the sidelines – although one could argue that Hannebery has been missing in action over the past few weeks, Franklin is one player they will sorely miss. Other players for Sydney have also been missing – Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker, Keiran Jack – and they will really need to lift to have a chance against Geelong. Geelong thumped Sydney in the 2017 Semi Final, and the Swans have the look of a team that might be sitting right on the edge of a large precipice. They were defeated by Adelaide’s second string team last week, in a match they were predicted to win comfortably.
Although we predicted Sydney would be in the 2018 Grand Final, and the bookmakers still rate them very highly, this is a danger game and, quite possibly, a Dangerfield game. Geelong seems to a team with more grunt at the moment – Tom Hawkins’ return gives them an extra edge – and even though Sydney have won their past two games played at Kardinia Park, and the possibility that they’ll be more unpredictable without Franklin, it all points towards a solid win to Geelong.
- First Semi Final, 2017. Geelong 15.8 defeated Sydney 5.9.
- Eddy Jay: Geelong, 28 points
- Lintang Enam: Geelong, 31 points
- Computer says: Geelong, 19 points
North Melbourne v Port Adelaide
(Docklands Stadium, 2.10pm AEST, Saturday, April 28, 2018)
North Melbourne are the surprise package at the moment and are solidly placed in the top eight. Port Adelaide have lost their past two games, and their game against Geelong last week – a loss by 34 points at Adelaide Oval – again showed that coach Ken Hinkley might be a one-trip pony. When things start to fray at the edges in a game, he doesn’t have a Plan B. Or a Plan C. And if he needs to use a Plan D, he’ll try to use a Plan B, which he doesn’t have. North Melbourne showed enough against Hawthorn last week, especially in the first half when they led by 57 points, that they could be a much improved team. If they defeat Port Adelaide, we can start asking the question: “Is North Melbourne the real deal?”. We think they could be, and should account for Port in a tough tussle.
- Round 17, 2017. Port Adelaide 19.13 defeated North Melbourne 8.9.
- Eddy Jay: North Melbourne, 19 points
- Lintang Enam: North Melbourne, 6 points
- Computer says: North Melbourne, 24 points
Greater Western Sydney v Brisbane
(Sydney Showground Stadium, 4.35pm AEST, Saturday, April 28, 2018)
This seems to be a big mismatch, although we said the Greater Western Sydney–St Kilda game would also be a mismatch, and look what happened there: a draw. No such luck here. Brisbane is a classic up-and-down team, which comes from their youth and inexperience – they pushed Port Adelaide to the brink, before being walloped by Richmond to the tune of 93 points. They pushed Gold Coast to the brink as well, and they should follow up with a walloping in this game too. Greater Western Sydney are giants at home in Homebush, but pygmies at away games. Western Sydney to win by many goals.
- Round 14, 2017. Greater Western Sydney 22.14 defeated Brisbane 12.14.
- Eddy Jay: Greater Western Sydney, 64 points
- Lintang Enam: Greater Western Sydney, 52 points
- Computer says: Greater Western Sydney, 38 points
Hawthorn v St Kilda
(York Park, 7.25pm AEST, Saturday, April 28, 2018)
Before we get too carried away with predicting a Hawthorn victory, it has to be remembered that St Kilda thrashed them by 81 points in the corresponding game last year. York Park is graveyard for visiting teams, and it was a surprise to see them cane Hawthorn last year. This game should be different though: Hawthorn was woeful against North Melbourne last week, St Kilda secured a draw against Greater Western Sydney. We could see an upset here, but still expect Hawthorn to win. Shaun Burgoyne makes a return to Hawthorn, and he usually provides a cool head and stabilises the team.
- Round 6, 2017. St Kilda 19.16 defeated Hawthorn 8.7.
- Eddy Jay: Hawthorn, 6 points
- Lintang Enam: Hawthorn, 16 points
- Computer says: Hawthorn, 20 points
Adelaide v Gold Coast
(Adelaide Oval, 7.40pm AEST, Saturday, April 28, 2018)
Adelaide had a season-defining win against Sydney last weekend. Smashed in the vitriolic Murdoch-owned media in Adelaide, they fired back with a second-string team, and showed a spirit that had been lacking in their 48-point loss against Collingwood the previous week. Gold Coast are showing something of an improvement, with a 3–2 record (along with eight other teams), but defeating a Brisbane team by only 5 points shows they still need a lot of improvement before they can challenge the top teams. Matt Crouch returns for Adelaide, and he should witness a strong win over low-to-mid-ranking Gold Coast.
- Round 5, 2017. Adelaide 23.15 defeated Gold Coast 13.8.
- Eddy Jay: Adelaide, 36 points
- Lintang Enam: Adelaide, 29 points
- Computer says: Adelaide, 31 points