AFL ROUND 8
GWS Giants v West Coast
The Giants kick off our weekend by welcoming in ladder-leading West Coast Eagles. The Eagles were belted off the park down at Kardinia Park last Friday against the Cats while West Coast easily accounted for Port Adelaide over in the west. These two teams clash with one team struggling to get any sort of fluidity and confidence about their game together while the other is brimming with it, atop the AFL ladder.
There is no team more happy to see Nic Naitanui be controversially be ruled out this week for a rough tackle last week in Adelaide. The AFL has taken a stance on 'rough' tackles and in response has been slammed by the wider AFL community for how soft the game has gone. Nevertheless, West Coast will head to Spotless and tackle a GWS outfit that is just struggling to get boys on the park. They will regain the services of Jeremy Cameron and Rory Lobb who have been sorely missed in their respective departments in the past three weeks. Toby Greene still misses through injury and it is unknown how long he will be out for exactly. Besides Richmond who sit atop the ladder as well, West Coast are the form team of the comp. West Coast easily accounted for Port last week and it really showed where they are at for the season. The scary thing for West Coast is their spear head, Josh Kennedy, still hasn't fully hit his stride since returning from injury.
The Giants are hurting at the moment- they have too many injuries on their list and i'm finding it hard to see them overturn a 10-goal deficit to a team that is better than their last week's opponent. If Nic Nat managed to get off his suspension, then the Eagles go into this clash six to 12 point favourite. Take West Coast to cover the line here and potentially upend the Giants to really wobble their season.
West Coast +14.52.0u at 1.92+1.84
Port Adelaide v Adelaide
One of the biggest games outside the grand final is the Adelaide showdown. The importance of this game has really kicked up a gear in the past couple of years as these two teams have been touted as premiership contenders. Adelaide had themselves a soft win against the Blues last Saturday night while Port return back to Adelaide with their tails between their legs after being manhandled by West Coast (see above)
This becomes an acid test for Port Adelaide more so than the Crows. Port have played a relatively poor brand of footy over the last month and they now sit 11th on the ladder with other teams that have been disappointing this year as well- Melbourne, Gold Coast, Essendon, Bulldogs. Their offseason coups have made little impact on the field, so far, and the question marks are starting to be asked of them and where they're going this season. Star forward Chad Wingard, Sam Powell-Pepper and Tommy Rockcliff all return to the team for the big game but we're yet to see what real impact any three of them do for this team this year. The Crows missed on the returning services of Rory Sloane as he was unable to get up for the game. Tex Walker slots back into the Crows forward for the Showdown.
If you look at these two teams and their form over the last month, there is clear a margin between them and where they are at in their season. The Showdown ensures that this game could be close but if Adelaide play anywhere near their best then they could just leave Port behind. Adelaide win, Adelaide cover and cover well and this won't be an enjoyable watch for Power backers.
Adelaide -8.52.0u at 1.92-2
Collingwood v Geelong
Has match of the round written over this one. The Cats rebounded in a big way after having a brain lapse a fortnight ago against the Swans to really put the Giants to the sword. They will leave their confines of Kardinia Park and head to Melbourne to front up to Collingwood who returns from Brisbane after they were stretched four quarters from Brisbane. Some big inclusions highlight this game as the game to watch this weekend.
Two weeks ago the Cats were heading into the huddle at 3/4 time up by four goals against the Swans. They managed to give that game away for reasons unknown and left a few question marks around where the Cats resolve was at. Last week, they were able to respond, albeit against a beaten up Giants outfit, and belted them off the park. The Cats regain two top 10 players of their senior list back in Harry Taylor and Gary Ablett and these two stalwarts add a class edge on this Pies team that just can't be matched. Geelong have found themselves a bonafide ball winner, if they didn't already have enough of them, in Tim Kelly. The 23yo West Australian has slotted seamlessly into the Cats midfield and when lined up next to Danger, Selwood, Ablett and Duncan, they boast arguably the best midfield in the competition at the moment. The Pies were made to work for every bit of their victory last week in Brisbane. The highest scoring match from last week was Collingwood against the Lions who traded goals all afternoon. Pendles was the story from that game after tweaking an ankle in the victory. If he does miss, It could be offset with the return of Daniel Wells who will add something to this Collingwood team. At the time of writing, Pendles was playing but there's a huge watch on if he's able to get through warm up and be ready to go.
Match of the round written all over this one. Hawkins misses for the Cats and you may need to re-read this but that is a plus for the Cats. He's a liability for the Cats and when he does play, slows down their movement. Wells in for the Pies is a huge coup for them but could've down with another one or two returning to have been able to give this a shake. The Cats are building nicely into their season and the Pies will just be another tick on their list. Cats cover to round out the weekend.
Geelong -8.54.0u at 1.92+3.68
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Grand Final -10 10 -100% Finals Week Three -9.5 9.5 -100% Finals Week Two +7.53 7.5 100% Finals Week One +8.45 13 65% Round Twenty-Two -4.7 13.25 -35% Round Twenty-One -4 13 -31% Round Twenty +3.76 10 38% Round Nineteen -9.5 9.5 -100% Round Eighteen -7.75 14 -55% Round Seventeen +0.68 7 10% Round Sixteen -4.11 12 -34% Round Fifteen -8.5 8.5 -100% Round Fourteen +6.5 8 81% Round Thirteen -7 7 -100% Round Twelve -0.72 5.5 -13% Round Eleven -2.93 7.5 -39% Round Ten +1.5 8 19% Round Nine +7.84 8.5 92% Round Eight +3.5 8 44% Round Seven +2.35 7.25 32% Round Six +1.15 5.5 21% Round Five +5.32 9 59% Round Four -2.1 6.5 -32% Round Three -0.35 5.5 -6% Round Two -1.5 6 -25% Round One +2.56 6 43% Futures -6 6 -100% Total -27.52 231.5 -12%