AFL Round 13 preview panel
Preview of AFL Round 13 matches (all times AEST).
FRIDAY, June 22
Sydney v Geelong at SCG 7.50pm
Head to Head: Swans 94 Cats 116
Last clash: Round 23 2011 – Swans 15.9 (99) bt Cats 12.14 (86) at Skilled Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Swans $1.62 Cats $2.30
Sportingbet: Swans $1.65 Cats $2.22
Adam Goodes returns for the Swans – a huge boost for a critical clash. Even without the Brownlow Medallist, the Swans had found their mojo pre-bye. Despite clinging on to win as Essendon came at them a fortnight ago, they were awesome for the previous three quarters. It’s some of the best footy seen this season, and how they match up against the premiers will go a long way to determining whether they are legitimate flag chances. Geelong have been racking up the wins despite some writing them off. They are 7-4, have won three in a row and are in the eight. They just keep winning whatever the conditions or opposition, and the return of James Podsiadly and Allen Christensen sharpens up their forward structure.
Key: Is there anyone playing better footy than Sydney midfielder Jude Bolton right now? Tough in the clearances, rarely beaten, and always under the radar. How he goes against Geelong’s midfield led by Joel Selwood shapes as pivotal.
Tip: Swans by 7 points
SATURDAY, June 23
Western Bulldogs v Brisbane at Etihad Stadium 1.40pm
Head to Head: Bulldogs 26 Lions 17
Last clash: Round 2 2011 – Bulldogs 19.9 (123) bt Lions 6.9 (45) at Etihad Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Bulldogs $1.38 Lions $3.05
Sportingbet: Bulldogs $1.38 Lions $3.05
The vagaries of the draw mean these two teams haven’t played each other in well over a year. Happy days for the Bulldogs, who have won three of their past five and bounced back to form with a good win over Port Adelaide last weekend. Brisbane were competitive in the first half before Hawthorn rolled them over, but show the inconsistency of a young, rebuilding side. Bulldog Will Minson’s suspension for his slur against Port rival Danyle Pearce last weekend opens the way for rookie-listed ruckman Tom Campbell to debut. But Brisbane welcome back Simon Black – a huge `in’. Ruckman Ben Hudson also plays for the Lions against his former club.
Key: Brisbane have played some very good football without Black and their use of, and reliance upon the veteran as he returns from a knee injury shapes as a portent to their future.
Tip: Bulldogs by 17 points
Collingwood v West Coast at MCG 4.40pm
Head to Head: Magpies 18 Eagles 20 drawn 1
Last clash: Finals Week 1 2011 – Magpies 12.10 (82) bt Eagles 9.8 (62) at MCG
Tab Sportsbet: Magpies $1.42 Eagles $2.90
Sportingbet: Magpies $1.42 Eagles $2.90
The Magpies call back three star defenders, led by Heath Shaw, for their top-of-the-table clash. Collingwood are going for nine in a row and are playing great football, even with several key players injured. So too are West Coast. But the question is can they beat the best teams regularly away from Perth? Beau Waters returns from suspension for the Eagles, offsetting the loss of tough midfielder Adam Selwood. Collingwood have also lost busy small forward Ben Sinclair to an ankle injury, but Shaw, Ben Reid and Alan Toovey’s returns certainly give them more gain than pain.
Key: Collingwood’s Darren Jolly is in for a tough day, with West Coast’s ruck tandem Nic Naitanui and Dean Cox proving unstoppable, and often the difference in getting the Eagles home.
Tip: Magpies by 22 points
Fremantle v Essendon at Subiaco 7.40pm
Head to Head: Dockers 9 Bombers 16
Last clash: Round 12 2011 – Dockers 15.8 (98) bt Bombers 9.10 (64) at Subiaco
Tab Sportsbet: Dockers $2.10 Bombers $1.75
Sportingbet: Dockers $2.15 Bombers $1.70
Essendon will hope the bye has allowed them to sort out what’s gone wrong after their flying start. The Bombers have lost their past two and slipped out of the top four. Unpleasant memories of last season, when they made a good start then hit the skids mid-year, are coming back. Fremantle also come off the bye and a gritty win in the wet against Richmond. But they will be without several key players – notably midfielder Stephen Hill and ruckman Aaron Sandilands. Expect Dockers coach Ross Lyon to have done his homework, especially as a win lifts them into the top eight.
Key: Essendon midfielder Brent Stanton has found tagger trouble in the Bombers’ last two matches. He was in Brownlow form prior and could be hard to stop if given the space, or if he can shake a hard tag.
Tip: Dockers by 19 points
SUNDAY, June 24
Melbourne v Greater Western Sydney Giants at MCG 3.15pm
Head to Head: Demons 0 Giants 0
Last clash: N/A
Tab Sportsbet: Demons $1.30 Giants $3.55
Sportingbet: Demons $1.30 Giants $3.55
The battle of the desperadoes is a huge danger game for Melbourne, and a massive opportunity for GWS to post their second win of the season. A wet MCG is likely, and GWS showed they have the gills and flippers to deal with those conditions last weekend against Richmond – a far better team than the Demons. GWS veteran James McDonald was shown the door by Melbourne two years ago, and will be revved up. So too will Giants coach Kevin Sheedy, who was at one stage front-runner for the Demons coaching job before Dean Bailey was appointed. He’ll have had this match marked in the calendar for some time. Current Demons coach Mark Neeld will need usual suspects Mitch Clark and Nathan Jones to get some support from the underperformers around them to ensure no upset.
Key: Giants midfielder Tom Scully quit the Demons for the GWS cash at the end of last season. What reception can he expect from former teammates and crowd, and how will the No.1 draft pick respond?
Tip: Giants by 8 points
North Melbourne Kangaroos v Adelaide at Etihad Stadium 4.40pm
Head to Head: North Melbourne 16 Crows 16
Last clash: Round 11 2011 – North Melbourne 18.7 (115) bt Crows 10.8 (68) at Etihad Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: North Melbourne $3.05 Crows $1.38
Sportingbet: North Melbourne $3.10 Crows $1.36
The Crows continue to convince. The Kangaroos don’t. North reach their season crossroads against the high-flying Crows, who showed grit to outstay St Kilda last weekend and move to 9-2 and second on the ladder. North have underachieved this season and stumbled against winless Gold Coast last time out. They’re 5-6 and their finals hopes probably go in the too-hard basket with defeat here. Note that Adelaide were outstanding the last time they played at Etihad Stadium, smashing Carlton by 69 points in round eight.
Key: Adelaide’s forward duo of Kurt Tippett and Taylor Walker are firing and spell danger. Remember the Kangaroos gave up 13 goals to Hawthorn’s Lance Franklin last time they came up against a quality power forward.
Tip: Crows by 33 points© AAP 2013