AFL Round 14 preview panel
Preview of AFL round-14 matches (all times AEST).
FRIDAY, June 29
Carlton v Hawthorn at MCG 7.50pm
Head to Head: Blues 102 Hawks 56
Last clash: Round 22 2011 – Hawks 10.18 (78) bt Blues 8.18 (66) at Etihad Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Blues $3.55 Hawks $1.30
Sportingbet: Blues $3.55 Hawks $1.30
Carlton’s early status as premiership favourites is a distant memory, with the Blues losing five of their past six games to slide from the top eight. In stark contrast, the Hawks are building ominously towards another finals campaign – and they have beaten Carlton in their past eight meetings, a sequence dating back to 2005. Hawks’ star Lance Franklin has kicked 22 goals in his past three games, his midfield colleagues are dominating and Hawthorn’s defence is as miserly as ever.
Key: Carlton captain Chris Judd was held to just 12 disposals in his last outing and, if contained again, the Blues have no hope of generating enough attacking chances to worry the Hawks.
Tip: Hawks by 29 points
SATURDAY, June 30
Collingwood v Fremantle at MCG 1.45pm
Head to Head: Magpies 14 Dockers 8
Last clash: Round 23 2011 – Magpies 20.12 (132) bt Dockers 8.4 (52) at Subiaco
Tab Sportsbet: Magpies $1.10 Dockers $7.00
Sportingbet: Magpies $1.11 Dockers $6.75
Collingwood sit atop the ladder, despite using 35 players so far – only newcomers Greater Western Sydney and Gold Coast have used more (40). And they will add another, Irishman Caolan Mooney, against the Dockers. The Magpies keep winning despite injuries unsettling their line-up, with Dayne Beams emerging as a blue-chip midfielder. Beams can expect the company of pesky Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley as the Dockers seek to repeat their last visit to the MCG – a win over Richmond, which is their only victory in their past five games.
Key: Fremantle skipper Matthew Pavlich has potted a dozen goals in three games and looms as the sole Docker capable of causing massive headaches for the in-form Magpie defence.
Tip: Magpies by 43 points
Adelaide v Richmond at AAMI Stadium 2.10pm
Head to Head: Crows 19 Tigers 10
Last clash: Round 23 2011 – Tigers 17.19 (121) bt Crows 15.9 (99) at AAMI Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Crows $1.40 Tigers $3.00
Sportingbet: Crows $1.42 Tigers $2.90
Adelaide slipped to fifth with their upset loss to North Melbourne last week, but return to their home patch where they have lost just once this season. The improving Tigers are one of five sides with six wins and six losses but need to claim a big scalp to enhance their finals credentials. Richmond cult hero Ivan Maric will confront his former club – and the ruckman who effectively killed his career at Adelaide, Sam Jacobs. Their duel is pivotal as both sides have dangerous onballers.
Key: Richmond spearhead Jack Riewoldt is steadily amassing the goals, his 35 for the season second only to Hawk Lance Franklin. If Riewoldt can shake reliable Adelaide backman Ben Rutten, the Tigers are a chance of an upset.
Tip: Crows by 22 points
West Coast v Gold Coast at Subiaco 4.40pm
Head to Head: Eagles 1 Suns 0
Last clash: Round 11 2011 – Eagles 13.7 (85) bt Suns 10.7 (67) at Subiaco
Tab Sportsbet: Eagles $1.01 Suns $17.00
Sportingbet: Eagles $1.01 Suns $17.00
West Coast are unbeaten at home this season, and that won’t change against the winless Suns. The Eagles have covered their injuries superbly, midfielder Daniel Kerr is returning to his brilliant best and they boast the best ruck duo in the land in Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui. Gold Coast’s second-year blues have been punctuated by senior players being injured or losing form. Not even their stellar skipper Gary Ablett can save them from another defeat against the finals-bound Eagles.
Key: How much percentage can West Coast gain? In a season where percentage could well determine ladder positions, expect the Eagles to relentlessly chase a crushing win.
Tip: Eagles by 81 points
Essendon v Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium 7.40pm
Head to Head: Bombers 90 Bulldogs 60 drawn 2
Last clash: Round 21 2011 – Bombers 23.12 (150) bt Bulldogs 15.11 (101) at Etihad Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Bombers $1.20 Bulldogs $4.60
Sportingbet: Bombers $1.22 Bulldogs $4.40
Western Bulldogs are challenging North Melbourne for the tag of the AFL’s most inconsistent side, with their nine-goal capitulation to Brisbane last week furthering their claims for the unwanted title. The Bombers returned to the winner’s list, and the top four, with a fighting away triumph against Fremantle. But Dogs coach Brendan McCartney has valuable inside knowledge, having been an assistant at Essendon last year. But whether his players have the nous to act on the information is another matter.
Key: Michael Hurley booted six goals for the Bombers last start and, if he can break the Bulldogs’ defensive leash, Essendon should win handsomely.
Tip: Bombers by 41 points
Sydney v Greater Western Sydney Giants at ANZ Stadium 7.40pm
Head to Head: Swans 1 Giants 0
Last clash: Round 1 2012 – Swans 14.16 (100) bt Giants 5.7 (37) at ANZ Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Swans $1.01 Giants $17.00
Sportingbet: Swans $1.01 Giants $17.00
Sydney have snuck into second spot on the ladder and, like West Coast, will be seeking a percentage boost against the novice Giants, who will again be missing drawcard Israel Folau (hamstring). The Swans can expect greater output from their talisman Adam Goodes while ruck Shane Mumford is hitting his straps and should feed a hungry midfield headed by Josh Kennedy. The Giants will again feature their futuristic forward line underpinned by Jonathon Patton and Jeremy Cameron, but they’ll get no respite from the stingy Swans defence.
Key: Apart from percentage for the Swans, will they seek pay-back on Giants veteran James McDonald, who was suspended for two games in the season-opener for a crude hit which broke the jaw of Sydney’s Luke Parker?
Tip: Swans by 72 points
SUNDAY, July 1
Geelong v Port Adelaide at Skilled Stadium 1.10pm
Head to Head: Cats 14 Power 8 drawn 1
Last clash: Round 3 2011 – Cats 17.20 (122) bt Power 6.7 (43) at Skilled Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Cats $1.07 Power $8.50
Sportingbet: Cats $1.07 Power $8.50
Pity Port Adelaide. The Power’s injury list includes their entire leadership group – their three best midfielders (Robbie Gray, Hamish Hartlett, Travis Boak); their best goalkicker (Jay Schulz); their best young defender (Jackson Trengove) and best leader (captain Dom Cassisi). Port’s depth is shallow at the best of times, let alone without that half-dozen. While Geelong seem a shadow of their former self, a home-turf trouncing of Port could play the Cats back into form.
Key: Port forward Justin Westhoff has a frustratingly-massive gap between best and worst. If he can turn it on and kick a bag of goals, the Power might get close. If not, a whopping loss looms.
Tip: Cats by 88 points
Brisbane v Melbourne at Gabba 3.15pm
Head to Head: Lions 16 Demons 21
Last clash: Round 1 2012 – Lions 17.17 (119) bt Demons 11.12 (78) at MCG
Tab Sportsbet: Lions $1.25 Demons $4.00
Sportingbet: Lions $1.26 Demons $3.90
Both enter this fixture on the back of comprehensive wins after Brisbane thrashed the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne dismantled Greater Western Sydney. But the Demons’ victory was soured by a season-ending foot injury to star recruit Mitch Clark. The Lions have crept to five wins for the year – one more than all of last season. With midfielder Tom Rockliff approaching peak form and the presence of menacing forwards Jonathan Brown and Daniel Merrett, the Lions should log another win.
Key: With who, and how, can Melbourne replace the goalkicking talents of Clark? If the Demons can’t find the answer, they won’t threaten the Lions.
Tip: Lions by 47 points
St Kilda v North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium 4.40pm
Head to Head: Saints 76 North Melbourne 71 drawn 2
Last clash: Round 23 2011 – Saints 19.21 (135) bt North Melbourne 10.10 (70) at Etihad Stadium
Tab Sportsbet: Saints $1.35 North Melbourne $3.25
Sportingbet: Saints $1.26 North Melbourne $3.20
A crucial clash between clubs with six-six win-loss records. Are they contenders or pretenders? Most put North in the latter category until their stunning upset of Adelaide last week. With Robbie Tarrant kicking four goals, suddenly the Roos found another avenue to goal apart from the reliable Drew Petrie. But the inconsistent Kangas must break even, at least, with a hardened St Kilda midfield headed by Nick Dal Santo, Leigh Montagna and Lenny Hayes.
Key: Saints captain Nick Riewoldt has jagged 33 goals this season, and the talented forward represents the chief danger to a blue-collar Kangaroo defence.
Tip: Saints by 23 points© AAP 2013