The 2014 AFL home-and-away season is edging around the last turn before heading down the home straight and some teams are starting to solidify their position on the ladder.
I’ll preview yet another huge weekend of matches and give my tips.
Can North Melbourne pull one out of the bag?
This is really going to be interesting. North Melbourne and Hawthorn are meeting on a Friday night as these two teams have played some real recent crackers. Last year Hawthorn won both games by a small margin, as the Roos pulled some great performances out of the bag in a season that was otherwise disappointing.
Hawthorn have now been reinstated at the top of the ladder and will look to stay there, as they are picking up the pace and finding some brilliant form as finals looms ever closer.
I think that this match will be a really close one, as North Melbourne always play exceptionally well in games that they are underdogs in. I still predict that the Hawks will come up trumps though, as their classy and experienced players will guide them home in a tense match. Hawks by 17 points.
Who proves themselves up at Metricon?
Last year when these two teams played, Collingwood were picking up the pace and racing towards the finals, while the Suns were trying to make sure that they finished off their season well. Gold Coast produced an inspirational seven-point win against a poor Collingwood.
Now the Suns are in the top eight. They are making their home up at the Gold Coast a fortress, having beating many good teams up there, including Geelong. Everybody is thinking that the Suns will win here, as they have really played some great footy at their home.
The Pies are undermanned in the forward line. The game depends on the midfield. If Brent Macaffer can stop Gary Ablett and Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan and Dayne Beams have brilliant games and contribute steadily on the scoreboard, Collingwood will win.
If not, then Collingwood can’t rely on Travis Cloke to kick them a winning score. Something tells me that the Magpies will have some extra motivation after last year’s loss, and will win a hard fought and highly skilled contest. Pies by 10.
Can Port regain that winning feeling at their home?
The last seven days for all Port Adelaide supporters would have been horrible. Adelaide fans would have rubbed it in as the Power controlled most of the first half, only to let the Crows capitalise on some second half momentum to run home winners courtesy of some late Eddie Betts’ magic. After having their first loss at the redeveloped Adelaide Oval this season inflicted upon them, they now have to come up against a Bombers team that has every right to say that they should have won last week.
A poor last five minutes by Essendon let Steven Motlop and Geelong kick a few late goals to squeeze past a Bombers team that showed how well they can play in the third term. This will be another close one, but the Power will get back on the winner’s list after last week’s indictment. Power by 28.
Hawks by 17
Richmond by 11
Adelaide by 32
Pies by 10
Freo by 25
Port by 28
Carlton by 21
Sydney by 33
Geelong by 36