This is it. This is the round we have been waiting for.
Round 20 is set to be the biggest and most decisive weekend of AFL footy in this year’s home-and-away season. Will Richmond’s last ditch effort at making finals be ended? Can North Melbourne right recent wrongs?
Can Gold Coast claim an upset on the way to making the finals for the first time? Can the Hawks settle at the top? Can Port turn around their terrible slump against the Swans?
Can Geelong get revenge for last year’s first final by securing a top-four finish against the Dockers? Can Adelaide claim the away win they need? Can the Bulldogs continue to turn heads?
Can the Pies prove themselves out in the west? I’ll preview the upcoming round and show you my tips.
This is Richmond’s final
For most of the season Richmond have been the main disappointments in a season full of lows. They started off shockingly and never truly bounced back to be in finals contention, aside from the past four weeks.
They now face an in-form Bombers side that have all but cemented their finals place after several dominant and challenging performances. This is the Tigers final.
Stuff the early season crap against Collingwood. Stuff every other match they have played this year. The Richmond Tigers have to win on Friday night if they want to make the top eight.
Their recent form has been good, but they will have to lift another level completely to match an Essendon outfit that can take it up to the top teams. The stage will be huge, but I don’t think Richmond can make a fairy tale story this year.
A close contest will be broken open by the Bombers in the last, resulting in some broken hearted Tigers supporters. Essendon by 27.
Are Port good enough?
For the early to middle parts of this season, the Power was the team to beat. Hawthorn was out of action through numerous injuries and was yet to make their run, as the Swans were still slowly building.
When they knocked off the Hawks at home, everybody thought that they were good enough to go all the way.
But a team can’t be judged off a half year, as the season has showed. The Hawks and the Swans have proven themselves and shown their eminent class as Port have fallen out of the four, with a home loss to Essendon several weeks ago compounded by last week’s close loss to the Pies.
They now have a do-or-die game against Sydney, who has continued on their merry way after their hiccup to Hawthorn. They are only out of first spot by percentage and will look to prove themselves yet again as they will want to notch up a strong away win.
The Power has been ill all week, and won’t be able to produce the footy they need as Sydney are too polished. Port will challenge for roughly a quarter, but just won’t be able to match it with a team as consistent as Sydney. Swans by 42.
Essendon by 27
North by 58
Carlton by 33
Hawthorn by 102
Sydney by 42
Geelong by 20
Adelaide by 13
Bulldogs by 38
Collingwood by 17