Geelong vs GWS: Friday Night Forecast

Adrian Polykandrites Columnist

By Adrian Polykandrites, Adrian Polykandrites is a Roar Expert

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    Both sides are hit by injuries, so who gets the win? (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

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    For the second time in a fortnight a juicy Friday-night match between a pair of premiership contenders is diminished due to the number and quality of the players who won’t take part.

    The list of players missing from tonight’s match is quite extraordinary.

    The Cats will, again, be without their defensive pillars Harry Taylor and Lachie Henderson as well as the great Gary Ablett.

    Add to those players Daniel Menzel, Cam Guthrie, Brandan Parfitt and Nakia Cockatoo.

    That’s seven of Geelong’s best 22 players. Lincoln McCarthy, too, would have a strong case if healthy.

    Things are just as ugly for the visiting Giants, who will head to Kardinia Park without arguably their three best players – Josh Kelly, Toby Greene and Jeremy Cameron – as well as Brett Deledio, Tom Scully, Zac Williams and Rory Lobb.

    If you follow the NBA, you might have heard the term “schedule loss”. Essentially, it refers to a team looking at their schedule and deciding a certain game – usually a third game in four nights, or the second-night of a road back-to-back – is more trouble than it’s worth.

    This game has a bit of that feeling about it for the Giants, who are taking no chances with Cameron or Deledio.

    That’s not to suggest GWS won’t try to win, just that with four wins and a draw from six games – and the second-best percentage in the competition – they don’t need to risk their stars on the road in a short week.

    Leon Cameron

    (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    For the Cats, it’s not quite desperate times, but it’s getting there. Geelong, rightly, have top-four ambitions, and to achieve that there isn’t a lot of room for error.

    You have to go back to 2010 for the last time a team earned the double chance with fewer than 60 points – that’s 15 wins, or, in the case of last year’s Giants 14 wins and two draws.

    Geelong are precariously placed at 3-3, with recent history suggesting they need to win 12 of their next 17 games to guarantee more than a week of finals action.

    They can’t afford to take these Giants lightly. Leon Cameron’s team still boasts plenty of talent around the ball, which has been a problem for the Cats this season.

    Geelong are 18th in the competition for clearance differential at -8.5 a game. To put that in some perspective, the Crows are the next worst team at -3.2. The Giants are fifth in the league with +2.2.

    It’s an area of the game Chris Scott would have spent plenty of time thinking about after last week’s hammering by the Swans.

    Sydney won the clearances 50-34, including a 16-5 advantage at centre bounces – Josh P Kennedy (seven) had more centre clearances than Geelong.

    The return of Zac Smith should give the Cats a boost in that area against make-shift ruckmen Adam Tomlinson and Jonathon Patton, the latter of which will likely spend much of his time forward with Cameron out and the Cats still shorthanded down back.

    The more simple solution to Geelong’s stoppage woes might be to get more out of their best player. In his first five games of 2018, Patrick Dangerfield has been well below the standard he has set in recent years.

    Dangerfield is averaging 5.4 clearances a game this season. That’s a more-than-respectable number for mere mortals, but well below the 7.2 Dangerfield averaged last season and would be his lowest average since 2011 if it continued.

    The 2016 Brownlow medallist can expect plenty of attention from GWS star Stephen Coniglio, among others, when he’s in the midfield.

    Patrick Dangerfield

    (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

    Kardinia Park and it’s narrow wings have found out many a visiting team. Teams get trapped in their defensive third and choked by the narrow ground and Geelong’s defensive set-up.

    Sydney have had success in Geelong for three glaring reasons: their stoppage strength, their comfort defending deep and their patience in transition.

    The Giants could have one of those bases covered at stoppages, and based on this season, they might have the defensive aspect covered as well.

    It’s worth emphasising that it’s still early and GWS have played a pretty soft schedule, but they have conceded a score on just 32.5 percent of their opponents’ inside-50s, which is the best mark in the league.

    Counter to that, the Cats have converted a league-best 45.1 percent of their inside-50s into a score.

    As for the patient transition, that’s not really the Giants’ go, but their link-up wave running could prove equally effective in penetrating Geelong’s defence.

    GWS should take some inspiration from what the Crows did in Sydney a fortnight ago. If they come with a plan and control the stoppages and territory, they can cause an upset. Even without a handful of stars, they still have plenty of talent.

    This game means too much for the Cats though, and I still expect them to be a force this season, so I’m tipping them to get up by three goals.

    Here’s hoping it’s also a good enough game of footy to shut up the “footy is bad” crowd for a bit.

    That’s my Friday night forecast. What’s yours?

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    The Crowd Says (39)

    • May 4th 2018 @ 8:53am
      Don Freo said | May 4th 2018 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      The ‘footy is bad’ crowd is such a minority.

      It’s not always open and pretty…but it’s footy.

      The Cats have less depth than GWS (especially with Daniel Menzel out twice!). Giants to find a way by 9points.

      • Roar Guru

        May 4th 2018 @ 10:38am
        Mango Jack said | May 4th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

        It’s a bit like sex, isn’t it? When it’s bad it’s still good.

        • May 4th 2018 @ 10:54am
          Tom M said | May 4th 2018 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          MJ you sir have won the internet for today

          • Roar Guru

            May 4th 2018 @ 1:36pm
            Mango Jack said | May 4th 2018 @ 1:36pm | ! Report

            Pass me the cigarette, Tom 🙂

        • May 4th 2018 @ 11:01am
          Mrs Hardwick said | May 4th 2018 @ 11:01am | ! Report

          Damien likes to justify it that way too

        • May 4th 2018 @ 2:30pm
          Maggie said | May 4th 2018 @ 2:30pm | ! Report

          Yeah right, only a bloke would say that!

    • May 4th 2018 @ 9:01am
      Birdman said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:01am | ! Report

      It’s now or never Giants

    • May 4th 2018 @ 9:14am
      Rissole said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:14am | ! Report

      Should be a tough game. It’s hard to see GWS having the fortitude to win this one away from home.
      They have to start sometime though.

    • May 4th 2018 @ 9:51am
      I ate pies said | May 4th 2018 @ 9:51am | ! Report

      GWS look a bit thin on paper for mine. The Cats to get home due to their home ground advantage. After a couple of quiet weeks I expect Danger to turn it up tonight.

      It should be an entertaining match though; much less congestion compared to most matches last weekend.

    • Roar Guru

      May 4th 2018 @ 10:11am
      Paul Dawson said | May 4th 2018 @ 10:11am | ! Report

      Surely Geelong will make up some ground on that clearance differential this week with Zac Smith back. Stefan Martin won the hitouts 47-4 last week against that makeshift ruck pairing. Didn’t help us though, but Geelong are a bit better.

      If the Giants roll the Cats tonight though despite all their outs and no ruckman though – my word, there will be some storm clouds down Geelong way next week.

      • Roar Guru

        May 4th 2018 @ 10:19am
        Cat said | May 4th 2018 @ 10:19am | ! Report

        Accurate assessment.

    • Roar Rookie

      May 4th 2018 @ 10:22am
      Mattician6x6 said | May 4th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

      Without menzel and parfitt I’ve tipped gws even though they’ll be missing green and Cameron.

      • May 4th 2018 @ 11:00am
        I ate pies said | May 4th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

        You did tip Carlton last week though…no offence.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 4th 2018 @ 12:37pm
          Mattician6x6 said | May 4th 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

          True non taken at all iap, still dirty on them costing my multi.

          • May 4th 2018 @ 2:50pm
            I ate pies said | May 4th 2018 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

            You tipped them in a multi?!! In the words of the great Dr Phil, what were you thinking?

            • Roar Rookie

              May 4th 2018 @ 3:02pm
              Mattician6x6 said | May 4th 2018 @ 3:02pm | ! Report

              Was corrupted by their performance week before lol

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