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Last week’s results have thrown the league into chaos a bit and looking ahead at the fixture, the question of who makes the top eight is set to evolve week-by-week.
There’s plenty of games in Round 16 that will shape finals, so let’s take a look.
Sydney vs Geelong on Thursday night is a cracking way to start the round. The Swans want to bounce back from last week’s loss, while Geelong desperately need to avoid a three-game losing streak.
The simple thing is that Sydney’s form has been better, and this one is on home turf for the Swans. I can’t go past them.
Richmond versus a resurgent Adelaide looks like a potentially promising encounter also but I’m not sure if there’s a side in the league I’d consider tipping against Richmond at the MCG.
The Western Bulldogs have played a really impressive fortnight of football but I reckon Hawthorn’s combination of an emotional week off the field and a desperate need to push for finals will give them reason enough to win.
Essendon are in a scenario where they simply must keep winning and did so last week. A wounded Collingwood at the MCG does offer them some chance to keep it up… but I’ll stick with the Pies.
Both West Coast and GWS are missing key players through injury right now. GWS managed to navigate that successfully last week, while West Coast didn’t.
Still, with the home ground advantage and a vocal crowd, I’m going to back the Eagles in to get the win in this one.
Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Melbourne and North are my other tips for the week. Lock of the week has to be the Dees to get back on the horse versus a Fremantle side with no Nat Fyfe and no Aaron Sandilands.
Geelong, Richmond, Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Collingwood, GWS
After losing to the Dogs, the Cats are in real danger of missing the eight for the second time since 2015. I think they’ll cause an upset in the game of the round to kick things off.
Brisbane will notch their third win of the season at home against the Blues, but this should be a fun match.
Port will be too strong for the Saints at Adelaide Oval. Here’s hoping St Kilda play as boldly as they did last week against the Demons.
If the Dogs have really turned a corner, as the past fortnight suggests, then they should take it right up to the Hawks, but I’m tipping Hawthorn to bounce back after a disappointing loss to GWS.
Melbourne will take out the frustrations of their loss to St Kilda on the undermanned Dockers in Darwin and North will pump the Suns at Etihad.
There’ll be a massive crowd at the MCG on Sunday to see Collingwood all but end Essendon’s finals hopes.
It’s a dangerous game tipping the Giants to win meaningful games away from home, but the Eagles just don’t look the same side without star forwards Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling so I think GWS will grab their ninth win of the season.
Sydney, Richmond, Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Collingwood, GWS
Check out my Thursday night forecast for why I think Sydney will kick off Round 16 with a win.
Richmond hosts Adelaide in a grand final re-match that will be the Crows’ first return to the venue since they were humiliated by the Tigers on footy’s biggest stage.
This shapes as a danger game for Richmond despite their invulnerability at the MCG fortress, with Adelaide already easily beating them once this year and ready to surge towards finals after a stunning comeback against West Coast this week.
Tipping the Tiges in a tight one.
Brisbane, Port, Hawthorn and Melbourne to be the Saturday winners, although a few of those are likely to be less one-sided than they looked a couple of weeks ago.
North should beat up on Gold Coast and avenge their Round 1 loss.
Collingwood starts their tough run now after an easy draw up to this point, and hit an Essendon side coming off three wins in a row.
Tipping the Pies to win the midfield battle even without Adam Treloar, and to put the brakes on the Bombers fast ball movement.
GWS are also back on-song, while the wheels at West Coast are wobbling off with no Kennedy, Darling or LeCras.
The Giants midfield should be too strong for the Eagles, and give their forward-line enough looks to post a winning score.
Sydney, Richmond, Brisbane, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Collingwood, West Coast
Another big test for the Swans, this time at home against the Cats. I still think Geelong will have a big say in the outcome of the 2018 season, but I’ll have to back Sydney at home.
Richmond will continue their merry run in Melbourne against an Adelaide team still piecing itself together a bit.
Carlton have waxed between competitiveness and hopelessness. I think they’re a good chance to upset the fragile Lions, but on balance you have to pick the slightly more consistent Lions.
The Dogs have hit some good form and are a real good chance to make the finals a more difficult proposition for the Hawks, but from what we’ve seen over the course of the year I think Hawthorn still have a bit more class and resilience.
I’m really looking forward to the Essendon-Collingwood clash. They’re both playing pretty exciting footy. I’ll tip the Pies to outgun the Bombers in hopefully a high scoring game.
GWS seem to be on the up, and West Coast in a slump. But I think there’s something a bit soft about the Giants’ form and they might come unstuck out west.
Elsewhere, Port at home over the Saints, Melbourne to snap their losing streak against the Dockers, North easily over Gold Coast.
|Round 16||Josh E||Adrian P||Cam R||TomC||The Crowd|
|SYD vs GEE||SYD||GEE||SYD||SYD||SYD|
|RIC vs ADE||RIC||RIC||RIC||RIC||RIC|
|BRI vs CAR||BRI||BRI||BRI||BRI||BRI|
|PA vs STK||PA||PA||PA||PA||PA|
|WB vs HAW||HAW||HAW||HAW||HAW||HAW|
|MEL vs FRE||MEL||MEL||MEL||MEL||MEL|
|NM vs GCS||NM||NM||NM||NM||NM|
|ESS vs COL||COL||COL||COL||COL||COL|
|WCE vs GWS||WCE||GWS||GWS||WCE||GWS|