My crystal-ball look at Round 23 of the AFL season

Wayne Roar Guru

By Wayne, Wayne is a Roar Guru

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    The Round 23 floating fixture is still be revealed, but I’ve saved the AFL the hard work and come up with what it will likely look like.

    Round 22 really makes Round 23 difficult to work out, with five of the match-ups including a team that played Sunday, so maintaining at least a six-day break, with consideration for marquee games in premium timeslots, proved difficult.

    Friday night – Sydney vs Hawthorn at the SCG
    One of four games that realistically are an option here, and probably the most appealing, as the NRL has kindly left the Friday night timeslot wide open in Sydney (Warriors hosting Penrith and Cowboys hosting Parramatta).

    With Lance Franklin taking on Hawthorn, as well as being rematches of the 2012 and 2014 grand finals, there is plenty of hype to be generated here. The AFL machine should be able sell this game out, and start the final round off strong.

    Saturday – Port Adelaide versus Essendon at the Adelaide Oval
    The other primary candidate for that Friday night timeslot, I moved this game to Saturday afternoon.

    The SANFL draws aren’t confirmed for this round either, and the Crows game being Saturday too, I would anticipate moving the SANFL to a Super Sunday.

    I give this game the early kick off because Port could realistically attract a good crowd.

    Saturday – St Kilda versus North Melbourne at Docklands
    Docklands hosts two games this weekend, so we kick off Melbourne’s first game of the weekend with the replay of ‘that’ Good Friday game.

    Hopefully the Saints can put on a good show for their home fans, as the Roos’ faint finals hopes could be dashed here.

    Saturday twilight – Brisbane versus West Coast at the Gabba
    The idea of moving this game to the twilight timeslot is purely for the Eagles’ travel issues. This gives them a chance to get back to Perth at a reasonable hour on Sunday.

    There wouldn’t be much cross-pollination between the Port-Essendon viewers, the Saints-Roos and this game, which is good.

    Saturday night – Richmond versus Western Bulldogs at MCG
    The Richmond hype will be hitting fever pitch, so why not give them the Saturday night game to fill the ‘G? Had the Dogs not played on Sunday, this was another game I was considering for the Friday night timeslot.

    Saturday night – Fremantle versus Collingwood at Optus Stadium
    I like the idea of giving the light show a night platform to really show off the spectacle, even though I go to the football to watch the football.

    Collingwood should get the bikkies here, and potentially this game could have slotted into Friday night had Fremantle been higher up the ladder.

    Optus Stadium

    Optus Stadium (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

    Sunday – Geelong versus Gold Coast Suns
    A fit Gary Ablett against his old side, with the Suns playing for pride. If Geelong need percentage, they are getting it here.

    This is probably one of the most one sided games of the round and the Sunday early timeslot is the best fit.

    Sunday – Melbourne versus GWS at the MCG
    I am a sucker for Sunday afternoon football at the ‘G – there is something nice about the sun going down as the final quarter plays out.

    Both of these teams will still be in the finals conversation, so putting them here seems off, however the MCG has two games, and GWS play Sunday, so would be unfair to ask them to play Friday night.

    This could potentially be the match of the round, and shaping the final ladder position so late could be a boost.

    Sunday twilight – Carlton versus Adelaide at Docklands
    Adelaide are going to find form now that I have put them in the last time slot. Another victim of the Docklands availability and playing Sunday (both teams), this is the fairest place I could slot them.

    This leaves us with Sydney on Friday night, Richmond Saturday night, and Melbourne in the Sunday afternoon slots. West Coast and Fremantle not clashing on the Saturday, with South Australian and Queensland teams spread across Saturday and Sunday too.

    What do you think Roarers? How would you schedule these games, given opponents and venues are already picked?

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • Roar Guru

      July 13th 2018 @ 8:11am
      Peter the Scribe said | July 13th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      One thing for sure they are not going to put Carlton in the Friday night slot.

    • Roar Guru

      July 13th 2018 @ 9:10am
      mastermind5991 said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:10am | ! Report

      Normally at this time of year I throw up how Round 23 should unfold.

      I strongly agree with Sydney vs Hawthorn on the Friday night; at this stage, it looks like the only match that is worthy of being played in this timeslot, especially with both teams purely in the finals race.

      Adelaide are still in the finals mix, so the shape of the final ladder could come down to whether they can beat the Blues by a required margin to sneak back into the eight come the end of the round. We could have another situation like we saw with West Coast and Adelaide last year, whereby the Eagles won by the required margin to get into the finals at Melbourne’s expense.

      The Dees vs Giants match, which you have scheduled for the Sunday, could also loom as a win-to-get-in match and both teams won’t be giving an inch on what could loom as an interesting final day of the season.

      Bring it on.

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2018 @ 9:39am
        Wayne said | July 13th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        Problem I had working it all out, was there are still loads of teams in it with a live chance, namely Geelong / GWS / Adelaide.

        There is every possibility there is a Super Saturday with 6 games

    • July 13th 2018 @ 10:47am
      Brian said | July 13th 2018 @ 10:47am | ! Report

      Friday 7:50 (AO) Port v Essendon
      Saturday 1:40 (GS) Geelong v Gold Coast
      Saturday 4:40 (ES) Carlton v Adelaide
      Saturday 7:25 (MCG) Richmond v Western
      Saturday 7:40 (G) Brisbane v West Coast
      Sunday 1:10 (ES) St Kilda v North Melbourne
      Sunday 3:20 (MCG) Melbourne v GWS
      Sunday 4:40 (OS) Fremantle v Collingwood
      Monday 7:50 (SCG) Sydney v Hawthorn

      I’d love to see a Monday night clash which shapes the 8. Melbourne v GWS would be even better but I am not sure the AFL would risk the disaster of Melbourne being outside the 8 and then hosting GWS on a Monday night.

      • July 14th 2018 @ 1:55am
        Mark said | July 14th 2018 @ 1:55am | ! Report

        Would be cool but I doubt it would happen.

    • July 13th 2018 @ 11:00am
      DrWildare said | July 13th 2018 @ 11:00am | ! Report

      So Brian I take it that you are saying Collingwood cannot make the finals by having them play on the Sunday?

      • Roar Rookie

        July 13th 2018 @ 11:45am
        Mick Jeffrey said | July 13th 2018 @ 11:45am | ! Report

        Finals teams have played the late Sunday game in Perth in the last couple of years, and they’ll fly home immediately after the game.

        • Roar Guru

          July 13th 2018 @ 11:55am
          Wayne said | July 13th 2018 @ 11:55am | ! Report

          There is that silly pre finals bye. So the travel isn’t a big deal anymore

      • Roar Guru

        July 13th 2018 @ 12:23pm
        mds1970 said | July 13th 2018 @ 12:23pm | ! Report

        There’s a week off after this round before the finals. So it’s not an issue for any finals team to be playing on Sunday.

        • July 13th 2018 @ 3:59pm
          Brian said | July 13th 2018 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

          Playing Fremantle away on the Sunday might even be a good luck charm its what the Dogs did in 2016 before winning the flag, not that I wish such fortune to Collingwood

    • July 13th 2018 @ 4:48pm
      Pope Paul VII said | July 13th 2018 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

      I don’t think North’s finals chances will be faint come Rd.23. I think the question will be “Where in the 8?”

    • July 14th 2018 @ 1:57am
      Mark said | July 14th 2018 @ 1:57am | ! Report

      Why even have the floating fixture if we have the pre finals bye?

      • July 14th 2018 @ 9:45am
        Pope Paul VII said | July 14th 2018 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        Money.

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