Ahh, the great ruck debate.
Surely you have something better to do than read about this dreadful match-up? No? Neither do I, I suppose, so who am I to judge.
In a raging endorsement for the AFL floating the fixture for more than just the final round, tonight’s penultimate Friday night of the home-and-away season is an absolute stinker.
Their two remaining games is at least one too many for Melbourne, whose miserable 2019 can’t come to an end soon enough. I can’t remember a season that promised so much and delivered so little.
There’s not a lot at stake, but that Carlton vs St Kilda game looks like a fun one. I reckon the Blues will snatch another win.
For the Swans, it’s been a pretty generic rebuilding year, only unique in the fact that it’s been the Swans doing the rebuilding. With a couple of winnable games to finish, they could end the season with eight wins and a very respectable percentage in the 90s and still land a top-four pick – perfect.
How exciting is the Lions-Cats clash at the Gabba? Not sure if it’s a bigger test for Brisbane or Geelong. Brisbane should be too strong at home. I can’t wait.
Last time Sydney and Melbourne met was back in Round 5 at the SCG, when the Demons scored their first four points of the season with a 22-point victory. Nathan Jones had 21 touches and three goals, while Jayden Hunt, Christian Petracca and Braydon Preuss each kicked two.
Adelaide versus Collingwood at the Adelaide Oval is a fascinating match-up. It’s almost do-or-die time for the Crows, who looked pretty sharp last week against West Coast, and the Magpies desperately need to find some form ahead of September. I can’t split them – toss a coin.
One thing the Swans haven’t lost is their ability to defend deep. John Longmire’s men are conceding a goal on just 20.5 per cent of their opponents’ forward-50 entries, which is the fourth-best rate in the league, and bad news for Melbourne whose 19.1 per cent forward-50-to-goal conversion rate is dead last – yep, worse than Gold Coast.
North Melbourne vs Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium has surprisingly high stakes. The Roos – and new coach Rhyce Shaw – will be desperate for a better showing after a dismal performance in Geelong, and Port can put one foot in the September door with a win. Port for me.
Sydney have made one change, with veteran Kieren Jack coming in for the injured Zak Jones.
Ross Lyon vs John Worsfold could just about be a loser-leaves-town match. Freo should account for the Bombers at home.
Melbourne have swung the changes with Marty Hore, Billy Stretch, Charlie Spargo, Alex Neal-Bullen and debutant Kade Chandler coming into the 22 for injured trio Harrison Petty, Oscar McDonald and Steven May, plus Oskar Baker and Jayden Hunt, who have both been dropped.
Richmond vs West Coast shapes as one of the best games of the season. The Tigers should get it done and the MCG.
Tonight’s midfield battle shapes as an interesting one. Max Gawn should dominate fifth-gamer Hayden McLean and defender-turned-ruckman Aliir Aliir.
It’s a shame the Giants-Bulldogs game starts before the blockbuster at the G is over. The Dogs couldn’t have been more impressive a week ago and should be too good for GWS, who are still undermanned.
Both of these sides have had a hard time finding goals. The Demons have plunged off a cliff after being 2018’s highest scoring team. Christian Petracca is their leading goalscorer this season with 22 – he’s actually had a pretty good season and leads the league for forward-50 groundball gets.
Hawthorn vs Gold Coast might be the only game this round that’s an easy tip and also the only game less interesting than tonight’s – and even that’s debatable with it serving up Jarryd Roughead’s farewell game. Hawks by plenty.
Sydney should have more forward options with Daniel Menzel, Sam Reid, Tom Papley and Isaac Heeney all more than capable.
I’m tipping the Swans by two goals. That’s my Friday night forecast. What’s yours?