OK, so Round 15 was supposed to be a bore fest, turned into a rippa. Last weekend was supposed to be a ripping week of footy and turned into a bunch of thrashings. Could we get Round 17 right, finally? On face value it’s slim pickings sadly but maybe we’ll be wrong again!
#1 – Tigers (6th) v Giants (5th)
Hard to go past this one as the one to watch this week. The Tigers are getting their stars back at the right time and their form seems to be turning around (not that they were in a rut or anything). Experts and fans alike think they are perfectly primed for a run at the Grand Final (in fact Terry Wallace said this morning he’s tipping them and the Eagles at this stage). The Giants currently sit 5th on the ladder after slipping out of the top four after losing to the Lions last week. On paper the Giants should take it right up to the Tigers but it’s hard to ignore their limp effort last week and the fact the game is at the MCG.
#2 – Bombers (9th) v Kangas (10th)
If I’d looked forward to this match about three weeks ago I would have expected it to be a dead rubber between two also-rans. Fast forward three weeks, a number of stunning wins by both teams and this is a HUGE game. It’s deja vu for the Bombers … another eight point game. The Bombers jumped briefly into the eight last week on the back of their win over Sydney who were a game behind them (now two). This week it’s the Kangas who are nipping at the Bombers heels. Win and they draw level. Lose and it’s almost game over from a finals perspective. Should be a cracker.
#3 – Port (7th) v Lions (4th)
The Yo Yo’s, sorry I mean Port, continued their up and down run last week with a big win over their cross town rivals, the Crows. The Lions moved into the top four with their own huge win over the Giants. This will be another huge test for the Lions. Win and they will shore up their position in the top four. The Lions barely have an injury list to speak of, with only Eric Hipwood in doubt for this week’s game with a knee injury. The Power are missing a few but nothing major. Weather permitting it points to great contest to round out Round 17.
#4 – Eagles (2nd) v Pies (3rd)
Normally a Grand Final rematch would have this as No.1 on the list but the recent poor form of the Pies means the fact that this is the Grand Final rematch is about the only reason for any interest at all! Oh and I guess for the Collingwood haters the game probably holds some interest since the only likely outcome seems to be a massive Eagles victory and the Pies potentially to drop out of the top four should the Giants and the Lions win. With an Inside 50 tally of -66 over the past three weeks and with the big guns in the Eagles forward line set to terrorise again – on their beloved Optus Stadium no less – and it all points to a percentage booster for the Eagles. Big Nic Nat was much better last week (his second game back) and the contest with Grundy (who has seemed a little down the past few weeks) should be a highlight. Definitely worth a look I guess.
And that’s about it for Round 17. Honourable mentions to the Dogs and Freo games that could potentially still influence the finals (but unlikely).
Got something to get off your chest about last round … click on over to our Liked, Learnt and Hated – Round 16 thread >>
Friday, July 12
West Coast v Collingwood, Optus Stadium, 8.10pm
Saturday, July 13
Sydney v Carlton, SCG, 1.45pm
Hawthorn v Fremantle, University of Tasmania Stadium, 2.10pm
Essendon v North Melbourne, Marvel Stadium, 4.35pm
Gold Coast v Adelaide, Metricon Stadium, 7.25pm
Geelong v St Kilda, GMHBA Stadium, 7.25pm
Sunday, July 14
Richmond v GWS, MCG, 1.10pm
Western Bulldogs v Melbourne, Marvel Stadium, 3.20pm
Port Adelaide v Brisbane Lions, Adelaide Oval, 4.40pm