Boy oh boy oh boy, who’s excited for Round 22 of footy?
After two rounds where it was tough to garner enthusiasm for any of the matches we needed this round badly. Amazing to think so late in the season and we’ve got so many games that directly influence the positions in the eight, or in fact whether some teams make finals or not.
This week is a Tipsters nightmare. Tipping competitions will be won and lost on this weekend’s results, no doubt. Check out the latest from squiggle.com.au. 8/9 games are effectively a toss of the coin at this stage – and it’s been that way all week. Last night’s selection news hasn’t changed a thing. We are in for a real treat.
Let’s get to it. Did I mention I’m excited? This is a weekend footy fans can savour.
BRING IT ON!
#1 Lions (2nd) v Cats (1st)
A few weeks back when we did our fearless predictions we didn’t forsee the Cats losing to Freo but we did pose whether this might be a fight for top spot. Now we could talk about all the possibilities if the Cats win or the Lions win but I think for this week, let’s just kick back and enjoy the battle of the Cats. Anyone who is still doubting the Lions credentials for this year’s Premiership should be watching this closely. If they’re not sold on them yet, perhaps this game will change their mind. The Gabba will be absolutely pumping like, well, not since 2004 really!
#2 Tigers (4th) v Eagles (3rd)
The Eagles are chasing the record for most number of consecutive wins at the MCG by an interstate team. The rampaging Tigers stand in their way. Like the Lions and Cats, this is a MUST WATCH game. Sadly the weather Gods aren’t footy fans and it looks like for the third week running the Tigers will be playing in the rain. Could that be the difference between the two? We don’t have long to wait to find out.
#3 Crows (9th) v Pies (5th)
Probably no surprise I’ve stuck with the ladder this week in a clash that has potentially huge ramifications for both teams. The Crows’ finals hopes depend on winning this game. A loss and they can effectively kiss September action goodbye (yes we know mathematically they’re probably still a shot… but unlikely). The Pies will be hoping the Eagles can get up on Sunday to give them a sniff of the top four. Lose this game and the best they can hope for will be a 5th place finish. The Crows unearthed a ripper last week in Darcy Fogarty who kicked five goals in a fighting loss. For the Pies, their injury curse continues with second gamer John Noble the only change to their round 21 team.
#4 GWS (6th) v Dogs (10th)
Can the Dogs continue their unlikely run towards a finals berth? Or will GWS cement their finals spot? >>
Can the Dogs make the finals? Every game is now sudden death for the Dogs. For GWS, they put in perhaps the worst performance of their short history, on an historic night for completely different reasons – it snowed! They’re “ins” this week are impressive. Josh Kelly, Harry Himmelberg and Matt de Boer are all back but they do lost Brett Deledio (perhaps for the last time) and Jeremy Cameron. The Dogs though, are in a rich vein of form and seem irresistable at present.
#5 Dockers (12th) v Bombers (7th)
The Dockers effectively said goodbye to their finals chances with their loss to St Kilda last week. If, as expected, they miss the finals, those last three minutes against the Saints will haunt them for some time to come. As for the Bombers, the less said of their pathetic effort last week, the better. Can they rebound? Will they rebound? The return of Michael Hurley, Adam Saad, Darcy Parish and Aaron Francis will certainly help, although it sounds like Jake Stringer is doubtful. The Bombers need to win one of their last two to guarantee finals. Their injury list appears to have almost halved in a week so that’s got to be some good news. For Freo, this week they have announced it’s Aaron Sandilands last year, and have granted serial pest Hayden Ballintyne a fairwell match so the emotions at Optus will be running high.
#6 Kangas (14th) v Power (8th)
The Power have finally hauled themselves back into the eight. Question is, can they stay there? They’ve got their cross-town rivals the Crows and the Dogs (and I guess the Hawks and Fremantle) breathing down their necks and one slip up and their dreams of September action may be dashed. As for the Kangas, well, they’re coming off a horror outing down at the Cattery. New coach Rhyce Shaw will be hoping for a strong response from the team. The game is at Marvel so no chance of rain wrecking this one.
#7 Blues (16th) v Saints (13th)
Was Teague the right choice for the Blues? Can Ratten earn the full time job at the Saints? Let us know your thoughts >>
The Blues announced David Teague as their new coach this week. Will be interesting to see how they go against the current coachless Saints. It feels like Brett Ratten is the incumbent down at Moorabin but two more strong performances to round out the year will be needed to convince the Saints heirarchy he’s their man. The Blues have definitely made inroads this year, but still find themselves in 16th place on the ladder. If they don’t continue their upward trend in the final two games and early into next year you would think the pressure will build on Teague very quickly indeed.
#8 Hawks (11th) v Suns (18th)
Two words on why this game is interesting – Jarryd Roughhead. That’s it. That is the only reason – albeit a good reason – to tune into this game. 4:40pm on a Sunday – now that’s a horrific timeslot to farewell a champion of the game.
I can’t bring myself to put the Melbourne v Sydney game on the rankings this week. Honestly, switch over to nine and watch the cricket or the NRL!
Friday, August 16
Melbourne v Sydney, MCG, 7.50pm
Saturday, August 17
Carlton v St Kilda, MCG, 1.45pm
Brisbane Lions v Geelong, Gabba, 2.10pm
Adelaide v Collingwood, Adelaide Oval, 4.35pm
North Melbourne v Port Adelaide, Marvel Stadium, 7.25pm
Fremantle v Essendon, Optus Stadium, 8.10pm
Sunday, August 18
Richmond v West Coast, MCG, 1.10pm
GWS v Western Bulldogs, Sydney Showground Stadium, 3.20pm
Hawthorn v Gold Coast, Marvel Stadium, 4.40pm