We move into the second bye week of the competition and FN’s roving reporter DANIEL PAPROTH previews all the action in round 12 of the AFL including the players to watch in your SuperCoach and DreamTeams.
West Coast vs Carlton
West Coast lost their top spot on the ladder, albeit maybe only briefly, with their bye last weekend. Collingwood have won eight on the trot and are looking every bit the best team at the moment but the Eagles should take back the #1 spot Thursday night.
After smashing Collingwood in round three everything was looking very exciting at Princes Park but remarkably they have slipped out of the eight, though we won’t get a clear read on the ladder until June 24, with this being the second of three six-game rounds.
Injuries have revealed a crippling lack of depth at the Blues and Brett Ratten has backtracked on his original “top four or death” sentiments, saying they need to be playing good footy before they can think about ladder position.
West Coast by 36
SC – Luke Shuey (WC), Andrew Walker (Carl)
Adelaide vs St Kilda
After that embarrassing home loss to Collingwood in round nine, Adelaide bounced back in round 10, travelling to Subiaco and knocking off an inconsistent Fremantle. It means, despite their fifth position, that they stay well and truly in touch with the top four at 8-2.
St Kilda is trying to push its case too. Scott Watters has them playing attractive football and despite the opposition it was still heart-warming to see Nick Riewoldt back doing what he does best.
The Saints have a shaky record at AAMI. The Crows need to win to keep pressure on the ladder leaders so they can attempt to seal a home final. A big win would suit them best in terms of percentage.
Adelaide by 22
SC – Nathan van Berlo (Adel), Nick Riewoldt (St K)
Greater Western Sydney vs Richmond
Greater Western Sydney has continued to improve, putting in arguably their best half of football for the season in the first half against Geelong two weeks ago. They were predictably smashed in the second half, but they aren’t easy pushovers.
When you’re at a success-starved club like Richmond, when that ever-elusive success comes along it can be hard to keep the lid on. The thing was veritably blown to smithereens after the St Kilda win, so that home loss to Fremantle was particularly disappointing. Some would say a return to form even!
Let’s hope it was an aberration though, because there aren’t many things more exciting in this competition than the Tigers when they’re up and about. GWS will challenge early.
Richmond by 47
SC – Daniel Shiel (GWS), Shaun Grigg (Rich)
Gold Coast vs North Melbourne
Bad, bad, bad signs at Gold Coast.
Embarrassed by St Kilda last week, it’s getting worse and not better for the Suns. You know when the senior coach fronts the media and gives the “I want to publically apologise” speech things aren’t going well.
And it’s not much better at North Melbourne either.
Eugene Arocca is gone amidst claims of unrest at board level and the players just aren’t getting enough out of themselves.
Someone has to win and there’s no other result to predict here other than a Kangaroos victory, but they have an enormous amount of work to do if they want to challenge for the lower reaches of the top eight come finals time.
North Melbourne by 19
SC – Gary Ablett (GC), Brent Harvey (NM)
Hawthorn vs Brisbane
It’s taken until halfway through the season, but Hawthorn is back. As it stands, they’re only a win off spots two through five, and with a decent win against Brisbane they could conceivably rise as high as second.
Brisbane meanwhile caused one of the boilovers of the season, scoring an unlikely two-point home win against West Coast. It was their best win of the past two seasons and while they won’t make the finals this year it showed there’s plenty to like about the Lions going forward.
Just how competitive they can be against Hawthorn remains to be seen though. Lance Franklin is back atop the Coleman Medal and Brad Sewell is back in good touch. It’s going to be a scary sight when Luke Hodge is back at his best.
Hawthorn by 60
SC – Lance Franklin (Haw), Jed Adcock (Bris)
Western Bulldogs vs Port Adelaide
After being touted as a more competitive outfit for a number of weeks the Western Bulldogs received a nasty wake-up call with a horrendous loss to Sydney. If the Bulldogs go missing when the going gets tough they’re in for a tough second half of the season.
Port Adelaide last week came up against a Hawthorn side in possibly its best form all year and was comprehensively smashed. They’ve improved though, thanks to a more committed midfield and a resurgent Kane Cornes.
Not many people will care who wins this game of football, and few are expecting it to be eye-catching stuff to watch. But the Bulldogs’ pride was hurt last week and they need to show some fight.
Bulldogs by 28
SC – Matthew Boyd (WB), Kane Cornes (PA)
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