We reach the third and final bye week of the competition and FN’s roving reporter DANIEL PAPROTH previews all the action in round 13 of the AFL including the players to watch in your SuperCoach and DreamTeams.
Sydney vs Geelong
Intriguing match up on Friday night in Sydney this week. The Swans have lost three games since starting the year on a hot streak, but maintain the best percentage, 137.9, of any team in the league.
Geelong is well behind on that front, languishing with 111.3%, but has pieced together three wins on the trot since losing to Collingwood in round eight. They keep doing just enough to win – but how long will that keep them in contention?
If the Cats can score a win here they likely won’t move out of seventh, as the three teams above them on 32 points, Sydney, Hawthorn and Essendon all have far superior percentages. In the past you would have quickly tipped the Cats but we’ll go for Sydney in a tight one.
SC – Jude Bolton (Syd), Jimmy Bartel (Geel)
Sydney by 10
Western Bulldogs vs Brisbane
Amidst all the drama ensuing from Yo-Mama-gate, it has been forgotten that the Western Bulldogs have a game of football to attend to this weekend. You would expect them to win this game, but given their paltry percentage, 88.8, they won’t move out of 13th place.
It will take them to a 6-6 record though, which would seem more impressive were it not for the unpredictability of the competition this year. Brisbane has to rate themselves a chance to take home the points here; they were lacklustre at the MCG against Hawthorn last week but will perform better under the roof.
The Bulldogs can take heart from their 38-point belting of Port Adelaide last week. They had 30 shots on goal, suggesting their forward woes aren’t as bad as some might think.
SC – Matthew Boyd (WB), Daniel Rich (Bris)
Bulldogs by 30
Collingwood vs West Coast
The battle to decide the top on spot on the ladder. West Coast, Adelaide and Collingwood are all on 36 points, with 9-2 records. The Eagles though, have played only three top-eight teams so far this year, and have traveled poorly.
Collingwood meanwhile are on a hugely impressive run, as impressive for the fact it has flown under the radar as the streak itself. Their midfield continues to go from strength to strength, the backline looks solid and they have no shortage of goalkickers.
The result of this game all comes down to how the Eagles play. With a few injury woes they will need to contain the Magpies’ midfield whilst also generating enough run themselves. Hard to see on the G.
SC – Dane Swan (Coll), Matt Priddis (WC)
Collingwood by 40
Fremantle vs Essendon
Fremantle are in an ugly spot on the ladder. Sitting 11th with a 6-5 record, their percentage, 94.5, will hold them back if they do prove to make a run up the ladder. Above them, on equal points, are St Kilda, Carlton and Richmond, all teams very desperate to play finals in 2012. Do the Dockers want it as much?
There were good signs against Richmond however. Their first win in Melbourne in god knows how long, the Dockers showed their hunger, moved the ball with precision, and gave it regularly to a man who knows what to do with a footy – Matthew Pavlich.
A much tougher assignment against Essendon, but given the game is at home and the Bombers have been less than convincing in recent weeks, the edge goes to Freo.
SC – Matthew Pavlich (Frem), Jobe Watson (Ess)
Fremantle by 21
Melbourne vs Greater Western Sydney
This is one contest many people will have their eyes on this weekend. Tom Scully comes up against his old side and players such as Nathan Jones have hinted a bit of remonstration over his quitting Melbourne may be on the way.
Greater Western Sydney continue to impress – they must be the best side in history to have a 1-10 record and 50.0% percentage after 12 rounds – and will now have the belief they can match it, just perhaps not for entire games.
Before the Essendon victory, you’d have probably tipped the Giants in a heartbeat, but the Demons have showed heart and even managed to fight out the second half against Collingwood after an insipid first half.
Melbourne by 20
SC – Nathan Jones (Melb), Rhys Palmer (GWS)
North Melbourne vs Adelaide
How far has North Melbourne fallen in the past few weeks? The side that beat Geelong back in round three seems nothing like the Kangaroos side that has fronted the park in recent rounds.
North Melbourne has been one of only a handful of sides to be challenged by Gold Coast for four quarters this year, and while Brad Scott would have been happy to have gotten away with a win, it was an ordinary performance. They also need to sort out the goalkicking issues.
Adelaide meanwhile keeps finding ways to win, though their final quarter near-capitulation against St Kilda last week was worrying. They were the best side for most of the game and if they maintain that form they go deep into September.
Adelaide by 26
SC – Ryan Bastinac (NM), Patrick Dangerfield (Adel)
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