Mallinder’s Musings for round 18
MAGPIES V KANGAROOS
At Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, 7.50pm
RECENT RECORD: North 3 Collingwood 7
LAST TIME: R9 2015: Coll 17.10 (112) def NM 14.11 (95) at the MCG
LAST WEEK: Coll (69) lost to Adel (97); NM (77) lost to PA (105)
THIS is getting a bit ridiculous for fans of North (10-6), watching their team now lose its past five games. And they won’t be overly confident going into this one either, with Collingwood (7-9) having won three on the trot before a fighting loss to Adelaide last week. While the Magpies will look to bring back leading goalkicker Alex Fasolo, the Roos lose veteran forward Jarrad Waite, though he wasn’t doing much any way, not having kicked a goal since May. Once a strength, an out-of-sorts Todd Goldstein will have to contend with red-hot Collingwood big man Brodie Grundy, coming off a career-high 10 marks.
SWANS V BLUES
At the SCG, 1.45pm
RECENT RECORD: Sydney 8 Carlton 2
LAST TIME: R2 2016: Syd 20.11 (131) def Carl 10.11 (71) at Docklands
LAST WEEK: Syd (70) lost to Haw (75); Carl (75) lost to WC (82)
SYDNEY (11-5) should bounce back from its loss to Hawthorn by stretching its winning streak over a visiting Carlton (6-10) to seven games. The Blues haven’t beaten the Swans since 2011 – back when they won their last game at the SCG. For Carlton, it will all be about education, especially for a couple of young tyros in Jacob Weitering, who may get the job on Lance Franklin, who’s booted 17 goals in his past three games against the Blues, and Patrick Cripps, who’s No.1 for clearances, but may be left to do too much against Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and co. The Swans are first for contested disposals, the Blues last.
SUNS V DOCKERS
At Metricon Stadium, Carrara 2.10pm
RECENT RECORD: Gold Coast 1 Fremantle 5
LAST TIME: R2 2016: GC 19.12 (126) def Frem 14.16 (100) at Subiaco
LAST WEEK: GC (59) lost to WB (107); Frem (61) lost to Geel (78)
WITH no Gary Ablett (shoulder), no Nat Fyfe (leg) ... not even Matthew Pavlich (rested), Suns spearhead Tom Lynch will undoubtedly be the headline act – and could very well prove the difference. He kicked five goals in the Suns’ breakthrough win over the Dockers in round two. But he will need enough supply. The ball-getting ability of Ablett, Michael Rischitelli (knee) and Dion Prestia (knee) will be missed, so it will be up to the likes of Aaron Hall to capitalise on the Dockers’ own injury woes. Both Michael Barlow (shoulder) and Hayden Ballantyne (cheekbone) having gone in for surgery.
EAGLES V DEMONS
At Domain Stadium, Perth, 4.35pm (AEST)
RECENT RECORD: West Coast 8 Melbourne 2
LAST TIME: R14 2015: WC 16.18 (114) def Melb 9.6 (60) in Darwin
LAST WEEK: WC (82) def Carl (75); Melb (74) lost to StK (110)
THEY couldn’t end their win droughts against North (now 15 games), Hawthorn (13) and St Kilda (14), and the disappointing Demons are unlikely to end neither its losing streak against West Coast (11-5), which will tick over to double figures, or the one in Perth, which sits at 16. Melbourne (7-9), which fell away badly against the Saints after quarter-time, has not won in Perth since 2004, and not beaten the Eagles since 2009. In fact, in their past seven encounters, the Eagles’ average winning margin is 74 points.
CATS V CROWS
At Simonds Stadium, Geelong, 7.25pm
RECENT RECORD: Geelong 7 Adelaide 3
LAST TIME: R8 2016: Geelong 13.20 (98) def Adelaide 11.6 (72) in Adelaide
LAST WEEK: Geelong (78) def Frem (61); Adel (97) def Coll (69)
PATRICK Dangerfield rolls out the red carpet for his old Adelaide teammates, who will head to the Cattery aiming to not only win an ninth game in a row, but also end an eight-game losing run at the venue, which dates back to 2003. The Crows (12-4) have only won three of 14 games in Geelong, but will take heart from Sydney’s recent win there. Dangerfield’s battle in the middle with great mate Rory Sloane will be pivotal, as will the match-up in the Cats’ attack between struggling spearhead Tom Hawkins and that other Talia – the good one – All Australian fullback Daniel.
BULLDOGS V SAINTS
At Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, 7.25pm
RECENT RECORD: Bulldogs 4 St Kilda 6
LAST TIME: R3 2016: WB 13.15 (93) def StK 5.6 (36) at Docklands
LAST WEEK: WB (107) def GC (59); StK (110) def Melb (74)
THE Bulldogs (12-4) will return from Cairns with their tails up, but will be wary of this impressive St Kilda (8-8), which has now won six of its past eight games. The Saints have done it on the back of an attack made up of rejects, including ex-Swan Tim Membrey (nine goals in his past two games), ex-Sun Mav Weller (five) and ex-Giant Josh Bruce. And they should kick a few more goals than the 12 they’ve slotted in their past two defeats to the Dogs. The Dogs, meanwhile, will be without their own gun forward Jake Stringer (shoulder), putting the pressure on the much-maligned Tom Boyd.
BOMBERS V LIONS
At Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, 1.10pm
RECENT RECORD: Essendon 6 Brisbane 3 Drawn 1
LAST TIME: R8 2015: Ess 21.10 (136) def BL 12.6 (78) at Docklands
LAST WEEK: Ess (83) lost to Rich (102); BL (67) lost to GWS (146)
FIFTEEN years after their heavyweight battle for the premiership comes this lightweight clash to avoid the wooden spoon. Both teams sit 1-15. To the winner it will also mean avoiding setting a new record for most defeats in a row. The Bombers sit at 14, the Lions at 12. Right now the hosts deserve favouritism. If not for inaccurate kicking in front of the big sticks the past two weeks – 14.14 and 11.17 – they may have beaten St Kilda and Richmond. The Lions, coming off a damaging defeat to GWS, have already set a new club mark – for consecutive games conceding 100 points (10).
HAWKS V TIGERS
At the MCG, 3.20pm
RECENT RECORD: Hawthorn 6 Richmond 4
LAST TIME: R7 2016: Haw 21.10 (136) d Rich 13.12 (90) at the MCG
LAST WEEK: Haw (75) def Syd (70); Rich (102) def Ess (83)
THE wins just keep ticking over for the reigning premiers, and they should make it eight in a row here, even though Richmond (7-9) has been somewhat of a bogey team, having won three of the teams’ past five games. Back at the ’G where they play their best footy, the Hawks (13-3) won’t be about to take the foot off the accelerator in Sam Mitchell’s 300th game. Dustin Martin, coming off a career-best 43 disposals and fifth in a row he’s topped at 30, may run rampant for the Tigers, but it won’t be enough.
POWER V GIANTS
At Adelaide Oval, 4.40pm (AEST)
RECENT RECORD: Port 4 GWS 2
LAST TIME: R4 2016: GWS 22.19 (151) def PA 9.11 (65) in Canberra
LAST WEEK: PA (105) def NM (77); GWS (146) def BL (67)
HAVING broken its duck out west, winning in Adelaide is one of the last frontiers for GWS. The Giants (11-5) have lost all five games in the city, but have the perfect chance to get on the board, with the hosts losing another big man in Charlie Dixon (ankle), which will make life easier for that undersized GWS defence. The Power (8-8) will be desperate to keep their finals hopes alive and will need Travis Boak, Robbie Gray and co to get on top of Dylan Shiel and Cal Ward in the middle. Easier said than done.