AFL Round 13 Preview: West Coast Bounce Back

AFL Round 13 Preview

AFL Round 13 Preview: West Coast Bounce Back

AFL Round 13 Preview
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Round 12 was a weekend of firsts. 

Carlton got its first win at Adelaide Oval against a South Australian side, Melbourne suffered its first loss by more than 90 points since 2016, (former) Rising Star favourites Sam Darcy and Harley Reid copped the first suspension of their careers, and we witnessed the first set of games with the new holding-the-ball interpretations implemented. 

It was also the first mid-season bye week of 2024, with Brisbane, North Melbourne, Sydney and GWS all getting a rest before a huge second half of the season, where teams from third to tenth on the ladder are separated by just four points. 

Port Adelaide and Fremantle will sit out this weekend, but there is still a heap of intriguing matchups not to be missed.

Let’s take a look ahead to Round 13. 

Play & Win

Before we dive into the AFL round preview — test your footy knowledge each week with our AFL Predictor powered by TABtouch and go into the draw to win a weekly prize — a $100.00 TABtouch voucher. Make sure you play every week as the more questions you answer correctly, the more chances you have to win the Grand Prize:

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Games to Watch

Sydney vs. Geelong (SCG, Sunday Afternoon)

Most of the footy world believes there is daylight between Sydney, who sits comfortably on the top of the ladder, and the rest of the competition. 

They’re probably not wrong. And a win against third-placed Geelong would further highlight its dominance. 

The Swans are playing brilliant football, having lost just one game for the season. They’re scoring heavily and have quality in all parts of the field. And the bye last weekend, after their three-goal win over the Bulldogs the week before, will mean they’re fresh and primed to take down the Cats. 

Geelong are in desperate need of a big win. They defeated Richmond last week by 30 points, but lost four-consecutive games before that. 

Pundits have been expressing their doubts about the ageing Cats, but a win over in Sydney would completely change the narrative. 

This week is more important for Geelong, but it will be a cracker of a game regardless. 


Geelong have a point to prove, but you can’t tip against the Swans, who have won all five home matches by an average of 37 points. The last time these two sides met — Round 16 last year at the SCG — it was a draw, so you wouldn’t be surprised if it’s another tight one.

Sydney by 5 points

Essendon vs. Carlton (MCG, Sunday Night) 

It doesn’t get much bigger than this. 

Essendon and Carlton are one of the game’s biggest rivalries. So it’s no surprise the game at the MCG, is a clash that will have huge ramifications for both sides, is already sold out. 

The Dons have surprised many this season, sitting in second place on the ladder with eight wins, three losses and a draw, proving themselves as a possible contender. 

They did lose to Gold Coast away last week, ending a seven-game unbeaten streak, so the fans will be hoping they can bounce back and perform against another side that believes it can win the flag this year. 

While Essendon’s record is good, the only team they’ve beaten currently inside the top eight so far is GWS, who sits in seventh place. 

A victory against the Blues would give them a huge confidence boost. 

It will be tough against Carlton, though, they’re on a high after winning their first game at Adelaide Oval against a South Australian side. 

The Blues smashed Port Adelaide last week and went to fifth on the ladder with eight wins and four losses for the year. 

A victory here will put Michael Voss’ men inside the top four, and the fans will start to really believe the dream of a flag is possible. 


It’s almost always a great clash between these two teams. There is a feeling that this might be a bit of a reality check for the Bombers though, whose ladder position might not be a true reflection of how good they are. Carlton is in better form and their forwards will test Essendon’s defence. Blues should get it done.

Carlton by 10 points 

Collingwood vs. Melbourne (MCG, Monday Afternoon)

In the traditional King’s Birthday fixture and Big Freeze 10 event, the Demons will come in with a whole lot to prove. 

They’ve been slammed all week after an embarrassing 92-point thrashing by Fremantle in Alice Springs. 

It was the biggest defeat in Simon Goodwin’s history as head coach, and question marks over their fitness and mentality have been raised. The only acceptable result for the fans this week is a win. 

They’ve now dropped outside the top eight in 10th place, sitting one spot behind Collingwood on percentage. 

The Pies were also expected to be higher up the ladder at this point of the season, but injuries have led to a drop in form. 

Despite the personnel problems, they’ve held on for scrappy victories for the majority of the season, although last week the luck ran out, going down to the Bulldogs by 18 points in its first loss since round 2.  

It’s a tough one to call, but Collingwood’s record against Melbourne, having beaten them eight times in their past 10 meetings, means they’ll have some confidence coming into Monday’s clash. 


Pies have a good record, but too many injuries. The Dees must prove a point this week too.

Melbourne by 8 points

West Coast Eagles

Last Week

It was an arm wrestle at Optus Stadium against the Saints last Saturday night, but St Kilda were just too good for the Eagles in the end, running out 14-point winners. 

There were nine lead changes throughout the contest, and West Coast actually led by 11 points early in the final term, but St Kilda found a way, through slick ball movement and crucial last-quarter goals, to get over the line. 

The biggest story of the night was the dangerous sling tackle by Harley Reid on fellow draftee Darcy Wilson, which resulted in a two-game suspension for the 19-year-old. 

Despite the tackle, Reid had a brilliant first half but was tagged by Marcus Windhager in the second, who curtailed his influence. 

The 47,526 fans at Optus Stadium saw an entertaining game, but the home supporters would be disappointed they couldn’t see a win. 

This Week

The Eagles are back in front of the home fans at Optus Stadium this week, as they take on North Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.

For the second-consecutive week, West Coast will come into the game as favourites, which is a new sensation they haven’t quite gotten used to. 

The Roos are winless in 2024 and coming off a bye last week, having lost to Port Adelaide in Tasmania by 59 points the week before. 

The Kangaroos have been pathetic this season and don’t look like winning a game any time soon.

It’s a good opportunity for the Eagles to show their best. 

Talking Points

Confident but not cocky 

The Eagles are favourites this week, but can’t take the Roos lightly.

Last year they played them twice, for one loss and one win — by just five points. 

North Melbourne would be setting themselves for this game, and they’re in desperate need of a win to give the fans some hope of a bright future. 

The Eagles aren’t used to coming into the game as the popular pick, and last week they ended up losing after being given that status. 

Adam Simpson would have surely addressed the fact that they must be confident this week, but not cocky.

A strong start will be crucial. 

Missing midfielders

It will be interesting to see how well the West Coast midfield operates this week without Harley Reid and Tim Kelly. 

Reid is out for two weeks after his ban for rough conduct was upheld at the tribunal, while the Eagles have confirmed Kelly will miss this round with a hip injury, after being a late withdrawal from the squad to face St Kilda on Saturday.

The absence of Reid was noticeable earlier in the season, and the likes of Dom Sheed and Elliott Yeo, who was best on ground last week, have been aided by the grunt of Reid and Kelly this season. They’ll have to step up without them this week.

The side has struggled with contested ball recently, after showing great signs of improvement in that area earlier in the season, so the Kangaroos will feel confident they may be able to get on top in that part of the ground.

Andrew Gaff was a welcome inclusion last week, playing his first senior game since the opening round of the season against Port Adelaide, but will have to step up a fair bit more this week to fill the void of Reid and Kelly. 

Goals Goals Goals 

North Melbourne has conceded over 100 points every game this season, so the Eagles will be keen to cash in.

Jake Waterman missed last week’s game, but will be keen to kick a few more and rise up the Coleman tally, sitting third with 30 goals at the moment. 

Jamie Cripps (3), Liam Ryan (3) and Jack Darling (2) were also in good goal-kicking form last week, and the fans will be hoping their accuracy continues this week. 

If they get on the scoreboard early, they’ll be hard to beat. 

Adam Simpson’s men have scored 100 points or more three times this season, so they’ll be confident they can add a fourth. 


You just can’t tip North Melbourne. West Coast should win comfortably.

West Coast by 30 points

Fremantle Dockers

Fremantle will enjoy a bye this week after thrashing Melbourne last round by 92 points. 

The final tally of 22.9 (141) was the second-highest score ever at TIO Stadium in Alice Springs and the highest total kicked by Fremantle under senior coach Justin Longmuir.

The win put them in sixth place on the ladder with seven wins, four losses and a draw.

The Dockers will face the Western Bulldogs at Marvel Stadium in Round 14. 

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