AFL Round 15 Preview: What Can The Umps Do This Weekend?

AFL Round 18 Preview

AFL Round 15 Preview: What Can The Umps Do This Weekend?

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Luckily for the umpires, unlike the previous two weeks, it wasn’t all about them in Round 14.

Well, it still sort of was. But the league hierarchy took the spotlight away with their baffling explanation as to why North Melbourne’s Bailey Scott was denied a 50-metre penalty late in Sunday’s one-point loss to Collingwood.

It was a blatant error from the umpire, but AFL football boss Laura Kane wouldn’t admit it on Monday, as she attempted to give an overcomplicated technical justification for a clearly-missed penalty that should have won the Roos the game. 

Instead, Collingwood completed a 54-point comeback, and the AFL dished up yet another howler in its media messaging. 

Speaking of howlers, the Dockers, Crows and Power all failed miserably. Dustin Martin’s 300th celebration was one of the highlights of the round, albeit ending in a pretty bad loss for his team, while the Lions continued to prove they’re not done yet in season 2024. 

There were a heap more storylines to come out of Round 14. And you can bet there will be even more coming out of Round 15. 

Let’s see what we can expect.

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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Round 14 Winner: Congratulations Jenny S — the winner of a $100.00 TABtouch voucher.

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Games To Watch

Carlton vs. Geelong (MCG, Friday Night) 

It will be the second time these two sides meet for season 2024. But since that first clash back in Round 7, it’s been a completely different story for both the Blues and Cats. 

Carlton has won four of their past six games following the loss to Geelong, while the Cats’ run of seven unbeaten games ended the following week, and they’ve won just one game since. 

The Blues now look like the next-best side in the competition after Sydney, and a win here would enable them to keep second spot on the ladder, a game clear of Collingwood. 

Geelong is out of form and in desperate need of a good win against a decent side. After a brilliant start to the season, the team has dipped significantly and is in danger of dropping outside of the eight.

Both teams are coming off the bye, so should be ready and ripe for a big clash in front of a packed MCG.


Since the Blues’ 13-point loss to the Cats, they’ve hardly put a foot wrong. They’re in brilliant shape and don’t look like being beaten by a team other than the Swans any time soon. In saying that, Geelong will have confidence after beating them earlier in the year, as well as winning three of the past four games against the Blues. They should make it tough, but can’t see them getting the four points. 

Carlton by 18 points

GWS vs. Sydney (SCG, Saturday Afternoon) 

The Swans beat the Giants by 29 points back in Round 8, but GWS showed signs last week of being back to its best. 

It wasn’t a pretty game of football, as GWS beat Port Adelaide by four goals last round, but coach Adam Kingsley would have been pleased to see his side jump back up to fifth on the ladder. 

The Giants have faded in form since their brilliant start to the season, but a win against the league-leading Swans would give them a priceless boost.

Sydney is an incredible three-games clear on top of the ladder, and doesn’t look like slowing down. 

Their 42-point smashing of Adelaide last week was another impressive showing, and they’ll be keen to knock off the Giants to gain bragging rights in the derby. 

There is always a lot of spice in these games too.


Wouldn’t be surprised if GWS pulls something out of the bag here, but you can’t tip against the Swans.

Sydney by 14 points

Fremantle Dockers

Last Week

It was horrible. 

In fact, “deplorable,” as described by coach Justin Longmuir, post the 67-point loss to the Western Bulldogs. 

The lifeless performance, besides a mini fightback period at the end of the third term, was even more disappointing due to the positive vibes that flowed from the Dockers’ 92-point win over Melbourne in the previous game.

The fans thought the win in Alice Springs was a turning point in the season, but it turned out to be more of the same in this rollercoaster ride of a season. 

Freo was never really in the game at Marvel Stadium, and couldn’t compete with the Bulldogs’ intense pressure and blistering pace. 

The loss sent them back down to eighth place on the ladder, with five teams just a game away from jumping past them. 

That loss really hurt. 

This Week

The Dockers face the Suns in Perth on Sunday afternoon, who will be fresh off the bye. 

Gold Coast’s last game was a heartbreaking (and controversial) three-point loss to St Kilda at Marvel Stadium, and will be keen to move into the eight with a win here against Freo. 

The Suns haven’t won a game away from home yet this season, but will see this match as a real opportunity to do so. 

Gold Coast has won three of the past five against Fremantle, as well as their past two games at Optus Stadium.

With the ladder so tight, and just two points separating these teams, this one means a lot. 

Talking Points


“We’ve got some soul-searching to do after that,” Justin Longmuir said post game. 

After a dreadful performance like that, you’d hope their souls have now been found, and they can produce the response that’s expected of them in front of the home fans. 

The Dockers went from slotting 22 goals against Melbourne to giving up 23 against the Bulldogs. They were also smashed in contested possessions, tackles and inside 50s. 

The side must have a good start against the Suns, or they could see the season slowly slip away. 

The supporters may have lost hope after the loss last week, but a big win here could help restore the faith. 

It will be the first time the Club has played at home since round 11. And it needs to be a good reaction. 

Nat your average player 

All eyes will be on Nat Fyfe this week to see how he responds after the harsh criticism that has come his way.

He was smashed in the media following the game against the Bulldogs after he picked up just seven kicks and butchered the ball going forward. 

“The game has gone past Nat Fyfe, Fremantle need to move past Nat Fyfe,” Kane Cornes said during the week. 

“Well I definitely don’t see it as bad as everyone else has seen it,” Justin Longmuir responded when asked about his form on Seven News. 

It wasn’t long ago we were speaking about how good it was to see Fyfe back to his best. But a lot can change in a few weeks of footy. 

He’ll be keen to hit back at the haters with a strong performance this week. 

We’ll all be watching to see if he does. 

Dour Defence

While Fremantle kicked 141 points against Melbourne two games ago, they play their best footy when they’re stopping the opposition from scoring. 

Last week they conceded 149 points of their own, as the usually reliable Alex Pearce, Luke Ryan and backline brigade had a shocker. 

They’ll be keen to tighten the screws this week and prevent the Suns from hitting the scoreboard too often. 

Gold Coast has the potential to kick big scores but were frustrated against St Kilda last time out, as they were kept to just 48 points for the game.  

If the Dockers can get back to their defensive best, they’ll have a big chance of winning this one and restoring belief in the system. 


Fremantle has to respond, and they probably will. Gold Coast hasn’t won away from home this year, and that won’t likely change this week.

Dockers by 20 points

West Coast Eagles

Last Week 

West Coast had a bye last weekend, after losing by nine points to North Melbourne the week prior. 

This Week

The Eagles play Essendon at Marvel Stadium this week, with the Bombers also enjoying the round off last weekend. 

The Bombers sit fourth on the ladder with eight wins, four losses and a draw, after going down to Carlton by 26 points in their last game. 

Talking Points

Scare Tactics 

While the Bombers are fourth, they’ve lost their past two games, against Carlton and Gold Coast, and just got over the line against West Coast in their previous couple of encounters. 

The Eagles got within six points the last time they played the Bombers in Round 8, and were defeated by a single point in Round 21 last year at Marvel Stadium.

This is by no means a foregone conclusion for the Dons. 

If the Eagles can get a good start, doubt may start to creep in for the home side. 

Oscar’s law 

If he’s ready to play, you bring him in! That’s the rule West Coast looks to be playing by this week, as they are set to bring co-captain Oscar Allen back into the side.

The gun forward, who won the Eagles’ goal-kicking award last year, hasn’t played since Round one, after undergoing surgery on his right knee. 

“It’s been a tough 13-14 weeks now, so I’m just looking forward to playing footy at some level … I think I’m ready to go,” Allen said this week. 

If he is brought straight back into the senior side, he’ll line up with Jake Waterman, who is in the form of his career. 

Waterman has kicked a career-high 33 goals through his first 11 games to sit equal third in the Coleman Medal race.

All of a sudden, the forward line looks a whole lot more dangerous.

Let’s see if they can both make an impact on the scoreboard this week. 

Straight kicking 

West Coast actually had more inside 50s in the nine-point loss to North Melbourne. But the woeful 43.1% efficiency in front of goal resulted in just eight majors and 17 behinds. 

Bad kicking, as well as poor effort around the ball, was the difference in the end. 

They’ll have no excuses with the roof closed at Marvel Stadium this week, and with Allen, Waterman and Jack Darling — who will overtake Dean Cox as the player to have lined up the second most times for the Eagles with 291 matches — in the forward line, they’ll have plenty of opportunities to make amends. 


We all expect a response from the Eagles, but Essendon should not be beaten at Marvel Stadium. In fact, West Coast hasn’t defeated the Bombers at Docklands since 2013.

Essendon by 10 points

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