AFL Round 17 Preview: Freo To Take A Hold On The Top 4

AFL Round 19 Preview

AFL Round 17 Preview: Freo To Take A Hold On The Top 4

AFL Round 19 Preview
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Well, there is one certainty in life — and that is the life of a Fremantle Dockers supporter is never easy. One week they are dismantled by the Bulldogs with red flags about the team flying all over the place and then the next thing you know they beat the premiership favourites — away in Sydney no less.

But while some things remained the same in Round 16 like the Carlton train continuing to roll on and Hawthorn continuing to be one of the most in-form teams right now, there was a huge upset out in the Gold Coast with the young Suns proving too hungry for the Pies.

What will Round 17 produce for us this week? Let’s dive in.

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

Collingwood vs. Essendon (MCG, Friday Night)

After a shock loss to Gold Coast, the Pies will no doubt be happy that they are back to regular programming with a game at the MCG on Friday night.

Collingwood has made a habit of coming from behind and winning the close games, so it would have been a bit of a shock to the system that they weren’t able to get over the Suns on the weekend. While Nick Daicos did everything he could to drag his team over the line, it seems a lack of respect and accountability towards the Gold Coast midfield and underperforming forward line for the Pies was the underlying reason the Suns remain undefeated at home.

Essendon would have been disappointed with their efforts in Round 16 as well, with Geelong struggling for form over the past month it was a matchup they would have circled as a must-win clash to strengthen the Bomber’s claims to a Top 8 spot. Plus Brad Scott would have no doubt liked to have won the bragging rights of the ‘Scott Off.’

Instead, Geelong overran the Bombers in the second half kicking five third-term goals to breathe some much-needed life into their season.

Looking ahead to this key matchup and with the Top 8 ladder so tight, a win could help Essendon or Collingwood solidify a place in the Top 4, while a loss could see them drop to the bottom of the top 8 or in Collingwood’s case even move out of the Top 8. 

For mind though, it seems Essendon aren’t quite a contender yet and won’t have the firepower to beat the Pies through the midfield, especially after the Pies are coming off a shock loss to the Suns.

Prediction

Much like all Collingwood games it seems this one will also be a close contest.

Collingwood by 10 points.

Geelong vs. Hawthorn (GMHBA Stadium, Saturday Afternoon)

When looking through the fixtures at the start of the season, no one would have thought that Geelong v Hawthorn in Round 17 would be a key matchup for both sides.

But here we are, Geelong having only won two of their last five and Hawthorn having rattled off five straight wins — making them one of the competition’s form teams. 

For Geelong, they are going to want to stop the Hawks in the middle as they have been one of the best clearance and run and carry teams in the AFL on their recent run. Geelong will also be looking for a big game from Jeremy Cameron, who by his lofty standards hasn’t had a huge season to date, but could break out at any stage to kick a bag, my fantasy team is also waiting for this.

The formula for beating Geelong seems to be quite easy. If you lock down Stewart and stop his run and carry from the backline it will stifle Geelong’s ability to create any flow in their attack. Easy said than done though as Stewart was back to his All-Australian self last week against the Bombers, and much like the Cats perhaps he has awakened from the mid-season slumber as well.

 A win for Geelong will see them keep in touch with the Top 4, and a win for Hawthorn will see them as a real threat to make their way into the Top 8, which no one would have predicted at the start of the season and especially after the first few rounds.

Prediction

Are the Hawks for real? There will be no bigger test than a game out in Geelong, however, it seems Geelong may be awake now.

Geelong by 16 points.

West Coast Eagles

Last week

Well, that wasn’t meant to be part of the script.

The game plan was for Harley Reid to come back and for West Coast to shake off the past two rounds and make light work of the Hawks who most don’t see as final contenders despite their current impressive win streak.

Instead, the Hawks came out and smashed West Coast in every category except having the lowest score on the board.

As Adam Simpson said, there was nothing good to take from that game, which is a pretty daming statement as normally you can always take something positive from a game.

Perhaps the only positive is that it could have been much worse if McGovern and Barass weren’t in the backline.

This Week

As Ted Lasso said, be a Goldfish… let’s see if West Coast can forget about their shocking display and put in a much better effort against Melbourne this week at the MCG who have also been less than impressive throughout the season.

Talking Points

All eyes on Flying Ryan

He’s already taken a mark of the year on top of Max Gawn and then almost went bigger again on top of Max Gawn earlier in the season. All eyes will be on Ryan when the ball is in the air and Max Gawn is near — will we see another contender for mark of the year on the weekend?

Going forward

While it’s hard to criticise West Coast’s forward line given the lack of supply and lack of quality entries over the last few rounds, but the mix of Waterman and Allen hasn’t struck fear in the eyes of opposition backlines as hoped. Unfortunately for West Coast, it might be another tough week for the key forwards with Melbourne normally being quite a solid defensive team despite their lacklustre win-loss records in 2024.

Rusty Reid

It’s fair to say Reid didn’t have his usual impact on the game last week and given his performance against the Dees earlier in the season, perhaps Reid has now shaken off the cobwebs from his time off and will be ready to fire in his first game for West Coast at the home of footy.

Prediction

Melbourne just hasn’t got going in 2024, however, with a few senior players included in their team this week, they might just be able to keep their finals chance alive and they need to.

Melbourne by 17 points

Fremantle Dockers

Last week

Hands up if you picked Fremantle to win against Sydney in Sydney? 

Yep, just as I thought no one — except for maybe those diehard Fremantle fans that tip their team each week no matter what.

The footy world was shocked that Fremantle came away with the win, but what was more impressive was that they were leading for the whole game and were able to fight off Sydney’s fightback in the last quarter.

Everything that could have clicked right for Fremantle did in a well-rounded team performance. But as always with Fremantle, the age-all question is can they back it up and do it again?

This Week

After the toughest assignment in AFL, Fremantle will now have a much easier matchup against the lowly Richmond Tigers at home.

Talking Points

Will he miss?

Jye Amiss was known as a deadeye kicker until the start of the 2024 season when his routine and radar went amiss. However, after some overtime on the training track, it seems Amiss has tweaked his goal-kicking routine and looks to be back on track kicking 3 straight against Sydney on the weekend. Making the most of your chances in front of goal is paramount, had Jye even missed just one goal, Sydney would get the win on the weekend.

Is Serong the most underrated star-midfielder in the competition

While we don’t underrate Serong and think he’s a genuine Brownlow threat each season, it seems the rest of the league doesn’t rate him as much as we do.

Last week against Sydney he didn’t have his usual 30-plus touches for the game but what he has done in the last two weeks which is isn’t normally known for — is make a direct impact on the scoreboard. If Serong can become a midfielder who regularly kicks goals that will not only go a long way to Fremantle making a deeper run in the finals but also perhaps get the east coast to take notice that Serong is an elite talent.

Top 4

A likely win on the weekend and with Top 8 teams going head to head, we could see Fremantle take a stronger hold on a Top 4 spot as we head into the business end of the regular season.

Prediction

It might be a long plane trip to and from Melbourne for Richmond as Fremantle should get the win easily in this one.

Fremantle by 38 points

Get the AFL touch with TABtouch

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