Blindside Sports’ Official AFL Predictions for Round 16 of the 2013 Premiership season are in!
Collingwood vs Adelaide
Fresh off their impressive win against Carlton, Collingwood will look to consolidate their position in the top 8. Although a game ahead of Port Adelaide in 8th position, victories to North Melbourne and West Coast last week have rendered every win crucial. For Adelaide, their season isn’t mathematically over, and even if they don’t make the finals, they can still have a significant impact on the landscape of the AFL come September. With a midfield like theirs, they have the potential to break a game right open and cause significant issues for any opponent. Collingwood welcomes back Dayne Beams, after a lengthy battle with multiple quad injuries.
PREDICTION: Collingwood found their game against the Blues last week and will be looking to continue some good form towards the end of the season. Pies by 25
Port Adelaide vs Hawthorn
For only the second time this year, Hawthorn takes the field after a loss, and they could have chosen a better team to get things back on track. Port Adelaide has played an incredible month of footy, with wins over the Swans and Collingwood before narrowly losing to Essendon in an enthralling match last weekend. Port has shown they can match it against the top teams and travelling back home for this week’s encounter. The Hawks have dropped Brad Sewell, who may be missed in what will no doubt be a rough and hard fought game at the stoppages.
PREDICTION: Hawthorn, being the professional unit they are will move on from last week’s loss with an impressive showing against a quality opponent. Port will keep it tight though. Hawks by 20
Geelong vs Melbourne
Had this match taken place before Mark Neeld’s departure, we would have been outlining which records will be broken. With Neil Craig at the helm though, the Dees are playing are much more impressive brand of footy. Harder at the ball as a team, and led by improved stars in Jack Watts, Dean Terlich and forward Jack Fitzpatrick, their performances have given some hope to their frustrated supporters. Geelong welcomes back Steve Johnson from suspension, so expect a big game from him.
PREDICTION: Geelong, like Sydney last week will be able to take advantage of basic skill errors that plague the Demons. A spirited showing from the Dees again to keep the final margin respectable. Cats by 45
Richmond vs Gold Coast
Gold Coast enters this clash without a loss against Richmond. Seriously? Come on Richmond, even over the past couple of years you could have beaten these guys. This will present one of the most interesting encounters of Round 16, with both teams having improved significantly from previous seasons. Richmond are looking to hold their spot in the 8, but showed signs last week of being simply outclassed by a lower ranked opponent in the Kangaroos. The Gold Coast welcome back their captain and superstar Gary Ablett who will no doubt bolster a midfield that lacked impact last week.
PREDICTION: This is a must win match for Richmond, and by all rights, these are the matches they should win. Minimising Ablett’s impact will be key. Tigers by 25
Carlton vs St. Kilda
This season is turning out to be a nightmare for the Blues and what better way to take it even further than with a loss against St Kilda? Simply horrible last Friday night against the Pies, their contested footy and accountability across all positions needs to be improved if they are any chance of defeating St Kilda. The Saints on the other hand come off an impressive performance in the west against Fremantle without their superstar Nick Riewoldt. With him back in the line-up as well as key forwards Justin Koschitzke and Stephen Milne, Carlton’s defence will be stretched.
PREDICTION: An extremely close encounter that will have Carlton fans on the edge of their seats the whole match. St Kilda have nothing to lose and will put up a huge fight. Carlton by 8
Brisbane vs North Melbourne
Continuing their charge towards the top 8 with an impressive victory over Richmond, the Roos finally played out a full four-quarter match and got a result they thoroughly deserved. This matchup will not be as straightforward as most believe, with the much improved Brisbane team showing some impressive form since the bye. Michael Voss may have saved his job with this late season push, an inspired win over Geelong, an excellent showing against the Hawks and a tough fought win over the Suns. The home crowd for the Lions have seen some terrific matches this year at the Gabba, and they will be hoping their side can put a significant dent in the Roos’ final chances
PREDICTION: If the Kangaroos can string together another four quarter effort like last week, they should have no troubles. The absence of Brent Moloney and Simon Black will probably be too much for the Lions to overcome. Roos by 30
Sydney vs GWS Giants
The fourth instalment of the Sydney derby shouldn’t be too different from the previous three. Coming off wins against Carlton and Melbourne, the Swans proved their Port Adelaide loss was nothing to get too concerned over and have moved on in impressive fashion. Patches against Melbourne lacked the polish that Swans’ fans have become accustomed to, but their brilliant second quarter showed that their best is unstoppable. GWS are still on the hunt for their first win of 2013 and came incredibly close last week after leading at all three changes. Boasting the league’s worst defence, they will struggle to shut down Kurt Tippett and the goal kicking midfield of the Swans
PREDICTION: The Swans’ bigs will prove too much for their opponents to handle, and their midfield will simply overpower the younger GWS bodies. Swans by 60
Western Bulldogs vs Essendon
Probably the most one sided matchup of the round, the high flying Bombers take on the lowly Dogs. Despite losing Jobe Watson to a collarbone injury, the Bombers boast too much strength around the ground to be affected by this setback. While the Dogs’ confidence will no doubt be boosted by a win over GWS, they face an opponent looking to solidify their position in the top 4.
PREDICTION: Essendon will simply outclass their opponents on the way to a massive win. Essendon by 70
West Coast vs Fremantle
Possibly the match of the round here, despite the sides’ relative ladder positions. Regardless of their form in previous years, both sides seem to get up for the local derby. Touted as a premiership favourite at the start of the year, the Eagles finally have close to their best team on the field, as seen in their impressive win over the Crows. Don’t forget that Fremantle too have had some big inclusions in the past week, with Pav, Barlow, Mundy and big Sandilands all back from injury at the perfect time of the year. The match against the Saints last week caught the team by surprise and it took Ross Lyons’ men 3 quarters to kick into gear.
PREDICTION: Too close to call, but the defence and contested footy of Fremantle should shine through in what will no doubt be a tight encounter. Dockers by 4