AFL Predictions – Round 22

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Blindside Sport’s Official AFL Predictions for Round 22 of the 2013 Premiership season are in!

(6) Collingwood vs (11) West Coast – MCG

Last time they met: Semi Final 2012, Collingwood by 13

What many people at the start of the year would be a heavyweight match, West Coast find themselves making up the numbers for the remainder of the year. Out of finals race through a desperately unlucky season with injuries, they will look to dent the confidence of a resurgent Magpies team. The Eagles will be devastated with their performance from last week, getting demolished at home once again this season. The Pies, fresh off a loss to Hawthorn where they were simply outplayed, need to go back to their brand of footy that saw them take the points over Essendon and Sydney. Letting in 18 goals is their first starting point. Finding a way to stop a the West Coast bigs up forward is crucial to the result of this game

Side note: Sharrod Wellingham’s first game against his old club. Tagging Kerr last time they met, will he be given the Swan or Pendlebury job this week?

Prediction: Collingwood will be too good at home and will outrun the West Coast midfield. Pies by 30

(13) Adelaide vs (17) Melbourne – AAMI Stadium

Last time they met: R22 2012, Adelaide by 69

First of the games not many people will pay attention to. No bearing on the finals, and what should be a pretty one sided contest. Both teams are coming off disappointing losses and will look to salvage some end of season form to take into the off season. Adelaide showed glimpses of great footy last week against the Dogs, showing the Crows fans that they’ll have something to look forward to next year. Unfortunately at the moment, they cant string together this top form for four quarters. For Melbourne, their abysmal season continues, losing by 95 points last week against Fremantle. Nothing is left for Melbourne. Their coach will go, and hopefully Rodney Eade will take over to restore some level of AFL standard football to at least make them competitive next year.

Prediction: Melbourne to be competitive for a quarter. Crows by 60

(10) North Melbourne vs (1) Hawthorn – Etihad Stadium

Last time they met: R5 2013, Hawthorn by 3

A bit of a danger game for Hawthorn, especially against a team with really nothing to lose. Earlier in the season, North Melbourne showed just what they’re capable of offensively, having more scoring shots than the Hawks in their Round 5 clash. You could argue the Roos are in a better position now later in the season than they were in this clash. They’ve discovered how to win matches, holding off Geelong in a massive upset only a few weeks ago. A win here for the Hawks will secure a top two finish, giving them a home final against most likely an interstate team, which can make all the difference late in a tight match. First task is the Kangaroos though. Thankfully for the Hawks, Andrew Swallow will not be suiting up, gathering 35 touches last time they met. Stopping Daniel Wells will be their main task in this game, with the midfielder in probably career best form.

Prediction: Hawthorn to call on all their winning experience to get up in a tight match. Hawks by 5

(2) Geelong vs (3) Sydney – Simonds Stadium

Last time they met: R4 2013, Geelong by 21

Undoubtedly the match of the round, with two of the premiership fancies facing off in twilight footy at Simonds Stadium. Fans saw a strange match earlier in the year, with both teams combining for 15 goals in only the first quarter in a scintillating display of AFL. The clamps were then put on by both sides, with only 4 goals kicked in the second quarter, before Geelong ran away midway through the third term. To stop Geelong, the Swans need to deny Joel Selwood of any ball. He was just devastating in their last match, gathering 31 disposals and 10 tackles in an inspirational performance. For the Swans, they’ll go into finals mode for this match after last week securing their top four place. Josh Kennedy is really starting to pick it up, and will look to have a much larger impact than last time these two played. Two big forwards under injury clouds may make for an interesting lead up to the match, but wouldn’t it be great to see a shootout between Hawkins and Tippett? Two true power forwards.

Prediction: First look at how these two teams will look in the finals, but Geelong should prevail in a bruising encounter. Cats by 10

(9) Carlton vs (7) Essendon – MCG

Last time they met: R11 2013, Essendon by 5

Apparently Essendon have to play a game of footy this weekend. With all the focus off the field for the past month, the Bombers have really showed the ASADA investigation is taking its toll. So can they get up for this match? It’s really too hard to tell. What’s even worse for them is they’re playing a rampaging Carlton team fresh off their best performance of the year where they took down Richmond. The Blues need a win and a Port Adelaide loss to keep their finals chances alive, and will look to redeem themselves after a close loss the last time these two met. Jake Carlisle really needs to clamp down on Carlton’s main man Jarrad Waite, who completely towelled up the entire Essendon defence with 7 goals against 3 opponents. Essendon’s midfield needs to step up from a rough week of footy to stop these Blues in this sort of form. The question is, can the Blues keep a consistent run of four quarter footy going like they did last week.

Prediction: The Bombers have been hardly coached this week, and will again be just 5% off the pace. Blues by 20

(4) Fremantle vs (8) Port Adelaide – Patersons Stadium

Last time they met: R18 2012, Fremantle by 27

A massive match having huge ramifications on both the top 4 and the top 8. If Port Adelaide gets the upset victory, they’ll secure a finals berth, while a Freo win will keep them in the hunt for top 2. For Freo, this top 2 spot is so crucial, giving them a massive advantage of two Patersons Stadium matches, both potentially against top 4 opponents. They just can’t get their best team on the field however. With injuries to last week to Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne, it just creates those little disruptions teams don’t need as they head into September. For Port Adelaide, their ferocious playing style under Ken Hinkley has seen them take out another top 4 team in Sydney. They’ll need more of this to be competitive against Freo.

Prediction: Fremantle will be just too good at home in a finals style game. Dockers by 15

(16) St Kilda vs (14) Gold Coast – Etihad Stadium

Last time they met: R1 2013, Gold Coast by 13

The Suns will be plenty confident heading into Sunday’s match against the Saints, given they’re one-up in this season’s matches. In Round 1, Gary Ablett was just insane. Four goals and 34 disposals, he singlehandedly ripped the game from St Kilda in a dominate second half display. His fend-off, snap around the corner goal in the 4th quarter will be long remembered. Gold Coast has looked a bit weary of late, despite bringing a competitive game to their past month of footy. One thing they are struggling with is defensive stopping, allowing 33 shots on goal last week against Port Adelaide, Melbourne’s woeful kicking at goal saving them in Round 20, and 30 shots on goal from West Coast. Yes, the Suns may be scoring, but against a talented outfit in St Kilda, the bleeding must stop. For the Saints, they were extremely competitive in the first half against the Swans before being blown away after half time. With not much to play for, they’ll look to get one back on this young Suns side.

Prediction: Too close to call. If the Suns can bring their A game, they should get up. However, they’re starting to tire. St Kilda by 10

(18) GWS vs (5) Richmond – Skoda Stadium

Last time they met: R12 2012, Richmond by 12

The scores from last time they met should not be a true indication of how these teams match up. Richmond this year is a far better side and now have no trouble putting these matches away. Take a look at the goalkicking accuracy in that match as well. Richmond with 31 scoring shots to 14. The Giants will look to be sending Sheedy off in a winning fashion in his last game at home before his retirement. Unfortunately though I can’t see this happening. The Tigers will look to bounce back from a disappointing effort last week against Carlton. Good teams should do this, and facing a team with far less stopping power than Carlton should see them come through with the victory.

Prediction: GWS will come out strong in the first quarter, but Richmond will find their form again and run out comfortable winners. Tigers by 50

(12) Brisbane vs (15) Western Bulldogs – Gabba

Last time they met: R1 2013, Western Bulldogs by 68

In a ridiculous round of tipping, what better way to finish off the weekend. Both teams are in great form, and despite a coach sacking from Brisbane, this match should show some real future talent. A true test of Brisbane’s character will come out this week, after an easy match over GWS last week saw them win in week of turmoil. They face a team in the hottest possible form, winning three of their past four, the Bulldogs have shown they are a team on the rise, looking to push into the top 8 in a couple of years’ time. Their midfield is driving their run of form, with All Australian lock Will Minson giving first use to Ryan Griffen and their impressive youngsters.

Prediction: Another one too close to call. The Dogs’ style of play should travel well, with contested ball and confidence under pressure to see them over the line in a tight one. Dogs by 10.

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Religiously tennis - senior coach at Canberra School of Tennis, playing and watching. Sydney Swans nut and fan of the five day game.

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