Just the two games this weekend, with the losers packing their bags for the year. There don’t appear to be any stand-out favourites this week, both games look evenly matched and for the winners, the daunting prospects of the top 2 sides at home the following week is their reward.
West Coast vs Collingwood
The Eagles have seen their midfield decimated by injuries this year. For this match there will be no Kerr, no Cousins and no Judd. They will regain former fab 4 member Fletcher and CHF Ash Hansen which will be big ins to help ease the pain of the Judd/Cousins outs. For the Pies: no change to the side that beat Sydney last week.
If ever there was an opportunity to beat the Eagles in a final at Subiaco, this is it, but Collingwood haven’t won there since 1992 ( I think…).
The game will be decided in a couple of areas. If the Eagles win the midfield battle, that will take them a long way towards a win, as that will negate the effectiveness of Collingwoods’ 3 talls forward line that was so effective last week. If the midfield battle is even then it will come down to who takes their chances in front of goal. Personally, I see West Coast sneaking out of this with a win by under 10 points.
Hawthorn vs Kangaroos
The Kangaroos have had injury added to insult, with Corey Jones to miss and Leigh Brown dropped for the clash with Hawthorn. Again Hawthorn will look to use Glenn Archer’s ageing, slowing frame to their advantage by rotating fast leading players off him, whilst the Franklin/Roughead show will continue to cause nightmares. Hodge is expected to play having recovered from his knock, as is Campbell Brown. Kangaroos won’t dwell on the failures of last week and will put in a much improved showing, but I’m tipping them to limp out of the finals in straight sets, the Hawthorn midfield will be too skillful, their defence too dominant – especially without Brown and Jones… and their forwards too hot to handle, so the Hawks to win by 18 points.
These teams have everything to play for, so we should be in for some scintilating footy over the weekend. May the footy gods smile on your team.