Mark Ricciuto sees Friday night's AFL battle between West Coast and Geelong at Patersons Stadium as your classic 'eight point game' and thinks the Cats have it in them to upset the home-side.
Both sides are locked on 12 wins, and success this weekend would help them stay in touch with the top four and the double chance.
I generally give a three to four goal weighting to the home-side for games in Perth, and it's hard not to given it's a formidable place to play for a variety of reasons.
Despite this, the Eagles have really fallen away, a sign that injuries are taking a toll. While they did have 18 scoring shots they were held to a paltry six goals last week by the Dockers - an alarming sign. Their scores over the last month have dropped away, and aside from their big win against Brisbane in round 18, they've averaged just short of ten goals a game in their last four outings. A score of ten goals is generally not enough to defeat an opposition, particularly one of Geelong's quality.
Andrew Embley is a good chance to play, while skipper Darren Glass will return from suspension, which will be beneficial given the form of Tom Hawkins. The Cats will travel over to Perth following victories over Essendon, Adelaide and Hawthorn, and seem destined for September action once more. Their after-the-siren win against Hawthorn last Friday night should give them plenty of confidence, particularly with Tom Hawkins in form.
Tomahawk has kicked 47 goals for the year, including 14 in the last three weeks, and is playing the type of footy that we saw from him in last year's Grand Final. While they are lacking, without Trent West in the ruck, particularly against Cox and Naitanui, I still think Geelong's good players are beginning to fire at the right time, and their back six is very solid.
I'm tipping the Cats (1.91) to head across the Nullarbor and knock the Eagles off.
Fremantle travel to AAMI Stadium to take on the Crows on Saturday afternoon in what shapes as an important game in the make-up of the eight.
After a stirring win in the Derby last week, the Dockers find themselves out of the eight only on percentage. Lead by Matthew Pavlich's dominance as a deep forward, the Dockers have won their last five on the trot. Pav's kicked 55 goals for the year to sit atop of the Coleman Medal leader board, and with 27 goals from the Pav in the last five weeks it's no surprise Freo are winning.
However, if they are to make the eight they'll need to pinch a game like this, something they could potentially with the Crows looking flat at the moment.
Aside from their third quarter last week, the Crows have been ordinary the past fortnight, and will need to regain some of that mid-season form quickly.
Luke McPharlin is a big loss for Fremantle, as he leads the backline and would have taken Taylor Walker.
I still think the Crows will be too classy for the Dockers, but no doubt Freo will be fired up, and after a scare last week the Crows will need to be on their game: have a bet on the Crows to cover the line of -18.5 points @ Betfair odds of (1.94).
There are a couple of interesting games that round out week
There are a couple of interesting games that round out week 20...
Gold Coast host GWS in a game that will likely determine the winner of the
Gold Coast host GWS in a game that will likely determine the winner of the wooden spoon.
GWS were sensational last week against Port Adelaide, and had no
doubt set themselves for that game, along with this one.
GWS were sensational last week against Port Adelaide, and had no doubt set themselves for that game, along with this one.
However, selection can
often be a bit of a revolving door at GWS, so it's hard to know which side will
However, selection can often be a bit of a revolving door at GWS, so it's hard to know which side will be named.
Gold Coast have a number of injuries, including young forward Sam Day, who will miss with a broken foot. Despite this, Gary Ablett and his troops will no doubt
fancy their chances of recording their first win at Metricon Stadium in
Gold Coast have a number of injuries, including young forward Sam Day, who will miss with a broken foot. Despite this, Gary Ablett and his troops will no doubt fancy their chances of recording their first win at Metricon Stadium in seventeen outings!
This one's too close to call, but we know it'll be another
thriller like their earlier game this season.
This one's too close to call, but we know it'll be another thriller like their earlier game this season.
The Essendon-North Melbourne game on Sunday night at Etihad Stadium to close out the round should be a belter.
Another 'eight point game', both sides have 11 wins, so a loss could see them slip out of the eight.
North Melbourne are at basically full strength, barring Jack Ziebell and Lindsay Thomas, who both miss through suspension, and Hamish McIntosh, who is done for the season with a knee injury, with hard nut Leigh Adams likely to return. North have won their last four games on the trot and their last six at Etihad by an average of 40 points.
The Kangaroos have had a pretty favourable draw the last month, but they face a challenge in the wounded Bombers, who were gallant in a close loss against the Crows last week. While they lost Ben Howlett and Jason Winderlich to hamstring injuries, they should get see the return of a host of experience, including Dustin Fletcher, Stewart Crameri, and Angus Monfries, while Brent Stanton, David Myers and Michael Hibberd are all good chances to return.
I think the Roos might be due for a downer and the Bombers @ Betfair odds of (2.34) will be fired up given their loss last week and their tough run home.