Hawthorn V Western Bulldogs
Friday 16th, 7:50 PM MCG
The second round of the 2016 AFL finals will kick off on Friday night at the MCG, with reigning premiers Hawthorn taking on the Western Bulldogs.
Hawthorn were unlucky to lose their qualifying final against Geelong, after Isaac Smith missed a set shot on goal after the siren, handing Geelong a two-point win and a week of before their next match.
Hawthorn looked to be in control of Friday night’s game against the Cat’s, especially when they had a 17-point lead halfway through the third quarter. However, Geelong quickly fought back as a result of goals from Daniel Menzel, Lincoln McCarthy, Mark Bilcavs and Steven Motlop, giving the Cats a two-point lead for the start of the final quarter.
The Western Bulldogs had a convincing win over in Perth against game favourites the West Coast Eagles. The 47-point win was for sure a confidence booster that they will take into Friday’s match.
Ahead at every break, the Bulldogs had 11 goal kickers contributing to their highest score since round 17. Multiple goal scorers including Josh Dunkley, Tory Dickson and Liam Picken with two goals each.
Once again Hawthorn finished in the top four, with 17 wins. Whilst, the Western Bulldogs finished on seventh spot with 15 wins.
The two clubs only played each other once this season and that was back in round three.
In an electrifying game at Etihad Stadium, the Hawks came from behind in the fading minutes of the game to secure a three-point win, after an enormous seven goal to three final quarter.
Hawthorn have won the past eight clashes and the last time they met in a final, back in 2008, the Hawks had 51-point win.
Cyril Rioli will be a player to watch. Averaging 13.75 disposals per game this season and scoring 46 goals, he is a reliable player and played in 18 finals for the Hawks.
Isaac Smith will be looking to redeem himself to Hawks fans this Friday night. He had 21 disposals back in round 3 against the Bulldogs
James Sicily is also likely to come back into the side after missing last week’s match due to illness.
The Bulldogs have done two trips to Perth in the past three weeks, so a trip down the road to the MCG should not phase them at all.
Missing from the side will be Lin Jong, after suffering a severe shoulder injury against the Eagles. Likely replacements include Lukas Webb or Toby McLean.
Bontempelli averaged 24.5 disposals and four tackles per game in 2016. He is also able to produce results on the scoreboard, kicking 22 goals this season. Boyd had an impressive average of 27.9 disposals per game in 2016.
This game will also see Matthew Suckling go up against his old club. In his first year as a Bulldog he has played 16 games averaging 20.5 disposals per game.
We expect the Hawks to have a dominant second half and secure the win by 29 points.
The winner of the match will travel to Sydney and take on GWS Giants the following week. For the losing side it is the end of 2016.
Sydney V Adelaide
Saturday 17th, 7:25 pm, SCG
It’s a do or die game this Saturday night as the Sydney Swans take on the Adelaide Crows for a spot in the semi-final against Geelong.
The Swans went down to a dominant GWS last Saturday by 36 points. The game was tight between the two teams in the first half, however GWS eventually stole the game in the second half, scoring seven goals to the Swans two.
For Adelaide they were unstoppable against North Melbourne as they raced home with a 62-point win, proving to everyone that they were still serious premiership contenders.
Adelaide and Sydney have only played each other once in 2016 and the Crows won by 10 points at home in front of 51,000 supporters.
Sydney finished on top of the ladder with 17 wins, whilst Adelaide were unlucky to finish outside the top four with 16 wins, leaving them on 5th place.
The Swans will look to redeem their selves this week and so will star forward Lance Franklin, who was left goal less in the GWS clash. Last time the Swans played the Crows he booted four goals, so the Swans are hoping he can do that again.
Unlucky for Sydney were their injuries they sustained against the Giants. Defender and NAB Rising Star winner Callum Mills is out with a Hamstring. Also adding to the injury list is ruckman Kurt Tippet.
Dan Hannebery will be a key player for the Swans. He has played in every game this year and averages 31.3 disposals per game.
Defender Nick Smith will likely get the job on Eddie Betts, who is consistently amongst the crows best each week.
The SCG should also provide an added benefit for Sydney. The last time the SCG was used for a final was the 2005 semi-final.
Adelaide will look for another big win this weekend. However, the Crows do not have the best record when travelling for interstate finals, having lost seven of their last eight finals which have been played interstate.
As always Eddie Betts will play a key part in the Crows team, he has already kicked 72 goals for the season and is coming of a six goal haul against North Melbourne last week.
Rory Laird and Brodie Smith will be both crucial in defence. Laird averages 27.4 disposals per game, whilst Smith is not far behind on 20.9 disposals per game.
Luckily for Adelaide there were no injury concerns against North Melbourne, an advantage they can take in over Sydney.
The minor premiers will be hard to beat at the SCG and the Swans should win by 18 points.
For the winner they will play Geelong next week for a spot in the Grand Final.