With the first of the three bye rounds beginning this weekend, teams will be looking to notch a win before taking the week off.
With the Bombers, Dockers, Hawks, Power, Saints and Bulldogs all having weeks off, our attention turns more closely to the 12 teams that feature this Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
The six matches that will be spread out over the long weekend hold large significance for these teams as they look to add another win to their season prior to heading into the bye.
The Brisbane Lions have a lot at stake coming up against a Carlton outfit who just recently sacked their coach Brendon Bolton. The Lions overcame a five-goal deficit to Hawthorn last week to win by 19 points at the Gabba.
Their last month of footy has been so impressive from a young side leaded by veterans Dayne Zorko and Mitch Robinson, who is experiencing some of the best form of his career.
The Blues are full of raw emotion after enduring a tumultuous week for the young players. Their display against the Bombers on Sunday was nothing short of disappointing and the removal of their coach was just the cherry on top.
However, recent history suggests that players tend to play with flare and dare shortly after a coach has departed the club, which can ultimately lead to a win, Kangaroos case in point. Under new direction in David Teague, these Blues players will be hoping to show the interim coach what they are made of, which may prove to be a challenge for the 5th placed Lions.
Fagan’s men are heading into the bye after this round and this game provides a perfect opportunity for the Lions to assert themselves as genuine top-four contenders, given their win-loss record increases to 8-4. The Brisbane Lions must turn these games into wins if they want the League to see them as a legitimate option to take out the flag in season 2019.
The Queen’s Birthday Clash between the Pies and the Dees looms as a big game for both clubs. Despite Collingwood’s win/loss record (8-3) halfway through the season, the team seems to be running at about 70-80 per cent, whilst playing good footy only when it matters.
Their seven-game winning streak came crashing down as Michael ‘Sonny’ Walters put one through the big sticks late in the final term to put the Dockers up by 4. The men in Black & White have been scraping through games which has seen them claw over the line against the Saints, Swans and the Blues in recent weeks.
Given they have the week off after Monday’s clash, Buckley’s men better show up to play against a Demons’ outfit who wanting to get their season back on track. A loss would mean the Pies have lost two on the trot heading into the bye and put themselves with the bottom half of the top 8, who are vying for a top 4 finish. Anything less than a top four spot would be disappointing for the Pies, and they might just have the most at stake over the round.
For Goodwin’s men, this game means a lot, especially after coming devastatingly close against the Crows in Darwin. The Dees have been there about in the past few weeks, but have lacked composure and class in games when it mattered most. However, a win against a premiership fancy could see the 2018 form of Melbourne reborn in season 2019 and what could make it an interesting back half of the year for all involved. But a loss could see them firmly placed toward the bottom of the ladder and create speculation over the personnel at the club.
The Gold Coast Suns are also been put into the spotlight, given their last win came against the Blues in round four. After a demolishing loss at the hands of the in-form Giants at Giants stadium, coach Stuart Dew is looking for new ways to help get some results on the board. Fortunately enough, they come up against a North Melbourne side who have recently sacked their coach Brad Scott, who was replaced with interim Rhyce Shaw. The
The Roos surprised all when they knocked off the 2017 premiers with ease, but some say that’s because they were in the ‘honeymoon period.’ As footy goes, when reality strikes it strikes hard and given that North Melbourne as a club are arguably in shambles, it provides an opportunity for the Suns to notch up a win.
They regain co-captain Touk Miller for the Saturday clash at Metricon Stadium, where the Suns have beaten the Roos in prior years and hope that this weekend is no different. Dew has only been at the helm for just over a year, but performances like last week can make the board question if they have the right man for the job.
Meanwhile, the Tigers have a lot to play for this week after their display against a unified North Melbourne. The ladder-leaders Geelong look to be too big of a task for the undermanned Tigers, but a loss may prove costly as the ladder starts to shape up.