Fremantle Dockers v Melbourne Demons
Friday 29th July at Optus Stadium, 8:10pm
Neither side won last round, but only one side lost with Melbourne going down to the Bulldogs, while Fremantle escaped with a rare draw against Richmond, which ultimately cost them their spot in the top four anyway. So we can expect both sides will be desperate to bounce back, especially when a congested top eight means all teams from first to seventh are a chance at finishing in the top four. Fremantle have the advantage of playing at home, and they might be a little more desperate to get this win.
Dockers by 7
Collingwood Magpies v Port Adelaide Power
Saturday 30th July at MCG, 1:45pm
Collingwood have surged into the top four off the back of nine-straight wins, but they still have the lowest percentage of all the current top eight sides so in order to hold on to fourth spot, they must keep winning. Port Adelaide are still a mathematical chance of making the top eight, but will likely need to win their remaining four games and hope other results go their way. This should be a close game, but Collingwood to get it done late in the fourth quarter, again.
Magpies by 4
Sydney Swans v Greater Western Sydney Giants
Saturday 30th July at SCG, 2:10pm
Sydney have won three in-a-row, while GWS have lost three in-a-row. GWS have competed hard for most of the season, but it seems their struggles have really caught up to them in recent weeks and they will be glad to get this season over and done with. Sydney have a lot at stake. They are still a real chance at finishing in the top four, but they could also drop out of the top eight all together with four rounds to go. Sydney should cruise to a comfortable win in the local derby.
Swans by 35
St Kilda Saints v Hawthorn Hawks
Saturday 30th July at Marvel Stadium, 4:35pm
Ninth-placed St Kilda are seemingly in a final four-game shootout with the eighth-placed Bulldogs and 10th-placed Richmond to determine the final spot in the finals. Hawthorn have found some late-season form, winning three in-a-row to salvage something out of the season, despite being too little, too late. But that said, on current form, Hawthorn should spring another upset here and make it four-straight and leave St Kilda’s season on life support.
Hawks by 12
Geelong Cats v Western Bulldogs
Saturday 30th July at GMHBA Stadium, 7:25pm
Geelong have won nine-straight games to sit outright first on the ladder, while the Bulldogs produced their best performance of their season to beat Melbourne and keep their finals hopes alive. It will take another herculean performance to take down the current benchmark of the competition, a challenge which might be slightly beyond them, considering their inconsistencies this season. Geelong at home are proving to be almost unbeatable.
Cats by 29
Adelaide Crows v Carlton Blues
Saturday 30th July at Adelaide Oval, 7:30pm
Adelaide have lost four-straight to languish in third-last, while Carlton will be desperate to consolidate their position in the top eight and take one giant leap towards shoring up a finals spot. Adelaide are merely playing for pride in front of their home fans. For Carlton, they have gone win-loss-win-loss-win over the past five rounds, which will not work out for them in the finals. They must find consistency, starting now.
Blues by 32
Gold Coast Suns v West Coast Eagles
Sunday 31st July at Metricon Stadium, 1:10pm
The season has become a “what could have been” for the Gold Coast whose season is all but over due to a string of close losses over the past couple of months. Mathematically they can still make the finals, but like Port Adelaide, they need to win their remaining four games and hope other results go their way. West Coast are still trying to fend off North Melbourne to avoid the wooden spoon, but Gold Coast simply must win, and win big.
Suns by 43
Richmond Tigers v Brisbane Lions
Sunday 31st July at MCG, 3:20pm
This is a high-stakes game for both sides, with Richmond looking to bounce back from a draw last round which cost them eighth position, while Brisbane will be desperate to remain in the top four. Richmond showed they can still match it with the top sides, and they should push Brisbane to their limits in this one. But for Brisbane, the time has come for them to deliver a statement win at the ‘G’.
Lions by 18
Essendon Bombers v North Melbourne Kangaroos
Sunday 31st July at Marvel Stadium, 4:40pm
Essendon are another side that has sprung to life late in the season, but unfortunately too late in the season. They were seconds away from snapping Collingwood’s eight-game winning streak to win four in-a-row themselves. North Melbourne have shown glimpses of improvement in recent weeks and are desperate to lift themselves off the bottom of the ladder. But on current form, Essendon should cruise to victory.
Bombers by 37