Mallinder’s Musings for Round 14
MAGPIES V DOCKERS
At the MCG, 7.50pm
RECENT RECORD: Collingwood 6 Fremantle 4
LAST TIME: R13 2015: Frem 12.8 (80) def Coll 11.7 (73) at Subiaco
LAST WEEK: Coll bye; Frem (86) def PA (69)
FREMANTLE (3-10) is experiencing an injury “crisis”, with 19 players sidelined. That said, Collingwood (4-8) pride will be hurting most if the Magpies can’t beat the Dockers at home, which remains a distinct possibility despite the visitors’ woes. With the likes of Michael Barlow (43 disposals last week) and Matthew Pavlich (four goals) returning to form, they look like the Dockers of old. They are now aiming for four straight wins this season, four straight over Collingwood and four straight at the ’G. In contrast, the Magpies are trying to avoid a fourth straight loss and fourth straight loss on the hallowed turf, and will hope returning spearhead Travis Cloke can finally help their cause.
TIGERS V LIONS
At the MCG, 1.40pm
RECENT RECORD: Richmond 9 Brisbane 1
LAST TIME: R3 2015: Rich 21.11 (137) def BL 8.10 (58) at the Gabba
LAST ROUND: Rich bye; BL (81) lost to WC (131)
IT DOESN’T get any easier for struggling Brisbane when confronting Richmond. The Tigers (5-7) are hardly at the top of their game, but should still be strong enough at home. They’ve actually been one of the Lions’ biggest bogey teams, having won the past eight clashes, including five at the Gabba, and 12 of the past 14. The Lions (1-12) are on the brink of losing 10 straight. There were far too many holes in the Lions’ defence last time, when the Tigers took 23 marks inside their attacking 50m to six. And it cold be a similar story here, with defenders Ryan Harwood (knee) and Tom Cutler (hamstring) not making the trip. The Lions have been leaking goals as it is – an average of 20 in the past seven weeks. Richmond stars Jack Riewoldt and Dustin Martin could have a field day.
GIANTS V BLUES
At Spotless Stadium, Sydney, 4.35pm
RECENT RECORD: GWS 3 Carlton 2
LAST TIME: R22 2015: GWS 20.12 (132) def Carl 7.9 (51) in Sydney
LAST ROUND: GWS (117) def Ess (90); Carl bye
AFTER being given a scare in Melbourne by Essendon, the Giants head home, where they are on a club-record seven-match winning streak. They should also regain the services of their premiership stars, ruckman Shane Mumford (ankle) and forward Steve Johnson (foot). The Giants (9-4) have also won their past three against the Blues, the past two by 81 and 78 points. Giants spearhead Jeremy Cameron booted seven goals last time. The Blues (6-6) will have regrouped after their disappointing effort against St Kilda last start. But it’s unlikely to be a “happy homecoming” for the four or five ex-Giants Carlton has in its line-up, including Liam Sumner and Lachie Plowman.
SAINTS V CATS
At Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, 7.25pm
RECENT RECORD: St Kilda 3 Geelong 6 Drawn 1
LAST TIME: R21 2015: StK 14.13 (97) drew with Geel 15.7 (97) at Docklands
LAST WEEK: StK bye; Geel (100) def WB (43)
AFTER suffering successive defeats to Carlton and Collingwood, Geelong (10-3) hasn’t looked back, beating fellow flag contenders the Giants, Roos and Bulldogs in impressive fashion. “Dangerwood” – ie Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood (with 65 disposals, 11 tackles, 17 clearances and four goals between them) – have of course been the catalyst. And while they will be without Josh Caddy in the midfield (knee), Cam Guthrie (illness) should return). Though the Saints (5-7), who drew with Geelong last year, are coming off a win before their bye, and should regain skipper Nick Riewoldt (knee), they will be no match for this 2016 Cats model in this form.
HAWKS V SUNS
At Aurora Stadium, Launceston, 3.20pm
RECENT RECORD: Hawthorn 7 Gold Coast 0
LAST TIME: R9 2015: Haw 14.9 (93) def GC 6.4 (40) in Launceston
LAST ROUND: Haw (93) def NM (84); GC bye
FOR ALL the talk about Hawthorn’s demise, the champs (10-3) could be sitting second at round’s end. While they were left a little battered and bruised from the win over North, they should have no trouble making it 18 straight wins at their Tasmanian fortress, and eight in a row against the Gold Coast. The Hawks have won their past three over the Suns by a combined 205 points, with Sam Mitchell gathering 36 disposals – and eight Brownlow votes – in each of his past three against them. Skipper Luke Hodge (knee) is a chance to return for the Hawks, while the Suns at least should have small defenders Kade Kolodjashnij (neck), Adam Saad (hamstring) and Tassie midfielder Aaron Hall (omitted) back.