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Round 18

Not sure where the $1million dollar deal for Cloke is now but Collingwood fans are starting to think he should take it and go. There hasn’t been a lot of earth shattering AFL news so it’s the usual who is coming back from injury, who has been suspended, who has re –signed with their clubs and so on. Hawthorn coach Clarkson lost his cool at a kids football game but he couldn’t hit anybody because his hand was still sore from whacking the wall in the coach’s box during his team’s game against Collingwood last Saturday!!


Essendon V Hawthorn at Etihad Friday night

It probably would have made more sense to move this game to the MCG considering its status but I guess Etihad will be full and provide a great atmosphere. Not being a Bomber fan it irks me to wish that they win in the hope that something can stop this Hawthorn juggernaut which still has Buddy and Hodge to come in. Essendon has fallen from the top four and this game will probably assist their downward spiral. Their cause has not been helped with the loss of their 3 main forwards. The Hawks on the other hand seem to find alternatives to goal in the absence of Franklin.

Hawthorn by 33


Geelong V Adelaide at Simonds Stadium Saturday

Although the Crows sit higher on the ladder than the Cats, this trip to the cattery will test them as Geelong found some great form against Essendon last week. Adelaide buried West Coast as well so their form is also good. Are the Crows the real deal this season? They haven’t won at Simonds stadium since 2003. Can Geelong return to form good enough to defend the premiership? Corey Enright plays his 250th for the Cats and that might be enough incentive to get them over the line. It’s hoped that bigger crowd than usual turns up to watch what should be a tight encounter.


Geelong by 6


North Melbourne V Melbourne at Etihad Saturday

North is back in the 8 and it will take a better team than Melbourne to remove them. They are a small percentage ahead of Fremantle but below them is Carlton and St Kilda and to a lesser extent Richmond. All those teams will be fighting for that position. It’s difficult to see the Demons improving that much to trouble North for very long. The Demons have nobody who can kick goals. By the way, what is Darren Bennett doing these days?

North Melbourne by 41


GWS Giants V Collingwood at Skoda Saturday

Collingwood has one of the lowest percentages in the top 4 and it would be nice if they could dispatch the Giants by 100 points or more. It would also be nice to see the Dawk and the Cloak come into a few goals albeit against mediocre opposition. If he needed it spelt out that he should kick some goals then the fact that the Pies re-signed Wellingham and put Cloke’s negotiations on hold should do it. The Giants are still a couple of seasons away from beating teams like Collingwood.  It’s impossible to tip GWS in this game. Let’s move on.

Collingwood by 101


Carlton V Richmond at the MCG Saturday

The Tigers promised so much this season as did Carlton and here we are in round 18 wondering whether either team will make the finals. Richmond suffered two agonizingly close defeats in its last 2 rounds and those results seemed to have determined their fate. They need to make a statement and beating the Blues who have been decimated by injury and suspension is one way of doing it. Carlton’s finals hopes hang by a thread. A loss here is going to make their target of reaching the finals a difficult one.

Richmond by 11


Gold Coast V Sydney at Metricon Saturday

This is just what the Swans needed. An easy game and a possible percentage booster….not! The Suns have improved their results quite a bit in the past couple of weeks with a win and a narrow loss to Brisbane but even at Metricon it’s hard to see them challenge Sydney too much. The Swans have worked very hard to get to top position and will not let that slip too easily. Sydney may even be able to afford to rest a couple of players after their past two hard weeks.

Sydney by 44


Port Adelaide V Fremantle at AAMI Sunday

This is certainly no ‘gimme’ for the Fremantle Dockers and it would be a tragedy to let a game like this, which they would expect to win, cause them ladder and finals concerns later on. I think Freo will have to battle the Power all the way to win this game and a Port Adelaide win would not be surprising. Pavlich is in great form so stopping him will be Port’s priority. The Power has improved on their last season so they will be keen to add at least another win.

Fremantle by 22


St Kilda V Western Bulldogs at Etihad Sunday

That final 8 position is still available and teams like St Kilda cannot drop games like this to the Western Bulldogs and possibly lose touch. The Saints gave it everything against the Swans last week but fell short in the last 10 minutes. Similarly the Bulldogs took the game right up to Carlton but were well beaten in the final quarter. The Saints will prevail but it will be hard fought for most of the game. With North being likely winners against Melbourne this is a must win game for St Kilda.

St Kilda by 29


West Coast V Brisbane Lions at Paterson Sunday

The loss the Eagles suffered against the Lions in Round 10 has come back to haunt them so it’s doubtful they will let Brisbane get even that close let alone allow them to win the game. The Lions battled against the Suns last week but this trip west is even tougher. West Coast has dropped from the top 4 but if they can keep winning and maintain pressure on teams above them there might be a slip from one of them that will allow them back in. Only one loss so far at home for the Eagles and that record will be maintained this week.

West Coast by 42

Article last changed on Thursday, July 26, 2012 - 7:46 PM EDT

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