GWS Giants vs Richmond
Saturday 5:10pm AEDT, Giants Stadium
Both GWS and Richmond suffered losses at home against bottom six sides last week, and will be looking to pick up some wins before the end of their campaigns. Richmond’s potent attacking brand came to a standstill last week against Geelong, kicking just one goal against the Cats. The Giants midfield was dominated by Carlton last week, losing the disposal count by 70 as the Blues controlled play for four quarters.
Richmond have been held to one goal in three of their last four games, after averaging 45 points per game across the first month of the season. Outside of Monique Conti, their young side has begun to falter in the second half of the season and on the wide expanses of Giants Stadium, it’s going to be a tough ask for the Tigers to put together four quarters of consistent football.
Given the struggling form of both sides this is a tough clash to predict, the game being played at Giants Stadium gives GWS a big advantage given the Tigers lack of experience on larger grounds. Geelong showed last week if you can limit Monique Conti’s influence early in a game, Richmond will struggle to get the ball in their forward half of the ground. The Giants had played three games in eight days leading into their clash last week, so a six day break will do them a world of good. They’ll be too good for the Tigers.
Fremantle vs Melbourne
Saturday 7:00pm AEDT, Optus Stadium
Optus Stadium plays host to a battle of second vs third, as the Fremantle take on Melbourne. The Dockers fell short against Adelaide in an incredible top two clash ast week, which saw them drop to third on the ladder. The Demons leapfrogged the Dockers on the ladder via a ten point win over North Melbourne.
Fremantle have the number one ranked defence in the competition, and will be looking to their pressure game to halt Melbourne’s handball heavy possession brand of football. The Dockers rank first for fewest points against and first for tackles. Melbourne’s desire to handball at will, is going to invite a lot of pressure from Fremantle, and on the massive ground at Optus Stadium, there’s going to be little advantage from playing a handball based brand of football.
Melbourne and Fremantle have been two of the strongest clubs across the history of the AFLW, with the Demons leading the head to head against the Dockers 3-2. Melbourne have never played at Optus Stadium, and it is by far the largest ground ever used for an AFLW game. Fremantle will be desperate to get back into the top two to secure the double chance, the Demons inexperience at Optus will be tough to overcome.
West Coast Eagles vs Western Bulldogs
Saturday 9:40pm AEDT, Optus Stadium
Game two of the Saturday Optus Stadium double header sees the Eagles host the Bulldogs. Round 8 was a disappointing weekend for both clubs, with the Eagles conceding the highest ever score in the history of the AFLW in a 74 point loss to Brisbane. The Bulldogs finals hopes are now out of their hands after their loss to Collingwood last week, requiring two wins from their final two games and other results to go their way to make the top six.
West Coast are now on the bottom of the ladder, and have conceded a league worst average of 48 points per game. The Eagles also have the second worst attack in the competition, averaging just 24 points per game this season.
The Bulldogs have shown an ability to score this season hitting the 30 point mark on four occasions this season, the Eagles have only hit that mark twice. This will likely be a low scoring game, however the Eagles defence is simply not up to standard at the moment. The Bulldogs will pick up a win to keep their faint finals hopes alive.
Western Bulldogs -16.5
Brisbane vs North Melbourne
Sunday 1:10pm AEDT, Maryoochydore
North Melbourne travels to Maroochydore for the first game on Sunday, to take on Brisbane. The Lions record score of 15.8.98 against West Coast last week saw their percentage increase by 30, which saw them leapfrog North Melbourne into fourth place on the ladder. This game will have a big bearing on the makeup of the top six with Brisbane still a chance to finish top two, while North Melbourne can secure a top four finish if they defeat the Lions.
Brisbane have averaged a mammoth 73 points per game over their last three games, with their star studded forward line beginning to hit peak form at the right time of year. The Kangaroos have struggled to convert inside 50’s in recent weeks, but their forward line was completely starved of opportunities against Melbourne, a big concern at this time of the season.
The reigning premiers have been hard to beat in Queensland across the last three seasons, with an 8-2 record in the sunshine state since the beginning of 2020. The Lions have won six of their last seven games and are in some serious offensive form at the moment. It’s difficult to see the Roos finding a way to hang with them from an attacking standpoint.
Adelaide vs Collingwood
Sunday 3:10pm AEDT, Norwood Oval
Adelaide take on Collingwood in another top six clash on Sunday, with the league leaders looking to move to 8-1 on the season. The Crows won back top spot on the ladder with an inspired victory on the road against Fremantle last week and have all but sealed a top two finish. Given their percentage, one win from their final two games will likely seal the minor premiership for Adelaide.
Collingwood all but sealed their ticket to the finals with a 25 point win over the Bulldogs last week, with a six point gap between themselves and the seventh placed Bulldogs, the Pies need just one win from their final two games to secure their spot in sixth.
Adelaide’s defence has been incredible in the last month, holding their opposition to two goals or less in three of their past four games. The Magpies are 0-3 against top six teams this season, and have only scored a combined four goals in those three games. There’s no bigger challenge than taking on Adelaide at Norwood Oval, and the Crows will continue their winning ways against the Pies this weekend.
Carlton vs Gold Coast Suns
Sunday 5:10pm AEDT, Ikon Park
The Suns loss to the previously winless Saints last week has virtually ended their finals hopes, with a miracle required to scrape into the top six. Carlton picked up back to back wins for the first time this season, defeating the Giants by 18 points in Canberra last week.
After a four game losing streak during the middle of the season which ended their finals hopes, the Blues have improved as the pressure has been lifted. Carlton have scored their two highest scores and conceded two of their lowest three scores in the last two weeks. Although against mediocre opposition, it’s been a major lift from Carlton.
A 69 point loss to the Lions, a draw after leading by 24 points at three quarter time against the Dogs and a loss to the previously winless Saints - it’s been a horror fortnight for Gold Coast. These teams are trending in opposite directions, and when they last met, the Blues won by ten goals. At home for the last time this season, expect Carlton to put the final nail in the Suns’ coffin.