What a monster matchup we have to look forward to in the AFL on Friday night! The weekend’s footy action kicks off with the Cats hosting the Tigers from 7.50pm at Metricon Stadium and as usual, PuntingInDanger has a full preview and betting tips for the clash below!
Metricon Stadium, Friday 7.50pm (AEST)
It’ll be a battle of 3rd vs 4th on Friday night and one that could decide who finishes the season in the higher position. It’s not certain, however, which position is the more favourable as the higher will likely result in a trip to Port Adelaide in the first week of finals and the lower a trip to Brisbane.
The Cats have been arguably the best side in the competition over the last month. They have won six straight games including wins over good sides in the likes of the Saints, Power and Bulldogs. They were absolutely dominant against the Bombers in their last game, racking up a 66 point win on the back of a best on ground performance from Sam Menegola.
The Cats have a really strong looking injury list at the moment. There are some players who are facing niggles, but none of their best 22 are sidelined for extended periods at the moment and captain Joel Selwood looks set to return for his first game since August 14th this Friday night. Gary Ablett is also completing his quarantine and should return for Round 18.
Patrick Dangerfield has played on another level in his last four against the Tigers. In those games, the star midfielder averages 31 touches per game and has also booted a couple of goals. Dangerfield played more forward in the big win over the Bobmers but we expect him to be back in the thick of it this week, continuing his epic head to head rivalry with Dustin Martin.
Since an uncharacteristic loss to the Saints all the way back in June, the Tigers have been back on the path to domination and have started to look like the team that won the premiership last season. In that span, they have lost only two games to solid sides in the Power and Giants while racking up fantastic wins over the likes of Brisbane, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs.
Like the Cats, the Tigers injury list is starting to take shape and it looks as though they will have nearly a full compliment of players come finals time. Josh Caddy, Kane Lambert and Dylan Grimes will all need to pass fitness tests to play this week while Dion Prestia, Shane Edwards and David Astbury are only a few weeks away from returning.
The Tigers have won four of their last five against Geelong and in those games, the Richmond tall forwards have been able to get off the chain on a regular basis. In their last matchup, it was Tom Lynch who stole the show, botting five goals in the preliminary final to lead his side to a win. Great value about him to score a few on Friday night.
What a tough game to call between two of the best sides in the competition. The Cats start as slight favourites due to the Tigers still having a few key players on the sidelines but you feel if these two meet in the finals with full strength squads, this would be even odds either way.
The Tigers have found a way to get the job done in big games for the better part of three years now and Friday night is shaping up to be no exception. They have had a dominant record over the Cats in recent times and Geelong could have a bit of false confidence after a cruisy win over the Bombers in their last game. Love the value of the Tigers to win this one.
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