Round 8 will wind down on Monday but we will have to wait just two days before 'Footy Mania' gets underway on Wednesday night. Fremantle will host Geelong in the final game of the round, one that is shaping up to be a quality contest with both teams looking to bounce back from losses.
As usual, we have you covered with a full preview and betting tips for the Monday night clash below and remember you can keep up to date with our DAILY AFL preview and betting tips throughout Footy Mania by heading to our AFL Betting Tips page.
Optus Stadium, Monday 8.10pm (AEST)
The Cats and Dockers have developed a bit of a unsuspected rivalry over the past decade that has resulted in multiple thrilling finishes with deciding kicks after the siren as well as that epic qualifying final back in 2013. The rivalry will get another instalment on Monday night when they square off at Optus Stadium in front of what should be a big crowd as far as 2020 standards go.
The Dockers pulled off one of the great wins of the season in Round 6 when they came from as many as 37 points down against the Saints to record their second victory of the season. They couldnt back it up in the Western Derby, however, as they went down by 30 points to the Eagles.
The continued absence of skipper Nat Fyfe from the Dockers line-up through injury continues to be a massive hinderence to the team, and they'll be without him once again on Monday night. The rest of the Dockers injury list is pretty lengthy, and includes the likes of Jesse Hogan, Joel Hamling, Griffin Logue, Alex Pearce, Sam Sturt and Hayden Young.
With so many on the sidelines for the Dockers, a lot of the responsibility in the midfield falls on the shoulders of David Mundy. The veteran has avearged over 20 disposals in his last four games against the Cats and despite the shortened quarters, we think he represents good value to clear that mark again.
The Cats looked one of the form sides in the competition after three straight wins against Melbourne, Gold Coast and Brisbane. they were taught a lesson by the Magpies in Round 7 though, and will be keen to get back on the winners list on Monday night. The Cats were completely shut down against the Pies, scoring just 35 points in the loss despite Collingwood battling a host of injuries.
The Cats will be facing their own selection problems this week, as Gary Ablett, Joel Selwood, Darcy Fort, Luke Dalhaus, Jack Steven and Jordan Clark all come out of the side through management or injury. Amongst the inclusions for the Cats are stars Tom Stewart and Mitch Duncan, who will bring invaluable experience in the absence of Selwood and Ablett.
No Selwood in the side will mean a larger role for Cam Guthrie in the midfield. Guthrie wil llikely get the job against star Docker Michael Walters so will already be in the mix defensively but will be relied upon more for his run and carry on Monday night as well. Has cleared the 20 disaposal mark in three of his last four games including a 28 touch game last week against the Pies.
If the Cats are a genuine contender in 2020 then the list of injuries shouldn't have an effect on them against a weaker side in Fremantle, even away from home. We are willing write last week off as a flash in the pan and back them to bounce back here. They have won four of their last five against the Dockers and covered the 11.5 point line in three of those wins. Back them to do so again on Monday night.
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