The second week of this year’s Aussie Rules finals series kicks off tonight when a reinforced Cats outfit, thirsty for blood after last weeks narrow loss to St Kilda, take on a the resurging Dockers, flying high after their impressive win over the Hawks last week.
Tomorrow night, the dejected Western Bulldogs will look to shake their recent form slump when they take on the inform Sydney Swans, who are fresh from a thrilling victory last week against the Blues.
Geelong Cats v Fremantle Dockers
MCG, Friday September 10
4:45pm (Cambodian time)
The Cats remain in good shape despite going down to the Saints last week in a predictably close contest that could have gone either way. With Podsiadly a likely inclusion having served his two match suspension, the reigning premiers will field a full strength outfit and go into the game as big favourites. The Dockers proved a lot of people wrong last week, easily accounting for a sluggish Hawks outfit at Subiaco to earn just their second semifinal appearance in club history. Playing with pace and dare, the slick young Fremantle side have now won two big games in a row and will go into this week full of self-belief.
Geelong will be fired up from the opening bounce after several key players, including Scarlett, Hunt and Selwood, produced unusually poor first halves last week in the loss to St Kilda. The Dockers form at home has been great, but away wins remain a rarity with just one win from their past six games on the road. Everything points to a mauling here, particularly with Fremantle’s main man, Aaron Sandilands, limited by a bad knee. The Cats spread of experience and class should ensure an easy victory on the MCG.
Score prediction: Cats by 51
Western Bulldogs v Sydney Swans
MCG, Saturday September 11
4:20pm (Cambodian time)
The Dogs are in terrible form, having suffered three heavy losses in the last four weeks, including a 44 point loss to the Swans at the SCG just three weeks ago. Their renowned foot skills, pace and ability to move the ball quickly into a spacious forward line has deserted them in the past month. With several injury concerns, the Dogs will need some luck to turn things around, and must do so quickly to avoid a disappointing early exit.
Sydney go into this one on a high, winning five on the trot including a thrilling, team building first finals win over a gallant Carlton last week. With young guns like Jack, Kennedy and 2010 Rising Star winner Daniel Hannebery combining well with older, proven finals performers such as Goodes, Kennelly and Kirk, they have an enviable mix of youth and experience all playing with confidence.
This will be a close one. Bradshaw and McGlynn, both likely inclusions for the Swans will strengthen the Sydney side, while the Dogs go in missing several key players in Cooney, Higgins and Morris. Despite the difference in health, the Dogs have a game style that worries the Swans, and with a home game in a big semifinal, they will surely find some impetus. I favour the Dogs to finish the stronger here in a tight encounter that signals the end for retiring Swans duo, coach Paul Roos and skipper Brett Kirk. Score prediction: Dogs by 8.