West Coast v Sydney
In what I’m arguing was a needless Thursday game, West Coast successfully handled a five day break to beat the still winless Sydney by 26 points. West Coast was on top throughout the match, but it wasn’t a thrashing – the margin never got higher than 32, and the Swans were within a goal in the last quarter. Buddy Franklin corked his thigh. West Coast 13.13 (91) d Sydney 10.5 (65)
N Melbourne v W Bulldogs
Once everyone got over the weirdness of having a Friday twilight game, people were able to enjoy the match. After spending forty eight minutes without scoring a goal (having just two goals, five minutes into the third quarter), they kicked five in a row to take the lead. The last quarter ended in Lindsay Thomas going for the winner in his 200th. W Bulldogs 12.17 (89) d N Melbourne 12.14 (86)
Melbourne v Fremantle
This game seesawed between two extremes: Melbourne led by 27 points near the end of the second quarter, then Fremantle kicked the next eight to lead by almost as much. Melbourne fought their way back to get the lead with five minutes to go, but a Cam McCarthy toepoke in the goalsquare gave Fremantle their second win. Sandilands dominated the hit outs. Fremantle 16.10 (106) d Melbourne 15.14 (104)
GWS Giants v Pt Adelaide
The final margin betrays the closeness of this game: the margins at the breaks were three, one, and four points. Pt Adelaide led by slightly more than a goal in the third quarter, but the Giants kicked the last six goals of the game to win, with the Power kicking one point for the final term. Patton was best with six goals. GWS Giants 16.16 (112) d Pt Adelaide 11.15 (81)
Carlton v Gold Coast
The first half of the match was very close, with the margin never being higher than eight points. Gold Coast pulled away in the third quarter, kicking seven goals to one. Tom Lynch kicked five of Gold Coast’s six first half goals, finishing up with a career high seven. The Suns won the disposals by 120, and Carlton nearly doubled their tackles. Gold Coast 17.6 (108) d Carlton 12.10 (82)
Adelaide v Essendon
Adelaide got their highest first half score in twenty years, and their second highest first quarter score ever. Eddie Betts, after dealing with racism over the last week, won the toss and kicked six goals to go head of the Coleman. Taylor Walker kicked five, McDonald-Tipungwuti was Essendon’s best goalscorer – and then tweeted a picture of his Easter chocolate the next day. Adelaide 24.9 (153) d Essendon 13.10 (88)
Collingwood v St Kilda
Combined, these teams kicked 3.9 and 3.8 in the first and last quarters. The major swinging point for the match was the third term, the clichéd ‘premiership quarter’, where St Kilda kicked four of the five goals. Jamie Elliott played his first game since missing the entirety of 2016, but only had six touches. Not a great win, but a win nonetheless. St Kilda 9.15 (69) d Collingwood 7.13 (55)
Brisbane v Richmond
For the first time since 1995, Richmond are undefeated after four rounds. They might have a chance of actually winning a final this year! Regardless, five goals in a row in the second quarter gave Richmond a lead they weren’t going to give up. The Tigers now haven’t lost at the Gabba since 2004, and, as weird as it sounds, look legitimate. Richmond 17.17 (119) d Brisbane 10.7 (67)
Hawthorn v Geelong
From Round 15, 2009, to Round 2, 2017, Hawthorn never lost by more than 85 points. They’ve now done it twice in two weeks. The match started off low scoring, with just five goals, combined, kicked into time on in the second. Geelong, despite having 3.12 at one point, kicked eleven straight in the last quarter to go top of the ladder. Geelong 20.14 (134) d Hawthorn 6.12 (48)
Pt Adelaide v Carlton
Pt Adelaide, after winning the first two games and being first on the ladder, have lost their last two games. Fortunately, they come up against an opponent who you won’t expect them to lose to. It’ll be another long season for Carlton, who, despite having won the last two against Port narrowly, are much less potent in attack, which is Port’s forte. Pt Adelaide by 23.
W Bulldogs v Brisbane
For the first time this year, the Bulldogs aren’t on Seven, which is probably to do with their opponent. Sixth on the ladder, and 3-1, flatters the Bulldogs, who haven’t been clearly on top in any of their wins. However, they do play Brisbane, who have made it a habit of making it close during games, but falling away to lose them. W Bulldogs by 41.
Gold Coast v Adelaide
If Adelaide win this week, it’ll be the best season-starting winning streak in club history. They probably should beat Gold Coast, who have won their last two games, but against the mediocre opposition of Hawthorn and Carlton. The Crows, who have never lost at Carrara, are averaging 128 points per game for 2017, and have two players in the Coleman top ten. Adelaide by 33.
Sydney v GWS Giants
This is an unusual position for the Swans to be in. In most Battles of the Bridge, in the lacklustre name for the Sydney derby, the Swans have been at the head of the ladder and the Giants at the bottom, but it’s reversed ahead of this. While Sydney haven’t been terrible this year, they’re not going to beat this Giants team. GWS Giants by 26.
Fremantle v N Melbourne
Fremantle were absolutely terrible over the first two weeks of the season, but have, in the last two weeks, had tight wins over the Bulldogs and Fremantle. North Melbourne has come close in all their matches so far, but have a spotty record in Subiaco which counts against them. The ruck battle, between Aaron Sandilands and Brayden Preuss, should be a cracker. Fremantle by 12.
St Kilda v Geelong
In recent times, the result of St Kilda v Geelong games has either been a Geelong landslide or a very close game. Geelong are, by some way, on top of the ladder, and St Kilda’s last two games have been wins, albeit scrappy, unimpressive ones. This should be an easy Geelong win, given they are top two in both attack and defense. Geelong by 43.
Hawthorn v West Coast
In Hawthorn’s last two games, they have been outscored by thirty-nine goals. West Coast haven’t beaten the Hawks in Melbourne since 2006, which is a streak that’s about to end. West Coast’s only loss has been to a stunning Richmond side, while Hawthorn has been thrashed comprehensively in their last two games. In addition, West Coast have had a ten day break. West Coast by 54.
Richmond v Melbourne
In the ‘we want a slice of the ANZAC day pie’ game, undefeated Richmond plays 2-2 Melbourne. It’ll be interesting to see how Jesse Hogan, who has been caught suspended and smoking, plays his return to the Demons’ side. This will be Melbourne’s third loss in a row if they lose it, which they should to Richmond, who are in great form. Richmond by 23.
Collingwood v Essendon
Essendon have won one ANZAC Day game throughout the 2010s, and will consider themselves in with a decent chance in this one. The Bombers have been competitive through all of their games except the Adelaide match last week, while Collingwood has always been near their opposition, never looking completely outplayed. That bit will give them the edge in a hard fought match. Collingwood by 8.
OK, I know some of you will be disappointed that I’m not putting in all the hours to keep up with the predicted wins.
So, to make it up for you, I’ll give you the rankings for offense and defense, and how they’ve changed since the last round.
GWS and Richmond are the only two teams that have both factors in the top four, and Hawthorn is the only team that has that true for the bottom four. It also says the Bulldogs are lucky to have the 3-1 record that they do.
FADR didn’t do as well, tipping five for the round. Total: 21.