It’s been a big week for the AFL on and off the field.
After the Tribunal answered our questions surrounding the Andrew Gaff controversy, we now shift our focus back on finals with just four weeks remaining.
For punters, the premiership favourite is loud and clear, but the rest of the ladder is a crap-shoot. Only four points separate the second placed Eagles and the third placed Giants, while things are even narrower from third to eighth with every team tied on points.
You’ve got questions, and so do we. Here’s out Top 5 ahead of Round 21…
Hawkins’ Hawthorn Happies?
Tom Hawkins was MIA for Geelong last week.
A week after booting seven goals against the Lions, Hawkins managed just one against the Tigers last Friday night. Credit where it’s due, Alex Rance shut the big fella down all night long, but the good news for Cats fans is, Hawkins loves to kick a big bag against the Hawks more often than not.
To his name, Hawkins has kicked 39 goals against the Hawks, the third most in his career against any club not named Brisbane or Melbourne. At the same time, though, Hawkins had another average game against Hawthorn during Round 2’s narrow one-point loss, so it’s safe to say, he holds the keys to victory for the Cats this week.
If the big Tomahawk can boot another four-goal haul, just like he did in Round 4 last year, the Cats should find themselves back in the eight.
Where to Now For West Coast?
The Eagles are in no danger of relinquishing their second spot on the ladder just yet, but Saturday’s trip to Adelaide Oval to face the Power no doubt looms large.
West Coast last played Port back in Round 7, a game the Eagles won comfortably by 42-points. That match was played at Optus Stadium, though. That match also featured Josh Kennedy and Andrew Gaff.
The loss of both players ahead of this weekend puts West Coast way out to $2.85. The reason being? Kennedy kicked four goals against the Power last time out, and Gaff was electric with a whopping 35 disposals.
Is Tom Mitchell Home & Hosed?
Speaking of Gaff, have you had a chance to look at the Brownlow Medal odds?
Hawthorn’s gun midfielder is at almost Winx-like prices at $1.29, followed not-so-closely by Patrick Cripps at $11.00.
For punters that jumped on Mitchell at much longer odds (he was $4.00 at one stage) the next few weeks should turn out to be a nervous wait. In terms of discipline, Mitchell has had a couple close calls this season, but fortunately, his career form against the Cats might just equal another three votes. Mitchell has racked up 254 disposals against the Cats, the most against any team in his career.
We were treated to an instant classic the last time the Lions and Pies met at The Gabba. Jordan de Goey kicked the game-winner with under two minutes to go, notching a five-goal bag on the day.
The Lions have put plenty of teams to the sword this season, including North Melbourne last week. They were a Cam Rayner kick away from all four-points, but the youngster sprayed his banana shot wide.
With de Goey now out, among plenty of other Collingwood stars, are the Lions a chance @ $3.65?
We know Brisbane often receive strong support from the old Fitzroy faithful when they travel south. What we don’t know, is how these teams will actually match up at Etihad on Saturday night.
Brisbane and Collingwood have played on the ground only once, way back in 2002. That game saw the Pies pull off an epic upset over the Lions during their glory years, but with the Pies still missing a few important pieces, maybe Brisbane will turn the tables on Collingwood this week.
Demons’ Doomsday Done & Dusted?
The Dees have flirted with disaster all season, but for once in their long and painful history, Melbourne’s schedule has worked in their favour.
Having won the games they should have over the last fortnight, the Demons do have some work ahead of them, though. This week it’s the Swans, a team that has traveled to Melbourne with a great deal of success already this season.
The writing is on the wall for the Dees from here. Win, and it will be the first time since 2006 the Demons have found themselves in the Top 4 after Round 21.
According to the bookies, Melbourne are already a sure-thing to finish Top 4 at $1.75, but with the Swans, Eagles and Giants still to go, the Demons aren’t free from heartache just yet.