COLLINGWOOD v WEST COAST
The finals kicked off with a bruising battle between the premiership favourites, the Hawks, and the ‘Pies. After matching it with Hawthorn at different times of the game, Collingwood went down and face the Eagles this week.
They come off a dominant win over the Kangaroos at home, and will give themselves a great chance of reaching the Preliminary final next week.
These teams have met twice this year for one win a piece - the ‘Pies winning by under a kick in round 13, while the Eagles won at home by 49 points in round 22.
Collingwood have a big ‘IN’ from that game in ruckman Darren Jolly, who will need to play well to influence the work of Cox and Natanui around stoppages.
Both teams lose a defender in Waters to injury and myself to suspension, but both lists are looking relatively healthy.
KEY MATCH UPS
Cloke v Mackenzie
Cloke kicked five goals in their round 13 meeting, but Mackenzie kept him goalless in round 22. In the past fortnight, Cloke has been back to his best, kicking 11 goals in that time. This battle will be crucial to a win for either team.
Kerr v Thomas
Kerr has averaged 33 touches in his past two games against the ‘Pies, and may need some close attention here. Thomas hasn’t reached the lofty heights of last year, but has still been a valuable contributor, and everyone knows he lifts his team offensively and defensively. Kerr could be a good match up for him.
TIP - Collingwood
ADELAIDE v FREMANTLE
The Dockers were the surprise of the week in round one of the finals, disposing of the Cats at the MCG.
They jumped out to a huge lead early, and despite the Cats coming home hard, they held on for their first finals win in Melbourne.
The Crows were upset at home by the Swans and will be expecting to get the job done at home.
Five weeks ago they met at the same ground with the Crows running out victors by 28 points. If the Dockers bring the defensive intensity that they brought last week, it will be a very different story.
KEY MATCH UP
Crowley v Dangerfield
Crowley has got the better of Thompson twice this year, keeping him to 16 and 18 touches. Dangerfield however has got off the leash with 32 touches and a goal in round 10 and 34 and two goals in round 20. The Dockers may need to make him the focus this time.
Rutten v Pavlich
The Fremantle skipper was the difference last week against Geelong kicking six goals straight. Last time these teams met Talia got the better of the contest, but with him breaking his wrist, it will be left to the Adelaide veteran to nullify the Dockers champ.
TIP - Adelaide