Week 1 of AFL finals action had its fair share of spoils. Week 2 promises no different, with a thumping 96 point point win to West Coast over North Melbourne and Fremantle’s incredible 16 point win over Geelong gives this week an uncertain edge.
Adelaide v Fremantle.
Davis Harrigan: Adelaide will be under considerable pressure to bounce back from their loss to Sydney. After their almost relaxed run into the finals, the Crows dropped their guard and allowed the Swans to shut them down. The likes of Patrick Dangerfield, ruckman Sam Jacobs, captain Nathan Van Berlo, Brent Reilly-their normal impact was greatly impeded by Sydney’s run in defense and attack. Ryan O’Keefe ran rampant, and Adam Goodes was back to his best.
Now, the Crows face the Dockers again at home. Fremantle will be buoyed by their emphatic win over Geelong in their elimination final, and the Western Australian population will be right behind them. Matthew Pavlich’s six goal performance begs the question as to whether he will replicate that form again. Nathan Fyfe, David Mundy, the pesky Hayden Ballantyne and Michael Barlow should all look to play another key role in leading the Fremantle charge. At Adelaide, the Crows will be looking to atone for their astonishing first week loss, but Fremantle has every chance to upset an impressive Adelaide outfit. Verdict: Fremantle by 5 points
Collingwood v West Coast
Davis Harrigan: Out of all semi-final teams, the Magpies and Eagles have the most differing match preparations. The Magpies were rolled by Hawthorn to the tune of 38 points, but the fourth quarter saw the Magpies threaten to retake the lead. West Coast, on the contrary, slammed on seven goals in the first quarter against North Melbourne in week one and never looked back.
The Eagles will need to fill the hole that Beau Waters (broken foot) leaves, but captain Darren Glass should be able to cover any holes with Adam Selwood and long kicker Shannon Hurn as support. Ruck giants Nic Natanui and Dean Cox would be looking to give Darren Jolly no room to move, and with Collingwood’s lack of a second primary ruckman, the potential to exploit this gap could possibly reap huge benefits. With the suspension of Nick Maxwell, the Magpies would be looking to Chris Tarrant and Ben Johnson to lead the backline.
With the Eagles’ 2012 record against Collingwood, they will be confident they can find some chink in the Magpies armour. But the death of former teammate John McCarthy will be an enormous emotional driver for the Magpies. At the MCG, where Collingwood lost to Hawthorn in the qualifying final, the chance of the Eagles overcoming the Magpies is a definite possibility. Verdict: Collingwood by 13 points.
(Image source: afl.com.au)