Crucial weekend for Fantasy fans
Ahead of a fascinating weekend for AFL fantasy fans, it looks as though we could be in for one of the most exciting rounds of the season.
Ahead of a fascinating weekend for AFL fantasy fans, it looks as though we could be in for one of the most exciting rounds of the season. With interesting stories happening throughout the AFL, fantasy and betting fans are both trying to predict a number of outcomes across a crucial Round 22 of the season.
At the top of the table, Hawthorn will be looking to cut the gap between themselves and the top of the AFL ladder when they take on Geelong at the MCG. The third-placed Cats have recalled ruckman Jonathon Ceglar for the crunch top-of-the-table clash in place Ben McEvoy in one of four changes from the team that dropped to a disappointing defeat to Fremantle last week. Star forward Jarryd Roughead and Brad Sewell return to the starting line-up alongside Ceglar and Matt Spangher, with Ryan Schoenmakers, Tim O’Brien, Taylor Duryea and McEvoy all dropped following below-par showings in Round 21.
Geelong, meanwhile, will be looking to boost their own hopes of finishing the regular season as league leaders, and the Cats have been able to recall Brownlow Medallist Jimmy Bartel and forward Jordan Murdoch in place of Jed Bews and Billie Smedts for a game that will give fantasy fans some clues as what to expect when the two clubs meet again in the Finals.
Collingwood are heading into Round 22 with a place in the top-8 still far from certain, knowing victory over strugglers GSW will be critical to their hopes of salvaging something out of a disappointing year. The Magpies are able to welcome back skipper Scott Pendlebury in one of six changes to their side, with Dayne Beams, Ben Reid, Heritier Lumumba, Alan Toovey and Travis Cloke all sidelined with injury while Ben Kennedy has been dropped to the bench.
Returning to the starting line-up will be in-form forward Jesse White, Sam Dwyer, Josh Thomas, Tom Langdon and 19-year-old Jackson Ramsay making his Collingwood debut in a game that the Pies will start as the firm.
While their top-eight status may be assured, Port Adelaide will know the importance of finding some momentum heading into the Finals. Coming up against Carlton, Port have dropped Tom Logan and Aaron Young in favour of Angus Monfries and Jackson Trengove. City rivals Adelaide Crows, currently occupying eighth place will go into their clash against sixth-placed North Melbourne knowing the importance of maintaining their grip on their all-important place in the top-eight.
In another game that could have a big say in the top-eight mix sees Essendon take on the out-of-form Gold Coast at the Etihad Stadium. The Bombers have dropped Jake Melksham for the match and will have to do without injured midfielder Dyson Heppell, but Essendon have been able to recall forward Jake Carlisle.
Further up the ladder, Fremantle are missing suspended midfielder Nat Fyfe and injured Marco Paparone for their game against Brisbane at the Gabba, although small forward Hayden Ballantyne is back in contention after his own injury lay-off. Table-toppers Sydney will continue their march towards the Finals by taking on the Western Bulldogs at the Etihad Stadium, but the Swans will have to do it without injured onballers Craig Bird and Josh Kennedy.