The Triple M Footy Preview is brought to you with our good mates at Crownbet. Each week, a member of the triplem.com.au team will look at the fixture and put their neck on the line with their call for the games of the round. With odds for each team thanks to Crownbet.
Keep up to date with the latest odds on all the weekend’s action at Crownbet.com.au.
Geelong vs. Sydney
You could almost bank on a home semi final team making their way through to a prelim in recent years, but no longer. Especially when this Geelong/Sydney clash presents itself.
It's just too hard to discount Sydney. In their last 17 games only one side - Hawthorn, twice - has beaten them. Their average winning margin in that time is 44 points. There's a reasonable case to make that, despite a premiership and a grand final under John Longmire's belt, this is the most in-form we've seen Sydney under his tenure. That does include a big 46-point win over Geelong at Kardinia Park.
Geelong's not a bad side - they finished second for a good reason - but for the first time in a while they're doing this against the tide. They've won just two of their past nine finals since the 2011 premiership, they've trailed at half time in their last 10, and Sydney's got the wood on them, winning their last three and five of their last six, all by at least six goals.
It'd be silly to rule out the Cats, led by Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood in the midfield, perhaps the best combo in the game. But they'll have their work well and truly cut out for them.
Sydney by 26
GWS vs. West Coast
You'd think an immensely talented GWS side should have the tools to beat a West Coast that scraped into eighth in a home semi final. But perhaps there's more to it.
The Giants have been slapped by injury, with Jeremy Cameron and Shane Mumford now gone for the year, plus a concern over Devon Smith's knee. They've won just four out of their last 10 games and have been met with suggestions they're getting ahead of themselves after making a preliminary final last year.
Since their bye West Coast have shown a bit more spirit, too, despite all the suggestions they can't travel and can't beat good sides. They're 8-4 in that time, including wins over Geelong, St Kilda, Adelaide, Western Bulldogs and, of course, Port Adelaide last week. This even goes back to their last clash at Spotless Stadium in round 22, trailing by only a point at three quarter time against GWS in a game where few gave them a chance.
Maybe this match hinges on the selection of Nic Naitanui? West Coast are excellent down back, spearheaded by Jeremy McGovern, and have a strong enough forward line with Josh Kennedy leading the way. The difference in this game might be in the midfield. The Giants have lost the advantage of Mumford in the ruck but that could be compounded if Naitanui returns, and plays well. His influence is huge and it's something the Eagles will be closely weighing up.
GWS by 11
West Coast 2.95