Last week’s showdowns between some of the game’s best has trickled into this week, with Round 16 offering up further finals altering fixtures, kicking off with the Swans hosting the Cats on Thursday night. This will without a shadow of a doubt be a classic, these teams just match up too well for it to not be. Friday then sees Richmond welcome an Adelaide team that used a 46-point fourth term to stun the Eagles last week and take their season off life support. They must produce that effort over the entire game to have any chance. At the moment, one loss can see you fall from first to fifth.
Let’s look at the daily fantasy plays from each game.
Sydney vs Geelong
Shut the curtains and take the phone off the hook. Put the kids to bed early, they don’t want to see this. This is going to be footy at its most beautiful, footy at its most ugly, footy at its best. Both teams boast star midfields that probably aren’t quite at their best any more but are absolute brimming with pride. Both have classy young backlines who give their team so much stability defending their end and composure coming out of it. Both have a marquee big man forward and young hopefuls running off them. I cannot wait for this.
Gun: Josh Kennedy ($15.1m)
After a slow start to the year, Josh Kennedy is back in the form we have seen from him for what feels like a decade. The Swans captain is class personified, and is so crucial to his side playing their tight style of play. While Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery have shown real inconsistency, Kennedy continues to be the steadying hand for Sydney and his average is ticking back up towards triple digits. His 119 even in a losing effort was majestic.
Dud: Tom Hawkins ($12.6m)
Big Tom Hawkins had one of his better games of the year last week, kicking a few goals and proving a consistent threat with those big mits of his. I can’t see him backing that up on the tiny SCG where he will not be able to force many one-on-ones. The Swans also have the versatility to give him a number of different looks until they find a matchup that works, so I’d be avoiding big Tommy this week.
Point of Difference: Quinton Narkle ($6.1m)
Quinton Narkle absolutely set the Etihad alight last week, smashing 88 on a debut that had a little bit of everything. He spent time on the ball, in the middle of the park and up forward, and excelled in every single position. What was most impressive was himself. What a specimen he is. Stunning long blonde hair that floated along behind him as he ran past defenders. Good lord I was smitten from word go, it didn’t matter how good he was. But he was incredible, and at $6.1m there’s no risk in backing him to do it again.
Richmond vs Adelaide
Richmond reminded everyone last week who the Premiers are in a total dismantling of Sydney despite Lance Franklin’s best efforts. Adelaide looked dead and buried in the third quarter, but with the season quite literally on the line they produced one of the best quarters any team has mustered this year and ran out big winners on the Eagles. It will be nearly impossible for them to reproduce that, but they simply are going to have to at the MCG against the best team in the competition.
Gun: Rory Laird ($16.7m)
Regardless of how this game goes, whether Adelaide get destroyed or if they make it a real contest, Rory Laird will be heavily involved and the scores will follow. At this stage I don’t think I need to keep repeating myself on Laird, he is the safest gun in this fixture.
Dud: Dustin Martin ($15.1m)
Dustin Martin just has not looked right for the vast majority of this season. It appears life has caught up with Dusty, whether that be injuries or his father’s very public visa situation, either way he reigning Brownlow medallist has failed to recapture anything close to that form and has seen his average plummet to 80 as a result. He could go off for 120 at any stage, because he is still Dusty, but until he shows us something I’d stay away.
Point of Difference: Sam Jacobs ($14m)
The unheralded Crows ruckman has been fantastic lately, culminating in last week’s monster 108 in a performance that really helped turn the tide for Adelaide. They are best when they are getting clean ball through the middle and allowing their gun swing backs and midfielders to get out and run, and Jacobs unlocks all of that. If he can dominate the contest like he did last week, not only will he be in for another big score but his team could be in for another huge result.
Check back soon for picks and analysis for the rest of this weekend’s AFL action. In the meantime, be sure to get your lineups in. Good luck!