Ahead of Sunday’s Daily Fantasy Contests, we preview each match to see who should be in your PlayON teams.
Western Bulldogs v Essendon
8th place Essendon take on last year’s champs in a battle that could go a long way to determining both sides’ playoff chances. The Bombers have won three on the spin and will be full of confidence with forward Joe Daniher leading their attack.
The Bulldogs can take solace from having handed this opponent a drubbing in their last two meetings, but their form has been patchy this season. Dale Morris‘ injury has come at a bad time against a free scoring side averaging the fourth most points in the league. In his absence, the likes of Shane Biggs and Bailey Williams need to perform.
Where Essendon are weakest is in defence, but they’ve lacked firepower for much of the season. Toby McLean is always good, and forward Jack Redpath was a bright spark last week. He could find some opportunity in Round 19, but do the Bulldogs have anyone else who can capitalise this weekend? This looks a good week to go with Essendon defenders. Cale Hooker’s positioning further forward in recent weeks makes him particularly appealing due to his goal output.
In midfield, Zack Merrett versus Marcus Bontempelli is a high priced midfield battle to watch out for and one we slightly favour Merrett in.
Collingwood v Adelaide
On paper it looks an easy match up for an Adelaide side that has dominated the competition all year on the way to top spot on the ladder. Collingwood desperately need victories to have any hope of a finals run, but it’s tough to see them getting one here.
Rory Sloane dominated in Round 18 a week after suffering a concussion and looks to be past any issues related to the head injury. His midfield battle with Jack Crisp will be recommended viewing on Sunday, but Scott Pendelbury’s finger surgery surely rules him out of this one. The Crouch brothers notched identical 1,300 point showings last week and are supremely reliable PlayON options when fit.
At ruck, Sam Jacobs has been terrific in recent weeks for Adelaide and gets strong consideration as our go to man this Sunday. Not many find it easy against Brodie Grundy however, and the Collingwood man will be looking to dominate after a monster game in Round 18.
Up front, Tom Lynch has looked sharp since a return from serious illness that saw him miss around a month. He’s had four goals in the last two weeks.
West Coast Eagles v Brisbane Lions
The Eagles are far above the Lions in the standings, but the momentum is strangely in the opposite direction after last week’s results. West Coast melted down in the closing minutes to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Collingwood, while lowly Brisbane enjoyed a comfortable win in Round 18.
Will that matter when the two sides meet this week? It seems unlikely but the sides have identical records in the last five matches (2w 3l) and it may be that this game is closer than meets the eye, although the loss of Dayne Zorko is a huge one for Brisbane.
Brisbane defender Sam Mayes dominated with 12 marks last week against Carlton, the third big game for him in four. Still just 23, he’s rounding into an impressive player for the Lions. For West Coast Eagles, Shannon Hurn has captained by example the last couple of weeks with monster performances, but needs others to start following his example more consistently.
Zorko’s absence looms large for Brisbane, but another Dayne’s – Dayne Beams – stellar 1,750 pt performance in Round 18 has made him an extremely popular midfield choice on PlayON this week.
Ryan Lester has been trick or treat for PlayON owners, with three stud performances and three duds over the last six rounds. Who knows what he’ll muster this week. His teammate Lewis Taylor has been far more consistent, scoring over 1,000 points in five of those weeks.