Round 4 will see some blockbuster matches that could decide the top eight at season’s end.
Richmond v Collingwood, Friday, 7.50pm – MCG
Both teams narrowly went down last week against strong opponents in Geelong and the Western Bulldogs. Richmond came back in the second half from a 37 point deficit, tripping at the final hurdle. The Tigers are lacking consistency and require a four quarter effort, not just short bursts here and there. Collingwood lost their first game against the Cats since the 2011 Grand Final, going down by 11 points in a tight contest. The Magpies failed to score a goal in the first term and let the third quarter slip away. Magpies forward Travis Cloke plays his 200th game.
Newsroom’s prediction: Collingwood, 11 points
Carlton v Melbourne, Saturday, 1.45pm – MCG
A 0-3 start for both sides means a win is on the cards for one of these teams. Carlton’s extreme under performance in their 81 point loss to Essendon, leaves several questions hanging over the heads of the whole club. Not just the squad’s depth is being questioned, coach Mick Malthouse’s age (60) has come under intense scrutiny. Is he the man to rebuild the club? Melbourne are coming off another loss to the Giants, and coach Paul Roos is touted as the Demons saviour, but has a mountain of work ahead to get his team playing as a unit.
Newsroom’s prediction: Carlton, 25 points
Port Adelaide v Brisbane, Saturday, 2.10pm – Adelaide Oval
This game marks 10 years since the Power beat Brisbane in the 2004 Grand Final. Port have two big names out in Angus Monfries (hamstring), and Chad Wingard (ankle). Port will be stinging after their seven point loss to North Melbourne, where the best finishers in the competition were overpowered by five goals in the final quarter. After matching it with the Suns for most of the game, Brisbane were wiped off the park in the second half. In a huge blow for the Lions, midfielder Daniel Rich ruptured his ACL and will be unavailable for the season.
Newsroom’s prediction: Port Adelaide 30 points
GWS v Western Bulldogs, Saturday, 4.40pm – StarTrack Oval
After another big win for the Giants they face a tougher task when they take on the Dogs in Canberra. This game will be a huge battle in the ruck, with Giants recruit Shane Mumford leading the competition in hit outs 151, facing Bulldogs ruck man Will Minson who is currently third with 124. The Dogs exceeded expectations last week with a narrow win over Richmond.
Newsroom’s prediction: Western Bulldogs 10 points
Geelong v West Coast Eagles, Saturday, 7.40pm – Simonds Stadium
This match sees first against third in what will be an epic battle. West Coast have notched up huge wins with margins of 65 and 93 points, while Geelong have managed strong wins over Collingwood and Brisbane. The Eagles were held by the Saints in the first half last week, but took hold in the third quarter to lead and eventually run away from the Saints. Dean Cox plays his record 277th game, taking over from Glen Jackovic as West Coast’s games record holder.
Newsroom’s prediction: Geelong 7 points
Gold Coast v Hawthorn, Saturday, 7.40pm – Metricon Stadium
Premiership favourites Hawthorn travel north to take on an inspired Gold Coast side. Hawthorn made light work of 2013 Grand Finalists Fremantle, bursting out of the blocks with 12 goals to two in the first half. Hawthorn is a team with precision and perfection when it comes to kicking. Gold Coast find themselves sitting eighth after three rounds with their finals ambitions on track. They easily disposed of Brisbane in the Q clash last week with Gary Ablett getting another 38 disposals.
Newsroom’s prediction: Hawthorn 30 points
Sydney v North Melbourne, Sunday, 1.10pm – SCG
The Swans had their first win of the season over Adelaide last week, and will be looking to continue their winning form as they move forward. The Kangaroos crept over the line against the Power and will hope to scalp a big win in Sydney. Even though he’s in different colours, North Melbourne won’t forget round 10, 2012, when Buddy Franklin demolished them kicking a career high 13 goals in Tasmania.
Newsroom’s prediction: Sydney 20 points
St Kilda v Adelaide, Sunday, 3.20pm – Etihad Stadium
The Saints went down to an in form West Coast over the weekend, but are showing positive signs sitting ninth with two wins. Adelaide are sitting near bottom of the ladder without a win in 2014, but their first three rounds have been against 2013 Semi and Preliminary Finalists. The Crows have failed to produce in the last quarter, as they have been overrun in the final term each round this year.
Newsroom’s prediction: St Kilda 24 points
Fremantle v Essendon, Sunday, 4.40pm – Patersons Stadium
Fremantle’s long list of injuries continues to grow with forward Michael Walters possibly out for the season after dislocating his ankle tendon. Walters joins several other high profile Dockers who are also unavailable. Fremantle were decimated by Hawthorn last week and have a tough task ahead. Essendon have proved themselves round after round with two big wins and a narrow loss to premiers Hawthorn.
Newsroom’s prediction: Essendon 30 points – Lyndon Hall