Geelong and Melbourne Battle For Finals in AFL Round 18

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AFL Round 18 is upon us, here is your look at all the action this week.

St Kilda vs Richmond (Friday at Etihad)

St. Kilda has had a rough season but they were competitive against Richmond earlier this year. The Tigers need to win to ensure they remain top of the ladder. Bachar Houli is out, while St. Kilda swaps in Josh Battle and Seb Ross while Jimmy Webster is out. As poor as the Tigers have been away from Victoria, they are the better team and should win this. Richmond by 33

Collingwood vs North Melbourne (Saturday at the MCG)

North Melbourne will be closer to slipping to .500 or worse if they lose this game. Collingwood has had a good season and they have a great recent record against the Kangaroos. The return of Mason Cox (and Sam Murray) should help boost Collingwood. With this game being at the MCG they should have a decided advantage. Collingwood by 24

Sydney vs Gold Coast Suns (Saturday at the SCG)

Sydney are at home and playing a team that is in horrible form, that they also have a record against. Darcy Cameron debuts for Sydney as a forward/ruck while David Swallow and Jack Martin are key outs for the Suns. It would take a monumental performance that I don’t see the Suns being able to put forward. Look for Lance Franklin to kick a bag against a weak Suns backline. Sydney by 56

Essendon vs Fremantle (Saturday at Etihad)

Both teams have similar records, and Freo won in round 2. This is a potential trap game for the Bombers. The return of David Zaharakis and Orazio Fantasia should bost their hopes though. I’d expect the Essendon midfield to be the key to yet another victory as they try to finish in a finals position. Essendon by 17

Brisbane Lions vs Adelaide Crows (Saturday at the Gabba)

Adelaide has won 6 straight against Brisbane and must win this game to remain in finals contention. The Lions have won three straight and get a home game in great form. Tex Walker being out for the Crows may make a difference, I’ll back Eric Hipwood, Dayne Beams, and a buzzing Brisbane side to pull off a meaningful upset. Brisbane by 14

Geelong vs Melbourne (Saturday in Geelong)

Geelong barely won this game in round 1 and at home they face a Demons side that wants to finish top 4, while they try to hang on to a finals place themselves. Lachie Henderson and Jordan Cunico are in for the Cats while Dom Tyson and Joel Smith return for Mitch Hannan and Michael Hibberd. Playing at home will be an advantage for Geelong, their defense should be tough enough to help them eke out another win. Geelong by 9

Carlton vs Hawthorn (Sunday at Etihad)

It’s been a miserable year for Carlton while Hawthorn needs to win this game to remain on pace for finals. Tom Mitchell and Patrick Cripps are Brownlow contenders and they will duel in the midfield as stars James Sicily for the Hawks and Matthew Kreuzer for the Blues are key outs. Carlton doesn’t score enough to win a game like this, Hawthorn should remain in finals contention. Hawthorn by 47

West Coast Eagles vs Western Bulldogs (Sunday at Optus)

The Eagles are aiming to win their third straight and they won this h2h matchup earlier in the season. Even with Nic Nat gone for the year, Andrew Gaff and the Eagles should be good enough to win this contest against Jack Macrae and a Dogs side that hasn’t found form this year. West Coast by 33

Port Adelaide vs GWS Giants (Sunday at the Adelaide Oval)

An intriguing matchup of sides that are in the middle of the finals pack. Playing at home should give Port an edge, but Paddy Ryder is out while the Giants bring in some reinforcements like Brett Deledio this week. I sense an upset despite the overall good year Port has had. The Giants endured a slump this season but a win here would show they are back in a big way. GWS by 14

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