Top 4 Finishes On the Line In AFL Round 23

AFL Round 23 is the final regular season round and heading into finals, the top 8 looks to be set, while the top 4 is still partially in flux. Here is your look at all the action, including some players bidding their farewells to the AFL.

Port Adelaide vs Essendon (Friday at the Adelaide Oval)

Having lost 4 of 5, the home side must win and hope for a Geelong loss to make finals. This is likely the final game of 2018 for the Power, and it’s the last game for Essendon. Both sides loaded up on talent last offseason, and were competitive in spurts, but in the end it hasn’t entirely paid off. Veteran Bomber Brendon Goddard is saying farewell to his teammates in this game while Tom Rockliff is out and Sam Powell-Pepper slots in for the Power. With Essendon’s momentum at the moment, even on the road they should have an edge over a Port side that has struggled mightily as of late. Essendon by 24

Geelong vs Gold Coast (Saturday in Geelong)

Geelong is in finals with a win, and they simply have to beat one of the AFL’s worst side at home to get the job done. It seems easy but anything can happen in the AFL and the Patrick Dangerfield led Cats have to be at their best for this one. Geelong makes only one change this week while the potential spoiler Suns make no changes. With Tim Kelly and dark horse Coleman medal contender Tom Hawkins playing so well, the Cats attack should blitz a soft Suns side. Geelong by 56

Richmond vs Western Bulldogs (Saturday at the MCG)

This is a game for pride as Richmond has already claimed a minor premiership while the Dogs endured another struggling season. They have won three straight though and will try to get up to snap the Richmond MCG winning streak that sits at 21 games. With Trent Cotchin and Dion Prestia back Richmond should be too strong and eventually pull away. The Bulldogs Shane Biggs plays his final game in this one while Richmond forward Jack Riewoldt hopes to secure the Coleman. Richmond by 28

Fremantle vs Collingwood (Saturday at Optus Stadium)

With a road win over a struggling Dockers side Collingwood will claim a top 4 spot. Collingwood easily won earlier in the season and the likes of Michael Walters and Bailey Banfield being out for the Dockers makes it unlikely they will rise up to get one more win this season. Collingwood must worry about fitness heading into finals, but not form. Veteran Freo defender Michael Johnson is retiring. Collingwood by 38

Carlton vs Adelaide (Saturday at Etihad Stadium)

Young guns Paddy Dow (Carlton) and Tom Doedee (Adelaide) are out in this one a game for pride between the wooden spoon losers Carlton and an Adelaide side that missed finals after reaching the Grand Final last year. You’d love for 2-19 Carlton to rise up and win this, but realistically Matt Crouch and the Crows should earn their 12th win in style while Carlton’s Alex Silvagni plays his final game. Adelaide by 44

Sydney vs Hawthorn (Saturday at the SCG)

The game of the round, the winner will finish in a top 4 position while the loser will end up in a single elimination finals place. Sydney hasn’t been great at the SCG but they have a h2h edge and they have won 3 straight, while Hawthorn is red hot in their own right with 5 straight wins. David Mirra, Jarryd Roughhead, and Ricky Henderson return for the Hawks with James Frawley a key out. Heath Grundy swaps in for the Swans. Former Swan Tom Mitchell is the likely Brownlow winner and he should be a thorn in the side of his former side. Look for Mitchell and Gunston to lead Hawthorn to another momentum building win ahead of finals. The Swans Lance Franklin is chasing the Coleman. Hawthorn by 12

 Brisbane vs West Coast Eagles (Sunday at the Gabba)

Brisbane is building something late this year, while the Eagles have secured a top 4 place despite injuries. Alex Witherden is a key out for the Lions, who should battle hard and pull an upset I feel. The Eagles are traveling cross country, they need to rest before finals, and they don’t have much to play for here while Brisbane can claim a win that should inspire them next year. Brisbane by 24

Melbourne vs GWS Giants (Sunday at the MCG)

Another game between finals sides, GWS and Melbourne would need help to finish top 4 but a win gives them a shot at doing so. Josh Kelly slots in for Ryan Griffen for the Giants, while Melbourne returns Cam Pederson. Both teams are in-form but given the venue the Max Gawn led Demons should be favored to secure victory and boost their confidence heading into finals. Melbourne by 11

St Kilda vs North Melbourne (Sunday at Etihad Stadium)

It’s been a horror season for the Saints, while North is finally out of finals contention despite defying the odds most of the season. Jarrad Waite is retiring for the Roos, while Ben Brown remains in the Coleman medal hunt and that will be what most look for from this game. North has the h2h win and a better season record, they should get a 12th win. North Melbourne by 36

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