Published on August 9, 2018 10:24 pm

PREVIEW: VFL Round 19

It’s moving time for teams at the bottom end of a congested Peter Jackson VFL top eight, with several important games – as well as another rules trial – to look forward to in Round 19.

 

RICHMOND vs WILLIAMSTOWN – Saturday 11am @ Swinburne Centre

 

LAST ENCOUNTER

2018 Rd 10 @ Williamstown Football Ground: Williamstown 12.11 (83) d Richmond 10.11 (71)

 

FORM COMING IN

Richmond (1st, 13-3) had a six-match winning streak ended by a 52-point defeat at the hands of Geelong last week. / Williamstown (5th, 10-5) claimed a third consecutive victory in Round 18 – by 63 points over North Melbourne – to entrench itself in the top eight.

 

KEY QUESTION

Do the Seagulls hold the key to unlocking the Tigers’ game plan? Well, maybe. In Round 10, Williamstown generated enough clean clearances (winning that count 49-39) through the likes of Michael Gibbons (game-high 10 clearances) and Willie Wheeler (eight) to convert into a winning score. However, Richmond’s two leading clearance-winners for 2018, Anthony Miles and Brandon Wood, were absent that day.

 

KEY STAT

Four players from these teams were invited to one of the state-based draft combines this week, with Seagulls play-makers Brett Bewley (averaging 26 disposals and five inside-50s) and Ben Cavarra (26 goals in 15 games) as well as Tigers pair Jake Aarts (13 goals in 12 games) and first-year midfielder Charlie Thompson all impressing AFL clubs enough to score invites.


WERRIBEE vs BOX HILL HAWKS – Saturday 1pm @ Avalon Airport Oval

[LIVE on 3WBC radio]

 

LAST ENCOUNTER

2018 Rd 9 @ Box Hill City Oval: Werribee 12.8 (80) d Box Hill Hawks 11.7 (73)

 

FORM COMING IN

Werribee (12th, 5-11) defeated Coburg by 47 points last week after previously dropping back-to-back games. / The Hawks (4th, 10-5) have bounced back from three defeats in June to win four in a row, including a seven-point triumph over Collingwood in Round 18.

 

KEY QUESTION

What damage can Sam Collins do to his former VFL club? The Tigers defender is arguably first in line of VFL players hoping to be selected at November’s drafts, having first been taken by Fremantle in 2015 following 38 senior games for Box Hill. In his return VFL season, Collins leads the competition – by a long way – in marks (both contested and uncontested) and his aerial ability makes him close to impassable across Werribee’s half-back line.

 

KEY STAT

The Tigers upset the Hawks in Round 9 despite clearly losing the counts for contested and uncontested possessions, marks and inside-50s. Werribee got on top at stoppages though, winning clearances 50-33 thanks to the work of Tom Gribble, Kurt Aylett and Dom Brew (seven clearances each). The absence of Box Hill hard-nut Andrew Moore through suspension won’t help his team’s cause this time around.


CASEY DEMONS vs SANDRINGHAM – Saturday 2pm @ Casey Fields

[LIVE on Casey Radio]

 

LAST ENCOUNTER

2017 Rd 16 @ Trevor Barker Beach Oval: Casey Demons 14.9 (93) d Sandringham 12.11 (83)

 

FORM COMING IN

Casey’s (2nd, 13-2) 91-point defeat of the Northern Blues last week was its 11th straight win and put the Demons only percentage behind top spot. / Sandringham’s (11th, 5-9-1) quest to make the finals is almost impossible after a third straight loss two weeks ago before a bye.

 

KEY QUESTION

Will Casey put the final nail in the Zebras’ season? Sandringham can mathematically still make the finals if it wins this match as well as clashes with the Blues and Collingwood and the three teams above it on the ladder all fall over in the last three rounds. It’s unlikely, and even more so given the Demons are firming chasing the minor premiership following first-placed Richmond’s loss last week.

 

KEY STAT

Casey backman Jay Lockhart has impressed many in his first VFL season after crossing Bass Strait from North Launceston – to the point where he this week scored an invite to October’s Rookie Me Combine. The 177cm 22-year-old ranks fifth at the Demons for total disposals and second for rebound-50s and has been named in the team’s best players for four of the last five games.


NORTHERN BLUES vs COBURG – Saturday 2pm @ Preston City Oval

 

LAST ENCOUNTER

2017 Rd 8 @ Preston City Oval: Northern Blues 14.16 (100) d Coburg 13.13 (91)

 

FORM COMING IN

The Blues (13th, 4-11) were unable to make it three consecutive victories when they fell to the Casey Demons by 91 points last week. / A 47-point defeat by Werribee in Round 18 was Coburg’s (15th, 1-14-1) second straight loss.

 

KEY QUESTION

What impact will the AFL’s second rules trial have on this game? The effect of an extended goalsquare for kick-ins and the requirement to start each centre bounce with six midfielders, six defenders and six forwards in last week’s match between the Lions and Werribee was perhaps inconclusive. The AFL will trial the rules again in this contest in an effort to bust congestion in play.

 

KEY STAT

These clubs may not have produced any invitees to the state-based draft combines this week, but Blues goalkicker Jesse Palmer and Coburg ball-winner Marcus Lentini could be considered stiff to miss out. Palmer is 10th on the VFL goalkicking table with 25 majors from 14 games and Lentini leads the competition for total disposals, contested possessions and clearances as a 19-year-old.


PORT MELBOURNE vs COLLINGWOOD – Saturday 2.10pm @ Stannards Stadium (North Port Oval)

[LIVE on Channel 7]

 

LAST ENCOUNTER

2018 Rd 2 @ Olympic Park Oval: Port Melbourne 9.9 (63) d Collingwood 7.5 (47)

 

FORM COMING IN

Port Melbourne (7th, 9-6) just held on for a five-point victory over Essendon last week, recording back-to-back wins to go a game clear inside the top eight. / Collingwood’s (6th, 9-6) three-game winning streak came to an end with a seven-point defeat at the hands of the Box Hill Hawks in Round 18.

 

KEY QUESTION

Could this be a season-defining match for both teams? This game could be very important for each side’s September hopes, based on their opponents in the last two rounds. If the Magpies win, they then face Frankston and Sandringham and a top-four finish isn’t beyond them, while the Borough will be desperate to prevail and shore up their finals chances with tricky clashes against Williamstown and Footscray to come.

 

KEY STAT

Port Melbourne key forward Jordan Lisle proved the difference in these teams’ low-scoring Round 2 encounter, booting five of the Borough’s nine goals from 18 disposals and six marks in a dominant performance. With Collingwood suffering a key-defensive injury crisis at AFL level, it may fall to Elliot Le Grice or even Marty Hore to mind the Port Melbourne skipper this time around.


GEELONG vs ESSENDON – Saturday 7pm @ GMHBA Stadium

 

LAST ENCOUNTER

2018 Rd 7 @ Windy Hill: Essendon 13.13 (91) d Geelong 12.12 (84)

 

FORM COMING IN

Geelong (3rd, 11-4) has won eight of its last nine games following last week’s 52-point triumph over ladder-leader Richmond. / Essendon (9th, 7-8) fell outside the top eight after Round 18 thanks to its fifth straight loss – by five points against Port Melbourne.

 

KEY QUESTION

Can the Cats avenge a hard-fought loss in Round 7? Geelong boasts some of the best credentials of any top-eight team, having defeated fellow contenders the Tigers, Casey Demons, Williamstown, Port Melbourne and Footscray. Since the Cats lost to Essendon in Round 7 they’ve won eight games to the Bombers’ three and will fancy their chances of adding another scalp to their collection.

 

KEY STAT

Essendon’s control in contests was a key to its Round 7 win, beating Geelong 170-149 in contested possessions and 46-33 in clearances – offsetting a 201-174 loss to the Cats in uncontested possessions. Perhaps worryingly for the Bombers, they average seven fewer contested possessions per game since that match while Geelong averages 10 more uncontested possessions.


NORTH MELBOURNE vs FOOTSCRAY – Sunday 2.30pm @ Avalon Airport Oval

[LIVE VIDEO STREAM on vfl.com.au + listen on VFL Live]

 

LAST ENCOUNTER

2018 Rd 12 @ Etihad Stadium: Footscray 14.17 (101) d North Melbourne 9.6 (60)

 

FORM COMING IN

Footscray (8th, 8-7) returned to the winners’ list last week after three straight losses, jumping into the top eight with a 42-point defeat of Frankston. / North Melbourne (10th, 7-9) suffered a fourth loss from its last five games in Round 18, going down to Williamstown by 63 points.

 

KEY QUESTION

Will a Bulldogs win shut the door on the top eight? Nearly. Footscray can end Sandringham’s highly-unlikely chance of making finals as well as the hopes of the Kangaroos with victory in this match. Combined with an Essendon loss to Geelong on Saturday, the Bulldogs could then finalise the top eight teams for 2018 by beating the Bombers in their clash at Windy Hill in Round 20.

 

KEY STAT

Footscray ran rampant over North Melbourne after half time in Round 12, turning a one-point lead at the main break into a 41-point victory. The Bulldogs recorded almost 100 more disposals, 28 more contested possessions and 27 more inside-50s that day and are the VFL’s top-ranked team for clearances per game. Turning the tables will be a tough task for the 13th-ranked Kangaroos.

 

* ROUND 19 BYE – Frankston

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