AFL Semi-Final Preview: The West Is Here

Have we ever said this? Fremantle and West Coast go into the semis as the favourites.

Robert Whiteby Robert White

Adelaide v Fremantle

The experts in Melbourne are picking Fremantle, which is a nice change, but have the got it right?

Adelaide turned a lot of critics off after their at home trashing courtesy of the Sydney Swans, but it wasn’t so much that Sydney dominated the Crows like Fremantle did to the Cats for the first quarter and a half , it was more like Adelaide failed to capitalise on their chances. The Crows dominated the inside 50s by going inside 22 more times, they won the free kick count by a wide margin, and the contested possession margin was almost inseparable.

Inaccurate kicking and Sydney’s run out of the backline hurt the home team too much, but they have this second chance to redeem themselves against a team they went 2-0 against during the home and away season.

Fremantle’s midweek claim for victory has been the Nat Fyfe ace up their sleeve. Fyfe missed a huge chunk of the season with shoulder surgery and also missed the Round 20 matchup when he rolled his ankle in the hotel room pre-match. Fyfe is influential in the middle and his play may give the Dockers an extra edge, but it just seems so unlikely they pull off a second consecutive upset away from home.

The Geelong game showed pretty much everything you want to see from an elite finals team. Fremantle were first at the ball, tackled ferociously, received a stand up performance from their captain and complimented their lockdown defence with a formidable attack. Ross Lyon has done wonders for this club in just a season, but the fairy-tale ends here.

Rising Star Daniel Talia’s broken arm means his season is done and Fremantle have replaced Kepler Bradley with ballerina dancer Zac Clarke.

 

Collingwood v West Coast

Let’s begin with last week’s loser again. Much like Sydney, Collingwood’s end to the home and away season left a lot to be desired. They were smashed by a couple of finals bound teams, including this same West Coast outfit, yet despite all of this their dominance and personnel at least had them in with a chance against the Hawks last weekend. The game wasn’t exactly a blowout, but it was never that close. The midfield was prolific in their winning of the ball, but they didn’t do a lot with it: Pendlebury 30 disposals at 70 percent efficiency, Sidebottom 30 at 60 percent, Swan 29 at 66 percent and Beams 28 at 71 percent.

West Coast was magnificent against a worn-out North Melbourne side. Unfortunately, the near 100-point win won’t replicate anything they come across this week.

The Eagles lose important defender Beau Waters, but replace him with the capable Matt Rosa. Collingwood are down Nick Maxwell due to suspension, and Ben Sinclair (dropped), replaced by Tyson Goldsack and Jamie Elliot.

 West Coast’s form and recent big win against the Magpies makes them the easy bet, but the game being played in Melbourne this time and the fact that Collingwood can only improve gives them a very good chance.

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