What a weekend of AFL we have ahead of us, bookended by two fantastic games in St Kilda vs Port Adelaide and Collingwood vs Adelaide.
St Kilda have been absolutely flying under Ross the Boss, highlighted by a strong coaching strategy reliant on team defence rather than personnel.
The Saints have been miserly in defence, averaging under 60pts conceded over the first 6 games of the season, led by Callum Wilkie who would have to be the All Australian full-back at this stage of the season.
Rowan Marshall has been in outstanding form of late highlighted by his work around the ground as well as his tap-work. Tim Membrey was outstanding in his return game last weekend, with the Saints slingshot from half-back allowing 1 on 1 contests in which the Saints forward thrives.
After being delisted by North Melbourne at the end of the 2020 season, Mason Wood has become one of the best wingmen in the AFL. His large aerobic capacity allows him to help out the Saints defence and then immediately provide an option on the outside.
Port Adelaide are looking at their 4th straight win under the bright Friday night lights at Marvel Stadium.
Like Callum Wilkie, Port’s defensive general. Aliir Aliir would be named in the All-Australian team if it was to be listed now. Aliir’s ability to read the ball in the air and turn defence into offence is one of the best in the AFL currently.
The form of Connor Rozee has pushed him into Brownlow smokey contention. His work-rate is one of the best in the league, taking the pressure off Ollie Wines and Travis Boak.
Jeremy Finlayson continues to show why he is rated as one of the best utilities in the competition, standing up and kicking important goals for the Power whilst also pinch-hitting in the ruck.
Let’s take a look at the match-ups that will decide the match.
Jack Steele vs Ollie Wines
You wouldn’t like to be caught in the middle of these two midfield bulls.
It was easy to see that Jack Steele was rusty after returning from injury last week, however, when the game was there to be won, Steele lined up next to 2022 Brownlow medallist Patrick Cripps and curbed his influence on the game.
Ollie Wines hasn’t had his best year of football to date, but with the emergence of Connor Rozee and Zak Butters, he hasn’t had to.
Big players stand up in big games and ill be expecting both of these boys to be named in their best at the end of the night.
Mason Wood vs Travis Boak
2 years ago, this match-up would’ve been laughed at, now however, it looks more than likely to happen on a big stage.
Travis Boak’s move from an inside to an outside midfielder has allowed the superstar veteran to still be involved with the midfield group without getting his body banged up on a weekly basis.
Mason Wood has arguably been the biggest surprise of any player in the 2023 season. His football sums up the way Ross Lyon coaches, no-frills and hard work.
Does Wood use his aerobic dominance to his advantage or does the old-dog in Travis Boak still have a few tricks up his sleeve? I’m thinking the latter…
AFL Fantasy VC Options
Rowan Marshall – This is going to be huge I feel. Marshall has had his best year to date so far and comes up against a side without a set/dominant ruck. Brynn Teakle was dominated by Bailey Williams fantasy-wise last weekend, allowing the usually low-scoring ruckment to reach his first ever ton.
If Bailey Williams can get a 100 against Teakle, I see no reason why Marshall can’t be 120+.
Connor Rozee – Now this makes it tricky if you have both players. Rozee has dominant over the past 3 weeks and the Saints statistically give up more uncontested ball than any other midfield group in the AFL, something which Rozee thrives on.
Last week alone, Rozee had 25 uncontested possessions and the Saints have no plan on changing the way the play with the success of the previous weeks
Verdict – Marshall (Just), Both are fantastic options.
Final Tip – Power by 7pts