afl round 13

Pete Roberts from Behind The Footy is sharing some of his great content with us for the 2021 AFL season. Pete spent fifteen years in AFL coaching boxes as an analyst. He now shares those insights with footy fans. Here’s his AFL Saturday Double Preview.

Fremantle v Gold Coast

After last week’s carnage, the Dockers could be tapping into the absolute bottom-end of their list to field a competitive team this weekend. They lose their ruckman (Darcy), mid/forward (Fyfe), full back (Cox), another key defender (Logue), half back (Wilson – suspended) and that might not be the end of it.

Somehow they are blessed with a matchup they can still win this week. Against most other sides you’d expect them to come up fierce underdogs, even at home. But facing a Suns team that can really mix their form it becomes very hard to split them.

No doubt Freo are well coached. They just seem incredibly cursed by injuries to an already limited list lacking genuine star power at the moment.

This becomes a battle of the key forwards – Fremantle welcome back Taberner, and surprisingly are still equal with Melbourne on the F50 Marks totals for the season. The Suns are 14th but come up against Fremantle’s undermanned defence, who have conceded the fourth-highest F50 mark total for the season.

Given all of that, Ben King becomes pivotal to the Suns fortunes. As do the other forwards to lighten the load a little. Rankine is coming off his best game of the season. Big test as to whether he can back it up again. Sexton beat up on the Hawks and managed three goals of his own – can he do it against a better side when the game is on the line?

Despite all their injuries, the Dockers ground-level midfield remains reasonably intact. They haven’t lost a clearance count since their -1 against the Lions in Round 8, while the Suns have lost five of their past seven, most of them by a double digit margin. For that reason Fremantle are still the pick, but it wouldn’t surprise to see the Suns salute if they can get enough supply up forward.

Pick Fremantle by 6
Fremantle H2H at $1.90 with TopSport

St Kilda v Adelaide

Another team battling to field a full side this weekend are the Saints. Two fit players returned home for personal reasons (Membrey and Ross), their skipper busted his shoulder, and Mason Wood pulled a hamstring when he was finally looking up to senior level.

With an already long injury list, St Kilda won’t have the luxury of bringing in players in-form to replace those clearly struggling. If you’re fit, you’ll probably play.

Luckily for the Saints, they come up against a team on their level. The Crows might have surprised a few this season but still only have four wins. Their only win away from home was a Round 4 victory over North Melbourne where they trailed at the last break. Not the kind of side you can be confident in, even on a neutral deck up in Cairns.

Could this extended break away be a good thing for St Kilda? They thrived last year in hub-life and have openly admitted that they needed to re-establish the kind of connections they made in 2020 on their way to the finals.

The change of scenery looked to have helped last week where they clearly should have beaten Sydney for some much-needed confidence. A repeat of that sort of performance and a slightly better level of execution forward of centre has them well in the frame to beat Adelaide.

The focus for the Crows should be limiting their turnovers through the middle. No one has been punished from midfield turnovers more than Adelaide. St Kilda haven’t exactly been polished with their ball movement lately, but even they will be able to capitalise given enough opportunity. The reverse also applies – we saw the Saints butcher some chances on turnover last week, then watched on as Sydney made them pay up the other end. It could easily come down to whoever is cleaner with their ball movement in this one.

Leaning to the Saints, strangely. Can’t be confident in either side though.

Pick St Kilda by 2
Tri-bet at $3.05 with TopSport
(Either team by under 12.5 points)

Click here for Pete’s previews of every AFL match this round.

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