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AFL 2021: Everything you need to know ahead of Round 14
AFL expert Josh Gabelich previews another action-packed weekend live on BT Sport.
It is Round 14 of the 2021 AFL season and that means we have reached the final week of reduced games due to the bye period.
This week we have five games to look forward to, although none in Melbourne due to the lingering threat of the pandemic in that city.
Adelaide, Collingwood, St Kilda, Sydney, Fremantle, Richmond, Melbourne and West Coast all have the week off ahead of a run to September that could be as gripping as it has been in recent memory.
Round 14 starts with a blockbuster encounter between Geelong and the Western Bulldogs at GMHBA Stadium.
The match was set to be played behind closed doors before the Victorian government did a backflip, allowing 7,000 spectators into the regional venue.
Both teams are a game inside the top-four and both want to secure a top-two finish, which would result in not just a double chance in the finals, but also a home final in the first week of September. The Cats are a better team in Geelong, as the Dogs are at Marvel Stadium.
Geelong star forwards – Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins – combined for nine goals in last Thursday’s dismantling of the Power at Adelaide Oval, and now have 52 goals for the season, with Cameron only playing seven matches to date. Ominous numbers for the rest of the competition.
Gold Coast has flown under the radar across the first half of the season due to their place in the AFL ecosystem, but expect the spotlight to shine brightly on them the longer this season progresses.
The Suns have been appalling once again in 2021 and look further away from a maiden finals appearance than at the start of the season.
They host a wounded Port Adelaide at Metricon Stadium on Saturday and should struggle to compete with the Power.
North Melbourne returns to Hobart this weekend after falling agonisingly short of a second win of the David Noble era last Sunday.
The Roos coughed up a 28-point three-quarter time lead to draw against Greater Western Sydney. They will face much stiffer opposition this weekend when Brisbane head south to Blundstone Arena.
Greater Western Sydney could have remained within striking distance of the top-eight if they got over the line against North Melbourne and now must beat Carlton at Giants Stadium if they are going to keep in the hunt.
They will move within two points of eighth-placed Richmond if they can do that. They are still long odds to play in September, but maybe they shouldn’t be?
In another season affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Essendon plays another Victorian side away from home.
This time the Bombers head to Launceston to face Hawthorn at University of Tasmania Stadium.
The Hawks pulled off a shock win when they trumped Sydney at the SCG last weekend to record only their third win of the season. You just never know what master coach Alastair Clarkson has up his sleeve.