The GWS Giants will be hoping the familiar confines of Showground Stadium, a venue the club are 9-5 since the start of last year, will assist them as they look for their first ever three-match H2H winning streak over the Collingwood Magpies.
And with two contrasting styles of play in which the Giants prefer to attack via long kicks (average of 262.3 disposals a match this year), compared to Collingwood’s 344.2, it will be a test of which coach can adapt the in-play brand of footy best to their strengths.
Finding avenues to goal in the first half has been a definite negative in the Giants recent two defeats, with just three combined goals in the first and second quarters. The club’s leading goal-kicker every year since 2012, Jeremey Cameron, has actually failed to kick a major in all of those four quarters.
It’s little surprise the Magpies have taken over Premiership favouritism. A decent offense combined with the league’s best defence has seen them score 203 points so far in 2020 (ranked 7th), average 71.66 a game, while just 107 points have been scored against (ranked 1st) at an average of 35.66 a match.
Add the expected return of Adam Treloar this week – a player who led the league for most disposals in 2019 and has 4,581 disposals across his 163 career games (average of 28.01) – and it only provides extra depth to the Magpies high possession game plan.
Players to watch: Brodie Grundy (Magpies) has had 54 disposals so far in 2020, but 14 of those touches have been clangers (26%). Surely such a stat would be hurting his Brownlow Medal polling ability.
Harry Perryman (GWS) has kicked eight goals in his three matches in 2020 and leads the league for most goals. That’s a huge form reversal on the four total goals in his previous 37 AFL matches.
Stat attack: 2011 was the last year the Magpies started the first four games of the season undefeated.
The Giants are averaging 21.0 free against so far in 2020 (ranked last), Collingwood’s 15.0 has them ranked 14th.
No Collingwood player has kicked more than three goals against GWS since 2015.
The last year GWS started the first four rounds with a poorer record than 2-2 was back in 2013.
My prediction for the match
Collingwood Magpies to win the match with handicap -6.5 points and best odds 1.91 in Bet365