Saturday, April 3
Collingwood v North Melbourne at Victoria Park, 3.10pm AEDT
- North Melbourne has been patchy of late, defeating the Western Bulldogs by 11, losing to Brisbane by 15 before earning its qualifying final spot with a one-point win over Fremantle. The Roos are capable of better form than they're currently producing.
- After dominating the first two thirds of the season, Collingwood has struggled somewhat of late. The Pies lost to Brisbane by three, thumped the lowly St Kilda by 46, but seriously struggled to hit the scoreboard against a powerful Adelaide unit, losing by 14.
- Jasmine Garner has the ability to turn a game on a dime, whether that's in the midfield or up forward. The engine room of Emma Kearney, Ash Riddell and Jenna Bruton is powerful, while ruck Emma King can be dangerous pushing forward. A lot of the Roos' run is generated through winger Kaitlyn Ashmore.
- Collingwood has a midfield which doesn't run quite as deep as North's, but still features three high-quality players in Brianna Davey, Britt Bonnici and Jaimee Lambert. The Pies rely heavily on the defensive rebound generated by Ruby Schleicher and Stacey Livingstone, while Chloe Molloy can pull off the miraculous in front of goal.
- All eyes would have been on key back Tahlia Randall's ankle this week, after she rolled it badly against Fremantle. Randall usually takes the opposition's most dangerous forward. Britt Gibson is still out of action with a long-term hamstring injury.
- Collingwood has some serious defensive headaches, with Lauren Butler (hamstring), Jordy Allen (foot) and now Sophie Casey (concussion) sidelined. Most concerning, there's no obvious inclusion to replace Casey.
Last time they met
- Round four, 2021. This was a highly anticipated game that fell rather flat at Marvel Stadium, unless you were a Collingwood fan. With former North coach Scott Gowans on board, the Pies dominated the outside play – usually the Roos' strength – and held their opponents to just eight behinds.
- Another tough match. Neither team is in its best form, but Collingwood's lack of defensive stocks could come back to bite. Roos by three points.
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