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  • Brady Athanasiov

GameDay Squad Aussie Rules: Round 4 Preview

Three rounds in and the 2023 AFL season has had its fair share of upsets already, so we are prepared for a few more in round 4. So, without further ado, let's get right into our Round 4 preview! In this blog, we'll be previewing every game of the round and providing some insight into what we might expect in the week ahead. What do you think Round 4 hold for us? Let us know who you agree with and who else you might have selected down below on all of our social channels: twitter, facebook, instagram, discord.


Caleb Serong, Christian Petracca and Harry Sheezel in a aAFL round 4 preview



Brisbane Lions V Collingwood Magpies

Thursday 6th of April - 7:35pm AEST

What I had originally marked down as a clash of 2 heavyweights, the Pies sit 0.8% off the top of the ladder, while the Lions have only managed the one win in 2023.


The Lions have started 2023 in the most turbulent fashion, losing in Round 1 quite easily to Port, then dominating the Demons for the first 3.5 quarters in Round 2 before a post-blackout collapse, and then playing a very poor brand of football against the Dogs, resulting in a low score loss. The only positive to come out of these early rounds has been the revival of form for star midfielder Lachie Neale, who has started to rack up the disposals and clearances that he found so frequently back in 2020 when he won the Brownlow.


Meanwhile, the Pies have been dominant in their 3 wins, all of which they have produced some scintillating football. While so many of their players have been playing their part, it is hard to look past their young gun, Nick Daicos, as being the one to lead their charge to the top. He is the current 2nd highest disposal getter in the League, reaching the 100-disposal mark in just 3 games, only being topped by Dons midfielder Darcy Parish on 102. While he, and most of their midfield, are dominating as they have been, it is hard to see where their first loss of the season will come from.


Prediction:

The Lions were disappointing again in Round 3, and this doesn’t appear to be a week they cannot afford any mistakes – Pies by 38


Nick Daicos – 110 GDS fantasy points


North Melbourne Kangaroos V Carlton Blues

Friday 7th of April - 4:20pm AEST

A Roos outfit that had 2 close wins before failing to beat the Hawks, playing against the Blues who drew in Round 1, then beat the reigning premiers (who are still winless in 2023), and then barely got over the line against the Giants. There is much intrigue in this matchup.


The Roos started out hot, suggesting that the Clarkson era could be a fruitful one, but the going got tough against the Hawks, who were coming off 2 massive losses, and they seemingly crumbled under pressure. Their first half was woeful, but young Harry Sheezel continued his good form, putting up 26 disposals and 6 tackles, assisting in inspiring a 3rd quarter comeback before their hopes were dashed of a 3-0 start with a poor final quarter.


As for the Blues, their fans are enjoying being in the top 4, currently with 2 wins and a draw under their belt. While this looks good, unfortunately the teams they have beaten have not shown much vigour so far in 2023, and while it is hard to line up the form references so far this season, none of their performances have been impressive in nature, and a shadow is therefore cast over the longevity of their run at the top of the table.


Prediction:

Here comes another upset for the year, with the Roos learning from their mistakes against the Hawks, and catching the Blues by surprise in a close-one – Roos by 4


Harry Sheezel – 110 GDS fantasy points


Adelaide Crows V Fremantle Dockers

Saturday 8th of April - 1:45pm AEST

Both teams got their first wins of the season in Round 3, who can make it two in a row?


Adelaide fell victim to their classic choke in Round 1, following it up with a gallant effort in Round 2 but falling short to a clinical Tigers outing. But when the Showdown came to Adelaide town in Round 3, the Crows were ready to step up, and they showed Port who was boss. The Rory twins, Laird and Sloane, were at their damaging best for the Crows, although it was truly a team effort that got them the win. Speaking of playing their best footy, Riley Thilthorpe had 5 goals and Izak Rankine had 4 goals and 17 disposals, setting the standard in their forward line.


As for the Dockers, it took them 2 rounds of near misses and the WA Derby to finally find some form. We are yet to see if it will be the same form from last season that had them finish 5th, but one thing is sure, they did look dominant in Round 3. Caleb Serong put on a show at Optus Stadium, racking up an impressive 35 disposals and 8 tackles, and was supported by James Aish and Andrew Brayshaw in the midfield, who got 31 and 28 disposals respectively. With 94 disposals shared between them, this midfield combination is not to be taken lightly, and expect to see them on full display against the Crows this week.

Prediction:

This game will be won or lost at the centre bounce, and the Dockers seem to have the better of the two midfield outfits – Freo by 26 points


Caleb Serong – 130 GDS fantasy points



Richmond Tigers V Western Bulldogs

Saturday 8th of April of March - 4:35pm AEST Both on one win, but this is no lightweight matchup. These 2 teams are very well balanced, and this should make for an interesting game.


Richmond has a 1-1-1 record, saving the 2 points by drawing with the Blues, then a good win over the Crows, but a poor outing against the Pies, where the margin only stayed low as the Pies couldn’t convert in front of goal (Pies had 15 behinds, and the Tigers had 14 scoring shots in total, to put it into perspective). One positive out of their game against the Pies was the performance of their ruckman, Toby Nankervis. The Nank Tank had a blinder as far as ruck performances go, having 20 disposals and 39 hit-outs, and an impressive 7 tackles for a big man.


On the other hand, the Bulldogs put the Lions to bed in good fashion. The Dogs midfield brigade had their hands all over the ball, with 6 of their players reaching the 25-disposal mark. It was this domination that kept the scores low, and kept the game on their terms. Of this group, the standout was Tom Liberatore, who racked up 29 disposals and 9 tackles. The other key player was Jamarra Ugle-Hagan who put an impressive 5 goals to his name, half of the Dogs goals for the game.


Prediction:

This is a tough pick, but the Tigers have found the upper hand in this matchup in recent years, and can do it again in 2023 – Tigers by 11


Tim Taranto – 120 GDS fantasy points


St Kilda Saints V Gold Coast Suns

Saturday 8th of April - 7:30pm AEST

On top of the ladder after 3 impressive wins, can the Saints do anything wrong? Their fans will be hoping they don’t fall victim to the Suns, like the Cats did in Round 3.


The Saints have put together 3 very impressive performances to start their 2023 campaign, and it doesn’t look like halting. In Round 3, when the Bombers refused to roll over and fought back from a 5-goal deficit, the Saints rallied and put them away impressively, finishing strong and eventually winning by 18. More impressively was that the Dons dominated the stats, however the Saints were clinical with the football around the ground and had greater one percenters, showing they use their hard running and high pressure tactics well, which is winning them games. Two players who are leading the way for the Saints are Seb Ross and Brad Crouch, who combined for 56 disposals and 15 tackles against the Bombers.


The Suns finally found a win in 2023, beating the reigning premiers to keep their losing streak running. While all eyes were on Touk Miller, the Cats pushed all of their resources to stopping Miller and forgot about the speedster Lachie Weller and young gun Matt Rowell, who came together to generate plenty of touches for the Suns. Weller had 29 disposals and nearly 700 metres gained out of the backline, while Rowell had 24 disposals and 5 tackles in the midfield.


Prediction:

The Suns tasted victory for the first time in 2023, but will remain on 1 win for another week – Saints by 40 points

Brad Crouch– 120 GDS fantasy points


Sydney Swans V Port Adelaide Power

Saturday 8th of April - 7:30pm AEST The last 3 times these teams have met, the Power have won, albeit not by big margins. Before Round 3, the Swans looked like they were running hot, but they couldn’t continue the streak against the Demons, could it happen again this week?


The Swans posted big margin, dominant wins against the Suns and the Hawks, only to be thumped by 50 points by the Demons, who had been hot and cold up to that game. It was a rather shocking loss, with a poor start and finish ultimately blowing out the score, but they were beaten convincingly nonetheless. While the Demons midfielders were dominant, a couple of the Swans players showed their fight, with Callum Mills reaching 25 disposals and Jake Lloyd reaching 21 disposals.


The Power kicked off their season with a solid win against the Lions, but have been flattened since, with a large loss to the Pies followed by a loss in the Showdown against the Crows. The Power were in the game right up until the 4th quarter, sharing the lead for most of the first 3 quarters, before a collapse when the going got tough. The silver lining to their Round 3 loss was Connor Rozee finding plenty of the footy, who kicked a goal and picked up a respectable 28 disposals and 6 clearances.


Prediction:

The Swans will be hungry to bounce back to form, and they will be confident to get the job done at home – Swans by 21


Callum Mills – 110 GDS fantasy points




Essendon Bombers V Greater Western Sydney Giants

Sunday 9th of April - 2:10pm AEST

While the Bombers have had the better start to the season, their last win against GWS was in 2019. Can the Bombers turn that around, or will GWS add a second win to their 2023 campaign?


The Bombers started the season well, with 2 very good wins under their belt, they took on the Saints and were forced to fight hard right to the end. They seemed like they had accepted defeat early, but rallied to bring the margin back to 0, before the Saints kicked away in the 4th. Leading the way for the Bombers this season has been Darcy Parish, who at the end of Round 3 was the league leader for Disposals at 102, averaging 34 per game, as well as averaging just over 9 clearances per game.


The Giants started with a Round 1 win when the Crows choked, but since have been defeated in low margins by the Eagles and then the Blues, where they nearly had the win late before the Blues just got away. The Blues however were woeful in front of goal, and could have put the Giants away much earlier than they did. While Tom Green led the way with 34 disposals, there were 3 other GWS midfielders within 5 disposals of him, in Kelly, Ash and Coniglio.


Prediction:

The Bombers have started their season much stronger than usual, and will break their run of losses against the Giants – Dons by 11


Dylan Shiel – 110 GDS fantasy points


West Coast Eagles V Melbourne Demons

Sunday 9th of April - 5:20pm AEST

One thing is certain this week, the Eagles will be hoping there isn’t a repeat of last years matchup between these two teams, but with the Demons beating the Swans by 50 last week, there is no guarantee of that.


The Eagles were dominated by a strong Freo midfield in the WA Derby, although the experienced Eagles stood strong, with Tim Kelly and Andrew Gaff combining for over 60 disposals. The other standout for the Eagles was young gun Reuben Ginbey, who earned himself a rising star nomination for his 20 disposals and 8 tackles performance.


While the Demons took a few games to find their feet, they were at their destructive best against the Swans, putting on a show around the ground. Christian Petracca dominated through the middle, racking up 33 disposals and 6 clearances, while the goal-kicking load was shared impressively across 12 different players, a sign that the Demons have plenty of goal-kicking prowess across their side.


Prediction:

The Demons showed no mercy against the Swans, and the Eagles shouldn’t expect it either – Demons by 48


Christian Petracca – 130 GDS fantasy points


Geelong Cats V Hawthorn Hawks

Monday 10th of April - 3:20pm AEST

What a way to finish the round, with last and second-last place going head to head to wrap up Round 4.


I, like many others, did not expect that in Round 4 we would have the reigning premiers be the only team without a win. The Cats had arguably the hardest game to start the season against the Hot Pies, but backed it up with losses against the Blues and then the lowly Suns. It begs the question, where do the Cats get their first win of the season? Their chance most definitely comes this week, against the Hawks. Leading the charge will be Isaac Smith and Tom Stewart, who combined for 52 disposals and over 1000 metres gained against the Suns. Also, Jeremy Cameron will again be the key to the Cats forward line, who kicked 3 goals and racked up 15 disposals in Round 3.


The Hawks finally got their first win of the season in Round 3. After big losses in the first 2 rounds, it looked as if the Hawks were going to have a tough game in Round 3, but they kept the Roos on the back foot from the start and never let up. It wasn’t a huge win, but there were many good points for the Hawks. One of these was the continued good form of their captain James Sicily, who racked up 28 disposals and 18 marks, which was critical in their backline to halt the Roos attack. Also having strong performances were Will Day and Dylan Moore, who combined for 55 disposals, 2 goals and 23 marks.


Prediction:

While some may think the Cats will get off the mark in 2023 here, the Hawks have the potential to run the ageing Cats off their feet, and keep this interesting. Another upset may be on the cards – Hawks by 1 point


Will Day – 120 GDS fantasy points


 


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