Richmond v Essendon

Picture: Michael Klein/Herald Sun
Jobe Watson is Brownlow Medal favourite. Picture: Michael Klein/Herald Sun
Having performed admirably over the past month, Richmond  will be confident of beating an Essendon  side that is terribly out of form when the clubs meet at the MCG on Friday night. Last weekend’s defeat to Fremantle in Western Australia was their first since round 18, with good wins over Brisbane and the Western Bulldogs coming after narrow defeats to Carlton and North Melbourne.

Essendon’s capitulation in the second half of the season means that they probably won’t be playing finals football in 2012, with six straight defeats seeing them drop from fourth to tenth in little over a month. Adding further to their woes were injuries suffered by veteran Dustin Fletcher and youngster Jake Carlisle during last Saturday’s 96 point drubbing at the hands of Carlton, with the pair in doubt to face the Tigers.

Where It Will be Won – Despite the inconsistency performances of their respective sides, there is no doubt that Trent Cotchin  and Jobe Watson  have been two of the standout players in the competition this season. The pair are amongst the favourites for the Brownlow Medal and their battle in the midfield of the field will be a highlight of this clash. Both collect plenty of contested possessions and it will be interesting to see who will get more of the ball in this match. Both players excelled in the round eight showdown between these sides, with Watson having 30 touches and kicking two goals, while Cotchin collected 29 possessions and kicked three majors.

Prediction – Despite winning three of the past four matches between these sides, including a 128-109 success in round eight this year, it is hard to see the Bombers beating Richmond. The Tigers are playing much better than their opponents and will be looking to finish the season with a bang. Richmond 1-39

Click here to bet on AFL Round 22 matches