The following are previews with betting tips for Round 9 of the 2017 AFL season.
Friday, May 19
Geelong v Western Bulldogs
7:50PM AEST, Simonds Stadium
The Dogs haven’t beaten Geelong since way back in 2009, but despite the long run of losses it looks like the Dogs will head into Friday night’s game as slight favourites. That won’t come as a surprise if you’ve watched the Cats play any of their last three games. They were unbelievably bad against the Bombers on Saturday night; there were times when their ball use and decision making was almost comical. The Dogs have their own issues to work through, with poor kicking inside 50 made worse by their inability to convert when they do get a shot at goal. If the Dogs were capable up forward they would be flying at the moment, but as it stands this is a hugely important game for them. For both clubs. They are both currently 5-3, with another loss dropping them right back into the pack of clubs vying for a top eight position, and makes the top four become a much more difficult proposition.
The Dogs have swung the selection axe, dropping star midfielder Tom Liberatore amongst five changes, but the experience they’ve brought in will be vitally important. Dale Morris and Bob Murphy steady the backline, Travis Cloke and Tory Dickson provide dangerous forward options, and Mitch Wallis is a straight swap for Libba. The Cats will be glad Lachie Henderson is fit and ready to go – he comes straight back into the side along with midfielder Scott Selwood.
The Cats are tough to beat in Geelong and the Dogs haven’t managed it for a very long time, but I think this is their big chance. The Cats are struggling right now and the Dogs have brought back some very good players. It’s likely to rain in Melbourne on Friday night so it will be scrappy, but I think the Dogs will get over the Cats in a tight battle.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs to win @ $1.95 (BetFair)
Saturday, May 20
St Kilda v Sydney
1:45PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
Sydney’s big win over the Kangaroos last weekend may have been a warning sign for the rest of the competition. The Swans were always going to get better as the season went on and they regained some key players from injury; after last week it looks like they’re now capable of taking some scalps. The Saints are a better side than the Kangaroos, but they will be wary of the Swans for obvious reasons. Both clubs have won their past couple of games and will head in confident. The Swans will be boosted by the return of gun defender Dane Rampe, while Kurt Tippett and Gary Rohan will actually return to the seniors this week after getting through a reserves hitout.
While it shouldn’t have an effect on the outcome, the aftermath of last week’s sledging of Marc Murphy playing out in the media all week is not the ideal preparation for a game of footy, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Saints are not as switched on this week.
It’s hard to go past the St Kilda at Etihad, but the Swans are a wildcard at the moment while we’re still not sure whether they have turned the corner or they’ve just played a couple of decent games against poor opposition. I expect the Saints to win, but I think this will be a close contest. The Swans are capable of playing great footy and they should take it right up to the Saints on Saturday.
Betting tip: Sydney (+8.5) @ $1.75 (UniBet)
GWS v Richmond
4:35PM AEST, Spotless Stadium
A perfect start to the season is starting to look like it was just a tease, with the Tigers reverting to their old ways of losing games they should win and not handling pressure when they need to stand up. They should never have been so far behind Fremantle in the first place, but once they hit the front with 21 seconds remaining it should have been game over. That they couldn’t sort that situation out is typical of Richmond and it’s not good enough. They now face the unenviable task of trying to snap a three game losing streak against the Giants at Spotless Stadium.
The Giants are also in a tough patch, just scraping by against the Magpies and being dealt another couple of serious injuries. They are vulnerable at the moment, but are the Tigers good enough to make them pay? If it was at the MCG I’d lock them in, but at Spotless it’s a different proposition.
Toby Greene has served his suspension and will return for the Giants, while Dion Prestia is ready to come back into the Tigers’ midfield. Like a few other clubs this weekend, Richmond have swung the axe, making five changes to the team. I don’t think it will change too much; the Giants should be too good for the Tigers, but considering the players they are missing right now I don’t see it being a large win.
Betting tip: GWS By 1-39 @ $2.12 (TopSport)
Brisbane v Adelaide
7:25PM AEST, Gabba
The Lions don’t have much in the way of luck going for them at the moment. The week skipper Dayne Beams is fit to return, they lose their other gun midfielder Tom Rockliff to a shoulder injury. It makes it really difficult for a young side to win games of footy when they are constantly without one of their best players.
They face a tough task this week when they host the Crows at the Gabba on Saturday night. The Crows have been a different team the past two weeks compared to the first six, but I expect the double wake up call will be enough to shake them out of their slumber and back to their scintillating best. They might not totally click this week, but you can bet they’ll be much harder at the footy and more focused on their game, and that will be enough for them to post a comfortable win over the Lions.
Betting tip: Adelaide By 40+ @ $1.57 (Ladbrokes)
Collingwood v Hawthorn
7:25PM AEST, MCG
The Pies were desperately unlucky to go down to the Giants on Saturday afternoon after leading for much of the match. They couldn’t quite hold on long enough, but it was an encouraging effort from the maligned Magpies. They were aided by some injuries to their opposition, and so they will be again this week. In disastrous news for the Hawks, Cyril Rioli, James Frawley and Ben Stratton are all set to miss multiple games through serious injury. Those are three fairly handy players, and it makes it difficult to see the Hawks winning too many games until one or two of them return.
Adam Treloar has recovered from his ankle issue and replaces Ben Reid in the side, giving the Pies a significant advantage in the midfield. Hawthorn have no doubt been much better the past few weeks, but you can’t take three of their best players out and expect the blokes who come in to keep them at that same level. The Pies should be too good for a depleted Hawks outfit on Saturday night; if they don’t win by at least four goals it will be disappointing.
Betting tip: Collingwood By 1-39 @ $2.20 (Palmerbet)
Sunday, May 21
Essendon v West Coast
1:10PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
As bad as the Cats were on Saturday night, the Bombers were incredibly impressive and showed some very nice signs for the future. Joe Daniher kicked another five, while their midfield stood up against some of the best players in the competition. Their form has fluctuated wildly so far this season and they’ll be looking to build some consistency this week against a strong opponent in the Eagles.
West Coast were the better side against the Dogs and deserved to win, but after a few missed shots at goal early in the last quarter they stopped dead and let the Dogs run all over them. They barely put up a fight in the last ten minutes and could have easily lost that game if the Dogs had kicked straight. It was bizarre to watch, but they hung on and got the all-important four points.
This is a massive test for the Eagles. It is whenever they have to travel, and will continue to be until they prove they can do it successfully. I’m still not convinced they can, and I think the Bombers match up well on them. Josh Kennedy won’t get away from Michael Hurley like he did against the Dogs on Friday night, and if Kennedy is kept quiet it goes a long way towards beating the Eagles. I’m going with the Bombers at the line.
Betting tip: Essendon (+14.5) @ $1.80 (Ladbrokes)
Melbourne v North Melbourne
3:20PM AEST, MCG
After being given the shocking news that teammate Jesse Hogan had been diagnosed with cancer, the Demons went out and put on a stunning performance, toppling ladder leaders Adelaide by 41-points. It was easily their best performance for the year and one they will be trying to replicate week in, week out from here on in. On the other end of the spectrum, the Kangaroos played what was probably their worst game for the year against the Swans, finishing up 42-point losers in a game they would have considered seriously winnable.
Jarrad Waite will come straight back in after his one-week suspension and he will be one to watch if his form this year is anything to go by. If the Demons can keep Waite and fellow key forward Ben Brown under wraps, the Kangaroos start to run out of goal scoring options. The Demons are fairly healthy at the moment and everything points to them being too good for the Kangaroos. Let’s see if they cope with the pressure of expectation; I think they will this week.
Betting tip: Melbourne to win @ $1.55 (Matchbook)
Fremantle v Carlton
4:40PM AEST, Domain Stadium
The Dockers keep finding ways to turn their season around, and are now officially competing for a spot in the top eight. I don’t know how they’ve done it, but remarkably, if they beat the Blues – which they should – they will have turned a 0–2 start to the season into a great position of being 6–3 heading into the middle part of the season. It was an interesting way of getting the win against Richmond on Sunday, but the way they were able to dig in and fight back one last time after the Tigers hit the front was commendable.
They will be hoping it doesn’t come to that this week, however if they play close to their best I don’t think they’ll have anything to worry about. The Blues are decent battlers this year but I expect them to struggle over in Perth against a Fremantle team that is stronger than previously thought.
Betting tip: Fremantle (-20.5) @ $1.94 (TopBetta)
Best Bets of the Round
Western Bulldogs to win @ $1.95 (BetFair)
GWS By 1-39 @ $2.12 (TopSport)
All Bets: -11.63 units
Best Bets: +1.86 units