The following are previews with betting tips for Round 17 of the 2018 AFL season.
Thursday, July 12
Adelaide vs Geelong
7:50 pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
The Cats were a totally different team on Thursday night against the Swans compared to the week prior when they lost to the Bulldogs; the only thing that stopped the margin from really blowing out was Geelong’s inaccuracy in front of goal. If not for that, it would’ve been an eight goal win for the Cats, but the four points is good enough. This week they travel to Adelaide to take on the Crows, who may have left their run to September slightly too late. After their loss to the Tigers on Friday night, they’re now two wins out of the eight and are currently sitting in eleventh position. It’s not a great place to be coming into round 17 when you were hoping to contend for a premiership, but injuries have savaged them. This week they get Eddie Betts and Rory Atkins back, so they should look much more dangerous going forward, but unfortunately midfielder Richard Douglas will miss with an ankle injury he picked up against the Tigers.
In great news for Geelong fans, goal sneak Daniel Menzel is back for his first game after a long layoff due to groin injury complications. He’s incredibly important for them, so it’s great to see him get back and hopefully string a few games together as the Cats build into September.
In other big news, Adelaide vice-captain Rory Sloane has knocked back big offers to come back to Melbourne and will be staying with the Crows for the next five years — which was fairly surprising if you believed the whispers going around. The Crows will be ecstatic with the news, and I reckon they might just get him a win over the Cats this weekend in celebration.
Betting tip: Adelaide to win @ $2.10 (BetFair)
Friday, July 13
St Kilda vs Carlton
7:50 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
There have been some really unexciting Friday night matches this year — more than most years it seems — and this is up there with the worst of them. The Saints, who have struggled all year to find their best form, take on the Blues, the team sitting on the bottom of the ladder with a solitary win to date. Not something too many neutral fans will be keen to tune into, but it gives both clubs a good opportunity to put their best foot forward and impress on the big stage.
The Saints were brought back down to earth by Port Adelaide on Saturday following two consecutive wins, but they were always going to struggle without Jake Carlisle, and unfortunately they were dealt a few more injury blows, with big man Paddy McCartin set to miss this week amongst others.
Carlisle comes back into the team this week to help the Saints’ defence curtail Charlie Curnow, but they’d probably be fine without him anyway. The Blues have just about got the wooden spoon locked away after their 65 point loss to 17th placed Brisbane, and I can’t really see them sneaking in another win for 2018. This might be one of their best chances, but I still expect the Saints to beat them pretty easily. It might not be a blow-out, but the Saints should be too strong and I expect them to end up winning by at least four goals.
Betting tip: St Kilda By 25+ @ $2.05 (Neds)
Saturday, July 14
Hawthorn vs Brisbane
1:45 pm AEST, University of Tasmania Stadium
The Lions are all of sudden building up a bit of form, having won their past two games by an average of 10 goals. They’ve only beaten Fremantle and Carlton but that’s still an impressive way to go about playing some fellow cellar dwellers. This week they’re up against the only team they had beaten prior to two weeks ago, but that was very much an unexpected victory that took everyone by surprise. Surely they couldn’t beat the Hawks twice this year?
The difficulty will be much greater this time around playing down in Tasmania where the Hawks very rarely lose, but the Lions are playing better footy at the moment than they were back then. I don’t think it’ll be enough though — the Hawks were clinical in their second half demolition of the Bulldogs on Saturday night, and if they perform anything like that again this week they’ll beat the Lions by over 10 goals. I’m looking forward to seeing how Brisbane can cope and what spearhead Eric Hipwood is able to produce after two starring performances, but I do expect the Hawks get home comfortably despite the best efforts of the Lions.
Betting tip: Hawthorn By 25+ @ $1.75 (Bet365)
Melbourne vs Western Bulldogs
4:35 pm AEST, MCG
The Demons desperately needed to end their three game losing streak when they took on the Dockers in Alice Springs, and they did so in fairly emphatic fashion, keeping the Dockers to a mere 48 points and winning by a total of 54 — though it could’ve been much more if they had kicked straight. They’ll be after another percentage-boosting win this week when they take on the Bulldogs at the MCG, although the Bulldogs have been dangerous at times so they’ll probably just be happy to walk away with the four points.
The Dogs continue to struggle with injury issues, with Marcus Bontempelli to miss a few games due to appendicitis, while Tom Boyd and Hayden Crozier are also out with injury after last week’s loss to Hawthorn. The positive is that gun midfielder Jack Macrae is ready to return from his hamstring injury layoff, but with Bontempelli missing it will only really help patch a quite substantial hole.
There’s much more on the line for the Demons, and at the MCG, you’d expect them to get the job done against a Bulldogs team without their best midfielder and plenty of other key personnel missing due to injury.
Betting tip: Melbourne By 40+ @ $1.90 (Neds)
Gold Coast vs Essendon
7:25 pm AEST, Metricon Stadium
The Bombers’ finals hopes probably went down the drain following their bitter loss to old foe Collingwood on Sunday afternoon, but they’ve got a chance to keep a faint glimmer alive with a big win against the Suns here. Things aren’t looking great for the Gold Coast; they haven’t for some time, and they don’t look like getting any better until 2019 at the earliest. Tom Lynch looks set to leave, and the only game left this season they might be a chance to win is against Carlton in round 19. Lose that and things will be incredibly bleak over the off-season — more than they’re already set to be.
The Bombers will regain Orazio Fantasia after he was a late withdrawal against the Pies, but Jake Stringer and Patrick Ambrose are both set to spend a fair chunk of time on the sidelines due to injuries picked up on Sunday. They might be hit with a few injuries at present, but the Bombers should be able to despatch of the Suns without straining themselves too much. If they don’t get over the line by at least eight goals I’ll be very surprised.
Betting tip: Essendon By 25+ @ $1.70 (Bet365)
GWS vs Richmond
7:25 pm AEST, Spotless Stadium
The Tigers kept on their merry way last weekend as they took care of the Crows in the second Grand Final rematch of the year, winning by a comfortable 47 points in the end. They still don’t look like losing on the MCG; opposition teams will surely now be running out of ideas on how to beat the Tigers at the home of football. This weekend they’re forced to travel interstate to take on the Giants, and while their record outside of Melbourne hasn’t been great, I’d still expect they’ll be incredibly hard to beat.
The Giants let a massive opportunity slip when they went down to the Eagles by 11 points in Perth on Sunday after being the better team for the majority of the match. That result could come back to bite them, but they could make amends with an upset victory over the reigning champs in this one. I don’t think they’ll be quite good enough to get over the line with their current injuries—even though, in a huge boost to their forward line, Toby Greene is finally back —but I expect they’ll put in a strong showing and make the Tigers earn it.
Betting tip: Richmond to win @ $1.54 (Bet365)
Sunday, July 15
Collingwood vs West Coast
1:10 pm AEST, MCG
This is a huge game in the context of the rest of the season, and I expect it to be a great game of footy as well. These two clubs are currently occupying second and third positions on the ladder so a top four spot is well and truly up for grabs. We know the Eagles have had their issues playing at the MCG in recent years; there will be no better test for them than a high pressure clash against the Pies this Sunday. If they manage to get up they’ll put themselves in the mix as a genuine threat to the Tigers, but if not, the talk of the Eagles not being able to cope at the MCG will continue and possibly haunt them come September.
Both clubs have had their injury worries this season, but things are starting to look better for the Eagles; this week they’re set to regain Jack Darling, Josh Kennedy and Mark LeCras — basically their entire forward line. The Pies will also welcome the return of Travis Varcoe, Darcy Moore and Sam Murray. The return of the West Coast forward line is massive and comes at just the right time, but you’ve got to wonder how well they’ll play in their first game back. Even if they aren’t at their absolute best, they’ll make the Eagles look much more dangerous inside 50, but I’m not sure it’ll be enough to get them over the line. It should be a fascinating game but it’s fair to say the Pies are much more comfortable playing at the ‘G than West Coast are, and I expect that will be the difference in the end.
Betting tip: Collingwood to win @ $1.60 (Ladbrokes)
North Melbourne vs Sydney
3:20 pm AEST, Etihad Stadium
The Swans, not for the first time this season, were very disappointing on their home deck when they lost to the Cats by 12 points on Thursday night. The Cats are a decent team and it wasn’t a huge margin, but they were completely outplayed for the majority of the night, and it casts serious doubt on their premiership credentials. The Swans are now sitting a game outside the top four, and with a fairly tough run home they’ll need to hit a rare patch of form if they’re to squeeze into the top four come the end of round 23.
The Kangaroos, meanwhile, are looking to squeeze their way into the top eight, and a win over the Swans here will be massive for their finals hopes. Not only will they raise themselves slightly closer to the number of required wins to make the eight, they’ll bring the Swans down to within striking distance. And they might just have a real chance, with the Swans missing all of Dan Hannebery, Kieren Jack and Jarrad McVeigh through injury. To be honest, on current form the only one of those three they’ll really miss is McVeigh, and they do get back Isaac Heeney and Gary Rohan, but it’s a lot of experience out of the team. I think it’s set up to be a cracking game that could go either way, but I’m backing the Swans to dig their heels in and grit out an important win.
Betting tip: Sydney to win @ $1.86 (Bet365)
Fremantle vs Port Adelaide
4:40 pm AEST, Perth Stadium
Things aren’t going all that well for Fremantle at the moment, and won’t Port Adelaide be happy about that; this would be a tricky game for Port if the Dockers were closer to full strength but as things stand it should be a comfortable win. That will take them one step closer to a top four finish, and they’ll need to make sure they do get the four points here as their run home is quite difficult — and now they’ll have to do it without crucial defender Tom Jonas.
There’s no relief for Freo on the injury front this week — Aaron Sandilands and Nat Fyfe are still nowhere in sight, and now impressive first year player Andrew Brayshaw is out for at least a few weeks as well. The only real benefit to all this is that the Dockers might slide down the ladder and earn themselves a better draft pick come the end of the year. Port will be more than happy to help out, and I expect they’ll do so by winning this one by plenty.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide (-26.5) @ $1.92 (Ladbrokes)
Best Bets of the Round
St Kilda By 25+ @ $2.05 (Neds)
All Bets: -16.46 units
Best Bets: -2.48 units