The following are previews with betting tips for Round 10 of the 2019 AFL season.
Friday, May 24
Sydney vs Collingwood
7:50pm AEST, SCG
These clubs have had some great battles in Sydney over the past decade, but with the Swan’s recent sharp decline it’s hard to see this one being a close contest. They’ve managed to add some respectability to their season in the last two weeks, eerily winning games over the Bombers and the Kangaroos via the exact same score line, but they’re going to struggle against a side as good as Collingwood, even if Buddy Franklin and Josh Kennedy are back in the team. The Pies are now sitting in clear second after their win over the Saints, which was a close game until the fourth quarter when the Pies put their foot down and powered home to an easy win.
They’re still battling to field a consistent 22, but at this stage of the season that doesn’t matter much so long as the wins keep coming, and that hasn’t been an issue. Travis Varcoe is out suspended for this one, but silky veteran Daniel Wells comes in for his first game of the season. As has been the case in recent weeks, they probably won’t have to play at their absolute best to beat their opposition, all it will take is a dominant quarter and they’re capable of ending the contest; I expect that will be the case here: whether it’s in first or the last, the Pies are at some stage likely to kick a burst of five or six goals and take the game out of Sydney’s hands.
Betting tip: Collingwood to win @ $1.48 (BetFair)
Saturday, May 25
Hawthorn vs Port Adelaide
1:45pm AEST, University of Tasmania Stadium
The Hawks couldn’t quite match their previous week’s effort against GWS when they faced the Tigers on Sunday afternoon; they were in the game for most of the afternoon but never really looked like winning. It continues their recent win-followed-by-loss form, and makes this clash against the Power a really important game for them. Port are one of the clubs Hawthorn will be contesting with for a spot in the bottom half of the top eight; they put themselves a game clear of the Hawks with last week’s big win over the Suns.
This week will be more difficult: the Hawks aren’t easy to beat in Tasmania; the Blues nearly got them there a month ago, but the Hawks seem to have lifted out of the slump they were in at that time. They’re still not playing utterly convincing footy, but you’d think they’ll start favourites in this one even if it’s a genuine fifty-fifty contest. Games down there generally turn out to be fairly scrappy affairs, but I’m not sure who that best suits; the Hawks are used to it, but they prefer clean ball movement rather than contested scraps. I’d generally say Port prefer an open game as well, but they didn’t have any troubles in terrible conditions against the Eagles earlier this year, so maybe it’ll suit them.
Basically what I’m saying is, I think this one is difficult to pick. Both teams have two big inclusions — Chad Wingard and James Frawley for the Hawks, Robbie Gray and Tom Jonas for Port — but are also both missing their main ruckman. I’m going to stick with the Hawks purely because of the venue.
Betting tip: Hawthorn to win @ $1.79 (BetFair)
Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne
2:10pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
North Melbourne’s disastrous start to the season didn’t get any better last weekend, with a surprise five point loss to the Swans enforcing the fact that, as of right now, they’re a bottom two side. There’s plenty of time left to salvage something, but they don’t look likely at the moment. This week they return to Melbourne to take on the Dogs at Marvel Stadium, and considering the Dogs’ lacklustre form against some of the other bottom teams (i.e. Carlton and Gold Coast), you’d think the Roos will come into this one sniffing an upset, but they’ll need to be markedly better for that to happen.
The Dogs weren’t bad against the Cats last weekend, reducing the margin to just nine points early in the last quarter before running out of legs and letting themselves down in the final twenty minutes. The signs were encouraging overall, but they now need to ensure they don’t lower their colours against a team they should beat. If the Dogs come to play they win this by at least four goals, but if they slacken off like they have at various times this year, the bruised and battered Kangaroos will be desperate to make them pay. With current form the way it is, it’s hard to go past the Dogs; I’m just a little wary of their mindset when playing lesser teams.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs By 1-39 @ $2.25 (TopBetta)
Adelaide vs West Coast
4:35pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
The Crows fell agonisingly short in their late charge against the Lions on Saturday afternoon, with the final siren sounding just after Eddie Betts kicked a goal to reduce the margin to a single point. They’ll be disappointed with the result but the effort was solid against a team that is proving difficult to beat at their home ground. This week the Crows will look to regroup when they return to Adelaide to host the reigning champs in another massive game. The Eagles haven’t been in the best form but continue to get over the line; whether they can do that against the Crows in Adelaide will be a big test. Josh Jenkins kicked a bag of five in the SANFL and will be feeling a touch unlucky he didn’t get a recall, and speaking of unlucky, Bryce Gibbs is surely confused as to why he’s been dropped again, on the back of 22 disposals and two goals.
This should be one of the closest games of the round; while I’m coming around to the Crows in 2019, I’m sticking with West Coast in this one. They have some fond memories of playing at the Adelaide Oval, and I think they match up well against the Crows. I don’t think it’ll be a large margin either way, but I suspect the Eagles might just pip the home team.
Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $2.45 (TopBetta)
Gold Coast vs Geelong
7:25pm AEST, Metricon Stadium
The Suns are in trouble here: they host the top-of-the-ladder Cats in what is sure to be one of this weekend’s most lopsided results. They could pray for rain, but they’re unlikely to get enough up there on the Gold Coast. Even if they can bog the game down, the Cats have more than their share of players who love winning a contested ball, so that’s not likely to help them much anyway. Patrick Dangerfield being out helps; a late withdrawal or two would be nice, but the Cats are unlikely to flirt with their form too heavily.
Unfortunately, it simply seems like the Suns are going to cop a flogging in this one, and there’s not much they can do about it. The Cats continued on their merry way last weekend, defeating a spirited Bulldogs outfit by a lazy seven goals. The Dogs gave it everything they had and played close to their best; the Cats weren’t near their best, and yet won easily. That’s a worrying thought for the Gold Coast, but at least they don’t have to travel to Geelong to take on the ladder leaders. That would make things even worse; as it stands, at best the Suns lose this one by eight goals.
Betting tip: Geelong By 40+ @ $2.28 (TopBetta)
Richmond vs Essendon
7:25pm AEST, MCG
The Bombers got their season back on track with a hard-fought win over the Dockers on the weekend, while the Tigers continued to defy the odds in their win over the Hawks. To be fair, the Hawks have been hit with injury just as hard (if not harder) than the Tigers, but it was an impressive victory nonetheless. Dustin Martin was back to his scintillating best, and after a lean patch Tom Lynch is beginning to impact games again. The future isn’t looking quite as rosy for the Bombers, who during the week learnt that stars Devon Smith and Joe Daniher are both out for the remainder of the year. That puts a serious dent in their finals chances; in fact, I would be stunned if they managed to make the top eight from here. They’re already a game behind, and are now without two of their most important players for the whole year.
The good news is that this week is the annual dreamtime clash, a game that these two clubs always look forward to. It doesn’t necessarily result in a close encounter, but it’s a massive event regardless. I feel like a lot would need to go right for the Bombers to win this one; the Tigers are such a good pressure team and I think they’ll get on top of Essendon in that regard. A win would re-ignite their season after such disappointing news, but I just think the Tigers will be slightly too much for them to overcome.
Betting tip: Richmond to win @ $1.50 (Bet365)
Sunday, May 26
Melbourne vs GWS Giants
1:10pm AEST, MCG
For the second time in less than a year, the Demons were heartbroken by a game against the Eagles at Optus Stadium. The first was their crushing preliminary final defeat late last year, the second Friday night’s much closer game that ended bitterly in the exact same result, despite a significantly better effort from the Dees. A win would have given them some hope for the rest of the year, but they couldn’t do enough to wrest control of the game from the home team in the dying stages. The close loss is made worse by the fact that this week they face a strong GWS team intent on atoning for past misdemeanours at the MCG. The Giants belted the Blues on Sunday, but that was never going to be a test for them.
This week will tell us something about the Giants; even if they would likely belt the Dees at another venue, a win at the ‘G is another matter for them regardless of the strength of their opponent. GWS need to make a statement at the game’s biggest and most important venue, and this is the week they need to do it. I’m backing them to get the job done; they’re a much, much better team than the Demons at present, so if they can overcome the mental hurdle of playing at the MCG they should have no issues disposing of the Dees.
Betting tip: GWS to win @ $1.58 (Sportsbet)
St Kilda vs Carlton
3:20pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
Carlton’s season is fast heading down a slippery slope, in similar style to years gone by. The main difference is that this year they don’t have their first draft pick. Oh, and coach Brendan Bolton’s job is on the line. They can’t afford to lose by near to 100 points, and they can’t afford to keep losing close games. You’d think they’re a chance against the Saints this weekend, but a close loss won’t be good enough; they need to win.
The Saints are also in need of a win having lost their last four outings. They fought doggedly against the Pies on the weekend, but Collingwood over-powered them in the final quarter to make the game seem one-sided. That wasn’t the case; the Saints were neck-and-neck with Collingwood for the first three quarters, but lacked the class and experience to get the job done. If they play that way again this week it’s hard to see Carlton getting close to them — especially without Marc Murphy — and I suspect that will be the case: despite Carlton’s best efforts, they’re likely to fall short yet again.
Betting tip: St Kilda (-17.5) @ $1.90 (Ladbrokes)
Fremantle vs Brisbane
5:20pm AEST, Optus Stadium
The last game of the round quite often doesn’t provide much to look forward to, but this week it should be a ripper: the ninth-placed Dockers host the fourth-placed Lions in a battle that is likely to have finals implications come the end of the season. Brisbane continue to do a lot right, holding off the in-form Crows for a hugely important one-point victory at the Gabba last weekend, while the Dockers return home after a disappointing loss to the Bombers.
Unfortunately key forward Matt Taberner will miss the rest of the season with stress fractures in his foot, but that opens the way for Cam McCarthy to return to the side and make his presence felt. For the Lions, Luke Hodge comes back in, while Allen Christensen and Lewis Taylor have also been named on the extended bench. It should be a great game of footy, and while either team is capable of beating the other on their day, you’ve got to think the Perth factor swings this in Fremantle’s favour.
Betting tip: Fremantle to win @ $1.74 (UniBet)
Best Bets of the Round
Geelong By 40+ @ $2.28 (TopBetta)