The following are previews with betting tips for Round 14 of the 2019 AFL season.
Thursday, June 20
West Coast vs Essendon
8:10pm AEST, Optus Stadium
Despite having many setbacks at various times throughout the year, Essendon’s season is alive and well after their win over the Hawks on Friday night. It leaves them just one win outside of the top eight, but they do have some tough games coming up, starting with the Eagles in Perth this Thursday. West Coast will be well rested after having the week off, but at the same time they’ll be hungry to get out there and atone for their miserable performance against the Swans the week prior. That’s now a few really poor losses from the Eagles so far this year, and it definitely puts serious doubt on their premiership credentials, but for now they’re still within that top five grouping. They’ll need to beat the Bombers this week however, or they risk losing pace with the top four; I think the Bombers match up well on West Coast and should give them a run for their money, so it’s a real danger game.
The Eagles should be able to control the air if the Bombers kick it in high to their medium-sized forwards; if that happens the Eagles will cruise to an easy win, but if the Bombers can lower their eyes and hit up targets, they might be a chance. West Coast have some big inclusions, with skipper Shannon Hurn returning along with Elliot Yeo and Chris Masten, while the Bombers will be without Jake Stringer as he recovers from a lower leg injury. I’m going with the Eagles at home, but think it might be an interesting battle.
Betting tip: West Coast By 1-39 @ $2.08 (TopBetta)
Friday, June 21
Sydney vs Hawthorn
7:50pm AEST, SCG
Alistair Clarkson called the clash against the Bombers a “cut-throat game”, and the Hawks lost it, fairly comprehensively too — kicking the last three goals of the game made it seem closer than it was. It now seems the Hawks are destined to miss the top eight, and that would become even more of a foregone conclusion if they’re unable to beat the Swans on Friday night. It’s not going to be an easy task; the Swans seemed to have somewhat regained their mojo. They’re playing much better footy than they were earlier in the season, and they no longer have the inexplicable struggles at the SCG that plagued them for quite a while. They’ll go into this one as favourites, and rightly so: the Swans seem to be gaining confidence, and not much is going right for the Hawks at the moment. They’ll be without skipper Ben Stratton for a few weeks as he sits on the sidelines for his pinching and stomping antics, but Jarryd Roughead has earned a recall to the senior team after a long stint in the seconds.
I can’t see it being a huge margin but I reckon the Swans will win this one without straining themselves too much, especially with the inclusions of Josh Kennedy and Zak Jones, two really important players for the Swans.
Betting tip: Sydney to win @ $1.55 (BetFair)
Saturday, June 22
Melbourne vs Fremantle
1:45pm AEST, MCG
Fremantle’s clash against the Power last weekend was one of the season’s most entertaining games of footy to date; both teams played an exciting brand of footy, taking risks where possible. They were both incredibly committed and hard in the contest, the pressure was high, and the skills were good for the most part. And the scoreboard was tight until midway through the final term when the Dockers got on top. It was a brilliant game, and a huge win for Fremantle. This week they travel down to Melbourne to take on the Demons at the MCG, obviously another big game for the club. They’ve already beaten the Pies at the home of football, so they’ll back themselves to get the job done against Melbourne. The Dees will be improving over the next month or two though; key players Jake Lever and Steven May will only get better as they get some match practice, but unfortunately Lever will miss this one with bone bruising.
I reckon this might be an arm-wrestle for the most part, but the Dockers have proved themselves quite good at getting over the line in a close one, so I’m backing them to do it again.
Betting tip: Fremantle to win @ $2.08 (BetFair)
St Kilda vs Brisbane
4:35pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
The Saints very nearly became the team the Suns broke their losing streak against, but a strong second-half was enough to get them over the line by four points in a thrilling contest. It keeps them within reach of the top eight, and they’ve got a winnable game this week against the Lions. Brisbane have been stewing over their loss to the Blues during their week off and will no doubt be keen to get out there against the Saints and make amends. It’s at the same venue, but their opponent will be tougher this week and won’t allow them a six goal head start. The Lions will need to be considerably better to challenge the Saints, but that shouldn’t be too much of a worry: they’re capable of playing much better footy than what they dished up against Carlton, and they’ve shown that against some good opposition this year. But it goes without saying that this is a must-win game, and their good start to the year will be wasted if they drop this one after the dismal effort against the Blues.
They’re up against potentially the best side the Saints have fielded this year, with Jake Carlisle and Dan Hannebery both in the team for the first time in 2019. Those two will improve the Saints considerably, but they might take a few weeks to get to their best. Again, I think this will be another close one, but I’m backing the Lions to rebound and display the standard of footy that has them sitting comfortably in the top eight.
Betting tip: Brisbane to win @ $1.77 (BetFair)
Port Adelaide vs Geelong
7:40pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
This is a huge game for Port Adelaide: a home game against the best team on a Saturday night. Everyone will be watching, seeing whether Port have what it takes to be a finals contender in 2019. A win here puts them right amongst the top eight, but a loss will see them drift back from the pack. They were impressive in their loss to the Dockers last weekend, but it wasn’t enough to get them over the line. They can’t afford another impressive loss this week; they need the four points. They’ll need to beat the best team in the competition to get them, but Port’s best form this year has been good enough to match it with the best. They’ve also got some huge inclusions, with Ollie Wines returning and Charlie Dixon into the team for his first game of 2019. Justin Westoff and Paddy Ryder are the surprise omissions, and I’m not sure about those decisions to be honest. Both are very good players, and I would’ve found room for them in the team, particularly this week.
It should be thrilling contest, and while the Adelaide Oval crowd will be willing their team home, I can’t tip against the Cats at the moment; they’re just too good. Even with the post-bye Geelong curse, I think the Cats will get the job done.
Betting tip: Geelong to win @ $1.51 (BetFair)
Sunday, June 23
Western Bulldogs vs Collingwood
3:20pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
The Dogs did their best to allow Carlton to storm over them and steal a win, not once but twice: the Dogs had a commanding lead before the Blues got on a run in the third quarter, and the same thing happened in the last term. The Dogs regrouped to get the lead back out to 34-points with less than 10 minutes remaining, which is just about an unassailable position, but they then gave Carlton a genuine chance to win the game. Still, they got the win, and it was a much better result for them than their previous effort against the Blues. This week they move on to bigger fish when they host the Pies at Marvel Stadium, and despite having the bye, what a week it’s been for Collingwood.
The news that young gun Jaidyn Stephenson has been placing bets on games of footy he’s been playing in is shocking considering the amount of education the players get around that sort of thing. It was a brainless decision on his part, and it will cost him; it might also cost his team, with Stephenson being a vital cog in the Collingwood forward line. They’ll probably be fine without him against the Dogs, but his absence might be costly when they face off against some stiffer opposition.
Betting tip: Collingwood (-22.5) @ $2.00 (TopBetta)
Best Bets of the Round
Fremantle to win @ $2.08 (BetFair)