The following are previews with betting tips for Round 16 of the 2019 AFL season.
Friday, July 5
Hawthorn vs Collingwood
7:50pm AEST, MCG
The Hawks did so much right on Saturday afternoon and deserved a much-needed win, but a few costly mistakes in the dying minutes allowed the Eagles to steal victory. It was a see-sawing affair, and while the weather turned the game into a contested scrap, it was still enthralling to watch. The Hawks will be buoyed by the effort but obviously disappointed with the result; this week they face a side who will be happy with neither last week’s result nor the effort: the Pies were smashed in all facets of the game by a hungrier North Melbourne. It was embarrassing, and it came a week after coach Nathan Buckley lamented a win over the Dogs as Collingwood’s worst performance of the year. Maybe he was onto something, or maybe the Pies aren’t going quite as well as he thought they were. Regardless, this was their worst performance of the year, and you’d expect them to bounce back with venom on Friday night. That could spell trouble for Hawthorn, who are competitive at their best, but at their worst will clearly struggle to match the Pies in the middle; or anywhere on the ground for that matter.
Last week’s loss was a shock, but it won’t define their season; how they respond will. I expect the Pies to come out and make a stand this week; they may not get straight back to their best, but their effort will be considerably better and that should ensure they record a win over the Hawks.
Betting tip: Collingwood to win @ $1.48 (BetFair)
Saturday, July 6
Essendon vs Sydney
1:45pm AEST, MCG
The Bombers re-ignited their spluttering 2019 season with a shock win over the Giants on Thursday night, and would have then enjoyed watching on as the rest of the weekend’s results fell favourably for them. It’s really opened things up for the Bombers — and a few other top eight contenders — after their season was looking doomed just a few weeks ago. Unfortunately they’ll be without first choice ruck Tom Bellchambers for the next six weeks, and that’s a big blow: the Bombers are light-on for ruck depth, and back-up Zac Clarke hasn’t been all that impressive in his few appearances at senior level. But it’s either Clarke, or playing out full games with makeshift ruckmen Shaun McKernan and Cale Hooker. As good as those two were against GWS in the last quarter, doing that for a full game is probably not viable: not only would they concede the ruck battle, it also disrupts their structure.
As luck would have it, Sydney were also dealt a major ruck blow last week when Callum Sinclair dislocated his shoulder twice in the opening quarter against Gold Coast. So this week will be a ruck stalemate of sorts, before more pressing tests approach in the weeks to come. The Bombers will head in as favourites and rightly so, but the Swans have won three-in-a-row and are capable of pulling off an upset. I do think the Bombers will be too strong at the ‘G, but this one should be a fairly tight contest.
Betting tip: Essendon By 1-39 @ $2.30 (TopBetta)
Gold Coast vs Richmond
2:10pm AEST, Metricon Stadium
The Suns have now slumped to 10 consecutive losses, and thanks to Carlton’s incredible win over the Dockers, have dropped to bottom on the ladder. It’s hard to imagine things could have turned so sour after their bright start to the year, but the Suns are now in dangerous territory. Arresting a form slump as horrid as the one they’re in isn’t easy, particularly not with the lack of resources at their disposal. This week they’ll face the Tigers at Metricon Stadium, and while that contest might have appealed to them a few weeks ago, Richmond’s recent reinforcements will make life tough for the battling Suns.
The Tigers did take a while to get going against the Saints in what was another game full of momentum swings, but they broke free in the final term to run out five goal winners. After three consecutive losses any win would have been nice, but they played in a manner that would have pleased coach Damien Hardwick. Whether they find the form needed to challenge the better teams in the competition remains to be seen, but they shouldn’t have any issues dispatching of the Suns this weekend to consolidate their top eight position.
Betting tip: Richmond (-31.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Adelaide vs Port Adelaide
4:35pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
All Showdowns are big games, but this one feels particularly important. As Rory Sloane said during the week, “We’re always wary of Port, especially in Showdowns.” I’m not sure Rory quite nailed what he was trying to say, but the point is that this is a crucial game for both clubs. The Crows have had the edge over Port for quite some time now, but I don’t think that necessarily means a lot this weekend. Both clubs had disappointing losses last weekend, though to varying degrees: the Crows lost a game they were expected to lose but will be disappointed they got themselves into a winning position and wasted it, while Port lost a game they entered as hot favourites. The monsoon-esque conditions probably made things difficult for Port and their young, silky forwards, but they still didn’t play the conditions well when really they should have been able to adapt and beat the Dogs at home.
Last week’s disappointment will be forgotten as these teams run out in front of a packed Adelaide Oval crowd on Saturday and put everything on the line. Port need a win to ensure they stay in the top eight; Adelaide are in the same boat, but top four is still in play for them as well. I expect this to be a ripping game of footy, and I think both teams will bring something close to their best footy. I’m going with the Crows to extend their Showdown dominance, but conditions aside, it should be an entertaining, free-flowing game of footy without much in it.
Betting tip: Adelaide to win @ $1.70 (BetFair)
Western Bulldogs vs Geelong
7:25pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
Geelong proved their loss to Port Adelaide wasn’t the start of a form slump and more to do with their post-bye curse when they took care of the determined Crows on Friday night. Adelaide gave them plenty to think about, particularly in the first half, but as has been the case for much of the year, the Cats were just too good. This week they venture to Marvel Stadium to take on the Dogs, who are coming off an impressive victory of their own, defeating Port Adelaide — Geelong’s vanquisher of the week prior — in torrential rain at the Adelaide Oval. The Dogs have had some great wins this year — interspersed in poor performances — but that has to be their best yet.
It’s going to be tough for them to back it up though, as the Dogs have been Geelong’s playthings for years: 2018 was the first time in forever the Dogs had actually beaten Geelong, and it only happened because every Dogs’ player on the ground was jumping up and down and annoying Harry Taylor as he lined up for a simple set shot to win the game after the siren. They’ll take confidence from that into this week, but Geelong are a different team this year. Their best is considerably better than what the Dogs are capable of, and I expect that stark difference to be on show on Saturday night: the Cats to win this one easily.
Betting tip: Geelong (-21.5) @ $1.91 (BetEasy)
Fremantle vs West Coast
8:10pm AEST, Optus Stadium
If the Dockers hadn’t dropped the ball over the past two weeks and lost to two of the bottom sides the build-up to this game would be massive. And the past fortnight could cost the Dockers more than just some pre-Derby anticipation — the fight for a finals berth is really tightening up, so it wasn’t an ideal time for Freo to lose games they should have won. They’ll head into this week as underdogs, with the Eagles not in the best of form against Hawthorn on Saturday but still good enough to secure victory in an arm-wrestle of a contest. Jeremy McGovern will return for the Eagles, while Aaron Sandilands will make his long-awaited return for the Dockers.
I expect a response from the Dockers this week, but still think the Eagles will be too good for them. It might be one of those games where the underdog gives it their all and manages to force a contest for the first half, before the superior team gets on top to record a seemingly easy victory. The Dockers are capable of more than they’re producing at the moment, but injury and poor form has hurt them considerably and I think the Eagles will capitalise this weekend.
Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $1.40 (TopBetta)
Sunday, July 7
Carlton vs Melbourne
1:10pm AEST, MCG
The Blues caused the upset of the season in the last game of round 16, beating the Dockers in remarkable circumstances. Despite playing without superstar Patrick Cripps, who has often played a lone-hand in the midfield, despite losing Charlie Curnow in the first ten minutes of the game, and despite conceding the first five goals, Carlton found a way to win. And it wasn’t just any win, a win over say, Gold Coast, it was against the Dockers in Perth. It’s been another disappointing year for the Blues, but that would’ve been special to watch for Carlton fans. And while they’ve not necessarily been great at backing up wins, the Demons at the ‘G this week presents as another opportunity for four points.
The Dees have slowly improved as the season has progressed, but they’re still not even close to their 2018 form. They were right in the contest against the Lions up until three-quarter time, but Brisbane powered away from them in the final term, and that probably sums up their season: they’ve been thereabouts at times, but ultimately not good enough. You’d think they’ll beat the Blues this weekend, but after last week’s results nothing would surprise.
Betting tip: Melbourne to win @ $1.48 (BetFair)
North Melbourne vs St Kilda
3:20pm AEST, Blundstone Arena
Speaking of last weekend’s strange results, North Melbourne thumping Collingwood was right up there. It was the style of the win that was so surprising: any unsuspecting viewer would have assumed North, not Collingwood, was the premiership contender. They’re in a good run of form at present, and at this rate are as good a chance as any of the surrounding teams of making the finals. A game against the Saints in Tasmania this weekend looms as another win — so long as they continue their good form — which would set up a mammoth clash against the Bombers next weekend.
But the Saints will challenge the Roos, just as they challenged the Tigers for three-quarters on Sunday. It probably wasn’t their best performance, but they did what the Saints have done all year: worked hard to create a contest, even if their skills have at times let them down. I suspect if they do the same this week they’ll force a tight result; the Roos are another team who like the contested ball but can lack execution, so these teams should be fairly evenly matched. The venue, as well as their current form, pushes it in North’s favour, but I expect it should be a relatively close game of footy.
Betting tip: Kangaroos By 1-39 @ $2.15 (TopBetta)
GWS Giants vs Brisbane
4:40pm AEST, Sydney Showground Stadium
The last game of the round might not attract a large audience, but it has the potential to be the game of the weekend. There’s plenty at stake for the fourth-placed Giants and the fifth-placed Lions, so expect a fierce contest from the first bounce. GWS have blown chances to consolidate their top four position in the last month, having lost two of their past three. The most frustrating of those would have been against the Bombers on Thursday night, when they had a winning lead and somehow managed to let it slip. This is another chance to not only prop themselves up the ladder, but to push an opponent down. The Lions have a fairly cushy run home and sit behind the Giants on percentage only, so a win here is critical for GWS. They’ve got the home ground advantage, but Brisbane have shown this year that travelling holds no fear for them. The Lions are in good form, and once they get a run on are very difficult to stop. The exact same can be said for GWS, though they’ll also be motivated to make amends for last week’s bitterly disappointing loss to the Bombers.
There will be goal kickers aplenty at either end of the ground and if they get unrestricted supply, this could turn into a shoot-out. I suspect that might be the case, and while the Lions won’t mind that too much, I think it’ll slightly favour the Giants. They’re very hard to beat at home, and they should get the result they’re after in an entertaining game of footy.
Betting tip: GWS to win @ $1.40 (TopBetta)
Best Bets of the Round
Geelong (-21.5) @ $1.91 (BetEasy)