The following are previews with betting tips for Round 17 of the 2019 AFL season.
Friday, July 12
West Coast vs Collingwood
8:10pm AEST, Optus Stadium
The Eagles made their first major statement of the season in Saturday evening’s Derby, flexing their muscle to defeat the Dockers by a whopping 91-points. Despite having so far won the majority of their games, it was the first time they’d put on a genuinely dominant four quarter display, and it came against a relatively strong opposition. Nic Naitanui’s first game back from a long injury lay-off might not have been too flash, but he had a real impact in the second. If he can stay healthy and continue building that sort of form the Eagles are going to be premiership favourites soon enough, especially since the other contenders seem to be falling down around them.
One of those other contenders is this week’s opponent, Collingwood, who have had a fairly disastrous three weeks, it’s fair to say. They narrowly scraped home against the Dogs, were well beaten by North, and then succumbed to the Hawks on Friday night. Their form slump is a major problem for Nathan Buckley and co., but as long as it’s just that — a slump — and not something more sinister, the Pies will still be thereabouts come September. The issue, however, is that this slump is going to cost them a top two finish, and potentially the double chance if they don’t pull their finger out soon. Beating the Eagles in Perth would emphatically end the slump and put them back within reach of a home qualifying final, but they don’t look likely at the moment. There’s so much on the line, but the Pies just don’t look right, and considering how good West Coast were last week, it’s hard to back against them.
Betting tip: West Coast (-18.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Saturday, July 13
Sydney vs Carlton
1:45pm AEST, SCG
Sydney’s chances of again rebounding from a poor start to the season to make finals look to have eroded with their loss to the Bombers on Saturday, but there’s still plenty to be excited about. Nick Blakey continues showing signs of being a future star, whilst the team as a whole is functioning a whole lot better than they were early on in the year. Now they just need to ensure John Longmire isn’t tempted back to his former club and they can continue building for next year.
They’ve got a winnable game this week against the Blues, though Carlton have been much improved over the past month, almost stealing another victory on the weekend when they fell five points short of the injury-ravaged Demons. The Blues will this week welcome the return of star midfielder Patrick Cripps, while also knowing that they’re still a very competitive team without him. That surely does wonders for their confidence, and you’d suspect they’ll back themselves to match the Swans this weekend, provided they play something close to their best footy. Sydney are still without Lance Franklin, and despite their recent run of improved form, they’ve definitely not set the world alight in 2019. If the Blues can get off to a good start and put the Swans under pressure, it should turn out to be a close game of footy. I’m still backing the Swans to win up there, but it should be another tight one.
Betting tip: Sydney to win @ $1.32 (UniBet)
Hawthorn vs Fremantle
2:10pm AEST, University of Tasmania Stadium
The Hawks finally put a halt to their run of losses with a hard-fought victory over the Pies on Friday night. The game wasn’t pretty, in fact, it was downright hard to watch for the first three quarters, but it opened up in the final quarter and when that happened, the Hawks were clearly the better team. It’s hard to know how much to read into the win, since Collingwood seem to be struggling at present, but it was an important win nonetheless.
This week the Hawks head to their second home to take on the Dockers, who are licking their wounds after an absolute hiding from the Eagles. It was the type of performance that effectively ends any hope of contending for a premiership; Fremantle probably weren’t at that level regardless, but when they lose, at home, by close to 100-points, their spirit is somewhat destroyed and at this stage of the year that’s hard to recover from. It’s not like it was a one-off either; the Dockers have been below-average for a number of weeks now, and it’s hard to see them making a miraculous recovery this week in the frigid conditions of Tasmania. It’s likely to be a scrap and relatively low-scoring, but I’m not confident the Dockers have what it takes to win that sort of game at the moment, they’re just too out of sorts. I’m going with the Hawks by a couple of goals.
Betting tip: Hawthorn to win $1.50 (UniBet)
Essendon vs North Melbourne
4:35pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
This clash between the Bombers and North shapes as a key game in determining the final look of the top eight. They both currently sit just outside the eight — ninth and tenth respectively — and would be confident that the potential to move up and secure a finals berth is entirely in their control. Both clubs have won four of their past five matches, which is on par as the best form of any team in the competition. North have probably been slightly more convincing over that time period, but the Bombers have shown that their best is good enough to challenge all comers.
It’s really difficult to confidently predict an outcome here; regardless of which way it falls, you’ve got to imagine it will be tight. The Kangaroos will probably have the edge over the Bombers in the contested ball, and that might be the difference. Both clubs have a dangerous attack and a defence that is steady and dependable. If North can get on top in the middle and give their forwards more supply, that should be enough to get them over the line.
Betting tip: North Melbourne to win @ $2.05 (Ladbrokes)
Gold Coast vs Adelaide
7:25pm AEST, Metricon Stadium
Things are getting seriously ugly for the Suns, and the coming match against an embarrassed Adelaide doesn’t give a rosy outlook for this week either. Last week’s first half against Richmond was one of the most one-sided performances you’ll ever see, and unfortunately things could’ve been worse: the Suns were at home, and the Tigers didn’t exactly enter the game in rich form. This week is a similar proposition: the Suns are again playing at Metricon Stadium, this time against what is sure to be a fired-up Adelaide side.
The season is on the line for the Crows after a horror loss to Port in last week’s Showdown; it’s time for Adelaide to either put a halt to the weekly fluctuations in form and effort, or else they’ll prove themselves as pretenders in 2019. They’re almost certain to win this week regardless of that, but the following week’s Friday night blockbuster against the Bombers will give us a much better indication of what the Crows are made of — I’m not sure they’re as good as the top four or five teams in the competition, but now’s their chance to take a stand and make something of a season that is still wide open.
Betting tip: Adelaide By 40+ @ $2.32 (TopBetta)
Geelong vs St Kilda
7:25pm AEST, GMHBA
The other Saturday night game looks to be just as lop-sided as the first, so unless you’re a Suns, Crows, Cats, or Saints fan, I hope you’ve got other plans for your evening. St Kilda’s form has noticeably fallen away over the past month and while they’re still competitive, they can’t afford to lose four of five games when they’re always so close to being under the media’s blow torch. That applies to coach Alan Richardson in particular, and barring an exceptional finish to the year, it looks 2019 might be his final season in charge of the Saints. They’ve got one of the toughest tasks in footy awaiting them this weekend: the Cats in Geelong. That’s scary enough, but when Geelong are hurting from a disappointing loss it becomes even more daunting.
The Cats didn’t look like themselves against the Dogs on Saturday night, but the good news is they’re still a game clear on top of the ladder and should cruise to a top two finish despite dropping the four points. And even though they played well below their usual standard, they still could’ve won the game if not for poor kicking at goal. You’d expect them to bounce back this weekend with a big win over the Saints; the Saints aren’t a bad team, but I think we might see another very large winning margin here, following on from some of last weekend’s results.
Betting tip: Geelong By 40+ @ $1.67 (UniBet)
Sunday, July 14
Richmond vs GWS Giants
1:10pm AEST, MCG
This is one of the weekend’s most important games; there’s potentially a top four spot up for grabs for the winner, while the loser will find it very difficult to catch the teams above them in the limited games remaining. The Tigers have turned their form around in the last two weeks with the help of some returning stars, which puts them right back into premiership contention. The Giants have done the opposite, losing their last two games to put serious doubt over what they’re capable of achieving this season. So this is a crunch game for both clubs, but in particular for GWS; if they’re to be a serious challenger in 2019, they must beat the Tigers on Sunday. It’s as simple as that, but unfortunately the task of actually defeating the Tigers isn’t going to be so easy, not in the form they’re in, and not without star midfielder Josh Kelly; though in some better news they do regain one of their other most important players in Lachie Whitfield.
The Tigers are set to recall Jack Riewoldt; their star forward has fully recovered from his knee injury and will look to finally form a dangerous partnership with key recruit Tom Lynch. It might take time, but if the Tigers can get their forward line to gel by September it’ll make them a formidable opponent, no matter where they’re forced to travel or whom they’re up against — I expect them to kick off their charge to September by easily accounting for the Giants on Sunday.
Betting tip: Richmond (-14.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Western Bulldogs vs Melbourne
3:20pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
The Dogs stunned the football world by beating the Cats, the ladder-leaders and hot-favourites, at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night. It definitely wasn’t the quintessential game of Australian footy; it followed the same script as Friday evening’s Hawthorn and Collingwood match, where the first three-quarters were a scrap before the game opened up in the last. The surprise in both games was that the underdog got right on top when that happened, and it was the Dogs who took full advantage of the extra space and freedom in the last quarter. The Cats looked tired, and admittedly they were one man down for the majority of the game, but the Dogs’ pressure was relentless and they looked dangerous in attack which has not always been the case.
This week they face the Demons, who were able to hold off a fast-finishing Carlton despite being down to one man on the bench. If anything typifies Melbourne’s 2019 season it’s this: Tom McDonald struggling all year before finally hitting some form in the last month, kicking six goals in the first three quarters against Carlton before injuring a knee and being ruled out for not just the game, but the rest of the season. It’s hard to take for Melbourne fans, but at least McDonald had the chance to reverse his form before his year ended. He and his team can now re-group for next season and start afresh. That’s not to say that the Dees aren’t a real chance this weekend, because I reckon they are: the Dogs have struggled with favouritism, and I expect the ruck combination of Max Gawn and Braydon Preuss to really test young Dog Tim English. If the Dogs don’t have a plan B for when the Dees get on top in that area, it could spell trouble.
Betting tip: Melbourne to win @ $2.55 (Ladbrokes)
Port Adelaide vs Brisbane
4:40pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
For anyone who still had doubts, it’s now official: the Lions are playing finals footy in 2019. Deservedly so too, and they won’t be simply making up the numbers. They’re a strong team with a great blend of experience and youth, and on Sunday they proved without a doubt that they can beat good teams outside of the confines of the Gabba. This is another huge test for them: the Adelaide Oval is an imposing fortress-like venue compared to Giants Stadium, so the Lions will have to deal with the added psychological factor of crowd intimidation and noise, while taking it up to the Power, who have once again shown their best is as good as just about anyone. The trouble is they don’t play to that level often enough, and if they have one of their now customary off-weeks then the Lions will beat them. Which is great news for us, because it makes predicting a winner next to impossible.
I love the way the Lions are playing and absolutely believe they’re capable of beating Port, but I’m going to play it safe and stick with the home side in this one. Brisbane will be without star forward Eric Hipwood and the experience of Luke Hodge, while Port will get ex-skipper Travis Boak back into the team after he was a late withdrawal against the Crows. Those changes tilt the match in Port’s favour, but it’s still an ‘anything-could-happen’ type of game — which probably means it’ll be a completely one-sided affair from the opening minutes.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide to win @ $1.60 (Ladbrokes)
Best Bets of the Round
Richmond (-14.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)