AFL Round 21 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for Round 21 of the 2019 AFL season.

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Friday, August 9


GWS Giants vs Hawthorn

7:50pm AEST, UNSW Canberra Oval
View a detailed form guide for GWS Giants vs Hawthorn


The Giants were lucky, extremely lucky, to get away with a win against the Swans on Saturday. They were outplayed for much of the game, losing each quarter but the second, and a non-call to Sydney’s Sam Reid in the dying stages was very fortunate, otherwise the result may have been different. It would’ve resulted in an easy set shot to put the Swans in front, but the Giants got away with it. That’s two close games in a row that the Giants have won, and what a difference a kick either way makes — they’re still well within reach of the top four, despite only just scraping by against Port and Sydney, two probable non-finalists.

This week they face the Hawks in what is another game they should win but can’t take too lightly. Hawthorn were thoroughly outplayed by North Melbourne on Friday night, and it would’ve stung; it was North’s first game after the signing of the inexperienced Rhyce Shaw as senior coach, and the Hawks were playing to keep their finals hopes alive. They barely put up a fight after a flurry of goals to the start the game, and that would’ve been immensely frustrating for Alistair Clarkson. He’ll look to find a way to turn things around this week against GWS, but I think they’re up against it: the Giants are too quick, too skilful for the slow, ageing Hawks, and I expect it’ll show. The Giants should get up comfortably.

Betting tip: GWS (-20.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)

Saturday, August 10


Melbourne vs Collingwood

1:45pm AEST, MCG
View a detailed form guide for Melbourne vs Collingwood


The start was a tad shaky, but the Pies worked their way into the game and eventually recorded a much-needed percentage-boosting win over the Suns on Sunday afternoon. They’ve got another easy game this week against the Demons, though no opposition save for the Suns has been easy for Collingwood in recent times. And while they’d obviously love to win their remaining three games, it probably doesn’t matter all that much; they’re highly unlikely to make the top four, and they’re not going to drop out of the top eight. In all likelihood, they’re going to finish fifth, sixth, or seventh, and face either Essendon or Adelaide at the MCG. What they need to focus on is getting themselves ready for that elimination final, but the continuing injury toll makes things hard. The latest victim was big Mason Cox, who will be out for the remainder of the year after a nasty eye poke. He hasn’t been in the best form of late, but he’s hugely important for their structure, and if the Pies got going further up field and the delivery inside fifty improved then he’d probably start to have an impact.

They won’t get the chance to see that happen for the remainder of this year, so they’ll need someone else to step up. Melbourne have some decent defenders so that’ll be a good test for the Pies this week, but you’d suspect they’ll be good enough to get the job done. Tougher assignments await them in the last two weeks of the season when they face the Crows and the Bombers, both of which are potential elimination final previews. They just need to get this week out of the way first of all, and I expect they’ll do that by taking care of the Demons by at least four or five goals.

Betting tip: Collingwood to win @ $1.51 (BetFair)


Port Adelaide vs Sydney

2:10pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
View a detailed form guide for Port Adelaide vs Sydney


Port kept their finals hopes alive in style on Saturday, thumping the seventh-placed Bombers by just shy of ten goals. It was a commanding performance, albeit against a depleted Essendon, the type of game Port have shown they’re capable of on multiple occasions this year. The problem for Port is still regarding their consistency, and this week presents as a test of that when they return home to host the Swans. Sydney aren’t a great side right now but they’re still capable of posing a decent challenge to most teams, as the Giants recently found out. If Port aren’t careful the Swans will make life tough for them, but you’d think, with so much on the line and so much focus on their consistency, that Port will come out with serious intent from the opening bounce and make a real statement. If they bring their energy from last week, when they had an even contribution from almost everyone, they’ll be hard to beat.

All they need is to somehow get big Charlie Dixon into form and who knows, if they force their way into the eight they might just pose a serious threat come September. I’m not convinced that’ll be the case; I still have major doubts over their mental toughness, but I do expect they’ll beat the Swans this weekend. Their season depends on it, and the encouraging surroundings of the Adelaide Oval should make things fairly easy for them.

Betting tip: Port Adelaide By 25+ @ $2.35 (TopBetta)


Brisbane vs Gold Coast

4:35pm AEST, The Gabba
View a detailed form guide for Brisbane vs Gold Coast


The Lions were once again seriously challenged, and once more came out victorious. The Dogs threw everything they had at the Lions, and while Brisbane would’ve been slightly concerned early in the last quarter, they were strong enough to withstand the assault and secure another four points. It seemed to come at a cost with skipper Dayne Zorko pulled out of the match with a hamstring complaint, but scans have cleared him of any serious damage, so there won’t be any concerns there; he’s lining up this week despite there probably not being any need for him to play. The Lions are still separated from the Eagles by less than one percentage point, so playing the Suns this week is absolutely ideal for them. They’ll need to make sure they’re ruthless in their approach, because a 100-point win is certainly possible and would do wonders for their chances of finishing in the top two.

The Suns will be desperately trying to avoid that outcome, but they’re going to struggle up at the Gabba, just as they struggled against Collingwood at the ‘G. It was a bright start, but not much went right for them after they kicked the opening two goals of the game. The form of Ben King has probably been the biggest positive from the second half of the season, and they’ll be hoping for more of that, but as a team I can’t see much to be optimistic about heading into this contest; the Lions should win be a significant margin.

Betting tip: Brisbane By 40+ @ $1.50 (TopBetta)


Essendon vs Western Bulldogs

7:25pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
View a detailed form guide for Essendon vs Western Bulldogs


Essendon’s winning streak came to an end in disappointing circumstances, with a poor performance made worse by further injury concerns. They didn’t show much fight against Port, but they had some decent excuses. The issue for the Bombers will be to navigate through the remaining three weeks while battling those injury concerns. Skipper Dyson Heppell is still a week-to-week proposition, though he’s named this week, Matt Guelfi is done for the year, Adam Saad will be out for a few weeks with a hamstring problem, while Darcy Parish and Aaron Francis are both out for this weekend as well. Add those names to the list of players who are already ruled out for the year, and you’ve got a pretty talented group of players missing. It’s going to make things difficult for the Bombers this weekend in taking on the Dogs, who are a very good team at their best, particularly at Marvel Stadium.

The Dogs were spirited in defeat against Brisbane, but their sloppy ball use and inability to hit the scoreboard when they were in total control of the contest hurt them in the end, as it usually will. They should be able to again gain the contested ball ascendancy against the Bombers, but a similar result will await them if they can’t clean up their forward half entries. I expect that’s what this one will come down to: the Dogs will get more of the ball and control a lot of the play, but Essendon will prove dangerous on the rebound and should do enough with their opportunities to kick a winning score.

Betting tip: Essendon @ $2.00 (Bet365)


Geelong vs North Melbourne

7:25pm AEST, GMHBA
View a detailed form guide for Geelong vs North Melbourne


What is going on at Geelong? This is the team who were a cut above all others for the entire first half of the season, moving the ball freely and scoring at will. They’re now struggling to score; they’re not even winning the midfield battle. It’s been obvious since the bye that they’re not playing at their best, but their performance against Fremantle on Saturday was still a shock. When the game was on the line, the Cats didn’t put up a fight, and that’s a real worry considering their top two spot is no longer safe from challengers. They face the Lions in Brisbane next week and based on current form it’s hard to see them winning that one, which means they need to win their other two remaining games: Carlton in round 23, which should be fairly simple, and this week against the Roos; a slightly tougher proposition.

North continue to show grit and determination under Rhyce Shaw, and while a trip down to Geelong is one of the toughest tasks in footy, you get the feeling it won’t hold any fear for this group at present. It’s unlikely they’ll do enough to actually steal a win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Kangaroos give this struggling Geelong team another genuine test, making the Cats earn the four points in a bruising encounter. There’s plenty on the line for Geelong, and I expect North to rise to the occasion as well; I’m going with the Cats by four goals.

Betting tip: Geelong (-22.5) @ $1.98 (TopBetta)

Sunday, August 11


St Kilda vs Fremantle

1:10pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
View a detailed form guide for St Kilda vs Fremantle


The Saints lost their first game under caretaker coach Brett Ratten when they travelled to Adelaide to take on the Crows on Saturday night. It wasn’t a bad loss by any means; at certain stages of the final quarter they seemed on the verge of sneaking in another victory, but they just couldn’t quite go with the Crows in the end. This week they return to Marvel Stadium to take on the Dockers, who they would’ve fancied beating a week ago, but after watching the Dockers dismantle the Cats it now seems a slightly more difficult task.

Despite still having some injury concerns, Fremantle got back to playing some of their better footy on Saturday. They completely broke the game open in the final term and they’ll be hoping to bring that standard of footy again on Sunday, because they’ll know the Saints are beatable if they do. But they weren’t great in their last game at Marvel Stadium just a few weeks ago when they were smashed by the Dogs, so that’ll be something they need to address. The Saints enjoy playing under the roof, and if the Dockers don’t put them under pressure and allow them to play their own game then the result will be similar to the game against the Dogs. These two clubs are both realistically out of finals contention, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a heated contest; both coaches have plenty to prove, and they’ll be making sure their players are up for the fight. I’m going with the Saints to get up by a couple.

Betting tip: St Kilda to win @ $1.70 (TopBetta)


Richmond vs Carlton

3:20pm AEST, MCG
View a detailed form guide for Richmond vs Carlton


Richmond’s approach towards the 2019 finals series continues to build, with the fourth-placed Tigers easily accounting for the Demons on Saturday night. They now sit a game clear of fifth, and only a game behind the three teams above them; with a relatively straight-forward game this week against the Blues, Richmond’s final ladder position is going to come down to their last two games when they face the Eagles and the Lions. They’ll obviously both be tough games, but being played at the MCG you’d expect the Tigers to potentially win both of them. It also means the Tigers will head into September after preparing against the best, and if they manage to secure a qualifying final at the MCG, you’d just about pencil them in to feature on grand final day.

The Blues will be happy with their own progress in the second half of the year, having played a remarkably improved brand of footy since Brendan Bolton was sacked. The class difference between themselves and the Eagles was obvious on Sunday, but the building blocks are there. The Blues will regain Matthew Kreuzer, Liam Jones and Mitch McGovern this week, but a similar result is likely in the works; they’ll throw everything they’ve got at Richmond, but the more talented and experienced Tigers will win out in the end.

Betting tip: Richmond By 25+ @ $1.60 (Bet365)


West Coast vs Adelaide

4:40pm AEST, Optus Stadium
View a detailed form guide for West Coast vs Adelaide


This is a huge game for both clubs in terms of final ladder position — West Coast are in an extremely tight battle for a top two finish, while the Crows are fighting to maintain their eighth position as teams below them look to strike. Adelaide did what was necessary against the Saints last weekend, but they still weren’t particularly convincing. I think it’s fairly safe to say they’re not going to cause any headaches in September if they do make it; they’re also incredibly unlikely to beat the Eagles this weekend, and that’ll put their position in the eight in a precarious position. They’re just not good enough, they’ve got too many holes in their team, and some of their key players are no longer the same players they used to be.

They’re going to struggle against an Eagles team that is gearing up for a big final three weeks; even if this was played at the Adelaide Oval I’d be predicting the Eagles to win comfortably; over in Perth, it could turn into a big margin. West Coast didn’t really get out of second gear against the Blues but still won by four goals; if they really try to pummel Adelaide they should be able to win this by over 10 goals, and considering how close the top of the ladder is, that’ll be very, very important in a few weeks.

Betting tip: West Coast By 25+ $1.80 (Sportsbet)


Best Bets of the Round

West Coast By 25+ $1.80 (Sportsbet)


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