The following are previews with betting tips for Round 6 of the 2020 AFL season.
Thursday, July 9
Geelong vs Brisbane
7:40pm , SCG
The Cats enjoyed a huge day for the footy club, celebrating milestones for both Joel Selwood and Gary Ablett, by recording a nice 37 point victory over the Suns. Gold Coast probably had the stuffing knocked out of them as soon as young gun Matt Rowell dislocated his shoulder, but it was still an impressive performance from the Cats; they couldn’t have done much more. The Lions had a 37 point win of their own, but it was much more impressive: they beat the then-unbeaten Power with no trouble at all. That was a first versus third clash, this week they’re involved in second versus third, and it’s another big one.
The Cats will much prefer the neutral SCG to the Gabba, but I expect the Lions will also love playing on the smaller SCG. They haven’t missed a beat without Dayne Zorko; he returns this week to bolster a midfield already humming, while the Cats have decided to rest recruit Jack Steven due to the five day break. It should be an interesting game of footy, particularly the midfield battle. The Cats only stand a chance if they win the clearances and contested ball; if they allow the Lions to get their share of the ball they won’t be able to match Brisbane around the ground and that’ll cost them the game. I think the Lions have got too many dangerous players all over the field and that should see them get the four points.
Betting tip: Brisbane to win @ $1.70 (BetEasy)
Friday, July 10
Collingwood vs Hawthorn
7:50pm , Giants Stadium
The Pies have had a very, very bad two weeks. They’ve lost two games and they’ve had serious off-field incidents involving two of their most important players. It’s been a potentially season-derailing time; to get things back on track they need to respond on Friday night against a team they’ve had plenty of trouble with in recent years. The Hawks always seems to have the upper hand against Collingwood, and they’ll head into this one fairly confident. Strangely enough, both clubs have decided to blood two first-gamers this week. Sometimes youth gives you a much-needed spark, other times the inexperience hurts you. Playing two in the one game is fraught with danger and either team might regret it—though they do need to find replacements for unavailable players either way.
It’s the first of many games where two Victorian clubs will face-off in another state, NSW or QLD, and what perfect timing for the AFL to have moved all VIC-based clubs away, with restrictions tightening a few days later. It’ll be interesting to see how the different clubs react. The Hawks, despite the debutants, have experience on their side, and I think they’ll get the better of a younger Magpies outfit on Friday.
Betting tip: Hawthorn to win @ $2.15 (Sportsbet)
Saturday, July 11
Fremantle vs St Kilda
12:35pm , Metricon Stadium
The Saints are going very nicely at the moment. Another win, this one over the Blues, has propelled them up into fourth place, and they’ve got the third-last Dockers this week. Fremantle will be feeling much better about themselves after beating the Crows last week and getting that first win, and now welcoming skipper Nat Fyfe back for this game. They might even consider themselves a chance of an upset. It’ll only happen, in my opinion, if St Kilda take their foot off the pedal, but the Dockers should be full of confidence now. I mean, it wasn’t a pretty win, but it did the job, and the Brownlow medallist is back in. Unfortunately Jesse Hogan is back out with injury, while for the Saints, Zak Jones returns for the injured Dan Hannebery.
The Saints played strong team footy against the Blues, but Jack Steele in particular was impressive with his lockdown role on Patrick Cripps. Will he get the same job this week on Fyfe? I can’t see why not, considering how well he did on Cripps. If it happens it’ll be a fascinating matchup, but either way you’d expect the Saints to be too strong in this one.
Betting tip: St Kilda to win @ $1.45 (Sportsbet)
West Coast vs Adelaide
3:05pm , The Gabba
The Crows still sit winless on the bottom of the ladder, with no relief in sight. More talk of the infamous 2018 camp has arisen, which only serves to make the club seem inept. There’s really not much going for Adelaide at the moment, other than the fact that next weekend they get to return home to South Australia, pending fixture changes of course. They’ve got no confidence and they’re playing terrible footy, and I really don’t know who they’ll beat this season. Definitely not the Eagles, who snapped a three-game losing streak against the Swans last week.
I’m hesitant to say that they’re back, but it was an encouraging sign from the Eagles. But what is more encouraging for Eagles fans is that this week they should have a relatively simple win over the Crows, and then they return home to Perth. That’ll make them a whole different team, and starting again over there from 3-3 will actually have them nicely placed to attack the rest of the season. They’re not back just yet, but other clubs will be watching closely. Eagles by 40.
Betting tip: West Coast (-30.5) @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Melbourne vs Gold Coast
6:05pm , Giants Stadium
Matt Rowell had been the one real shining light in what has been a tough season, so to see him go down with a season-ending shoulder ending was pretty disappointing for all footy fans. He’ll be back next year, even bigger and stronger, but the Suns will have to do without him for the rest of 2020. Much of their resurgence was due to him, of course, but he wasn’t the only reason. Even without him they’re still a much better team this year than they were in 2019, and I fully expect them to continue winning games of footy against lower placed clubs. Melbourne are firmly in that category, having only won a single game this year, their one-point victory over Carlton in Round 2.
The Dees were a small chance in the last quarter against Richmond on Sunday, but they continually burnt the ball going forward and the Tigers got them on the turnover. It happens again and again, and it’s not up to AFL standard. The Demons need to find more players with good foot skills, otherwise they’re always going to have the same problem. They try hard, but that won’t win them games when they gift their opposition easy goals. They’ve reacted severely this week, making four unforced changes, but will it do any good? I expect the Suns will be good enough to pressure them into making mistakes and capitalize going the other way. It should be close, but I’m going with the Suns by two goals. Also: looking forward to finally watching Izak Rankine; let’s hope he can provide some excitement in Rowell’s place.
Betting tip: Gold Coast to win @ $2.25 (Sportsbet)
Essendon vs North Melbourne
7:40pm , Metricon Stadium
This is a big contest for the Kangaroos, who have now lost three consecutive games. They weren’t really competitive at all against the Dogs, and other than a few bright moments from youngsters, it was a demoralising night. Ben Cunnington took the field but could barely move, and they managed just five goals while up the other end Josh Bruce kicked six of his own. They take on the Bombers this week, who are in pretty good form but will need to adjust to the loss of Jake Stringer. He has been in great form this year, probably his best patch since crossing over to the Bombers, and he’ll be difficult to replace. Fortunately they’ve got a few different avenues to goal; they’ll all need to step up.
I think Stringer’s loss, despite the return of Conor McKenna and Zach Merrett, makes this a much more even game and wouldn’t at all be surprised to see North bounce back and have a win. But it’ll be a close one — I reckon this will turn into a low-scoring scrap of a contest.
Betting tip: Total Points Under 120.5 @ $1.88 (Sportsbet)
Sunday, July 12
Port Adelaide vs GWS
1:05pm , Metricon Stadium
Port copped a reality check on Saturday night at the Gabba when they were completely outplayed by a rampant Brisbane. They still sit atop the ladder with plenty of optimism for 2020, but the loss will definitely give them something to think about. They’ve got another big challenge this week against the Giants, who are back in some pretty ominous form after dispatching of the Hawks. That’s a tough two weeks for Port, coming up against two the of the competition’s best teams, and as impressed as I’ve been with Port, I reckon they’ll be coming away from it with two losses. Possibly two big ones, if the Giants keep up their current form.
They were seriously threatening up forward against Hawthorn, and I’m not sure Port will be able to stop them from kicking a big score. Obviously the Power have firepower of their own, but I expect the Giants to give them a second reality check this week.
Richmond vs Sydney
3:35pm , The Gabba
The Tigers finally got back on the winners list last weekend, but it came at a pretty significant cost. They lost key players Dion Prestia and Toby Nankervis to serious ankle injuries, skipper Trent Cotchin to a hamstring, and just prior to the game we also learnt that a few senior players wouldn’t be making the trip to the hub. Those players turned out to be Bachar Houli and Shane Edwards, which leaves a big hole in their half back line. Prestia, Cotchin and Nankervis take a chunk out of their midfield, and, if Tom Lynch doesn’t get up after breaking his hand, that’ll be a key part of the forward line missing as well.
Nevertheless, they looked better as a team against the Demons and even if they’ve got a whole host of their best 22 missing I think they’ll be good enough to beat the Swans, who haven’t looked likely since their upset Round 3 win over the Kangaroos. It’ll be interesting to see some lesser known Tigers, but I reckon their system will allow those guys to step in seamlessly and play a role, and that should be enough to get them over the line against Sydney. Not against the better teams, but that’ll await them in the future.
Betting tip: Richmond to win @ $1.77 (BetEasy)
Carlton vs Western Bulldogs
6:45pm , Metricon Stadium
After two really solid wins, the Blues were slightly disappointing against St Kilda on Thursday night, but that’s probably a credit to the Saints and how much work they put into stopping Carlton’s playmakers, in particular Sam Docherty and Patrick Cripps. The Dogs aren’t generally known to tag opposition players, so those two should enjoy more freedom this week. The problem for Carlton is that the Dogs are absolutely flying at the moment, having just won their third game in a row by knocking off the Kangaroos by 49 points.
The Dogs finally got something out of ex-Saint Josh Bruce, who turned his form around in stunning fashion by booting six goals, while their defence continued to hold up well, led by fellow recruit Alex Keath. They’ll have some important players missing this week, with Hayden Crozier rubbed out for a week suspension, and Bailey Smith under a concussion cloud. Lachie Hunter returns from his club-enforced ban and he’ll slot straight into the team, mitigating Smith’s loss if the youngster can’t recover in time, but Crozier will be tough to cover. He’s probably one of their most unheralded players, patrolling the backline in the air and on the ground. If the Blues can get in there quickly and disrupt a settled Bulldogs back half early in the game they might just be a chance, but everything will have to go their way. It’s hard to go against the Dogs right now considering their form, so I’ll back them in by 20 points.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs @ $1.55 (Unibet)
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