The following are previews with betting tips for Round 7 of the 2021 AFL season.
Friday, April 30
Richmond vs Western Bulldogs
7:50pm AEST, MCG
For the second week in a row the Tigers will face an undefeated team, but this game feels bigger. Richmond will be without superstar Dustin Martin, and after losing to the Demons their season is now in the balance. They can’t afford to lose if they want to keep in touch with the top four, but it’s going to be very difficult against a rampaging Dogs outfit. They had a few injury concerns of their own last weekend, most notably the shoulder problem suffered by gun midfielder Josh Dunkley. His absence, which will be for the majority of the season, is going to hurt, but they’re the one team that can comfortably cover a key mid going down. The Tigers are also without Kane Lambert, so they’re going to need to be on their game to match the Dogs in the clinches.
But Richmond are a great side, and great sides often have a way of finding something when the pressure is on. They haven’t been underdogs too often over the past three or four years but they’ll head into this one with the odds stacked against them, and I think they’ll relish that situation. If they can get the ball in quick enough to their big forwards then Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt are every chance of kicking a bag. That said, supply might be the issue, and while I think they’ll be much better this week, I’m not quite confident enough in a Tigers outfit missing Dusty to pick them for the win. I’m going with the Dogs by a whisker.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs By 1-39 @ $2.10 (Sportsbet)
Saturday, May 1
Collingwood vs Gold Coast
1:45pm AEST, MCG
Pressure is mounting on Nathan Buckley, but there’s not really much he can do with the team he currently has at his disposal. The Pies lack scoring power, and on Sunday at the ‘G they also lacked strength in the midfield. They’ve named another debutant this week, which will take their tally to five for the season, and that’s what they need to do. It might not be great for the short term, but they need to uncover a few young players who are capable of cementing their place in the 22, just like Essendon have. I still think that when they get a few of their injured players back they’ll be a decent side, but until then it’s time to experiment a little. They do need a win, though, and this week presents a great opportunity.
The Suns are another young, battling team, and they might struggle playing against the Pies at the MCG. That said, they were terrific last weekend against the Swans, snapping their three-game losing streak in emphatic style. If they are any chance to play finals this year they’ll need to string together a few wins, and this game is winnable. But it might be their ruck problem that comes back to bite them: Brodie Grundy has come under scrutiny this season, but surely he has an absolutely dominant game against the Suns this weekend. They have no one capable of stopping him, either in the ruck contests or around ground, and he should be good enough to ensure the Pies take home the four points.
Betting tip: Collingwood to win @ $1.50 (Bet365)
Adelaide vs GWS Giants
2:10pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
The Crows will be kicking themselves for the second time in two weeks, after dropping their game against the Hawks in Tasmania. They were in the box seat for most of the second half but weren’t able to ice the game and Hawthorn won out in the end. It wasn’t a totally disappointing day though, with the debut of number two draft pick Riley Thilthorpe a massive positive for the Crows. He kicked five, but it was his contested marking and fluent movement for a big man that would’ve been most pleasing. He looks like he’ll slot in perfectly for the rest of the year, and should become a dominant big man in time, either up forward or in the ruck.
The Crows return home this week to host the Giants, who will be licking their wounds after a Friday night loss to the Dogs. It came at a cost, with Nick Haynes ruled out for a month after pulling a hamstring. His absence hurts a Giants team already severely depleted, but if they bring the same intensity and application they did against the Dogs then they’re still capable of being a challenge to most other clubs. Which makes this game a really difficult one to tip; the Crows are still playing good footy, but they’ve dropped off a little from their blistering opening month, while the Giants are battling but still hard to overcome. I’m sticking with the Crows because it’s in Adelaide, but I think it’ll be another really tight game.
Betting tip: Adelaide to win @ $1.91 (Bet365)
St Kilda vs Hawthorn
4:35pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
Hawks fans received a nice glimpse of the future in their three-point win over Adelaide on Sunday, as young key forwards Jacob Koschitzke and Mitchell Lewis patrolled the forward half, kicking seven goals between them. If those guys continue to develop then the Hawks will be looking good in a few years’ time, but they’ll have their work cut out this week against a Saints outfit desperate to return to the winners list.
St Kilda were always going to struggle against Port, and against Richmond the week before, but they’ve now got a two week patch that might just allow them to get their season back on track. The return of Paddy Ryder will help in that regard, and it’ll be fascinating to see just how much of an impact his return makes on this side. It’ll be the first time this year that the dangerous Ryder/Marshall pairing will take to the field, and that has a massive ripple effect on the St Kilda team. I expect them to almost immediately be a three or four goal better side, but will that be enough to catapult them up towards the top eight? I’m not so sure, not yet, but I do think they’ll beat the Hawks this week.
Betting tip: St Kilda to win @ $1.65 (Bet365)
Sydney vs Geelong
7:25pm AEST, SCG
The wheels have fallen off the Swans bandwagon, and now they’re left picking up the pieces and making sure they don’t let their good start to the season go to waste. It was undoubtedly a very disappointing effort against the Suns, but all is not lost; they’re 4-2, and are still sitting in fifth position. This week will be tough though; they’re at home again, but against the Cats, a team fresh off a 97 point victory.
Geelong are an interesting case study; they haven’t been playing all that well, but the ladder says otherwise. The way they dismantled the Eagles was perhaps a sign that they’re slowly building to their best form, and the inclusion of star recruit Jeremy Cameron would’ve warmed the hearts of Cats fans. But we’ve always known that Geelong are good at their home ground; let’s see how they go elsewhere.
I’m not sure Sydney will be a great test for the Cats, as they’ve got a few injuries and it seems like some of their younger players have tired after a blistering start to the year. But they should bounce back at some point over the next few weeks, and you’d expect they’ll be up for the challenge against a good team like Geelong. I’m not sure the Swans have the defensive set up to handle both Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron, particularly on such a small ground. They’ll need to stop Geelong from winning the ball quickly out of the middle, but even then they’ve struggled to score themselves over the past fortnight. It’ll be interesting to see whether they can turn things around, but you have to go with Geelong in this one.
Betting tip: Geelong to win @ $1.50 (Bet365)
Brisbane vs Port Adelaide
7:25pm AEST, The Gabba
The Lions have forced themselves back into the top eight with two consecutive wins, setting up a mouth-watering clash against Port Adelaide on Saturday evening. The problem is they’ll be without their best player, with Lachie Neale going down due to an ankle injury in their win over the Blues. He hasn’t been at his best this year and this enforced rest could be the best thing that happens to him, but it won’t make life easy for the Lions over the next few weeks. They could’ve really used him against a powerful Port Adelaide side, but they’ll have to make do.
Port won’t have any worries heading to the Gabba to take on the Lions, and while it should be a relatively close game, I think the Power’s scoring ability will make them too hard for Brisbane to stop. When Steven Motlop can pop up and kick an unexpected three goals you know you’ve got plenty of firepower, and I don’t think the Lions are currently playing a good enough defensive game to curb Port’s forward line. Not to mention the fact that the Power have actually been quite good defensively themselves. It should be a good game, but it’s hard to go past Port Adelaide.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide to win @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Sunday, May 2
North Melbourne vs Melbourne
1:10pm AEST, Blundstone Arena
A few weeks ago, when the Kangaroos played the only other unbeaten side, the Western Bulldogs, they lost by well over 100 points. Will the Demons inflict similar damage on them this weekend? Maybe, but perhaps not. The Kangaroos have a few things going for them: the game is in Tasmania, they’ve been slightly better over the past few weeks, and the Demons will, in all likelihood, be feeling pretty good about themselves and may just think that they’ll win this one without going all out.
It’s not much to hang your hat on, but it might be enough for the Roos to avoid a thumping defeat. They’ll be fired up and ready to give it to ex-teammate Ben Brown as he makes his Melbourne debut, but there’s not really much you can say when you’re winless and his new club is undefeated. Plus, he’s likely to kick a bag against a defence that allowed Josh Bruce to kick 10 goals. If the Roos can manage to keep this one under that margin, 10 goals, then they should be happy. In reality it should be much more than that, but I reckon the Demons will coast through and just do enough to secure a comfortable victory.
Betting tip: Melbourne (-57.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Essendon vs Carlton
3:20pm AEST, MCG
The Bombers have just beaten one arch-rival, sending the Pies into a world of pain; wouldn’t they love to do it again against a struggling Carlton side. The Blues were supposed to challenge for finals this year, but they look just as far off the pace as they did last year. They’ve kept the scoreboard fairly respectable in their losses against Port Adelaide and Brisbane, but they never actually looked like winning either game, and that’s been a consistent problem for David Teague’s Carlton. They just don’t win enough, and they don’t put themselves in winning positions often enough.
And they should be good enough to do that; they’ve got some great players, highlighted by Harry McKay’s stunning start to the year. If you’ve got a key forward regularly kicking bags of goals, you should be winning games of footy. They’ve also got a couple of solid key defenders and some gun midfielders. Where it breaks down for the Blues is those depth players, the last five or six picked, who just aren’t pulling their weight.
Their opposition this week have found quite a few new players who are willing to work hard, young guys playing on adrenaline and raw talent. That, along with the form of some of the older Bombers, last week most notably Darcy Parish, has the Bombers looking pretty good. I’m genuinely torn on this one; I think the Blues should win, but I was very impressed with Essendon on Sunday. Their forwards looked dangerous, and their midfield was equally good. I’m backing Carlton to make a statement on Sunday, but if they don’t get on the front foot early Essendon will take them to the cleaners.
Betting tip: Carlton to win @ $1.73 (Sportsbet)
West Coast vs Fremantle
4:40pm AEST, Optus Stadium
The Derby will have plenty of spice this year, now that Dockers sit inside the eight and are a game ahead of the Eagles, who have struggled in recent weeks. Things aren’t quite going to plan for Adam Simpson’s men. They hate being told they can’t win away from Perth, but when they dish up performances like they did against Geelong it’s hard to argue with. Simpson went so far as to call their effort ‘weak’, a harsh term but probably fitting. They’re a good side, battling injuries, of course, but a good side nonetheless. It’s embarrassing to lose by that much when you consider yourself a premiership contender, so the response this weekend will need to be emphatic.
The Dockers are going quite well, however, and will be up for the challenge. Granted they haven’t beaten any of the better teams, but they’re doing what’s required against those they should beat. This will be their biggest test so far; the Eagles generally play well against the Dockers and it’s up to Fremantle to turn things around. If they want to be taken seriously this year they need to show it on the big stage, and what better opportunity than a Derby against a wounded West Coast. If David Mundy has another blinder there’s absolutely no reason why the Dockers can’t win this, though I am expecting a West Coast response. I’ll tip the Dockers by the barest of margins.
Betting tip: Fremantle (+6.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Best Bets of the Round
Collingwood to win @ $1.50 (Bet365)
Port Adelaide to win @ $1.91 (Bet365)