The following are previews with betting tips for Round 10 of the 2021 AFL season.
Friday, May 21
Brisbane vs Richmond
7:50pm AEST, The Gabba
The Tigers were in deep trouble against the Giants on Saturday night, but as they’ve done so often before they dug themselves out of trouble. It was in large part due to the brilliance of Dustin Martin, but this time it was also the ability of Liam Baker to play as a midfielder, and young Riley Collier-Dawkins to join him at the coal-face. It was an important win for the Tigers, with a tough task against the Lions facing them this week. They’ll still be severely undermanned, and the Lions are currently one of the form teams of the competition, despite still missing star midfielder Lachie Neale.
This will be their biggest test in a few weeks though; the Lions got the better of Richmond in last year’s finals series, but otherwise have struggled against the Tigers. But this is a very different Richmond outfit, and Brisbane will take plenty of confidence from that win last year that they should be very comfortable coming up against the reigning champs here. As good as some of the younger Tigers were last weekend, it’s going to be difficult for them to duplicate that again this weekend against the Lions. I’m expecting a fighting effort from the Tigers, but I reckon the Lions will be too strong. If Brisbane can win the midfield battle their dangerous forward line might prove too much for the weakened Tigers to defend against.
Betting tip: Brisbane to win @ $1.40 (bet365)
Saturday, May 22
Carlton vs Hawthorn
1:45pm AEST, MCG
The Hawks were the first team to lose to the Kangaroos in 2021, which is slightly embarrassing for them but also a fair reflection of where they’re at. North Melbourne came to play on Saturday afternoon, and the Hawks couldn’t match it with them when they lifted in the midfield. They’re just not a very strong team in any area of the ground right now, even their midfield, which you would expect to be quite good with the likes of Tom Mitchell, Jaeger O’Meara, Chad Wingard and Tom Worpel. But they lack speed, and other than Wingard, they lack creativity and hurt-factor.
Their opponent this week, Carlton, are a little similar. Sam Walsh is an out-and-out gun, but other than that they’re pedestrian. That’s in large part due to Patrick Cripps’s form slump, and the failure of Zac Williams to slot into the midfield. But at least the Blues have some strength in key areas: Harry McKay is a dominant forward, even when he’s playing with only one arm. Fully recovered, he could kick a heap of goals this weekend against the Hawks. If the likes of Walsh and Cripps can get enough ball out of the middle, then McKay will have a field day. I also think the Blues are likely to stifle the Hawthorn attack and rebound hard the other way when they have the ball. I don’t think it’s going to be an attractive game of footy, but Blues fans should end up very happy.
Betting tip: Carlton to win @ $1.32 (Sportsbet)
Geelong vs Gold Coast
2:10pm AEST, GMHBA Stadium
The Cats were quite fortunate to get away with the win on Friday night due to some horrible inaccuracy from the Saints, but they still showed their experience and maturity by lifting a notch early in the last quarter when the game was on the line. They’re building nicely, and will only get better when Patrick Dangerfield returns, of course. It’ll be interesting to see how they handle him; he’s spent so much time forward in the recent past, but now that they’re looking so dangerous down there with the combination of Cameron, Hawkins, and Rohan, perhaps he goes back to being more of a full-time midfielder. That would probably be ideal for Geelong, because sometimes they’ve been beaten in the centre while Danger is resting forward. Cam Guthrie’s form has gone to another level, and if he can keep that up when they slot Dangerfield back in then the Cats are going to be very hard to beat.
They should be expecting a strong effort from the Suns this weekend, though. Gold Coast were completely dismantled by the Lions last weekend, in a performance that coach Stuart Dew was absolutely filthy with, and rightly so. I’ve got no doubt the Suns will be better this week, but they’re still not going to beat the Cats in Geelong. If they keep the margin below five goals they’ll have done well, but I could see it blowing out by plenty more than that if they’re not careful.
Betting tip: Geelong (-46.5) @ $1.91 (bet365)
Adelaide vs Melbourne
4:35pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
The final margin of 30 points probably flatters Adelaide’s effort against the Eagles last weekend, but in reality it was a game they were never going to win. So onto this week, back at home against the undefeated Demons. The Crows will obviously need to be at their best, but they’ll fancy their chances of keeping it a tight game at the Adelaide Oval. While the Dees just keep on winning, the past three weeks they’ve been slowly grinding out wins rather than crushing their opposition, so it’ll be interesting to see what they do against Adelaide. The wins have been professional, but perhaps the grinding nature of them in recent times points to the team tiring after a brilliant start to the year? I don’t think the Crows will beat them, but I do think the Dees are ripe for a loss sometime in the next few weeks. They’ve got the Dogs after this, so maybe that’s the one.
It’ll be fascinating to see how they handle the return of Luke Jackson to the senior team. The Ben Brown and Sam Weideman combination hasn’t been bad, but they also haven’t set the world on fire. Jackson’s return could mean Weideman is back to the VFL, and that might be the best thing for Melbourne’s structure. Either way, I think this follows Melbourne’s other results in recent weeks: the Dees will be strong and hold the Crows at bay to win by four or five goals.
Betting tip: Melbourne By 1-39 @ $2.10 (Sportsbet)
Western Bulldogs vs St Kilda
7:25pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
The Dogs strengthened their premiership credentials with a big win over the Power in Adelaide on Saturday night. It was a convincing effort, despite a patch in the second quarter when they allowed Port to kick five quick goals. The Dogs now move onto the Saints this week, a team they’ve had trouble with in the recent past. St Kilda got the better of them both times last year, including in a tight elimination final. But the Dogs are significantly improved, and the Saints appear to have regressed after a very impressive 2020. The flare up of Rowan Marshall’s foot injury is a major blow for St Kilda, particularly against a team like the Dogs; the ruck duo of Marshall and Paddy Ryder was a massive reason they were able to get on top of the Dogs both times last year. If they don’t get an advantage there, then they’ll struggle to match the Bulldogs in the midfield once the ball hits the deck. Max King might provide some headaches for a relatively undersized Dogs defence, but if he can’t kick straight then it won’t really matter.
It’ll be fascinating to see how they respond this week. I reckon they’ll bring the same effort, and with a little tidiness they’ll go close to the Dogs, but I don’t think they’ll get over the line. The Dogs won’t be complacent, knowing they’ve struggled against St Kilda, and I think they’ll be ready for whatever the Saints throw at them.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs to win @ $1.27 (BlueBet)
Fremantle vs Sydney
7:40pm AEST, Optus Stadium
The Dockers were much more competitive this week against the Bombers, but will be ruing some missed opportunities that cost them late in the final term. It was a step in the right direction, but after three consecutive losses they need to get back on the winner’s list. It’ll be tough work against a strong Swans outfit, but they do love playing at Optus Stadium so they must be a sneaky chance in this one on Saturday evening. Adam Cerra’s return bolstered their midfield, helping them to win the clearances and inside 50 count against the Bombers, and that will be important again against Sydney.
If the Dockers can beat the Swans at the source then they’ll be too hard to stop, with Matt Taberner on fire and Michael Walters sure to bounce back after a quiet game by his standards. I love the way Sydney have played for much of 2021, but I think they’re ripe for the picking in this one: Freo can play some very good football at home, and they’ve got some of their better players back in the team. It’ll no doubt be a close one, but I’m backing the Dockers in to win this by a goal or two.
Betting tip: Fremantle to win @ $2.01 (Sportsbet)
Sunday, May 23
GWS Giants vs West Coast
1:10pm AEST, Giants Stadium
While all the talk is on the Demons, the Dogs, and the Lions, West Coast have quietly strung three win together, all by five goals or more. Granted they haven’t been against the strongest teams, but it’s a nice run nonetheless. This is a big test for them, though; the Giants are going along nicely at the moment, and we know how the Eagles seem to struggle outside of Perth. Toby Greene’s absence is a massive blow for the Giants and probably swings things back in West Coast’s favour, but they’ll still need to overcome a few mental barriers to get the win.
They’re starting to build, though, and I imagine that if they get the win on Sunday a fair few other clubs will be very wary of the Eagles moving forward. Liam Ryan’s return makes a dynamic forward line even more dangerous, and Elliot Yeo’s return to footy in the WAFL will provide a massive boost for their engine room. If things go to plan, it won’t be long before the Eagles are closing in on full-strength, and that could be worrying for the rest of the competition. It’ll probably take a while for them to regain full form, but as long as they continue notching up the wins in the meantime then they’ll be in a very nice place, and I expect they’ll do just that against the Giants this weekend. GWS won’t have an answer for Nic Naitanui, and they won’t be able to stop the West Coast pronged forward line.
Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $1.77 (Sportsbet)
Collingwood vs Port Adelaide
3:20pm AEST, MCG
Well, they got a much-needed win a fortnight ago, but the Pies still have serious problems. They could only manage a solitary goal in the final three quarters of their bout with the Swans on Saturday afternoon, and allowed Sydney to kick nine in the process. Their opponent this week have some problems of their own, albeit very different problems; Port haven’t been able to get it done against other top eight sides this year, other than their tight win over Richmond. They’ve now lost to West Coast, Brisbane, and the Dogs, and each of them were pretty poor losses.
They were smacked around the ball by the hungry Dogs, and other than Ollie Wines and Travis Boak didn’t have too many other contributors through the middle of the ground. The loss of Dan Houston didn’t help, but they’ll need to fix that area of the ground to match it with the very best. Collingwood aren’t in that category so they should be fine this week, and it’ll probably be good for Port to have another run around at the MCG. I can’t see much else of interest in this one; the Pies need to be find some other avenues to goal, and Port just need to get back on their feet after a lesson in contested ball and clearance footy last weekend. Port should win this by at least three or four goals I’d say.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide to win @ $1.41 (Sportsbet)
Essendon vs North Melbourne
4:40pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
The final game of round 10 sees the Bombers and North Melbourne facing off under the Marvel Stadium roof. They’re both coming off a win, and they probably both fancy their chances in this one. North were terrific against the Hawks after giving up a five goal head-start. It would’ve easy for them to drop their heads and give up, but the Roos kept fighting and managed to turn things around and secure their first four points of the season. The dominance of Ben Cunnington and Jy Simpkin was crucial, and the battle this week of those two against Essendon’s in-form Darcy Parish and Zac Merrett will go a fair way towards deciding the result of this game. That said, the Bombers probably have more depth in other areas of the ground, and that should mean they’ll be too good for the Roos overall. Nick Hind and Dyson Heppell are a great combination coming off the half back line, and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti continues to terrorise opposition defenders.
But I think it’ll be close; you only need look at what the Crows did last year once they finally won their first game: they went on to win three in a row. I’m not saying the Roos can do the same, but sometimes a win can really galvanise a group, and I think the Roos will push the Bombers on Sunday. I’m going with a tight one that Essendon grind out in the final quarter by a goal or two.
Betting tip: Essendon By 1-39 @ $2.20 (Sportsbet)
Best Bets of the Round
Fremantle to win @ $2.01 (Sportsbet)