The following are previews with betting tips for Round 14 of the 2021 AFL season.
Friday, June 18
Geelong vs Western Bulldogs
7:50pm AEST, GMHBA Stadium
After a fairly slow start to the year by their standards, Geelong are fast becoming premiership favourites. Last weekend they took another big scalp, defeating Port Adelaide in convincing fashion. Their injury list is now in very good shape, and they look dangerous in every area of the ground. They face another big test this weekend against the second-placed Dogs, a team who have only lost two games so far this season. Those two games, however, were against the ladder leaders in Melbourne and the reigning premiers, Richmond, so there’s some sort of query on the Dogs against the very best teams. This will definitely test them: Geelong in Geelong is as hard as it gets right now, and the Dogs don’t have the greatest record there. In fact, they haven’t won in Geelong for 18 years. That said, they hadn’t beaten Fremantle in Perth for 10 years, and they broke that hoodoo a fortnight ago.
It’s all set up to be a ripping game of footy, and while I think the Dogs will have their moments as all good teams will, I’m finding it difficult to tip against the Cats. Fans or no fans, they play their home ground so well and they’re in such good form at the minute that it would take an extraordinary effort from a still-undermanned Western Bulldogs outfit to knock them off. I also think the Dogs might have a little trouble containing the trio of Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron, and Gary Rohan, though they won’t be the only team to have that problem over the second half of the season.
Betting tip: Geelong to win @ $1.62 (Sportsbet)
Saturday, June 19
Gold Coast vs Port Adelaide
1:45pm AEST, Metricon Stadium
Port Adelaide failed another significant test last weekend against the Cats, and are thus still pretenders until they prove otherwise. That’s not necessarily as bad it as seems, however; they’re still nicely poised in fifth place, and with key players due back in the second half of the season they could be well-positioned to strike in the latter part of the year. This week they’ll head north to take on the Suns, a team also coming off a pretty disappointing effort. We keep expecting improvement from the Gold Coast, but it never appears to come. They show glimpses here and there, but when it’s time for them to stand up and make sure their season isn’t going to waste, they fail to deliver.
They were as poor as they’ve been all year against a depleted Fremantle last week, allowing the Dockers to dominate play for the majority of the game. Poor kicking at goal didn’t help either — a persistent problem for the Suns — but it was much more than that. If they can’t get their attitude right and start playing four quarters of consistent, hungry football, then they’re destined for another bottom four finish, which would be a disaster. The challenge is there for them this week, but I’ve got no confidence that they’ll get anywhere near Port Adelaide.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide to win @ $1.47 (bet365)
North Melbourne vs Brisbane
4:35pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
North Melbourne helped deliver the year’s first draw last weekend when they surprised the Giants with a really strong effort in Tasmania. Unfortunately, North were the better team for the majority of the day yet only managed to split the points with GWS, due to a last quarter fade out. Still, it was probably a good learning lesson for the younger Roos, and while they didn’t get the win it would’ve been encouraging to know they can take it up to a pretty decent opponent. They’ll have another tough task on their hands this week against the Lions, who are looking to re-group after losing to the Demons and then having the bye.
Despite that loss against Melbourne, the Lions have built a strong first half of the season and look like they’ll once again be one of the teams to beat come September. They had a few teething issues earlier in the year, but now they’re back up and running and I think the issues they faced against Melbourne will help them next team around. They played a good first half, but the Demons changed things around at half time and from then onwards the Lions were stifled and just couldn’t move the ball. They’ll learn from that and be better next time around, but for now, they’ll go about their business on Saturday and should end up beating the Roos quite comfortably.
Betting tip: Brisbane (-34.5) @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
GWS Giants vs Carlton
7:25pm AEST, Giants Stadium
The Blues are another club wasting its season away; just like the Suns, they continue to fail to deliver, and while improvement comes in certain aspects of their game or from individual players, they don’t seem to get better as a team. But perhaps some positive news, like Harry McKay’s re-signing, will boost the playing group enough to get a four quarter effort from them this week. They’ll have to do it against a pretty strong Giants outfit, but if North can dominate GWS for much of a game then surely the Blues can too.
The Giants weren’t at their best last weekend though, and I think we’ll see a much better effort from them this week. They’re back at home, and ex-skipper Phil Davis is back into the team to help shore up the defence, which will be a big help against the height and reach of McKay. But as always, this game will be won in the midfield. The Giants were disappointing in that area last week against North — save for Josh Kelly’s massive effort — but are generally quite strong, while the Blues have struggled to support Sam Walsh and Patrick Cripps for much of the year. Due to that, I can’t see the Blues finding a way to beat the Giants this week. GWS will be eager to redeem last week’s effort, and the Blues might find themselves the unfortunate victims.
Betting tip: GWS to win @ $1.63 (Sportsbet)
Sunday, June 20
Hawthorn vs Essendon
3:20pm AEST, MCG
The only Sunday game this weekend comes in the form of the Hawks hosting Essendon in Tasmania, in what should actually be a really interesting game of footy. It’s been a tough year for Hawthorn, but a big surprise win over the Swans showed Hawks fans that better times are not too far away, and that even right now they’re capable of upsetting a more-fancied opponent on their day. Could they do it again against the Bombers?
Well, Essendon play a different style of footy to Sydney and might be harder to contain. The Bombers love to score, but they’re also quite easy to score against. They love a good shootout, but if you don’t have the firepower to go with them then they’ll run away it, and I suspect that might be the issue for Hawthorn this week. The Hawks have struggled to kick big scores all year, and I can’t see that changing any time soon. They’ve also lost key midfielder James Worpel to suspension, which definitely won’t help their cause. The Bombers also copped a major blow last weekend with star mid Andy McGrath being ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, but that blow is softened, at least for this game, with the return of Devon Smith and Sam Draper, amongst others. I think it’ll be a fairly entertaining, free-flowing game of footy, but I expect the Bombers to end up winning this quite comfortably.
Betting tip: Essendon to win @ $1.56 (Sportsbet)
Best Bets of the Round
Geelong to win @ $1.62 (Sportsbet)