The following are previews with betting tips for Round 16 of the 2021 AFL season.
Thursday, July 1
Gold Coast vs Richmond
7:20pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
Richmond’s shock loss to the Saints on Friday night was their worst performance of the year, their premiership defence now in very real danger of completely collapsing. It’s been a strange, stuttering sort of season for the Tigers. They have obviously been hindered by injuries, but they still always looked ominous despite any losses. They had been off the pace, but close enough that most people still expected them to threaten in the latter stages of the year, but the loss to the Saints puts that in doubt; sometimes, when a dynasty collapses, it happens hard and fast, and it’s difficult to put the brakes on. The Tigers have shown flashes of their brilliant best throughout 2021, but the bad moments have increased as time has passed, and they’re only still in the top eight this week because the Giants inexplicably lost to Hawthorn.
They get Tom Lynch and David Astbury back this week, but that doesn’t really help when the outs include Dion Prestia, Kane Lambert, Noah Balta and Nathan Broad. Balta and Broad in particular are both likely to miss the rest of the season, and I think that’ll place too much pressure on the Richmond defence for them to seriously challenge for another flag. The Suns have injury concerns of their own in what has been another disappointing season for them, but they’ll be desperate to notch up a few more wins before the season is up. It’s going to be tough this week against a wounded Richmond, particularly now that the game is being played at Marvel Stadium. The Tigers don’t particularly like it there, but I’m sure they’ll bounce back this week against the struggling Suns.
Betting tip: Gold Coast (+30.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Friday, July 2
Geelong vs Essendon
7:50pm AEST, GMHBA Stadium
Things change pretty quickly in footy. After beating the Dogs last week Geelong were in third place and were just about premiership favourites. But a belting at the hands of a rampant Brisbane has meant that Geelong slips down to fifth, and is in a real battle to secure a top four spot. The Lions have a fairly easy run home, and you’d probably expect both the Demons and the Dogs to hold their position, so it might be between Port and the Cats, who are currently on equal points and separated by under two percent. That means the Cats can’t afford too many more slip ups, and they’ll want to make sure they’re back at their best to take on a dangerous Essendon outfit.
The Bombers pushed Melbourne to the brink last Saturday night, but a few questionable umpiring decisions and a lack of composure towards the end of the game meant they were unable to finally take a scalp of a top eight side. They get another chance this week against Geelong, but I struggle to see them beating the Cats. In fact, as good as the Bombers have been in recent times I think this might be one that really gets away from them. They haven’t played in Geelong for a long time, and I reckon the Cats might be ready to put a team to the sword.
Betting tip: Geelong (-25.5) @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Saturday, July 3
Melbourne vs GWS Giants
1:45pm AEST, MCG
The Giants had a golden opportunity to make their way into the top eight after the Tigers lost to the St Kilda on Friday night, but an incredibly disappointing effort against the Hawks on Sunday sees them still sitting in tenth position, and now probably quite unlikely to secure a finals position. It’s been that sort of season for GWS, who are struggling to define what sort of team they are. They’ve lost that sense of confidence, of arrogance, they had back when they were challenging for premierships in between 2016 and 2018.
The Demons were in a similar position, having floundered since their stunning 2018 campaign, but have re-discovered their mojo and still sit atop the ladder at the beginning of round 16. They’ve got a nicely settled line-up, and have again resisted the temptation to bring Ben Brown in to their forward line. I’m not sure that’s the best idea; they really need to give him a solid run of games before finals to see if he can make them a better team, because if he does they’ll be almost impossible to stop come September. As things stand they’re still the top-ranked team in the competition, and I expect that to show this weekend against the Giants at the G.
Betting tip: Melbourne to win @ $1.19 (Sportsbet)
Adelaide vs Brisbane
4:35pm AEST, Adelaide Oval
The Lions rose to the challenge of playing Geelong last week in what was clearly their best performance of the season. They looked every bit like premiership favourites in that display, though it came at a small cost: star midfielder Lachie Neale, who was just getting back to some of his best form, jarred a shoulder and now has some calf soreness which means he’s likely to miss this game against the Crows. It shouldn’t matter too much, though. Adelaide have been good this year, much better than expected, but I reckon they’re almost done with pulling rabbits out of hats. They were okay against the Blues last weekend but never really looked like winning, and it’s only going to get harder for them this week against the Lions.
Brisbane are a very good team, and they know how important every game if for them from here onwards. I expect a professional display from the Lions, and I think they’ll end up getting home in this one by at least three or four goals.
Betting tip: Brisbane (-25.5) @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Fremantle vs Carlton
7:40pm AEST, MCG
The Dockers kept their season alive with a hugely important win over the Pies last weekend, but there’s no time to celebrate. This week’s game against the Blues is another season-defining match, and it just got a whole lot harder, being moved from Optus Stadium to the MCG. I dare say Fremantle would have been warm favourites in Perth, but now it’s a 50/50 game, at best. Carlton are up and about following a nice win over the Crows, and they’ll fancy themselves a real chance of making it two in a row on Saturday night.
The Blues will take the field a little weaker than last week, with Zac Williams, Sam Docherty, and Marc Murphy all missing, while the Dockers have mixed news on the selection front: Nat Fyfe is back, but spearhead Matt Taberner will miss out. That hurts, because he’s an integral part of their structure when moving the ball forward, but I’d imagine that Fyfe will spend the majority of his time forward anyway and that might even things out. I do like the way the Dockers are going at the minute, but I can’t trust them in Melbourne. They got it done last week against the Pies at Marvel, but how often do Freo win two in a row outside of Perth? I’m playing the odds and going with the Blues in what should be a fairly close contest.
Betting tip: Carlton to win @ $1.90 (Sportsbet)
Hawthorn vs Port Adelaide
7:40pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
The Hawks have recorded two of their four wins in the past three weeks, so they’ll head into this game with some confidence despite being clear underdogs. The signs are good for Hawthorn, but they lose a bit of excitement this week with the forced omissions of Chad Wingard, Will Day, and Denver Grainger-Barras. Two of those guys are the future of the footy club, while Wingard is one of their best players right now. That makes the task of beating Port Adelaide all the more difficult, particularly after the Power flexed their muscles last week against the Swans.
Charlie Dixon was back to his imposing best, while Travis Boak and Ollie Wines continued their stellar seasons. If the Hawks can match Port Adelaide in the middle of the ground they might be a chance, but I can’t really see that happening. Port don’t have a problem playing at Marvel Stadium, in fact, it probably suits their game style to some degree. Port love to move the ball quickly and allow their dangerous forwards to get to work, and I expect they’ll get plenty of opportunities on Saturday. They should be looking to boost their percentage this week with a 8+ goal win.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide (-17.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Sunday, July 4
Sydney vs West Coast
1:10pm AEST, GMHBA Stadium
Now that it’s Victoria’s time to host most of the AFL world, on Sunday afternoon the strange scenario of Sydney hosting the Eagles in Geelong will become a reality. And the Swans might not mind it; West Coast don’t have a great record at GMHBA Stadium, though it must be said that’s because they always play Geelong there. They might have some reluctance heading back there after their horror effort against the Cats earlier in the year, but they’ll he happy it’s the Swans and not the Cats that await them. That said, Sydney are a pretty good team and are on the rebound, having lost their past two games in disappointing fashion.
But so are the Eagles, who were pitiful in their home game against the Dogs last weekend. In a game they entered full of hope having got a few star players back into the team, they were completely dismantled by a hungrier opponent. Those guys were probably a little underdone and should only get better with each game, so we can’t write the Eagles off just yet. But they’ll want to respond with a really strong performance this week against the Swans, particularly if they want to press their claims for a home final. I’m finding this one quite difficult to get a read on, but having seen how poor the Eagles were last week I just can’t bring myself to back them in down at Geelong, so I’m sticking with the Swans.
Collingwood vs St Kilda
3:20pm AEST, MCG
Collingwood weren’t quite able to make it three in a row in Robert Harvey’s first game as caretaker coach, but they had their chances. A few poor choices in the final quarter allowed Fremantle to run over the top, but it was still another encouraging performance from the Pies. This week they take on the Saints, who are fresh off a season-best performance, belting the Tigers in a surprise victory last Friday night. It’s no surprise their best effort came with the combination of Paddy Ryder and Rowan Marshall working together for the full four quarters. That allowed them to dominate the midfield battle, with Jack Steele and Luke Dunstan both doing as they pleased.
Marshall and Ryder will have their work cut out against Brodie Grundy this week, but I suspect the Saints midfield might win out again. Steele is a star, and Dunstan has all of a sudden hit a patch of career best form. The Pies get Jordan De Goey back, but I expect he’ll spend the majority of his team forward. It should be a good game of footy, but I think the Saints will continue their good form, particularly in the middle of the ground, and that should enable them to record another victory and keep a slim flicker of hope alive for the remainder of their season.
Betting tip: St Kilda to win @ $2.02 (Bet365)
Western Bulldogs vs North Melbourne
4:40pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
The last time these two clubs met the Dogs won by over 100 points, and Josh Bruce kicked a bag of 10 goals. That wasn’t all that long ago, and it’ll be fresh in the minds of the Kangaroos. They’ll want to make amends, and while a win might be hard to imagine, their recent form is much better than it was back then so they should expect to close the gap by quite a bit.
The Dogs are in sparkling form and should still win easily, but it’ll be interesting to see how they go this week against a lesser opponent. They’re coming off a tough couple of weeks against Geelong and West Coast, and have previously had trouble not letting their guard down against a weaker team. But the Dogs of 2021 seem a more ruthless team than they were in prior years, and I suspect they’ll put their foot down against North, despite knowing they probably don’t need to bring their best footy to secure the four points. I’m not expecting a repeat of last time, but it should be another seven or eight goal win for the second-placed Dogs.
Betting tip: Western Bulldogs (-49.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)
Best Bets of the Round
Port Adelaide (-17.5) @ $1.91 (Bet365)