2016 Round 15 AFL Preview & Bets

AFL 2017

Welcome to the Round 15 AFL preview. As we enter the final bye round, the ladder is beginning to have a very familiar look to it. Hawthorn finds itself a game clear on top despite not playing anywhere near its best footy, while the next two positions are filled by Sydney and Geelong. At a time where the AFL has been spruiking equalisation in recent seasons, it must be a tad disheartening for board members to see the three most successful clubs of the last decade still riding high at the top of the ladder.

There was an indication during Round 14 that clubs with the shorter break were struggling a little more than usual. North Melbourne & Fremantle were close to uncompetitive at times, while Geelong had a shock loss against St Kilda. With interstate clubs like GWS, Adelaide and Sydney possessing favourable runs home, Geelong could have shot itself in the foot by opening up a top two position. The Cats still hold premiership favouritism for now, but it has now fallen back to the main pack.

BEST BET:
Sydney -3.5 Quarter Time Line @ $1.90

WEST COAST ($1.01) VS ESSENDON ($21.00)

AT DOMAIN STADIUM, THURSDAY 30/06, 20:10

Line: Eagles -72.5, Bombers +72.5

West Coast entered the bye with a comprehensive 49 point victory against Brisbane, but it wasn’t a performance that restored public faith in last year’s grand finalist. The Eagles were on the end of a minor touch up by Brisbane’s midfield, losing the contested possession count 125-138 and clearances 32-44. The West Coast midfield hasn’t gone near the heights of 2015 and with Nic Naitanui out for an extended period, things aren’t going to get easier any time soon. Scott Lycett will return to the side and take the No.1 ruck role after serving a club imposed suspension in Round 13.

You couldn’t fault Essendon’s effort against GWS in Round 13, pushing the premiership contender all the way to the final quarter. On paper there appeared to be daylight between the two midfields, but somehow Essendon managed to breakeven. There were no high number individual disposal tallies with Cooney, Goddard and Zaharakis all finishing with 25, but a larger group of contributors than in recent weeks. Admittedly the Giants were down on output, but the final 27 point margin gave John Worsfold plenty of positives.

Both clubs are coming off the bye, but we all know West Coast love an easy kill at Domain Stadium. It is hard to imagine Essendon being as competitive as it was against GWS.

WEST COAST TO WIN BY 75 POINTS

Bet to Consider:

Mark LeCras to Score 3 or More Goals @ $2.55

PORT ADELAIDE ($1.34) VS RICHMOND ($3.35)

AT ADELAIDE OVAL, FRIDAY 01/07, 19:50
Line: Port -20.5, Tigers +20.5
Port Adelaide couldn’t have gone into its bye in more disappointing fashion, as Fremantle recorded only its third victory of the season to keep the Power eight points and percentage outside a finals position. Only Ebert and Pittard were able to gather over 20 disposals for Port, as the likes of Boak, Gray and Wines struggled to consistently win the football. The Power had nearly 100 less disposals and used the ball at only 66%, compared to Fremantle’s 71% disposal efficiency. The loss left Ken Hinkley furious and his side now needs everything to go its way to even be considered a finals threat. Jack Hombsch and Jay Schulz are key inclusions.
Are Richmond building another late claim to sneak into the top eight? Like Port Adelaide it needs everything to go right and rely on a current top eight club to capitulate, but at least the Tigers have runs on the board when it comes to this situation. Richmond weren’t spectacular by any means against the listless Lions, but a solid performance was respected by its supporters. Dustin Martin continued his purple patch of form, gathering another 35 disposals which included 29 kicks. Although Damien Hardwick would have preferred a more consistent output from his entire midfield rotation, the overall improvement since the start of the season is noticeable. Ivan Maric and Ben Griffiths are back for the Tigers.
Port Adelaide had a convincing 35 point victory at the MCG against Richmond only two months ago, but the Tigers beat Port at Adelaide Oval last year. It is a tight game to consider, but a 13 day break for the Power must be an advantage.

PORT ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 13 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Most Possessions Gr2 Brad Ebert @ $4.00

GOLD COAST ($1.84) VS ST KILDA ($2.00)

AT METRICON STADIUM, SATURDAY 02/07, 13:40
Line: Suns -2.5, Saints +2.5
The Gold Coast Suns slumped to a tenth consecutive loss against Hawthorn on Sunday, but there looks to be light appearing at the end of the tunnel. The Suns led at half time and were still in the game during the last quarter, but Hawthorn’s experience in that situation was too much. Gary Ablett appears to be back at his best as he collected 40 disposals against the Hawks, including an enormous 15 clearances. If Gazza continues producing numbers like that, the struggling Suns will be on the winners list soon enough. Jack Martin and Kade Kolodjashnij strengthen the Suns side further.
St Kilda produced one of the upsets of the season in defeating top of the table and premiership favourite Geelong. The intense pressure caught the Cats off guard early and it led to an impact on the scoreboard with the Saints getting out to a 31 point lead halfway through the second quarter. Geelong finally kicked into gear after halftime, but it didn’t stop St Kilda dominating the around the ground stoppages and inflicting constant defensive pressure. When Geelong got out to a nine point lead nearing time on of the last, you could have forgiven the Saints for dropping their heads. But brilliant goals to Gresham and Steven gave St Kilda the lead back, which was enough to see the red, white and black hold on to a famous win.
As the odds suggest, this is very difficult to split. The Suns are showing signs of improvement, while the Saints have been leaving its great Etihad Stadium form at the airport. Without any great confidence, I feel Gold Coast can win this game.

GOLD COAST TO WIN BY 3 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Gold Coast 1-39 @ $2.45

SYDNEY ($1.40) VS WESTERN BULLDOGS ($3.05)

AT THE SCG, SATURDAY 02/07, 16:35
Line: Swans -17.5, Dogs +17.5
The bye couldn’t have come at a better time for the Swans as it had to compete in yet another wet and heavily contested game. It was only two weeks earlier that Sydney had to play Gold Coast at Metricon in even worse conditions and the hard hits took a toll. The win against an improving Melbourne outfit was admiral though, as the Swans held a record 155 tackles. The players knew there was time to recover and they went hard at the footy. It will be the Swans first big test without Kurt Tippett in the ruck against a top four opponent.
The Western Bulldogs put in arguably its worse performance of the season against Geelong in Round 13, going down by 57 points at Etihad Stadium. While the Dogs won the contested possession count by 12 and had two more inside 50s, it struggled to contain the Cats fast stoppage breakaways, especially from centre bounces. Some would argue that the Dogs burned its chances by kicking 5.13, but a lot of the behinds came from consecutive I50 retention and unrealistic shots on goal. It never appeared that the Dogs were ever in control of its scoring opportunities. Easton Wood and Jason Johannisen are enormous inclusions for the Dogs defensive stocks.
The Western Bulldogs produced one of the great upset wins of 2015 against the Swans at the SCG, but it will need everything to go right for that to happen again. The Dogs have been starting slowly, having lost four of its last five opening terms. The Swans have led at quarter time in 10 of its 13 matches and will be looking at starting fast again.

SYDNEY TO WIN BY 21 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Sydney -3.5 Quarter Time Line @ $1.90

CARLTON ($2.10) VS COLLINGWOOD ($1.76)

AT THE MCG, SATURDAY 02/07, 19:25
Line: Blues +4.5, Pies -4.5
Carlton genuinely looked like it could compete for a top eight position when sitting 6-5 after 11 rounds, but poor performances against GWS and St Kilda in recent weeks has brought the club back to reality. The Blues copped a hiding in the contested stakes against the Giants, finishing -25 for contested possession and -10 for clearances. The stoppage woes are becoming a major issue for Brendon Bolton as opposition midfielders continue to rack up massive numbers. Carlton probably aren’t getting as much out of Matthew Kreuzer as they like, despite the former No.1 draft pick now consistently staying on the park.
The Magpies had a welcomed return to form against Fremantle on Friday night in freezing conditions, running away to a comfortable 48 point win. Collingwood’s trends are arguably the hardest to read in the competition as it completely turned around its recent ball winning issues. Against a Fremantle side that has been producing some big inside numbers in the last month, the Pies comfortably won the contested possession and clearance counts. It certainly creates doubts as to how trustworthy Collingwood are to compete at its best on any day, which suggests it is worth waiting for some continuity from them.
Carlton got the points in a tight Round 7 affair against Collingwood, but they look to have lost confidence since the Brisbane win. Hard to trust either club, but the Pies showed promising signs against Fremantle.

COLLINGWOOD TO WIN BY 7 POINTS
No Bet to Consider

MELBOURNE ($3.15) VS ADELAIDE ($1.36)

AT THE MCG, SUNDAY 03/07, 15:20
Line: Dees +20.5, Crows -20.5
Melbourne would have been disappointed with its effort against Sydney in Round 13, eventually going down by 55 points. The Demons have prided itself on its ability to score against any opponent, in any conditions this season. But Melbourne were restricted to 11 scoring shots and a miserly 31 points against the Swans, who flourished in very wet conditions. It did still manage to have 47 inside 50s, but couldn’t get enough penetration for the entrances to be dangerous. The Dees will be happy returning to the MCG this week, where it has recorded five of its six wins and been competitive in every loss.
Adelaide is just starting to flex its muscle as a genuine premiership contender and made everyone take notice in a dominant performance against North Melbourne. The final 33 point margin didn’t justify how impressive the Crows were, but 40 scoring shots to 17 gave a greater indication. It really should have been a 10+ goal victory for Adelaide, but terrible kicking in front of goal led to a ridiculous 28 behinds. In a congested game of footy, the Crows midfielders were too classy for the big bodied North Melbourne inside players. Sunday will be the one year anniversary of Phil Walsh’s death, which is sure to be an emotional time for the Adelaide players.
This is a danger game for Adelaide. Melbourne are a better team at the MCG and have decent results against the Crows in recent times. Expect a high scoring contest.

ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 6 POINTS
Bet to Consider:
Total Game Points Over 185.5 Points @ $1.88

Author

mm

Rover

Covering all things Australian Rules Football for The Profits. I’ve been a passionate supporter and follower of AFL for as long as I can remember. Having been born into a family with deep football history and tradition on both sides, you can say it runs through my blood. I’ve got a keen interest in the stats and analysis of the game, which helped me finish in the top 100 of fantasy competitions DreamTeam and Supercoach last year. While my own local football career was cut short due to injury at 22, it has created an opportunity for me to frequently watch and build a deep knowledge of the sport at its highest level. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and views throughout the season.

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