Welcome to the Round 19 AFL preview. The second week of Round 18 was again dominated by surprise results, with all four favourites going down. Hawthorn managed to end the Swans three month winning streak, while the Adelaide Crows replaced its opponent Collingwood in the eight with a gutsy performance at the MCG.
Round 19 has a lot of short priced favourites, but as we have found out this year, at least one surprise result is more likely than not to occur. North Melbourne, Brisbane and Collingwood would all fancy themselves as under dogs in their respective encounters, but all three have been difficult to read throughout the season. Six of the nine Round 18 matches were determined by 20 points or less, making the Sportsbet 20 point money back offer an extremely popular promotion over the last two weeks. The promotion returns once again for Round 19, which certainly won’t disappoint too many punters.
Brisbane to win head to head @ $2.15 (using Sportbet 20 point or less loss pay back)
FREMANTLE ($1.19) VS CARLTON ($4.75)
AT PATERSONS STADIUM, THURSDAY 31/07, 20:10
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R19 2013 Carlton 12.8 (80) lost to Fremantle 17.14 (116) at ES
Line: Fremantle -32.5, Carlton +32.5
Two weeks on from the result, I’m still battling to comprehend how Fremantle were so easily beaten by St Kilda. It is one of the more out of the blue results I can remember, even considering the Giants upset win against Sydney in Round 1. The two teams form trends were heading in the complete opposite directions, while motivation levels to succeed were also wide apart. Fremantle stunk of a side that was thinking weeks ahead and/or looking forward to the week off and the numbers showed it. The Dockers were -121 for total disposals, -19 for contested possession, -17 for inside 50s and -9 for clearances. There was hardly an area it won against a bottom placed St Kilda team that hadn’t been competitive for months. Perhaps it was the wakeup call this side needed. Sandilands, Ballantyne, Hill and Ibbotson are fairly handy inclusions to say the least.
Carlton produced its best result of the season against North Melbourne, getting up by a credible 23 points. The Blues talls up forward were dynamite with Henderson and Waite kicking 10 goals between them for the night. Had those two not fired, you could argue the Blues wouldn’t have won and it is imperative that those performances aren’t backed up with flops. Mitch Robinson is again unavailable through suspension, while Andrejs Everitt could miss the rest of the season with a knee after an impressive debut year for the club. Troy Menzel also misses with a knee.
Ross Lyon and his players will still be feeling embarrassed by the Saints loss. Expect a far more intense Dockers unit this time around.
FREMANTLE TO WIN BY 36 POINTS
Most Possessions Group Two Chris Judd @ $5.50
SYDNEY ($1.27) VS ESSENDON ($3.75)
AT THE SCG, FRIDAY 01/08, 19:50
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R9 2014 Essendon 9.10 (64) lost to Sydney 18.6 (114) at ES
Line: Sydney -26.5, Essendon +26.5
The twelve week winning streak was fun for the Swans while it lasted, but there is no shame going down to Hawthorn in Melbourne. John Longmire would have loved to notch up a victory at the MCG before September, but it is difficult to dominate week in, week out. Sydney still finds itself on top of the ladder by percentage, but the Hawks are only less than one percent behind now with Geelong also on equal points. The club suffered no new injuries from the clash, while Dan Hannebery and Rhyce Shaw are on the verge of returning to the side, so despite the loss, things aren’t all that bad.
With the return of James Hird to the country, the Bombers results have again taken a backseat media ride. Essendon have decided to not allow Hird in the coaches box once his suspension has ended, which for some reason has created bulk attention. Who really cares? Things like Jake Carlisle kicking 8 goals against the Dogs and taking 31 marks over two weeks is far more relevant to this season. The Bombers are building some great momentum heading into September, so you can’t blame them attempting to die down the Hird circus that the media have become obsessive with. Michael Hibberd has strained a hamstring and will miss 2-3 weeks.
Can the Swans lose consecutive games? I don’t think so and fully expect them to deal with Essendon comfortably. Franklin loves to feast on an Essendon carcass and is a large chance to kick a bag.
SYDNEY TO WIN BY 41 POINTS
Lance Franklin to kick 6 goals or more @ $7.80
ADELAIDE ($1.20) VS WEST COAST ($4.80)
AT ADELAIDE OVAL, SATURDAY 02/08, 13:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R23 2013 West Coast 5.13 (43) lost to Adelaide 19.15 (129) at PS
Line: Adelaide -32.5, West Coast +32.5
The streets of Adelaide a buzzing with both Adelaide and the Power firming for September action. The Crows have stormed into the top eight with an impressive victory against Collingwood away. It has now defeated North Melbourne, Port Adelaide and Collingwood over the past six weeks, as well as being very competitive against Hawthorn in Round 17. That is some fairly impressive and consistent form coming into the business end of the season. The club also breathed a massive sigh of relief after Patrick Dangerfield’s knee proved to be nothing more than minor. He is expected to play this week. Scott Thompson won’t be risked, but has been named.
It wasn’t conditions that West Coast would be expected to peak in, but boy was Adam Simpson’s men disappointing in the wet against Richmond. In a game dominated by packs and stoppages, West Coast had a contested possession differential of -28, which will never see you win a game in the slop. It was the sixth loss at Patersons Stadium this year, making it 15 losses from the last 22 matches there. Travelling west to play the Eagles is no longer feared. It is no surprise to see Dean Cox missing with concussion.
The Crows are on a high and have been outstanding at Adelaide Oval since the Melbourne loss. Impossible to pick the Eagles here.
ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 48 POINTS
Adelaide @ the -32.5 line
RICHMOND ($1.09) VS GWS ($8.00)
AT THE MCG, SATURDAY 02/08, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R10 2014 GWS Giants 5.11 (41) lost to Richmond 24.10 (154) at SPS
Line: Richmond -44.5, GWS +44.5
Richmond have finally hit levels comparable to last season when it made the top eight. Unfortunately this time around it appears the run has been left too late, but why shouldn’t the club aim large if the chances are still mathematical? Four consecutive wins against St Kilda, Brisbane, Port Adelaide and West Coast is likely to become five with GWS at the MCG this week. The Tigers week was mostly highlighted by Tyrone Vickery’s swipe that connected with Dean Cox’s jar, which has earned the Tiger a four week break, but Richmond deserve credit for turning its on field performances around. A lot of that thanks can be directed toward Anthony Miles, who has helped turn the stoppage woes around nearly singlehandedly.
It was good to see the Giants push Geelong to the end after a sizable lead began to open up. The Giants ultimately went down by seven points, but it earned some respect and more importantly took plenty of positives out of the game. Tom Boyd only collected six disposals, but some strong contested marks and two important goals gave the few GWS supporters at the ground hope that he can make it as an AFL footballer. The unlucky Tim Mohr has torn his ACL, ruling him out for the rest of this season and a majority of next, while Jeremy Cameron who has succumbed to an ankle. Heath Shaw finally returns.
Richmond have an average winning margin of 117 points over the last two encounters. It won’t get that nasty, but it won’t be close either.
RICHMOND TO WIN BY 55 POINTS
GWS +11.5 third quarter line @ $1.90
NORTH MELBOURNE ($2.35) VS GEELONG ($1.62)
AT ETIHAD STADIUM, SATURDAY 02/08, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R10 2014 Geelong 16.15 (111) dftd North Melbourne 13.13 (91) at SS
Line: North +9.5, Geelong -9.5
At was a classic 2014 North Melbourne result against Carlton and no one can be surprised anymore by this side when it capitulates. It is hard to remember a team that is so inconsistent in recent times, as the large gap between its best and worst seemingly grows. You can almost sense the doubt from North Melbourne in games it knows it should win, with the risk taking attitude that is evident against the top teams non-existent. The hardest pill for Brad Scott to swallow would have to be the ease that Carlton kicked goals, particularly in the final quarter. A mixture of effort and poor decision making was to blame, but how do you stop it from occurring at such key moments?
The Cats lacked intensity for a majority of the GWS clash and while the questions are continually asked, Geelong just keeps on winning. It is easy to forget that Chris Scott’s team is level on points with both Sydney and Hawthorn and a game clear of Port Adelaide and Fremantle. The heavy training load is beginning to lessen coming into key clashes, so expect the Cat’s form to lift in the coming weeks. Allen Christensen returns, adding strength to Geelong’s weakest area, the stoppages.
North Melbourne have been more than competitive against Geelong in recent times, especially at Etihad where it has won two of the last three at the venue and led by 40+ points in the other before losing the plot. North can definitely win this, but how can you tip them with any confidence?
GEELONG TO WIN BY 1 POINT
North Melbourne +2.5 third quarter line @ $1.90
GOLD COAST ($1.38) VS ST KILDA ($3.15)
AT METRICON STADIUM, SATURDAY 02/08, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R9 2014 St Kilda 13.9 (87) lost to Gold Coast 19.11 (125) at ES
Line: Gold Coast -20.5, St Kilda +20.5
The Suns are in absolute free fall. The first quarter in particular needs to be discussed, as it could be described as the worst of the season statistically. The disposal count of 36 is just staggering. It is the second lowest disposal count in a first quarter recorded since 2000, but the numbers get worst from there. The disposal count differential was -90, inside 50s -19, contested possession -29 and the Suns were 19% less efficient when they finally did get the footy. Based on those statistics, the Suns were very lucky not to be down by more than 41 points at quarter time. We all knew Gary Ablett was important for this Suns side, but no one could forecast the depth of the hole left. The Suns lose some important height this week, with Dixon and Smith out with quad and ankle injuries respectively.
The St Kilda performance against Fremantle can be described as nothing more than amazing. Paying $16.00 pregame, the Saints sensed the Dockers were off its game early and were ruthless in taking a golden opportunity. St Kilda were led inspirationally by Nick Riewoldt, who some described as playing his greatest game for the club. He gathered an enormous 30 possessions, 16 marks and kicked 4 critical goals. In classic Riewoldt style, he continuously ran himself to exhaustion and gave Zac Dawson no chance of stopping him. It was a pleasure to watch. Jack Steven is a very handy inclusion.
This is now the most important game of Gold Coast’s season. It must notch its first victory without Ablett here or lose further confidence. Surely it has too much class, despite the Saints efforts against Fremantle.
GOLD COAST TO WIN BY 14 POINTS
Jack Martin first goal scorer @ $26.00
MELBOURNE ($1.73) VS BRISBANE ($2.15)
AT ETIHAD STADIUM, SUNDAY 03/08, 13:10
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R17 2013 Melbourne 11.9 (75) dftd Western Bulldogs 11.10 (76) at TIO
Line: Melbourne -5.5, Brisbane +5.5
Melbourne was extremely unlucky to not come away with its second win of the year at Adelaide Oval, going down to Port Adelaide by 3 points. The Dees won more of the footy and was far more efficient, but a late Jay Schulz set shot ultimately killed them. It was a gutsy effort, but there are plenty of positives to take out of the result. The Dees have a far greater challenge to overcome this week though and it isn’t the Brisbane Lions. That challenge is the Etihad hoodoo. Melbourne has lost the last 18 encounters at the roofed stadium, with its last victory coming in Round 19 2007 against the Dogs. Whether it is a mental problem or they just don’t play the ground well, the result never goes their way.
Brisbane put its baby Queensland brother to the sword on Saturday night, defeating the hapless Suns by 54 points. As I stated earlier, the first quarter was as one sided as you can get with Pearce Hanley and Tom Rockliff setting an early tone. When the rain set in Hanley and Rockliff didn’t ease like the scoring, collecting a mind boggling 45 and 47 disposals respectively. Hanley also had over 1000 metres gained, breaking the rare kilometre landmark.
I’m liking the Lions chances here, especially with the Sportbet 20 point buffer. Melbourne’s Etihad record is difficult to ignore, but I guess they are due.
BRISBANE TO WIN BY 16 POINTS
Brisbane to win head to head @ $2.15 (using Sportbet 20 point or less loss pay back)
HAWTHORN ($1.13) VS WESTERN BULLDOGS ($6.25)
AT AURORA STADIUM, SUNDAY 03/08, 15:20
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R17 2013 Hawthorn 13.17 (95) dftd Western Bulldogs 11.10 (76) at AU
Line: Hawthorn -37.5, Dogs +37.5
The Hawks made a defining statement to the competition with an impressive 10 point victory against premiership favourite Sydney. It has seen Hawthorn shorten to $3.50 for the flag and kept the premiership race extremely open. The Hawks managed to match Sydney at the stoppages and were so more dangerous on the outside. It had 48 more uncontested possessions than the Swans and set up many attacks forward from the half back line. Buddy was influential, but the return of Gibson defensively and with ball in hand was large. Ben McEvoy played arguably his best game for the club and more importantly is having an impact in Hawthorn victories.
The Western Bulldogs were very good against Essendon, but basically beaten by Jake Carlisle and his eight goals singlehandedly. They just had no match up and even double teaming didn’t work as his hands in any situation were supreme. The Dogs easily won the contested ball, but strangely enough lost the clearances which would be of concern. There are minimal injury issues currently at Whitten Oval and many good VFL performers to consider.
Hawthorn showed the competition that it is starting to peak. It rarely loses down in Tassie.
HAWTHORN TO WIN BY 59 POINTS
Hawthorn 40+ points @ $1.94
COLLINGWOOD ($2.28) VS PORT ADELAIDE ($1.65)
AT THE MCG, SUNDAY 03/08, 16:40
Line: Collingwood +7.5, Port -7.5
It is danger time for Collingwood. Emergency panic buttons are in the cusps of hands and there doesn’t appear to be an easy fix solution. The Pies have now lost five of its last six matches and faces some awkward encounters on the way home. It has lost its top eight position to Adelaide and now face the prospect of treating every game like a final. Nathan Buckley is truly being tested and must come through with the goods to avoid the constant question marks from the media. Collingwood won all of the contested possession, clearance and tackle counts, so the effort couldn’t be faulted, but it was so predictable going forward. Is it time to rattle some trusted names at selection?
Port Adelaide aren’t going much better than Collingwood. The Jay Schulz set shot against Melbourne was the clubs most important moment of the season and had he missed, doubts would have set through this group like the plague. The break could have come at the perfect time for Ken Hinkley though, with a chance to regroup and freshen up the young list. Collingwood away and struggling provide the perfect opportunity to see where this side is at. Carlile and Monfries are great inclusions, but the zippy Matt White misses with a groin.
Massive game for both clubs. Both are battling for form and looking to return to early season highs. The loser faces uncertainty and I’m feeling the same way in predicting a result. They are difficult to split.
PORT ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 3 POINTS
Either team under 15.5 points @ $2.50
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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