Massive week of AFL action ahead as the competition returns to its regular nine game schedule with the conclusion of the bye rounds. PuntingInDanger and fans have had a few tough weeks on the trot now but we’ll be looking to bounce back this weekend as we preview every game in Round 15 of the AFL and give betting tips below!
The Western Bulldogs were super competitive on Saturday night against the Kangaroos with a severely undermanned squad. They lead the majority of the game up until a last minute goal by Jack Ziebell handed the Kangaroos their 8th win of the season and kept them in the top eight.
Geelong will be coming off their bye round this week so should be fresh for the trip to Etihad Stadium on Friday night. They were beaten by Richmond at the MCG in Round 13 by 18 points and will be keen to get back on the winners list and solidify their spot in the top eight, which is currently maintained by only percentage.
The Western Bulldogs know how to play Etihad and the perfect conditions suit their extremely skill based style. However, they are just too undermanned on every line at the moment. They are missing key defenders, key midfielders and key forwards and at their best they can probably compete with the Cats at Etihad but with an undermanned squad and Geelong coming off the bye, the Cats should be too strong here but I expect another good fight from the Dogs.
Carlton vs Port Adelaide (Saturday 1.45pm AEST)
Carlton and Port Adelaide will do battle from the MCG on Saturday afternoon as the Power look to move into the top four on the ladder with a big win. They currently sit fifth but trail the top three teams by just one game and could be hunting a percentage boost this weekend against Carlton who currently sit on the bottom of the ladder.
Port are currently on a three game win streak including great home wins over both the Tigers and Melbourne and their run gets considerably easier from here as they face the Blues, Saints and Dockers over the next three weeks.
The line for the Carlton vs Collingwood game floated all the way out to 50 points last weekend and the blues were actually impressive throughout the game, losing by just 20 points with only two fit players on the bench. That performance has seen this weeks line come into 38.5 points, but I think the Power are in too good of form at the moment and possess too much scoring power not to cover here.
The Crows have now lost their last four games in a row and are reeling at 6-7 on the season, currently sitting in 11th place on the ladder. They are two games out of the eight and will probably need to win 6 or 7 of their last 9 games to make the finals. The bye couldn’t have come at a better time for the Crows, who are carrying one of the longest injury lists in the league.
Rory Sloane, Rory Laird, Tom Lynch, Riley Knight and Luke Brown are all slated to make their returns from injury this week against the Eagles, which should bolster the Crows depth, however, Mitch McGovern, Eddie Betts, Brad Crouch and Brodie Smith remain on the sidelines.
The Eagles their own injury concerns, as they will once again be without dominant key forward pair Jack Darling and Josh Kennedy. West Coast couldn’t manage a rampant Essendon at Optus Stadium without Kennedy and Darling last weekend, trailing by as much as 50 points at one stage.
The return of the key players should be a massive boost for the Crows, and this game si almost a must win if they aim to play finals in 2018. West Coast looked without structure last weekend against the Bombers and it’s hard to see them having a reliable avenue to goal. I like the Crows to win at home in a fairly close game.
Gold Coast vs Collingwood (Saturday 7.25pm AEST)
The Gold Coast were super competitive for the first half of the game against the Hawks in Round 14, leading by as much as three goals in the second term before a 11-2 goal Hawthorn run saw them take a 53-point win. Tom Lynch was impressive early in the game, kicking 2 goals in the first quarter but ultimately the midfield couldn’t supply him with enough ball throughout the game.
Collingwood are one of the hottest teams in the competition at the moment. They have won their last five games in a row and currently sit in fourth place on the ladder with a 9-4 record. Their midfield has been super dominant with Scott Pendlebury, Steele Sidebottom and Tom Phillips all racking up consistently high numbers. A big blow came on the weekend, however, as arguably their most important midfielder, Adam Treloar amazingly pulled both hamstrings in the game against the Blues.
The loss of Treloar is a massive blow for the Pies, but they shouldn’t feel it too much against the Suns this weekend. Even without the star midfielder they should be able to dominate the middle of the ground on Saturday and there’s a possibility to get a host of players in Ben Reid, Darcy Moore, Josh Smith, Travis Varcoe and Jamie Elliot all back from injury this weekend. Unsure if Buckley will make any changes to what has been a dominant side of late but at the least the newly available players will force better performances out of everyone. I like Collingwood in a blowout here.
Greater Western Sydney vs Hawthorn (Saturday 7.25pm AEST)
GWS have won their last three games in a row and are beginning to make a top eight push after a bit of a mid season slump. They were impressive against the Lions on the weekend, winning by 27 points but the major story from the game was a Jeremey Cameron high hit on Brisbane defender Harris Andrews which saw him suspended for five games.
The loss of Cameron will be a big blow to the Giants, who rely on the key forward so much for their quicker style of play. The Giants also have some key injuries to the likes of Brett Deledio, Toby Greene, Rory Lobb and Tom Scully, who will all be out for the Hawthorn clash on the weekend.
On the contrary, the Hawks have one of the shorter injury lists in the league and should be near full strength this weekend as they aim to win their fourth game in a row and move into the top eight. Percentage is currently the only thing keeping the Hawks out of a finals berth, so they’ll be keen to continue their winning ways. Tom Mitchell was dominant again on the weekend, racking up 31 touches while James Sciliy continues to mount his case as one of the most dynamic players in the league, playing another great game in the win over the Suns. Its at Spotless but I think the Hawks can get over the line here.
Melbourne vs St Kilda (Sunday 1.10pm AEST)
Melbourne had the difficult task of travelling to Adelaide last weekend to take on the Power and displayed a gallant performance, going down by 10 points to lose their second game in a row. The Dees have now dropped to 6th on the ladder after being as high as fourth after Round 11. Apart from the season ending knee injury to Jake Lever, the Demons have a short injury list, and should be near full strength for their game against the Saints on the weekend.
The Saints had a galvanising win over the Suns in Round 13 before their bye week came around alst weekend. Trailing by 31 points at three quarter time, the Saints went on to kick 5.3 in the final term and held the Suns scoreless to record a two point victory and just their second win of the season.
These two teams have met three times in the last year and a half, and while Melbourne have won all three games, the largest margin was 39 points back in Round 1 this year. The win over the Suns should give the Saints plenty of confidence and the week off will be a massive boost as they should get a bunch of players back from injury including skipper Jarrym Geary. I like the Saints to cover a 38.5 line here.
Essendon vs North Melbourne (Sunday 3.20pm AEST)
Classic Bombers last weekend as they looked like the best team in the league, dominating the Eagles in Perth just a few weeks after being thrashed by the Tigers in the Dreamtime game. Inconsistency has been the main theme of the Bombers season so far, but amazingly, they can potentially move to within just one game of the top eight with a win over the Kangaroos on Sunday.
North Melbourne got out of jail in their game against the Dogs on the weekend, kicking a last minute goal after trailing for the majority of the game to pinch victory and remain in the top eight on percentage only. The Roos have won seven of their last ten games and a bounce back performance from big Benny Brown with five goals on the weekend saw him move five clear on top of the Coleman leader board.
The Roos are a much better and cleaner side at Etihad Stadium where conditions are perfect and where Brown is able to take advantage of the cleaner midfielders skills. Jarrad Waite could return to the side this weekend after missing three matches with a calf injury. Tough match to call here as both teams play Etihad fairly well and the Bombers were super impressive last weekend. Tough to pick a winner but I think it will be a free flowing and high scoring game.
Fremantle vs Brisbane (Sunday 4.40pm AEST)
Fremantle will be on the back of their bye round and will welcome the return to Optus Stadium after a few weeks away from home. They currently have a 6-7 record on the season and sit in 13th place on the ladder, although a win this weekend could potentially bring them to within one win of the eight. They have won their last two games in a row, however, after the Brisbane games their schedule gets tough with games against Melbourne, Port Adelaide, Essendon and Hawthorn in the next four weeks.
Brisbane are still hunting their 2nd win of the season, but have been ultra competitive in a bunch of games of late. They took it right up to the Giants on the weekend and of their 12 losses so far this season, they have lost just three by over 34 points.
Dayne Zorko and Dayne Beams have been fantastic throughout the year so far but the loss of Harris Andrews will be a massive blow as he has been the Lions best defender. I still think the Lions remain competitive here and keep it relatively close.
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