The AFL season is quickly winding down and these last five rounds will be crucial for a host of teams as they strive to secure their places in the top eight. Round 19 features a couple of massively important games in the finals race including the Tigers taking on the Magpies at the MCG on Saturday and the Kangaroos facing West Coast on Sunday. We preview all 9 games in Round 19 and give our betting tips below.
Huge clash here as first placed Richmond take on third placed Collingwood at the MCG on Saturday afternoon. Collingwood will be desperate for a win here as they sit just four points above Sydney and Port Adelaide and could be in danger of dropping out of the top four with a loss. Steele Sidebottom will face an anxious week as he recovers from a jaw injury suffered against the Roos on the weekend while Darcy Moore, looks set to return this week.
The Tigers could get Bachar Houli back from injury this weekend while the long awaited return of Nathan Drummond still looks a few weeks away. Other than that, the Tigers injury list looks pretty good at the moment and they should be near full strength for this clash. They were impressive over the Saints on the weekend, smashing them at Etihad by 54 points as Dustin Martin returned to his best, racking up 30 touches and kicking a goal.
Collingwood come into the clash in great form after smashing the Roos by 66 points at the MCG last weekend. Playing against a true away crowd will be a strange feeling for the Pies, one they haven’t had to deal with for a while. The Tigers haven’t lost at the MCG since Round 13 last year and start as $1.46 favourites here. I think the Tigers win this by around 20-30 points and just cover here.
After a heartbreaking final kick loss to the Western Bulldogs earlier in the season, the Cats were on the right side of a kick after the siren game on the weekend as Zach Tuohy saluted from directly in front to sink the Demons at GMHBA Stadium. The Cats will be back in Geelong this weekend for their game against the Lions. Harry Taylor could return for the Cats this weekend, as could Lachie Fogarty.
The Lions have been fantastic over the last month, winning games over the Dockers, Blues and Hawks before losing to the Crows by just five points on the weekend. Youngster Alex Witherden was great on the weekend, racking up 31 touches in the loss while Darcy Gardiner was resolute in defence. It’ll be a tough test for the Lions this weekend, who haven’t won in Geelong since the likes of Michael Voss and Jason Akermanis were running around in the 2003 season.
Geelong have won their last 10 games in a row against the Lions at GMHBA/Kardinia Park with an average margin of over 52 points. They start as 33-point favourites on the weekend, which is a margin the Lions have only covered twice in that 10 game span. The Lions have also allowed the Cats to score 100 points in eight of those clashes and the last seven in a row. We think the Cats put up a big score at home this weekend.
Interestingly, the Saints are one of the few teams to have got the better over the Giants in recent history. The last two games they have played have resulted in an upset win for the Saints and a draw earlier this season in which the Saints were dominant. Both of those games, however, were at Etihad while this weekend’s clash will be at Spotless Stadium, where the Giants were 35-point winners in their last meeting and were also fantastic against the Tigers two weeks ago.
The Giants have looked fantastic over the past two months, winning six of their seven games and taking some big scalps in the Tigers and Power over the last two weeks. They seem to be getting healthy at the right time of year as Toby Greene returned with a bang against the Tigers and Aidan Corr and Ryan Griffen look set to return this weekend. Jeremey Cameron will also return from suspension next week and with games against St Kilda and Carlton coming up, they have a great chance to make a big top four push.
The Giants currently sit just 2 points behind Sydney in fourth place. The Saints have turned their season around to some extent, looking much more competitive in games than they did earlier in the season, but I can’t see them staying with the Giants at Spotless on Saturday. The one thing that I can see keeping this game close is the chance of rain in Sydney on Saturday. The Saints like to turn their games against the Giants into a scrap, which doesn’t suit the Giants heavily skill-based play style. I’m backing the unders in what should be windy if not rainy conditions on Saturday.
I almost feel like not even writing a preview for this match. If it wasn’t for the Suns massive upset win over the Swans on the weekend, both teams would be coming into this game on a 9+ game losing streak. The Suns, amazingly, have somehow won four games this season, and currently sit second last on the ladder with only Carlton trailing.
Former Blue champion Brendan Fevola labelled the 2018 Carlton side as the worst team to ever play AFL footy on the weekend, and it’s extremely hard to disagree with him. They have shown fighting spirit in a total of two games over their current nine game losing streak and were absolutely man handled by Tom Mitchell and the Hawks on the weekend.
Hard to imagine the Suns being 20-point favourites over anyone but you have to agree with the early line after their big win over the Swans on the weekend. They are, however, completely battered with injuries at the moment. I’m staying far away from this game in every aspect. Won’t even be checking the score afterwards.
TIP: No bet
Very interesting game for both teams here. If Adelaide win they will move level with the Demons on points and will enter the massive log jam for the final few spots in the top eight. They captured an essential win over the Lions on the weekend to remain in the finals hunt but have an extremely tough road ahead with games against the Power, Giants and Roos to come. Matt Crouch was great against the Lions, racking up 40 touches while Hugh Greenwood kicked four goals in the win.
Melbourne suffered the disappointing 2-point loss to the Cats on the weekend and now sit in the top eight on percentage alone. They too have a tough run home with games against the Swans, Eagles and Giants to come. Midfielder James Harmes had surgery to fix a broken hand on Monday but is amazingly still an outside chance to line-up this weekend while Jack Viney, Jayden Hunt and Michael Hibberd remain on the sidelines with injury.
Almost a must win for both teams here considering their tough runs in the final few rounds. The Crows have won three of their last four games including impressive wins over the Eagles and Cats and despite their up and down season have still won 6 of 9 games at home. I like the Crows to take this one in a close game.
North Melbourne will be absolutely desperate for a win here as they currently sit four points outside of the top eight. They have lost their last two games in a row and won just five of their last ten after their hot start to the season. They were battered by the Pies last weekend and will still be without a few key players in Jarrad Waite, Sam Durdin and Billy Hartung through injury.
The Eagles breezed by the Western Bulldogs on the weekend to remain in second place on the ladder. They currently trail Richmond by percentage alone and have won their last three games in a row. Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling were firing on all cylinders on the weekend, reeling in 15 marks between them and kicking five goals while Andrew Gaff controlled the midfield with 35 possessions.
West Coast start as 3.5-point favourites here, but I think that is a little harsh on them. They have been nearly unbeatable this season when they have had their two star forwards in and North Melbourne have fallen off the pace a little in the last few months. All of the last five Roos wins have come against teams outside of the eight and I think the Eagles should be too good for them here.
Besides Carlton, you’d almost have to say the Dogs are the worst team in the league at the moment. If it wasn’t for a missed set shot after the siren by Harry Taylor in June, the Dogs would have won just 1 of their last 10 games and have lost their last three games by an average of over 55 points. The injury list is still long an extensive for the Dogs but they should get both Marcus Bontempelli and Lin Jong back this weekend.
The Power were disappointing once again on the weekend, going down to the Giants by 22 points at home to lose their second game in a row. Paddy Ryder injured his hip in the loss to the Giants on the weekend and will be out for a few weeks while Robbie Gray will be hoping to prove fitness after suffering a concussion.
Hard to back the Dogs in their current form, and they have to travel to Ballarat for this "home" game against the Power. The return of Botempelli is huge but I think the 18.5 point line in favour of the Power is a little low considering the Dogs have lost their last three by so much.
Fremantle were competitive against the Bombers on the weekend, going down by 29 points after their emphatic win over the Power the week before. Skipper Nat Fyfe will remain on the sidelines with a hamstring injury this week but the Dockers will likely get Aaron Sandilands back along with Sean Darcy, Andrew Brayshaw, Stephen Hill and Hayden Ballantyne.
The Hawks were dominant over the Blues on the weekend, claiming a 72 point win as Tom Mitchell secured another 3 Brownlow votes. The midfielder racked up 46 touches and kicked two goals and is now a $2 favourite to take out the medal but more important matters will be on his mind this weekend as the Hawks currently sit inside the eight on percentage alone.
Fremantle have won seven games so far this season but six of them have come at home in the new Perth Stadium. They have a 6-3 record there this year and come into this game as 14.5-point underdogs. Tough game to call with so many Fremantle players back from injury. Not really sure of their intentions either as they could potentially begin to ease into tank mode soon. Staying away from this one.
TIP: No bet
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