The race to the 2018 AFL finals is starting to heat up and the upcoming Round 21 games are must wins for up to nine clubs! PuntingInDanger and fans went well last weekend, hitting on six of nine bets and we’ll try to replicate that this weekend as we preview all nine games in Round 21 below!
Two great rivals will do battle on the MCG this Saturday as Hawthorn host Geelong from 1.45pm. These two teams have a knack of playing in absolute blockbusters and with so much at stake for both sides heading into Round 21, this promises to be another thriller. The Hawks were fantastic last weekend, defeating the Bombers by four points as Tom Mitchell was once again dominant. Jack Gunston and Luke Breust combined for eight goals in the win which elevated Hawthorn to to fifth on the ladder.
The Cats went down in an epic Friday night clash to the Tigers in Round 20 and coincidingly dropped out of the top eight. They sit just four points behind Melbourne, Hawthorn, Collingwood, Port Adelaide and Sydney who sit in 4th-8th place and have the best percentage of any team outside the top five so if they win all three of their remaining games it’s likely they will make the top eight.
Such a tough game to call here. If the Cats play the way they did against the Tigers on the weekend than you have to think they will be too strong, however, this matchup always throws out tight games that are usually decided in the last few minutes. Four of the last five games between these two teams have produced a combined winning margin of just 10 points. With so much on the line for both squads I expect another tight game here.
The Tiger train just stumbled into the station on Friday night as they defeated the Cats by three points. They will now make one of their five interstate trips for the year as they head to Metricon to take on the Suns where they will start massive 65-point favourites. Kane Lambert was fantastic in the win over the Cats, racking up 31 touches while Jack Riewoldt booted four goals.
After losing to the Blues in Round 19, the Suns suffered yet another low point of their season on the weekend, going down to Melbourne by a whopping 96 points at the MCG. Not many positive signs to come out of the game for the Suns but they will get captain Steven May back from a one game suspension this week. The Suns injury list is extensive at the moment and they’ll just be hoping they can stem the onslaught this weekend.
Can’t see much value in this game to be honest. 65 point seems about right for Richmond away from home here. They should score over at a canter so I like the total points line.
After winning seven of eight games in the middle of the season, Port Adelaide looked like they were going to make a play at top spot. Since then, however, they have lost three of four games after suffering a tough loss in the Showdown to the Crows on the weekend. The dynamic duo of Robbie Gray and Chad Wingard were gallant in the loss, booting eight goals between them, however, the midfield of the Power was thoroughly outplayed.
West Coast captured a dominant win over the Dockers on Sunday, winning by 58 points as Jamie Cripps and Jack Darling combined for eight goals. The big story of the game, however, was Andrew Gaff and his punch behind the play onto Andrew Brayshaw. The hit will likely mean the end of the season for Gaff, who is arguably the Eagles most important midfielder.
Tough game to call here. It’s almost a must win for the Power, who currently sit just four points clear in the top eight. Port have been great at home this year, winning 7 of 9 games at Adelaide Oval and with the Eagles missing Gaff and Josh Kennedy, who has a shin injury, we like the Power to take this one.
After losing three of their last four games, the Pies have fallen from second to sixth on the AFL ladder. They still boast just one win against a top eight sides in 2018, a 42 win against the Demons back in Round 12. Their injury list is extensive at the moment but they look set to get back a couple of key players this weekend in Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe while Ben Reid and Flynn Appleby are likely to play in the VFL.
Brisbane were once again gallant in defeat on the weekend as they went down to the Roos by three points at the Gabba. The Lions have been a much better side than their 4-15 record suggests this year, having lost seven of their 14 total losses by under 20 points. Dayne Zorko was fantastic in the loss to the Roos, racking up 35 touches and booting three goals while Hugh McCluggage also slotted three.
The Lions have arguably the best-looking injury list in the league at the moment, as only Charlie Cameron is missing from their certain 22. However, this is too important of a game for the Pies and playing at the MCG gives them a massive advantage here. They start as 24-point favourites but I prefer the margin here as Brisbane should remain super competitive.
Jeremy Cameron returned with a bang last weekend, slotting four goals in the Giants monster105 point win against the Blues. With the win, the Giants have now won eight of their last nine games and are absolutely rolling into the business end of the season. Injury problems reared their head once again for the Giants on the weekend, however, as Toby Greene, Dylan Shiel, Sam Reid, Brett Deledio, Tim Taranto and Ryan Griffen could all be in doubt for the Adelaide match.
The Crows salvaged something from their 2018 season with a big three-point showdown win over the Power. Matt Crouch was dominant in the win, racking up 35 touches and kicking a crucial fourth quarter goal while Rory Sloane continued his great end of year form. The Crows currently sit 8 points behind Sydney in eighth place so while it’s still mathematically possible for them to make the eight, they’ll need a miracle.
The Giants will be back at UNSW Canberra Oval this weekend where they have won their two games in 2018 by an average of 56.5 points. Chance of rain in Canberra on Saturday has the total point line all the way down at 154.5 points. We are hoping the rain abides by 7.30pm and picking the overs as eight of the last nine games between these two teams have cleared that mark.
The Dogs captured their sixth win of the season last week against the Saints, downing them by 35 points at Etihad Stadium. They’ll be back under the roof this weekend against the Roos, who are coming off a great season saving win against the Lions in Brisbane. Marcus Bontempelli was fantastic in the win over the Saints, racking up 22 touches and booting four goals while Jason Johannisen did as he pleased off half back with 42 disposals.
North Melbourne will welcome back Shaun Higgins from a knee injury to face his old side this weekend and could also get Taylor Garner and Billy Hartung back. Jack Ziebell picked up the slack in the midfield and forward against the Lions, collecting 26 touches and booting three goals in the win.
The Dogs were impressive last weekend but not much can be said about the Saints performance. North Melbourne will pose a much bigger task especially with Higgins back in the lineup. Ben Brown has thrived at Etihad this year so we think the Roos get over the line here.
One of the games of the round sees Melbourne hosting Sydney at the MCG on Sunday afternoon. The Dees are coming off a big 96-point win over the Suns on the weekend which saw them score 143 points and have 10 individual goal kickers. Clayton Oliver was great in the win with 31 touches and 2 goals while Jesse Hogan looked ominous with four goals and 10 marks.
Sydney kept their season alive with a thrilling three-point win over the Pies on Saturday. Buddy Franklin was back to his best for the Swans, racking up 10 scoring shots (6.4) and nine marks in the win. The two teams both currently sit on 48 points, just one game inside the eight so it’s likely that we could see one of them drop out by the end of the round.
Melbourne start as 21.5 point favourites here, which is a little high in my opinion. Granted the Swans have been pretty poor last weekend but I feel like it’s a team you just can’t right off in this type of situation. Sydney should get back Hannebery and Rohan from injury and even though the Demons have been great at the G this year I like the Swans to make a game of this.
Not sure if I really even feel up to writing a preview for this game. Should be an absolute snooze fest between two teams with nothing left to play for in 2018. The only story line here is whether Blues star Patrick Cripps can make a late run at the Brownlow medal in the last three rounds, but even that might be already out of his reach.
Both the Blues and Dockers were beaten convincingly on the weekend by top four sides and will likely see their last chance for a win this weekend. Freo skipper Nat Fyfe remains on the sidelines with a Hamstring injury while youngster Andrew Brayshaw will miss the rest of the season with a broken jaw from the Gaff incident.
Wouldn’t think the Dockers would start as 26-point favourites over anyone this season, but with the way the Blues have been playing of late it makes sense. I’m staying far away from this game in every sense of the word.
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