After a very busy two week period, the AFL season returns to its regular scheduling this weekend, which means a massive five game slate to look forward to on Saturday! The day is headlined by a monster clash between Melbourne and Hawthorn at the MCG and an intriguing game between the Dogs and Tigers at Marvel later in the evening.
You can check out our preview and tips for all five games on Saturday below or head to our AFL Tips Page for all of our Round 7 content!
After starting the season as one of the real premiership contenders, the Demons currently sit dead last on the AFL ladder with a 1-5 record through the opening six rounds. Their only win came over the Swans back in Round 4 and they have since lost in disappointing games to the Saints and Tigers. The injury list at Melbourne is still a real concern and they’ll be without key defenders Steven May and Jake Lever for at least another three weeks.
The Hawks were less than convincing against the Blues in Round 6, but managed to earn a five point win to keep their fantastic record in Tasmania intact. After losing consecutive games to the Saints and Cats, Hawthorn’s win moved them to 3-3 on the season, currently sitting outside of the eight on percentage alone. Shaun Burgoyne will be a welcome addition to the line-up this weekend after recovering from a hamstring injury while James Frawley will likely miss another week.
Neither team has set the world on fire in 2019 so far but Melbourne has been particularly disappointing. Melbourne’s defensive running has been a real issue and playing on the larger MCG has not suited them at all. They were ran off their feet by both the Saints and the Tigers in their last game and the win over the Swans in Round 4 was aided by the smaller SCG. We think the dynamic Hawks forward line exploits the depleted Melbourne defence here.
The Giants have been one of the more impressive teams in the AFL to start the season, currently sitting in fourth place on the ladder with a 4-2 record through six games. They were big winners over the Swans in the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ in Round 6 as star midfielder Stephen Coniglio racked up 24 touches and kicked four goals.
The Saints have also been fantastic in 2019 so far. They too have a 4-2 record but were beaten convincingly by the Crows at Marvel Stadium in Round 6. The Saints couldn’t maintain the relentless pressure that saw them get off to a 4-1 start to the season against the Crows after losing Jack Lonie to a knee injury early in the game. The loss against the Crows started a tough four game stretch for the Saints which continues with games against GWS, West Coast and Collingwood over their next three.
The Saints have been super competitive against the Giants over the last few years and the last three games between the two sides have resulted in one win each and a draw. However, the win and the draw both came at Marvel Stadium and in their most recent clash in NSW, the Giants were 25 point winners. The Giants should win here although the 29.5 point line seems a little high.
After starting the season with three wins in a row, the Lions were brought back to earth in Round 4 and 5 as they were hammered by the Bombers and Magpies by a combined 109 points. The Lions got back on the winners list in Round 6 as they defeated the Suns in the first of two ‘Q Clashes’ this season. The Suns kept pace with Brisbane for the first half before the Lions kicked 10 goals to three in the second half to win by 49 points.
The Lions will face the Swans this Saturday, who have been arguably the most disappointing team in the AFL so far this season. Sydney sit in 16th place on the ladder with just one win from six rounds, with that win coming against a lacklustre Carlton side in Round 3. Lance Franklin was missing in their loss to the Giants on Saturday due to a hamstring strain and will likely be out again this Saturday.
Tough match to call here. The Lions have looked far and away the better side throughout the early parts of the season but it was in Round 7 that the Swans finally came to life after starting the 2017 season with six straight losses. They went on to win 14 of their next 16 games to finish sixth on the ladder. They have the talent and experience on their side here and we think they cover a high-ish line.
After losing two of their opening three games, the Tigers have bounced back to win their last three in a row. A fantastic away win over Port Adelaide was followed by two dominant wins over both Sydney and Melbourne. The Tigers look to be back to their running and chasing best despite still battling an extensive injury list. The Tigers could get defender David Astbury back from injury this week but will still be without Trent Cotchin, Jack Graham, Shaun Grigg, Alex Rance, Jack Riewoldt, Jayden Short and Mav Weller.
The Bulldogs have been inconsistent to say the least in 2019. Fantastic wins over Sydney and Hawthorn in the opening rounds of the season have been followed by four straight losses, including defeats at the hands of Carlton and Gold Coast. On their day, when their ball movement is slick and precise, it seems that the Dogs can take it up to anyone, however, when they lack the tackling pressure that they are famous for, it can go horribly wrong.
The Bulldogs game plan has been one that has been able to stand up to Richmond’s since the start of the Tigers recent run of dominance. The Dogs have won four of their last five games against the Tigers, the only loss coming by three points at the MCG last season. 46.5 point line seems way too high here.
West Coast went on a dominant three game winning streak from Round 2-4, defeating the Giants, Magpies and Dockers. Since then, however, they have been decimated by the Power at home and the Cats at GMHBA Stadium by a combined 100 points. The Eagles will fancy their chances to get back into the top eight with relatively easy games against the Suns, Saints, Demons, Bulldogs and Swans over the next six rounds.
The Suns After three wins in a row, the Suns have been brought back to earth over the last two rounds, losing to the Crows and Lions by a combined 122 points. They were competitive for the first half against the Lions but failed to stay in touch. The Suns have an extremely tough stretch ahead with games against the Eagles, Power, Cats and Giants over the next five rounds.
West Coast start as 46.5 point favourites here which is hard to love given their form over the past two weeks, however, they play extremely well at home and the game against the Power can be written off due to unfavourable weather conditions. We think they bounce back here and earn a big win.
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