The final round of the 2020 AFL home and away season is upon us! Plenty of teams are still fighting for a spot in the finals and for seeding within the top eight itself! The Round 18 action gets underway on Thursday night with the Kangaroos facing off against the Eagles from 7.10pm at Metricon Stadium.
As usual, we have a full preview and betting tips for the Thursday night clash below and remember to check out our AFL Round 18 Betting Tips page for our dedicated preview for every game across the weekend.
Metricon Stadium, Thursday 7.10pm (AEST)
While the Roos chances of playing finals faded long ago, they still have something to fight for on Thursday night as they try to avoid the wooden spoon in 2020. It’s a must win game for the Eagles, who can sneak into the top four with a win and a Geelong or Richmond loss in the last round.
What a horror show it’s been for the Kangaroos of late. They have lost their last seven games straight and were obliterated by the Dockers in Round 17, going down by 64 points as Fremantle piled on a season high 15 goals. The Roos have a slight percentage advantage over the Crows and both teams have tough matchups against the Eagles and Tigers respectively.
The only consistent thing about the Kangaroos season to date has been their extensive injury list. They currently have 15 players on their injury list, headlined by the likes of Ben Brown, Ben Cunnington, Ben Jacobs and Jy Simpkin.
Cameron Zurhaar has been a somewhat constant in the North Melbourne forward line, booting at least one goal in his last three games straight and kicking 17 on the season so far. If the Roos are to find any avenue to goal on Thursday night it will likely be through Zurhaar.
The Eagles recorded a much needed win over the Saints in Round 17 to keep them in the race for the top four. They need to win this game and rely on the Cats or Tigers losing in Round 18 to jump into the all-important top four and secure the double chance.
After trailing late in the game, the Eagles kicked three goals in a matter of minutes to snatch victory from the Saints. Andrew Gaff and Tim Kelly were outstanding in the win, racking up 63 touches and two goals between them while key forwards Jack Darling and Oscar Allen kicked four goals between them.
The Eagles have a lengthy injury list at the moment, one that will need to be addressed before finals. Midfielders Luke Shuey, Elliot Yeo, Dom Sheed and Jack Redden remain on the sidelines for the Eagles, which likely means another big game for Kelly and Gaff this week.
The Eagles showed that they can get the job done against a quality opponent despite their injuries with a great win over the Saints last week. Their midfield is absolutely decimated but they still have an extremely talented defence and forward line with stars across the board. They should have no problem beating the Roos, especially with so much on the line.
The only question is, can they cover the monster 36.5 point line? Too rich for our blood. Like the look of the 1-39 margin instead.
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