We are well and truly into the AFL season, and this round looms to be a cross-roads for many. GWS, Hawthorn, West Coast, and the Bulldogs all sit on 3-3. A win for these teams will put them right in the mix, whilst a loss will raise question marks about their credentials. Round 7 will also mark the first time this season that 30,000 fans will be allowed into stadiums, no doubt improving the spectacle of the game.
Geelong V Collingwood
The most anticipated game of the season will kick off Round 7 as 30,000 fans flock to Optus Stadium.
Collingwood ($1.76) returned to the winners list last week, knocking off Hawthorn by 32 points. A convincing performance after their loss against the Bombers. This marked the first time in 3 weeks that they won the clearance count (26 to 21), much to Buckley’s admiration considering their hit-out dominance throughout the season (yet to lose hit-outs for a game). Darcy Moore was huge for the Magpies, recording 21 disposals, 4 rebound 50’s, 3 inside 50’s, and 9 intercept possessions. Atu Bosenvulagi was also huge in his debut (16 disposals) and Isaac Quaynor gave Collingwood fans an insight into the future, having his best game to date with 15 disposals. A loss will mean the Magpies have lost 3 of their last 4 games, meaning that this game against Geelong is pivotal.
Geelong ($1.94) is in the midst of a purple patch, winning 4 of their last 5 games, including an impressive scalp against Brisbane. They outscored the Lions in the premiership quarter by 44 points, ultimately finishing as 27 point winners. Sam Simpson played his first game in 2 seasons, and he was arguably best on ground, finishing with 27 touches in an amazing comeback story. Hawkins and Ablett combined for 5 goals and 10 score involvements, and the usual suspects in Dangerfield and Selwood were influential as always. A win against Collingwood will almost definitely put Geelong at the top of the premiership discussion, but this is the case every Home and Away season, and the true test will come in the finals.
Both teams are coming off of wins and are likely to finish in the top 4, but Geelong are playing a strong brand of footy and I think they’ll pull off an upset against the Pies
Prediction: Geelong by 9
Essendon V Bulldogs
A fast-paced affair will take place on Friday night at Metricon Stadium
The Bombers ($1.88) are arguably the in-form team of the competition. They have only lost 1 game thus far (by 1 point) and sit in the top 4 with a game in hand. Zaharakis returned to form with 3 goals after an incredibly quiet first 4 games, and McGrath continues his development into elite status after 25 disposals and 4 inside 50’s. Parish recorded 7 clearances after being put into the midfield and Langford kicked 2 goals of his own. They are expected to get Daniher back in the coming weeks, and with Heppel and Stringer missing from this fourth-placed side, they are in a good place.
On the other end of the spectrum, you have the Doggies ($1.90) who fell by 52 points against the Blues after winning their last 3 games. A kick in the head for supporters who thought the Bulldogs were back to their 2016 best. They lost the contested possession count for the first time since Round 2 and recorded 28 fewer one-percenters then they did in Round 5, indicating a lack of effort in the game against Carlton. They have a chance to redeem themselves against the Bombers and get back into the eight. Expect a fierce contest against the Bombers.
The Doggies will be after blood on Friday Night, and will no doubt pile on the pressure after their dismal performance, but the Bombers have been piling on the pressure of their own as of late and will take beating.
Prediction: Essendon by 20
GWS V Brisbane Lios
10th vs 3rd, but this game will be a much closer and intense affair, as the Giants have an opportunity to get back into the eight with a win.
The Giants ($1.74) are coming off a disappointing loss against the Power, after a strong last quarter as a result of GWS’s back half turnovers, resulting in three of their last four goals. This is the second week in a row that GWS has lost clearances by 16, a real concern when considering the caliber of midfielders they have in Coniglio, Kelly, and Hopper. They are likely to regain Taranto for this crunch-time clash, which may be the deciding factor.
Brisbane ($2.05) is also coming off a loss after falling by 5 goals to Geelong. Lauchie Neale continued his stellar form with 26 touches, but those touches had little impact on the game. This is the first game that they have lost clearances in the last 4 rounds, which is not ideal for a team building a reputation for being strong around the contest. McCluggage and Robinson are both set to return after a stint on the sidelines, in what Fagan hopes will buoy his side
This game is the hardest to predict for this round, but I don’t see GWS going down to 3-4, and Taranto will be a massive inclusion
Prediction: GWS by 14
Sydney V Gold Coast
Sydney will host the Suns at the SCG for this clash without their superstars Kennedy and Heeney.
The Swans ($2.12) have come under immense scrutiny this week, after their game against Richmond finished with a total of 7 goals, as a result of Longmire’s decision to flood their backline. Despite the criticism, the Swans nearly came out with the victory losing by only 8 points. The loss of Henney and Kennedy is devastating, but it will no doubt provide an opportunity for some of their young guns to develop such as the likes of Florent, Rowbottom, Clarke, and Hayward. The fact that the game will be held at the SCG is advantageous for the Swans and may put them over the line against the Suns.
The Suns ($1.7) have now recorded their second loss in a row after their blistering start to the season. We were curious to see whether they could continue their form but were ultimately reminded about the inexperience of their side. They lose the contested possession count 103-127 and took 8 fewer marks inside 50 then their opponents. Their recent struggles demonstrate just how influential Rowell was, and what a future superstar he will no doubt be.
The Swans have suffered two huge casualties, but their game style and competitiveness will be too much for Dews men.
Prediction: Sydney by 13
Richmond V North Melbourne
Richmond will feature on prime-time against the Roos at Metricon Stadium
Richmond ($1.54) is in more trouble than their positioning on the ladder would dictate. We got our first glimpse into how they would deal with so many of their key players missing, and although they won by 8 points against the Swans, it was far from convincing against a team who lost two of their best players during the match. Richmond has only beaten one top-eight team this season (Carlton) and is far from the powerhouse they were in years past, being beaten by Hawthorn and St Kilda by a fair margin, two teams that are in struggles of their own. It will be interesting to see if they can continue to defy the critics (myself included), but I think they have lots of things to consider with the amount of personnel they have on the sidelines and the level of play they are putting forth.
North Melbourne ($2.44) is on a downward trajectory, losing 4 games in a row and going into round 7 as 16th on the ladder. They aren’t playing as bad as one would think, but they certainly aren’t setting the world alight either. The usual suspects in Goldstein (19 disposals, 6 clearances, 30 hit outs) and Higgins (15 disposals) continue to carry the Roos, but it is proving to not be enough. They will welcome back Cunnington, Larkey, and Ziebell, but the key to getting back on the winners list for the Roos is to get big Ben Brown firing once again. He is averaging just over a goal a game (7 for the season) but will want to see this number rise up similar to his runner up Coleman performances in recent years.
Richmond should win if they play their best footy, but they are missing plenty of key personnel whereas the Roos are regaining plenty of key personnel. North Melbourne to win in a tight contest.
Prediction: North Melbourne by 5
Carlton V Port Adelaide
A surprisingly exciting match kick-starts Sunday footy as Carlton and Port Adelaide both find themselves in the top eight.
Carlton ($2.9) are in the top 8 for the first time since 2013. They deserve it as well, after taking down the likes of Geelong, Essendon, and Bulldogs. The most pleasing aspect of their most recent win would be the fact that they beat the Doggies by 52 points without Cripps having a 3-vote game (13 disposals). The Saviour Eddie Betts booted 4 goals, along with McKay who kicked 3 of his own. Curnow recorded 7 clearances, and Walsh recorded 410 meters gained. If the Blues continue to get this level of production across the board, then they are a genuine chance to win this match, and also maintain their spot in the eight.
The Power ($1.4) reinforced their early season form against bottom sides with a genuine tough win against last years runner ups. They had 9 different goal kickers in the win, and recorded 18 more inside 50’s than their counterparts, showcasing a clear control of the game with many contributors. They sit at the top of the ladder with a high percentage and a game above their opponents. This Power team may be the real deal this season, and a convincing win against Carlton would go a long way to solidifying that view.
Carlton is playing solid footy as of late and has knocked off a few teams that were otherwise in red-hot form, but the Power seems to just be rolling on.
Prediction: Port Adelaide by 25
Hawthorn V Melbourne
A highly important game for both clubs, as the 13th placed Hawks, take on the 15th placed Demons
Hawthorn ($1.69) is taking on the Demons after suffering two losses in a row against the Pies and the Giants. Their schedule thus far has been tough playing the Lions, Geelong, Richmond, GWS, and Collingwood. However, the concern is the margin of the losses, with their last two being by an average of 31 points, and similarly their loss against the Cats being by 61 points. Sicily was massive against the Pies, recording 28 touches and 5 rebound 50’s. Mitchell (33 disposals) and Smith (26 disposals) were also instrumental, but their efforts went unrewarded as Hawthorn struggled to score, only managing to kick 3 goals for the game. Clarkson will need to reshuffle some magnets if he wants the Hawks to have any hope of beating the Demons.
Melbourne ($2.14) recorded their first win in over 3 weeks against the Gold Coast, and it was a much-needed one, as a loss would place them 17th on the ladder. Max Gawn was as commanding as ever, feeding his young midfielders in Petracca (25 disposals) and Oliver (24 disposals). They are yet to show any glimpse into their capability to mirror their 2018 form, and a win here would go a long way to building some momentum.
The Hawks play solid footy on their good days, but their inconsistency is making me lean towards the Demons to make it two in a row.
Prediction: Melbourne by 16
Fremantle V West Coast
The highly entertaining derby will take place in front of 30,000 fans at Optus Stadium, a glimpse into what footy will hopefully look and sound like in weeks to come.
Fremantle ($3.1) pulled off a shock upset against the Saints, winning by a straight kick after impressively keeping St Kilda goalless in the third quarter. Young guns stepped up for a second week in a row, notably including Brayshaw (20 disposals, 5 tackles), Aish (18 disposals), and Schultz (2 goals) who kicked the match sealer. This marks the second week in a row that they have won the inside 50 count and the first time this season that they have won the one percenter count. Could this be the turning point for the Dockers?
West Coast ($1.35) seems to be back to their old-selves beating, winning their last two games by an average of 33.5 points. Tim Kelly justified the large contract with another stellar performance (24 disposals, 8 clearances), as he fed a forward line that had 9 different goal kickers, with Darling being the only one who kicked two. A win for the Eagles would put them in the eight, making this a crunch-time clash.
Fremantle has shown some form, but the Eagles are traveling along nicely as of late, and I expect them to showcase their brilliance.
Prediction: Eagles by 22
Adelaide V St Kilda
Monday night makes its return after a long sabbatical, and it will play host to the Crows and the Saints.
Six games have been played, and the Crows ($3.2) are yet to tally a win. They are yet to even coming close to a win, with all their losses being at a margin larger than 25 bar one (Lost to Fremantle by 20). This is a team devoid of confidence and desperate for a win. They are a sneaky chance against the Saints, but everything will need to go right and their ‘veterans’ in the Crouch brothers, Sloane, Laird, and Talia will need to carry them to the finish line.
The Saints ($1.34) were flying, knocking off last years premiers and 8th placed Carlton, before running into the brick wall that was Fremantle. The performance was labeled as ‘selfish’ by Brett Ratten, and rightfully so, as they tallied the least amount of tackles all season. Interestingly, their tackle count has decreased every week, starting with 72 in Round 1, and ending with 32 against the Dockers. If they want to make the top eight for the first time in years, then they will need to turn up the pressure and get back to playing their early footy.
Adelaide is a sneaky chance but will need to show something before it is feasible to pick them. Saints to win.
Prediction: St Kilda by 14
Geelong to beat Collingwood $1.94
Sydney to beat Gold Coast $2.12
Melbourne to beat Hawthorn $2.14
Giants to beat Lions $1.73
Total odds $15.2
With the Sportsbetting.com.au multi boost a $25 bet will pay $451