AFL Round 8 Preview

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How good was Round 7? Robbie Gray broke the hearts of Blue’s fans across the nation, whilst the Crows continued their descent to 0-7. We were delighted to have fans back in force, with three of the games hosting more than 25,000 which will increase to 4 games for this round. This will most likely mark the end of the traditional footy timetable, with games likely to be played every single day following Round 8. There’s a lot to dissect, so let’s get stuck into it:

Gold Coast V Bulldogs

The Suns get their first Thursday Night Game in club history, as they take on the rampaging Doggies at Metricon.

The Bulldogs ($1.62) are arguably the in-form team of the competition. They have won 4 of their last 5 games, by an average margin of 36 points. Tim English has been pivotal since they went 0-2, taking his game to new heights after rumors started swirling that he may be dropped. He has gathered 20+ disposals in three of his last 4 games (Huge for a Ruckman, especially considering the shorter quarters). This recent dominance has translated to his midfielders, with the likes of Macrae (29 disposals), Hunter (26 disposals) and Bontempelli (23 disposals) monstering the Essendon midfield, recording 24 contested possesions as a trio. They will however need to find more consistent avenues to goal, as they can’t rely on Wallis (3 goals), Weightman (2 goals), and Suckling (2 goals) to hit the scoreboard. If they can get a more spread-out performance from their key forwards, the Doggies are a scary proposition for the rest of this season.

The Suns ($2.22) just keep pulling rabbits out of hats. They have lost their last 2 in a row but returned to the winners’ list with an impressive 32 point win against Sydney. Greenwood was huge in this game, collecting 23 touches and 12 tackles and Rankine has taken up the spotlight in Rowell’s absence, becoming the Sun’s poster boy in recent weeks after backing up a 3-goal debut game with another 2 goal effort. They are maintaining their early season form, and in a shortened season with shorter quarters, maybe it’s time to start considering them as a genuine top 8 chance.

The Suns fast flowing game style has been impressive to date, but the Doggies also like to play a fast brand, and I think they have more skill in that department across the field. Expect a high scoring contest

Prediction: Bulldogs by 14

GWS V Richmond

The Giants will take on the Tigers at their home ground for Friday Night Footy.

The Giants ($1.63) were at a crossroads heading into Round 7 sitting on 3-3, and after their loss against the Lions, they are now 3-4 and are placed 13th on the ladder. We have seen teams come back from bad starts and ultimately finish inside the top 8, but in this type of season, dropping to 3-5 will create an undesirable situation for GWS. The Giant’s were dominated in inside 50s (34-56). Former player Brett Deledio has recently gone on record and described the play-style of the Giants as ‘Selfish’. They will need to get back to playing team footy if they fancy getting out of this rut.

The Tigers ($2.24) are a prime example for a case of game plan and structure being more important than personnel. You look at their missing players consisting of Astbury, Cotchin, Edwards, Houli, Nankervis, Prestia, and you marvel at the fact that they have been able to win their last 3 games, by comfortable margins as well. Young bulls such as Eggmolosse-Smith and Jake Aarts have stepped up beautifully to play their role whilst Dustin Martin continues his strong play (16 disposals, 2 goals). The most remarkable takeaway from their 54 point win against North Melbourne, was that they managed to do so with their two key forwards (Lynch and Riewoldt being kept to two goals as a unit. They started the season slowly, but look to be hitting their straps and getting back to the Richmond that we have grown accustomed to over the last 3 years.

The Giants will be hungry for a much-needed win, but I have been very impressed with Richmond as of late, and Astbury is a huge in.

Prediction: Richmond by 20

North Melbourne V Carlton

The struggling Kangaroos will take on the Blue’s who are fresh off a heartbreak at the hands of Gray.

The alarm bells are ringing for North Melbourne ($2.50). They have lost their last 5 games in a row, and their most recent loss against Richmond marked their second 40+ loss in three weeks. They recorded 8 more disposals then Richmond yet recorded 28 less inside 50’s and only managed to kick 2 goals from those. Thus represents a huge problem in their ball movement and disposal efficiency. Ben Brown, who has been at the forefront of the conversation for the Coleman medal for many years now is struggling this year, He has kicked 7 goals this year in 7 games, has been kept goalless for two of those games and has only kicked multiple goals in one match. Ziebell being out early in the match hurt them, but they will need to find some form in this upcoming stretch of the games, otherwise, the front office may ultimately decide to pull the plug and go for a rebuild.

Carlton ($1.52) is currently 11th on the ladder, but their play in recent weeks has been super impressive. They have knocked off the Cats, Bombers, and Doggies and fell as only 3-point losers to the best team in the competition at present after a match-winning goal by Robbie Gray. Their young talent seems to be finally hitting their straps, with Walsh, Setterfield, Gibbons, and Weitering all having solid games with the support of their veterans Simpson, Docherty, Murphy, and Betts. A win against North will likely put them back in the eight, and they deserve it!

North Melbourne is struggling and the Blues are firing. I can’t see how the Kangaroos win this one

Prediction: Carlton by 24

Sydney V Hawthorn

The old rivalry takes place once again in 2020 at the SCG.

The Swans ($2.20) have been competitive for a long time, but their current injury list is proving to be too much to handle for them. Heeney, Franklin, Kennedy, Melican, Naismith, and Ronke are out for the foreseeable future. Parker (27 disposals, 8 tackles), Lloyd (24 disposals) and Papley (2 goals) tried to carry the Swans on their back but were dismantled by Suns. Their tackle count was higher than the Suns (58-56), indicating that the desire is still there, but they are falling short in the talent department

Hawthorn ($1.66) are in dire straits of their own, getting bulldozed by the Demons (who sit 12th on the ladder) by 43 points. The Hawk’s scoring woes continued into this game, marking the third time in a row that Hawthorn have scored below 50 points. Their midfielders were no match for the trio of Gawn, Petracca, Oliver, and Viney. Jeff Kennett went on record to say that their last 3 games have been ‘the most disappointing displays’ in years but backed Clarkson in the same statement to get the job done and turn this ship around. There will be many more questions for Kennet and Clarkson if the Hawks don’t get back into form.

The Hawks are struggling, but this looms as the perfect opportunity to get them out of their drought against an undermanned Swans.

Prediction: Hawthorn by 12

Port Adelaide V St Kilda

A massive Saturday Night Clash takes place as St Kilda return to the Adelaide Oval once more to take on the top-seeded Power

Port Adelaide ($1.38) hung on by a slim margin thanks to a Robbie Gray goal, marking their second win in a row and proving to be a nice stretch for the Power after their loss to the Lions. Dixon is currently sitting equal first on the Coleman leaderboard, and he has been almost unstoppable this season. He kicked 3.4 on the weekend against an in-form Weitering, marking his third 3+ goal haul in 7 games. They sit a game clear at the top of the ladder, and with the Lion’s contest likely to be tight, a win against the Saints is likely to keep them there with a nice break.

The Saints ($2.95) were expected to respond after their dismal effort against the Dockers, and although they pulled out the win against the Crows, it was far from impressive. They struggled to put the bottom seeded Crows away, but the brilliance of Steele (26 disposals) and Butler (3 goals) ultimately put them over the line. Their job doesn’t get any easier against the Power, and will need to muster a massive effort.

The Power would be full of confidence after their win against the Blues, and will look to carry that form against the Saints.

Prediction: Power by 20

Adelaide V Essendon

The winless Crows will take on the injury-ridden Bombers in front of their home ground once again to kick off Sunday footy.

Adelaide ($2.66) is now 0-7, however, it’s not all doom and gloom for them. They have put themselves into positions to win in 2 of their last 3 games, being tied with Fremantle at 3QT and heading into the last quarter with momentum against the Saints, only trailing by 16 points. Taylor Walker returned to form with a 3-goal bag, whilst first-time captain Doedee had a solid game (18 disposals, 3 rebound 50’s, 3 inside 50’s) and Matt Crouch continued his high possession numbers with another high disposal night (26). They will be hoping to see more production from their young brigade to help support their top-tier player efforts, with Hammill (8 disposals), McAsey (5 disposals), Jones (6 disposals) all having a quiet game.

The Bombers ($1.47) suffered their second loss in 6 games at the hands of the Doggies by 42 points, really amplifying their lack of forward cohesion. Stringer was a big out, as Essendon looked to their smaller forwards for a match-winning score, ultimately failing without a key target and with McKernan having a quiet game. Their midfield was also monstered, recording a whopping 35 less contested possessions.

The Crows have been competitive, but the Bombers will be looking to bounce back after their horror show.

Prediction: Essendon by 25

West Coast Eagles V Collingwood

A 2018 grand final rematch will be played in front of 30,000 fans on Sunday afternoon.

The Eagles ($1.68) are back, and albeit their last 3 wins have been against bottom-tier sides (Sydney, Adelaide, Fremantle), the confidence from those three wins is an intangible advantage. Josh Kennedy kicked 4 of the Eagles 9 goals in his milestone game, whilst Gaff (24 disposals), Sheppard (23 disposals) and Yeo (20 disposals) were commanding in the midfield. Collingwood will prove to be their first real test in over a month, and with them being known as one of the leagues best defensive teams, it will be interesting to see whether the Eagles forward line can continue to function.

Collingwood ($2.16) also returned to the winners’ list with a 22 point win over a red-hot Geelong. They kept Geelong to only 5 goals, just a week after keeping Hawthorn to 3 goals. The return of Treloar has been huge for them. He has recorded 30+ disposals in each of his last 3 games and has averaged 7 inside 50’s and 9 clearances over the last two games. Pendlebury and Adams were others who had a solid performance at the hands of Grundy, but perhaps the most intriguing takeaway is the 5-goal performance by De Goey after a week off. If the Pies midfield and De Goey can maintain this level of form, they will be hard to stop.

The Eagles have won their last 3, but Collingwood is a different proposition altogether. Expect the Pies to continue their rampage.

Prediction: Collingwood by 22

Melbourne V Brisbane

The last game of the weekend will be played between the Demons and the Lions at Metricon Stadium.

The Demons ($2.56) have won two in a row, with the footy world starting to take notice of Petracca, who tallied 29 disposals, 6 inside 50’s, 4 clearances and a goal against the Hawks, with AFL legend Shane Crawford going as far as comparing him to Dustin Martin. They have looked good in their last two games, but as is the case with many this season, it is hard to know whether the wins have come due to their superior play or whether their quality of opponent is more of a factor. We shall find out once we see how they fare against the Lions.

The Lions ($1.49) bounced back well with a win over GWS after getting beaten by the Cats. The smaller Cameron continued his run towards a Coleman with another 2 goals and has cemented himself as one of the competitions’ most dangerous forwards. Lauchie Neale was kept in check by De Boer, but still managed 20 possessions and a goal. This should in essence be a comfortable game for the Lions to make it two in a row, but with the unpredictability of this season it may also be a danger game.

Melbourne has looked really good, but it is hard to go past the Lion’s and their scoring potential.

Prediction: Brisbane by 15

Fremantle V Geelong

Monday night footy will take place for the second week in a row in front of another big crowd at Optus Stadium.

The Dockers ($2.5) backed up their win against the Saints with an impressive first quarter against the Eagles, but unfortunately, that is where the good times ended with the Eagles proceeding to outscore the Dockers 7 goals to 2. Fyfe is still at least another week away much to the Dockers’ disappointment as they failed to have a single-player record more than 20 possessions. A positive out of their loss was debutant Michael Frederick, whose blistering speed caught the eyes of fans which led to an impressive pick-up and goal for the youngster. A win here would be a massive result for Fremantle, catapulting them to 3-1 in the last 4 rounds.

The Cats ($1.52) fell to the Pies after an early injury to Joel Selwood. They will no doubt be buoyed by the return of Stewart and Duncan, who are all Australian caliber players. They came up against one of the best teams in the competition in Collingwood but won their last 3 games before that. A win here will see them go to 4-1 in the last 5 rounds and place them in the top 4.

Fremantle will be competitive throughout the match, but with no Fyfe, it is hard to see them taking down this top 8 side.

Prediction: Geelong by 30

Daniel’s Multi

Bulldogs to beat Suns $1.62

Hawthorn to beat Sydney $1.66

Essendon to beat Adelaide $1.47

Geelong to beat Fremantle $1.52

Total odds $6.00

With the multi boost a $25 bet will pay $175