Round 9 has already kicked off as Richmond reminded the competition that they are still as formidable as ever, defeating the Doggies by 41 points off the back of some Dustin Martin brilliance (26 disposals, 3 goals). We still have 8 games left this round, so let’s get stuck into them.
Melbourne V Port Adelaide
The Demons and the Power will both be looking to return to winning ways as they take each other on at the Gabba on Thursday Night,
The Demons ($2.2) looked to be finally gathering some momentum, knocking off the Suns by 17 and then following that up with a convincing 43 point win over the Hawks, However, their run ended after they fell as 4 point losers to the second placed Lions, after trailing by 3 goals at three quarter time. Oliver (28 disposals), Petracca (24 disposals) and Viney (24 disposals, 1 goal) carried their midfield, whilst Melksham and Fritsch combined for 71% of their sides goals. They currently sit two wins out of the eight, and a win here would put them within striking distance of it, and with their following two games coming against the Crows and the Roos, this is a nice opportunity for the Demons to capitalise on.
Port Adelaide ($1.62) were taken back to reality after the Saints took them down by 29 points. They still sit at the top of the ladder with a healthy percentage, but a loss here would spell trouble, considering that six other teams are within a game of their record. The last quarter is where Port Adelaide ultimately came unstuck, getting outscored 5.0 to 0.2 (28 points). They lost both contested possessions (118-129) and uncontested possessions (146-154) and with their leader Boak being kept quite relative to his previous games, they will be hoping for a strong bounce back to solidify top spot.
This game is a prime example of just how close this season is. 13th vs 1st and the match could honestly go either way. I think the Demons can get the job done against the Power and get their season back on track
Prediction: Demons by 17
Carlton V Hawthorn
Friday’s double header kicks off at Optus Stadium as the Blues and the Hawks take the field in front of 30,000 fans.
The Blues ($1.5) have been in stellar form over the last 3 rounds, beating the Doggies by 52 points, losing by a point to the top team of the competition, and then fighting it out in a slog against North Melbourne to come out on top as 7 point victors. The most pleasing aspect of this run for Teague would be the fact that they have done it whilst their best player in Cripps has been terribly out of form (13 disposals, 21 disposals, 16 disposals). They will hope that he can get back to the form of previous years and support the likes of Murphy (22 disposals), Walsh (21 disposals, 1 goal) and Kennedy (20 disposals, 2 goals) who have picked up the slack.
Oh how the mighty have fallen. The Hawks ($2.54) come into this game 3-5 after going 0-4 in their last 4 matches, with their last win coming against North Melbourne all the way back in round 4 by 4 points. Their struggles were made obvious after losing to a Swans team that is missing Franklin, Hayward, Heeney, Hewett, Kennedy, Naismith and Ronke. They won contested possessions (144-134) but struggled to keep control of the ball, amassing 47 less uncontested possessions then the Swans. They are also struggling to score, averaging just over 6 goals a game over the last 5 rounds. It will be interesting to see what Clarkson can come up with, but a loss here in front of a big crowd would no doubt pile on the pressure even more.
The Hawks should bounce back with a competitive performance, but the Blues have shown a fast-flowing brand of footy that should trouble the Hawks,
Prediction: Carlton by 15
Essendon V Brisbane
Friday Night Footy will end with the Bombers taking on the Lions at Metricon Stadium.
The Bombers ($2.85) rebounded with an unconvincing 3-point win over the winless Crows after their destruction at the hands of the Doggies. Zach Merrett had his best game for the season (33 disposals, 6 tackles, 6 clearances, 6 inside 50’s) whilst McGrath continued his ascension into Elite status (25 disposals, 10 tackles). They won the tackle count convincingly (76-54) indicating that their pressure was there, but they struggled to put the Crows away with an errant forward line. James Stewart is a likely inclusion for the Bombers, whose presence will provide a marking target in their forward 50 that isn’t Mckernan.
The Lions ($1.41) are backing up their impressive 2019 season with another huge 2020 season, as they sit 2nd on the ladder. Arguably their best player (Neale) is currently the Brownlow favorite, and for good reason after another 33 disposal performance. Harris Andrews is once again in All-Australian form and young-gun McCluggage is having his best season to date. They are a formidable team, and a win here will put them 1st (If Port Adelaide lose) and set them well on their way towards winning a final.
The Bombers should put forward a hard game, but I think that the Lions will ultimately come out on top.
Prediction: Lions by 12
North Melbourne V Adelaide
The battle of the bottom feeders will start off Saturday Footy as the 17th placed Kangaroos take on the 18th placed Crows at Metricon stadium.
After starting off the season 2-0, the Kangaroos ($1.52) have lost their last 6 games, raising genuine questions over whether it’s time to start a full throttle rebuild. In their most recent loss against the Blues, they lost clearances (30-39), lost the one-percenter count (38-51) and lost the tackle count, the contested possession count, and the uncontested possession count by slim margins. When their midfield is getting beaten in every notable statistical category, it is indeed hard for their forwards to kick a winning score (Zurhaar, 1 goal.. Brown, 1 goal). A rebuild would have to be on the table if they fall to the Crows this Saturday.
Adelaide ($2.4) are yet to win a game, but the signs over the last 4 weeks have been much more positive. The energy of a crowd seems to have benefited them greatly, as they fell as 22 point losers in a competitive effort against a 5th seeded Saints, and nearly got their first win of the season against the Bombers (arguably should have got the win, kicking 1 goal and 6 behinds in the last quarter). Taylor Walker backed up his 3 goal game against the Saints with another 2 goals against the Bombers as Matt Crouch continued his elite disposal numbers (26 disposals). They are edging closer and closer to a win, and I don’t think they are far away.
The Crows have shown good signs as of late whilst the Roos losing margins have been a bit more embarrassing. I am backing the Crows to get their first win of the season
Prediction: Adelaide by 13
St Kilda V Sydney
St Kilda will look to make it 3 in a row against the Swans at the Gabba
St Kilda ($1.39) are on track to finish inside the top 8 and play finals for the first time in years. They beat the top seeded power at their home ground, in front of 30,000 opposition fans by 29 points after outscoring the Power in the last quarter by 9 goals. They won clearances (41-31) and contested possessions (129-118). Marshall resumed his rise towards the one of the best Ruckman in the competition with a 15 disposal, 2 goal and 11 hitout performance, aiding his midfielders in Billings (22 disposals), Steele (21 disposals) and Ross (18 disposals) in getting plenty of the ball. A win for the Saints here would put them in the top 4, no doubt getting the fans excited in terms of what’s to come.
The Swans ($1.39) are known as competitive under Longmire, no matter the circumstances, and they proved it once again with a win against the Hawks whilst missing many of their key players. Tom Papley leads the Coleman tally heading into this round after a 4-goal haul against Clarko’s men, and he has no doubt become one of the competitions most dangerous forwards. Lloyd launched the attack for the Swans many times out of the half back line (34 disposals) whilst Parker did his best to shoulder the load in the midfield with Kennedy missing (22 disposals, 2 goals). The Swans are far from the best teams in the competition, but they will no doubt put forth another competitive display here.
The Swans looked solid against the Hawks, but I think the Saints will prove to be too much to handle.
Prediction: St Kilda by 25
West Coast V Geelong
Arguably, the game of the round will take place on Saturday Night between the Eagles and the Cats at Optus Stadium.
The Eagles ($1.3) are officially back. They have capped off a 4-0 run with a crazy 66 point win over Collingwood. This is coming off the back of three consecutive 30+ point wins against the Swans, Crows and Dockers. Tim Kelly played his best game in Eagles colours, picking up 29 disposals, 6 clearances, 6 inside 50’s, 3 rebound 50s, 3 goal assists and a goal himself, all whilst maintaining a disposal efficiency of 90%. This no doubt led to Kennedy also having his best game for the season, kicking 7 goals along with Allen and Watermen who also combined for a collective 5 goals. They are surging, and a win would see them overtake their opponents in the top four.
The Cats ($3.45) took on the Dockers in a wet-weather slog, but still managed to come away as 32 point winners, and Hawkins still managed to kick 3 goals (unheard of for a tall forward in the wet!). Guthrie topped the disposal count for the Cats, whilst Duncan was arguably best on ground with 26 disposals and a goal. Constable played his first game for 2020 and would be pleased (19 disposals, 5 tackles) whilst Bradley Close made his debut and booted a goal for good measure. A win here against the Eagles would put them in the conversation for premiership contention, a feat that they haven’t been able to accomplish since 2011.
This game will be huge for both sides, and quality football will be seen. It could go either way, but if the Eagles bring the same level of intensity as they did against the Pies, then they will be hard to beat.
Prediction: Eagles by 7
Gold Coast Suns V Giants
The two youngest sides in the AFL will reunite once again as they take battle at Metricon Stadium.
The Suns ($2.5) failed to make it two in a row after losing to the Bulldogs in the wet by under a goal. Fan favourite Izak Rankine robbed himself of a bag after kicking 1.4 in what may have been the deciding factor of the game. Swallow (21 disposals), Greenwood (22 disposals) and Miller (26 disposals) and Witts (46 hitouts) did their best against a stacked Doggies midfield but couldn’t find enough to get over the line, failing to lead for most of the second half.
The Giants ($1.52) beat the reigning premiers in Round 8, after a powerful performance from Greene (5 goals) and a dominant midfield display from Kelly (26 disposals, 1 goal), Coniglio (24 disposals) and Whitfield (26 disposals). Following the return of Taranto, they are yet to lose clearances, highlighting the effect that he has on their midfield. With Ward and Williams expected to return this week, the Giants have a full-strength side available, and have no excuse to be losing to the Suns.
The Suns have surprised many this year, but a full-strength Giants team is a hard proposition, even for the best teams in the competition
Prediction: Giants by 35
Fremantle V Collingwood
The last game of the round will be played between Collingwood and the Dockers, once again in front of 30,000 fans.
The Dockers ($2.9) seem to be in a bit of a funk in recent weeks, going 0-2 in their last 2 games. Granted, the two losses have been against two solid teams, but their job doesn’t get any easier as they take on the Pies who will no doubt be looking for redemption after their embarrassing performance against the Eagles. Fyfe is set to return, but they will lose Walters in the process with hamstring tightness. It will be interesting to see how Fyfe returns after being out for so many weeks, and whether he can keep the Dockers competitive against the Pies.
Collingwood ($1.39) were missing many of their best players in De Goey, Pendlebury, Howe and Sidebottom, but they are likely to be without all these players for at least another week. They got beaten in uncontested possesions (156-189), tackles (37-48) and clearances (24-32). Treloar struggled without his usual support, only managing to find the pill 22 times (low for his standards). Expect a strong response from Buckley’s team.
I don’t see the Dockers being a match for the fired up Pies, even with the return of Fyfe.
Prediction: Collingwood by 26
Carlton to beat Hawthorn $1.5
Adelaide to beat North Melbourne $2.40
St Kilda to beat Sydney $1.39
Collingwood to beat Fremantle $1.39
Total odds $6.96
With the Sportsbetting.com.au multi boost a $25 bet will pay $202