The race for top eight positions hots up in AFL Round 16 which gets underway on Friday night with a clash between Hawthorn and Collingwood.
The round features two big derbies – the Showdown in Adelaide as the Crows and Power clash and the Western Derby between the Dockers and Eagles.
We preview all nine Round 16 games:
Hawthorn v Collingwood
Hawthorn have struggled in season 2019, winning just five of their 14 matches and are set to miss the finals for just the second time this decade. The Hawks have lost four on the trot but played some promising football last weekend, going down in a thriller to last year’s premiers, West Coast, by six points at the MCG. Collingwood have been the superior side over the course of 2019 and have won 10 of their 14 matches but the Magpies have some injury concerns and were poor in Round 15, losing to North Melbourne by 44 points. Nathan Buckley’s side will need to improve on that effort and Hawthorn represent value with the 16.5 point start.
Prediction: Hawthorn +15.5 ($1.90 TopBetta)
Essendon Bombers v Sydney Swans
The two sides are in the mix for a finals berth later on and it is Essendon that head in with the slightly superior record. The Bombers are in 10th position on the ladder with seven wins under their belt, while Sydney are 12th with six wins from their 14 games. Essendon have won two of their past three games and were six point winners over the GWS Giants in Round 15. On the same weekend, Sydney defeated Gold Coast by 42 points. Sydney have an excellent record over Essendon and have won nine of the past 10 between the two sides, including a thriller in Round 8 this season by five points. Sydney can pick up an important four points in their quest to play finals this season.
Prediction: Swans win ($2.42 TopBetta)
Gold Coast Suns v Richmond Tigers
Gold Coast have lost their past 10 and suffered a 42 point loss at the hands of the Sydney Swans last weekend. The Queensland outfit now sit in bottom spot on the ladder with just three wins for the season. Richmond secured an important win in Round 15, overcoming an early deficit to defeat St Kilda by 33 points at Marvel Stadium. That snapped a three game losing streak for the yellow and black and the 2017 premiers sit in 7th position, just one game outside of the top four. Richmond will be too good and a big win is on the cards.
Prediction: Tigers by 40+ ($2.18 TopBetta)
Adelaide Crows v Port Adelaide
Little separates the two sides from a win-loss point of view. Adelaide have won seven of their 14 games and sit in 6th position on the ladder, while Port Adelaide have won six and are precariously positioned in 9th. Adelaide went down to Geelong in Round 15 by 27 points, while the Power were also on the receiving end of a loss, dropping their encounter against the Western Bulldogs by 15. Port Adelaide can surprise the Crows in this game and the return of Tom Rockliff is a big plus. If they can find a way to convert in front of goal they can bounce back with a win.
Prediction: Port Adelaide win ($2.26 TopBetta)
Western Bulldogs v Geelong Cats
Geelong have been the competition’s pacesetters in 2019, winning 12 of their 14 games thus far and they are two wins clear at the top of the AFL ladder. Last weekend, they enjoyed a 27 point win over Adelaide and another victory here will see them take one step closer towards securing top spot on the ladder. They take on a Bulldogs outfit that have won six of their 14 games and that sit 13th on the ladder. However, Luke Beveridge’s side come off a 25 point victory over Port Adelaide in Round 15 and their best football can trouble the Cats. Geelong have won 13 of the past 14 against the Western Bulldogs and will continue on their path towards September.
Prediction: Cats -21.5 ($1.90 TopBetta)
Fremantle Dockers v West Coast Eagles
West Coast head in favourites for this game and have won 10 of their 14 games this season. They sit in 3rd place on the ladder and scraped past Hawthorn in wet conditions at the MCG last weekend, winning that game by six points. Fremantle were on the other side of a thrilling finish in Round 15, going down to Carlton by four points. The Dockers desperately need a win and are clinging onto 8th spot in the ladder with six clubs just behind them in hot pursuit of a finals position. West Coast have won the past eight between the two sides and will have the answers again.
Prediction: Eagles by 1-39 ($2.02 TopBetta)
Carlton v Melbourne Demons
Carlton head into this clash off a four-point win over Fremantle in the west. It was the Blues’ third win for the season to take their record to 3-11, which has them 17th on the ladder. Melbourne were expected to be a top four team this season but find themselves sitting in the bottom four in 16th position. They have a 4-10 record after a 107-74 loss against the Brisbane Lions. Carlton stunned Fremantle at Optus Stadium without Patrick Cripps. If he is fit to play, it will be a massive inclusion and the Blues can take it up to Melbourne this week.
Prediction: Carlton +17.5 ($1.87 TopBetta)
North Melbourne v St Kilda
North Melbourne will be feeling good about themselves after decimating premiership contenders Collingwood last week. They kept the Pies to just 37 total points, while scoring 81. The margin should have been more, but it was a big scalp to give the Kangaroos a 6-8 record. St Kilda enter the match with two losses – they were beaten by 33 points against Richmond. They also have a 6-8 record. North Melbourne should be triumph over St Kilda but I think the Saints can keep the margin under 40 points.
Prediction: North by 1-39 ($2.02 TopBetta)
GWS Giants v Brisbane Lions
The GWS Giants come off a one-goal loss against Essendon at Marvel Stadium. Inaccurate kicking cost the Giants and a 29-14 free kick count didn’t help their cause. There was also a score review blunder but the Giants can blame themselves for the loss. Sitting 4th with a 9-5 record, the Giants are playing good footy and the Lions defence will have a tough time against Cameron and Finlayson in this one. The GWS Giants are genuine premiership contenders and can account for the much-improved Lions.
Prediction: Giants -18.5 ($1.90 TopBetta)