Last week threw up more than its fair share of upsets – but we managed to pick two of them, giving us a score of five. If you’d only backed the favourites, you would’ve ended up with three!
Fremantle vs Geelong Cats
Geelong has collected the wins without always being that impressive in 2021 and the last fortnight has seen that trend continue.
You could argue they were saved by Carlton’s own inaccuracy in their tense win over the Blues last week, but they’re still third and primed to solidify their top-four spot.
Strong form and capitulations by rivals mean Fremantle are all of a sudden a great chance of finishing in the top eight.
They’ll keep the Cats honest, but Geelong’s strong recent record over the Dockers means they’ll get it done.
Cats by 14 $2.22 at PlayUp
Richmond vs Brisbane Lions
What on earth has happened to Richmond? It’s been a very long time since the Tigers have been in a slump this bad and it looks like finals in 2021 – let alone a third straight premiership – could be just a pipe dream.
They do have hope, however. Brisbane have an absolutely awful record at the MCG and Eric Hipwood’s injury could mean their forward line needs a few weeks to settle in again.
Everyone’s jumped off the Tiger train, but we’re riding it for just one more stop.
Tigers by 7 $3.15 at PlayUp
GWS Giants vs Sydney Swans
The Swans have been the biggest surprise packets of 2021 – but their last two wins have blown the lid off once again.
Could one of this year’s wooden spoon smokies actually be a premiership-calibre side?
They’ll have to be wary against the Giants – after all, they handed them their first loss of the season and are fighting to save their season – but they should have the class to win again.
Swans by 21 $2.04 at PlayUp
Gold Coast Suns vs Western Bulldogs
How about the Suns? They haven’t won more than six games in a season since way back in 2014, but they’ve won two in a row now and are a serious chance of really building something special for next year.
That progression might hit a speed bump this week, however. The Bulldogs are smarting after their upset loss to the Swans, have a top spot in their sights and could have some very big names on the way back.
They’re not dropping this one.
Bulldogs by 41 $2.95 at PlayUp
Melbourne vs Hawthorn
It still feels weird to see it, but Melbourne is on top of the ladder and Hawthorn are desperately fighting to avoid the wooden spoon.
The Demons got back on the wagon emphatically with a super win over Port Adelaide last week, while Alastair Clarkson’s announcement did nothing to inspire the Hawks in another insipid loss.
Fun fact, if the Dees get up, it’ll be the first time they’ve won five in a row against Hawthorn since 1960.
Demons by 34 $2.24 at PlayUp
St Kilda vs Port Adelaide
This match looked like a yawn fest three weeks ago, but the Saints have rediscovered their super 2020 form in a hurry and now we’ve got a blockbuster.
The unlikeliest of finals appearances is still very much up for grabs for St Kilda and they’re a real chance – but they have a terrible record against the Power, even at home.
Port Adelaide actually haven’t lost to the Saints in Melbourne since 2010. They love playing teams outside the eight and should salute again.
Power by 11 $2.26 at PlayUp
North Melbourne vs Essendon
The Bombers are very much on the up, but they need to keep their wits about them against a North Melbourne side who just pulled off the upset of the season.
Unfortunately, the Kangaroos, no longer have the element of surprise about them. With a full week to take it seriously, Essendon should prevail.
Bombers by 27 $2.00 at PlayUp
Collingwood vs Carlton
There are always fireworks when these old foes go at it and Sunday afternoon should be no different.
Collingwood looks to have finally found some good form under caretaker coach Robert Harvey and, coupled with a very strong recent record against the Blues, should put more pressure on the coach of their arch-rivals.
Magpies by 8 $2.30 at PlayUp
Adelaide Crows vs West Coast Eagles
West Coast, like Richmond, is in a horrendous freefall and really need to turn things around if they’re to have any hope of playing finals in 2021.
While a trip to the Adelaide Oval to play the Crows screams upset alert, the truth is the Crows have been appalling this season. They’ve really escaped scrutiny, but they’ve been horrid.
The Eagles should therefore rebound.
Eagles by 29 $2.16 at PlayUp
A version of this preview was originally published over at The Roar https://www.theroar.com.au/2021/07/15/the-roars-afl-expert-tips-and-predictions-round-18-5