Collingwood and Richmond Tigers clash in the opening game of AFL Round 19 in a huge contest for both sides.
Ladder leaders Geelong Cats will be bidding to return to winning ways with a trip to Sydney to face the Swans on Sunday.
We preview all nine game in Round 19:
Collingwood v Richmond Tigers
Collingwood will be out to turn things around after producing a lacklustre display against GWS in Round 18, going down to the Giants by 47 points. The Magpies were slow out of the blocks in that game and trailed by 43 at quarter time before being unable to reel in the gap. Nathan Buckley’s side have now lost three of their past four and are 4th on the ladder, just ahead of 5th placed Richmond on percentage. The Tigers will be smelling blood after winning their past four. The 2017 premiers have been buoyed by the returns of a number of key players from injury and were too classy for Port Adelaide in Round 17, defeating the Power by 38 points. This all points to a Richmond win. The Tigers are the form side of the competition since the mid season break and are in much better shape as far as injuries go.
Prediction: Tigers -7.5 ($1.93 TopBetta)
Hawthorn v Brisbane Lions
Both sides head into this with some impressive recent form. Hawthorn have kept their slim finals hopes alive with three recent wins and accounted for the ladder leaders, Geelong, in Round 18 by 24 points. Brisbane have won five in a row and are set to feature in their first finals series since 2009. The Lions have registered 12 wins this season and are in 2nd spot on the ladder with just one victory less than Geelong. A Hawthorn win will see them stay in touch with the eight and heading into the round they are just one victory behind 8th placed Adelaide. However, a loss will spell major trouble for their top eight aspirations. Brisbane have been the superior side this season and have travelled well throughout 2019, while their excellent record over Hawthorn in 2018/19 will hold them in good stead.
Prediction: Lions win ($2.00 TopBetta)
Carlton v Adelaide Crows
This shapes as an interesting one and the pressure mounts on Adelaide, who are amongst the bottleneck of sides that are chasing a spot in the eight. The Crows sit in 8th position at the conclusion of Round 18, just holding out the likes of Port Adelaide and Hawthorn in their quest to qualify for the finals later on this season. The 2017 runners-up face a Carlton outfit that are 16th on the ladder but the Blues are in form and have won four of their six games under their new coach, David Teague. This will be a close one and the play might be to take the Blues with the 10.5 point start.
Prediction: Blues +11.5 ($1.95 TopBetta)
West Coast Eagles v North Melbourne
West Coast will be out to secure a vital four points in their quest to qualify in the top two later on and gain a home final. Last year’s premiers currently occupy 3rd spot on the ladder, just one win less than the ladder leaders, Geelong. They have won 12 of 17 in 2019 and come off a grinding 13 point win over Melbourne in Round 19. North Melbourne have had a mixed time of it. Earlier in the season they parted ways with their now former coach, Brad Scott. They have played some good football under Reece Shaw, but are bidding to overturn a two game losing streak. They were unlucky when going down to Brisbane by 12 points last weekend. West Coast will be too strong at home.
Prediction: Eagles -17.5 ($1.93 TopBetta)
St Kilda v Melbourne Demons
Both sides are out of the finals race but will be keen to atone for what has been a disappointing 2019 to date. St Kilda have won just seven games and parted ways with their coach, Alan Richardson, last week. Their caretaker, Brett Ratten, steered the side to a 27 point win over the Western Bulldogs in Round 18. Of the 18 sides in the competition, Melbourne have been the major disappointment. After playing in the Preliminary Finals last season, they have been unable to back that up, winning just five games and the Demons sit in 17th spot on the ladder. St Kilda loom as the value in the head to head betting after their display last weekend.
Prediction: St Kilda win ($1.98 TopBetta)
Port Adelaide v GWS Giants
This shapes as a crucial one for both sides and it is Port Adelaide that can ill afford to let another game slip in order to stay in touch with the eight. The Power have gone down to Brisbane by 48 and Richmond by 38 points in their past two weeks and sit in 9th spot at the conclusion of Round 18. Another loss will make it tough in their bid to play finals. GWS appear to be finals bound and come off an important 47 point victory over Collingwood last weekend. The Giants are 6th on the ladder with 10 wins, just one victory out of the top four. GWS will have the answers here, particularly in front of goal.
Prediction: Giants win ($1.79 TopBetta)
Western Bulldogs v Fremantle Dockers
Both side are just hanging in there in the race for the finals and are just one win behind 8th placed Adelaide. However, the loser can kiss goodbye their hopes of featuring in September. The 12th placed Bulldogs are behind 11th placed Fremantle on percentage. Luke Beveridge’s side went down to a rejuvenated St Kilda outfit by 27 points last weekend. Prior to that they won three on the trot. On the same weekend, Fremantle just managed to hang on against Sydney, winning the Perth Stadium clash by a point. That win snapped a four game losing streak. The Western Bulldogs to return to the winners list here.
Prediction: Bulldogs by 1-39 ($2.04 TopBetta)
Sydney Swans v Geelong Cats
Sydney head in as the underdogs for this game and have lost their past three matches. The Swans have won just six games this season and will miss the finals for the first time since 2009. Last weekend, they went down by a point to Fremantle in Perth. Geelong sit on top of the ladder but can ill afford to take their opposition lightly and will be keen to rebound after going down to Hawthorn by 24 points last weekend. Since the mid-season bye the Cats have managed to win just two of five games. Sydney will provide a solid contest but Geelong will have too much firepower.
Prediction: Cats by 1-39 ($2.06 TopBetta)
Gold Coast Suns v Essendon Bombers
This shapes as a one sided affair with Essendon expected to feast on a Gold Coast Suns outfit that have not won since Round 4. Stuart Dew’s side went down by 24 points to Carlton in Round 18 and head in as massive underdogs for this clash but their effort against the Blues was an improvement on previous results that saw them go down by 95 points to Adelaide and 92 to Richmond in the prior weeks. However, they bump into an Essendon side that will be brimming with confidence after winning their past four. Last weekend, the Bombers overcame a 30 point deficit to defeat Adelaide by 21 points in Adelaide, one of their better wins in recent seasons. Essendon will hold all the aces here and it will be another long night for the Suns.
Prediction: Bombers -36.5 ($1.90 TopBetta)