Fremantle Dockers v Geelong Cats
An intriguing Thursday night encounter in the west offers Fremantle a rich chance to prove its finals’ worth. The Dockers will need to be at their best as they face a Geelong side which has won eight of its last nine games. This is the first time the Cats will play a game in WA for the season, however last year they placed a series of matches here at Optus Stadium. They lost two of those three, but the one win was a drubbing of Fremantle as they kept the Dockers to only two goals. But this is a vastly different Fremantle side. They’ve only lost twice here at Optus Stadium – once to the competition-leading Bulldogs and the other to hometown rivals West Coast. The Cats are now without two of their star forward line trio with Gary Rohan joining Jeremy Cameron on the sidelines. However the Cats midfield will be bolstered by the return of skipper Joel Selwood and Luke Dahlhaus. As for the Dockers they welcome back gritty defender Ethan Hughes returning from a shoulder injury to replace first-year Brandon Walker.
Suggested bet – 1.5u Fremantle win at $2.10
Richmond Tigers v Brisbane Lions
These two sides come off heavy losses, with the Tigers succumbing to the Pies and the Lions embarrassed by a slick St Kilda. The Lions now face the remainder of 2021 without key forward Eric Hipwood, while Marcus Adams is also sidelined for this clash with the reigning premiers. The Lions also need to find a way to perform at Metricon, the venue they were trounced by the Saints last week. While the Tigers will be wanting to celebrate stalwart Jack Riewoldt’s 300th game in style and have Kane Lambert and Toby Nankervis as reinforcements. I think this will be a close one if the Tigers can counter the Lions’ midfield.
Suggested bet – 1u Richmond +19.5 at $1.90
Gold Coast Suns v Western Bulldogs
Interesting clash with the Suns coming off two wins and back at home against the Bulldogs. After toppling the Giants and Richmond, the Suns are in a vein of form nobody really saw coming. But they’ve been forced into multiple changes here with Hugh Greenwood (knee) missing the rest of the season, while Sam Day and Oleg Markov are missing from the team that beat the Giants. Highly touted Noah Anderson will return from injury. The Dogs welcome back some key players in Aaron Naughton, Hayden Crozier and Josh Dunkley. These big inclusions should spell the end of the Suns’ winning run and the Dogs will be hungry after losing top spot on the ladders when beaten by Sydney.
Suggested bet – 1.5u Bulldogs -23.5 at $1.90
Melbourne Demons v Hawthorn Hawks
Melbourne has a golden opportunity to cement top spot on the ladder when they face off with 17th placed Hawthorn. The Demons have won this clash by 40+ points the past two times and it’s hard to see any other result again here. They’ll go into this unchanged after dismantling Port, while the Hawks’ mid-season improvement has hit a roadblock in the past two outings with losses to Fremantle and Port. There is some possibility of showers for this clash, so while I think the Dees will get this done easily, I’m not inclined to take the big 42.5 minus line.
No suggested bet
St Kilda Saints v Port Adelaide Power
Port Adelaide has been decimated by injury for its clash with St Kilda at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night, losing Connor Rozee and Steven Motlop after announcing Zak Butters’ knee injury earlier in the week. It further troubles Port’s bid to shake the ‘pretender’ tag for its inability to beat top eight sides. They were handled last week by the Demons and now they face a Saints side with its tail up and making a serious run for finals after three wins on the trot and last week thrashing the Lions.
Suggested bet – no markets at time of writing although I do like the Saints here.
North Melbourne Kangaroos v Essendon Bombers
North Melbourne were hugely impressive beating West Coast in Perth and rightly have an air of confidence. That type of performance has been brewing in recent weeks from the Roos and there’s no reason it can’t continue against the Bombers. However, the Roos don’t have a great record here at Metricon, losing their past six at this venue. It’s somewhat of a misleading stat as they are on the up. The Bombers have dominated this fixture is recent years, but they come off a long break and a pretty cruisy win over Adelaide. While it was an easy win over Adelaide, it must be said the Bombers didn’t play anywhere near their best despite the wide margin. The Roos have rested Ben Cunnington but they have some youngsters coming through to hopefully cover the loss. The Bombers welcome back some key inclusions, led by Dyson Heppell.
Suggested bet – 1u Kangaroos +22.5 at $1.90
Collingwood Magpies v Carlton Blues
The Pies have enjoyed an improved period the last few weeks, punctuated by beating the Tigers in a shock upset last week. It was one of three wins from their past five, with the two losses recorded were when narrowly going down to Freo and the Saints. Carlton is still a team with big question marks surrounding their finals credentials, outlined by last week’s dismal loss to the Cats. This has all the makings of a right contest so happy to back Collingwood as outsiders.
Suggested bet -1u Collingwood win at $1.96
Adelaide Crows v West Coast Eagles
Adelaide has bolstered its forward line with Taylor Walker, Tom Lynch and Darcy Fogarty all recalled for this home clash against West Coast. Both sides come into this off three straight losses and last week’s defeats were arguably the worst of them all. Adelaide was absolutely atrocious in losing to the Bombers while the Eagles were shellshocked at home by the bottom-placed Kangaroos. Adelaide has a good record at home against West Coast and the big inclusions to their forward line will be important.
Suggested bet – 1u Adelaide win at $2.10
Greater Western Sydney Giants v Sydney Swans
Arguably the game of the round with GWS looking to build on its good recent record over Sydney. The Giants have won four of their last five against crosstown rivals Sydney and will be desperate to improve on that record after last week’s one-point loss to the Suns. That loss put a serious dent in the Giants finals run, but they welcome back captain Stephen Coniglio to play his first senior game since round three. The Swans come off a pair of impressive wins, thrashing West Coast in Perth before upsetting the previously ladder-leading Bulldogs. Sydney’s only clash here at Metricon yielded a 40-point loss to the Suns. For that reason, I’m happy to back the Giants.
Suggested bet – 2u Giants win at $2.60