Richmond v Geelong
A mouth-watering Friday night clash to kick off the round as last year’s grand finalists face off in another edition of their classic modern-day rivalry. While I’ve got no doubt these two sides will be fighting for a top four finish this year, neither side has been overly convincing early on this season. The Tigers scored a much-needed win as outsiders against the Bulldogs last week, while the Cats rued missed opportunities when succumbing to the Swans in a thriller. For the Tigers, Martin and Vlastuin are big inclusions, but they come at the expense of Cotchin and Grimes. Higgins will be a handy inclusion for the Cats. Richmond has won the past three against Geelong – and eight of its last 10 Friday night games at the MCG. This will likely be a tight contest, but the Tigers should have a little bit too much firepower.
Suggested bet – 1.5u Tigers win at $1.62
Greater Western Sydney Giants v Essendon
The Giants have improved as the season continues and last week put away the Crows in blistering style over in Adelaide. If they bring similar form, they will be way too good for the struggling Dons. Outside of beating the Saints, the Dons have been mediocre throughout season 2021 and don’t seem to have the personnel to improve. The tricky aspect here is that the Giants’ already injury-ravaged line-up has been further depleted with more key players on the sidelines after the win in Adelaide. The past two clashes between these side have been decided by a kick, but I think the Giants can continue their momentum and overcome their injury woes to score another win.
Suggested bet – 2u Giants win $1.40
Gold Coast Suns v St Kilda
The Saints have won their past five against the Suns, with the past four decided by less than a kick. This clash will likely be close again, with the Suns looking for three straight after beating the Swans and Collingwood. While the Saints come off smashing the Hawks to start getting their season back on track. I’m tipping it was the victory the Saints needed to reignite their credentials as finals contenders – and they’ll want to reaffirm that with a win here.
Suggested bet – 1.5u St Kilda win at $2.10
North Melbourne v Collingwood
A bottom-of-the-table clash between 17th-placed Collingwood and the cellar-dwelling North Melbourne. This is likely North Melbourne’s best chance to score a win in season 2021. At the odds, you simply must have something small on them to overcome a Pies side absolutely besieged with off-field chatter – and also failing to perform on-field. The Roos have been creditable in two of their three recent losses, firstly going down to the Cats and then being in the match for a long way against the all-conquering Demons. This is a crucial game for the Pies, who likely have much more to lose with the drums beating over coach Nathan Buckley. It means there’s no pressure on North and hopefully that can assist them notch win number one for the season.
Suggested bet – 1u Kangaroos win at $3.45
Melbourne v Sydney
The Demons are looking to remain unbeaten but have a few injury woes with Tomlinson and Viney out. They got the job done last week against the Kangaroos, but were far from convincing. While the Swans snatched a last-gasp win against Geelong, indicating they could be back to their scintillating early season form. They could also get Franklin, Rampe and Hewett back for this clash and have dominated the Demons in recent encounters. Having said that, this is clearly a different Demons outfit. While I think the Demons should win, the Swans will be ultra-competitive if they welcome back that key trio mentioned earlier.
No suggested bet
Port Adelaide v Adelaide
Port gets the euphoric atmosphere of a Showdown to respond to its dismal showing last week to Brisbane. They were purely outplayed and outworked, and will no doubt be looking to dispel any concerns the performance may have evoked about their flag credentials. The Crows have fallen in a hole after a promising start to the season and last week’s loss to the Giants was serious cause for concern. It’s surprising as there was so much to like about the Crows early form. The key here is the likely return of Rory Sloane to add much-needed grunt to the midfield. While the two recent Showdown clashes have resulted in easy Port wins, the overall recent ledger shows very close contests. As mentioned at the top, it’s all up to how Port respond to last week’s shock loss. Interestingly, when Port tasted defeat early on last season, it took them some time to recover. Perhaps that gives the Crows a hope of being competitive here.
Suggested bet – 1u Crows +29.5 at $1.90
Hawthorn v West Coast Eagles
The Hawks have won only one of their last six but they are not totally despised by the market due to the fact the Eagles are horrible away from home. While their Eagles’ win-loss ledger away from Perth suggests they are ‘bad’, one of those away losses was a narrow defeat to the Bulldogs. The Hawks were awful last week against the Saints, ruining a run of creditable performances, while the Eagles easily put away Freo in the WA Derby. The Hawks will be without Burgoyne and O’Meara and Wingard seem unlikely. The Eagles should be able to cure their Melbourne hoodoo here.
Suggested bet – 2u West Coast win at $1.53
Western Bulldogs v Carlton
Interesting clash here under the dome at Marvel Stadium, with the Bulldogs looking to resume winning transmission after last week’s loss to Richmond and the Blues hoping to keep momentum after beating Essendon. There are some key ins for both sides, with big man English back for the Dogs and Williams and Murphy likely to return for the Blues. This should be a shoot-out in perfect conditions and it will come down to which side can maintain the intensity into the last quarter when the game is likely up for grabs. I think the Dogs will the win here, and while the Blues should make them earn it, they should be able to cover the line when they extend in the final quarter.
Suggested bet – 1u Bulldogs -22.5 at $1.90
Brisbane Lions v Fremantle
The Brisbane Lions now host Fremantle at the Gabba this Sunday evening due to the uncertainty around Perth restrictions. I’ve been concerned about how well the Lions were going this year, but they appear to be lurking closer to their best after last week’s demolition of the Power. The already injury decimated Freo side will now be without Luke Ryan while the Lions could welcome back Jarrod Berry. This should be an easy victory for the Lions, but the line looks a little too generous in favour of Freo to get involved.
No suggested bet