Just one game separates 8th from 14th on the AFL ladder, with every match having serious ramifications on the makeup of the finals.
Check out our previews and best bets for every Round 21 game.
game of the week: Cats vs. Power
5th August 7:25PM
Can the reigning premiers keep their finals dream alive? Or can the Power recapture the form that led to 13 straight wins earlier in the year?
Questions are being asked of both sides as finals draw nearer, but the ninth-placed home side will enter the match as $1.52 favourites with BetDeluxe.
The Cats will need to snap a two-game losing streak if they are to live up to market expectations, with their seven-point loss to the Dockers at GMHBA Stadium their biggest lowlight in a disappointing season.
Mark Blicavs and Tom Hawkins must be replaced after suffering injuries in Saturday’s loss. Still, they have reserves in the form of Brandan Parfitt, Ollie Dempsey, or Esava Ratugolea.
The Power have their injury woes to deal with ahead of this must-win clash, with Aliir Aliir and Lachie Jones colliding in the most controversial incident this season. Tom Jonas will likely be recalled as his side tries to hang onto a top-two spot ahead of the Lions and Dees.
A genuine toss of the coin, this one.
TIP: Same Game Multi:
- Leg 1: Cats 1-39
- Leg 2: C. Rozee 25+ disposals
- Leg 3: J. Cameron 2+ goals
- Leg 4: Under 164.5 total points
- Total: $7.50
Bulldogs vs. Tigers
5th August 7:50pm
Another mouthwatering clash between two sides who desperately need the four points. The Dogs gave up a 35-point lead to the Giants, while the Tigers watched as the Dees slotted six goals in the final term. Toby Nankervis and Jayden Short will bolster Richmond’s line-up, and it might just be enough to overrun the disappointing Doggies.
TIP: Tigers (+8.5) @ $1.90
Bombers vs. Eagles
5th August 1:45pm
Three weeks, three losses and -8 spots on the AFL ladder. It’s been a tough run for the Bombers recently, but they can be expected to bounce back against the Eagles at Marvel Stadium. Jeremy McGovern will return for the victorious Westerners, but the Bombers present a much greater challenge than those embattled Roo boys.
TIP: Bombers 40+ @ $1.53
Crows vs. Suns
5th August 2:10pm
Can anybody get a read on the Crows this season? Matthew Nicks’ frustratingly inconsistent side turned up in a big way on Saturday night as they demolished the Power in another epic Showdown. Mind you; this was after three losses in a row. The Suns pulled off their biggest win of the season against the Lions, but Taylor Walker, Jordan Dawson and Rory Laird should be able to get the job done and keep those finals hopes alive. I repeat, should.
TIP: Crows first team to score @ $1.69
Hawks vs. Magpies
5th August 4:35PM
Was Collingwood’s 17-point loss to Carlton the result they needed? The premiership favourites faulted in a way we haven’t seen this season, but after a string of close losses, perhaps it was the best thing for Craig McRae and his black-and-white army? They’ve beaten the Hawks in their last two encounters but only by a combined 10 points. They should win, but we can’t take $1.14.
TIP: Magpies 1-39 @ $2.20
Giants vs. Swans
5th August 7:30PM
The Sydney Derby of all Sydney Derbies. The sixth-placed Giants will enter this week’s clash as $1.75 favourites as they look for their seventh win on the trot. With Toby Greene kicking five goals in a half and Tom Green and Jesse Hogan possibly returning, who’s to say that won’t happen? The Swans farewelled legend forward Lance Franklin this week and will need to find a replacement for him and Rampe as they try to keep their finals dream alive.
TIP: Giants to win @ $1.75
Kangaroos vs. Demons
6th August 1:10PM
A top-two spot is potentially up for grabs with Port’s last-minute nerves kicking in, and the Demons are well-placed to capitalise. They could rest a few players after last week’s incredible win over the Tigers, but even so, $1.10 isn’t short enough.
TIP: Demons 40+ @ $1.77
Saints vs. Blues
6th July 3:20pm
5th vs 7th on the ladder. The in-form Saints – who knew they could ever kick nine majors in a quarter? – against an even more in-form Carlton. The Blues were outstanding in their 17-point win over the Pies, with Charlie Curnow presenting the greatest challenge for any opposition team. They must continue their hot form against the Saints to stay in the finals hunt and do it without Adam Cerra (hamstring).
TIP: J. Martin first goal scorer @ $12
Dockers vs. Lions
6th August 4:40PM
Hands up if you found Fremantle last weekend. Didn’t think so. The Dockers were outstanding in their seven-point win against the Cats at GMHBA, but they’ll find it equally tricky against a Brisbane side who lowered their colours in the Q-Clash. Daniel Rich and Zac Bailey are set to return, but they will await Oscar McInerney’s ankle injury. Brisbane needs this.
TIP: Lions to win @ $1.47