AFL Round 18 Tips & Preview

Season 2019 keeps on delivering surprising results, where even when you’re team is down one week – they can come back and redeem themselves the next.

With some teams dominating, others just getting good in time for the real stuff and some bringing in hope after being down footy is delivering many feel-good stories this year.

Round 18 of the AFL season delivers eight games where anyone has a chance of winning.

Unless you’re Carlton and playing the Gold Coast Suns – you can pencil in the four points.

We preview the upcoming weekend of Footy with our unique insights and expertise.

ADELAIDE v ESSENDON (ADELAIDE OVAL)
HT/FT Essendon/Adelaide Crows @ $6.50

Friday night footy has lived up to its blockbuster reputation of recent with some cracking contests and this game between seventh-placed Adelaide taking on eighth-placed Essendon is no exception.

This is set to be a beauty.

A classic eight-point game.

Win this and it gets easier to book your trip to the finals.

Lose and you’ll be spending a lot of time on the AFL ladder predictor hoping that things fall your way.

The Crows are fresh from a bye (well a 94 point win over the Gold Coast Suns) and with some boosted percentage brimming with some much-needed confidence will go into the game rating themselves to get the job done over the Bombers on their home deck.

Essendon had a thrilling win over North Melbourne last week snatching a victory with 30 seconds to spare thanks to the magic of Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti getting them home.

The prospect of having Eddie Betts on one end and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti on the other is one that footy fans can savour as both teams fight it out to maintain their spot in September.

Calling this “must win” is an understatement.

For what it’s worth, I’m predicting a close one and wouldn’t be surprised if the Bombers start well only to have the Crows come home like a steam train with their adoring Adelaide Oval fans right behind them.

The Half Time/Full-Time lead of Essendon/Adelaide at the $6.50 could make for a solid Friday Night Fill up but more importantly a sensational game of Footy.

RICHMOND v PORT ADELAIDE (MCG)
Richmond to win by 1-39 @ $2.06

If you were to look-up “ordinary”, “overrated” and “mediocre” in the AFL dictionary the definition would be Port Adelaide.

In typical Port Adelaide style, they had a thumping win over the Crows in the Showdown (which is their Grand Final) and then talked a big game bullying Brisbane’s Lachie Neale only to have their pants pulled down by the Lions to the tune of 48 points.

Port is football’s Jekyll and Hyde and current trends should expect the good Power to turn up to the MCG this week, but they won’t.

Make no mistake – Richmond is back.

They are back to near full strength after a run of injury and were impressive against GWS last week and the Tigers are gathering steam before the finals get started.

Jack Riewoldt is back in the side and working well with Tom Lynch.

Dusty is back to his best, Dylan Grimes is highly reliable down back, Kane Lambert is highly underrated, Jason Castagna is a goalsneak and Sydney Stack is an outright superstar.

There is plenty to look forward to for the Tiger Army.

This is the kind of game that Port would actually play well in, but it isn’t at Adelaide Oval and backing Richmond at the MCG is one of the safest things to back in the AFL.

The Tigers are simply getting good at the right time and no Port Adelaide bullying or big noting themselves will be able to contain it.

An undermanned Richmond got Port at Adelaide Oval earlier in the year, just think what a near full-strength Tigers at the MCG against them can do.

Take the Tigers at the 1-39 points margin.

best bet
CARLTON v GOLD COAST SUNS (MARVEL)
Carlton to win by 40+ @ $2.45

I never thought I’d be tipping this in 2019.

In fact in the history of Neds and our parent companies operations in Australia, I don’t think this has ever been predicted before in any of our footy previews but Carlton will win this and win it easily.

We are backing the Blues 40+ as our best bet for the week.

Much like Smooth Jimmy Apollo in The Simpsons, this is our Lock of the Week, our Shoe-In of the Week and the gambletron 2000 is right behind Carlton. 

If the Suns win this we will back them to win every single game but they won’t.

The Gold Coast Suns are an embracement for everyone involved with them.

Right now if the current Suns team was rostered on to play Williamstown from the VFL or Sturt from the SANFL, my money would be on the state league teams to win at the 40+ margin.

Some have likened the performances of the Gold Coast Suns to the dying days of the old Fitzroy, but I’d liken it to University’s last seasons in the VFL from 1912-1914 where the club didn’t win a single match before folding.

Carlton is actually one of the inform teams of the competition right now and quite frankly are capable of beating anyone as the Blues are simply enjoying their footy under caretaker David Teague.

This is the first time since about 1995 that Carlton fans can go to the footy expecting to win and expect it to be a percentage booster.

Their opponents may be the Suns, but they are in a very dark place.

GWS GIANTS v COLLINGWOOD (GIANTS STADIUM)
Either Team to win by less than 24.5 points @ $1.72

The Giants have had a serious form slump of recent and the Pies got back to their best with an epic one point win over the Eagles in Perth.

If you ask me, this should be considered the game of the round.

GWS have lost their past three and the injury curse has riddled the clubs extremely talented list.

They have gone from top four to sixth on the ladder in a number of weeks and desperately need a win to get season 2019 back on track.

What better opportunity to do it against second placed Collingwood?

Despite injuries from Stephen Coniglio, they can still depend on the likes of Jeremy Cameron and Toby Greene can still do some serious damage.

The Giants took a while to get into their game against the Tigers but were able to at least remain competitive.

But what can you say for the Magpies?

The good Collingwood was back in force after a tough month or so.

The Pies managed to hold West Coast scoreless for around 45 minutes during the second half and their one-point win was another chapter in an epic rivalry between the two.

The likes of Brody Mihocek, Adam Treloar, Steele Sidebottom and Scott Pendlebury were vital for Collingwood and they’ll be brimming with confidence.

It’s amazing what a win can do for confidence.

With that in mind, GWS are too good a team to lose four in a row and the Pies are back in town.

This game will be close so I’m happy to take the Under 24.5 each way bet.

BRISBANE v NORTH MELBOURNE (GABBA)
Brisbane Lions to win by 25+ @ $2.20

The Brisbane Lions (proudly sponsored by Neds) are hard-nosed, pulsating, tough, relentless, exciting and like Angry Anderson in the 1991 Grand Final are Bound for Glory.

If you had any doubts on the Lions being the real deal, you won’t anymore after that stunning performance beating the Power by 48 points on the road at Adelaide Oval.

The Lions have won three in a row and starting to look very comfortable in the top four and quite frankly, they ain’t going nowhere.

The Cricket-centric curators at the Gabba won’t be happy that they’ll need to delay getting the pitch ready for November because the Lions might have a couple of games on their home deck at the business end of the season.

Playing in front of their adoring home fans and with all the momentum in the world the Lions will get the job done and add a bit of flare from Charlie Cameron, Lachie Neale and skipper Dayne Zorko this Saturday night will be a homecoming for the Lions who are headed somewhere very special.

North has been good of recent, but with their finals hopes dashed and Brisbane up and about the Gabbatoir will be in full slaughter mode as the Lions continue on their winning ways. 

 

 

FREMANTLE v SYDNEY (OPTUS STADIUM)
Fremantle to win by 1-39 @ $2.08

This game is a textbook dead rubber match.

After a respectable start to the year, Freo has been in absolute freefall.

Sydney lost to Carlton at home last week and it’s almost mathematically impossible for them to play finals for the first time in years.

Freo is playing the Swans at home.

The blow torch is on them back in Perth and really they should pencil this in as a much-needed win.

Back Freo to give Sydney the Heave-Ho this Saturday night.

GEELONG v HAWTHORN (MCG)
Geelong to win by 40+ @ $3.15

It’s the clash of co-tenants this Sunday as Geelong hosts Hawthorn at the MCG.

Nothing gets Cats fans up and about than getting a home game on the hallowed turf of the G.

You would normally pencil in a Cats v Hawks clash to be a battle of epic proportions but I simply can’t see this one being it given the state of the ladder.

Granted the Hawks had a solid win over Freo at home last week and has faint finals hopes but Geelong is just flying at the moment and will want to really cement themselves on top of the ladder.

Also, the Cats will want to get another big win on the MCG where they will be playing footy come September. (Hate to break it to you Cat Fans, a KP Final is like Fetch, it ain’t going to happen.)

The game could go two ways, Clarko will make sure the Hawks play chippy crap keepings off footy ensuring a close finish or the Cats will smell blood and thump them.

I’m happy to take the thumping option for the price.

MELBOURNE v WEST COAST (ALICE SPRINGS)
West Coast Eagles to win by 40+ @ $4

When the Dees last graced the turf of Tregear Park, Alice Springs in Round 10 last season they demolished the Adelaide Crows to the tune of 91 points.

Many saw this as the coming of Melbourne as Crow coach Don Pyke famously starred down his Crows side at three-quarter time.

A lot has changed since Melbourne last played at the ground.

With West Coast their opponents, the Eagles will be hurting from their one-point loss to the Magpies last week and will want to boost their percentage in order to remain in the top four.

Playing the Dees who have been the most disappointing team of season 2019 couldn’t have come at a better time.

Expect a similar result to last year’s Preliminary Final and take the Eagles 40+ at the $4 for some solid Sunday value.

ST KILDA v WESTERN BULLDOGS (MARVEL)
St Kilda @ $3

I had originally pencilled this in as a win for the Doggies but given the fact, the Saints sacked or “parted ways” with Alan Richardson this changes everything.

Sack the coach – win the next week.

As has been the trend in 2019.

North sacked Brad Scott – Roos win next week.

Carlton sacked Brendon Bolton – Blues win next week.

St.Kilda sacked Alan Richardson…

I could go on about the good form from the Dogs of recent or that the Saints have actually been quite competitive but they’ve sacked the coach.  That means they are going to win.

However, there is hope for the Dogs.

Since 2001,  the Western Bulldogs have played against a team with a first-up caretaker coach three times.

They have won each of those matches – St Kilda 2001 (34 pts), North Melbourne 2009 (22 pts), Port Adelaide 2010 (36 pts).

I’d still take the Saints for the win at $3. 

Sack the coach, win the next week., it’s the trend in 2019.