It is fair to say that this AFL season has not been controversy-free, but the footy is really starting to deliver when it really matters.
I don’t want to bury the lead though – how bloody good are the Brisbane Lions!
The pressure was on, it was a danger game and North Melbourne produced their best footy, but the Lions once again prevailed to claim their fifth straight win for the first time since 2007.
There are 17 other teams in the AFL that, I guess, deserve some love and we will analyse every one of their chances this weekend in our 2019 AFL Round 19 tips.
Richmond really are purring as we reach the business end of the season and it is crazy to think that they were once $21 to win the Premiership.
They were always in control of last week’s clash with Port Adelaide and the scary thing for their rivals is that they still have another gear left to go to.
There will be plenty of motivation for Richmond in this Friday Night Blockbuster, as the Magpies have had the wood over them in their past two meetings.
Mason Cox famously produced the one good game of his AFL career to lead the Pies to victory in last year’s Preliminary Final and Collingwood were far too good for their rivals earlier this season.
Are Collingwood still that good?
The jury is out and, over four quarters, I expect them to be exposed by the overall quality of the Tigers.
The market for this match is an absolute disgrace – how are the Lions not dominant favourites?
The Lions of old would have lost last week’s game against North Melbourne, but they showed plenty of character to score a fighting win.
We have won our past three games against Hawthorn and I firmly believe that Chris Fagan has got Alastair Clarkson’s number.
I’d also like to use this opportunity to proclaim my love for Oscar McInerney.
‘The Big O’ has been nothing short of outstanding since he returned from injury and I believe that he was the difference last weekend.
Anybody considering backing the Hawks at this price needs to reconsider their life-choices and the Lions are easily the best bet of the round.
What do Adelaide and David Warner have in common?
They are both flat track bullies.
I’m adamant that Adelaide are actually no good, as they showed against Essendon last Friday night, but they are talented at putting away the worst teams in the competition.
The Crows have won their past two games against the Blues by over 40 points and we will see a repeat this week.
Two weeks ago, West Coast looked like the safest side in the top four and were almost certain to make a deep run in September, but there have been some worrying signs in recent weeks.
They failed to hold their nerve against Collingwood at Optus Stadium and they were fairly lacklustre against Melbourne last weekend.
This is their chance to make another statement and I think that they will do so.
North Melbourne are all but out of finals contention following two narrow losses at the hands of Essendon and Brisbane and it would not surprise to see their effort drop off for the rest of the year.
A motivated West Coast against an un-motivated North Melbourne is only going to end one way.
This is the definition of a dead-rubber.
The new coach bounce worked wonders for St Kilda against the Western Bulldogs last weekend and I’m a fan of Brett Ratten, but St Kilda are simply a side I find it hard to get excited about.
Bring back Grant Thomas and that will have people talking again.
It can’t be understated just how poor Melbourne have been this season.
They were many people’s premiership favourites at the start of the season and they now sit in 17th position on the ladder BEHIND CARLTON!
This sort of meltdown is truly incredible and I even feel a little bit sorry for Demons supporters.
Who wins this game? Who really cares, but I’m confident that it will be a low-scoring, dull affair and the Under in Total Points betting is an excellent play.
I don’t know what to make with the Giants and their 12 members are surely sick of the roller-coaster ride.
Their premiership odds blew out like the Fremantle Doctor when they lost to Brisbane and Richmond, but they are now right back in the hunt following last week’s win over Collingwood.
It may seem like one of the most lacklustre rivalries in the AFL, but GWS have won their past four games against Port Adelaide and haven’t lost to the Power since 2015.
The Power are the gatekeepers of the AFL.
They beat the bad teams, including Adelaide, and lose to the legitimate contenders.
This week we will find out whether the Giants are genuine contenders and I believe that they will pass the test.
Just when the momentum was building for a finals run and a 2016 repeat was on the cards, the Bulldogs went and lost to St Kilda.
I automatically lose all respect for any team that is beaten by St Kilda and I think that it is fair to say that the Bulldogs are a mentally weak outfit.
I thought that Fremantle already had their minds on their summer holiday, but they showed excellent spirit against Sydney last weekend – even though they barely scored 50 points.
The Dockers have won their past four games against the Bulldogs and the $2.40 available for them to win again does appeal.
Things are starting to get ugly at Geelong.
They have spent all season complaining about a lack of home finals and they have forgotten that what actually matters is winning football games.
For them to produce such an insipid performance against old rivals Hawthorn is a very worrying sign and I’ve seen plenty of social media evidence of the Cats fans turning on their side.
In saying all that, I still expect Geelong to win fairly comfortably this weekend.
They face a Swans outfit whose only win this month has been against the Gold Coast Suns and have since lost to Essendon, Carlton and Fremantle.
That is the opposite of a strong form line and the Cats should prove far too strong for their rivals.
What a way to finish the round!
There has been many negative things written about the Gold Coast Suns, mainly by me, and they obviously should be relocated to Tasmania, but they did show some ticker against Carlton last weekend.
Essendon might be the opposite of flat-track bullies.
On their day, they can mix it with the very best sides in the competition and then do their best to lose to Carlton the following week.
I don’t expect the Bombers to lose this game, but the Suns can still give them a genuine scare.