The bye rounds are finally over and we have a full round of nine matches to look forward to this weekend.
The highlight of the weekend is set to be the Friday Night Football clash between Collingwood and Hawthorn, but there will also be intriguing fixtures featuring Sydney and Port Adelaide, Adelaide and Geelong as well as the Western Bulldogs facing a resurgent Carlton side.
Hawthorn are currently priced at $1.27 to beat Collingwood on Friday night, but we are offering $2 for the Hawks to maintain their place in the top four with our Friday Night Footy Special!
Sydney Swans vs Port Adelaide Power
Thursday, July 2 – 7:20pm AEST – SCG
The Sydney Swans produced an uncharacteristically poor second half performance to cough up a big lead against Richmond last weekend and need to win this weekend to keep up with the two Western Australian sides on top of the competition. The Swans will be without key forwards Lance Franklin and Kurt Tippett due to suspension, but the Swans have plenty of depth in their forward line and should be able to cover in their absence. Port Adelaide have not played since their horror loss to Carlton and coach Ken Hinkley needs to have spent the bye week getting his charges ready for a big second half of the season. The Power can’t afford to lose any more games, but they have not won in Sydney for almost a decade and it is tough to see that changing this weekend. The Swans should be able to win comfortably and they should easily cover the line of 11 and a half points.
Collingwood Magpies vs Hawthorn Hawks
Friday, July 3 – 7:50pm AEST – MCG
This is set to be an absolute blockbuster and could go a long way to deciding the makeup of the top four. Hawthorn did enough to get the job done against Essendon last weekend, but they still look to have another gear at their disposal. The Hawks have won their past seven meetings with the Magpies and they will be very confident that they can keep that run going this weekend. Collingwood went extremely close without getting the job done against Fremantle last Thursday night and it is as big ask to take on the two best sides in the competition in back-to-back weeks. The Magpies trail the Hawks in the majority of all key metrics and it is tough to see them turning-the-tables on their rivals this weekend.
Richmond Tigers vs Greater Western Sydney Giants
Saturday, July 4– 1:40pm AEST – MCG
Richmond stamped themselves as outside premiership contenders with their impressive comeback victory over Sydney last weekend and they now face a very winnable series of games. The Tigers have a very poor record against the Gold Coast Suns, but they have had no problems dispatching the Giants in their past four meetings and are deserving favourites for this clash. The Giants have failed to recover from the loss of veteran ruckman Shane Mumford and based on their current form their chances of playing finals football for the first time appear to be just about over. Jack Riewoldt has an outstanding record against the Giants and the in-form forward will be able to lead his side to a big victory this weekend.
Gold Coast Suns vs North Melbourne Kangaroos
Saturday, July – 4:35pm AEST – Metricon Stadium
Another week, another off field scandal for the Gold Coast Suns and this franchise continues to turn into the biggest joke in Australian sport. What has not been funny is their on-field performances this season and they produced another disgraceful effort against Carlton last weekend. The return of Gary Ablett will help, but whether it is enough to get his side over the line is a whole different story. The Kangaroos are another side that has disappointed in 2015, but they found a semblance of their best form heading into the bye and there will be no excuses if they fail to win this weekend. It is tough to see the Suns scoring enough points to trouble North Melbourne and the Kangaroos can end their two games losing streak against the Suns.
Western Bulldogs vs Carlton Blues
Saturday, July 4 – 7:20pm AEST – Etihad Stadium
The Western Bulldogs find themselves back in the top eight following two straight victories and they have an outstanding chance to continue their winning run this weekend. The Bulldogs were very poor at times last weekend against St Kilda, but they still managed to walk away with the four points, which would have given Luke Beveridge a slight confidence boost about where his team is at. Carlton have obviously been playing better football since the departure of Mick Malthouse, but they may have been flattered by their opposition in the past fortnight. The Bulldogs have been one of the best pressure sides in the AFL this season and this is one area where they have a massive edge over the Blues. The Bulldogs can make it three wins on the trot and cover the spread of 11 and a half points without a problem.
Melbourne Demons vs West Coast Eagles
Saturday, July 4 – 7:40pm AEST – TIO Stadium
The Melbourne Demons have given up the home ground advantage to take this clash to Darwin and it is tough to see this being a successful road trip for Paul Roos’ side. A lack of consistency and poor kicking have continued to plague the Demons and West Coast are a side that will punish you if you don’t take advantage of your scoring opportunities. The Eagles went into the bye on the back of two solid wins and they should have no problems making it three straight. West Coast simply don’t lose games like this one and it is no surprise that they have won their past seven games against the Demons by big margins. It would not surprise if West Coast put a big score on the Demons and the line of 27.5 points does not look like enough.
Essendon Bombers vs St Kilda Saints
Sunday, July 5 – 1:10pm AEST – Etihad Stadium
After a promising start to the season, Essendon have now hit rock bottom and they have lost their past four games in fairly poor circumstances. The Bombers have simply forgotten how to score points and they are the worst centre clearance team in the competition. St Kilda did everything but win against the Western Bulldogs last weekend and how they bounce back following that disappointing loss will be very interesting. The Saints lost in very similar circumstances against Essendon earlier this season and their inability to take advantage of their opportunities is turning into a big concern. It is tough to have any faith in the Bombers at this stage of the season, but they still have more quality across the board than the Saints and they should be able to end their losing streak.
Adelaide Crows vs Geelong Cats
Sunday, July 5 – 3:20pm AEST – Adelaide Oval
This is one of the most intriguing games of the round and will be key to the finals chances of both these sides. Adelaide got the four points against the Brisbane Lions last weekend, but they were far from impressive and they need to play better football than that if they want to qualify for the finals. The loss of Rory Sloane is massive for the Crows and they don’t have the depth to cover for the star midfielder. Geelong went into the break on the back of a demoralizing loss at the hands of the Melbourne Demons and there would have been a lot of soul-searching done at the club in their week off. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Cats are far from the side that they once were, but there is still a bit of pride at the football club and at a quote of $2.05 they represent good value to return to winning form with a victory this weekend.
Fremantle Demons vs Brisbane Lions
Sunday, July 5 – 4:40pm AEST – Domain Stadium
If you are looking for a safe bet this weekend then this is definitely it. The Brisbane Lions were far from disgraced against Adelaide last Saturday night, but the Fremantle Dockers and the road trip to Domain Stadium is a whole other challenge. Fremantle have absolutely dominated the Lions since 2009 and the Lions have scored over 50 points just once in their past five clashes with the Dockers. It is tough to see the Dockers allowing the Lions to break the half-century this weekend and Aaron Sandilands is sure to have a field day in the ruck. The likes of Dayne Beams will have to be at his best to outpoint the Fremantle midfield led by Nathan Fyfe and the Dockers should be able to record another comfortable victory this weekend.
Don’t forget about our $2 Friday Night Football Special! We’re offering a whopping $2 for the Hawks to roll Magpies this Friday night.