IT IS a massive week in the AFL headlined by Adelaide taking on Port Adelaide in a special home town derby that will remember murdered Crows’ coach Phil Walsh.
And our multi of the week will be centred around that game and two others.
Here’s something to have a sneaky flutter on for the weekend:
AFL: Western Bulldogs to hold the line of +6.5 at $1.92
AFL: West Coast Eagles to win at $1.70
AFL: Adelaide Crows to win @ $2.30
Geelong Cats vs. Western Bulldogs
Saturday, July 18, 2015, 1.45pm AEST, Simonds Stadium, Watch on Fox Footy
Tip: Western Bulldogs to hold the line of +6.5 at $1.92
Two teams enjoying vastly different fortunes in 2015 square off at the Cattery.
For so long, this would normally be an easy tip, with Geelong a lock to dominate at home.
But no longer.
The surprise packet Western Bulldogs did what they had to do to come aways with a 14.11 (95) to 11.7 (73) win over the Gold Coast last weekend, improving their season record to a glowing 9-5 and are now amazingly within striking distance of a top four berth in sixth place.
Down and out and facing a 37 point margin during the third term, the Dogs all of a sudden spurred into action, booting a stunning 10 goals in the final term to sink the Suns, who were out on their feet.
Usually playing the holding role, Liam Picken was in everything, accumulating 36 disposals with seven marks and nine tackles and young jet Jackson Macrae had 33 with 10 marks and a goal. Jack Redpath booted three goals to be the Dogs’ main avenue.
“For our players to continue to come on in that last quarter and do what we did was obviously outstanding,” coach Luke Beveridge said.
The sons of the west will have absolutely no fear of a Geelong side that is languishing in 11th and coming off a crushing defeat at the hands of North Melbourne, 18.12 (120) to 11.13 (79).
Coming off a 20 day break due to the cancellation of their match with Adelaide in the wake of Walsh’s murder and the bye the week before, it was always going to be an uphill battle for the Cats against the Roos.
But the meek surrender is a worrying sign for a club that has for so long dominated its opposition and found ways to win.
Not even a vintage 41 disposal effort from cetera Jimmy Bartel could inspire his team mates, with only captain Joel Selwood (26 disposals, 10 tackles) and young buck Cam Guthrie (also 26) flying the flag.
The Dogs haven’t beaten the Cats in their last seven encounters and we’re of the mind that could change on Saturday.
If it was in Melbourne, we’d be backing them in, but, due to the perceived difficulty of the trip down to the Cattery, we’ve gone for the added insurance of the 6.5 point line.
West Coast Eagles vs. Collingwood Magpies
Saturday, July 18, 2015, 4.35pm AEST, Etihad Stadium, Watch on Fox Footy
Tip: West Coast Eagles to win at $1.70
Kings of the honourable loss, Collingwood are about to suffer a fourth dignified, but ultimately fruitless, result at the hands of the West Coast Eagles.
At least that’s what we think.
The wasteful Pies have squandered chances in each of the last three weeks, falling to top-of-the-table Fremantle in Perth by just seven points, going down to reigning premier Hawthorn by 10 points and then booting four of the last five goals to fall just three points short against Port Adelaide on the road last week, 9.12 (66) to 9.9 (69).
Taylor Adams continued his break out season with a career high 38 disposals, while Dane Swan had 33 and the Pies had nine individual goal kickers and no multiples.
How things could be different though. Reverse those results – three games by a combined total of 20 points – and the Pies would be in the top four – a position the unstoppable second placed Eagles currently enjoy.
The boys from Perth have been rolling, winning each of their last four games, including an emotion charged 22.15 (147) to 14.7 (91) result against the Adelaide Crows last week.
An eight goal to none second term and a three goal, 36 disposal tour de force from Andrew Gaff ensured the win over a Crows side left reeling by the death of Walsh.
We’re starting to feel a bit sorry for the Pies – their efforts in the past three weeks would have been enough to knock off more than half the teams in the AFL – just not the ones they played.
But we can’t go past the $1.70 on offer for the Eagles. They’ve travelled well this season and should be able to head on over the Etihad Stadium and come away with a hard fought win against a pressure packed, but wasteful, Magpies line up.
Watch out for Matt Priddis, who loves playing the Pies and managed to snare 42 disposals last time out as the Eagles churned out a 50 point win at Subiaco Oval
Port Adelaide Power vs. Adelaide Crows
Sunday, July 18, 2015, 3.20pm AEST, Adelaide Oval, Watch on Fox Footy
Tip: Adelaide Crows to win @ $2.30
Showdown 39 is going to go down in history as the match for Phil Walsh.
The Adelaide mentor, just 12 games into what was shaping up to be a long and successful career, was ruthlessly murdered in a stabbing attack in his Adelaide home on July 3.
A memorial was held on Wednesday for the man who also spent so long at Port Adelaide as an assistant to head coach Mark Williams, before crossing town and taking on the top job at the Crows.
This game is going to be special.
It’s going to transcend football.
And we reckon the Crows are going to win.
There’s no real rhyme or reason behind it. Port is the better side. But there’s something intangible about a game like this.
Both teams will run through a joint banner before the game, honouring Walsh in a heartwarming show of football unity.
No team has played under these conditions before and we’re backing the Crows players to dig deep and find something to honour their fallen mentor.
Yes, we know they’ve already played a game since Walsh’s death, a 56 point drubbing at the hands of top four lock West Coast, but this game dwarfs that one’s significance.
Contested ball powerhouse Patrick Dangerfield was a beast against the Eagles, racking up 36 disposals and eight tackles, while the young brigade of Rory Laird (31 touches) and Matt Crouch (28) stood up, but the the Crows had too many passengers, with only one other player cracking 20 possessions. Captain Taylor Walker kicked three goals.
Meanwhile, Port Adelaide eked out a three point thriller against the wayward Magpies, in a result we’ve already spoken about in the West Coast vs. Collingwood preview.
Ollie Wines, fast growing into one of the best midfielders in the business – and certainly the toughest – had 33 disposals, while captain Travis Boak had 27 and Chad Wingard continued his purple patch with three goals.
The Power have won four of the past five, including a four goal result in round five, where Jay Schulz booted five goals and Robbie Gray had 32 possessions. The Crows, too, got five goals from Eddie Betts, and just a lazy 36 from Danger.
Like we said, this is a tip on a hunch that the Crows will show some serious mental toughness, so bare with us and if you agree, happy punting.
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