SECOND week of byes in the AFL sees a few teams in desperate need of a break get away from the action, while other teams resume which are in dire need of a win.
North Melbourne’s season is teetering on the brink of irrelevance with a crunch game coming up, the Hawks and the Crows clash on a Thursday night which looms as the game of the week and the Power’s finals chances are hanging by a thread as they travel to the MCG to face the Blues.
Another four days of action across this weekend so let’s get into it.
Teams with the bye in round 12:
Gold Coast Suns
St Kilda Saints
Thursday, June 18th, 7:50pm, Adelaide Oval
Adelaide – $1.92 (+18.5)
Hawthorn – $1.92 (-18.5)
The first Thursday night fixture of the year sees Adelaide hosting Hawthorn in a match that has the potential to launch the winner right back into top four contention.
Both teams will come into the match well rested after experiencing mid-season byes and will be keen to find some consistency after sporadic periods of great football counteracted by some less than stellar matches.
The Crows welcome back Richard Douglas from injury at the expense of Mitch Grigg who will miss the match with an ankle injury.
Stoutly built forward Paul Puopolo finds his way back into the Hawthorn side, with Alex Litherland the man to make way.
The Hawks are starting to put together their best 22, and with their superior percentage (the second best in the entire league) a top four position at the end of the season will be theirs for the taking if they can string some good form together.
Adelaide should not hold any fears for Hawthorn and the Hawks should move to fifth by the end of the night.
Tip:Hawthorn to win $1.37 with William Hill
Exotic:Most disposals group A – Scott Thompson $8.50 with Crownbet
Tigers vs. Eagles
Friday, June 19th, 1:40pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Richmond – $1.91 (+4.5)
West Coast – $1.91 (-4.5)
Friday night at the G sees eight take on third as the Eagles travel to Melbourne to face the Tigers.
The Tigers come into the match fresh off their mid-season bye, but bring in great form after winning their last three matches, including defeating the previously unbeaten Fremantle Dockers away from home.
The Eagles are in terrific form after easily sweeping aside Essendon last week and will be keen to finish off the first half of their season with a win.
The West Coast’s makeshift backline will be seriously put to the test this week, with Ty Vickery and Jack Riewoldt both in wonderful form, and with an injury cloud over Jeremy McGovern, the Tigers may have the advantage in their own forward line.
It should be a close game right to the finish but expect the Tigers to just snatch the points in a tight contest.
Tip:Richmond to win 1-39 margin $2.25 with Crownbet
Exotic:Total score under 170 points $1.91 with Crownbet
Blues vs. Power
Saturday, June 20th, 1:40pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Carlton – $1.91 (+22.5)
Port Adelaide- $1.91 (-22.5)
The first Saturday game pits the hapless Blues against the struggling Power in a game the visitors cannot afford to lose.
The Blues are coming off their bye but bring better form into the match, only just falling short of upsetting Adelaide a fortnight ago at the MCG.
Port Adelaide’s season hangs by a thread after conceding defeat to an undermanned Geelong outfit at home. The Power are languishing outside of finals contention and a loss here would effectively rule them out.
The area the visitors should have the ascendency in is the midfield, with Travis Boak and Robbie Gray still doing the heavy lifting for their teammates.
Carlton’s on-ball stocks took a batting with the loss of Judd, and there is doubt as to whether Gibbs will be good to go even after the bye.
It is the game the Power can simply not afford to lose, and we think they will bounce back and beat the Blues.
Tip:Power to win 1-39 $2.10 with William Hill
Exotic:First goal scorer – Chad Wingard $10 via Sportsbet
Giants vs. Kangaroos
Saturday, June 20th, 4:35pm, Spotless Stadium
GWS – $1.92 (+14.5)
North Melbourne – $1.92 (-14.5)
Two teams in crisis mode heading into round 12 face each other on Saturday afternoon in Sydney with the Giants hosting the Kangaroos.
The Giants are coming off a humbling loss to the Pies, with their playing stocks set to be severely tested with injuries to Phil Davis, Joel Patfull and Shane Mumford.
The Kangaroos were outclassed, going down to Sydney by just over two goals last Saturday night. The loss leaves the Roos in serious jeopardy of missing the finals after being one of the pre-season fancies.
The battle of the ruck will be the pivotal clash here, with North’s Todd Goldstein arguably the best big man in the game. He will be up against a second string ruckman given Mumford’s injury absence and should be able to give his midfielders first use.
Expect North to head into the bye with a win and back in striking distance of a finals finish.
Tip:North Melbourne to win $1.44 with William Hill
Exotic:First goal scorer – Jeremy Cameron $8 via Sportsbet
Bulldogs vs. Lions
Saturday, June 20th, 7.20pm, Etihad Stadium
Western Bulldogs – $1.92 (-23.5)
Brisbane – $1.92 (+23.5)
The sole Saturday night game sees the Western Bulldogs hosting the Brisbane Lions in a match that could get ugly for the visitors.
The Bulldogs are coming in fresh off their bye which came at the right time for them given their propensity for fading late in games.
Brisbane will benefit greatly from their mid-season break, with the mounting toll of injuries starting to have an adverse effect out on the field.
It is hard to see how the Lions can win this one, with a forward line that is incapable of kicking a winning score and a back six incapable of shutting down an offense, it could be a ten goal hiding if Brisbane are not in top gear from the beginning.
The Bulldogs should win and get their season back on track.
Tip:Western Bulldogs to win – 40+ points $2.80 via Crownbet
Exotic:First team to score – Western Bulldogs $1.75 via Crownbet
Cats vs. Demons
Sunday, May 14th, 4:40pm, Simons Stadium
Geelong – $1.91 (-32.5)
Melbourne – $1.91 (+32.5)
The Cats and the Demons meet down the highway at Geelong to round out the weekend’s action.
The Cats are on a roll after smashing Essendon and Port Adelaide in consecutive weeks, and will be looking to make veteran Cat Corey Enright’s 300th career game a memorable one in front of the Geelong faithfuls.
The Demons have been dismal and will be keen to atone after conceding a goal in the last minute of play against St Kilda to lose. Paul Roos’ men had the lead with just seconds left on the clock but failed to consolidate, falling in one of the more embarrassing losses of the year.
The Cats are red-hot and have a great record against the Demons. Chris Scott’s men have not lost to Melbourne since 2006 and in their last two meetings have kept the Dees to five goals or less.
It’s hard to see how Melbourne will be competitive in this one, and anything less than ten goals will be surprising.
Tip:Geelong to win -32.5 points $1.91 with Sportsbet
Exotic: Corey Enright – over 23.5 disposals in his 300th game $1.90 with William Hill