THE third and final bye week again sees a protracted weekend of football, with a clash in the West kicking off the round on Thursday night.
That game will see the Dockers and the Pies clash in a match with top-four ramifications, while in other games the Crows, Tigers and Bulldogs will need to register wins to keep their finals chances alive towards the tail end of the top eight.
Plenty of interesting matches to assess this week, so let’s get straight into it.
Teams with the bye in Round 13:
North Melbourne Kangaroos
Port Adelaide Power
West Coast Eagles
Thursday, June 25th, 7:50pm, Domain Stadium
Fremantle – $1.92 (-24.5)
Collingwood – $1.92 (+24.5)
The third and final bye week of the year kicks off on Thursday night with Fremantle hosting Collingwood in Perth.
Both teams are fresh off their respective byes, but bring in spectacular form given they were two of the most impressive teams during the first half of the season.
The Fremantle forward line has been bolstered by the return of Chris Mayne, who missed the win against Gold Coast two weeks ago with a bout of gastro.
The Pies welcome back small forward Jarryd Blair, with Ben Kennedy the man to make way.
The Pies will travel West with plenty of confidence after a quality win against GWS before the bye, however beating Freo on their home track is an ominous task which should prove too much for Buckley’s brigade.
Tip: Fremantle to win 1-39 points $2.10 via William Hill
Exotic: Most disposals group 1 – David Mundy $14 via Sportsbet
Swans vs. Tigers
Friday, June 26th, 7:50pm, Sydney Cricket Ground
Sydney – $1.91 (-25.5)
Richmond – $1.91 (+25.5)
Friday night at the SCG sees the Swans hosting the Tigers in a battle that should be a lot closer than the odds would have you believe.
The Tigers have been in terrific form over the last month but were unable to register the win against the Eagles at home last week, leaving them locked on points with five other teams for the final two spots in the eight.
The Swans return after their mid season bye last week.
The Tigers this week will be buoyed by the re-signing of key defender Alex Rance, who will no doubt get the job on Lance Franklin.
Franklin is the key to the match up and, if the all-Australian defender can limit Buddy’s output, it will go a long way to securing the points for his team.
Sydney should be able to get the points in this match, but it might be closer than expected. That’s why a Richmond line bet – a generous 25.5 point head start – is the preferred bet this week.
Tip: Richmond line bet +25.5 $2.25 via Crownbet
Exotic: First goal scorer – Lance Franklin $7 via Sportsbet
Hawks vs. Bombers
Saturday, June 27th, 1:10pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Hawthorn – $1.91 (-42.5)
Essendon- $1.91 (+42.5)
First Saturday game of the round sees the reigning premiers facing off against the horribly out of form Bombers.
The Hawks are coming off a terrific road win against the Crows. They controlled the game from start to finish, dismantling the home team with fierce pressure and ferocious attack on the man and ball.
The Bombers are coming off the bye, but still managed to maintain their horrible season of wretched luck.
Ruckman Tom Bellchambers and livewire Travis Coyler were both ruled out for the year with foot injuries during the week.
This is the second match up between the two sides this year, with the Dons stunning the Hawks in round two to register their first win over their rivals in over five years.
The Hawks will not let that happen again, though, and should get the points with a thumping win.
Tip: Hawthorn to win 40+ points $1.78 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Jack Gunston $9 via Sportsbet
Lions vs. Crows
Saturday, June 27th, 4:35pm, GABBA
Brisbane – $1.92 (+23.5)
Adelaide – $1.92 (-23.5)
Saturday afternoon in the North sees the Lions hosting the Crows at the GABBA.
The game is a must win for the visitors after their disappointing effort against the Hawks last week.
The Crows are locked in the 24 point logjam in the middle rungs of the ladder and cannot afford to lose winnable games.
The Lions are coming off the back off a 72 point hammering at the hands of the Bulldogs and may be without superstar midfielder Dayne Beams who sustained a shoulder injury in that match.
Inspirational captain Tom Rockliff will also miss the match, but is expected to return the following week.
Unfortunately for the Lions they just do not have the players on the park right now, and the Crows are hungry for finals action.
It all points towards a healthy win to the visitors.
Tip: Adelaide to win $1.22 via Crownbet
Exotic: First goal scorer – Josh Jenkins $11 via Sportsbet
Saints vs. Bulldogs
Saturday, June 27th, 7.20pm, Etihad Stadium
St Kilda – $1.92 (-13.5)
Western Bulldogs – $1.92 (+13.5)
Saturday night sees a rematch between the Saints and the Dogs, who played out of one of the games of the year just over a month ago.
The Saints came back from 55 points down to record one of their best wins ever, stunning the Bulldogs who were then top-four contenders.
The Saints will be well rested after their bye, which should mean captain Nick Reiwoldt will be fit to play after sustaining a knee injury late in their stirring win over the Demons a fortnight ago.
The Dogs are in sparkling form after destroying the Lions with young forward on the rise, Jake Stringer, being particular dominant when scoring five goals.
Positive signs for key forward Tom Boyd too, with the off-season recruit booting four goals on the way to earning himself a Rising Star nomination.
Do not expect the Dogs to be complacent in this match, they should score a big win to keep them in finals contention.
Tip: Western Bulldogs to win – 40+ points $3.80 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Tom Boyd $10 via Sportsbet
Blues vs. Suns
Sunday, June 28th, 3:20pm, Etihad Stadium
Carlton – $1.91 (-9.5)
Gold Coast – $1.91 (+9.5)
The sixth and final game this weekend sees the resurgent Blues up against the struggling Suns in one of the more interesting matches of the round.
The Blues are fresh off the back of their best win in two years, outlasting a fast finishing Power side to record just their second win of the season.
The Gold Coast will be well rested after their bye and should be ready to face the second half of the season with renewed vigour after a spirited performance against the Dockers a fortnight ago.
The Suns will be boasted by the return of the great one, Gary Ablett, who is expected to return after a long layoff with a shoulder injury. The big question will be whether or not he will have the match fitness to run the entire game out.
The Blues have been fantastic since the removal of Mick Malthouse as coach and their terrific form should continue.
Tip: Geelong to win -32.5 points $1.58 via Sportsbet
Exotic: First goal scorer – Levi Casboult $10 via Sportsbet
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