AND then there were four.
After one of the best opening weekends of finals football in years, the follow-up was not as fulfilling, but just as enlightening with the two remaining Victorian teams flying the flag for the state.
The Hawks roared back into premiership reckoning with a resounding victory, while the Roos defied the odds yet again to find their way back to a preliminary final for the second year running.
We are getting to the business end of the finals so let’s take a look at the semi-finals and how the two winners progressed.
Semi-final weekend – The Roos roll on while the Hawks slip into top gear
Week two of the 2015 finals series began on Friday night at the MCG with the Hawks making an emphatic statement, hammering the Crows by 74 points.
Hawthorn shrugged off any doubt that their premiership defence was over in a blistering first quarter, kicking eight goals to two to creat a 38-point lead at quarter time.
The Hawks ended up with 21 goals for the game in a brutal display which helped ease the fears of Hawthorn supporters that the three-peat may be outside of their grasp.
The manner in which Hawthorn dismantled the Crows will give coach Alistair Clarkson huge confidence going into Friday night’s preliminary final against Fremantle, with several key players finding their top form at the right time of the season.
Luke Breust was instrumental up forward, booting six goals, James Frawley was terrific on Taylor Walker, limiting the Adelaide captain to just one goal while Hawthorn captain Luke Hodge’s four goal, best on ground performance reminded everyone just how damaging he can be.
In further positive news for the Hawks, injured forward Jack Gunston is set to return for Friday night’s massive clash after sustaining an ankle injury in the qualifying final loss to the Eagles.
As a consequence of their dominant win, Sportsbet have moved the Hawks into second favourite for the flag at $2.60 – only ten cents shy of favourites the West Coast Eagles.
They also travel to Perth as strong favourites to defeat the Dockers on Friday night, with Crownbet keeping the reigning premiers very strong at the $1.60 mark.
Saturday night in Sydney saw the Kangaroos become the first team in AFL history to progress through to a preliminary final from eighth position after defeating the Swans by 26-points.
The Roos will play in back-to-back preliminary finals against all odds after grinding out the win against the injury-hit Sydney Swans, who were depleted through the middle and up forward.
Nick Dal Santo and Ben Cunnington dominated through the middle, while hard-nosed on-baller was fantastic for the visitors, ending the game with 25 disposals and eight tackles.
With captain Kieran Jack and Luke Parker missing through injury for the Swans the home side struggled to match the Roos through the middle; especially with prolific ball winner Daniel Hannebery limited to just 20 touches.
The Roos led at every change and will take great confidence going over to Perth, even though the red-hot Eagles await.
North Melbourne coach Brad Scott was pleased with his side’s September response after struggling at times through the regular season.
“I’m really proud. A great ex-coach of mine once said it’s not about the qualifying period of 22 rounds, it’s about the best team in September,” he said.
“We’ve been working really hard on producing our best at this time of year and we feel we’re pretty close to it.
“We’re going there (to Perth) with a method that we think stacks up in the heat of September and we’re really looking forward to the challenge.”
Despite spirited performances against the Tigers and the Swans, the Kangaroos are the only team in double figures in the premiership market, with Sportsbet placing the Roos at $15 to win the 2015 flag.
Brad Scott’s men also head into the match against West Coast on Saturday night as $4.65 outsiders with Crownbet, with flag favourites the Eagles the favoured bet of the weekend at $1.20.
West Coast: Positive news on the injury front for the Eagles heading into their home final on Saturday night, with Matt Priddis and Chris Masten both declared fit to play against the Kangaroos.
Jeremy McGovern and Luke Shuey trained strongly on Monday, allaying concerns raised over the weekend that the duo will be unavailable.
Fremantle: Mixed news for the Dockers with superstar midfielder and Brownlow medal favourite Nat Fyfe fit to play against the Hawks Friday night.
There were fears a lower leg injury would keep the 24-year old out of Friday night’s preliminary final, but Fremantle are confident their stud on-baller will be good to go.
A calf injury has ruled important defender Luke McPharlin out of the match with the Dockers toying with the idea of bringing back Ryan Crowley after his ASADA suspension ended this week.
Hawthorn: While he is yet to be confirmed as a definite starter, versatile forward Jack Gunston looks set to at least travel with the team across to Perth.
Gunston missed last week’s match with a twisted ankle, but the Hawks are confident it was only a one week injury and he will be free to line up against the Dockers.
Norm Smith medallist Brian Lake will be given up until the bounce to prove his fitness after sustaining an abdomen injury, but the reigning premiers are expecting the veteran defender to play.
North Melbourne: In what would be a huge boost for the Roos, coach Brad Scott has declared dashing midfielder Daniel Wells ‘a chance’ to make a shock return against the Eagles.
Wells has not played since injuring his Achilles tendon back in round two.
There are two key concerns for North Melbourne heading into Saturday night however, with key forward Drew Petrie and defender Robbie Tarrant both in doubt.
Petrie landed awkwardly on his knee in Saturday night’s win over the Swans, but played out the match after the incident early in the third quarter.
Petrie was cleared of any structural damage in the aftermath, and while he might be restricted in his full range of motion, the important forward is expected to play.
Robbie Tarrant, who was a late withdrawal last week with a slight abductor tear is an outside chance to play dependent on an incident-free week.
The injury occurred on the kicking side of his body, which could prove problematic, but the strongly built defender is still a good chance of playing Saturday night.
It’s that time of year again.
The most coveted individual medal in the AFL is up for grabs next Monday night.
Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe is still the hot favourite, despite missing several games with injury.
And our mates at CrownBet will be hoping he does get home, considering they paid out on him as winner after round eight, given his blistering start to the season.
Reigning Brownlow Medallist Matt Priddis is the second favourite, the Eagles star putting together a statistically better season than last year.
Will he or won’t he leave Adelaide star Patrick Dangerfield is the only other player in single figures in most markets.
Our AFL heads Dominic Ciconte and Mike Randall usually get together for a parma and a pot and talk turkey about the Brownlow.
Although Dom is on hiatus in Spain, the joys of the internet will allow us to bestow their Brownlow Medal ramblings.
See if they can’t tip a winner through it all.
Michael Randall: Maaaaaate, another year, another Brownlow. But it’s over right? I mean Crownbet already paid out on Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe… in May.
Dominic Ciconte: Hey, beautiful. Six weeks ago I would have told you the count was going to be a flop, BUT, I think 2015 may have a surprise in store.
MR: Beautiful? I think you might be mistaking me for a certain Spanish filly you’ve been romancing on your sojourn… Anyway, I don’t think the CrownBet boys were counting on Fyfe missing those late games when they forked out. But they’re talking him up as best on ground in what, eight of the first 10 games?
DC: hahaha. I can certainly recommend Barcelona during a cold Melbourne winter. I would say that of the eight ‘certainties’, I reckon he will poll three votes in at least six of them, and minors in the others. He’s still the absolute moral of the night, but his last month of football has given a few others a sniff. Have you got Fyfe by the length of Flemington straight? Or are you tipping a close one?
MR: Being realistic, Fyfe should have been suspended and the $2 with CrownBet.com.au is way too short for my liking. And you know me, I’m always on the underdog. You will recall my tip from last year???
DC: Hahaha. Didn’t think it would take you long to bring that up – well done on tipping the West Coast Eagles’ Matt Priddis last year. A few would have cleaned up on him at long odds.
MR: Well, considering I’ve mentioned it to you each fortnight since Brownlow night last year, you could hardly forget.
DC: Yeah, yeah, stop living in the past, Mike. Back to this year and I think Fyfe’s Brownlow hype almost certainly made the tribunal look at his three separate cases differently in my opinion.
MR: I agree. They were worried about suspending the favourite – but it would have blown the race wide open.
DC: Just like poor old Gold Coast Suns gun Gary Ablett Jr last year. Could this be the second consecutive year the bookmakers pay out on a loser?
If not Freo’s Nathan Fyfe, than who?
DC: So, who’s your number one tip in the market without Fyfe then?
MR: Look, you’re gonna bag me on this one, but I really can’t go past Sam Mitchell at the $12 with WilliamHill.com.au. He’s come close a few times, but I don’t think he’s had a better season than this AAAAAAND he’s managed to get through it without being suspended – despite the rumbling about corking-gate. I mean, just look at those numbers – 12 games over 30 touches, only three under 25. He’s right under the umpires nose, his use with both feet is as good as anyone’s and he is a hard ball specialist. Loves a chirp, but he has form as far as the umpires are concerned.
DC: Sigh… Everything in me wants to argue the Sam Mitchell call, but it makes too much sense. Mitchell always polls well, but seems to have battled injury or suspension whenever he could have been a serious contender. He’s arguably just as important now to the Hawks as ever before. I don’t think he’ll win, but he makes a really good place bet at $2.80 with CrownBet.com.au.
MR: Mate, that $2.80 looks better than bank interest.
DC: My man is Danger. Patrick Dangerfield.
MR: Danger will have no one taking votes off him.
DC: This will be the summer of Danger. The Adelaide icon that is about to break the heart of a whole state. He’s great value in a market without Fyfe at $4.75 and $7 with Fyfe in.
MR: His numbers don’t stack up for mine, Dom.
DC: Im calling this the holy trinity of Adelaide heartbreak:
– Danger wins their best and fairest.
– Danger wins Brownlow
– Danger leaves Adelaide
MR: … For Hawthorn.
DC: We all know he’s going to Geelong.
MR: Dom, he hasn’t cracked 30 disposals since Round 17.
DC: He kicks goals, he polls in games when you would never expect him to and the media and footy world salivated over his every possession in 2015. The whole world was watching and he had his best season yet. He’ll come late at Fyfe – I think it will come down to the last round.
MR: I love him, but I’m still not seeing it, I reckon he’s too short. I’d want double figures. I’m more bullish on Swan Daniel Hannebery at $10 with Williamhill.com.au. What a monster season he’s had. And he’s only got Josh Kennedy and the odd decent game from Lance Franklin nicking votes.
MR: He had 13 games over 30 including a 39, 40 and 42. There’s nine votes there. He’s had a massive season, yet we’ve heard nothing about him. I don’t like that. Too much focus on Buddy and Adam Goodes up there. Do you reckon Kennedy would be a superstar if he played in Melbourne?
DC: You’re right, you’ve just bloody scared me about Hannebery. Don’t forget he won the coach’s MVP award too. Tucked away secretly getting best on grounds in games only 14 people were watching.
DC: Goldstein is the interesting one in the market.
MR: He had, what, eight million hitouts this year?
DC: Any educated football pundit will tell you that Goldy has put together one of the best seasons from a ruck man we’ve seen in the last couple of decades. But will the umpires notice? Ruck man haven’t polled well in the Brownlow for a very long time – it wasn’t long ago when they were winning it all the time. If the umpires caught on to the Goldstein hype early, he is every chance and very good value.
Can Priddis go back-to-back?
MR: What about our man Priddis from last year? We haven’t mentioned him, but he’s $5.25 second fave with Williamhill.com.au
DC: West Coast won more games this year, but had more contributors – he’ll still poll well, but I think Andrew Gaff and a few others will steal votes off him – and that’s the reason the Eagles could be playing in an unlikely Grand Final next Saturday. They’re so much more even this season.
DC: I feel like he was the beneficiary of the perfect storm last year. Ablett getting injured, no one taking votes off him, his luscious locks standing out to the umpires. This year, Luke Shuey has had a monster, Nic Naitanui ($201 with WilliamHill.com.au) has probably been the second or third best ruck man of the season and even the Coleman Medalist Josh Kennedy ($1001 with Sportsbet.com.a) will steal some votes from all the goals he booted.
Secret Brownlow smokeys
DC: Who’s your secret smokey? The bet you’re not telling anyone about? (until they read this).
MR: Ok, if I tell you this I have to kill you, but my other smokey is the bloke with the tatts at Richmond. He’s put together a huge year, averages 26 disposals, a tick over a goal and nearly five marks, Is in every thing Richmond does. Has more impact than captain Trent Cotchin ($67 with CrownBet.com.au) and has been more consistent than Brett Deledio, who was suspended. But at $51 with WilliamHill.com.au, if you love an outsider, you could do far worse than Dustin Martin.
DC: Sigh… Dusty! I love him – wish he was a Pie. He kicks goals and is deadly by himself. A good bet would be to back him to poll more than Cotchin.
MR: I reckon he will poll the most votes at Richmond.
DC: He’ll poll well this year in a Tigers team that relies HEAVILY on their three good players
Final Brownlow bets for 2015
DC: Right, so who are we backing?
MR: Well I’m going with a head and heart pick, my man Sammy Mitchell. I’m ashamed to say it, but I used to be a massive critic of Sam’s disposal. I reckon he butchered it. Now he’s as good as any one and his ball use is probably our single most important individual weapon. I think he’s had a massive year and, because the Hawks midfield is so even, he’s the only real constant under the umpires nose. If he doesn’t win, he will go very close. How about you mate? Gonna to your dough and stick with Danger?
DC: Do my dough? Please. Yep, Danger’s my man. He doesn’t have to have a lot of possessions to win Brownlow votes. He’s a cut above anyone at Adelaide. I think he’ll poll a lot of best on grounds in Crows wins and often stands out in their losses. AND, it further adds to the drama of trade week.
DC: The beach is calling me, I’m off!
MR: Oi, hang on, what about your flag tip?
DC: I hate this, but I think it’s the Hawks at $2.60 with Sportsbet.com.au. They were the best team entering the finals and momentum has swung their way again after thumping Adelaide. Freo ($4.75 with Sportsbet.com.au) will be tougher, but, even in Perth, they’re not unbeatable and their form really hasn’t really been great. The Swans nearly knocked them over in the qualifier with half a side – and then they went and lost to North in Sydney. The only other worry is West Coast at $2.50 with Sportsbet.com.au. I’m loathe to ask this, but who do you think will win, Mike?
MR: You really think I’m tipping anyone but my Hawks? What, we’ve beaten Freo in seven of the past eight, They’ll kick 70, we’ll kick 100. And then who is gonna beat us on the MCG. I’m allowed to be confident, we’ve gone back to back. The three peat is our destiny.
2015 AFL Brownlow market
Nathan Fyfe ($2)
Matt Priddis ($4.50)
Patrick Dangerfield ($8)
Daniel Hannebery ($10)
Sam Mitchell ($11)
Todd Goldstein ($14)
Josh P. Kennedy ($21)
Andrew Gaff ($21)
Dustin Martin ($51)
Scott Pendlebury ($51)
David Mundy ($51)
2015 AFL Premiership market
West Coast Eagles ($2.50)
North Melbourne ($12)
FREMANTLE superstar Nat Fyfe isn’t the only man thanking the heavens for the AFL Match Review Panel’s lenience.
Punters across Australia who have smashed the gun midfielder into red hot favouritism for the Brownlow Medal are also breathing a sigh of relief.
The volatile Fyfe was cited for a third time this season, but the Match Review Panel decided he had no case to answer as his high hit on North Melbourne’s Ben Jacobs was deemed to be “a legitimate attempt to win the loose ball, and that he contested the ball with his arms reaching out in front of his body.”
The MRP said he made “incidental” high contact to Jacobs’ face with his arm and a free kick was paid.
Although Fyfe’s body then followed through and hit Jacobs’ chest, the panel said there was insufficient forceful high contact to see him receive a third fine.
On receiving the news Fyfe would be cleared to play, our friends at Sportsbet.com.au wound the Docker’s price back in from $2.25 to the $1.75.
West Coast’s curly haired mid Matt Priddis is Fyfe’s nearest challenger at $4.50 as he seeks to win back to back Brownlows, while gun North Melbourne ruck man Todd Goldstein is next at $7 and red hot Adelaide Crow Patrick Dangerfield is $8, but both those men have drifted after Fyfe was given the all clear.
“It’s high fyfes all round for those punters who are on the Dockers star,” the bookie’s Christian Jantzen said.
“He lives to fight another day.”
At CrownBet.com.au, the AFL’s official wagering partner, Fyfe actually drifted out.
“It’s all very much alive in the Brownlow, Fyfe has drifted – again – to $1.75, out from $1.65, while Matt Priddis has shortened in to $4, from $6.50,” the bookie’s Rob Cumbrae-Stewart said.
Had Fyfe copped even a financial sanction, it would have been his third such incident of the year and that would have meant an automatic one match suspension and you know what that means – disqualification from the Brownlow race.
The match review did not come without some further controversy, after panel member Nathan Burke made some comments on radio about the incident.
“It is likely front-on contact, it will be rough conduct,” Burke said.
“We’ll look if he was contesting the ball — there are alternative ways to contest the ball.
“We’ll look at the level of impact. I’m pretty sure intentional (conduct) is off the table.
“I don’t want to talk too soon, but it would be (regarded as) accidental.”
In the wake of his comments, AFL operations manager Mark Evans asked him to step aside from the panel reviewing.
He did so and the remaining three panelists, Michael Christian, Luke Ball and Brad Sewell, were left to rule on the incident.
“I did ask him (Burke) to step aside from the Fyfe case – it was a more prudent course of action – and Nathan agreed to that,” Evans said.
Fyfe has had a stellar season that entered a slight lull in recent weeks, but if he wins this year’s Brownlow, he will become the first Docker to do so in the club’s history.
He had just 21 touches as the Dockers lowered their colours to North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on the weekend, 14.10 (94) to 12.11 (83).
Despite the loss, Fremantle is a steady $4.25 third favourite to West Coast and main fancies Hawthorn, which lost to Port Adelaide on Friday night, 16.12 (108) to 13.8 (86), and was subsequently wound out from $2.10 to $2.70 at CrownBet.com.au.
The Eagles were jammed in from $5.50 to $3.75 after they smoked the Western Bulldogs by 77 points, 25.12 (162) to 13.7 (85).
And no wonder Priddis is the man punters believe most likely to challenge Fyfe for the Brownlow, after he had a monstrous 37 disposals and seven tackles in the rout.
But he might have competition for the three votes from gun forward Josh Kennedy, who booted seven goals, had 21 disposals and plucked 14 marks in a superb tour de force.
With a lead of 17 goals, CrownBet has declared Kennedy the winner of the 2015 Coleman Medal and have paid out all single bets on him.
In other markets, Sydney has closed in on the double chance, they are in to $1.21, from $1.24, to finish in the top four, while the Dogs’ chance is all but gone after they drifted from $3.50 to $12, following their monstrous hiding at the hands of the Eagles.
It’s race in two for the final position in the top eight, with the Crows holding all the aces at $1.26, wound in from $1.30. Geelong’s draw with St Kilda has almost killed off its finals chances, drifting to $3.75 from $2.75.
And in the battle of the future legends, Carlton’s Patrick Cripps is back into favouritism at $1.80, in from $2.20, going back ahead of Melbourne key forward Jesse Hogan, who was wound out from $1.65 into $2, Cumbrae-Stewart remarking that the market had done a complete “180”.
On a less serious AFL betting note, the Sportsbet crew has released a market on exactly what deposed Essendon coach James Hird will do next, after he was dumped as the club’s mentor last week.
“James Hird just about has more university degrees than the Bombers have wins in season 2015, so he shouldn’t have any trouble getting a new gig,” Jantzen said.
“We’ve created a fictional market on what one of football’s brightest people will do next and it’s no surprise to see a return to being director at sports marketing company Gemba as the $1.66 favourite, given he helped create the business.
“Offers to be a commentator ($3) will no doubt come flooding in, and Hird is already a proven hit “On The Couch” ($16).
“Those scenarios are much more likely than Hirdy using his Bombers’ experience to become a pharmaceutical rep ($41), or become an AFL coach at a different club, which is priced at $101.
“Although he’d get a walk-up start at Essendon at the moment, Hird is $501 to return to the playing field at the age of 42.
“James Hird is far too intelligent to stay in the football world and it’s probably cost him millions by not moving into the corporate world sooner.”
Brownlow Medal Winner
Matt Priddis ($4.50, steady)
Todd Goldstein ($7, out from $6)
Patrick Dangerfield ($8, out from $7)
Daniel Hannebery ($14, out from $11)
Sam Mitchell ($14, out from $11)
Andrew Gaff ($16, out from $15)
Scott Pendlebury ($21, out from $16)
David Mundy ($26, out from $21)
Hawthorn Hawks ($2.70, out from $2.10)
West Coast Eagles ($3.75, in from $5.50)
Fremantle Dockers ($4.25, steady)
Sydney Swans ($10, steady)
Richmond Tigers ($15, in from $17)
Western Bulldogs ($31, out from $26)
North Melbourne ($31, in from $31)
Adelaide Crows ($51, in from $67)
Geelong Cats ($151, out from $126)
Top four finish
Sydney Swans ($1.21, in from $1.24)
Richmond Tigers ($6.50, in from $9)
Western Bulldogs ($12, out from $3.50)
North Melbourne Kangaroos ($26, out from $12)
Adelaide Crows ($81, in from $101)
To make the top eight
Hawthorn Hawks, West Coast Eagles, Fremantle Dockers, Sydney Swans, Richmond Tigers, North Melbourne Kangaroos and Western Bulldogs all sealed –
Adelaide Crows ($1.26, in from $1.30)
Geelong Cats ($3.75, out from $2.75)
Patrick Cripps (Carlton Blues, nominated in round four)($1.80, in from $2.20)
Jesse Hogan (Melbourne Demons, nominated in round nine ($2, out from $1.65)
Dom Sheed (West Coast Eagles, nominated in round 15) ($17, steady)
What will James Hird do next?
Return to Director of Gemba ($1.66)
Writer for Herald Sun ($4)
Writer for The Age ($12)
Join On The Couch ($16)
Gap Year ($26)
University Lecturer ($34)
Player Manager ($34)
Pharmaceutical Company Rep ($41)
Director of Football at any AFL club ($41)
Board member of any AFL club ($51)
Assistant Coach ($67)
AFL Coach ($101)
CEO of AFL club ($151)
Return to playing ($501)
WITH round 20 in the books the top-eight now looks to be set in stone.
The Crows and Kangaroos recorded vital wins to move clear of the logjam towards the tail of the top-eight, with a loss to the Hawks potentially ending Geelong’s finals run.
The Eagles recorded an impressive victory over the Dockers to keep their home qualifying final chances alive while the Western Bulldogs maintained their spot in the top-four with a crushing victory over the Demons.
The Tigers and Swans kept within reaching distance of a double-chance with important wins against the Suns and Magpies respectively to maintain the pressure on the Dogs in fourth place.
There were plenty of important matches over the weekend so let’s take a look at the action.
Round 20 review – Eagles down the Dockers to maintain their top-two chances
The round began on Friday night with the Swans outlasting the Magpies to keep their top-four chances alive with a spirited 11 point victory at the SCG.
The win keeps the Swans right in contention for a double-chance opportunity at the end of the season.
Sydney were led superbly by prolific on-baller Tom Mitchell who ended the game with a career-high 41 disposals.
One sour point for the victors was the loss of Luke Parker to a broken leg after getting tangled up in a nasty tackle late in the match.
Parker still remains hopeful that his season is not over but the stoutly build midfielder would need the Swans to make a deep September push to be any chance of taking the field again in 2015.
The loss spells the end of Collingwood’s finals hopes, with William Hill still offering a sizable $41 dollars on the Pies to pull off the miracle.
Saturday night saw the renewal of one of modern footballs fiercest rivalries, with Hawthorn brushing aside Geelong to the tune of 36-points at the MCG.
The Hawks led from start to finish and never looked in danger of conceding defeat after piling on seven goals to three in the opening quarter.
The reigning premiers were lead masterfully by their captain Luke Hodge and livewire forward Cyril Rioli, who combined for 10 goals.
The win further strengthens Hawthorn’s premiership credentials, with the Hawks now into $2.10 with Sportsbet to win the 2015 flag.
Another strong performance from Hawthorn midfielder Sam Mitchell has propelled the veteran Hawk into Brownlow medal contention.
Sportsbet has Mitchell as joint fifth favourite along with Adelaide’s Patrick Dangerfield at $14 to be named the fairest and best player in the AFL.
Sunday afternoon at Etihad Stadium saw the Bulldogs consolidate their position inside the top-four with a resounding 98-point win over the lowly Demons.
The Dogs kicked eight goals in the first term whilst holding the Demons to just two behinds to set up the victory.
The 15-goal win handed the Western Bulldogs a much needed percentage boost going into the final three rounds of the season, with Luke Beveridge’s men over 10 percentage points clear of the fifth placed Sydney Swans.
Despite holding a position inside the top-four, Crownbet has the Dogs as $3.00 outsiders to secure the double-chance heading into the finals.
The reluctance of the bookmakers may stem from the fact that the Dogs travel west to take on the Eagles in round 21, but with the Swans facing the Giants at Spotless Stadium they are no certainties to register four points.
The round concluded in the West with the Eagles snapping a six-game losing streak against the Dockers to record an impressive 24-point victory over their Western Australian rivals.
The Eagles kicked six goals within the opening 15 minutes of the match to set up the victory, with a four goal haul from Ross Glendinning medallist Josh Hill being the decisive contributor for the derby.
The Dockers seemed out of sync for the entire match, and despite a last quarter rally to get them within three goals, they never looked like taking the lead at any stage.
Despite conceding defeat, the Dockers still remain $1.28 favourites with Sportsbet to take out the minor premiership.
With the top-two positions on the ladder all but secured by the Eagles and the Dockers, the possibility that neither team will have to leave Perth until Grand Final day is a very real prospect.
Both teams are at $2.00 with Sportsbet to make the 2015 Grand Final.
The big injury news out of the weekend was the broken leg suffered by Sydney superstar Luke Parker.
Parker’s leg got caught underneath him after being tackled by an opponent midway through the fourth quarter and had to be taken from the field with the assistance of the Sydney medical staff.
The broken leg more than likely spells the end of Parker’s 2015 season, but the Swans are hopeful they can progress deep into this year’s finals series long enough to give their star on-baller ample time to recover.
Superstar forward Lance Franklin is also no certainty to return for the 2014 Grand Finalists with a lingering back injury not healing as fast as the Swans would have liked.
Another blow to West Coast’s already depleted back stocks with Will Schofield ruled out for potentially a month after sustaining a hamstring injury in Sunday’s victory over the Dockers.
With a top-two finish within their grasp it is unlikely that Schofield will be risked in the next three weeks with the Eagles instead focused on getting him ready for a possible home qualifying final.
NO other round encapsulated the phrase ‘a week is a long time in football’ in 2015 more than round 19.
Port Adelaide blew its finals chances after losing to the Dogs, the Tigers fell badly to the Crows after they looked destined for a top-four finish and the Eagles gave up a three quarter time lead to the fast-finishing Hawks, who will now eye West Coast’s second spot on the ladder.
With only a month left of the home and away season and the real stuff about to get underway, let’s take a look at the important games of the round.
A punter’s guide to round 19 of the 2015 AFL season
The round began on Friday night with a Richmond capitulation, this time falling to the Crows by 36 points at Adelaide Oval.
The Tigers were coming off the back of their finest victory in five years, upsetting the reigning premiers Hawthorn just a week earlier, but were never truly in the contest against Adelaide.
In the aftermath, Richmond coach Damian Hardwick said the match felt like ‘a 100-point loss’ such was the Tigers’ inability to impact the contest.
The win keeps the Crows within striking distance of a finals berth, with the Crows now into $1.79 to finish inside the top-eight after their unlikely victory.
With two winnable games against Essendon in Melbourne, then Brisbane at home, the Crows have a chance to build some percentage towards the back end of the season.
The Crows currently sit just .1% behind the eighth-placed Geelong.
It was another terrific performance from Adelaide superstar on-baller Patrick Dangerfield, who finished with 29 disposals and a goal to his name. The last six weeks of football have seen the number 32 get back to his absolute best form, and shoot right into Brownlow medal contention after a lean start to the year.
Sportsbet still has an enticing $23 dollars on Dangerfield to win the Brownlow medal in 2015.
Saturday afternoon saw the Western Bulldogs force their way into the top-four with a stellar performance against last year’s preliminary finalists, Port Adelaide – defeating the Power by 64-points.
The Bulldogs, who were without captain Robert Murphy, conceded the first three goals of the match, but then went on to score 10 goals unanswered to set up their impressive win.
The Bulldogs unpredictable forward set up was again the catalyst for the win, with 14 goals between the four mainstays in the forward line – Redpath, Crameri, Dickson and Stringer.
The win places the Dogs in the top-four with just a month of football remaining.
The Dogs’ percentage is robust given the nature of their last two wins against the struggling Port Adelaide and Essendon sides and currently places them above Sydney, who are locked on points with Luke Beveridge’s men.
Saturday night down at Simonds Stadium saw a titanic battle between the Cats and the Swans, with the home team prevailing by 32-points.
Geelong overcame a 13-point deficit at half time to win the match in captain Joel Selwood’s 200th AFL match, which also forced their way back into the top-eight.
The Swans, who were without superstar forward Lance Franklin, only managed one goal after half time and got little input from fellow big man Kurt Tippett, who finished with just one goal from 11 possessions.
Despite their average game, the Swans are still favourites to displace the Western Bulldogs and finish inside the top-four, with WilliamHill.com.au rating Sydney as a $1.40 chance to end the season with a double chance.
Saturday night saw the Hawks edge closer to a top-two finish with a spirited 14-point victory over the Eagles at Domain Stadium on Saturday night.
The win leaves the Hawks within an arms-length of the Eagles in second position. The teams separated by two premiership points – a result of the Eagles’ draw with Gold Coast two matches ago.
With a favourable run coming up that sees the Hawks face Geelong, Port Adelaide, Brisbane and Carlton in the final month of football, Hawthorn should not lose another game for the year.
The Hawks have been wound in to $2.20 to win the 2015 premiership, with those odds likely to shorten significantly if Hawthorn secure a top-two finish.
Injury and tribunal news
West Coast have been dealt a double-blow with Jeremy McGovern re-injuring his hamstring and Mark LeCras suspended for two weeks for a headhigh hit on Hawk James Frawley.
Eagles’ coach Adam Simpson conceded McGovern came back too early from his hamstring injury and will now be without the attacking defender for the rest of the season.
Fremantle may be without defender Luke McPharlin for an extended period after the veteran Docker injured his calf in Sunday’s win over St Kilda.
McPharlin missed over half the season with the same injury last year.
Fremantle coach Ross Lyon will be wary of bringing the former All-Australian fullback early considering he is such a vital component to their maiden premiership chances.
In better news for the Dockers, superstar midfielder Nat Fyfe should be fit to return for this week’s top-of-the-table derby with the Eagles.
Fyfe has overcome a groin injury that has kept the Brownlow medal favourite out for the last fortnight.
Lance Franklin, who missed last week’s vital clash against Geelong, may miss again this week after the former Coleman medallist’s injured back has not responded to the weekend of rest that Sydney medicos would have hoped.
The Swan superstar will be given right up until Friday’s final team announcement to prove his fitness ahead of their vital clash with Collingwood at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
IT is a big round of football this weekend with two matches in particular potentially shaping the final structure of the top eight.
The Tigers can push for a top-four berth with a victory over the Crows, but a win to Adelaide keeps their finals chances alive, while the Hawks and the Eagles play off effectively for the second spot on the ladder.
The Bulldogs and the Power face off in the match of the round, a game that may decide who plays finals and who misses out.
Crows vs. Tigers
Friday, August 7th, 7:50pm, Adelaide Oval
Adelaide – $1.92 (+4.5)
Richmond – $1.92 (-4.5)
The round begins on Friday night in South Australia with the Crows hosting the Tigers at Adelaide Oval.
The Tigers are in red-hot form and are in striking distance of a top-four finish after delivering one of the upsets of the season against Hawthorn last Friday night at the MCG.
The Crows came down to earth with a thud last weekend against Sydney at the SCG, going down by 52 points.
The loss leaves Adelaide outside the top-eight with a little over a month to go until finals.
A big question mark hangs over the head of Richmond superstar Brett Deledio, who did not travel with the team to Adelaide on Thursday morning, citing gastro.
Deledio is coming off the back of a match-winning four goal performance against Hawthorn and will be a massive loss if he is unable to take to the field.
So much on the line for both teams, but Richmond should prove too classy here, with the Crows looking understandably tired and deflated after several testing weeks.
Tip: Richmond to win $1.73 via Crownbet
Exotic: Most disposals group 1 Scott Thompson – $4.00 via Sportsbet
Magpies vs. Blues
Saturday, August 8th, 1:45pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Collingwood – $1.91 (-30.5)
Carlton – $1.91 (+30.5)
Saturday afternoon at the MCG sees two of the AFL’s biggest rivals renew hostilities with Collingwood hosting Carlton at the home of football.
The Magpies are in dire need of a win to keep their faint finals hopes alive and if there last outing against Melbourne is any indication, their top-eight chances are as good as gone.
Carlton have been abysmal after a mini-revival under caretaker coach John Barker, losing heavily to North Melbourne at Etihad Stadium last Saturday night.
Good news for the Pies with Ben Reid making his way into the side for the first time this year to finally play out his 100th game at AFL level, with Ben Sinclair also overcoming injury to force his way back into the side.
The Blues welcome back versatile swing-man Andrew Walker back into the fold after missing several weeks through injury.
Despite losing five games in a row the Pies are far superior to the struggling Blues and should come away with the victory.
Tip: Collingwood to win $1.20 via Crownbet
Exotic: Most possessions group 2 – Tom Bell $8.00 via Sportsbet
Bulldogs vs. Power
Saturday, August 8th, 2:10pm, Etihad Stadium
Western Bulldogs – $1.91 (-9.5)
Port Adelaide – $1.91 (+9.5)
Etihad Stadium is the venue for the match of the round with the red-hot Bulldogs hosting the in-form Power.
The Dogs are flying and within reaching distance of the top-four after dismantling Essendon last week at Etihad Stadium.
The Power kept the flicking finals flame alive with a comprehensive win over St Kilda at home.
The Bulldogs have lost inspirational captain Robert Murphy to injury but regain emerging midfielder Lin Jong.
The Power have recalled Jarmen Impey into the squad to replace injured on-baller Olly Wines.
It is all to play for, with both teams in dire need of a win for different reasons, but an upset looms large here with the Power’s experience and run-and-gun style the perfect game plan to disrupt the Dogs’ fast paced offense.
Tip: Port Adelaide to win $2.35 via William Hill
Exotic: Most possessions/most goals – Travis Boak/Justin Westhoff $54 via Sportsbet
Lions vs. Suns
Saturday, August 8th, 4:35pm, GABBA
Brisbane – $1.92 (+11.5)
Gold Coast – $1.92 (-11.5)
The GABBA is the scene for the second installment of this year’s Q-clash between the Brisbane Lions and the Gold Coast Suns.
The Lions were gallant in defeat down at Simonds Stadium last week, with the visitors right in the contest midway through the third quarter before being blown away late by the Cats.
The Gold Coast produced one of their finest performances of the year, splitting the points with the second placed West Coast Eagles in the first draw of the year.
The Lions suffered a big blow with gun on-baller Danye Beams ruled out for the year with a shoulder injury.
Zac O’Brien, who has impressed in the NEAFL, gets his chance at AFL level.
Michael Rischitelli finds his way back into the Suns’ side after overcoming an injury, with Josh Glen the man omitted.
Both teams are looking to run out the clock, with a host of injuries and a raft of off-field issues seeing both the Suns and the Lions languishing towards the bottom of the ladder.
Expect the Suns to get the points here in a game neither side will be too upset about losing.
Tip: Gold Coast to win $1.20 via William Hill
Exotic: Most possessions group 1 – Harley Bennell $3.50 via Sportsbet
Cats vs. Swans
Saturday, August 8th, 7:20pm, Simonds Stadium
Geelong – $1.91 (+2.5)
Sydney – $1.91 (-2.5)
Night time footy returns to Geelong on Saturday night with the Cats hosting the Swans at Simonds Stadium.
Geelong have won two on the trot and have forced their way back into the eight after looking like 2015 may be a wasted year.
The Swans bounced back in emphatic fashion last week, man-handling the Crows on the way to a 52 point victory.
The big story out of Thursday night’s team news is that Sydney superstar forward Lance Franklin will not make the journey down to Victoria after suffering a back injury last week.
Adam Goodes is the man that replaces the former Coleman medallist.
For the Cats Matthew Stokes gets another chance at AFL level after being dropped for a string of poor performances, with Steve Johnson set to miss after receiving a one match ban for striking.
Prior to the team selections Sydney would have been overwhelming favourites to take out the match, but with Franklin set to sit the game out the scales tip in Geelong’s favour.
Expect the Cats to keep their good form rolling, with another September campaign firmly in their sights.
Tip: Geelong to win $2.00 via Sportsbet
Exotic: To get 30 or more disposals – Jimmy Bartel $4.70 via Sportsbet
Eagles vs. Hawks
Saturday, August 8th, 7.20pm, Domain Stadium
West Coast – $1.92 (+5.5)
Hawthorn – $1.92 (-5.5)
Saturday night in the west sees the Eagles hosting the Hawks in a game that could hand the winner a top-two spot by the end of the season.
The Eagles were disappointing last week and will be kicking themselves that they could not get past the Gold Coast Suns, drawing with the second last team on the ladder at Metricon Stadium.
The Hawks were brought crashing down to earth after winning eight games in a row, losing to Richmond last Friday night at the MCG.
Intercept marking superstar Jeremy McGovern has overcome a leg injury to find his way back into the side for the Eagles, with Josh Hill the man making way.
Hawk Jonathan Ceglar gets another chance at AFL level after David Hale was forced to withdraw from the team with general soreness.
Despite their lacklustre performance last week, the Eagles are a much improved side in 2015 and should prove too much for the Hawks, especially on their home ground.
Tip: West Coast to win $2.10 via Sportsbet
Exotic: Most possessions group 1 – Matt Priddis $4 via Sportsbet
Demons vs. Kangaroos
Sunday, August 9th, 1:10pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne – $1.91 (+21.5)
North Melbourne – $1.91 (-21.5)
The first Sunday game of the weekend takes place at the MCG with Melbourne hosting the Kangaroos.
The Demons are fresh off their first victory over Collingwood since 2007, with Paul Roos’ men doing it in style, arguably their best win for the season.
The Kangaroos are motoring along and easily brushed aside Carlton last week to sit in seventh position.
North Melbourne have welcomed back Lachlan Hansen into the side for suspended backman Michael Firrito.
The Kangaroos currently sit inside the top eight, but with such a logjam of teams towards the lower half of the eight they cannot afford to drop games like this against lower ranked opposition.
Expect the Kangaroos to keep the finals dream alive and get the four points against the Dees.
Tip: North Melbourne to win $1.32 via Sportsbet
Exotic: First goal scorer –Jarrad Waite $8 via Sportsbet
Giants vs. Bombers
Sunday, August 9th, 3:20pm, Spotless Stadium
GWS – $1.91 (-26.5)
Essendon – $1.92 (+23.5)
The lone Sydney match this week sees the Giants hosting the Bombers in a game the home team has to win to keep their finals hopes alive.
The Giants were brave last week but could not topple the top of the table Dockers, never quite doing enough to get within reach of Fremantle.
The Dons were dismal last week and were out of the game at quarter time against the Dogs. The players look tired and ready for the end of the season.
Big news for the Giants is that Jonathan Patton has finally made his way back into the side after overcoming an ACL injury that ended his 2014 season.
The Dons welcome back Michael Hurley and Heath Hocking, the latter playing his first game of the season after an injury riddled pre-season.
The Giants have been hard to beat at home and they should be far too strong for an Essendon team that is bereft of confidence.
Tip: GWS to win 40+ $2.40 via Sportsbet
Exotic: First goal scorer –Jeremy Cameron $7 via Sportsbet
Saints vs. Dockers
Sunday, August 9th, 4:40pm, Etihad Stadium
St Kilda – $1.92 (+14.5)
Fremantle – $1.92 (-14.5)
The final game of the round sees the Saints and the Dockers clash on Sunday at Etihad Stadium, with the top of the table Fremantle hoping to keep the ball rolling in an effort to finish the season with the minor premiership.
The Dockers were terrific last week in a hard fought win over the Giants. The home side kept GWS at bay for the entire game and enjoyed a thoroughly professional win over their counterparts.
The Saints showed the first signs of fatigue this season, succumbing to the Power over at Adelaide Oval.
Fremantle will again be without Nat Fyfe after the Brownlow medal favourite failed to shake a groin complaint that kept him out of last week’s win over GWS.
The Dockers will be hoping history does not repeat itself this season after copping a hammering at the hands of the Saints at Etihad in 2014 which was one of the biggest upsets in recent AFL history.
That should not happen in 2015 though, with too much at stake for Fremantle.
Expect Ross Lyon’s Dockers to pick up the four points.
Tip: Fremantle to win $1.48 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Matthew Pavlich $8 via Sportsbet
What a week it was for AFL football.
The game was polarised on Friday night by Adam Goodes, spellbound on Saturday by the Dangerfield/Fyfe show, and sent into overdrive on Sunday with the mark-of-the-year taken by Nic Naitanui.
Essendon slumped to yet another disappointing loss, the Pies demonstrated they have the determination to play in September and the West proved they’re the AFL’s best with the Dockers and the Eagles sitting one and two respectively on the ladder.
Round nine betting review – Bulldogs bite while the Dockers delight
The Western Bulldogs got their season back on track at Etihad Stadium with a resounding 45-point win against the previously top-four GWS Giants on Saturday afternoon.
The Dogs skipped out to an early lead in the first quarter and were never headed.
At one stage Luke Beveridge’s men looked like they may record the club’s first 100-point victory in this decade, but took their foot off the gas in the final quarter.
The margin flattered the Giants, who seemed like they began to believe their own hype and had very few winners across the ground. The Dogs proved that finals may not be beyond them after suffering a minor form slump and represent brilliant value with Sportsbet at $3.50 to make the final eight.
Saturday night saw one of the greatest head-to-head midfield battles of the last decade with Adelaide’s Patrick Dangerfield and Fremantle’s Nat Fyfe putting on a show worthy of a heavyweight battle to be broadcast on PPV.
The game was played at a finals-like intensity, with the lead changing several times throughout the contest, but it was Fremantle which kept its unbeaten run intact, drawing away in the final term to register win number nine by 11 points.
The night belonged to Fyfe and Dangerfield, who had a collective 78 possessions between them, 55 of those being contested. It was as pure a midfield battle as you would see, but the spoils went to Fyfe, who ended the game with 14 clearances, one goal and surely another three Brownlow votes to his name.
Fyfe’s stellar season has seen him move into $1.90 and the only player in single figures to win the Brownlow medal in 2015. Such is the supremacy of Fyfe’s year, Crownbet has taken the unprecedented step of paying out any existing Brownlow bets on the dominant Docker.
The win moved Fremantle into outright favourite for the premiership with William Hill. The Dockers are paying $3.25 to hoist the trophy in 2015.
Sunday saw one of the great comebacks in recent memory, with Collingwood storming back from a seven-goal half time deficit to overrun a fragile North Melbourne outfit that conceded 13 goals to four in the second half, leaving the competition stunned.
The Pies were completely out of the contest, kicking only two goals for the entire opening half, but eclipsed that feat in the third term, booting nine unanswered majors to storm into the lead and scrounge out an epic victory in the final term.
Collingwood were lead brilliantly up forward by livewire Jamie Elliot, who ended the match with five goals in a game-winning display that left North Melbourne scratching their heads and the Magpie fans losing their minds.
The bag of goals puts Elliot three clear of teammate Travis Cloke as the Pies’ leading goal kicker, yet he still remains at $2.50 to end the season as Collingwood’s top goal scorer.
The loss puts North in genuine danger of missing the finals, with Sportsbet now offering $1.88 for the Kangaroos to either miss or make the finals in 2015. For a team considered to be a premiership threat, the drop off in form has been nothing short of staggering.
The round finished with West Coast and Geelong facing off in a match that could have been much uglier for the visiting Cats if the Eagles were able to kick straighter for goal.
The Eagles kicked a wasteful 24 behinds for the match but were still able to run out 56 point winners in the match.
Sharpshooter Josh Kennedy shrugged off any concerns over his troublesome elbow, slotting six goals in a dominant display that gave the West Coast Eagles true hope that their early season form may materialise into a deep September charge. The win solidifies the Eagles’ finals aspirations as legitimate leaving them in joint second position on the ladder with Sydney.
With a terrific percentage of 161 – the best in the league – and an easier run home than most, the Eagles represent great value at $1.50 with William Hill to finish the season inside the top four.
Kennedy moved six goals clear atop the goal kicking tally and moved into $2.75 favouritism with Sportsbet to be crowned the Coleman medalist in 2015.
The loss leaves the Cats languishing in 12th position on the ladder, with a pivotal clash on Saturday night with the equally as disappointing Essendon Bombers a make-or-break match up for both sides.
The Cats are currently $2.65 with Sportsbet to finish 2015 inside finals contention.
Big news for the Bombers out of Saturday night’s loss to the Tigers with captain Jobe Watson and record breaking backman Dustin Fletcher set to miss the crucial clash with Geelongon Saturday night. Both suffered groin strains in the match and will likely miss at least two weeks each.
Geelong will be without big men Rhys Stanley and Mitch Clark for the foreseeable future after both ruckmen left Sunday’s game against West Coast earlier than anticipated. Clark suffered a calf injury that could keep him out of the side for up to a month, while Stanley suffered a quad strain that is likely to keep him out of the side for a similar amount of time.
In positive news for the Suns captain Gary Ablett could return to the field as soon as this weekend after showing signs of progress on the training track with his injured left shoulder.
THE last of the three bye weeks is finally behind us, with AFL fans now looking forward to a full round of football this weekend.
While there were limited games played in Round 13, we still have plenty of action to report on.
The dominant Docker Fyfe fired himself into unprecedented levels of Brownlow medal favouritism, the Hawks premiership credentials became stronger and the Dogs stamped themselves one of the teams to watch out for in September for the first time in five years.
Round 13 review – Fyfe’s familiar story – Hawthorn on the path to glory
The round started on Thursday night with Fremantle and Collingwood playing out a nail biting clash over in the west, with the Dockers prevailing by seven points.
The lead changed hands several times throughout the night, with a gripping last quarter not decided until the siren sounded.
Collingwood forward Jesse White had a chance to narrow the margin to two points late in the game, but failed to kick the goal, granting Fremantle their 11th win of the season.
Nat Fyfe was again phenomenal, accumulating 32 disposals and booting two goals.
The match solidified why the Fremantle gun is favourite for the Brownlow, with Sportsbet opening a market for the best and fairest player in the AFL without the superstar Docker.
Matt Priddis is currently $5 favourite to amass the most votes without Fyfe.
Saturday saw the Hawthorn juggernaut roll on, this time defeating Essendon by 38 points at the MCG.
The Bombers looked up for the fight, leading at quarter time and trailing by just one point heading into half time, but an 11 goal second half blew the Dons away, with the Hawks moving further into premiership favouritism with the bookmakers.
Sportsbet has the Hawks as $3.30 favourites to take out the 2015 premiership.
The only disappointing moment for the Hawks came early in the contest when off-season recruit James Frawley injured his shoulder in a marking contest with Bomber Jake Carlisle.
The All-Australian full back will require surgery and leaves the sometimes fragile Hawthorn backline a man short heading into the back half of the season.
Despite losing Frawley, the Hawks are playing magnificently at the moment, and have swept aside two finals aspirants in consecutive weeks.
It is not inconceivable that the reigning premiers could make a late charge for the minor premiership with a favourable run home.
Crownbet has the Hawks as $7 outsiders to finish the 2015 season on top of the ladder.
Saturday night saw the Bulldogs and the Saints clash, with another epic encounter at Etihad Stadium.
The teams were separated by just six points at the final siren, with the Dogs getting the redemption they craved after succumbing to a St Kilda surge in their last meeting.
The Dogs were led brilliantly by captain Robert Murphy, who has seemingly gone to another level, and rebounding defender Easton Wood, who looks set to become the All-Australian half back flank.
The Bulldogs look poised to make the eight after an opening half to the season which saw them come away with some spirited wins.
Grinding out a win against opposition you are supposed to beat is the next step for the young pups, and they passed it with flying colours.
Crownbet is offering $2.50 for the Dogs to play in the finals this season.
The round ended on Sunday with the Blues winning back-to-back matches for the first time in 2015, easily accounting for the Gold Coast Suns to the tune of 34 points.
The Suns skipped away to an early lead after some ill-disciplined play by the Blues, but Carlton were able to wrestle back momentum and eventually outclass their opponents with relentless attack on the ball.
The Blues were led wonderfully by skipper Marc Murphy, who collected a game-high 32 disposals, while Levi Casboult and Andrejs Everitt combined for six goals.
The Blues players were keen to praise interim coach John Barker, who has his players in the right frame of mind to win match of football.
The Sportsbet market on the next Carlton coach has seen Barker firm right in over the past fortnight, with the former Hawk now second favourite at $4.50.
Sydney assistant coach Stewart Dew is the $3.50 favourite to land the Carlton head coaching role.
The news gets worse for the Suns, with the loss placing them one game behind the 17th placed Brisbane Lions with the worse percentage in the league.
This leaves the Gold Coast in the unenviable position at the bottom of the ladder, with Sportsbet offering as low as $1.45 for the Suns to finish 2015 with the least amount of wins.
Two big injuries came out of the clash between Hawthorn and Essendon, with two bookends from either side set to have extended periods on the sidelines.
Hawks’ defender James Frawley will miss a minimum of six weeks with a shoulder injury, with the former All-Australian defender weighing up whether to have season-ending surgery to correct the problem now or at the conclusion of the season.
Essendon forward Jake Carlisle will miss at least a month of football after rolling his ankle badly on the final siren.
The versatile big man found himself entangled with Hawks’ forward Jarryd Roughead late in the game and writhed in pain as he found his foot trapped under the 100kg Hawks’ body weight.
Adelaide are set to be without midfielder Rory Sloane, who reinjured his fractured cheekbone in Saturday’s big win over the Lions at the GABBA.
The hard running on-baller will require surgery to repair his cheekbone, and will miss at least 4-6 weeks with the injury.
The Menzel knee curse did not reoccur on Sunday, with Carlton’s Troy Menzel cleared of any structural damage to the knee he has had previously reconstructed.
The mercurial Blue limped off the field early in the second half, favouring his troublesome knee, but scans on Monday revealed he will not require any additional surgery.
Menzel is still expected to miss at least a week.
AFTER an elongated round 10 which saw the football spread across four days, the action finally came to a close on Monday with several teams putting their hand up to play in September with others effectively ruling themselves out.
The Tigers stunned the footy world with a comprehensive dismantling of the Dockers, the Roos upset the Eagles down in Tasmania while the Pies did what they normally do on a Queen’s birthday Monday – win.
While punters would have felt the pinch of a big Friday night upset in their multis, there were still a number of opportunities to turn a bit of knowledge and savvy into gambling gold.
How Round 10 unfolded for the punters
The round began on Friday night with the Tigers sensationally upsetting the previously-undefeated Dockers by 27 points at Domain Stadium.
Richmond were ruthless in front of goal in the opening quarter, kicking a miraculous eight goals straight to led Fremantle by 30 points at the first change, and from then on the lead went out to 54 points before the Dockers attempted a comeback before falling short.
The Tigers’ Jack Riewoldt kept his productive season in front of the sticks progressing with two goals; moving him to sixth in the race for the Coleman medal. Sportsbet is offering $12 on the two-time Coleman medallist to become a three-time champ in 2015.
The loss did little to dent the Brownlow medal hopes of Nat Fyfe, who still remains the outright favourite for the award at $1.90 with William Hill. Fyfe was able to accumulate 26 touches and kick one goal despite playing in a losing side, and may have done enough to secure at least one umpires’ vote.
Saturday night saw the Cats completely annihilate a disappointing Essendon to the tune of 69 points at Etihad Stadium. Geelong made Essendon look second-rate at times throughout the night, restricting the Dons to just six behinds in the opening half – their lowest score since 1984, whilst piling on nine goals of their own.
The second half degenerated to an uncomfortable wait for the final siren to see how much the final margin could swell to.
The win inserts Geelong right back into the finals frame, with the $2.31 odds provided by Sportsbet enticing given the way the Cats put their opponents to the sword.
The loss leaves the Dons languishing in 13th position, two games and percentage out of the eight with a road trip west to face the Eagles coming up this week. The $1.25 on offer from WilliamHill to miss the top eight now looks like a wise investment.
A wet and windy Blundstone Arena was the scene for a North Melbourne resurgence on Sunday afternoon, with the Kangaroos getting the points against the Eagles in Tasmania.
West Coast threatened to take the game away from the Roos in the second quarter when they jumped out to a four goal lead, but North stormed back and were able to gain the ascendancy when it mattered late in the game and come away with the victory.
The win leaves North just one game outside finals contention, but with two games against teams currently sitting inside the top four in GWS and Sydney in the coming fortnight, their task to stay within striking distance looks difficult before their bye in round 13.
The $1.95 quote from William Hill for North Melbourne to miss the top eight looks like a sound bet given the Roos’ tough short-term run.
The round closed out on Monday with the traditional Queen’s Birthday clash between Collingwood and Melbourne ending in a 25-point win to the men in black and white.
The stage was set early for the Pies when imposing forward Travis Cloke kicked four first quarter goals, dominating his opponent and threatening to single-handedly tear the game away from Melbourne.
The Dees were able to fight back through inspirational skipper Nathan Jones, who kicked two first half goals, willing his team back into the lead midway through the second quarter after trailing by almost six goals.
Despite the tight scoreline throughout the second half, it seemed the Pies always had their foes’ measure, and were able to kick two vital last quarter goals while restricting their opponents to just three behinds.
There was a bit of synchronicity from Travis Cloke on Monday, with his seven goals moving him to seventh on the Coleman medal tally for the season. The bag of goals moved the Collingwood spearhead to $21 with Sportsbet to win the 2015 Coleman medal, with the burly forward’s ominous form making him an enticing bet.
The big news out of the weekend was the ACL injury to Blues champion Chris Judd that ended the career of one of the greatest players in the competition’s history.
Judd landed awkwardly in a marking contest early in the game against Adelaide on Saturday and scans the next day revealed Carlton’s biggest fears.
The 31-year old retired on Tuesday morning. He won a Brownlow Medal, Norm Smith Medal and premiership while playing with the West Coast Eagles in the first six years of his career, before moving to Carlton, becoming captain of the club, winning a second Brownlow and leading the Blues through three finals campaigns.
Fremantle defender Michael Johnson is set to miss a significant amount of time on the sidelines after he tore his hamstring early in the first quarter in his side’s loss to Richmond on Friday night.
The 200-game veteran was subbed out of the game just minutes into his milestone performance, with scans indicating the Docker defender’s injury was worse than first feared.
The Bombers should have both captain Jobe Watson and former best and fairest winner David Zaharakis available for their club’s vital clash against West Coast next week, but may not see 40-year old defender Dustin Fletcher for another week, who is battling to overcome a groin strain.
THE race for the 2015 Brownlow Medal is already over.
At least that’s what CrownBet.com.au thinks.
CrownBet, the AFL’s official wagering partner, today paid out all bets on Fremantle superstar and Brownlow favourite Nat Fyfe to win the competition’s most prestigious individual award in September.
For those playing at home, that is four months and 15 games before they have to.
CrownBet has coughed up a six-figure sum to it’s customers that were clever enough to bet on the player many are calling the best in the land.
The pay-out applies to all single bets placed on Fyfe to win the 2015 Brownlow prior to midnight on Tuesday, May 26, 2015.
CrownBet CEO Matthew Tripp said that Fyfe’s Brownlow win was all but a formality and was comfortable rewarding punters early.
“We believe Fyfe is a long way in front of the pack, and given the form he’s in will continue to poll votes,” CrownBet’s CEO Matt Tripp said.
“He’s had an unbelievable start to the season and it seems a formality that we’d be paying out on him in September anyway, so punters might as well enjoy their cash now.”
“Punters can reinvest on Fyfe if they wish, or can take their money. It’s completely up to them. The cash is in their accounts.”
CrownBet’s Brownlow market remains open, which sees Fyfe a clear $2.25 favourite from last year’s winner Matthew Priddis at $11 and Scott Pendlebury at $13.
While bookmakers have been known to pay out early on results before, no bookmaker has ever been brave enough to pay out on a Brownlow Medal this early in a season.
Sportsbet.com.au last year paid out on Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett Jr. to win the Brownlow Medal in Round 13, only to watch the raging favourite injure his shoulder in round 16, miss the remainder of the season and narrowly get pipped on the AFL’s night of nights, where Eagle Matthew Priddis took home ‘Charlie’.
Fyfe, who has polled 68 out of a possible 80 votes in the AFL coaches Association Player of the Year Award, leads every media award around the country and is widely recognised to either be a clear best on ground or at least in the votes for every one of Fremantle’s eight games thus far.
Fyfe polled 25 Brownlow votes last season, one shy of winner Priddis on 26, but was ineligable to win after receiving a two-game suspension earlier in the season.
While many believe Fyfe’s first Brownlow Medal is a mere formality, the Docker will have to make it through 14 more games of football without suspension and also avoid the injury curse that robbed Ablett last season.
Are you a believer in the Fyfe hype?
Do you think he already has the Brownlow wrapped up?
- Fyfe is paying $2.50 to score more Brownlow votes this season than every Carlton player combined
- He is also paying $2.50 to score more votes this season than Dane Swan’s modern-day record of 34 in 2011
- $3.25 is on offer for Fyfe to record more three-vote matches this season than Greg Williams’ modern-day record of nine in 1994