AFL ROUND 22
WESTERN BULLDOGS v PORT ADELAIDE
The AFL will play it's first game ever in Ballarat this week when the Western Bulldogs take a home game there against Port Adelaide.
The locals have got themselves a decent fixture with the Dogs desperate for a win to keep there finals hopes alive while Port need a win for there top four chances.
The Bulldogs were not as bad as there 40 point loss to GWS last week reflected. They dominated inside 50's but failed to put the score on the board. Port had a solid win over Collingwood at home without ever looking dominant.
The Doggies get Jason Johannisen back this week and he will give them a big lift in speed around the ground. Dale Morris has remarkably returned from a broken arm three weeks after the injury. The Power have surprisingly dropped Jarman Impey and lost Jasper Pittard to injury. They have bought in a couple newcomers in Riley Bonner and Todd Marshall.
Most football fans would be well aware by now that Port Adelaide have failed to be a top 8 side this year. Seems like Ken Hinkley is trying to find a new edge for his side by changing things up and introducing a couple new kids. This might not be the game for changes. The Dogs will throw everything at Port this week, simply the Dogs can't afford to lose.
I had the Dogs around 1.60 -1.65 here so I think with there good inclusions and Port throwing a few kids into the fire we have to take the value at 1.88 Western Bulldogs.
COLLINGWOOD v GEELONG
Geelong and Collingwood meet for the second time this year at the MCG. The Pies got the Cats in the first encounter in a major upset winning by 29 point in Round six. Interesting enough Collingwood have beaten Geelong in the last three clashes. So Nathan Buckley will come into this game confident.
Unfortunately for Buckley he has lost more cattle with De Goey, Fasolo and Goldsack all going out with injury. If you add them to the likes of Pendlebury, Wells, Varcoe ,Greenwood and Grundy to miss through suspension and suddenly the Pies are missing up to quarter of there best team. Add to that the motivation factor of having nothing to play for and you start to fancy the Cats.
Geelong were super impressive last week beating Richmond down at the Cattery. They gain Mitch Duncan this week. There is some chances of rain for this game.
The Pies have been competitive in every game this week and I expect nothing to change this week but I fear they are missing just to many good players to win and with Geelong having everything to play for we will take the Cats to win at the margin 1-39.
Geelong 1-393 at 2.17+3.51
GWS v WEST COAST
GWS are well and truly back in form. Having gone through the season in 2nd gear they have moved up a gear in the past fortnight and you would think they are preparing to go into top gear in the finals.
This week they welcome West Coast. The Eagles have been ordinary at best away from home this season and this might yet be there hardest trip. The Giants welcome back some very good inclusions in Jeremy Cameron, Adam Tomlinson, Devon Smith and Shane Mumford. Very daunting for the competition when they can add those four quality players to there side that won last week by 40 points against last years reigning premiers.
West Coast actually pulled off a superb win in this fixture last year coming home hard to win by a point. It's hard to see the Eagles doing this two years in row. Simply they are not playing well enough and they have a huge reliance on Josh Kennedy to kick a bag every week. That said I think Adam Simpson will put numbers behind the ball and try to restrict the Giants scoring and hope to hit them on the break. The one thing West Coast have done well this year is defend.
Hard to see anything but a Giants win here. I do think however West Coast will hang in there and make it a dour battle and hope for another Kennedy bag. The last two games between these sides has seen the margin being 8 and 1 point.
Take GWS 1-39 and we will take the game total under 182.5 as we expect both sides to play a defensive structure.
GOLD COAST v ESSENDON
The besieged Gold Coast Suns play there final home game for the year on Saturday night when they take on Essendon.
The end of the season can't come fast enough for the Coasters who have moved on coach Rodney Eade - have the on going saga of whether Gary Ablett will stay or leave, and to add to that they have the worst injury list in the AFL. Last week the Gold Coast jumped out of the gates in the Q Clash and lead by 20 points at quarter time. To then lose by ten goals is reflection of how poor they are and how brittle there side has become. They are probably six or seven players short of there best 22.
The Suns opponents this week have a few issues themselves. The Bombers will head up to the Coast without key defender Michael Hurley who is injured. Jobe Watson has been rested again. Travis Colyer has been omitted.
You would expect the Bombers with a finals position up for grabs to win this and win it well. For some reason I have a feeling the Suns will dig in here for coach Dean Solomon and the Bombers have an atrocious record outside of Melbourne in the last few years.
I think the Bombers win here - they just have too. But I think the Suns will be competitive for periods.
Take Essendon at Margin 1-39.
Essendon 1-392 at 2.30+2.6
MELBOURNE v BRISBANE
Melbourne has a chance to consolidate a spot in the final 8 this week when they host the bottom side Brisbane. The Demons had a good win last week beating St Kilda by 23 points but that was after they saw there 7 goal lead reduced to a few points before kicking away late.
Its hard to read the Demons this year. There best has been spectacular such as there big win over the Crows in Adelaide. But they have also have managed to lose games they should have won this year. They have twice lost to North Melbourne and they have also lost to Fremantle in Melbourne. Thats three games they should have won and there spot in the finals would be consolidated. The Demons are still a very young side so its not unexpected that there inconsistent and it seems they struggle when they are expected to win against a bottom side.
The Lions had a huge win in the Q clash last week. After trailing by 20 points at qtr time they kicked into gear and won the final three quarters by 13 goals. In the process they kicked there highest score (142) since 2007. The Lions might sit on the bottom of the ladder but they are from the worse side right now. From round 12 the Lions have won four games and been competitive in a host of other games. They had there chances to beat the Dogs a fortnight ago.
The line here seems too high for me sitting at 41/42 points. The Dees don't look like a side capable of kicking a big score with there forward line missing a few key elements. The Lions have the ability to make a game of this year and probably possess the better midfield with Beams - Zorko and Rockliff and with the Dees missing Jack Viney for this game.
The Demons have been very flaky in games against lower opposition this year and with the Lions improving immensely in the second half of the season the plus 42.5 bet seems value.
Worth having something small on the Lions at margin 1-39 at the huge price in case the Demons self destruct again.
Brisbane 1-391 at 8.80-1
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Grand Final +9 11 82% Finals Week Three -4.2 12 -35% Finals Week Two +0.42 11 4% Finals Week One +7.18 11 65% Round Twenty-Three -9.09 21 -43% Round Twenty-Two +9.47 16 59% Round Twenty-One +8.55 13 66% Round Twenty -8 17 -47% Round Nineteen -9.2 13 -71% Round Eighteen +3.01 15 20% Round Seventeen +9.88 16 62% Round Sixteen -4.05 15 -27% Round Fifteen +0.12 13 1% Round Fourteen -2.48 15 -17% Round Thirteen +1.93 5 39% Round Twelve -6.3 14 -45% Round Eleven -2.1 9 -23% Round Ten -5.26 10 -53% Round Nine +4 11 36% Round Eight +10.01 9 111% Round Seven -10.26 17 -60% Round Six -2.4 14 -17% Round Five -12.3 18 -68% Round Four -5.21 11 -47% Round Three -1.16 10 -12% Round Two -11 11 -100% Round One -0.27 6 -5% Total -29.71 345 -9%