Melbourne Demons v Brisbane Lions
Thursday 23rd June at MCG, 7:20pm
It is the highly-anticipated heavyweight bout between who many AFL followers believe are the best two teams in the competition. But the level of intrigue may have waned in recent weeks with the first-placed Lions losing two of their past four, while the once seemingly invincible Demons have lost three-straight. This is an opportunity for both sides to rediscover their best footy and flex their premiership muscles. Expect a high intensity game, but Melbourne should bounce back and edge out Brisbane at home.
Demons by 10
Western Bulldogs v Hawthorn Hawks
Friday 24th June at Marvel Stadium, 7pm
The Bulldogs are being made to work hard to qualify for the finals, as they are well entrenched in a congested mid-ladder of teams jockeying for position. For the Hawks, finals now look out of reach and they need to start building for next season. The pressure is on the Bulldogs though. Last years runner’s up must win to stay in touch with the top eight and on recent form, they should get it done here.
Bulldogs by 26
West Coast Eagles v Essendon Bombers
Friday 24th June at Optus Stadium, 8:40pm
West Coast unexpectedly played with plenty of fight in their narrow loss to premiership contender Geelong last round, while Essendon caused a boilover of their own with a shock upset win against St Kilda. Essendon are the better team, so they should win. But if West Coast can bring the same attitude and make a game of it, they may climb off the bottom of the ladder on percentages, even with a loss.
Bombers by 30
Carlton Blues v Fremantle Dockers
Saturday 25th June at Marvel Stadium, 1:45pm
Both sides are having terrific seasons to this point, but Carlton have stumbled in recent weeks, losing two of their past three, while Fremantle have won three-straight games which includes victories over Melbourne and Brisbane, proving they are a real chance of winning the flag. Carlton will be desperate to not let a top four finish slip away, but it is hard to tip against Fremantle on current form.
Dockers by 18
Geelong Cats v Richmond Tigers
Saturday 25th June at MCG, 4:35pm
Geelong will be looking to improve after copping a scare from the last-placed West Coast last round, while Richmond will be looking to consolidate their position in the top eight. Both sides look relatively even on paper and all signs point to a contest going deep into the fourth-quarter, but there is something brewing at Richmond. Expect an upset at the ‘G’.
Tigers by 6
Sydney Swans v St Kilda Saints
Saturday 25th June at SCG, 7:25pm
Both Sydney and St Kilda sit on the edge of the top eight and have four sides from ninth to 12th breathing down their necks. So it would be fair to say both sides will have added pressure to win, as a loss could see either side drop out of the top eight depending on other results. On current form, there is more upside with Sydney, and they have the advantage of playing at home.
Swans by 22
North Melbourne Kangaroos v Adelaide Crows
Sunday 26th June at Blundstone Arena, 1:10pm
The hapless North Melbourne Kangaroos need to find something against the also-struggling Crows if they are avoid last place on the ladder, with West Coast edging closer on percentages. This looks to be a bludger of a game in Tassie between two out-of-form teams, but it is hard to tip North Melbourne against any team in the competition.
Crows by 32
Collingwood Magpies v Greater Western Sydney Giants
Sunday 26th June at MCG, 3:20pm
Collingwood are charging towards a finals appearance on the back of four-straight victories with includes impressive wins over Fremantle and Melbourne. For GWS, their only wins in their past five games have come against West Coast and North Melbourne, and they will rue missed opportunities to play finals this season. Collingwood to continue their hot streak and find themselves in the top eight at the end of the round.
Magpies by 28
Port Adelaide Power v Gold Coast Suns
Sunday 26th June at Adelaide Oval, 4:10pm
Port Adelaide’s mid-season resurgence has taken a stumble in recent weeks, losing two of their past four. Gold Coast are in fine form winning three straight to sit one win ahead of their opponents this round. There is a lot riding on this game, especially for Port. A loss would make a finals appearance look extremely unlikely. A win for Gold Coast away from home would be a huge boost to their finals hopes and on recent form, they might be up for the challenge.
Suns by 17
Featured Photo: Adelaide Oval (austadiums.com)