View UniBet’s preview of Round 18 of the 2016 AFL home and away season below.
Collingwood v North Melbourne | Friday, July 22, 7.5opm (AEDT), Etihad Stadium
North appear to be in free fall and face a confident Collingwood as they desperately try to defend their position in the top 8.
Injuries and successive six day breaks are against the Kangaroos and several out-of-form key position players, namely tall forward Drew Petrie and ruckman Todd Goldstein.
Collingwood were not disgraced against Adelaide and do hold a recent decision over title contenders, GWS.
The midfield of Scott Pendlebury, Taylor Adams, Steele Sidebottom and Adam Treloar are clearly superior to the faltering North mids, while the Magpies’ defensive game has tightened up considerably of late and if reproduced again Friday, it could be curtains for the Kangaroos.
Unibet Odds: Collingwood $2.35 North Melbourne $1.60
Last time they met: Rd 9, 2015 – Collingwood 112 def North Melbourne 95
Line tip: Collingwood +8.5
Sydney v Carlton | Saturday, July 23, 1.45pm (AEDT), SCG
Brendon Bolton has the famous Blues officially in a rebuild with several youngsters now permanent fixtures on the weekly team sheet.
Carlton royalty Jack Silvagni is a goer, Jacob Weitering is already an accomplished defender, while Sam Docherty and Patrick Cripps are right at home in the engine room.
The Swans are stinging from another home loss on the final siren to fellow contenders Hawthorn after losing in similar circumstances to the Bulldogs.
The young Blues will not be in the same position this week however as they’re not equipped to combat the likes of Buddy Franklin and the formidable Swans midfield.
Expect Sydney to strive for a percentage boosting performance.
Unibet Odds: Sydney $1.04 Carlton $11.50
Last time they met: Rd 2, 2016 – Carlton 71 lost to Sydney 131
Line tip: Sydney -54.5
Gold Coast v Fremantle | Saturday, July 23, 2.10pm (AEDT), Metricon Stadium
A difficult game to weigh up as both sides are missing key personnel. The Dockers have been tough recently while not playing that well.
This week they will be without play maker Michael Barlow and small forward Hayden Ballantyne who will miss through injury.
Aging key forward Matthew Pavlich will probably be rested as well. The Suns have injury problems of their own with their midfield virtually decimated.
Matt Rosa is a chance to return though and the Suns will need him to lead the inexperienced youngsters around him.
Dion Prestia is officially out for the rest of the year, joining fellow mids Gary Ablett Jr and Michael Rischitelli on the sidelines.
Gamble on the young unknowns from the Suns trumping the under strength Dockers.
Unibet Odds: Gold Coast $1.60 Fremantle $2.40
Last time they met: Rd 2, 2016 – Fremantle 100 lost to Gold Coast 126
Tip: Gold Coast
Line tip: Gold Coast -10.5
West Coast v Melbourne | Saturday, July 23, 4.35pm (AEDT), Domain Stadium
The Weagles are a long way short of the side that marched into last year’s Grand Final.
The manic pressure they applied defensively to the opposition ball carrier seems to be a thing of the past.
They were even pushed by an understrength Carlton side at their bogey ground, the MCG. They’re back in the safe surrounds of Subiaco this week to face the improving Demons.
Early reports are positive for defender Jeremy McGovern and midfielder Matthew Priddis to overcome injuries and take their place on Saturday.
There’s a question mark over Melbourne’s ability to defend against a fast moving offence, but if they can start well and get into the game, then this might be closer than most people think.
Unibet Odds: West Coast $1.13 Melbourne $6.40
Last time they met: Rd 14, 2015 – Melbourne 60 lost to West Coast 114
Tip: West Coast
Line tip: Melbourne +38.5
Essendon v Brisbane | Sunday, July 24, 1.10pm (AEDT), Etihad Stadium
The big battle for the wooden spoon, or to avoid the spoon will probably be decided by this encounter.
On recent form the Bombers have the edge and have home ground advantage, which will count for plenty as Brisbane have been woeful on the road.
The Lions have several players with injury concerns that adds to their current malaise.
Their performance against the classy Giants wasn’t very competitive. Bombers to fly high.
Unibet Odds: Essendon $1.51 Brisbane $2.60
Last time they met: Rd 8, 2015 – Essendon 136 def Brisbane 78
Line tip: Essendon -12.5
Geelong v Adelaide | Saturday, July 23, 7.25pm (AEDT), Simonds Stadium
The Adelaide threat poses a real test to Geelong’s premiership credibility.
Another loss at home to Adelaide after succumbing to the Swans would be a serious dent to the Cats’ top 4 chances.
Chris Scott’s men appear to have too many talls up forward and down back and the few players which have speed are in poor form, namely Steven Motlop.
On the other hand, the Crows are flying with a good mix mobile big and small forwards, a midfield group that improved out of sight and a solid defence lead by Daniel Talia.
Charlie Cameron is proving to be the Crows’ X-factor who can disrupt any defence with his blinding speed. The Crows to carry on.
Unibet Odds: Geelong $1.68 Adelaide $2.20
Last time they met: Rd 8, 2016 – Adelaide 72 lost to Geelong 98
Line tip: Adelaide +6.5
Western Bulldogs v St Kilda | Saturday, July 23, 7.25pm (AEDT), Etihad Stadium
The Bulldogs will be without dynamic forward Jake Stringer who has a bung shoulder.
While he’s a big loss, the relentless Bulldogs will still apply their famous forward defensive pressure that has caused many opposition teams to buckle.
They’ve already knocked off the Saints once this year in Round 2 at Etihad.
While the Saints were good against the Demons, they tend to pick and choose when they want to apply the necessary pressure required to trouble a top side like the Bulldogs.
Luke Beveridge’s men will be able to match the Saints’ speed around the ground, and have a real edge with rising super stars Marcus Bontempelli and Jason Johannisen.
Unibet Odds: Western Bulldogs $1.33 St Kilda $3.40
Last time they met: Rd 2, 2016 – St Kilda 36 lost to Western Bulldogs 93
Tip: Western Bulldogs
Line tip: Western Bulldogs -20.5
Hawthorn v Richmond | Sunday, July 24, 3.20pm (AEDT), MCG
The Tigers have a decent record against the Hawks, but with ace half forward Brett Deledio in doubt, and Damien Hardwick finally blooding youngsters, it would seem fanciful to expect them to get near the ruthless Hawks.
Richmond have long struggled with how to quickly move the ball forward quickly but they maintain their defensive structure should the ball be turned over.
This often leads them to play a slow motion style of game that makes it easy for opposition sides to defend against.
Recent form is no consolation either, struggling to beat Essendon and the Gold Coast and losing to Footscray and Port.
Hawks to continue to push on to the minor premiership.
Unibet Odds: Hawthorn $1.10 Richmond $7.00
Last time they met: Rd 7, 2016 – Richmond 90 lost to Hawthorn 136
Tip: Hawthorn by 48 points
Line tip: Hawthorn -39.5
Port Adelaide v GWS | Sunday, July 24, 4.40pm (AEDT), Adelaide Oval
A fascinating assignment for the rising Giants who’ll attempt to finally win at the Adelaide Oval against a resurgent Port Adelaide.
GWS were scintillating at the Gabba against an admittedly weak opponent where they kicked 10 second quarter goals, then another 7 in the third before easing up for an easy 79 point victory.
The super talent of Josh Kelly, Toby Greene, Devon Smith and Dylan Shiel can sometimes get a little ahead of themselves and let the game at hand get away from them.
They cannot afford to ease up against a committed opponent as the Power should be at home.
If they work hard and stick to the basics, then they can eek out a win.
Unibet Odds: Port Adelaide $2.40 GWS $1.60
Last time they met: Rd 4, 2016 – GWS 151 def Port Adelaide 65
Line tip: Port +9.5