View UniBet’s preview of Round 20 of the 2016 AFL home and away season below.
Richmond v Collingwood | Friday, August 5, 7.50pm (AEDT), MCG
Last week was the AFL’s ‘Retro Round’ and the Tigers got right into the spirit of things. The 23 points they scored against GWS was their lowest score since 1958.
You can bet the Tigers of 1958 played on a wet, muddy suburban ground with a football that let the mud stick to it.
The modern day lads played on a surface like a bowling green in Canberra on a sunny day.
Coach Damien Hardwick has been at Punt Road for seven years now and surely it’s time to move him on and introduce someone with new footballing ideas. Ideas like kicking, handballing, running with the aim of scoring goals.
Their opponents Collingwood are going okay and exerted the necessary pressure to topple top 4 contenders West Coast at the MCG.
A repeat effort here will be more than enough to take care of Richmond.
Unibet Odds: Richmond $2.90 Collingwood $1.42
Last time they met: Rd 2, 2016 – Collingwood 87 def Richmond 86
Line tip: Collingwood -14.5
Sydney v Port | Saturday, August 6, 1.45pm (AEDT), SCG
Both sides are coming off huge wins interstate and Port may be disadvantaged by having to travel interstate once more.
They will find a much tougher opponent at the SCG than they did at the Gabba.
The big win in Queensland masked the fragile young defence the Power have been putting on the park each week.
The Swans will fully test them this week with a ferocious midfield and a roaming Lance Franklin who could wreak havoc.
The Swans to win and keep pressing for a top two spot.
Unibet Odds: Sydney $1.25 Port Adelaide $4.00
Last time they met: Rd 14, 2015 – Sydney 94 def Port Adelaide 84
Line tip: Sydney -26.5
Melbourne v Hawthorn | Saturday, August 6, 2.10pm (AEDT), MCG
The Demons got out of jail against an understrength Gold Coast last week thanks to a very late goal by Jack Watts.
How they got themselves into such a position is a mystery as Melbourne have been great this year with a dashing, high scoring brand that stands them in good stead for the future.
Inexplicably they reverted to the slow motion, low scoring game style that Paul Roos had them playing when he first arrived at the club.
They constantly looked to go sideways and backwards that made life easy for the Gold Coast defence.
A repeat of this performance against the high flying Hawks will see them get hammered.
Hawthorn have the luxury of being able to recall small forwards Paul Puopolo and Cyril Rioli and as they are two games clear on top.
Coach Alastair Clarkson could rest one or two of his aging stars, namely Luke Hodge, Jordan Lewis orSam Mitchell.
Unibet Odds: Melbourne $5.50 Hawthorn $1.16
Last time they met: Rd 11, 2016 – Hawthorn 82 def Melbourne 64
Tip: Hawthorn by 22 points
Line tip: Melbourne +33.5
Gold Coast v GWS | Saturday, August 6, 4.35pm (AEDT), Metricon Stadium
In the battle of the expansion teams, GWS have zoomed past their rival and are now even looking at this match as a percentage booster as they challenge for a top two spot.
Gold Coast are way down on midfielders with the likes of Ablett, Rischitelli, Prestia, Hall, Swallow andO’Meara nowhere to be seen.
The Giants have their fair share of injuries as well, but have great depth and the midfielders they’ll put on the field will make a mess of their Gold Coast opposites.
The Giants are in a battle with cross town rivals the Swans for a top 2 spot and will go flat out again.
Unibet Odds: Gold Coast $6.50 GWS $1.12
Last time they met: Rd 8, 2016 – GWS 149 def Gold Coast 58
Line tip: GWS -40.5
Western Bulldogs v North Melbourne | Saturday, August 6, 7.25pm (AEDT), Eithad Stadium
A fascinating encounter between two sides striving to finish as high up in the final eight as possible, but both have been devastated with injuries to key players.
The Bulldogs have been particularly hard hit with young guns Tom Liberatore and Jackson Macrae the latest to miss for an extended period.
Hopefully coach Luke Beveridge will have backman Dale Morris, Matthew Suckling and Matthew Boydavailable.
If these three do play, then the Bulldogs can still get the job done as they have a tremendous will to win.
North managed to defeat the Bulldogs in round 6 this year in a very low scoring encounter at Etihad.
The Kangaroos aren’t going as well as they were then, so expect them to have their hands full even against a depleted dogs outfit.
Unibet Odds: Western Bulldogs $2.15 North Melbourne $1.72
Last time they met: Rd 6, 2016 – North Melbourne 61 def Western Bulldogs 45
Tip: Western Bulldogs
Line tip: Western Bulldogs +5.5
Adelaide v Brisbane | Saturday, August 6, 7.40pm (AEDT), Adelaide Oval
With the Crows in the hunt for a top two finish and Brisbane decimated by injuries and plagued with poor form, this game shapes up as monumental mismatch.
The Lions are not equipped to handle the big mobile Adelaide forwards or their improving midfield.
Perhaps Adelaide’s only weakness is in defence where Kyle Cheney and Kyle Hartigan are serviceable but a question mark remains over them under real offensive heat.
They won’t have to worry about that this weekend as the old toothless Lions have no one to worry them.
Brisbane’s away form has been woeful and a trip to Adelaide Oval to face the rampaging Crows should fill coach Justin Leppitsch with dread.
Unibet Odds: Adelaide $1.01 Brisbane $19.00
Last time they met: Rd 21, 2015 – Adelaide 131 def Brisbane 44
Line tip: Adelaide -77.5
Carlton v St Kilda | Sunday, August 7, 1.10pm (AEDT), MCG
The Saints are now almost certainly going to miss the finals after going down to North Melbourne.
With that out of their system, they should get back to trying to perfect their fast ball movement from the back half and maintaining their outstanding forward pressure game that has brought them wins against Geelong, Western Bulldogs and Collingwood this year and a very close loss to Hawthorn.
Carlton will not be an easy opponent for them though as coach Brendon Bolton has them playing solid football and could regain his captain Marc Murphy.
Unibet Odds: Carlton $2.45 St Kilda $1.55
Last time they met: Rd 12, 2016 – St Kilda 110 def Carlton 78
Tip: St Kilda
Line tip: St Kilda -10.5
Geelong v Essendon | Sunday, August 7, 3.20pm (AEDT), Etihad Stadium
Another mismatch on offer here with absolutely no prospect of an upset.
In fact why would the Bombers want to win as it would jeopardise their chance to grab the best young player in the draft.
With no expectations and most of the suspended stars due to return next year, coach John Worsfold can keep playing young players for them to gain experience.
Knowing this, the Cats can manage some players that may have niggling injuries with a view to have them fit for the finals.
Unibet Odds: Geelong $1.01 Essendon $17.00
Last time they met: Rd 4, 2016 – Essendon 42 lost to Geelong 72
Line tip: Essendon +67.5
Fremantle v West Coast | Sunday, August 7, 4.40pm (AEDT), Domain Stadium
The western Derby is an opportunity for the Weagles to get back on track after another very disappointing trip to the MCG when going down to Collingwood.
Coach Adam Simpson will possibly have the leaping Nic Naitanui back after a long lay-off with injury.
Opposing him could be the giant Freo ruckman Aaron Sandilands who had his ribs and lung damaged after being hit ironically by NicNat in the earlier Derby this year.
Fremantle were disgraceful last week when going down by 90 points at home to Sydney in Matthew Pavlich’s 350th match and it would take a huge improvement for them to give West Coast a scare.
Unibet Odds: Fremantle $4.40 West Coast $1.22
Last time they met: Rd 3, 2016 – West Coast 92 def Fremantle 59
Tip: West Coast
Line tip: West Coast -27.5