Turn back the clock: Round 19 AFL Preview

Last season’s premiers against this year’s unbeaten team could be the game of the round.

AFL Rd 13 - St Kilda v HawthornThe Hawks beat St Kilda by 54 points last time these two clubs went head-to-head, but that was in the preliminary final last year, and of course much has changed since then. Hawthorn needs to start winning if they are to retain their hopes of qualifying for September, as they own an 8-10 record and are two places outside the top eight.

The Saints are closing in on tying the overall record between these teams – Hawthorn has won 74 to St Kilda’s 70, with the Saints having won six of their past eight in these meetings by an average of 41 points.

St Kilda only kept their 18-game winning streak alive thanks to a Leigh Montagna behind in the closing seconds against Sydney last week, so they look vulnerable. A lot could hinge on who is available for the two teams – the Hawks have a concern over Xavier Ellis and already have a long injury list, while there are five Saints out and a further two who face checks.

This could be another close one for the Saints, but they have already shown that they can come good under pressure and the Hawks demonstrated last weekend that they have a tendency to crumble when the season is on the line. Take St Kilda in match odds betting.

Geelong will miss two key defenders, Harry Taylor and Matthew Scarlett, for the clash with Carlton at the MCG. And that could tip the scales in favour of the Blues for this one, as the Cats have struggled of late with two losses and less-then-emphatic wins over Melbourne, Hawthorn and Adelaide.

Carlton came good against North Melbourne last time out in a scrappy match, and know that a finals berth is within their reach. They could take advantage of the Cats, who seem more vulnerable now than at any time in the past two years. If Brendan Fevola is firing on all cylinders, Geelong may be facing a tough game and it could pay to take Carlton in match odds betting here.

Adelaide will have taken heart from last week’s tight loss to Geelong, and they are worth backing in match odds betting when they take on Collingwood. The Magpies have won nine of their last 10 games, while Adelaide boasts just one less win in the same period so this could be the tightest game of the round as both teams chase the double chance come finals time.

Adelaide will have the backing of the crowd here and feel capable of achieving the win that would take them level on points with Collingwood, but still behind on percentages. They have been consistent in recent weeks, but Collingwood have often come good at AAMI Stadium over the years. Neither side will run away with this one, but Adelaide deserve to be supported.

Essendon still believe they can make the finals for the first time since 2004, but to do so they need to get the better of finals-bound Brisbane. The Bombers have been lethargic in recent weeks, but the Lions have only won two of their past nine at the venue.

Brisbane won easily in round 6 at the Gabba, but Essendon could be boosted by the return of star pair Alwyn Davey and Mark McVeigh and they will hope to bounce back after three consecutive losses. Brisbane were thumped by Collingwood last time out and the Bombers will believe they can get up in this one at the MCG, so take them cautiously in match odds betting.

North Melbourne have been hugely disappointing this season, and haven’t won since they beat Fremantle in round 9. This round they come up against Melbourne and look ripe for the taking. The Demons were unlucky to lose late on against Richmond last week, and if their heart is in it this time they could overcome the Kangaroos so can be supported in match odds betting.

Sydney can be backed in match odds betting at the MCG against Richmond, who are missing several key players and only just overcame the Demons last week. Sydney held St Kilda to a one-point victory last week, and were very unlucky not to get something out of the game.

The Tigers haven’t beaten the Swans for four years, and Sydney will have extra incentive to win this one as Michael O’Loughlin becomes the first Swans player to play 300 games. It could be close, but go with the Swans.

West Coast can always be laid when they play away from Subiaco, so even though they beat the Western Bulldogs by 33 points in round four they are set to lose the return fixture. The Bulldogs overcame Fremantle last time out, while West Coast beat the Bombers to earn their fifth win for the season. The Eagles have not won away from Perth for 19 games, and the third-placed Bulldogs will take care of business so should be backed in match odds betting.

Port Adelaide will feel confident of beating Fremantle following an excellent win over Hawthorn, and can be backed in match odds betting. The Power also beat the Dockers in round 11, and have been effective in defence for most of the season, so they can be taken with confidence.

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