No panic for Cats: Round 16 AFL preview
- Updated: July 17, 2009
Two defeats in a row have hurt Geelong but they are ready to bounce back this week, writes Nick Tedeschi of Betfair.
Nine players were missing last weekend against Brisbane, but they are boosted this week by the return of Gary Ablett jnr, Matthew Scarlett, Andrew Mackie and Travis Varcoe. Four more players face fitness tests, so there is every reason to have confidence in the Cats.
The Demons go into this one on the back of two successive wins, and have moved off the bottom of the ladder.
That doesnâ€™t mean, however, that they can realistically win this one. Now that Geelong are returning to something like full strength, the Cats are a good thing in the match odds market this weekend.
Carlton has won its last two matches and is seventh on the ladder going into the match against Sydney at Etihad Stadium.
The Swans lost by 35 points to the Bombers last time out, and their chances of finals footy are diminishing after five defeats in the last six. They have won their last 12 meetings with Carlton, but the run could be about to end.
The Blues have Brendan Fevola in top form, with nine goals in his last outing, and Sydney are still coming to terms with the departure of Barry Hall. The wise money is on Carlton in match odds betting.
The Western Bulldogs lost a dramatic game by one point to Collingwood last weekend, but are one of the strongest teams in the competition as seven wins in their last nine games shows.
Essendon will be no pushovers, having won three of their last four including a victory over Sydney last weekend.
The Bulldogs have not lost this fixture since round 10 in 2005, and should have enough class to sweep aside the Bombers here, so should be favoured in match odds betting.
Collingwood were lucky to hang on for the win over the Bulldogs, but that victory will have boosted confidence ahead of the meeting with Hawthorn at the MCG.
The Magpies have now won seven straight matches, the longest streak of wins since they were premiers in 1990.
The Hawks had lost three in a row going into the clash with the Kangaroos last weekend, and even the win there has left them with an uphill task of creeping into the top eight as it has Geelong and St Kilda in its sights over the next month.
Lance Franklin is coming back into form, as four goals in the final term against North Melbourne showed. But if the Pies can shackle him they should be capable of continuing their winning run, and can be backed in match odds betting.
West Coast Eagles handed Port Adelaide a 50-point defeat in round 2 this year, but not a whole lot has gone right for them since then.
This week they come up against a Power team who are off the back of a poor display in defeat to Melbourne last week.
For three quarters against St Kilda, the Eagles looked a capable side and they will have been encouraged by that display albeit their chances of making the finals are over as they sit on a 4-11 record.
Port Adelaide are much better at home than on the road, and have beaten West Coast in 12 of their 18 meetings.
They are just a game outside the top eight with a 7-8 record, and will target this one as a must-win game.
West Coast are a poor side when they have to travel, so the wise money is on a Port Adelaide success here.
The question for St Kilda now seems to be whether they can go through the season unbeaten, now that they have moved two games clear of Geelong.
They take on Adelaide at Etihad Stadium aiming to repeat the 32-point victory they scored against the Crows back in round 2.
Adelaide will be competitive, having won their past seven games including the massive 117-point win over Fremantle at AAMI Stadium.
This has the potential to be the end of St Kildaâ€™s run, with Adelaide having played superbly in recent weeks, being particularly strong in defence â€“ they held North Melbourne to 24 points and the Dockers only scored 13 against them.
If Adelaide plays to its potential, this could be where the Saints’ run ends. They only really came to life in the final quarter against West Coast last week, and so the value lies with backing the Crows in match odds betting.
Fremantle slipped to the bottom of the ladder with its woeful performance last week, while Brisbane was beating Geelong.
That combination of results suggests the Lions should achieve a routine win over the Dockers this time at Subiaco.
Vice-captain Jed Adcock‘s absence will be a blow, but he was missing for all but five minutes against the Cats and Brisbane were able to cope.
Fremantle badly needs to get Matthew Pavlich back, and he faces a fitness test. But even with him in the side this will be too much of an ask for the Dockers, and the Lions can be backed with confidence in match odds betting.
Richmond will move above North Melbourne if they can beat the Tigers at the MCG, and on the basis that the Kangaroos have lost six straight that looks likely.
However, the Tigers have lost three in a row, while North Melbourne have been competitive in their three games under Darren Crocker, so it could be close.
One significant factor could be that the Kangaroos have won 22 of their past 30 games against Richmond, and on their day they should be capable of keeping that record going so they can be supported in match odds betting.
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