Palmerbet Sports Team breaks down a bumper line-up of AFL Round 8 clashes, kicking off with a Sydney-Hawthorn blockbuster on Friday night and the first Adelaide derby between the Crows and Power on Saturday afternoon!

Hawthorn Hawks V Sydney Swans @ MCG

Friday 11th May, 19:50 (AEST)

Sydney Hawthorn
Pos Player Pos Player
B
Nick Smith, Heath Grundy, Jake Lloyd B Jarman Impey, Ryan Burton, James Frawley
HB Callum Mills, Dane Rampe, Jarrad McVeigh HB Taylor Duryea, James Sicily, Blake Hardwick
C Harry Cunningham, Josh Kennedy, Isaac Heeney C Isaac Smith, Liam Shiels, Will Langford
HF George Hewett, Dean Towers, Oliver Florent HF Tom Mitchell, Tim O’Brien, Jack Gunston
F Will Hayward, Gary Rohan, Tom Papley F Ricky Henderson, Jarryd Roughead, Jaeger O’Meara
FOL Callum Sinclair, Luke Parker, Kieren Jack FOL Ben McEvoy, Luke Breust, Shaun Burgoyne
I/C Tom McCartin, Daniel Robinson, Zak Jones, Ben Ronke I/C Harry Morrison, Brendan Whitecross, Daniel Howe, Ben Stratton


History:
 
Played 70: Hawthorn 45 V Sydney 25.

Last Meeting: Round 19, 2017: Hawthorn 12.9 (81) d Sydney 11.9 (75) at SCG.

Final Thoughts: What a game to kick off Round 8. Although it happened four years ago, this rematch of the 2014 Grand Final between the 5-2 Hawks and the 4-3 Swans still contains plenty of bad blood. The Swans are fresh from a heartbreaker against North Melbourne last week, losing in the final minutes at home. The Hawks meanwhile, are riding a two-game win streak, having comfortably taken care of the Saints and the Bombers in succession.

The good news for Sydney is star-forward Buddy Franklin did train with the club on Thursday, but he’s still no definite ahead of Friday night. Even if he is a late inclusion, history says he’s no real threat to his former club: Buddy has kicked 21.22 against the Hawks since his move to Sydney back in 2013. As for the Hawks, they’ll be looking for some more Jarryd Roughhead magic, the big fellas return to form saw him boot three goals last week against the Dons.

Perhaps neither forward can outmatch Mother Nature, though. Melbourne’s battening down the hatches ahead of a torrential downpour this weekend, making this one tough to call. Expect it to be a low scoring, sloppy, down-to-the-wire affair.

Tip: Margin – Hawthorn 1-19 @ $3.35

GWS Giants V West Coast Eagles @ Spotless Stadium

Saturday 12th May, 13:45 (AEST)

West Coast GWS
Pos Player Pos Player
B
Shannon Hurn, Tom Barrass, Brad Sheppard B Nick Haynes, Phil Davis, Heath Shaw
HB Thomas Cole, Jeremy McGovern, Jackson Nelson HB Aidan Corr, Jeremy Finlayson, Lachie Whitfield
C Liam Duggan, Jack Redden, Chris Masten C Sam J. Reid, Stephen Coniglio, Tim Taranto
HF Jamie Cripps, Jack Darling, Willie Rioli HF Daniel Lloyd, Harry Himmelberg, Dylan Shiel
F Jake Waterman, Josh Kennedy, Mark LeCras F Lachlan Keeffe, Jeremy Cameron, Matt de Boer
FOL Scott Lycett, Elliot Yeo, Andrew Gaff FOL Rory Lobb, Jacob Hopper, Callan Ward
I/C Brendon Ah Chee, Fraser McInnes, Mark Hutchings, Brayden Ainsworth I/C Ryan Griffen, Zac Langdon, Isaac Cumming, Adam Tomlinson


History:
 
Played 8: West Coast 5 V GWS 3.

Last Meeting: Semi Finals, 2017: GWS 19.11 (125) d West Coast 9.4 (58) @ Spotless Stadium.

Final Thoughts: It’s been a week marred with controversy for West Coast. The Nic Natanui tribunal case has flipped the entire AFL world upside down, but despite seven days of distractions, the Eagles will need to compose themselves if they wish to rid themselves of the 67-point horror show during last year’s Semi Final.

GWS enter this one as the $1.54 favourite, but with the Giants missing Josh Kelly and Toby Greene once again, there’s some big value in West Coast at $2.48 on the road. The Eagles forward trio of Jake Waterman, Josh Kennedy and Mark LeCras have combined for a whopping 46 goals through the first seven rounds, and since the Giants allowed Tom Hawkins to kick a four goal bag on them last week in Geelong, it’s tough to see them handling this triple threat.

Tip: Handicap – West Coast +11.5 @ $1.90

Carlton V Essendon @ MCG

Saturday 12th May, 14:10 (AEST)

Essendon Carlton
Pos Player Pos Player
B
Mark Baguley, Michael Hurley, Adam Saad B Lachie Plowman, Sam Rowe, Dale Thomas
HB Conor McKenna, Patrick Ambrose, Brendon Goddard HB Aaron Mullett, Liam Jones, Kade Simpson
C Orazio Fantasia, Zach Merrett, Kobe Mutch C Darcy Lang, Patrick Cripps, Ed Curnow
HF Jayden Laverde, James Stewart, Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti HF Zac Fisher, Harry McKay, Nick Graham
F David Myers, Cale Hooker, David Zaharakis F Sam Petrevski-Seton, Charlie Curnow, Jarrod Garlett
FOL Tom Bellchambers, Devon Smith, Dyson Heppell FOL Matthew Kreuzer, Paddy Dow, Sam Kerridge
I/C Shaun McKernan, Darcy Parish, Jake Stringer, Ben McNiece I/C Cameron O’Shea, Jed Lamb, Matthew Wright, Lochie O’Brien


History:
 
Played 75: Carlton 30 V Essendon 45.

Last Meeting: Round 20, 2017: Essendon 11.18 (84) d Carlton 11.10 (76) at MCG .

Final Thoughts: Two clubs in serious turmoil meet on Saturday afternoon. The 2-5 Bombers have been largely unimpressive since their last win against Port Adelaide way back in Round 4, while the winless Blues now look to regroup following last weekend’s struggles against the Crows away from home.

It’s an understatement to say both of these clubs have lacked some attacking prowess, but after fans have been screaming for both to “take the game on”, they might finally get their wish this weekend. Struggling Essendon forward, Joe Daniher, is set to miss a month with a groin injury, while the Blues now look towards Charlie Curnow as their go-to man with Levi Casboult out.

Sometimes these bottom-dweller games turn out to be the most exciting, but neither of these two seem to be able to string together a full four-quarters. The Blues’ big inclusions of Curnow and Jed Lamb should bring back some confidence, though, and the club debut of 22-year old midfielder, Darcy Lang, adds another goal threat. This might just finally be Carlton’s week.

Tip: Carlton to Win @ $3.10

Gold Coast Suns V Melbourne Demons @ The Gabba

Saturday 12th May, 16:35 (AEST)

Gold Coast  Melbourne
Pos Player Pos Player
B
Jarrod Harbrow, Rory Thompson, Steven may B Michael Hibberd, Oscar McDonald, Neville Jetta
HB Aron Hall, Jack Leslie, Callum Ah Chee HB Angus Brayshaw, Jake Lever, Bernie Vince
C Jack Bowes, Jarryd Lyons, Lachie Weller C Jordan Lewis, Nathan Jones, Christian Salem
HF Nick Holman, Brayden Crossley, Charlie Ballard HF James Harmes, Jesse Hogan, Jake Melksham
F Jack Martin, Sam Day, Aaron Young F Sam Weideman, Tom McDonald, Christian Petracca
FOL Jarrod Witts, Touk Miller, David Swallow FOL Max Gawn, Dom Tyson, Clayton Oliver
I/C Alex Sexton, Ben Ainsworth, Brad Scheer, Michael Rischitelli I/C Charlie Spargo, Mitch Hannan, Alex Neal-Bullen, Bayley Fritsch

History: Played 11: Melbourne 7 V Gold Coast 3.

Last Meeting: Round 10, 2017: Melbourne 18.14 (122) d Gold Coast 13.9 (87) @ TIO Traeger Park.

Final Thoughts: For just the second time this season, the Suns actually get to play a game in QLD. The bad news is, this is also the second time this year the Demons will take the ground at the Gabba. Last time out Melbourne ran away with a 26-point win over the Lions, and on the back of a commanding 39-point thumping over St. Kilda last week, this red and blue outfit can sniff a spot in the eight.

A quick rewind to last season’s encounter shows we could be in for another instant classic. The Suns led by 17-points at half time, but the Demons went on to kick 14 goals in the second half to pinch the points. Punters would be foolish to expect anything quite so high scoring, though. The Suns and the Demons are the top two teams in tackles this year, and on a smaller ground like the Gabba, we should see some good contested footy.

Tip: Margin – Melbourne 1-19 @ $3.50

Port Adelaide V Adelaide Crows @ Adelaide Oval

Saturday 12th May, 17:10 (AEST)

Adelaide  Port Adelaide
Pos Player Pos Player
B
 Luke Brown, Daniel Talia, Jake Kelly B Riley Bonner, Tom Jonas, Dan Houston
HB  Rory Laird, Tom Doedee, Paul Seedsman HB  Darcy Byrne-Jones, Jack Hombsch, Tom Clurey
C  Rory Atkins, Matt Crouch, David Mackay C Steven Motlop, Ollie Wines, Jared Polec
HF  Myles Poholke, Mitch McGovern, Tom Lynch HF Travis Boak, Jack Watts, Chad Wingard
F  Josh Jenkins, Taylor Walker, Eddie Betts F Justin Westhoff, Charlie Dixon, Robbie Gray
FOL  Sam Jacobs, Bryce Gibbs, Richard Douglas FOL Paddy Ryder, Tom Rockliff, Brad Ebert
I/C  High Greenwood, Jordan Gallucci, Andy Otten, Cameron Ellis-Yolmen I/C Jake Neade, Dougal Howard, Sam Powell-Pepper, Sam Gray


History:
 
Played 43: Adelaide 22 V Port Adelaide 21.

Last Meeting: Round 20, 2017: Adelaide 18.22 (130) d Port Adelaide 7.4 (46).

Final Thoughts: It’s only Round 8, but already this feels like the ‘line in the sand’ game for the Power. Last week’s 42-point loss against the Eagles in Perth was disheartening for a team that should be inside the Top 4, but instead, Port find themselves at 4-3, slipping to 11th on the ladder.

The Crows meanwhile have come good. They’ve been helped out by the schedule with two home games against the Suns and Blues in the last fortnight, but a sixth straight win in the Adelaide derby could see them on the top of the ladder if the Tigers and the Eagles were to lose. The good news for the Crows is Tex Walker’s return, which spells bad news for Port. Walker has kicked 15 goals already this season despite missing three games, and his form in the derby is nothing short of terrific.

Lately the derby has failed to live up to the hype. The Crows have piled on 230 combined points in their  last two encounters against Port, and so far, the Power have had no answer for Adelaide’s relentless attack. With that, and the Power’s hot/cold form as of late, it’s hard to trust them this weekend.

Tip: Adelaide to Win @ $1.60

Western Bulldogs V Brisbane Lions @ Etihad Stadium

Saturday 12th May, 19:25 (AEST)

Brisbane Western Bulldogs
Pos Player Pos Player
B
 Luke Hodge, Harris Andrews, Darcy Gardiner B Matthew Suckling, Aaron Naughton, Zaine Cordy
HB Daniel Rich, Tom Cutler, Alex Witherden HB  Bailey Williams, Lewis Young, Hayden Crozier
C  Jason Johannisen, Lachie Hunter, Josh Dunkley C Lewis Taylor, Mitch Robinson, Dayne Zorko
HF  Patrick Lipinski, Marcus Bontempelli, Mitch Wallis HF Cameron Rayner, Eric Hipwood, Hugh McCluggage
F  Luke Dahlhaus, Billy Gowers, Bailey Dale F Allen Christensen, Daniel McStay, Charlie Cameron
FOL  Tom Boyd, Toby McLean, Jack Macrae FOL Stefan Martin, Jarrod Berry, Dayne Beams
I/C  Lukas Webb, Ed Richards, Mitch Honeychurch, Caleb Daniel I/C Nick Robertson, Zac Bailey, Matt Eagles, Oscar McInerney

History: Played 36: Brisbane 18 V Western Bulldogs 18.

Last Meeting: Round 20, 2017: Western Bulldogs 14.19 (103) d Brisbane 13.11 89 @ The Gabba.

Final Thoughts: On paper the Lions 0-7 start looks awful, but this team played with tremendous heart last week. They were unfortunate not to walk away with the points against the Pies, but Brisbane’s small victory came in the form of Dayne Zorko, who booted four goals and racked up 34 disposals in a much needed return to form.

The Bulldogs have put together a quiet two-game win streak, but the efforts of midfielder, Jackson Macrae, have been anything but. The 23-year old finished with 40 disposals last week in the victory over the Suns, and is now a heavy feature in Brownlow Medal talks.

Make no mistake, the Dogs will have their hands full this week, though. Brisbane often play hard at Etihad Stadium as we saw in Round 1 against St. Kilda, and the old Fitzroy faithful often offer some strong support when they travel to Melbourne. This one looks like a sure-fire shootout.

Tip: Handicap – Lions +18.5 @ $1.90

Fremantle V St. Kilda @ Optus Stadium

Saturday 12th May, 20:10 (AEST)

St. Kilda Fremantle
Pos Player Pos Player
B
Jarryn Geary, Nathan Brown, Shane Savage B  Michael Johnson, Joel Hamling, Alex Pearce
HB  Sam Gilbert, Jake Carlisle, Jimmy Webster HB  Luke Ryan, Taylin Duman, Ed Langdon
C Jack Newnes, Luke Dunstan, Jack Billings C  Lachie Neale, David Mundy, Stephen Hill
HF Hunter Clark, Tim Mebrey, Blake Acres HF  Bailey Banfield, Hayden Ballantyne, Brandon Matera
F  Jade Gresham, Rowan Marshall, Maverick Weller F  Darcy Tucker, Cam McCarthy, Connor Blakely
FOL  Tom Hickey, Sebastian Ross, Jack Steven FOL  Aaron Sandilands, Nat Fyfe, Andrew Brayshaw
I/C Jack Lonie, Josh Battle, Brandon White, Jack Sinclair I/C  Mitchell Crowden, Brennan Cox, Danyle Pearce, Adam Cerra


History:
 
Played 33: St. Kilda 19 V Fremantle 14.

Last Meeting: Round 15, 2017: St. Kilda 12.17 (89) d Fremantle 12.8 (80) @ Domain Stadium.

Final Thoughts: Both of these clubs copped a hiding last week, with finals looking in serious doubt. Fremantle were thrashed by Richmond in Melbourne, but a return back to Optus Stadium couldn’t have come at a better time. The Dockers have won three of four at home, and often look a lot more composed with the ball going forward when they’re playing in front of their home faithful.

To make life tough, the Saints have won four of the last five encounters, but their shocking efforts in front of the sticks make them a hard choice to back. St. Kilda have shot just 38.9% in front of goal this season, the second lowest in the competition. A lot lies on the shoulder of Jack Steven, but with Nat Fyfe manning the midfield for the Dockers, it’s a tall order for a struggling Saints side low on confidence.

Tip: Margin – Fremantle 20-39 @ $3.25

North Melbourne V Richmond @ Etihad Stadium

Sunday 13th May, 13:10 (AEST)

Richmond North Melbourne
Pos Player Pos Player
B
 Alex Rance, David Astbury, Dylan Grimes B  Sam Wright, Robbie Tarrant, Marley Williams
HB  Bachar Houli, Nathan Broad, Nick Vlastuin HB  Jamie Macmillan, Scott D. Thompson, Ryan Clarke
C  Sam Lloyd, Trent Cotchin, Kamdyn McIntosh C  Billy Hartung, Jack Ziebell, Trent Durmont
HF  Jason Castagna, Josh Caddy, Jacob Townsend HF  Shaun Atley, Mason Wood, Jed Anderson
F  Shane Edwards, Jack Riewoldt, Dan Butler F Jarrad Waite, Ben Brown, Shaun Higgins
FOL  Toby Nankervis, Kane Lambert, Dustin Martin FOL  Todd Goldstein, Ben Cunnington, Ben Jacobs
I/C  Jack Higgins, Jack Graham, Jayden Short, Reece Conca, Brandon Ellis, Anthony Miles, Ivan Soldo, Ryan Garthwaite (three to be omitted) I/C Majaw Daw, Nathan Hrovat, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Jy Simpkin, Paul Ahern, Luke McDonald, Kayne Turner, Cmeron Zurhaar (three to be omitted)


History:
 
Played 60: North Melbourne 37 V Richmond 23.

Last Meeting: Round 11, 2017: Richmond 14.17 (101) d North Melbourne 9.12 (66).

Final Thoughts: It’s been a dream run for the Tigers, but could North actually be their toughest test yet? The Roos are playing a confusing brand of footy that’s causing matchup nightmares for opposing coaches, but since this one will feature one of the best back lines vs. one of the best forward lines, expect fireworks on Sunday afternoon.

The Roos found a new hero in Mason Wood last week, who’s four goal bag saw the Shinboners squeak out a last ditch win over Sydney. Jarrad Waite also returns following a rest, which will ask questions of Alex Rance and the rest of the Tigers’ defence.

Fortunately for Richmond, though, the Tigers are allowing the fewest points in the competition (69), one spot in front of,  you guessed it, North Melbourne. There’s definitely room for a Roos upset here, but the safer bet comes in the Over/Under market.

Tip: Total – Under 171.5 @ $1.90

Collingwood V Geelong @ MCG

Sunday 13th May, 15:20 (AEST)

Collingwood Geelong
Pos Player Pos Player
B
 Flynn Appleby, Lynden Dunn, Jack Crisp B  Jed Bews, Harry Taylor, Jack Henry
HB  Travis Varcoe, Matthew Scharenberg, Jeremy Howe HB  Zach Tuohy, Jake Kolodjashnij, Tom Stewart
C  Steele Sidebottom, Scott Pendlebury, Tom Phillips C  Scott Selwood, Joel Selwood, Mark Blicavs
HF  Jordan de Goey, Darcy Moore, Will Hoskin-Elliott HF Mitch Duncan, Stewart Crameri, Tim Kelly
F  Josh Thomas, Mason Cox, Jaidyn Stephenson F  Jordan Murdcoch, Esava Ratugolea, Cory Gregson
FOL  Brodie Grundy, Taylor Adams, Adam Treloar FOL  Zac Smith, Patrick Dangerfield, Gary Ablett
I/C  Jarryd Blair, Callum Brown, Ben Crocker, Josh Daicos, Alex Fasolo, Chris Mayne, Sam Murray, Daniel Wells (three to be omitted) I/C Wylie Buzza, Jordan Cunico, Zach Guthrie, George Horlin-Smith, Sam Menegola, James Parsons, Rhys Stanley, Jackson Thurlow (three to be omitted)


History:
 
Played 64: Collingwood 33 v Geelong 31.

Last Meeting: Round 22, 2017: Geelong 10.10 (70) d Collingwood 9.5 (59) @ MCG.

Final Thoughts: Looks like for the second week in a row the AFL might have saved the best till’ last. Last week’s gutsy win over the Lions showed just how strong the backbone of Collingwood is, while Geelong’s hosing of the Giants on Friday night reminded us never to count the Cats out.

Geelong welcomes Gary Ablett back this week, but all eyes will be on Collingwood half-forward, Jordan de Goey. The youngster came of age last week in Brisbane, snapping five goals and finishing with 20 disposals. The Cats will also have to rely on some scoring prowess from the likes of Patrick Dangerfield as Tom Hawkins serves his one-game suspension.

A Collingwood win on Sunday would be no shock, especially since they’ve won three of the past four encounters against the Cats, but a lot rides on the health of injured skipper, Scott Pendlebury. The Pies’ star midfielder hasn’t been ruled out with a bruised ankle just yet, but Collingwood’s chances certainly suffer if their experienced veteran was to sit on the sidelines.

Tip: Geelong -8.5 @ $1.90