Palmerbet Sports Team analyse this weekend’s AFL Round 17 games, with a number of make-or-break games for finals aspirants.

Adelaide Crows v Geelong @ Adelaide Oval

Thursday July 12, 19:50 (AEST)

Hartigan, Talia, BrownBStewart, Kolodjashnij, Tuohy
HBLaird, Cheney, MileraHBBews, Blicavs, C. Guthrie
CKelly, Sloane, SeedsmanCDuncan, J. Selwood, S. Selwood
HFLynch, Walker, GallucciHFAblett, Buzza, Jones
FBetts, Jenkins, GreenwoodFNarkle, Hawkins, Menzel
FOLJacobs, Crouch, GibbsFOLStanley, Dangerfield, Kelly
I/CKnight, Atkins, Doedee, MurphyI/CHenry, Menegola, Parfitt, Simpson

Played 42: Adelaide 19 v Geelong 23.

Last Meeting: PF 2017: Adelaide 21.10 (136) d Geelong 10.15 (75) at Adelaide Oval.

Final Thoughts: A real tough one to kick off Round 17. To tip, that is – hopefully watching it proves enjoyable. The Crows’ season hangs on a knife’s edge and they can afford to make few mistakes should they wish to hold onto their slim hope of making the top eight. Make no mistake – a loss ends their season.

The Cats are coming off a brilliant win last Thursday against the Swans at the SCG. It was sweet revenge for Chris Scott’s side, who were downed by Sydney on home turf earlier this year. They’ll welcome back Daniel Menzel who will inject some class into their forward line. Another win away from home sees them become a strong top-four chance.

Tip: Geelong to win by 1-39pts @ $2.38

St Kilda v Carlton @ Etihad Stadium

Friday July 13, 19:50 (AEST)

St KildaCarlton
Geary, Carlisle, WebsterBThomas, Rowe, Lamb
HBMcKenzie, Gilbert, NewnesHBSimpson, Jones, Marchbank
CSavage, Steele, SinclairCFisher, Cripps, Murphy
HFBillings, Membrey, DunstanHFPickett, C.Curnow, Garlett
FGresham, Marshall, WellerFDow, McKay, Petrevski-Seton
FOLHickey, Ross, StevenFOLKreuzer, Kennedy, E.Curnow
I/CClark, Lonie, Armitage, PhillipsI/CO’Brien, Polson, Silvagni, Shaw

Played 218: St Kilda 54 v Carlton 162 (2 draws).

Last Meeting: Round 8, 2017: St Kilda 12.13 (85) d Carlton 10.6 (66) at Etihad Stadium.

Final Thoughts: Not the most enticing of Friday night games scheduled by the AFL. Neither side will make the finals this season, but it gives supporters (even more) time to look at younger prospects. The Blues will want to make amends for their poor effort against the Lions last week. Sitting on the solitary win for the season, they may just wrap up the wooden spoon if they fail to beat the Saints.

Alan Richardson’s side have shown improvement in recent weeks. And with victories in their last three games against the Blues, look a strong chance to record their fourth win of the season.

Tip: Total Points Under 166.5 @ $1.90

Hawthorn v Brisbane Lions @ University of Tasmania Stadium

Saturday 14th July, 13:45 (AEST)

Burton, Frawley, StrattonBHodge, McStay, Gardiner
HBDuryea, Sicily, HardwickHBRich, Cutler, Witherden
CMorrison, Mitchell, SmithCTaylor, Robinson, Zorko
HFImpey, Gunston, O’MearaHFRayner, Walker, McCluggage
FBreust, Roughead, PuopoloFChristensen, Hipwood, Lester
FOLCeglar, Shiels, HoweFOLMartin, Berry, Beams
I/CMiles, Henderson, Whitecross, O’BrienI/CRobertson, Mathieson, Barrett, McInerney

Played 31: Hawthorn 17 v Brisbane 14.

Last Meeting: Round 9, 2018: Brisbane Lions 20.9 (129) d Hawthorn 11.7 (73) at the Gabba.

Final Thoughts: The Lions got the chocolates over the Hawks earlier this year – something former skipper Luke Hodge seemed to enjoy – but can they do it again? To do so will be much tougher than the familiar surrounds of the Gabba in Round 9. The Hawks love playing in Tassie and are rarely beaten in Launceston. Further, their 122 points last week was a season-high.

For the Lions, this could be the first time in five years they win three games on the trot. It has become a cliché this year that Chris Fagan’s side is far better than their ladder position dictates, but recent form suggest those calls were correct.

Tip: Total Points Under 180.5 @ $1.90

Melbourne v Western Bulldogs @ MCG

Saturday 14th July, 16:35 (AEST)

MelbourneWestern Bulldogs
Hibberd, Frost, JettaBAdams, Trengove, Smith
HBVince, O.McDonald, LewisHBMorris, Cordy, Johannisen
CT.McDonald, Oliver, JonesCLipinski, Macrae, Hunter
HFPetracca, Hogan, BrayshawHFRichards, Schache, Dunkley
FGarlett, Fritsch, Kennedy-HarrisFDahlhaus, Naughton, Gowers
FOLGawn, Viney, HarmesFOLRoughead, McLean, Wallis
I/CSalem, Spargo, Melksham, Neal-BullenI/CHoneychurch, Biggs, Daniel, Lynch


History: Played 164: Melbourne 87 v Western Bulldogs 76 (1 draw).

Last Meeting: Round 11, 2018: Melbourne 15.10 (100) d Western Bulldogs 7.9 (51) at Etihad Stadium.

Final Thoughts:Peculiarly, these sides met recently in Round 11 where Melbourne won comfortably by 49 points. After a barnstorming mid-point of the season, the Dees have lost three of their last four and questions are being asked about how Simon Goodwin’s side will shape up against other contenders come September.

With more to play for than the Dogs, it’s hard to see Luke Beveridge’s side walking away with the four points here. Jack Macrae’s return is a huge in, but most likely won’t be enough to repel Melbourne on home turf.

Tip: Melbourne to win by 1-39pts @ $2.42

Gold Coast v Essendon @ Metricon Stadium

Saturday 14th July, 19:25 (AEST)

Gold CoastEssendon
Harbrow, Thompson, JoyceBHooker, Myers, Guelfi
HBBallard, May, WellerHBMcGrath, Hurley, Heppell
CSwallow, Miller, SchoenfeldCDea, Z.Merrett, McKenna
HFPowell, Wright, HolmanHFSmith, McKernan, Goddard
FAh Chee, Crossley, SextonFFantasia, Brown, Baguley
FOLWitts, Brodie, MartinFOLBellchambers, Langford, McDonald-Tipungwuti
I/CRischitelli, Lyons, Lemmens, YoungI/CParish, Colyer, Saad, McNiece

Played 8: Gold Coast 2 v Essendon 6.

Last Meeting: Round 22, 2017: Essendon 12.18 (90) d Gold Coast 9.3 (57) at Metricon Stadium.

Final Thoughts: Like the Crows, Essendon’s season hangs in the balance and almost every game until the end of the season is ‘do or die’. A loss at Metricon certainly spells curtains on season 2018. They will also look to boost what is currently a poor percentage in the small chance they finished equal on points with a fellow top-eight aspirant some season’s end.

The Suns have lost 10 in a row and appear a club in turmoil. They go into this one without Tom Lynch, who leaves a gaping hole in their forward line. They average just 60 points this season and on Saturday night the Dons should prove too strong.

Tip: Dyson Heppell 30+ disposals @ $2.00

Greater Western Sydney v Richmond @ Spotless Stadium

Saturday 14th July, 19:25 (AEST)

Davis, Taylor, ShawBAstbury, Rance, Grimes
HBKelly, Corr, HaynesHBShort, Vlastuin, Houli
CKennedy, Griffen, ReidCGrigg, Cotchin, Prestia
HFHimmelberg, Lobb, TarantoHFRioli, Lambert, Castagna
FDaniels, Tomlinson, ShielFMoore, Riewoldt, Caddy
FOLSimpson, Coniglio, WardFOLNankervis, Edwards, Martin
I/CHopper, Greene, Whitfield, LangdonI/CHiggins, B.Ellis, Bolton, C.Ellis

History: Played 9: GWS 2 v Richmond 7.

Last Meeting: PF, 2017: Richmond 15.13 (103) d Giants 9.13 (67) at the MCG.

Final Thoughts: An intriguing Saturday night contest which should prove tougher for the Tigers than the Giants’ 10th position on the ladder may suggest. And if Toby Greene and Brett Deledio (against his old club) return, this could be even more interesting than we first thought. The Giants had won four in a row to revive their season before losing to the Eagles last week. The signs are there, however, for Leon Cameron that his side can mix it with the best.

And what better test than the competition’s best? In all likelihood the rampaging Tigers should prove too strong in this one. But with the Giants’ season on the line, they may just pull something off at home.

Tip: Kane Lambert to get 25+ disposals @ $2.30

Collingwood v West Coast Eagles @ MCG

Sunday 15th July, 13:10 (AEST)

CollingwoodWest Coast
Maynard, Langdon, CrispBHurn, Schofield, Sheppard
HBHowe, Scharenberg, VarcoeHBCole, McGovern, Duggan
CMayne, Pendlebury, PhillipsCJetta, Shuey, Redden
HFDe Goey, Hoskin-Elliott, DaicosHFMasten, Darling, LeCras
FThomas, Cox, StephensonFCripps, Kennedy, Rioli
FOLGrundy, Adams, SidebottomFOLNaitanui, Yeo, Gaff
I/CBrown, Crocker, Greenwood, Mihocek, Sier, Moore, Murray, OxleyI/CSheed, Allen, Venables, Lycett, Waterman, Ainsworth, Hutchings, Ah Chee

Played 49: Collingwood 24 v West Coast (1 draw).

Last Meeting: Round 18, 2017: Collingwood 13.15 (93) d West Coast Eagles 13.7 (85) at Etihad Stadium.

Final Thoughts: The clash for second spot. And with it, a coveted home final AND double chance. Make no mistake, this clash is the match of the round for a number of reasons. The Eagles haven’t defeated the Pies at the MCG for 23 years and given the form of Nathan Buckley’s side at present, they’ll have to put in one of their best performances of the season to get four points. They’ve struggle for an avenue to goal in recent weeks so the return of Mark LeCras, Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling is enormous for Adam Simpson.

The Pies, who are seven wins on the trot, could welcome back Tarvis Varcoe and Darcy Moore. There’s huge competition for spots – a sign of strong list health. The number one side in the competition for disposals should prove too strong here.

Tip: Collingwood to win by 40+ points @ $3.35

North Melbourne v Sydney @ Etihad Stadium

Sunday 15th July, 15:20 (AEST)

North MelbourneSydney
Wright, Thompson, WilliamsBSmith, Grundy, Rampe
HBMacmillan, Tarrant, McDonaldHBFox, Aliir, Lloyd
CAhern, Jacobs, DumontCFlorent, Kennedy, Hayward
HFAtley, Ziebell, AndersonHFHewett, Franklin, Cunningham
FSimpkin, Brown, TurnerFRonke, McCartin, Papley
FOLGoldstein, Cunnington, HigginsFOLSinclair, Parker, Heeney
I/CDaw, Hrovat, Davies-Uniacke, Clarke, Murphy, Larkey, Morgan, WalkerI/CCameron, Jones, Marsh, Newman, Towers, O’Riordan, Robinson, Rohan

Played 161: North Melbourne 74 v Sydney 86 (1 draw).

Last Meeting: Round 7, 2018: R7, 2018, North Melbourne 9.14 (68) d Sydney 9.12 (66) at SCG.

Final Thoughts: Another cracking Sunday afternoon contest. After the Swans season was going along swimmingly, suddenly two losses puts them in peril of missing out on a top four spot. Added to that, they face a Kangaroos side who knocked them off on home turf just two months ago. The Swans are struggling for an avenue to goal and are very reliant on superstar Buddy Franklin. Can John Longmire shift tactically and better utilise his small forwards?

For the Roos, it’s crunch time this weekend. For all their brilliance this season, they need a win to stave off the competition to spots in the eight. And with games against Collingwood and West Coast to come, Brad Scott knows he needs to strike while the iron’s hot.

Tip: Sydney to win by 1-39pts @ $2.38

Fremantle v Port Adelaide @ Optus Stadium

Sunday 15th July, 16:40 (AEST)

FremantlePort Adelaide
Cerra, Hamling, WilsonBHombsch, Clurey, Houston
HBHill, A.Pearce, RyanHBBonner, Howard, Byrne-Jones
CSheridan, Neale, LangdonCMotlop, Wines, Polec
HFBanfield, Kersten, WaltersHFBoak, Westhoff, Wingard
FCox, Apeness, MateraFRockliff, Dixon, R.Gray
FOLDarcy, Mundy, HillFOLRyder, Powell-Pepper, Ebert
I/CHughes, Tucker, Giro, Jones, Duman, Nyhuis, Sutcliffe, McCarthyI/CAmon, Lienert, Trengove, Watts, Farrell, Thomas, Johnson, S.Gray

Played 34: Fremantle 15 v Port Adelaide 19.

Last Meeting: Round 1, 2018: Port Adelaide 16.14 (110) d Fremantle 9.6 (60) at Adelaide Oval.

Final Thoughts: In recent weeks Port Adelaide has emerged as one of the key contenders to Richmond’s throne this season. And they’ve moved into equal-second premiership favourites with Palmerbet on the back of five wins in a row. Ken Hinkley’s side will be jostling with Collingwood for second spot come season’s end and, to get there, will expect to beat Freo on Sunday afternoon.

It’s been another lacklustre season for Ross Lyon’s side, who continue to struggle against sides in the top eight. They have, however, played better footy at home this season and will enjoy the familiar surrounds against Port. Without Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands around the contest though, it’s hard to see them grabbing four points.

Tip: Port Adelaide to win by 40+pts @ $2.66