Round 21 of the AFL season is bookended by a rare Friday night game in Canberra, and a clash in the west with big repercussion for finals.

Greater Western Sydney v Hawthorn @ UNSW Canberra Oval

Friday 9th August, 19:50 (AEST)

GWSHawthorn
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Williams, Keeffe, ShawBBurgoyne, Frawley, Sicily
HBKennedy, Haynes, DavisHBHardwick, Stratton, Howe
CWhitfield, Hopper, HatelyCHenderson, O’Meara, Scully
HFHill, Deledio, DanielsHFPuopolo, O’Brien, Cousins
FPerryman, Cameron, ReidFBreust, Lewis, Gunston
FOLMumford, Greene, TarantoFOLCeglar, Shiels, Worpel
I/CTomlinson, Bonar, Stein, SimpsonI/CJiath, Smith, Wingard, Hanrahan


History:
Played 8: GWS 3 v Hawthorn 4 (1 draw).

Last Meeting: AFL Round 8, 2019: Hawthorn 10.11 (71) defeated GWS 5.8 (38).

Final Thoughts: A game outside the top four, the Giants simply must win if they’re to remain in the hunt for the double chance. Currently, Palmerbet has them at $1.90 to squeeze in. They face a Hawks side who are now out of the finals race (barring a freak run of results) after a loss to North Melbourne in round 20. But they’ll go into this rare Friday night Canberra fixture with some confidence after knocking off the Giants by 33 points earlier this season. Tim Tananto, the Giants gun who recently re-signed with the club, has had over 30 touches in three of his last four games. Will the ball magnet go big again under lights?

Tip: To get 30+ disposals: Tim Taranto (GWS) @ $2.00

Melbourne v Collingwood @ MCG

Saturday 10th August, 13:45 (AEST)

MelbourneCollingwood
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Salem, May, LeverBMaynard, Roughead, Howe
HBBrayshaw, Frost, HarmesHBCrisp, Scharenberg, Mayne
CJones, Hibberd, LewisCPhillips, Pendlebury, Daicos
HFHunt, Fritsch, DunkleyHFBrown, Mihocek, Varcoe
FPetty, Melksham, PetraccaFElliott, Hoskin-Elliott, Sidebottom
FOLGawn, Viney, OliverFOLGrundy, Treloar, Adams
I/CKennedy-Harris, O.McDonald, Baker, WagnerI/CGreenwood, Madgen, Thomas, Williams


History:
Played 237: Melbourne 83 v Collingwood 149 (5 draws).

Last Meeting: AFL Round 12, 2019: Collingwood 15.8 (98) defeated Melbourne 7.15 (57).

Final Thoughts: Like the Giants, the Pies are also fighting to squeeze back into the top four. After a poor period of footy has resulted in just two wins in their last six, Collingwood desperately need to gather some momentum before September. A combination of poor form and lower percentage means that, despite sitting on the same points (48) as the Giants, Nathan Buckley’s side are $5 outsiders to earn the double-chance (GWS are $1.90). They face a Melbourne side whose season is becoming more grim by the week – winless in the last month. Fighting for mere pride, they’ll have to pull out a level of fight they’ve not shown for most of the season to bag four points at the ‘G.

Tip: Total score: Under 147.5 @ $1.90

Port Adelaide v Sydney Swans @ Adelaide Oval

Saturday 10th August, 14:10 (AEST)

Port AdelaideSydney
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Houston, Clurey, BonnerBMcCartin, Rampe, Mills
HBHartlett, Jonas, Byrne-JonesHBLloyd, Aliir, Jones
CDuursma, Rockliff, AmonCBell, Hewett, Florent
HFR.Gray, Dixon, S.GrayHFPapley, Dawson, Parker
FWesthoff, Ladhams, RozeeFBlakey, Menzel, Fox
FOLRyder, Powell-Pepper, BoakFOLReid, Heeney, Kennedy
I/CBroadbent, Sutcliffe, Butters, MarshallI/CMcLean, Clarke, Rowbottom, Ronke


History:
Played 29: Port Adelaide 9 v Sydney 20.

Last Meeting: AFL Round 2, 2018: Sydney 10.11 (71) lost to Port Adelaide 14.10 (94).

Final Thoughts: The Power were brilliant in their drubbing of Essendon last week but, given their inability to string consecutive wins together this season, are no certainties to knock off the Swans at home despite starting as $1.40 favourites. Ken Hinkley’s side are right in the finals’ hunt ($2 to make the top eight, with crosstown rivals Adelaide $1.90) yet incredible haven’t recorded back-to-back wins since way back in round six. The Swans, meanwhile, have lost five in a row. But four of these have been by 10 points or less, and John Longmire’s young squad can count themselves unlucky. In better news for the Bloods, they’ve won four of their last five at Adelaide Oval.

Tip: Line: Sydney +17.5 @ $1.90

Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast Suns @ The Gabba

Saturday 10th August, 16:35 (AEST)

BrisbaneGold Coast
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Hodge, Andrews, AdamsBLukosius, Graham, Harbrow
HBWitherden, Gardiner, RichHBBallard, Burgess, Weller
CMcCarthy, Zorko, RobinsonCHanley, Miles, Fiorini
HFCameron, Hipwood, McCluggageHFSexton, Day, Miller
FMcInerney, McStay, BerryFLemmens, King, Heron
FOLMartin, Neale, LyonsFOLWitts, Swallow, MacPherson
I/CChristensen, Rayner, Bailey, AnswerthI/CAinsworth, Bowes, Dawson, Rischitelli

 

History: Played 17: Brisbane 11 v Gold Coast 6.

Last Meeting: AFL Round 6, 2019: Gold Coast 9.8 (62) lost to Brisbane 16.15 (111).

Final Thoughts: It’s always a spicy affair in one of modern footy’s newest rivalries. And while the Suns have knocked off their cross-town adversaries on six occasions, it’s exceedingly difficult to see how they’ll do so this time around. The Lions are on a roll, winning seven on the trot and honing in on top spot. Locked on 14 wins with the Cats and Eagles, percentage is likely to come into play in the next few weeks, so Chris Fagan will look to pile on the forward pressure in this one. That spells bad news for the Suns, who have lost their last 15 and are bereft of confidence.

Tip: Total score: Over 176.5 @ $1.90

Essendon v Western Bulldogs @ Marvel Stadium

Saturday 10th August, 19:25 (AEST)

EssendonWestern Bulldogs
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Redman, Hooker, GleesonBDuryea, Trengove, Crozier
HBMcKenna, Ambrose, McNieceHBJohannisen, Cordy, Wood
CMcGrath, Merrett, FantasiaCHunter, Bontempelli, Richards
HFShiel, McKernan, McDonald-TipungwutiHFDale, Schache, Lloyd
FZaharakis, Brown, StringerFSmith, Naughton, Dickson
FOLZ.Clarke, Baguley, HeppellFOLEnglish, Dunkley, Macrae
I/CD.Clarke, Myers, Langford, BegleyI/CSuckling, McLean, Lipinski, Hayes


History:
Played 160: Essendon 94 v Western Bulldogs 64 (2 draws).

Last Meeting: AFL Round 3, 2018: Western Bulldogs 14.20 (104) defeated Essendon 12.11 (83). CHECK

Final Thoughts: Are the Dogs on their last chance for season 2019? A game and percentage outside the eight, a loss against the Dons would all but spell curtains for their finals hopes. Luke Beveridge’s side are currently $6.50 with Palmerbet to get there. Despite the loss to Brisbane last week, they’ve still won five of their last eight. Also, the sons of the west have won their last four games against the Dons. It’s difficult to know which Essendon will turn up this week after the battering at the hands of Port Adelaide last week. Will it inspire them to hit back, or has it rocked their confidence?

Tip: Head to head: Essendon @ $1.90

Geelong v North Melbourne @ GMHBA Stadium

Saturday 10th August, 19:25 (AEST)

GeelongNorth Melbourne
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Stewart, Blicavs, TaylorBWilliams, Thompson, Pittard
HBTuohy, Kolodjashnij, BewsHBMacmillan, Tarrant, Ahern
CDuncan, Dangerfield, ParfittCDumont, Ziebell, Polec
HFAblett, Ratugolea, MiersHFSimpkin, Larkey, Wood
FDahlhaus, Hawkins, AtkinsFThomas, Brown, Zurhaar
FOLSmith, J.Selwood, KellyFOLGoldstein, Higgins, Cunnington
I/CHenry, Mengola, C.Guthrie, NarkleI/CAnderson, Garner, Atley, Turner

 

History: Played 163: Geelong 99 v North Melbourne 63 (1 draw).

Last Meeting: AFL Round 8, 2019: North Melbourne 11.14 (80) lost to Geelong 16.8 (104).

Final Thoughts: Can the Cats still win the flag? We asked as much this week, and as much as their price of $4.50 very much suggests they can, their form slump is a huge worry. With just three wins in seven games, Geelong’s game plan is being picked apart as being too conservative and too slow. But premiership sides rarely go through a season unchallenged. West Coast lost three in a row at one stage last season. Whichever way they see things at the Cattery, one thing for sure is that they’re running out of time to gather momentum before September. A hardened, competitive North Melbourne outfit will provide a stern test, and although returning back to home comforts at GMHBA Stadium, this one is far from a gimme for Chris Scott.

Tip: Line: North Melbourne +22.5 @ $1.87

St Kilda v Fremantle @ Marvel Stadium

Sunday 11th August, 13:10 (AEST)

St KildaFremantle
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Savage, Wilkie, CoffieldBDuman, Hamling, Blakely
HBNewnes, Carlisle, ClarkHBHughes, Logue, Cerra
CBillings, Ross, HanneberyCB.Hill, Fyfe, Langdon
HFHind, Bruce, SteeleHFBrayshaw, Walters, Tucker
FLonie, Membrey, LongFMatera, Darcy, Switkowski
FOLMarshall, Dunstan, StevenFOLSandilands, Conca, Mundy
I/CAcres, Brown, Battle, Paton, Parker, Sinclair, Rice, RoweI/CSchultz, Carter, Crowden, Banfield, Ballantyne, McCarthy, Nyhuis, Colyer


History:
Played 35: St Kilda 19 v Fremantle 16.

Last Meeting: AFL Round 3, 2019: Fremantle 11.5 (71) defeated St Kilda 9.12 (66).

Final Thoughts: Ah, Freo. The perennial teasers of the AFL. One week insipid, the next utterly brilliant. Last week personified the latter, in their 34-point dismantling of the Cats. This week? Your guess is as good as mine. Quite incredibly, last week’s win also kept their finals hopes alive. Prior to the game against the Cats they were all but done, and at $41 with Palmerbet to make the top eight. Now, however, level with the Dogs on points and percentage, they’re into $9. Unquestionably, with games against Essendon and Port Adelaide to come, a win against the Saints is non-negotiable. But it will be tough – interim coach Brett Ratten has led the young side to two wins and a gallant loss in Adelaide. The rejuvenated Saints will provide a stiff test.

Tip: Margin: Fremantle by 1-39 points @ $2.75

Richmond v Carlton @ MCG

Sunday 11th August, 15:20 (AEST)

RichmondCarlton
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Astbury, Broad, GrimesBNewman, Plowman, Simpson
HBHouli, Vlastuin, EdwardsHBPetrevski-Seton, Weitering, Setterfield
CShort, Prestia, BoltonCFisher, Cripps, O’Brien
HFRioli, Castagna, LambertHFDeluca, Casboult, Silvagni
FBaker, Riewoldt, LynchFWalsh, McKay, Lang
FOLSoldo, Caddy, MartinFOLKreuzer, Murphy, E.Curnow
I/CGraham, Stack, Ellis, Chol, Nankervis, Ross, McIntosh, PickettI/CGarlett, Thomas, McGovern, Gibbons, Jones, Phillips, Goddard, Kennedy


History:
Played 220: Richmond 93 v Carlton 125 (2 draws).

Last Meeting: AFL Round 1, 2019: Carlton 9.10 (64) lost to Richmond 14.13 (97).

Final Thoughts: While Richmond have been hugely impressive in the last month, losses earlier in the year mean they’re yet to bed down a top four spot. A win over the Blues at the ‘G will maintain their one-game buffer from the circling Giants and Pies. And with games against West Coast and Brisbane to come, four points is simply a non-negotiable for Damien Hardwick. For Carlton, their players have expressed a desire for interim coach David Teague to get the full-time role. A win over the Tigers (who’ve beaten them the last eight occasions) would ensure – one would assume – the club will have the papers ready to sign.

Tip:  Margin: Richmond by 1-39 pts @ $2.10

West Coast v Adelaide @ Optus Stadium

Sunday 11th August, 17:20 (AEST)

West CoastAdelaide
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Hurn, Barrass, SchofieldBBrown, Talia, Kelly
HBJetta, McGovern, SheppardHBSmith, Hartigan, Laird
CCripps, Redden, GaffCSloane, B.Crouch, Mackay
HFSheed, Darling, RyanHFMilera, Walker, Lynch
FRioli, Kennedy, AllenFMurphy, Fogarty, Betts
FOLHickey, Yeo, ShueyFOLJacobs, M.Crouch, Gibbs
I/CWaterman, Masten, Petruccelle, Nelson, Hutchings, Rotham, Cameron, Ah CheeI/CGreenwood, Knight, Seedsman, Jones, Atkins, Otten, Douglas, O’Brien


History:
Played 47: West Coast 26 v Adelaide 21.

Last Meeting: AFL Round 10, 2019: Adelaide 10.13 (73) lost to West Coast 1313.7 (85).

Final Thoughts: A cracker to conclude round 21. Top spot is in the Eagles’ sights, and after a brilliant month of football, few could argued it’s undeserved. The reigning premiers – like all good sides – are peaking at the right time. And while the Crows bounced back with a win over the Saints last week, the Eagles on home turf represents possibly the competition’s toughest task at present. Adelaide (eighth) are on a knife’s edge to make the finals – Palmerbet’s price of $1.90 for them to make the top eight is indicative of that. And if crosstown rivals Port Adelaide (ninth) account for the Swans on Saturday, the pressure will be well and truly on.

Tip: Margin: West Coast by 40+ pts @ $2.70