Palmerbet Sports Team provide their AFL Tips for Round 21, featuring a third-straight Saturday afternoon blockbuster and a Sunday special at the MCG.

Essendon v St Kilda @ Etihad Stadium

Friday August 10, 19:50 (AEST)

EssendonSt Kilda
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
McNiece, Hurley, ZaharakisBGeary, Carlisle, Newnes
HBSaad, Goddard, McKennaHBMcKenzie, Brown, Webster
CFantasia, Merrett, ParishCFreeman, Steele, Sinclair
HFMcGrath, Brown, BaguleyHFLonie, Membrey, Billings
FMcDonald-Tipungwuti, Hooker, ColyerFGresham, Marshall, Armitage
FOLBellchambers, Heppell, MyersFOLPierce, Steven, Ross
I/CLangford, Francis, Smith, StringerI/CAcres, Long, Rice, Paton


History:
 
Played 213: Essendon 141 v St Kilda 68 (4 draws).

Last Meeting: Round 17, 2017: Essendon 17.16 (118) d St Kilda 7.15 (57) at Etihad Stadium.

Final Thoughts: Had Essendon won their nail-biter against the Hawks last week, this clash would have had some added spice. As it turns out, the season is now almost certainly over for both clubs. Despite going on a brilliant run of eight wins in 10, John Worsfold’s side knew a loss last weekend would spell curtains for their season, and that’s how it panned out.

The Saints endured one of their poorest losses for the season last week, and go into this one without so much as a speck of confidence. They’ve turned into the worst clearance side in the competition and lack considerable midfield grunt. They’re playing for pride in this one, but also hope for their fans going forward into 2019.

Tip: Essendon -26.5 @ $1.85

Hawthorn v Geelong @ MCG

Saturday August 11, 13:45 (AEST)

HawthornGeelong
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Schoenmakers, Frawley, StrattonBStewart, Henderson, Kolodjashnij
HBGunston, Brand, HardwickHBGuthrie, Blicavs, Tuohy
CMorrison, Mitchell, WorpelCS.Selwood, J.Selwood, Duncan
HFImpey, Burton, SmithHFMenegola, Parsons, Narkle
FBreust, Roughead, PuopoloFMenzel, Hawkins, Parfitt
FOLCeglar, Burgoyne, O’MearaFOLStanley, Dangerfield, Ablett
I/CMiles, Shiels, Henderson, NashI/CFogarty, Henry, Kelly, O’Connor


History:
 
Played 163: Hawthorn 73 v Geelong 89 (1 draw).

Last Meeting: Round 4, 2018: Hawthorn 17.16 (118) d Geelong Cats 18.9 (117) at the MCG.

Final Thoughts: For a third week in a row, Saturday afternoon at the MCG is the place to be. After a packed-house bockbuster between Richmond and Collingwood a fortnight ago and a thriller between the Hawks and Essendon last week, the home of footy again hosts another vital clash in the 2018 home-and-away season: one of modern footy’s best rivalries in Hawthorn v Geelong.

A loss for Geelong will see them likely fall into 10th, severely denting their finals hopes. They’ll take plenty from last week’s gallant effort against the Tigers, but know anything but four points won’t be acceptable come 5pm Saturday. The Hawks also aren’t yet assured of September action, but a fourth win on the bounce will see them all but secure a spot in the eight.

Tip: Hawthorn to win by 1-39 @ $2.76

Gold Coast v Richmond @ Metricon Stadium

Saturday August 11, 14:10 (AEST)

Gold CoastRichmond
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Joyce, Kolodjashnij, HarbrowBAstbury, Rance, Grimes
HBHanley, May, Ah CheeHBShort, Vlastuin, Broad
CWeller, Swallow, BowesCGrigg, Cotchin, McIntosh
HFAinsworth, Young, SextonHFRioli, Lambert, Castagna
FPowell, Leslie, HolmanFMartin, Riewoldt, Caddy
FOLWitts, Brodie, MillerFOLSoldo, Graham, Prestia
I/CRischitelli, Fiorini, Crossley, LyonsI/CHouli, B.Ellis, Higgins, Edwards


History:
 
Played 7: Gold Coast 3 v Richmond 4.

Last Meeting: Round 19, 2017: Richmond 14.14 (98) d Gold Coast 10.5 (65) at Metricon Stadium.

Final Thoughts: It’s hard to think of a tougher match-up for the beleaguered Suns. Stuart Dew’s side face the premiership favourites on the back of poor losses to Melbourne and Carlton. And it has the potential to be a blow-out.  Their one saving grace is that Richmond coach Damien Hardwick could use this game to manage players before a big September tilt.

Unsurprisingly given their ladder positions, Richmond are the second-strongest scoring side in the competition. The Suns, however, sit rock bottom with 158 goals for the season compared with Richmond’s 265. The Steven May v Jack Riewoldt matchup is certainly one to watch, but might be one of the few even-sided contests on the pitch.

Tip: Richmond -66.5 @ $1.90

Port Adelaide v West Coast @ Adelaide Oval

Saturday August 11, 16:35 (AEST)

Port AdelaideWest Coast
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Howard, Clurey, HoustonBHurn, Barrass, Sheppard
HBPittard, Jonas, Byrne-JonesHBJetta, McGovern, Cole
CMotlop, Wines, PolecCHutchings, Shuey, Masten
HFBoak, Westhoff, WingardHFCripps, Darling, Rioli
FRockliff, Dixon, FarrellFRyan, Vardy, LeCras
FOLRyder, R.Gray, EbertFOLLycett, Yeo, Redden
I/CS.Gray, Johnson, Lienert, WattsI/CAh Chee, Venables, Sheed, Duggan

 

History: Played 32: Port Adelaide 16 v West Coast 14.

Last Meeting: Round 7, 2018: West Coast 16.6 (102) d Port Adelaide 9.6 (60) at Optus Stadium.

Final Thoughts: A massive clash for both clubs in what’s set to be a tight affair. The Eagles will be keen to put a horror week behind them after their premier midfielder Andrew Gaff was ruled out for eight weeks after a sickening punch in last week’s derby. Aside from the numerous off-field issues that’s thrown up, from a footy sense West Coast have now lost their two best players (after Nic Naitanui’s season-ending injury) for the rest of the year. The big question is whether Adam Simpson can deal with their absence, and Saturday afternoon is their first test.

The Power will also look to put last week’s controversial loss behind them. All the ensuing talk was about whether Josh Jenkins effort was a goal or not. But the focus should also shine on Port’s inability to ice the game at key stages. Another loss could – inexplicably – see them drop out of the top eight.

Tip: Port Adelaide to win by 1-39pts @ $2.06

Collingwood v Brisbane @ Etihad Stadium

Saturday August 11, 19:25 (AEST)

CollingwoodBrisbane 
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Maynard, Langdon, CrispBHodge, Andrews, Gardiner
HBMurray, Madgen, GreenwoodHBRich, McStay, Witherden
CVarcoe, Pendlebury, PhillipsCTaylor, Robinson, Zorko
HFHoskin-Elliott, Mihocek, De GoeyHFRayner, Walker, McCluggage
FThomas, Cox, StephensonFChristensen, Hipwood, Starcevich
FOLGrundy, Adams, SidebottomFOLMartin, Berry, Beams
I/CSier, Aish, Mayne, OxleyI/CRobertson, Cutler, Mathieson, McInerney


History:
 
Played 30: Collingwood 13 v Brisbane 17.

Last Meeting: Round 7, 2018: Collingwood 19.7 (121) d Brisbane Lions 18.6 (114) at the Gabba.

Final Thoughts: It’s hard to see when the bad luck will actually run out for Nathan Buckley. Already without several key players, Darcy Moore went down with yet another reoccurrence of the hamstring injury that’s plagued his season in last week’s loss to the Swans. And while his side enter this one as solid favourites, it looms as a bogey clash.

No one is doubting Collingwood’s class but despite a series of gallant losses, the fact of the matter is that they’ve lost three of the last four. A win on Saturday night is essential given they play fellow finals contender Port Adelaide next week. The Lions came oh-so-close to knocking off North Melbourne last week and pose a threat. If the clash turns out anything like their early-season goal-fest at The Gabba, we’re in for a treat.

Tip: Collingwood to win by 1-39pts @ $2.10

Greater Western Sydney v Adelaide @ UNSW Canberra Oval

Saturday August 11, 19:25 (AEST)

GWSAdelaide
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Haynes, Davis, KennedyBKeath, Cheney, Brown
HBReid, Tomlinson, BuntineHBSmith, Doedee, Laird
CWhitfield, Ward, KellyCAtkins, M.Crouch, Milera
HFTaranto, Himmelberg, HopperHFGallucci, Walker, Lynch
FLangdon, Cameron, BonarFMurphy, Jenkins, Betts
FOLLobb, Coniglio, ShielFOLJacobs, Sloane, Gibbs
I/CShaw, Daniels, de Boer, GriffenI/CGreenwood, Mackay, Douglas, Ellis-Yolmen

 

History: Played 10: GWS 2 v Adelaide 8.

Last Meeting: Round 11, 2018: Giants 14.13 (97) d Adelaide 11.15 (81) at Adelaide Oval.

Final Thoughts: A rousing win in the Showdown last week gave the Crows fans cause to celebrate in what’s been a trying season. The more optimistic fans will say they’re still in with a finals shot, but in reality it’s a ‘mathematical’ shot only. And when that phrase is used, the likelihood is small. Still, they go interstate searching for a fourth win in five games.

The Giants themselves are on a roll and could go some way to bedding down a top-four spot with a win over the Crows. With Collingwood’s injury crisis and West Coast now losing Andrew Gaff, the Giants have firmed into $5 second-favourites to win the flag with Palmerbet. It’s hard to see them not saluting in this one.

Tip: GWS -15.5 @ $1.95

North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs @ Etihad Stadium

Sunday August 12, 13:10 (AEST)

North MelbourneWestern Bulldogs
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Daw, Thompson, WrightBMorris, Naughton, Richards
HBMacmillan, Tarrant, WilliamsHBCrozier, Cordy, Johannisen
CAhern, Anderson, DumontCHunter, Macrae, Lipinski
HFSimpkin, Waite, WoodHFGowers, Schache, McLean
FZiebell, Brown, TurnerFDickson, Bontempelli, Roughead
FOLGoldstein, Cunnington, AtleyFOLTrengove, Dunkley, Wallis
I/CHiggins, Hrovat, Davies-Uniacke, McDonald, Mountford, Clarke, Walker, MurphyI/CYoung, Honeychurch, Porter, Greene, Jong, Daniel, Lynch, English


History:
 
Played 160: North Melbourne 78 v Western Bulldogs 79 (3 draws).

Last Meeting: Round 14, 2018: North Melbourne 12.5 (77) d Western Bulldogs 11.9 (75) at Etihad Stadium.

Final Thoughts: With strong wins against West Coast and Brisbane in recent weeks, North have maintained their chance of nabbing a final’s spot in season 2018. With a fairly favourable draw to come, they face the Crows and Saints after this weekend’s clash. But such is the tight-nature of the sides around them, they could require wins in all three to secure seventh or eighth. Which makes this weekend’s clash all the more important.

For the Dogs, they’re coming off their first win in five games after a strong outing against the Saints last week. While they don’t have as much to play for as their counterparts, they’ll want to give their fans hope of an improved outfit ready to give 2019 a real crack.

Tip: North Melbourne to win by 1-39pts @ $2.10

Melbourne v Sydney @ MCG

Sunday August 12, 15:20 (AEST)

MelbourneSydney
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Jetta, O.McDonald, LewisBSmith, Aliir, Lloyd
HBSalem, Frost, HarmesHBRampe, Johnson, McVeigh
CTyson, Oliver, BrayshawCHeeney, Kennedy, Cunningham
HFSpargo, Hogan, vandenBergHFHewett, Franklin, Florent
FGarlett, T.McDonald, FritschFHayward, McCartin, Ronke
FOLGawn, Jones, PetraccaFOLSinclair, Jack, Parker
I/CKent, Hannan, Pedersen, Vince, Neal-Bullen, Kennedy-Harris, Weideman, HuntI/CCameron, Dawson, Hannebery, Newman, Towers, Papley, Robinson, Rohan


History:
 
Played 206: Melbourne 92 v Sydney 112 (2 draws).

Last Meeting: Round 15, 2017: Sydney Swans 11.19 (85) d Melbourne 7.8 (50) at the MCG.

Final Thoughts: Alongside the Hawthorn v Geelong game, this is a standout blockbuster for Round 21. The Swans kept their finals’ hopes alive with a gutsy win over the Pies last week. Backs-to-the-wall and season on the line, Buddy Franklin bagged six to keep the Swans in with a chance of success in 2018. And while Melbourne currently sits in the top four as Sydney hang onto dear life in eighth, in truth the pair are only separated by percentage such is the logjammed nature of the ladder.

Melbourne’s dominant midfield are leading the competition in contested possession. If the Swans are any chance on Sunday afternoon, their below-par engine room must lift. In a good sign for John Longmire’s team, however, they have the recent wood over their opponents. The Swans have won the last six clashes with the Dees.

Tip: Sydney +21.5 @ $1.85

Fremantle v Carlton @ Optus Stadium

Sunday August 12, 16:40 (AEST)

FremantleCarlton
PosPlayerPosPlayer
B
Duman, Johnson, A.PearceBThomas, Rowe, Simpson
HBRyan, Wilson, GreyHBPetrevski-Seton, Marchbank, Byrne
CHill, Langdon, CerraCO’Brien, Cripps, Lang
HFSheridan, Cox, McCarthyHFE.Curnow, C.Curnow, Wright
FBallantyne, Taberner, WaltersFLamb, Pickett, Dow
FOLDarcy, Neale, MundyFOLMcKay, Murphy, Polson
I/CBanfield, Crowden, Giro, Jones, Switkowski, Kersten, Matera, NyhuisI/CKreuzer, Lobbe, Kerridge, Silvagni, Mullett, Kerr, Graham, Macreadie


History:
 
Played 32: Fremantle 19 v Carlton 13.

Last Meeting: Round 13, 2018: Fremantle 15.13 (103) d Carlton 6.10 (46) at Etihad Stadium.

Final Thoughts: While this clash has no top-eight ramifications, a win would mean much to respective supporters. Both sides are limping towards the finals, and were hugely disappointing last week. Freo’s effort in the derby was its worst in some time, while the Blues lost to a Giants side decimated by injuries and, at times, with only 16 on the field.

The Dockers knocked off the Blues to the tune of 57 points less than two months ago in Melbourne. Back at home in this one, they should prove too strong given their experienced heads. The trip throws up another challenge for Brendon Bolton’s young side, who must win to avoid clinching the wooden spoon for at least another week.

Tip: Fremantle to win by 1-39pts @ $2.12