Round 9 of the AFL season should start to break up the log-jammed top eight, while the top two are expected to maintain their lead. AFL Tips and Preview below.

West Coast v Melbourne @ Optus Stadium

Friday 17th May, 20:10 (AEST)

West CoastMelbourne
Hurn, Schofield, SheppardBHore, Frost, Hunt
HBDuggan, McGovern, JettaHBJones, McDonald, Salem
CRedden, Shuey, SheedCBrayshaw, Viney, Stretch
HFVenables, Darling, RioliHFLockhart, McDonald, Neal-Bullen
FRyan, Kennedy, CrippsFGarlett, Petracca, Smith
FOLVardy, Yeo, GaffFOLGawn, Harmes, Oliver
I/CO. Allen, Petruccelle, Cole, HutchingsI/CFritsch, Baker, Petty, J. Wagner

Played 51: West Coast 34 v Melbourne 17.

Last Meeting: Optus Stadium, preliminary final, 2018: West Coast 18.13 (121) defeated Melbourne 7.13 (55).

Final Thoughts: Had the last minute of their game against the Suns gone differently, it’s likely we’d be speaking about the Dees in different terms this week. In overcoming a six-point deficit inside the final 60 seconds on the Gold Coast, Melbourne’s season remains alive. But only just. They face a huge task against an Eagles side that are beginning to hit their straps after an up-and-down start. Famously, the last meeting between these sides was last year’s preliminary final at the same venue. That day was an 11-goal drubbing to the Eagles. Can the Dees bounce back this time around?

Tip: Total Points: Over 154.5 @ $1.90

Collingwood v St Kilda @ MCG

Saturday 18th May, 13:45 (AEST)

CollingwoodSt Kilda
Maynard, Roughead, HoweBMcKenzie, Brown, Savage
HBCrisp, Moore, LangdonHBWilkie, Battle, Paton
CMayne, Pendlebury, PhillipsCPhillips, Ross, Newnes
HFThomas, Reid, BrownHFBillings, Bruce, Parker
FStephenson, Mihocek, De GoeyFAcres, Membrey, Gresham
FOLGrundy, Sidebottom, TreloarFOLMarshall, Steele, Sinc
I/CBeams, Varcoe, Greenwood, Hoskin-ElliottI/CDunstan, Kent, Young

Played 219: Collingwood 158 v St Kilda 59 (2 draws).

Last Meeting: Marvel Stadium, round nine, 2018: St Kilda 10.12 (72) lost to Collingwood 15.10 (100).

Final Thoughts: The Pies were almost subject to the biggest upset of the season last weekend, outclassed by the lowly Carlton for large periods of the MCG rivalry clash. But, as good teams do, they got the job done and move forward. They face a Saints side who, following a strong start to the season, have feel to three straight defeats. The Saints have by no means disgraced themselves in recent weeks, but a lack of depth could be beginning to show. Expect them to be competitive, but Nathan Buckley’s side should have enough.

Tip: To get 30+ disposals: Steele Sidebottom @ $2.60

Brisbane Lions v Adelaide @ The Gabba

Saturday 18th May, 14:20 (AEST)

Hodge, Andrews, RichBKeath, Talia, Brown
HBWitherden, Gardiner. RobinsonHBLaird, Hartigan, Kelly
CBerry, Neale, McCluggageCMackay, Ellis-Yolmen, Smith
HFRayner, Hipwood, McCarthyHFLynch, Walker, Jones
FCameron, McStay, McInerneyFGreenwood, Himmelberg, Betts
FOLMartin, Zorko, LyonsFOLO’Brien, Crouch, Sloane
I/CWalker, Hinge, Mathieson, AnswerthI/CCrouch, Gallucci, Atkins, Murphy

Played 32: Brisbane 15 v Adelaide 17.

Last Meeting: The Gabba, round 18, 2018: Adelaide 13.15 (93) defeated Brisbane 13.10 (88).

Final Thoughts: In claiming Showdown honours, the Crows are officially one of the competition’s form teams. Four wins on the bounce has Don Pyke’s men purring, and they’re a strong chance of further bedding down their top four position in this weekend’s clash. Recent history is certainly on their side. With the last seven wins against the Lions, they’re well positioned to do exactly that. The Lions will be no easy beats at home, however. A win back at fortress Gabba should push them back into the top four, too.

Tip: Margin: Adelaide by 1-39pts @ $2.60

Geelong v Western Bulldogs @ GMHBA Stadium

Saturday 18th May, 16:35 (AEST)

GeelongWestern Bulldogs
Kolodjashnij, Henry, StewartBJohannisen, Roberts, Crozier
HBBlicavs, Taylor, O’ConnorHBDaniel, Cordy, Wood
CKelly, Dangerfield, DuncanCHunter, Liberatore, Richards
HFRohan, Miers, HawkinsHFGowers, Naughton, Richards
FAblett, Dahlhaus, AtkinsFMcLean, Bontempelli, Wallis
FOLStanley, C. Guthrie, J. SelwoodFOLTrengove, Dunkley, Macrae
I/CTuohy, Clark, Parfitt, FortI/CSuckling, Smith, Hayes, Lachie Young


History: Played 159: Geelong 101 v Western Bulldogs 56 (2 draws).

Last Meeting: Marvel Stadium, round 15, 2018: Western Bulldogs 16.7 (103) defeated Geelong 15.11 (101).

Final Thoughts: Although the Cats ($3.60 premiership favourites with Palmerbet) enjoy life at the top, one game clear of nearest rival Collingwood ($4 second-favourite), they’ll know this weekend’s clash is no gimme. Opponents Western Bulldogs have been impressive in recent wins over the Tigers and Lions, and pose a genuine threat. The last clash between these sides, you might remember, finished with Cat Harry Taylor missing a shot after the siren to give the Dogs the four points. Before that, however, Chris Scott’s side had incredible won 11-straight encounters. Notably this week, Luke Dahlhaus plays his first game against the club he taste premiership success at.

Tip: Line: Western Bulldogs +30.5 @ $2.00

Essendon v Fremantle @ Marvel Stadium

Saturday 18th May, 19:25 (AEST)

Baguley, Hooker, HurleyBHamling, Pearce, Ryan
HBRedman, Ambrose, SaadHBBlakely, Wilson, Hughes
CMcKenna, Merrett, ZaharakisCTucker, Fyfe, Hill
HFParish, McDonald-Tipungwuti, BegleyHFWalters, Langdon, Cox
FShiel, Stringer, GuelfiFHogan, Taberner, Matera
FOLBellchambers, McGrath, HeppellFOLLobb, Conca, Mundy
I/CFrancis, Daniher, Langford, McNieceI/CDuman, Cerra, Brayshaw, Switkowski

Played 34: Essendon 20 v Fremantle 14.

Last Meeting: Marvel Stadium, round 18, 2018: Essendon 13.21 (99) defeated Fremantle 11.4 (70).

Final Thoughts: The Dons have spent the week crying foul (probably legitimately, to be fair) about the Dan Rampe controversy that prevented them from claiming four points last week. But as all things in footy, things move on quickly and Saturday night represents a chance to make amends. The distance between the Dons’ best and worst – as shown last Friday – is significant, but they should have enough firepower to cover the Dockers. No Orazio Fantasia hurts, but they welcome back Joe Daniher. For Ross Lyon, his troops were overrun against the Tigers, and need to be better around the contest. Nat Fyfe is lucky to be playing after his errant elbow didn’t garner a suspension, and will need to be big again should his side get over the line.

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

North Melbourne v Sydney Swans @ Blundstone Arena

Saturday 18th May, 19:40 (AEST)

North MelbourneSydney
Macmillan, Tarrant, WilliamsBRampe, Melican, Mills
HBAtley, Thompson, PittardHBThurlow, Aliir, Lloyd
CDumont, Cunnington, PolecCHeeney, Kennedy, Dawson
HFThomas, Larkey, GarnerHFFox, Reid, Florent
FZurhaar, Brown, ZiebellFBlakey, McCartin, Parker
FOLGoldstein, Higgins, AndersonFOLSinclair, Jones, Papley
I/CMcDonald, Simpkin, Turner, WoodI/CHewett, Rowbottom, O’Riordan, Hayward


History: Played 162: North Melbourne 74 v Sydney 87 (1 draw).

Last Meeting: Marvel Stadium, round 17, 2018: Sydney 16.8 (104) defeated North Melbourne 15.8 (98).

Final Thoughts: Two lowly sides who’ve shown positive signs in recent weeks. The Swans got over the line in a thriller last week against the Dons – just their second win of the year – but it could easily (and arguably should) have gone the other way. The Roos lost to ladder leaders Geelong, but far from disgraced themselves. A rare meeting in Tassie throws up an intriguing matchup, with two sides who enjoy the contested ball. The last meeting between this pair was a classic at Docklands, and the one before similarly decided by one straight kick. This could easily be one of the round’s best clashes, though won’t determine any top eight positions.

Tip: H2H: Sydney @ $2.45

Port Adelaide v Gold Coast Suns @ Adelaide Oval

Sunday 19th May, 13:10 (AEST)

Port AdelaideGold Coast
Broadbent, Clurey, HoustonBHarbrow, Collins, Ballard
HBLienert, Howard, Byrne-JonesHBMiles, Hombsch, Weller
CDuursma, Rockliff, AmonCHolman, Martin, Powell
HFButters, Westhoff, MotlopHFLukosius, Wright, Corbett
FS. Gray, Ryder, RozeeFMacPherson, Sexton, Ainsworth
FOLLycett, Powell-Pepper, BoakFOLWitts, Swallow, Bowes
I/CDrew, Atley, Ladhams, Farrell, Bonner, Frampton, Mayes, GarnerI/CBrodie, Day, Fiorini, Horlin-Smith, Joyce, King, Murdoch, McLennan

Played 10: Port Adelaide 9 v Gold Coast 1.

Last Meeting: Adelaide Arena at Jiangwan Stadium, round nine, 2018: Port Adelaide 11.16 (82) beat Gold Coast 6.6 (42).

Final Thoughts: The Power have given their opposition the jump in recent weeks, culminating in losses to Collingwood and then Adelaide in the Showdown last week. After a strong start to the season, they need to get back in the winners circle this weekend. Luckily, it’s a side they have a tremendous record against, with nine wins in 10. The Suns need to pick themselves up after a horror final minute last week saw them give up two scoring shots and concede a near-certain win. Stuart Dew’s side have been competitive in most games this year and fancy the contested ball, thus their 34.5 point head start could lure in some punters.

Tip: Line: Gold Coast -34.5 @ $1.87

Richmond v Hawthorn @ MCG

Sunday 19th May, 15:20 (AEST)

Garthwaite, Astbury, GrimesBSicily, Frawley, Impey
HBStack, Edwards, HouliHBStratton, O’Brien, Hardwick
CEllis, Vlastuin, McIntoshCScully, O’Meara, Henderson
HFBaker, Caddy, BoltonHFBreust, Puopolo, Scrimshaw
FBalta, Lynch, MartinFCeglar, Lewis, Gunston
FOLSoldo, Lambert, HigginsFOLMcEvoy, Worpel, Shiels
I/CBroad, Menadue, Castagna, Prestia, Collier-Dawkins, Coleman-Jones, Rioli, TownsendI/CBurgoyne, Miles, Cousins, Morrison, Brand, Moore, Nash

Played 158: Richmond 88 v Hawthorn 70.

Last Meeting: MCG, qualifying final, 2018: Richmond 13.17 (95) defeated Hawthorn 9.10 (64).

Final Thoughts: The match of the round, with two sides coming in off big wins. The Hawks were sensational in their upset of the Giants last week, while the Tigers again came up trumps on the road with a gutsy performance in Perth. Hawthorn were allowed to have over 130 marks last week, something that Damien Hardwick will not allow happen. Despite their stop-start begin to 2019, the injury-hit Tigers could go into the top four with four points on Sunday. And while the game will throw up several good contests, James Frawley vs Tom Lynch is set to be a matchup that will get fans through the gates.

Tip: Margin: Richmond by 1-39pts @ $2.25

Greater Western Sydney v Carlton @ Giants Stadium

Sunday 19th May, 16:40 (AEST)

Williams, Haynes, ShawBThomas, Weitering, Marchbank
HBTaylor, Davis, ReidHBMurphy, McGovern, Silvagni
CFinlayson, Taranto, TomlinsonCPetrevski-Seton, Cripps, E. Curnow
HFde Boer, Cameron, LloydHFFisher, C. Curnow, Setterfield
FDaniels, Himmelberg, GreeneFGibbons, McKay, Cunningham
FOLMumford, Hopper, KellyFOLKreuzer, Walsh, Dow
I/CWhitfield, Simpson, Cumming, Hately, Deledio, Perryman, Keeffe, KennedyI/CMacreadie, Newman, Stocker, Casboult, O’Brien, Kennedy, Garlett, Fasolo

Played 8: GWS 5 v Carlton 3.

Last Meeting: Marvel Stadium, round 20, 2018: Greater Western Sydney 23.13 (151) defeated Carlton 7.4 (46).

Final Thoughts: The Blues are back in a similar position, rooted to the bottom of the ladder. While it may sound like a broken record, again, they were gallant in their loss to Collingwood last Saturday, giving up a lead late in the fourth quarter to fall over at the final hurdle again. But honourable losses aren’t cutting it anymore, and they need to perform. Sadly for them, they face a GWS side in Sydney that will be hungry to avenge last week’s loss to the Hawks. Both sides move the ball well, and this could be an entertaining clash. It’s hard to see Brendon Bolton’s side getting the chocolates, however. Watch out for new Brownlow favourite with Palmerbet, Patrick Cripps.

Tip: Any player to score 5 goals: Yes @ $2.25