AFL preview: Round 20

The finals are almost here but the top eight is far from settled and the stakes in Round 20 couldn’t be higher.

GWS v Melbourne

The Demons were so good against the Port two weeks ago but came crushing back to earth with a shock loss to the lowly Kangaroos. Now, they find themselves in a four-way tussle for a spot in the top eight and victory is an absolute must against the Giants.

The Giants snapped a four-game winless run last week with an unconvincing victory over the out of sorts Dockers. The former competition favourites aren’t firing like everyone knows they can and their spot in the top four is very much on the line.

This match will be decided by the team who wants it more and handles the deciding moments better, but the Demons have the firepower to really hurt the Giants and we’ll take the start.

Prediction: Demons + 11.5 @ $1.90

Geelong v Swans

After a run of nearly two months without defeat, the Swans turned in a rare subpar performance which saw Hawthorn emerge victorious. You can forgive the loss given their incredible run of form however, it has left them in a fragile position within the top eight.

Geelong got back to winning ways with 65-point smashing of Carlton – but the Blues are hardly elite competition at this time of the year. The Cats will be without there star midfielder in Patrick Dangerfield, who is suspended. But the Swans will likely be without their top midfielder in Josh Kennedy who is battling injury.

The Swans have way more to play for and are in better form with more strike weapons across the board. And Buddy Franklin cannot play any worse than he did against his former side last week.

Prediction: Swans @ $1.85

Adelaide v Port Adelaide

‘The Showdown’, one of the most celebrated match-ups in the AFL season – which more often than not delivers in a big way. We expect nothing less in this edition with both clubs looking to hit the finals in peak form.

Adelaide were off their game from the get go against the Pies last week but somehow dug themselves out of a massive hole to salvage a draw. The ladder-leaders could have star Eddie Betts back for this one and that be a massive boost given his star-studded performance in the derby back in round three.

As for Port, they edged out St Kilda in wet conditions last week for a much needed win but their top four aspirations will likely go up in smoke with a loss to their neighbours.

There’s no doubt this one has the potential to be tight but the Crows have the wood on Port and should continue that dominance on Sunday.

Prediction: Crows halftime/fulltime @ $1.90

Carlton v Essendon

The Blues have dropped six on the trot and face the slight possibility of walking away from season 2017 with the dreaded wooden spoon. Their 65-point loss to Geelong last week gave the impression that some of their players have their minds on the off-season already and that doesn’t bode well for them against a hungry Bombers outfit this week.

Essendon were completely outplayed by the Bulldogs last round and need to defend the counterattack better if they are to feature in September. Joe Daniher kicked six in the loss as they put up 97 points – but attack isn’t their problem.

With everything to play for the Bombers should be up for this one and you’d imagine avenging their loss to the Blues back in round three will spur them on

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