AFL preview: Round 22

It’s the penultimate round of the AFL and there’s so much to play and even more value on offer.

Adelaide v Sydney

Clearly the match of the round and potential preview of this year’s grand final.

The Swans have bounced back in a big way the past fortnight following a disappointing loss to the Hawks back in round 20. Sydney’s star-studded midfield is absolutely firing on all cylinders led by the sensational Josh Kennedy. But despite their stellar second half of the year this match up against the premiership frontrunner is their biggest test to date.

Adelaide have all but secured the minor premiership but don’t expect them to slacken off in this one. The Crows boast one of the most explosive attacks in the league led by Taylor Walker – and we know how damaging he can be at the Adelaide Oval.

Both sides will want to assert themselves in the forward 50 and the predicted clear conditions should allow for a free flowing attacking contest.

Prediction: Over 168.5 points

Western Bulldogs v Port Adelaide

Before last week’s major hiccup against the Giants, the premiers were on a roll but now find themselves out of the top eight once again. The Bulldogs are without the suspended Jack Redpath and Tom Boyd but they do get Jason Johannisen back who should be quite effective in broken play.

Port are in the top eight but aren’t looking like premiership contenders at the moment. Their big guns, Robbie Gray, Paddy Ryder and Chad Wingard need to step up in the clutch moments against the big sides but they certainly have the firepower to be dangerous come September.

This is a big game for both sides but the Bulldogs’ season is on the line and the premiers should have too much firepower for the young Port outfit.

Prediction: Bulldogs @ $1.82

Collingwood v Geelong

Despite winning the past three matches against the Cats, including a 29-point win back in round six, Collingwood certainly look up against it in this one.

The Cats will still be without injured skipper Joel Selwood and suspended front man Tom Hawkins, but that didn’t stop the Chris Scott’s outfit from dominating the high-flying Tigers last week.

Despite being out of finals contention for yet another year, the Pies are still fighting tough and will continue to be a nuisance factor for the next two weeks. However, the absence of quality talent in Alex Fasolo, Scott Pendlebury and Travis Varcoe will prove telling and the more motivated Cats should run over the top of their opponents.

Prediction: Geelong -14.5 @ $1.90

Freemantle v Richmond

The Dockers have seemingly put the cue in the rack for the remainder of this season. Their 104-point demolition at the hands of the Swans last week was embarrassing to say the least and essentially sums up the second half of their season.

As for Richmond, well, they will certainly feature in September, question is, how heavily. The Tigers have proven countless times this season that they have one of the most lethal rosters in the competition and when the likes of Jack Riewoldt, Dustin Martin and Trent Cotchin fire – they can beat anyone. However, last week’s hiccup against an undermanned Geelong has certainly set them back. With their spot in the all-important top four on the line, Damien Hardwick’s side need to bounce back in a big way against the hapless Fremantle and we expect them to turn it on in the west.

Prediction: Richmond – 20.5 @ $1.90

 

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