AFL preview: Round 21

Only three rounds remain in the AFL and the race for a finals berth couldn’t be hotter right now.

Bulldogs v Giants

Definitely one if not the match of the round. The Bulldogs will be out to avenge their narrow loss to the Giants from earlier in the season and judging by their level of play in recent weeks, they’re a big chance of doing so.

The premiers get forward Jack Stringer back from injury and that will certainly give them more potency in the forward 50.

The Giants finally recorded consecutive wins for the first time in nearly two months with a strong performance over the Demons in Canberra. Leon Cameron’s side will welcome back the tenacious Toby Greene but in a huge blow, will be without ruckman Shane Mumford through suspension.

The Dogs have won four straight, star duo Marcus Bontempelli and Jason Johannisen are in devastating form and with their place in the top eight on the line, we get the feeling the home side will be up for this one.

Prediction: Bulldogs +3.5 @ $1.90

Geelong v Richmond

They were without their superstar Patrick Dangerfield last week but the Cats were absolutely outgunned in every facet of the match by a hungrier Swans outfit. Dangerfield returns to the lineup but Geelong will be without captain Joel Selwood and forward Tom Hawkins which certainly plays into fellow top rivals Richmond.

The Tigers have been sensational of late, winning eight from their past 10 to solidify their place in the top four. And in a huge boost for the club, forward Jack Riewoldt will return after two weeks out with an eye injury.

We expect Geelong to be much better at both ends of the field this week but the Tigers are playing much better footy and should have too much for Chris Scott’s side.

Prediction: Richmond @ $1.70

Brisbane v Gold Coast

The Suns along with Carlton, are the worst performing side in the competition right now with five straight losses and they head into this Queensland derby without their skipper Gary Ablett and star forward Tom Lynch. And to make matters worse, coach Rodney Eade was sacked midweek.

The Lions have shown tremendous improvement in the second half of the season and they were extremely impressive against the high-flying premiers last week. The Suns have been extremely poor away from home this season, winning just two from nine and given the turmoil of the past week, we can’t see them overcoming their bigger brother.

Prediction: Lions -13.5 @ $1.90

Melbourne v St Kilda

This is a huge clash for both sides and perhaps the last roll of the dice when it comes to finals footy.

Melbourne, have dropped three of their past four matches and looked particularly out of sorts last week against a rampant Giants outfit. However, they do have a good run home and a win over the Saints this week will set them up for very winnable clashes against the Lions and Pies.

St Kilda were very impressive in their victory over West Coast last week and will be looking to carry that form into this clash. Remarkably, the Saints haven’t played at the MCG this season and that should play into the Dees’ hands.

We’re expecting an extremely tight contest but Melbourne are the most accurate team in front of goal in 2017 and that efficiency in the forward 50 should see them through.

Prediction: Melbourne @ $1.60


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