AFL Round 4, AFL Round 15

Pete Roberts from Behind The Footy is sharing some of his great content with us for the 2021 AFL season. Pete spent fifteen years in AFL coaching boxes as an analyst. He now shares those insights with footy fans. Here’s his AFL Round 15 Preview.

🍻 Pub bets Watching a game and want an interest? We’ve thrown in the pub bet for that very reason… it might just be a smart way to play based on Pete’s excellent analysis!

More COVID chaos, the usual MRO drama, a few teams under serious pressure and a few stars set to return. Feels like we are talking about anything other than the matchups this weekend!

Well, let’s right that wrong and check out today’s games and see if we can snag all the winners. Won’t be easy.

AFL Round 15: North Melbourne v Gold Coast

One of the more intriguing matchups of the weekend, if only because of the kind of sick fascination in seeing two pretty poor teams going head to head. Often it’s a case of who is the least worst in these instances. And we have no idea who that will be…

The Suns get to travel all the way from sunny Queensland to the south of Tasmania in 12 degree weather. If they don’t come ready for a scrap, that alone could end up costing them four points.

Somehow the Roos are favourites, even after winning only one of their past 21 matches. Two in their past 28. Recent form suggests their favouritism is justified – a draw with the Giants and a sub four-goal defeat to the airborne Lions. Both in Tassie. It’s clearly where they play their best football at the moment.

Is their home ground advantage enough, though? Absolutely not. Neither is their inability to play four quarters of competitive footy. The Roos have the second-highest pressure rating in first quarters. They drop to dead last in final terms.

The challenge for the Suns will be to meet them head on from the first bounce. It is absolutely critical that they set the tone for the day through the middle, and they are equipped to do it. We get to see what the likes of Miller, Greenwood, Rowell and Anderson are really made of.

For a team down on confidence like the Suns, their first quarter will tell us everything we need to know about their chances. They are the better side, playing arguably worse footy than the Roos. There is the dilemma.

Picking Gold Coast. Not sure why.

Pick Gold Coast by 10
🍻 Pub bet
Gold Coast H2H
$2.12 with TopSport

AFL Round 15: Collingwood v Fremantle

Can’t wait to see Collingwood first-up after a break with Robert Harvey at the helm. He may well encourage them to play with the kind of freedom that many outsiders have been craving for quite some time.

Defensively, the Pies were super against Melbourne in Round 13. A repeat of that effort would make things incredibly difficult for Fremantle, who have had issues on offence all season. Taberner’s return will help, as will the potential for the Pies to be a little rusty in trying to implement a game plan with a few tweaks.

The Dockers probably have the upper hand through the middle, particularly with Sean Darcy able to break even with Brodie Grundy in the ruck. With enough supply they can put some pressure on Collingwood’s defence – their big challenge will be conversion.

The long injury list for Fremantle has to catch up with them at some point. They were lucky to find themselves with a soft matchup against the Suns prior to the bye when they were missing a large portion of their best 22. The Pies are a tougher challenge but hardly insurmountable.

Still have to be with Collingwood, and keen to get our first look to see what might have changed. Don’t be surprised to see a few positional tweaks, or a bit more attacking flair. That could come with some mistakes so the Pies aren’t certainties, but think they have the edge in this one.

Pick Collingwood by 12
🍻 Pub bet
Collingwood H2H
$1.70 with TopSport

AFL Round 15: Essendon v Melbourne

The overreaction to Essendon’s win over a 17th-placed team was extraordinary. All of a sudden Jake Stringer is in the top 20 players in the competition (not in our book), and the Bombers are the team outside the eight most likely to pinch a spot in the finals.

Yep, they are tracking in the right direction – Jones, Cox, Hind, Perkins, etc – the future is bright. But it needs to be put into the context of their season so far, and their chances of winning this game. They can certainly win if they play at their best, which they didn’t last weekend.

Melbourne’s defence will be a massive test for them. All of Essendon’s big totals have come against teams playing inferior football to the Demons, with less accomplished defenders. They’ve posted 100-point totals against St Kilda, Collingwood, Carlton, GWS (in a loss) and the Kangaroos. The 80-90 point scores like they managed against West Coast and Richmond are about the mark they need to meet here. Not sure they can.

The Demons were ripe to be beaten against Collingwood at the SCG prior to their bye, and still had their chances to get the job done. It was probably the jolt they needed to remind them that there are a few other teams playing finals-like footy, and flags aren’t won in June even if you’re on top of the ladder at the half way mark.

Melbourne have surprisingly failed against the better defences, rather than the potent offences that have the ability to wear down their back six. Essendon are another team with a high-octane offence but definite holes going the other way, so if the Dees stay disciplined and turn the ball over often enough, they will win.

An exciting Essendon has a small window of opportunity turn it on and cause the upset here. The more likely scenario is the Demons prove they are a few years ahead of Essendon in their development.

Pick Melbourne by 26
🍻 Pub bet
Melbourne -22.5
$1.90 with TopSport

AFL Round 15: Port Adelaide v Sydney

The Swans have run out of steam after their blistering start to the season. Should have dropped the game against St Kilda, lost to an even worse side in the Hawks. Have teams worked them out a bit as well?

Sydney’s last two opponents have provided a lesson in how to beat them. Deny their uncontested marks, particularly through the middle, stay disciplined on defence and halve your fair share of contests, and you’re half way there.

The Swans have lost the uncontested mark count only three times this season – two were losses, the other was their unlikely escape against an inaccurate Geelong in Round 7. Their fourth lowest differential was a loss to the Giants. Port have the fourth-lowest uncontested marks against tally for the year. The team with the lowest? Sydney.

So the game becomes about ball control. And even if the Swans can break even, the concern still has to be the potency of their forward line compared to Port Adelaide. We can’t get too carried away with Port given their form has been fairly mixed this season, so this becomes a pretty intriguing contest.

With Sydney showing definite signs of fatigue and a lengthy stint away from home hanging over their heads, you have to side with Port in this one.

Pick Port Adelaide by 25

🍻 Pub bet
Port Adelaide -19.5
$1.95 with TopSport

Match previews for the three Sunday games will be posted soon…

Pete Roberts from Behind The Footy is sharing some of his great content with us for the 2021 AFL season. Pete spent fifteen years in AFL coaching boxes as an analyst. He now shares those insights with footy fans.

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