AFL Round 1, topsport podcast episode 3

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 17 Sunday 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!
AFL Round 17: GWS v Gold Coast

What a matchup. The winner might be the team who can hit the scoreboard early before each team loses a few players to frostbite.

The conditions will favour the blue-collar Giants far more than the inconsistent Suns. Don’t let the +58 uncontested mark figure of last week cloud your judgement on the Suns’ ability to win their fair share of footy. They’ve lost the mark differential in five of the past seven weeks, and the same with the contested possession and disposal count. Keeping the footy is their biggest issue.

The Giants come equipped with the midfield weapons to ensure the ball ends up in their front half as much as possible. A +16 clearance count against Melbourne is a good platform for this game – they have only been beaten at clearance differential once in the last nine matches. The Suns ball movement would have to be pretty slick (or the Giants are somehow off defensively) to give their forwards enough supply.

Really interested to see how mature this Suns team can be off the back of arguably their best ever win. That sort of effort again and they will be super competitive. We can’t say GWS have a super post-bye formline, with two wins, a loss and a draw in their past four matches having played only one top eight team in that period.

The game setup just forces us to favour GWS strongly – if they are anywhere near on their game defensively they should enjoy plenty of footy, which should translate into a win.

Pick GWS by 26
🍻 Pub bet
GWS -16.5
$1.90 with TopSport

AFL Round 17: Western Bulldogs v Sydney

Our first look at the Dogs without Naughton, and with their number one pick making his debut. The Bulldogs weren’t very interested in defending through the middle last week. If they do that again, this Sydney side will enjoy exploiting all that space with their foot skills. The Swans are the last team you want to accidentally energise by not clamping down defensively.

Two of the top four pressure sides in the competition go head to head here. The footy will resemble a hot potato in the first quarter – wouldn’t shock to see the midfielders rack up huge disposal totals as they try to flip it around to find space. If that’s the case you have to feel the Dogs’ deep midfield should have the edge in that area.

The Swans are used to high pressure matches, so they should feel right at home in a bruising contest. Their biggest test will be their ability to move it with speed to their forward line, where the likes of Franklin, Papley, Heeney and Hayward can get to work.

Many keep thinking of the Swans as a dour stoppage side which posts low totals and grinds their way to win. They still have that workmanlike quality, but now they have a heap of potency and the skill level to test even the best sides. The Dogs are perhaps the biggest test in footy right now. Without Naughton there’s an opening for Sydney to pinch this.

Do we have the courage to pick the Swans here? Tempted. But not quite.

Pick Western Bulldogs by 5
🍻 Pub bet
Sydney +20.5
$1.90 with TopSport

AFL Round 17: Richmond v Collingwood

Two of the biggest disappointments of last week face off in a Sunday twilight fight to the death. Crowd sizes lifted (slightly) just in time for this one.

What do we make of these two? It’s always the toughest type of game for the preview – two sides who should be better but aren’t, coming off awful defeats, facing each other only a week later.

Clearly the Tigers are a better side overall. They might not be defending well at all, yet they find themselves up against a team that struggles to score. The Pies need a massive lift offensively, and might get a bit of confidence if they find ways through the Tigers early.

Neither side has scored above 81 points in the last three weeks. The problem for Collingwood is that figure extends back to Round 9. Richmond have two scores above 100 since that time, the kind of figure the Magpies dream about.

Is it basically a matter of which forward line can fire? If it is, then you have to be with Richmond. Tom Lynch and Jack Riewoldt with a sprinkling of dangerous smalls is enough to lean their way.

Unless we get another vintage Jamie Elliott performance similar to his six goals in Round 12, or De Goey enjoys his new midfield/forward mix to land a long-awaited BOG, then the Tigers should have this one covered. It’s a critical game for them in terms of their top 8 chances – is there a danger they’ve got the cue in the rack and would prefer to miss the finals altogether and regroup for 2022? It’s definitely a possibility.

If they are switched on then Richmond will win. The Pies will be fired up to spoil their season though, no doubt.

Pick Richmond by 15
🍻 Pub bet
Richmond H2H
$1.62 with TopSport

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