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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 21 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 21: Carlton v Gold Coast

Always a conundrum when teams are coming off an absolute hiding. The Suns were embarrassing last week, albeit against a far better side than they face here.

What do Gold Coast do at half time? They’ve kicked 28 points in the third quarter across their last four matches. TOTAL. We can forgive them for the Giants game, where they kicked into a four-goal wind on that occasion, but the other three were in perfect conditions. Time to mix up the routine, lads!

Which Carlton do we get here? If they bring anywhere near the level of pressure they found last week – a season best 211 – then the Suns will find it difficult. The problem is, that was a huge spike in their defensive intent compared to previous weeks. Remember, only two weeks ago they failed to turn up against the bottom team. Do we get the side that beat St Kilda or the one that lost to North? The truth might lie somewhere in between.

In what looks like a fairly open contest, the ability for both teams to move the ball will be the key. Neither of them are elite ball movement teams but they do enjoy when they can move with speed into a reasonably open forward line. McKay (& Curnow) up one end, Ben King up the other.

You’d think Weitering can keep King under wraps. The usually honest Suns defenders were given a lesson last week, arguably hung out to dry by their mids and forwards. In a game where the ball might be coming in thick and fast yet again, they can’t afford to just be Caravan defenders – trailing in behind the Carlton forwards wherever they go.

Have to lean to the Blues. Amazing what difference a week makes, though. Can’t be super confident in a side which lost to North Melbourne only 13 days ago…

Pick: Carlton by 22

🍻 Pub bet
Blues by 1-39 Points
$2.07 with TopSport

AFL Round 21: Richmond v North Melbourne

We were wrong about North last week. The expectation was they would taper off over the last few weeks of the year, beginning with a hiding at the hands of a red hot Cats outfit. Didn’t happen.

Now they have a different problem, the Roos – becoming the kings of the “honourable loss”. History says there is a real danger of this pattern leading to a fairly substantial loss at some point, as the team runs out of energy just to compete. We thought last week was that moment for North. Maybe we were a week too early.

Richmond have lost six of their past seven matches. Half of them to teams below them. But they do come out of a tough three week stretch against reasonable teams, ready to play with a lot more freedom here. Five unforced changes for the Tigers, giving us our first look at the exciting Maurice Rioli. Zurhaar and Thomas come back in for the Roos, arguably two of their most important players.

Expecting Richmond to win the same way they usually do – through their offence. They’ve won eight games this season, scoring over 100 points five times. We know they aren’t defending nearly as well as previous years, but they get a chance to attack North Melbourne here on their preferred ground. The Roos haven’t played on the MCG this season, and the Tigers’ running power hasn’t gone away.

There is a real query on North Melbourne’s ability to defend the air down back. No team has conceded more forward 50 marks than the Roos. They may have improved sharply and managed a 3-3 record in the past six games, but even through that period they are still 17th for conceding F50 marks to their opposition. We know that’s generally the way Richmond wins games, so with this kind of setup the Tigers are in the box seat for a crucial four points. 15+ marks inside 50 and they should easily have North covered.

Pick: Richmond by 29

🍻 Pub bet
Tigers -16.5
$1.85 with TopSport

AFL Round 21: Adelaide v Port Adelaide

A Showdown in front of a small crowd, at least. Even though it looks like a mismatch on paper, these games are usually worth watching.

The Crows are probably the most out-of-form team in the competition – they’ve lost seven of their past nine matches, winning only a miracle comeback in the pouring rain in Cairns and a shootout against Hawthorn where they just couldn’t miss.

Port have finally found themselves with a settled team, some of them slowly gaining fitness after a few weeks back following injury. The general consensus is they aren’t a top level side, but they don’t have to be to win this matchup. A 5-1 record in their past six games and the fourth highest scoring offence in that period. They are travelling fine.

So theoretically Port just put up the kind of score the Crows can’t match. Adelaide would need to shoot the lights out again – No Tex Walker (scandal hanging over him and all) so Fogarty and Thilthorpe will have to find a way against a reasonable Port defence. Hard to see that happening, even if we account for a slight lift from a pro-Crows crowd against a team they hate.

The lack of speed from Adelaide should give Port the chance to get back to their 190+ pressure ratings from a few weeks ago. With that sort of number, the Power will get their turnover game rolling once again and find it pretty easy to find a mark inside 50 and score.

Anything other than a huge spike defensively from the Crows should see Port do this comfortably. The leakiest defence in the past six weeks will find it hard against a team that can score several different ways.

Pick: Port Adelaide by 41

🍻 Pub bet
Port Over 98.5 Points
$1.91 with TopSport

AFL Round 21: St Kilda v Sydney

Huge trap game for Sydney. Everyone remembers the Saints losing to Carlton last week and written them off. Expected score in that match was 89-82 in St Kilda’s favour. Their past month has been OK, running Port Adelaide and West Coast to within a couple of goals.

So this all comes down to whether you think the Swans can hold their form. If they’re off slightly, the Saints are equipped to trouble them. Max King and Tim Membrey hold the key to their chances. McCartin v King could decide whether the Saints can get close.

Up the other end, it’s a scary prospect for St Kilda – Franklin still playing well, Sam Reid with a couple of games under the belt to stretch their already vulnerable key defence, and Hayward and Heeney threats in the air as well. If the Saints can’t bring the ball to ground they are toast.

This is one of those games where the Swans are clearly the better side, but there is a sneaking suspicion they are in danger of a flat one somewhere along the line. Never an easy thing trying to predict a dip in form. After five wins in a row and hub life still over their heads, in some ways they are due for at least a bit of a scare…

Pick: Sydney by 10

🍻 Pub bet
Full-time Tri Bet

Either team by <19.5 points
$2.26 with TopSport

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