afl round 1, afl ladder, afl round 16, afl round 17

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 22 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 22: Melbourne v Adelaide

The Crows did the unthinkable in Round 10 and snapped Melbourne’s nine-game winning streak. Our review of that match mentioned the Dees ran into a Crows side at the absolute top of their game. They aren’t travelling nearly as well right now.

A few crucial misses and some missed free kicks probably took the four points away from Melbourne on that occasion. They probably won’t need any luck this time, as long as they hold their form. A good weather forecast for Saturday is a positive – as good as they were in the wet against West Coast, they are a far better side in dry conditions. Transition footy is their strength, and they will get ample opportunity to put it on display against a bottom four team.

With no Sam Jacobs to compete with Max Gawn and Brodie Smith and Will Hamill concussed last week, the Crows will find this incredibly tough. Even though Melbourne aren’t the most potent top four side at the moment, they’ve still got plenty of avenues to goal (particularly with Ben Brown finding some form) and a defence that shouldn’t really be troubled by what the Crows can muster.

Melbourne aren’t the kind of team who are able to take their foot off the gas, so they still need to play to a reasonable level here. It’s just hard to see how the Crows put together four quarters good enough to beat them regardless. Perhaps they could catch the Dees napping in the first quarter and gain some confidence early, but it sounds like a fair stretch to think Melbourne aren’t a far better side over 120 minutes.

Pick: Melbourne by 31

🍻 Pub bet
First team to score in the First Quarter 
Adelaide Crows
$2.54 with
AFL Round 22: Gold Coast v Essendon

After last week’s heist against the Bulldogs, we can’t get seduced by the Bombers in this one. It was a 32-point loss on expected score, so we will treat it that way.

Clearly the Suns are a huge step down from the Bulldogs, so the Bombers head into the game as clear favourites. Which Suns team will turn up? They were lucky to avoid a 100-point loss against Melbourne only two weeks ago, then scraped past Carlton in a rather odd stoppage game at the same venue.

Not sure the Suns want another clearance battle here. The Bombers have gone +16 (against the Bulldogs) and +8 (Swans) in their past two games so they won’t mind plenty of stoppages. Essendon are 3rd overall for stoppage scoring differential this season. The Suns are 15th, so they will have to win a different way.

So the Suns need a turnover game – their four best turnover score differentials have all been wins, and they haven’t won a match this season with a negative differential. Melbourne, Brisbane and the Bulldogs have been able to expose them in this area recently. North Melbourne and Port Adelaide have done the same. Big question mark on whether their turnover game is strong enough against Essendon here.

The Bombers boast the superior stoppage game as well as a few more weapons through the midfield and forward line if the Suns manage to make it a turnover battle. A spike in form from Gold Coast (coinciding with a dip from Essendon after being up for a while) gives them a chance, but still have to pick the Dons in this one.

Pick: Essendon by 19

🍻 Pub bet
Bombers by 1-39 points 
$2.04 with TopSport
AFL Round 22: Fremantle v West Coast

The last time these two sides met, we absolutely declared the Eagles as certainties. They posted their biggest winning margin of the year in a 59-point win. Ten individual goalkickers, seven of them hitting the scoreboard multiple times. It was also their highest score of the season – 132 points. They have failed to post a total even half that size in five games since. Where has their offence gone?

Firstly, winter hasn’t exactly been friendly to them. We constantly say how wet weather derails the Eagles more than any other side of the modern era. If you’re already the worst pressure side in the competition and rely on marking the footy for your whole gameplan, rain is your worst enemy.

With little chance of rain on Sunday, the Eagles get their preferred conditions. They face a Fremantle side still mixing their form, even though you can’t really fault their effort. The case against them in Round 7 was their lack of firepower compared to the Eagles. That argument still stands here.

Looks like 80 points is the magic number. Fremantle have a 2-10 record when conceding 80 or more. To win here, they have to avoid an open contest where the Eagles will have too many weapons not to post a competitive total.

Considering these two teams are the two worst pressure sides in the competition, you have to lean towards this being a reasonably open contest, even if they do lift a little in the local Derby. Under that scenario, the Eagles are in the box seat despite their pretty awful recent form. The Dockers need to find a way to lock this one down and grind it out. That’s their chance.

Pick: West Coast by 21
🍻 Pub bet
Eagles 1-39 points 
$2.05 with TopSport

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