AFL ROUND 8
WEST COAST v WESTERN BULLDOGS
West Coast and the Western Bulldogs should put on a great game for this weeks Friday night fixture. Both are coming off tight wins and both sides are 5-2 as they enter round eight. The Eagles had their best win for season 2017 with an away win over Port Adelaide. The Eagles were as always dangerous up forward and strong down back as they needed to be with Port dominating around the ground. West Coast not surprisingly are undefeated at home this year.
The 2016 Premiers have made life very difficult for themselves in just about every game they have played in 2017. They have had to come back from 5/6 goals deficit against North, Brisbane and Richmond. Probably the sides best performance this year was when they lost a narrow game against GWS a few weeks back. Bad kicking in front of goal cost them that night and their kicking for goal in general this year has been a major concern. They should regain straight shooter Tory Dickson for this game. He will need to replace fellow forward Jake Stringer who is out injured for a couple weeks. Josh Dunkley will also miss through injury.
Both teams have flattered to deceive this year and i would expect a tight tussle here. The Dogs destroyed the Eagles in last years elimination final as they began their fairytale run. So you can expect a confident Western Bulldogs side. That said you can also expect a hungry Eagles side desperate for revenge and to maintain their stronghold at Subiaco.
Going to go for the home side here at the margin of 1-39 as i can't see a blow out. West Coast have had winning margins of 19 - 26 and 41 in their 3 home games this year. The Doggies two losses this year - one in Perth to Fremantle by 16 and GWS got them by 2 points.
GWS v COLLINGWOOD
GWS host the battling Collingwood at home(Spotless Stadium) this week. The Giants have only played at this venue once in season 2017 when they thrashed the Gold Coast Suns in round 2.
The Giants were stung last Friday night by an impressive St Kilda and should be looking to take out their anger on a Collingwood side who will be missing their midfield gun Adam Treloar. They also have captain Scot Pendelbury in doubt as he awaits the birth of his first child. On the positive side the Pies regain Daniel Wells who is crucial for them with his precise kicking skills something that is lacking in the Collingwood outfit.
GWS are not without their own issues. They continue to lose players and on the bank of their loss last week they lost defender Adam Kennedy and mid Jacob Hopper. They are now missing - Haynes - Buntine - Griffen, Toby Greene has a week left of suspension and we still haven't seen Brett Deledio. They do regain Lachie Whitfield for his first game this year but you would expect he will be a little of the pace.
The Line for this game has moved from GWS -29.5 start of the week to now -35.5. Most of that would be on the back of Treloar missing and possibly Pendlebury. The Pies have been a major disappointment this year winning just the two games but it has to be said they have been competitive in every match with their biggest losing margin being last weeks 23 point loss to Carlton.
In this corresponding fixture last season the Pies had a big win against the Giants so they will enter full of confidence.
I can't see GWS losing but i can't see them blowing Collingwood away either. The value may well be the Giants to win 1-39.
ESSENDON v GEELONG
Geelong and Essendon clash at the G on Saturday night. The Cats enter this match having lost their last two games and looking well of the pace. The Bombers started the season on fire going 2 from 2 but since then have won just the one game when they had a stirring ANZAC day win. They gave up a 5 goal lead last week as Fremantle over ran them in Perth.
The Cats will be again missing Lachie Henderson who has been one of their best players this season down back and his absence certainly played a big part in the Suns scoring 124 points last week. They also conceded 107 points in their loss to Collingwood. So the Cats have a few issues down back and now they also have their inspirational skipper Joel Selwood carrying an ankle injury. He is expected to play but he and Patrick Dangerfield don't look to be at 100%
The Bombers have played three games at the G this year for two wins and one loss and seem to play their best footy at the venue. If Daniher and Hooker can fire up and kick straight they can trouble a Cats defence missing Henderson.
You never know what your going to get with the Cats but i'm willing to take them on at the line of 22-23.5.
GOLD COAST v PORT ADELAIDE
Port Adelaide and Gold Coast take AFL to the International level when they play in Shanghai on Sunday. This game was the idea of Port Adelaide and they have put a hell of lot of time and money into making this happen. They have had staff travel to the city on numerous occasions over the past six months in an attempt to best prepare for this unusual fixture.
The Suns on the other hand almost seem unwilling participants. They have made no secret of their lack of desire for this game complaining about the amount of time it will take the club to get there and the conditions the players may find themselves in - (air pollution and humidity). To back this up they have left three players behind in David Swallow, Callum Ah Chee who has been very good for them lately and Matt Rosa. Rory Thompson is 50/50 to return to the side.
Port went down last week to West Coast in a game they dominated but couldn't finish in front of goal and the Eagles couldn't miss. Port dominated all the key stats so their form is still solid. They are the only team in the comp without a listed injured player but they have admitted Robbie Gray is struggling with a groin and he looked off his game last week. Gray is expected to play this week and then have a few weeks off.
Hard to know what this game will bring but conditions are expected to be fine but humid. Port started the week -18.5 at the line and are now -20.5. I tend to think the money is right here and wouldn't be surprised if the line started a few points higher. The Suns have been much improved of late but their attitude to this game is a massive worry and Port will be out to impress in their marquee game.
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Finals Week Three -4.2 12 -35% Finals Week Two +0.42 11 4% Finals Week One +7.18 11 65% Round Twenty-Three -9.09 21 -43% Round Twenty-Two +9.47 16 59% Round Twenty-One +8.55 13 66% Round Twenty -8 17 -47% Round Nineteen -9.2 13 -71% Round Eighteen +3.01 15 20% Round Seventeen +9.88 16 62% Round Sixteen -4.05 15 -27% Round Fifteen +0.12 13 1% Round Fourteen -2.48 15 -17% Round Thirteen +1.93 5 39% Round Twelve -6.3 14 -45% Round Eleven -2.1 9 -23% Round Ten -5.26 10 -53% Round Nine +4 11 36% Round Eight +10.01 9 111% Round Seven -10.26 17 -60% Round Six -2.4 14 -17% Round Five -12.3 18 -68% Round Four -5.21 11 -47% Round Three -1.16 10 -12% Round Two -11 11 -100% Round One -0.27 6 -5% Total -38.71 334 -12%