The 2010 AFL Season heads into Round 9 this weekend and once again sees some fantastic fixtures lined up.
The top sides secured some impressive score lines last weekend, with Collingwood increasing their lead at the top of the table – to see a complete review of Round 8’s results, click here.
Heading into Round 9, the Pies look to maintain and add to their number one ranking, although have a tough challenge against the Cats who would take the lead if they secured the win.
Still to kick off their campaign with points to their name are Richmond, who have the tough challenge of beating Essendon in Saturday evening.
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Below is a preview of the matches coming up for Round 9 of the AFL Season.
Collingwood V Geelong
Bouncing off the weekend’s proceedings will be the crucial fixture between number one and two on the ladder when Collingwood host Geelong at the MCG.
In what is expected to be one of the games of this season, the duo are coming into the fixture on absolute top form, dominating their respective opponents last weekend.
The Pies have surprised all so far this season, having lost just once, and with Luke Ball upping his game even further against Freo in Round 8, will certainly be a challenge for the Cats.
Geelong mauled the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba last weekend – with the win being the third consecutive over ten goals, and Tom Hawkins claimed an impressive four.
This is sure to be a high scoring affair, with both sides hitting the numbers as the weeks have progressed – however it will be a close decider between who comes out on top.
It seems the title defenders travel to Melbourne to show the new table toppers how it is done, with the Cats favourites at $1.76, while Collingwood are at $2.07.
North Melbourne V Western Bulldogs
Starting the fixtures for this Saturday, North Melbourne will be at home to the Western Bulldogs at the Etihad Stadium for their Round 9 fixture.
The Roos are heading into the weekend having slipped into the bottom eight, and will look to turn that around with a win over the Dogs after a gallant performance against Adelaide last weekend.
The home side could see Hamish McIntosh and David Hale out for the fixture which would be a severe blow to the Roos’ defence.
Heading to Melbourne with some fairly convincing wins in recent weeks, the Western Bulldogs will hope Barry Hall will continue his strong form from last weekend.
The Dogs’ confidence will also be up with the news Liam Picken may be starting against the Roos this weekend, after recovering from his ankle injury.
Despite having the home advantage, North Melbourne are outsiders to claim the win at $3.80, while the Dogs are dominating the odds at $1.27.
Sydney V Fremantle
The SCG will also be in action on Saturday afternoon when the Sydney Swans host Fremantle for their tough Round 9 fixture.
The home side have slumped over the past couple of weeks after a great start to the season, and may be affected by the news co-skipper Brett Kirk will retire from the sport at the end of the season.
The Swans will hope Adam Goodes will hit the stats he made last weekend, after securing four goals and 20 possessions – certainly not a score to be ashamed of as the versatile player hits his top form.
While Freo has had a dream start to their 2010 campaign, it looks like this will be their sink or swim fixture as they face the Swans with some key injuries.
The fantastic back-line has been hit, while defender Michael Johnson will be out for six weeks after off-field antics have seen him suspended.
With many factors affecting the mental side of both sets of players, this match will go in the favour of those most focused on the task at hand, which currently sees the home side as favourites at $1.71, while Freo are at $2.15.
Essendon V Richmond
On Saturday evening, the MCG will see Essendon host Richmond in their Round 9 fixture.
The Bombers have had a fluctuating run recently with a loss, win, loss and win over the past four weeks – so Round 9 is due to deliver a loss if it follows the cycle.
The home side will be nervous about the lack of Cale Hooker, and therefore the reduction in ability to score goals, so may see Michael Hurley sent back.
The Tigers almost managed to grab their first win of the season in Round 8, losing by just three points to the Hawks – and it will be interesting as to how the score line will affect their confidence when they run out this weekend.
Having the better of previous meets, Richmond seem to raise their gamer against Essendon and will hope Jack Riewoldt will continue his high goal scoring record – claiming four last weekend, and needs to step up with the loss of Daniel Jackson.
The Bombers are heading into the match favourites at $1.26, while the Tigers are at $3.90 – which could be a worthy wager considering how close they were last week to winning.
Melbourne V Port Adelaide
Also on Saturday evening over at the TIO Stadium, Melbourne will be at home to Port Adelaide for their Round 9 clash.
Despite having lost their last three fixtures consecutively, the Dees have vastly improved from the team which claimed the wooden spoon over the last two years.
They can be pleased having lost to the current table leaders by just a point, and served the then in-from Lions side their first defeat for the season and will look to Jack Watts to improve on his return to the season last week.
The Power have had a satisfactory season so far and is sitting comfortable at the bottom of the top eight with five wins.
Surely Port Adelaide will have the advantage this weekend having played at the Northern Territory stadium four times, in contrast to Melbourne’s opening home match at the stadium, which will provide contrasting conditions to current Melbourne weather.
The Power are currently going into the game as favourites at $1.60, while Melbourne are underdogs at $2.35.
Adelaide V Brisbane Lions
Early on Sunday afternoon, Adelaide will play host to the Brisbane Lions at the AAMI Stadium for their Round 9 fixture.
The home side are certainly starting to feel the pressure of sitting second from the bottom of the table with just one win from eight, and will also struggle with the lack of Berni Vince and Matthew Jaensch suspended.
However the once unstoppable Brisbane side have had their confidence knocked over the past four rounds, which the Crows need to take advantage of if they are to improve their less than impressive season.
The Lions come into this weekend after an embarrassing thrashing by the Pies in front of their home Brisbane crowd.
They may have several key injuries, including Daniel Merrett, Jared Brennan and Josh Drumming, but the early season top four favourites also need to ask questions about the fitness of the once dominating duo of Jonathan Brown and Brendon Fevola who were easily tamed last week.
The Lions are travelling to South Australia as favourites with odds of $1.67, while Adelaide are at $2.22.
Carlton V Hawthorn
Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium will see Carlton at home to Hawthorn on Sunday afternoon when they battle it out on the oval.
The Blues have found some solid form in recent weeks, having beaten some of the more respected sides such as the Cats and the Saints, and sit comfortably in the top eight.
However they are starting to get hit with some injuries as Kane Lucas and Ryan Houlihan struggle with hamstring niggles and Jarrad Waite copped a two week suspension.
In contrast the Hawks have had a dire start to the season, with just two wins from eight – one of which was a last gasp three point win over bottom of the table Tigers.
With the home ground advantage, the Blues are heading into the game as favourites at $1.37, while the Hawks are at $3.12 – although could last week’s win have turned their season around for the better.
West Coast Eagles V St Kilda
Rounding out the proceedings for the weekend, the West Coast Eagles will host St Kilda at the Subiaco Oval in their top of the table clash.
This will certainly be a close affair, as the Eagles look to maintain their top four position, whereas the Saints will certainly be looking to get back to the top fleet.
The home side have managed two consecutive wins in the last two rounds – although they were unconvincing performances against less than challenging sides.
The Eagles will hope Mark LeCras can cause problems once more for the Saints’ defence as he has done to so many with his speed at the Subiaco Oval.
The Saints on the other hand have been subject to upset losses, although have certainly not slumped in form and will hope to gain the points this weekend with the help of Sam Fisher playing his best up front.
The Saints are travelling to Western Australia as slight favourites to take the win in what is sure to be a close match at $1.82, while the Eagles are at $2.
AFL Round 9 Fixtures
|21.05.10||Collingwood V Geelong||MCG||7.40pm|
|22.05.10||North Melbourne V Western Bulldogs||Etihad Stadium||2.10pm|
|22.05.10||Sydney V Fremantle||SCG||2.10pm|
|22.05.10||Essendon V Richmond||MCG||7.45pm|
|22.05.10||Melbourne V Port Adelaide||TIO Staduium||7.10pm|
|23.05.10||Adelaide V Brisbane Lions||AAMI Stadium||12.40pm|
|23.05.10||Carlton V Hawthorn||Etihad Stadium||2.10pm|
|23.05.10||West Coast Eagles V St Kilda||Subiaco Oval||2.40pm|