With eight rounds now played in 2012 there are three stand out teams who sit equal on seven wins at the top of the premiership ladder. West Coast, Adelaide and Essendon have played some terrific football so far this year but are closely followed by the consistent Collingwood Magpies and suprise packet Sydney. Round 9 promises to deliver plenty of exciting AFL action as well as the usual expected dour affairs involving the teams languishing at the bottom of the ladder.
Western Bulldogs V Geelong, Friday May 25, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
The poor old Bulldogs may have four wins this year but they have struggled when playing quality opponents and despite not being at their best, quality is what Geelong are. Nobody would say the Cats have set the world alight this year but they boast a talented line up and even if not at one hundred percent, they should be able to dispose of the Bulldogs.
Richmond V Hawthorn, Saturday March 26, 1:45pm, MCG
This could be one game where an upset may be on the cards. Hawthorn will start as rightful favourites after providing Fremantle with a frightful flogging on the weekend but come up against a gritty Tigers team. Richmond knocked off the in-form Swans in round 7 and put up a fighting contest against Essendon on Saturday night. Hawthorn have plenty of attacking flair with stars Cyril Rioli and Lance Franklin but they will have to be at their best or risk being embarrassed by the 13th placed Tigers.
Gold Coast V Port Adelaide, Saturday May 26, 2:10pm, Metricon Stadium
The Suns have been even less impressive than newcomers GWS this year and even though they come up against a lowly-placed Port team it is impossible to tip them. Port may just have two wins this year but they produced a gritty display to beat North Melbourne by two points on the weekend while the Gold Coast could not score more than 34 points against the Bulldogs. The Gold Coast will probably win a game this season but it won’t be happening this weekend.
St Kilda V Sydney, Saturday May 26, 4:40pm, Etihad Stadium
This could well be the match of the round. The Swans were beaten by Richmond in round 7 but bounced back to flog the hapless Demons by 101 points last weekend. Melbourne are winless though and it is hard to take too much out of that game. St Kilda have improved remarkably over the past couple of weeks and beat a quality Carlton team two rounds ago before challenging competition front runners West Coast on the weekend. They may just be too good in front of their loyal home fans at Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Greater Western Sydney V Essendon, Saturday May 26, 7:40pm, Skoda Stadium
GWS suffered a massive 92-point defeat at the hands of the struggling Lions on the weekend and it gets even more difficult this Saturday. The code’s new kids on the block have posted just one victory, against the winless Gold Coast, and come up against an Essendon side that have been on fire this year. The Bombers were the first team to knock off the Eagles two weeks ago and backed up with a solid effort to beat Richmond on Saturday.
GWS Win $21.00
Essendon Win $1.01
Adelaide Crows V Collingwood, Saturday May 26, 7:40pm, AAMI Stadium
Adelaide may head into the game as $1.50 favourites but this game is far from a forgone conclusion. Sure, the Crows have been impressive for their seven wins this year but after some early season stumbles the Magpies have impressed lately and are hot on the leaders’ tails. With many of their stars beginning to find form, an upset is potentially on the cards despite the Crows coming off an excellent win over Carlton.
North Melbourne V Brisbane, Sunday May 27, 1:10pm, Etihad Stadium
Another potential upset here and some value for the punters with the Lions paying $3.80 to topple the Kangaroos. North Melbourne were upset by Port Adelaide last weekend and will need to turn things around quickly or face another embarrassing defeat to Brisbane who will be full of confidence after hammering GWS on the weekend.
Carlton V Melbourne, Sunday May 27, 3:15pm, MCG
The Blues will be relieved to face off against Melbourne this weekend after being handed a shocking defeat by Adelaide on the weekend. It is the perfect opportunity for them to bounce back against a Demons side who have been a class below everyone they have played this year. They simply don’t have the talent to challenge Carlton on Sunday afternoon.
West Coast V Fremantle, Sunday May 27, 4:40pm, Patersons Stadium
A bumper local derby to cap off the round but the table topping West Coast side are too good to bet against here. The only loss they have suffered was when they faced Essendon at well below full strength and they bounced back on the weekend to beat St Kilda by 30. Fremantle should produce an improved effort after their 56-point losing wake up call at the hands of Hawthorn but don’t have the roster to match their local rivals.
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