AFL ROUND 8 PREVIEW, TIPS AND ODDS

AFL Round 8

Comments

AFL round 7 bore witness to outstanding bounce-back wins from the Brisbane Lions, Western Bulldogs, Gold Coast Suns and St Kilda Saints.

Meanwhile, Port Adelaide Power maintained the competition lead thanks to an after-the-siren victory, rusty big-dogs Richmond Tigers and West Coast Eagles recorded their third straight wins, and Collingwood Magpies and Melbourne Demons made important statements.

In the last weekend before the AFL premiership heads into a 19-day, four-round footy frenzy, there’s plenty riding on every contest.

Check out our AFL round 8 predictions and AFL round 8 tips with wall-to-wall blockbusters on the docket.

 

GOLD COAST SUNS V WESTERN BULLDOGS: AFL ROUND 8 PREDICTION

THURSDAY 23 JULY – 7:40PM

The Gold Coast Suns get a rare prime-time slot – just reward for their fantastic 4–3 start to 2020. The seventh-placed Suns have put the loss of brilliant rookie Matt Rowell to injury behind them, following up an honourable 17-point loss to Melbourne with a commanding 32-point victory over Sydney.

With Rowell sidelined, another novice has grabbed the limelight. Izak Rankine’s first two AFL games have been packed with highlight-reel moments, including kicking five goals in total against the Demons and Swans. Hugh Greenwood and David Swallow provided the grunt behind last weekend’s win, while Lachie Weller was also superb.

Ninth-placed Western Bulldogs also advanced to a 4–3 record with an emphatic return to form in round 7. After copping a 52-point caning from Carlton, the Bulldogs put the blowtorch on in-form Essendon to run out 42-point winners.

An 11-goals-to-one Bulldogs run told the story of the match, while ruckman Tim English and gun midfielder Marcus Bontempelli were the individual stand-outs.

Gold Coast are just 3–8 against Western Bulldogs since entering the AFL, but the Suns snapped a five-match losing streak in the rivalry via a five-point win in round 3 last season.

The Suns have won three straight at Metricon Stadium, while the Bulldogs’ experience and extra defensive starch saw them installed as midweek favourites. AFL round 8 predictions are split ahead of an absolute ripper of a clash. Despite the smallest margin in a Bulldogs match this season being 24 points, expect a close-fought affair.

AFL footy tips: round 8

Head-to-head: Western Bulldogs

Best bet: Tri bet 19.5 – Either team by 19 or less

See all markets for Gold Coast Suns and Western Bulldogs.

 

GWS GIANTS V RICHMOND TIGERS: AFL ROUND 8 PREDICTION

FRIDAY 24 JULY – 7:50PM

GWS Giants’ and Richmond Tigers’ modest form in 2020 might take the sting out of the AFL Grand Final replay somewhat… But it’s nevertheless a massive showdown in Sydney for both clubs.

The Giants are particularly desperate for a positive result. The erstwhile premiership favourites have slipped well down the pecking order after consecutive losses to Hawthorn and Brisbane left them in 13th place.

GWS captain Stephen Coniglio was superb in the 20-point loss to the Lions last week, but the Giants’ tendency to drift out of games – as well as getting killed on inside-50s every week – is stymieing the club’s title bid. The Giants are sweating on Zac Williams’s return.

The Tigers are slowly regaining momentum after going winless in the first three rounds after the restart. Scrappy wins over Melbourne and Sydney righted the ship before the premiers thrashed North Melbourne by 54 points in round 7.

The undermanned Tigers have moved to fourth on the ladder, with a clutch of new faces leading the charge. Derek Eggmolesse-Smith was a particular stand-out against the Kangaroos. Meanwhile, the Tigers have conceded just five goals in their past two games. Dustin Martin – who had two goals and 16 disposals against North – escaped a suspension after being charged with striking.

The Giants have a 4–8 all-time record against the Tigers. Their last eight clashes were split four apiece, but the Tigers now have a massive psychological edge after their 89-point Grand Final demolition last September. The Giants have won their last four at home against the Tigers, however.

GWS was the midweek favourite and will get plenty of backing in AFL round 8 tips. But while it’s not quite the star-studded line-up that romped to victory in the GF, the improving Tigers should maintain their mental hold on a Giants side that is treading water at present.

AFL footy tips: round 8

Head-to-head: Richmond Tigers

Best bet: Head-to-head – Richmond Tigers

See all markets for GWS Giants and Richmond Tigers.

 

NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS V CARLTON BLUES: AFL ROUND 8 PREDICTION

SATURDAY 25 JULY – 1:05PM

North Melbourne Kangaroos are hurtling towards a bottom-four finish, while rising battlers Carlton Blues are coming off a heartbreaking defeat.

The 2–5 Kangaroos sunk to second-last via their fifth straight loss, a horrendous 54-point defeat to Richmond in which they kicked just 2.11. North were scoreless at half-time in a match further soured by skipper Jack Ziebell reinjuring his hamstring in his return match.

Carlton looked set to back up a 52-point thrashing of the Bulldogs with a huge scalp in round 7, before being edged by an after-the-siren goal against Port Adelaide.

Harry McKay kicked three goals for the Blues, while Patrick Cripps (21 disposals, 7 tackles) and Ed Curnow (20 disposals) left it all out on the oval. It was a cruel way to lose but the Blues can take plenty of heart from pushing the AFL leaders to the brink.

North Melbourne is on a five-match winning streak against Carlton, scoring 113 points or more in each with four margins of 58-plus. Cameron Zurhaar kicked five goals and Ben Brown four in last season’s 18.12 (120) to 8.14 (62) beat down.

If the 3–4 Blues are serious about playing finals footy, beating struggling outfits like the Kangaroos is a non-negotiable. Expect them to vindicate the majority of AFL round 8 tips with a comfortable victory here.

AFL footy tips: round 8

Head-to-head: Carlton Blues

Best bet: Line – Carlton Blues -9.5

See all markets for North Melbourne Kangaroos and Carlton Blues.

 

SYDNEY SWANS V HAWTHORN HAWKS: AFL ROUND 8 PREDICTION

SATURDAY 25 JULY – 3:35PM

Sydney and Hawthorn’s twin Grand Final showdowns in 2012 and ’14 seem a long, long time ago given both heavyweights’ recent struggles.

The 2–4 Swans are on a four-match losing run, tumbling to 16th following a 32-point loss to the Suns at the SCG in round 7. The injury-hit Swans are trotting out a young, inexperienced line-up each week. There’s no shortage of spirit and commitment – and the likes of Tom McCartin and Will Hayward are great prospects – but the lack of top-level talent is showing on the scoreboard.

Meanwhile, the Hawks are hurtling towards a rebuild. After losses to GWS and Collingwood by 30-plus, they were spanked by a 43-point margin at the hands of Melbourne in round 7. There’s more questions than answers swirling around Alistair Clarkson and his ailing charges.

These teams love a close, low-scoring contest. Neither side has managed more than 83 points in their last seven encounters, while the Swans’ 19-point victory in round 14 last year – spearheaded by Buddy Franklin’s four-goal haul – was the only clash of their last six to feature a double-digit margin.

There’s little between the sides again, but not in a good way. Both are struggling big-time, but the youthful Swans’ doggedness may be worth getting behind in an AFL round 8 predictions minefield.

AFL footy tips: round 8

Head-to-head: Sydney Swans

Best bet: Line – Sydney Swans +6.5

See all markets for Sydney Swans and Hawthorn Hawks.

 

PORT ADELAIDE POWER V ST KILDA SAINTS: AFL ROUND 8 PREDICTION

SATURDAY 25 JULY – 7:40PM

AFL ladder leaders Port Adelaide Power added a victory-from-the-jaws-of-defeat effort to their stunning 6–1 season narrative last weekend. After leading Carlton at every change, the Power looked to have thrown it away in the final quarter – including a couple of butchered attempts at a late go-ahead goal.

But Robbie Gray stepped up to kick an unforgettable 45m matchwinning goal from near the boundary line after the siren. Coleman Medal co-leader Charlie Dixon kicked another three majors against the Blues.

St Kilda Saints clawed back to sixth with a 4–3 record, responding to a shocking collapse to the Dockers with a 23-point win over the battling Crows. The Saints kicked the last three goals of a hard-fought match at Adelaide Oval as Dan Butler (three goals) and Jack Steele (26 disposals) shone.

Port are on an eight-match winning streak against the Saints, whose last victory in the rivalry was way back in 2011. The Power slotted 22 majors in a 70-point rout in the historic Shanghai showdown last year.

The Saints remain unproven against quality teams and Port are on too much of a roll to fall and create an upset in this one.

AFL footy tips: round 8

Head-to-head: Port Adelaide Power

Best bet: Margin – Port Adelaide Power 1–39

See all markets for Port Adelaide and St Kilda Saints.

 

ADELAIDE CROWS V ESSENDON BOMBERS: AFL ROUND 8 PREDICTION

SUNDAY 26 JULY – 1:05PM

Besieged off the field and battling on it, Adelaide Crows will take some stopping in the wooden-spoon race. Last weekend’s 23-point loss to St Kilda – after they competed well for most of the match – gave the Crows an 0–7 record.

No team has scored less or conceded more points than Adelaide.

The Crows’ task in getting off the mark doesn’t get much easier when they face an Essendon Bombers outfit desperate to put round 7 behind them.

The Bombers – touted as a genuine premiership chance during the lead-up – sank to a 42-point defeat to the Bulldogs, just their second loss of 2020. The effect of suspended Dylan Shiel’s absence was palpable and he’ll be missed again this week. Zach Merrett and David Zaharakis had decent 20-disposal games.

After winning just three of the previous 13 encounters, Essendon beat Adelaide in 2018 and ’19. Merrett (2 goals, 31 disposals) and the since-departed Mitch Brown (4 goals, 23 disposals) were the stars of last season’s 21-point win for the Bombers.

This is an ideal opportunity for the Bombers to confirm last weekend’s effort was a mere blip. Few AFL round 8 predictions will be favouring the Crows, who are a long way off the pace on both sides of the ball and will struggle to get close to the Bombers.

AFL footy tips: round 8

Head-to-head: Essendon Bombers

Best bet: Line – Essendon Bombers -13.5

See all markets for Adelaide Crows and Essendon Bombers.

 

WEST COAST EAGLES V COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES: AFL ROUND 8 PREDICTION

SUNDAY 26 JULY – 3:35PM

West Coast Eagles’ return to form confirms their clash with fellow heavyweights Collingwood Magpies in Perth as the undisputed match of the round.

The slow-starting Eagles have now put three straight wins on the board to climb into the top eight. After cruising past the Swans and Crows by 30-plus margins, they won the Western Derby against the Dockers by an even 30 points. Josh Kennedy starred up front in a four-goal showing, while Elliot Yeo, Nic Naitanui and Andrew Gaff were outstanding through the middle.

But taking on third-placed Collingwood in a blockbuster will illustrate whether West Coast are truly back on track.

The Magpies emerged from a rocky period on and off the field with a commanding win over the Hawks in round 6, before making a big statement with a 22-point defeat of the Cats last Thursday.

The embattled Jordan De Goey kicked five goals but is set for a stint on the sidelines with a finger injury. Adam Treloar and Jordan Roughead were also magnificent against the Cats.

West Coast’s recent four-match winning streak against Collingwood featured a qualifying-final win and an epic Grand Final triumph in 2018, followed by a 22-point success at the MCG in round 3 last year. But the Magpies gained some retribution with a one-point win in Perth in round 17 – after outscoring the Eagles 18 points to one in the final term.

The De Goey injury is a huge blow to the gritty Magpies’ chances against an Eagles side that has won 14 of their last 17 at Optus Oval.

AFL footy tips: round 8

Head-to-head: West Coast Eagles

Best bet: Margin – West Coast Eagles 1–39

See all markets for West Coast Eagles and Collingwood Magpies.

 

MELBOURNE DEMONS V BRISBANE LIONS: AFL ROUND 8 PREDICTION

SUNDAY 26 JULY – 6:10PM

Melbourne Demons have rallied splendidly from their 1–3 start, outlasting Gold Coast by 17 points and putting Hawthorn to the sword by 43 points in the past fortnight.

Christian Petracca was the name on everyone’s lips after racking up 29 disposals and a remarkable 14 score involvements against the Hawks. After an indifferent 2019, Petracca has truly arrived this season. And with the likes of Max Gawn and Clayton Oliver also playing great footy, the Dees have re-emerged as an AFL premiership smoky.

Brisbane Lions, meanwhile, are sailing along in second spot with a 5–2 record. After suffering their first loss since the restart to Geelong – a 27-point defeat in round 6 – the Lions put away high-profile GWS by 20 points last Saturday.

Brownlow Medal favourite Lachie Neale was again influential, but defender Harris Andrews was arguably best on ground and Dayne Zorko also starred.

Melbourne’s four-match winning run against Brisbane came to an end in round 15 last season courtesy of the Lions’ 33-point victory at the Gabba. Eric Hipwood starred with five goals, while Lachie Neale had a massive 38 disposals.

A fascinating contest that is sure to split AFL round 8 tips down the middle. Petracca v Neale will be worth tuning in for alone. The Demons can parlay their new-found momentum into an upset here.

AFL footy tips: round 8

Head-to-head: Melbourne Demons

Best bet: Line – Melbourne Demons +10.5

See all markets for Melbourne Demons and Brisbane Lions.

 

FREMANTLE DOCKERS V GEELONG CATS: AFL ROUND 8 PREDICTION

MONDAY 27 JULY – 8:10PM

Fremantle Dockers’ two-game winning streak came to an abrupt halt in round 7’s Western Derby, going down to West Coast by 30 points. Nat Fyfe’s absence was always going to make a tall order virtually insurmountable.

A fourth bottom-four finish in five seasons is looking increasingly likely for the 2–5 Dockers.

The 4–3 Geelong Cats dropped to fifth on the ladder after their three-match winning run ended last weekend. A 22-point loss to Collingwood, in which the Cats kicked just five goals, was compounded by an injury to inspirational skipper Joel Selwood. Gary Ablett Jr will also be missing for the next couple of games due to family reasons.

The responsibility on Patrick Dangerfield’s shoulders until the experienced cavalry returns will be enormous.

The teams’ last 12 encounters were split six wins apiece. The Dockers snapped a four-match losing run – which culminated in a harrowing 133-point loss to the Cats in late 2018 – with a 34-point victory in round 20 last year. Fyfe (2 goals, 27 disposals, 11 clearances, 4 tackles) stole the show.

The Cats’ absentees sees them very generously priced midweek, but they shouldn’t have much trouble putting away the Dockers.

AFL footy tips: round 8

Head-to-head: Geelong Cats

Best bet: Tri bet – Geelong Cats -19.5

See all markets for Fremantle Dockers and Geelong Cats.

 

OTHER AFL ROUNDS

What do you think?