AFL ROUND 9 PREVIEW, TIPS AND ODDS

AFL round 9

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With the truncated AFL 2020 regular season sitting just shy of the halfway mark, only two wins separate frontrunners Port Adelaide Power and 12th-placed GWS Giants.

Things are about to get hectic for all 18 clubs from round 9: four full rounds are set to be played over 20 consecutive footy-filled days from Wednesday 29 July.

After a shock loss last weekend, the Power have five round 8 winners breathing down their necks at the pointy end of the AFL ladder and they face a tricky assignment against Melbourne Demons – one of several fascinating duels on the round 9 schedule.

Check out our AFL round 9 predictions and AFL round 9 tips as the teams gear up for a war of attrition.

 

WESTERN BULLDOGS V RICHMOND TIGERS: AFL ROUND 9 PREDICTION

WEDNESDAY 29 JULY – 7:10PM

Western Bulldogs and Richmond Tigers get the four-round footy frenzy underway on Wednesday night on the Gold Coast.

The 5–3 Bulldogs have climbed to share third place on the ladder (sixth on percentages) after back-to-back wins over the Bombers and Suns. The 7.9 (51) to 6.10 (46) victory over the Suns was their first game of 2020 decided by fewer than 24 points, and the Bulldogs showed plenty of composure and grit to close out a tense encounter in the wet.

The efforts of Jack Macrae (29 disposals), Caleb Daniel (25) and Bailey Smith (22) underpinned a crucial result, which marked the fifth time in six games the Doggies have kept their opponents to 51 points or less.

The Tigers’ three-game winning run ended in round 8, as they were left to rue their wastefulness in a 12-point loss to the Giants.

Dustin Martin (2 goals, 23 disposals) led a fightback from 27 points down during the third quarter, but the injury-ravaged Tigers kicked just 6.14 in the match. Forward spearhead Tom Lynch struggled in front of goal.

Richmond – now in eighth – should be boosted by the return of captain Trent Cotchin and key defender David Astbury from injury for this showdown.

The Bulldogs have won five of their last six against the Tigers. After a run of five matches between the sides decided by 19 points or less, the Bulldogs romped to a 47-point victory in round 7 last year, with Marcus Bontempelli (3 goals, 27 disposals) in irrepressible form.

A doozy to kick off the round and one that’s sure to split experts’ AFL round 9 predictions. The Tigers were slight favourites as of Monday but the Bulldogs have the form on the board to keep the wood on the premiers.

AFL round 9 footy tips

Head-to-head: Western Bulldogs

Best bet: Margin – Western Bulldogs 1-39

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MELBOURNE DEMONS V PORT ADELAIDE POWER: AFL ROUND 9 PREDICTION

THURSDAY 30 JULY – 7:50PM

Melbourne Demons get just four days to recover from a four-point loss to Brisbane Lions. Building nicely in recent rounds on the back of Christian Petracca’s form surge, the Dees gave the Lions a scare with a fourth-quarter charge after trailing by 18 at the final change.

Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Max Gawn were their best in a result that saw the Demons slip to 13th with a 3–4 record.

AFL ladder leaders Port Adelaide are regrouping after a 29-point loss to St Kilda – just their second defeat of 2020. The Power trailed by a point at three-quarter time before being steamrolled in the final term.

Port’s hunger and ruthlessness will again come under the microscope following the late fade-out.

Port Adelaide have won nine of the last 11 encounters between the clubs – including the sole clashes in 2018 and ’19. In last season’s round 1 meeting, Justin Westhoff kicked five goals and Tom Rockliff had 44 disposals in the Power’s 26-point victory.

There’s little between the sides in the early head-to-head odds, despite their disparate ladder positions. The Demons will take more out of round 8 but their shorter turnaround (the Power played on Saturday) is a key factor in weighing up AFL round 9 tips.

AFL round 9 footy tips

Head-to-head: Port Adelaide Power

Best bet: Tri bet – either team by 19 or less

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CARLTON BLUES V HAWTHORN HAWKS: AFL ROUND 9 PREDICTION

FRIDAY 31 JULY – 5:40PM

Carlton Blues enhanced their reputation as a young team on the rise in round 8, while Hawthorn Hawks seemingly confirmed they are a tired roster in need of regeneration.

The Blues’ seven-point win over North Melbourne was their fourth victory in six games, hanging on well after letting a big quarter-time lead slip away. Marc Murphy, Matthew Kennedy and Will Setterfield starred with brilliant captain Patrick Cripps heavily marked.

The Hawks’ seven-point defeat to undermanned Sydney on Saturday was arguably their most disappointing of a four-match losing streak.

With the Hawks’ on-ballers making far greater inroads than in previous weeks, the team had led at half-time – but they only scored two goals in a dismal second half, cranking up the heat on embattled coach Alastair Clarkson.

Carlton have won just one of their last 17 against Hawthorn. The Hawks overturned a 31-point half-time deficit to win by five points in round 6 last season.

But both clubs’ fortunes have swung dramatically since then. The Blues are deserving favourites in most judges’ AFL round 9 predictions.

AFL round 9 footy tips

Head-to-head: Carlton Blues

Best bet: Margin – Carlton Blues 1–39

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ESSENDON BOMBERS V BRISBANE LIONS: AFL ROUND 9 PREDICTION

FRIDAY 31 JULY – 8:10PM

Essendon and Brisbane both banked narrow wins in round 8 to remain entrenched in the AFL’s top eight.

But the 5–2 Bombers were made to dig deep by the winless Crows, tackling themselves to a standstill to hang on by three points. Andrew McGrath (25 disposals, 10 tackles) was the clear star, while Zach Merrett and Darcy Parish were also influential.

The 6–2 Lions had their nerves rattled by the fast-finishing Demons, holding on for a four-point win after leading by 18 at three-quarter time.

Lachie Neale (33 disposals) further pushed his Brownlow Medal cause with another stand-out display against a highly touted Melbourne midfield, ably backed by Jarryd Lyons and Hugh McCluggage. Charlie Cameron came to life in the third quarter, kicking his only two goals of the match.

Goal-kicking accuracy is an area the Lions – now level with Port at the top of the table – will be looking to improve on after kicking more behinds than goals for the fifth time in six outings.

The clubs’ last 10 encounters have been split 7–3 in Essendon’s favour. Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti’s mesmerising seven-goal display led the Bombers to a 47-point victory in round 4 last season.

The Lions were warm early favourites for this one, but it shapes as a real barn burner and the Bombers look solid value with a sizeable start.

AFL round 9 footy tips

Head-to-head: Brisbane Lions

Best bet: Line – Essendon Bombers -15.5

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NORTH MELBOURNE KANGAROOS V ADELAIDE CROWS: AFL ROUND 9 PREDICTION

SATURDAY 1 AUGUST – 2:35PM

Saturday’s docket kicks off with a crucial battle in the context of the wooden spoon. Second-last North Melbourne are on a six-match losing streak, while Adelaide Crows remain winless after eight rounds.

The Kangaroos went down to the Blues by seven points in round 8 but will be heartened by a second-half fightback – and an improved showing overall after some heavy recent defeats. Bailey Scott kicked three goals in a superb all-round showing, while Jared Polec impressed in a super-busy performance.

The Crows, too, should be buoyed by a narrow three-point loss to the in-form Bombers after losing their previous six games since the restart by 23-plus margins.

Brodie Smith sizzled for Adelaide, while Taylor Walker led well and Lachlan Murphy landed three goals in a career-best performance.

The Crows have won seven of their last 11 against the Kangaroos, but North won by 12 (after trailing by 14 at half-time) in round 4 last season. Ben Brown booted four goals for the Roos.

Both sides made a sizeable step towards ending their losing streaks last weekend, but whoever can hold their nerve down the stretch will take the spoils. The Crows look a sound bet with a double-digit start.

AFL round 9 footy tips

Head-to-head: Adelaide Crows

Best bet: Line – Adelaide Crows +10.5

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ST KILDA SAINTS V SYDNEY SWANS: AFL ROUND 9 PREDICTION

SATURDAY 1 AUGUST – 5:10PM

 

St Kilda Saints appear well-placed to snap a 10-match losing streak in their rivalry with Sydney Swans. The Saints’ last win over the Swans was way back in 2012, and the last eight defeats came by margins of 42 points or more.

St Kilda was the big winner of round 8, blasting competition leaders Port Adelaide away late in a 12.1 (73) to 6.8 (44) victory. Posting just one behind in the match, the Saints had outstanding accuracy, and they booted five unanswered goals in the final term.

Recruits Zak Jones and Bradley Hill, and midfielder Jack Steele were all big contributors to an upset that lifted the Saints to fourth.

Sydney, meanwhile, ended a four-match losing run with a gutsy seven-point win over Hawthorn. The 14th-placed Swans were behind at the end of the first two quarters but surged during the third.

Tom Papley’s prolific goalscoring form continued with four majors, while Jake Lloyd and Dane Rampe combined for 59 disposals and 12 marks.

Few are doubting the depleted young Swans’ effort and spirit, but the Saints have a sniff of the good life near the top of the AFL ladder and should have too much class.

AFL round 9 footy tips

Head-to-head: St Kilda Saints

Best bet: Line – St Kilda Saints -14.5

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WEST COAST EAGLES V GEELONG CATS: AFL ROUND 9 PREDICTION

SATURDAY 1 AUGUST – 8:10PM

West Coast Eagles have emphatically shrugged off their post-restart woes, winning four straight by big margins to join the five-team logjam tied for third. The Eagles crushed fellow big guns Collingwood Magpies 18.3 (111) to 6.9 (45) on Sunday – despite trailing by 14 at the end of the first quarter.

Veteran forward Josh Kennedy kicked seven goals, Tim Kelly had his best game since joining the Eagles and Nic Naitanui outplayed Brodie Grundy, the player widely regarded as the best in their position.

Geelong Cats also improved to 5–3 courtesy of a 6.12 (48) to 2.4 (16) win over lowly Fremantle Dockers in tough conditions in Perth on Monday. Mitch Duncan and Cam Guthrie were the stand-outs in a gritty performance, while Tom Hawkins slotted three goals as the Cats bounced back from their round 7 loss to the Pies.

This is the clubs’ first encounter since Geelong’s 20-point semifinal victory last season, in which Tom Hawkins booted four goals. But the last seven Eagles–Cats clashes were won by the home team. Geelong’s last win over West Coast in Perth was in 2013.

Kelly going up against his former club is another sidelight to the weekend’s biggest blockbuster. The Cats are unlikely to let the Eagles off the hook for a slow start as lightly as the Magpies did, but West Coast’s extra day’s rest and huge momentum mean the majority of AFL round 9 tips are flowing the Eagles’ way.

AFL round 9 footy tips

Head-to-head: West Coast Eagles

Best bet: Margin – West Coast Eagles 1–39

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GOLD COAST SUNS V GWS GIANTS: AFL ROUND 9 PREDICTION

SUNDAY 2 AUGUST – 3:35PM

 

Gold Coast Suns (10th) and GWS Giants (12th) both head into round 9 with 4–4 records.

The Suns have now lost three of their last four, however, following up a convincing win over Sydney with a five-point loss to Western Bulldogs. Defender Sam Collins was their stand-out, while Alex Sexton booted three goals. Brilliant rookie Izak Rankine missed a couple of vital opportunities and he’ll be looking for a quick bounce back.

Competing every week and pushing good teams, the Suns are a far cry from the struggling Gold Coast teams of recent years. Understandably, given the club’s fountain of youth, the Suns sometimes come up short at crucial stages – but they are an impressive work in progress on the holiday strip.

GWS Giants exorcised some demons with a 12-point win in their Grand Final rematch with Richmond Tigers. Overcoming the mental hurdle was huge – and Toby Greene’s brilliant five-goal, 18-disposal effort is hopefully the harbinger of form to come – but it was a result the Giants desperately needed after back-to-back losses to Port and Brisbane.

GWS has dominated the rivalry of the AFL’s most recent expansion outfits, crafting a 9–4 record against Gold Coast and winning the last eight encounters. The Giants won by margins of 83 and 72 points in two clashes in 2019, with Jeremy Cameron kicking a combined 14 goals.

The Suns have the game-breaking ability to pull off an upset here, but the Giants’ important victory over the Tigers – combined with their experience advantage – should give them the impetus to chalk up back-to-back wins.

AFL round 9 footy tips

Head-to-head: GWS Giants

Best bet: Margin – Giants 1–39

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FREMANTLE DOCKERS V COLLINGWOOD MAGPIES: AFL ROUND 9 PREDICTION

SUNDAY 2 AUGUST – 6:10PM

Fremantle are embedded in the bottom four with a 2–6 record, kicking just two goals in a 32-point loss to Geelong in the wet on Monday night.

Andrew Brayshaw (27 disposals, 8 tackles) played a lone hand for the Dockers, who are now sweating on the availability of Darcy Tucker (hamstring) after the star midfielder exited during the first quarter. The Dockers may get talisman Nat Fyfe back this week, however.

The gloss of Collingwood’s strong round 7 win over Geelong rubbed off on Sunday courtesy of a 66-point loss to West Coast.

The Magpies kicked just two goals in the last three quarters while conceding 16. Taylor Adams and Darcy Cameron were among a modest Pies contingent to impress, but the effect of Jeremy Howe’s absence from the defensive unit was palpable.

Fremantle broke a four-match losing streak against Collingwood via a four-point upset at the MCG in round 11 last season. Don’t expect a repeat, with chastened Collingwood in search of a big statement after last weekend’s debacle.

AFL round 9 footy tips

Head-to-head: Collingwood Magpies

Best bet: Line – Collingwood Magpies -16.5

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