AFL – Round 22 in Review

Round 22 of the 2022 AFL season saw Carlton heart’s break, Collingwood brought back to earth, and the Swans’ rise continue.

Here’s how it looked for punters: 

Blues’ hearts ripped out

Over the years, Carlton have invented new ways of ripping the hearts out of supporters. But Saturday night was different. This was no thumping defeat, no loss that elicited anger, and no chopping-up-memberships. This was pure and simple agony. As $3.42 outsiders against Melbourne with Palmerbet, the Blues knew a win (or even a draw) would push them into their first AFL Finals berth since 2013. And, at seven points up with less than two minutes to play, they looked every chance to break the nine-year Top 8 drought. But a last-gasp goal from Kysaiah Pickett ensured the Dees would get up at the death, and also ensure Carlton face another highly anxious week.

The Dogs’ gritty win over GWS (as $1.17 favourites) has had significant ramifications. It’s meant that — should they beat Hawthorn this Sunday afternoon — Carlton will need to beat Collingwood at the MCG in one of the most heavily-anticipated final rounds of the home-and-away season ever. The early market for that clash has both sides locked on $1.92. Just three weeks ago Michael Voss’ side were $1.04 to make the Top 8 with Palmerbet. Now, it’s a far more shaky $1.40. For the Dees, it was Jake Melksham ($41 pre-game to kick 4+ goals) who was the hero on the night.

Swans star again

If there was any questions hanging over whether Sydney could be considered a genuine premiership hope in 2022, they were swiftly erased on Sunday afternoon in a clinical performance against Collingwood. In snapping the Pies’ 11-game winning streak, the Swans ($1.32 pre-game) covered the -19.5 line and delivered a genuine four-quarter effort. It leaves them in the box seat to not only finish inside the Top 4 (now $1.10) but with destiny in their own hands to host a home qualifying final. They’ve also shortened further in flag betting, now into $5.50.

For Collingwood, Top 4 is now a difficult prospect. Craig McRae’s side will need to not only beat Carlton in the aforementioned MCG blockbuster, but rely on Sydney tripping up against the Saints in the final game of Round 23.

Young gun explodes, delivers value

After being taking at No.1 in the 2017 AFL Draft, it’s taken some time for Brisbane’s Cam Rayner to really ‘arrive’. While there were certainly signs in his first years in the system, a devastating ACL injury meant he played no part in 2021. But now, he has well and truly stamped his authority on the competition. And this was underlined heavily in the Lions’ tight win over St Kilda on Friday night.

Rayner was a whopping $51 to kick 4+ goals in the crucial clash with Palmerbet, but did exactly that. His best-on-ground performance had HUGE ramifications, not only keeping Brisbane’s Top 4 hopes alive but landing the hammer blow to St Kilda’s season. It wasn’t just the fact that Rayner finished with four majors, but the manner in which he did it. Two of the goals in particular underlined his class and potential joker status for Brisbane in this year’s finals series.