AFL Tips & Preview – Round 23

The final round of the 2022 AFL season is the most open in recent memory, with the Top 8 and especially the Top 4 still wide open.

Friday 19th August, 19:50 (AEST)

Brisbane Melbourne
Pos Player Pos Player

B

B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C I/C


History:
Played 50: Brisbane 22 v Melbourne 28

Last Meeting: AFL R15 2022: Melbourne 16.21 (117) dftd Brisbane Lions 7.11 (53)

Final Thoughts: A Friday night clash with huge ramifications and a significant carrot dangling in front of both clubs: win, and a Top 4 spot is secured. In Melbourne’s case, if the win is by a significant enough margin to overtake Sydney on percentage (the Dees start Round 23 0.6 per cent behind the Swans), they could even secure a home final. In a way, it’s scarcely believable that it has come to this late in the season for Melbourne to secure the double-chance. After bursting out to 10-0 (as far-and-away flag favourites) the Dees were $1.04 to make the Top 4. But a galvanising win over the Blues last weekend would have done them the world of good, and coach Simon Goodwin will go in confident as (minor) underdogs.

For the Lions, four wins in five should theoretically have them humming but there’s still significant questions marks over their premiership credentials. This was best highlighted by huge momentum swings against them in each of the last three weeks. Gunning for a fourth-straight Top 4 finish, they’ll need to sharpen up if they’re to overcome the reigning premiers.

Tip: H2H, Melbourne @ $2.00

Saturday 20th August, 13:45 (AEST)

GWS Fremantle
Pos Player Pos Player

B

B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C I/C


History:
Played 12: GWS 5 v Fremantle 7

Last Meeting: AFL R4 2022: Fremantle 13.10 (88) dftd GWS Giants 8.6 (54)

Final Thoughts: A huge opportunity for Fremantle to sneak into the Top 4 ahead of September, but they’ll some help from the footy gods. First, Justin Longmuir’s men must take care of the Giants this week and, while they start as favourites, it’s no given; the Giants have bounced back strongly in the last fortnight (following at thumping by the Swans). Then, the Dockers need either Collingwood or Sydney to lose in the final two games of the home-and-away season. $1.25 Top 4 chances after Round 17, Fremantle then staggered at the inopportune time to go winless in three. But back-to-back wins has them back in the hunt. This clash not only represents a give themselves a chance of grabbing the all-importance double-chance, but continue their pre-finals momentum. They will go in confident — the Giants have lost their last nine against Top 8 ranked opponents.

Tip: Margin, Fremantle 1-39 @ $2.03

Saturday 20th August, 14:10 (AEST)

North Melbourne Gold Coast
Pos Player Pos Player

B

B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C I/C


History:
Played 16: North Melbourne 8 v Gold Coast 8

Last Meeting: AFL R12 2022: Gold Coast 15.19 (109) dftd North Melbourne 7.5 (47)

Final Thoughts: All the focus for North this week has been off the field, as the club desperately seeks to acquire the signature of Alastair Clarkson as their new coach. But there’s another carrot for the Kangaroos; win, and they almost certainly avoid the ignominy of a second-straight wooden spoon (provided Geelong knocks over West Coast as expected). It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, with the Suns limping to the finish line in 2022 having lost four of their last five. Further, the Suns don’t particularly enjoy playing under the roof at Marvel, having similarly lost four of their last five at the Docklands venue. For coach Stuart Dew, however, It was only eleven rounds ago that Gold Coast brushed aside North to the tune of 62 points and he’ll be confident of finishing the season on a high.

Tip: Line, Gold Coast -20.5 @ $1.90

Saturday 20th August, 16:35 (AEST)

Geelong West Coast
Pos Player Pos Player

B

B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C I/C

 

History: Played 56: Geelong 28 v West Coast 27 (1 draw)

Last Meeting: AFL R14 2022: West Coast 9.9 (63) lost to Geelong 12.9 (81)

Final Thoughts: Having comfortably locked away the minor premiership, this clash is all about avoiding injury and maintaining momentum for an unstoppable Geelong outfit. The Cats are humming having won 12 on the bounce, and all the stats suggest this could be a blowout at GMHBA Stadium. The Eagles are conceding over 107 points per game in 2022, and if the Cats put their foot on the pedal it could get ugly. Further, they haven’t won down at the Cattery since way back in 2006. The on saving grace for coach Adam Simpson is that his side put in an honourable effort against the minor premiers just nine rounds ago when they went down by just 18 points. If that was to be replicated on this occasions, the Eagles would likely see that as a win.

Tip: To score 2+ goals, Brad Close (Geel) @ $2.35

Saturday 20th August, 19:25 (AEST)

Essendon Richmond
Pos Player Pos Player

B

B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C I/C


History:
Played 206: Essendon 104 v Richmond 98 (4 draws)

Last Meeting: AFL R10 2022: Richmond 11.14 (80) dftd Essendon 7.6 (48)

Final Thoughts: Essendon’s respectable back-half of the season was turned upside down with an 84-point thumping at the hands of Port Adelaide last week which has proven the impetus for what (at this stage) looks like a wholesale coaching restructure. Make no mistake, contracts are now on the line for fringe players and — irrespective of whether they’re ‘playing for’ coach Ben Rutten or not — expect a response this week.

Whether it’s enough to get over an in-form Richmond outfit, however, is another thing. The Tigers are humming, and firming as the dark horses in 2022. Three wins on the bounce has seen them shorten from $21 into $10 in Palmerbet’s flag market. In Shai Bolton and Tom Lynch, Richmond possess two of the AFL’s most unstoppable forwards on their day, and both are likely to give the Dons defenders nightmares in this one. Such is the tight nature of this year’s competition that there’s still a huge range of finals fixtures that could be spat out after Round 23. What is clear is that no club wants to face Richmond, especially if it’s at the MCG. Damien Hardwick’s side – who’ve won their last 12 games against the Bombers – can’t finish higher than seventh, so the pressure is off in this one compared with previous weeks.

Tip: Line, Essendon +23.5 @ $1.90

Saturday 20th August, 19:30 (AEST)

Port Adelaide Adelaide
Pos Player Pos Player

B

B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C  I/C

 

History: Played 51: Port Adelaide 26 v Adelaide 25

Last Meeting: AFL R3 2022: Adelaide 15.6 (96) dftd Port Adelaide 13.14 (92)

Final Thoughts: The Power currently edge Showdowns 26 versus 25 but it’s the Crows who had the last laugh earlier this season when Jordan Dawson swung one through from the boundary after the siren. In what is a strange backdrop for a Showdown, there is nothing on the line from a season perspective given both are well out of the finals race (Adelaide could just a spot to 13th, while the Power can’t finish any higher than their current position in 11th). But that will mean little when these rivals, who are both coming in off the back of wins in Round 22, walk out at the Adelaide Oval. Both sides were strong around the footy last week, and this is likely to be another highly contested clash around the clinches.

Tip: H2H, Adelaide @ $3.29

Sunday 21st August, 13:10 (AEST)

Hawthorn Western Bulldogs
Pos Player Pos Player

B

B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C (from) I/C (from)

 

History: Played 165: Hawthorn 84 v Western Bulldogs 79 (2 draws)

Last Meeting: AFL R15 2022: Western Bulldogs 19.11 (125) dftd Hawthorn 12.11 (83)

Final Thoughts: Grand finalists last season, the Dogs need a lot to go right this weekend if they’re to return to September action. A gritty five-point win over the Giants last week has kept them alive in 2022, and nothing short of victory here will do the job. Should they win, and Carlton (whose clash against Collingwood starts when this game in in the fourth quarter) lose, then Luke Beveridge’s men will sneak into the Top 8 by the skin of their teeth. But they’ll need to reverse recent history to do so; the Dogs haven’t beaten the Hawks in Tasmania since 2008, going down in their last four attempts.

For Hawthorn, an admirable back half of the season started to turn last week when they were humbled by Richmond at the MCG. Their season over, whether they can muster the inspiration to knock off a Dogs side who have a finals carrot dangling in front of them is a significant question heading into this one.

Tip: Line, Western Bulldogs -16.5 @ $1.90

Sunday 21st August, 15:20 (AEST)

Carlton Collingwood
Pos Player Pos Player

B

B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C (from) I/C (from)

 

History: Played 261: Carlton 128 v Collingwood 129 (4 draws)

Last Meeting: AFL R11 2022: Collingwood 11.13 (79) dftd Carlton 11.9 (75)

Final Thoughts: Two of the game’s biggest rivals face off with plenty on the line. Last weekend’s Sydney v Collingwood game was the most-watched game of the home-and-away season, but this clash is almost certain to topple it such is the stakes. The equation is simple for Carlton: win, and they seal a first finals berth since 2013. At one stage near-certain Top 8 chances at $1.04, the Blues have squandered numerous chances to seal a September return, none more heartbreaking than a last-gasp loss to Melbourne last weekend. But they must pick themselves up for one last crack.

The equation for the Pies, meanwhile, is similarly simple: win, and a Top 4 finish is theirs. The Swans exposed some Collingwood cracks across the ground last weekend, but while they were outplayed throughout, their intensity remained. With some key ins this week and back on home soil, Craig McRae will be confident of sealing the double-chance in his first season in charge in what would be an incredible achievement after the club finished 17th last season.

Tip: H2H, Collingwood @ $1.92

Sunday 21st August, 16:40 (AEST)

St Kilda Sydney
Pos Player Pos Player

B

B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C (from) I/C (from)

 

History: Played 221: St Kilda 79 v Sydney 139 (3 draws)

Last Meeting: AFL R15 2022: Sydney 12.11 (83) dftd St Kilda 4.8 (32)

Final Thoughts: After another statement win last weekend, the Swans continue their late-season charge and have shortened yet again in Palmerbet’s flag market. John Longmire has his side humming at the best possible time and victory here would all but guarantee second place and a home qualifying final. While his young charges are playing well across the ground, it’s the Swans pressure — the marker of any side to succeed in September — that is the best indicator of their flag credentials. They are the competition’s best tackling side since Round 13.

The Swans face a St Kilda side with little to play for after a heartbreaking (and season-ending) loss to Brisbane in Round 22. For a team that Brett Ratten has struggled to motivate at the best of times post-bye this season, it’s hard to see how the Saints coach rouses his troops for this one.

Tip: Winning Margin, Sydney 25+ @ $2.15