Last weekend of the AFL produced a mixed bag of results with some thrillers and some absolute floggings. The Saints were handed the hiding of the round when they lost by 103 points to West Coast in Perth but it was on Saturday that Richmond somehow stole victory from the jaws of defeat in beating the handsomely favoured Swans; in fact, prior to the opening bounce the Tigers were $4.25 with UBET and even blew out to as much as $9 during play. Over in Adelaide on Friday night, Paddy Dangerfield felt the wrath of the Crows fans who booed him with every touch and jeered him with every error … luckily for Paddy though, he had the last laugh winning the match for the Cats by 26 points.
This week’s highlight is again on Friday night with the Hawks hosting last start losers the Swans at the MCG. The 2013 grand final replay is expected to attract a large contingent of Hawks fans to boo and jeer Buddy Franklin with his every touch and mistake. On Saturday the Pies grace the MCG turf against the premiership favourites Geelong, the Crows arrive on the Gold Coast to play the Suns, Port plays the Eagles in Adelaide, North Melbourne and Carlton face off and Fremantle hosts Richmond.
On Sunday one of the games of the round features the Giants, fresh off their biggest ever win, playing the Western Bulldogs in Sydney. The other two games rounding out week nine of the competition are Melbourne versus the woeful Lions while the Saints and Bombers battle it out at Etihad Stadium.
Friday, May 13, 7:50 pm (AEST) @ MCG
The Swans are forced to revisit the venue of their last start one-point loss to Richmond where they battle the defending premiers at the MCG. Despite possessing a handy lead at three-quarter time and kicking more goals than the Tigers, the Swans just couldn’t match it with the desperate Tigers. The Swans will be eager to atone from that heartbreaking loss this week against an even more formidable Hawthorn side fresh from a big win over the Dockers.
The Hawks have had a relatively indifferent start to the season with six wins and three losses to sit in equal third, but their poor percentages pushes them out to sixth behind the Bulldogs, Swans and Giants who also have six wins. The Hawks pounced on Fremantle over the weekend, registering their third century of the season in the 41 point hiding.
Cyrol Rioli's return for the Hawks is a major boost for the defending premiers. The Swans have named Josh P. Kennedy, Ben McGlynn and Gary Rohan in the only changes to the team that lost to the Tigers last week.
Saturday, May 21, 1:45 pm (AEST) @ MCG
The Magpies and Cats were both last start winners, but against very different competition. The Pies travelled north to Brisbane to take on the Lions at the Gabba and at one stage in the second quarter were leading 62-0! It was the first time since 1993 Brisbane (known as the Bears back then) had failed to register a point in the opening quarter of a match. The Pies continued their demolition of the Lions despite conceding a few late goals, eventually kicking 20 goals in the 78-point win.
Geelong’s 26-point win over the Crows oozed class and confirms their standing as the premiership favourites with UBET. Patrick Dangerfield returned to Adelaide and it yielded a mixed night for the former Crow, he made some errors in a nervous display that sent the Adelaide supporters into frenzy with every touch. Geelong’s Steven Motlop stole the show, booting four of his team’s 13 goals.
Collingwood has swapped a Ben for a Ben with Reid replacing the concussed Sinclair. The Cats have dropped Tom Ruggles for George Horlin-Smith.
Saturday, May 21, 2:10 pm (AEST) @ Metricon Stadium
Things seem to be going from bad to worse for the Gold Coast. They’ve lost their last three games by a combined total of 284 points: that’s almost 95 points per game! Since their best start to a season after three rounds, the Suns have self-imploded. Last weekend against the GWS Giants, the Suns were behind at every break. They kicked just nine goals to the Giants’ 22 and made 108 less disposals, 86 less kicks and 19 less clearances.
While the Crows also suffered a defeat at the weekend, theirs was more honorary and much less embarrassing. In the fourth quarter of their clash with the Cats, the Crows came to be within just one kick of the lead, only for Geelong to reassume control. Eventually the Cats kicked away to a 26-point win, but Adelaide’s effort certainly could not be questioned.
Michael Rischitelli, Luke Russell, Peter Wright, Ryan Davis, Daniel Currie and Seb Tape come into the Suns squad for the dropped Tom Nicholls and Keegan Brooksby, while Adam Saad, Touk Miller and Aaron Hall. Out of form skipper Gary Ablett is out with concussion. The Crows have named Jarryd Lyons and Nathan Van Berlo to return.
Saturday, May 21, 4:35 pm (AEST) @ Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide is coming off a tough loss to Carlton, while things are looking pretty rosy for the Eagles after completely demoralising the Saints on Sunday. The Power will welcome superstar Robbie Gray back into its ranks after he sustained a hamstring injury last month. Gray’s return could be the shot in the arm the Power require after inexplicably allowing a three-goal advantage to slip with just 10 minutes left in losing to the Blues by two points last weekend.
West Coast has a terrific record at Domain Stadium in Perth; however, their form outside of Western Australia is the complete opposite. The Eagles remain inside the top eight but if they are to stand any chance of making the finals, they obviously need to take their home form on the road with them as well. Last week West Coast completely annihilated the Saints by 103 points – a pretty good foundation for mounting a winning streak.
Robbie Gray makes his long awaited comeback in place of Michael Ah Chee. The Eagles remain unchanged after hammering the Saints last week.
Saturday, May 21, 7:25 pm (AEST) @ Etihad Stadium
At the start of the year, this match would not have gone down as a blockbuster and you certainly would not have thought the Blues would be on a four game winning streak. The Kangaroos are on a streak of their own; they are yet to taste defeat in 2016, winning all eight of their matches so far. Last weekend North disposed of the under siege Bombers but the match was a lot closer than most punters would have predicted, eventually winning by 14 points after leading by more than 50 in the third quarter.
Carlton did what Essendon failed to do: cause an upset in the eighth round of the AFL season. Midway through the final quarter, the Blues were trailing the Port Adelaide by more than three goals, and at $8.50 with UBET, not many thought they could complete the come from behind victory.
Michael Firrito, Trent Dumont and Farren Ray return for North. Michael Jamison, Levi Casboult and Matthew Kreuzer are out for the Blues with Simon White, Jacob Weitering and Daniel Gorringe their replacements.(
Saturday, May 21, 7:40 pm (AEST) @ Domain Stadium
Fremantle look to have put the cue in the rack in 2016. The defending minor premiers have now lost three more games than they did in 2015 and with zero wins from eight attempts this season, it’s difficult to see where register their first points. Last week the Dockers came up against the Hawks in Launceston and went down by 41 points; their worst loss since round one, when the Bulldogs beat them by 65 points.
Richmond was on a similar trajectory to Freo until last weekend’s miracle win over the Swans at the MCG. They had lost their last six matches on the trot going into their clash with Sydney and with just seconds remaining, trailing by five points, not many would have backed the Tigers in. But Sam Lloyd landed a goal from a set shot after the siren to clinch the nail biting victory to stop the losing streak blowing out to seven.
Freo welcomes back Zac Dawson, Matthew Pavlich and Tommy Sheridan. The Tigers' Trent Cotchin and Kane Lambert return, with Daniel Rioli unavailable for family reasons.
Sunday, May 22, 1:10 pm (AEST) @ MCG
The Demons were entering their latest match as big winners over the Gold Coast Suns but the confidence gained from that 73-point win could only last so long. They backed it up with a brave display against an extremely talented Western Bulldogs outfit but were eventually overpowered by 32 points. While the Demons looked a little tired throughout the contest with the Bulldogs, the fact the score wasn’t overwhelmingly in favour of a Bulldogs team expected to win a flag within the next couple of seasons bodes well for Paul Roos’s men.
The Lions were simply horrible against the Pies on the weekend. They were kept to nil in the first quarter; eventually posting their first points after Collingwood had already registered 62 of their own. Brisbane’s season thus far has only yielded them the solitary victory and they start this clash as the underdogs with UBET yet again.
Melbourne's Neville Jetta is out through suspension with Dean Kent, Ben Newton, Oscar McDonald, Alex Neal-Bullen and Jack Grimes all part of the squad this week. The Lions have omitted Josh Green, Marco Paparone and Josh Walker. Dayne Beams, Darcy Gardiner and Claye Beams are all out through injury. Their replacements are Jackson Paine, Daniel McStay, Trent West, Jarrad Jansen, Nick Robertson, Eric Hipwood, Jonathan Freeman, Rhys Mathieson and Billy Evans.
Sunday, May 22, 3:20 pm (AEST) @ Spotless Stadium
GWS is arguably the form team of the competition, having won its last five matches. The Giants started the season slowly; losing two of their first three matches before shooting out to an unprecedented winning run with an average winning margin of more than 63 points. In their last match against the Suns, the Giants recorded their greatest winning margin in their short history winning by 91 points. This week, however, is predicted by UBET punters to be a much closer affair even though GWS starts as clear favourites.
The Bulldogs recorded a stirring victory themselves on the weekend when they comfortably disposed of the in-form Demons. The Dogs are considered a big chance of winning their first flag in 62 years; UBET is offering the juicy odds of $11 for a Bulldogs grand final victory heading into the ninth round.
Toby Greene, Adam Tomlinson and Sam J. Reid have been added to a winning Giants squad. The Bulldogs Jack Redpath and Matthew Boyd sit out this week through suspension with Kieran Collins, Koby Stevens, Mitch Honeychurch, Will Minson and Lin Jong coming into the squad.
Sunday, May 22, 4:40 pm (AEST) @ Etihad Stadium
The Saints were humiliated last week against the Eagles, going down by a whopping 103 points. That loss was quite surprising considering they had shown so much guts and determination throughout the season, even in their six losses. Alan Richardson has plenty of cause for concern for his side since it only managed to kick three goals in their tally of 29 points against the West Coast, but this week should be different with the Saints at home once again.
Not many positives could have been mentioned before the Bombers’ last start loss to the Kangaroos besides their only win, which came against the Demons in round two. But the Dons were a highly improved side against North; eventually losing by just 14 points to the only undefeated team in the competition.
The Saints have added Sam Fisher, Paddy McCartin, Daniel McKenzie and Jason Holmes to their extended team. The Bombers' Nathan Grima is out with a hip complaint; either James Gwilt, Martin Gleeson, Jackson Merrett or Sam Michael will replace him.