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Last week was another topsy-turvy weekend of Aussie Rules. Hawthorn, as expected, made short work of bottom side GWS Giants, but Sydney let their hard-won second spot slip with a surprise loss to Collingwood. The big losers, though, were Carlton Blues, who slipped up at home to Western Bulldogs.
That defeat, to a side six places behind them, means that they now need to win all three of their remaining games and hope that Port Adelaide loses all of theirs if they are to make the playoffs. Just one win for Port will seal eighth spot in the ladder for them and shut out not only Carlton but the West Coast Eagles, too.
The Eagles, as predicted here last week, had a fine away win at Essendon. However, they’ve left their challenge too late whilst the weekend results meant that, despite the defeats the Bombers are guaranteed at least one game in September.
With three rounds to go, the Hawks are still 11/5 favorites with Paddy Power to win the Grand Final. Sydney’s defeat to the Magpies has pushed them out to 10/3 at BetVictor, whilst Geelong are now third favorites at a best price of 7/2 with Coral.
Looking at the market for who will contest the Grand Final, a Hawthorn/Sydney matchup remains favorite at around 9/2 in the betting odds, with the Hawks taking on Geelong trading at around 5/1, with Geelong/Sydney at around 19/4, all with Betfair.
Potentially the more interesting market at the moment, though, is the race to win the regular season. It is essentially a four way contest between those three sides and Fremantle, and the Dockers look best value of all 7/1 with Coral. They’ve got another easy game this weekend, against Melbourne Demons, whilst Hawthorn have to entertain Collingwood in a game the Magpies could easily win at a price of around 7/4
Geelong could also have a tough weekend. They have to go to West Coast and the Eagles will know exactly what they have to do to keep their season alive. That is because both Port Adelaide and Carlton play before they do. Port could easily go down at home to a resurgent Gold Coast Suns, whilst the Blues go to a Richmond Tigers side now playing for ladder position going into the playoffs. I’m backing Gold Coast and Richmond to win those two games, and then the Eagles to sink their claws into the Cats. Richmond are just 1.35 with Betfair to win their game, but you should be able to get at least 3/1 on a Gold Coast win and around 5/2 on a West Coast win.
Sydney, on the other hand, play in the penultimate match of the weekend when they take on a St Kilda side with the worst current record of any side in the AFL. You’ll rarely see any game in this league where one side is quoted at as long as 10/1, but that is where Betfair have St Kilda for this game, a true reflection of the awful run that the Saints are on at the moment. The win should be enough to grab the Swans back that all-important second place in what looks like being a see-saw contest right to the end of the regular season.
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