Dusty Lines for Footy Inc.
The Crows and Tigers continue to fight it out at the top of the line ladder. The Tigers dropped one last week when they lost as favourites against Geelong while the Crows won their match (and the line) with a big win over Essendon.
At the other end of the table the Bulldogs and Suns are in danger of taking the wooden spoon on the line ladder.
ROUND 22 LINES
Adelaide -7.5 / Sydney +7.5
Round 22 kicks off with an absolute cracker between the two most in-form teams in the competition. A top two finish and a home qualifying final is already locked away for the Crows but this match is a chance to get a psychological edge over another genuine contender (and possible opponents in that home qualifying final).
The Swans have only lost two of their last 14 matches with big scalps including the Giants, Cats and Tigers. Their record after round 6 is even better than the Crows. Sydney are sitting in 5th and may push into the top 4 if they continue with this winning form.
The line is narrow (7.5 points) and most neutral supporters would be very happy to see this match go right down to the wire. The Crows look like the complete package this season and will be very hard to beat at home.
Adelaide -7.5 points – Dusty, Moose Dogs, Shan
Sydney +7.5 points – Big O, Hollywood, TRM, Ding Dong
Western Bulldogs -1.5 / Port Adelaide +1.5
If the Dogs head office could reverse their decision to play this home game in Ballarat, there is no doubt that they would. With no more chances left the Dogs would much prefer to bring the Power to Etihad Stadium.
Port Adelaide are the big winners of this match being played on neutral territory. With a win here and a very winnable round 23 clash against the Suns, top 4 is not out of the question for the Power.
The Dogs have disappointed too often at the line this season. Port to cover.
Western Bulldogs -1.5 points – Moose Dogs, Ding Dong
Port Adelaide +1.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Hollywood, Shan, TRM
Collingwood +12.5 / Geelong -12.5
The Cats had a very good win last week over the Tigers with a weakened team due to suspension and injury. A win here will set up a classic round 23 clash against the Giants where a home qualifying final would be at stake.
Collingwood were overrun in a tough away trip last week against the Power in Adelaide. The Magpies were probably due for a loss after a great month with three wins and a draw. Back at the MCG they could cause Geelong some serious headaches and look a good thing at the +12.5 point line.
Collingwood +12.5 points – Dusty, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Shan, Ding Dong
Geelong -12.5 points – Big O, TRM
GWS -27.5 / West Coast +27.5
That injury list of the GWS Giants is getting smaller and smaller by the week and their performances on the field are getting more and more dominant. The Western Bulldogs hung in there against the Giants for a half of football last Friday night before the Giants went on to tear them apart in the second half. They are emerging as a mighty force and will be very difficult to stop in September. It’s incredible that the line is set at 27.5 points against another top 8 team this weekend.
For the Eagles it is do or die. With the Giants this weekend followed by the Crows in round 23, most have written off the Eagles in 2017 expecting them to concede 8th position on the ladder which they currently hold. One win from these last two matches may be enough for the Eagles to squeeze into the finals but I can’t see it happening this weekend in Sydney.
The Giants have a top 2 position to secure and a group of players fighting to hold their position in a stacked team – there is enormous motivation for the Giants and I can see them covering the big -27.5 point line.
GWS -27.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Ding Dong
West Coast +27.5 points – Shan, TRM
Gold Coast +22.5 / Essendon -22.5
The Gold Coast continued on their disappointing run last week losing to bottom-of-the-ladder Brisbane by 58 points. That took the losing streak to 6 matches at an average losing margin of 42 points.
The Bombers (10th) still have a great chance of playing finals with the Suns this week followed by the Dockers at Etihad Stadium in the final round.
Gary Ablett’s availability after missing last week due to injury may come into consideration here, but otherwise a big win to a motivated Bombers seems to be on the cards.
Gold Coast +22.5 points – nil
Essendon -22.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Shan, TRM, Ding Dong
Carlton +20.5 / Hawthorn -20.5
Unbelievably there is still a glimmer of hope for the Hawks to play finals – they are 6 premiership points outside the top 8 at the moment. They need a lot of other results to go their way but it could happen. This week they take on the Blues who they have beaten 14 times in a row – a streak that started back in round 17 2005.
Carlton are currently on an 8 game losing streak with an average losing margin of 23 points. Hawthorn to cover the -20.5 point line seems like the right choice here.
Carlton +20.5 points – Big O
Hawthorn -20.5 points – Dusty, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Shan, TRM, Ding Dong
Melbourne -38.5 / Brisbane +38.5
Melbourne have it all to play for again as they cling onto 7th position on the ladder with teams banked up behind them trying to take their spot in the top 8. They got the job done over the Saints last weekend but not without some nervous moments. One more win should be enough to secure a finals birth and they should get it against 17th placed Brisbane at the MCG on Sunday.
The Lions however have showed some good signs in the latter part of the year winning 3 of their last 7 matches. They should be competitive against the Demons and, with a big 38.5 point head start, the line looks theirs for the taking.
Melbourne -38.5 points – TRM, Ding Dong
Brisbane +38.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Hollywood, Shan
St Kilda -16.5 / North Melbourne +16.5
St Kilda’s match last week against Melbourne was dubbed a quasi-elimination final and the Saints fell short. Thankfully for Saints fans there is still hope of claiming a spot in the finals but it will take wins in their last two matches and some other results going their way. The Saints win/loss record in the last five rounds is 1-4 but they have faced some very tough teams and they are travelling a bit better than that record suggests.
The Kangaroos have won only one of their last 10 matches – they have been poor this season.
With finals still a chance and back at Etihad Stadium, the Saints cruise past the -16.5 point line.
St Kilda -16.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Shan, TRM, Ding Dong
North Melbourne +16.5 points – Hollywood
Fremantle +19.5 / Richmond -19.5
The Dockers beat the Tigers back in round 8 at the MCG with a goal after the siren kicked by David Mundy. Fremantle were going pretty well at that stage of the season but since then they have a win/loss of 3-9 and, despite playing on their home turf, they will go into this match as 19.5 point underdogs. Considering they lost by over 100 points last week against Sydney, the 19.5 point line may seem on the narrow side.
Richmond let a winnable game slip last week against Geelong but should still be considered an in-form team are deserving favourites here.
With Freo’s season essentially over and with a top 4 position on the line for the Tigers, surely Richmond get the win and they should cover the -19.5 point line as well.
Fremantle +19.5 points – Hollywood, TRM
Richmond -19.5 points – Dusty, Big O, Moose Dogs, Shan, Ding Dong
The line tipping table after round 21:
Round 22 results and an updated ladder will be published next week on Footy Inc..