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AFL Round 15 Preview

Sorry, one day late. Still can't get my head around games being played on a Thursday night!

Once again, it's the sharp guys at AFLRatings with the expertise.

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AFL Round 15 Preview by aflratings.com.au via @aflratings

A total of two favourites were defeated in the AFL last week, here are our thoughts for Round 15.

Port Adelaide 5-8 v Collingwood 8-5

Collingwood have been very impressive in the last two weeks despite narrow losses, the Magpies were very competitive in games that they entered into as heavy underdogs. Collingwood are +6 vs the Betting Line this season and are generally a good travelling team, the Magpies are ranked third scoring 98.0pts per game this season and have hit 100pts or more in seven games which is tied second only to Hawthorn. Port Adelaide have had their struggles in 2015, they are all over the place providing periods of brilliance and at times and also a distinct inability to move the ball quickly in to their forward line. This is the Power’s last chance to retain fading hopes of playing finals this year, so won’t discount their chances in this one.

Richmond 8-5 v Carlton 3-10

After a few promising weeks from the Blues they seemed to be a little off last week against the Bulldogs albeit in a narrow loss, it is quite possible that their spike in form following the introduction of a new coach is now diminishing. Carlton managed only 53pts in perfect conditions at Etihad Stadium, without any key performing forwards they are likely to struggle against a strong defensive team in Richmond that has conceded only 68.0pts in their last six games. The Tigers were fortunate to escape with a win against the Giants last week, they are now a genuine chance to finish Top 4 but are quite fragile when expected to win as represented by a 3-4 record when starting favourite in 2015.

Essendon 4-9 v Melbourne 4-9

The wheels have almost fallen off Essendon in recent weeks, the Bombers have scored a miserly 57.2pts average from their last five games and conceded 123.5pts average from their last four games with a poor percentage of only 46.0% since Round 10. Melbourne will start favourite for the first time in a game this season, the Demons form line isn’t all that great winning one of their last five games. This will not be the best quality game of year, the current weather forecast is poor and both teams struggle to generate big Inside 50 numbers therefore a low scoring game could eventuate.

Western Bulldogs 8-5 v Gold Coast 2-11

A real danger game for the Bulldogs, they have averaged only 63.0pts in the last two games in perfect conditions at Etihad Stadium both for wins. Gold Coast won only their second game of the season last Saturday with the return of Ablett & Swallow, the Suns had been very competitive in recent weeks without getting a result prior to their win against Nth Melbourne. This game is being played in Cairns, expect warm & humid conditions that are likely to develop in to slippery conditions. Cazaly Stadium is quite open to the wind so a check of conditions pre-game and the toss could impact several betting markets.

Noth Melbourne 6-7 v Geelong 6-6-1

The Cats will enter this game on a 20 day break, their most recent game was a disappointing loss to Melbourne at Simonds Stadium by 24pts. North Melbourne had their own issues last week going down to Gold Coast by 55pts at Metricon Stadium, defensively the Kangaroos have struggled this season conceding 100pts or more in six of 13 games and averaging 95.1pts AGA which is ranked 13th in the AFL. This is a genuine coin flip, the one guarantee will be that the Kangaroos will be ferocious at the contest and the one question mark will be can Geelong match the early intensity coming off such an extended break?

West Coast 10-3 v Adelaide 7-5-1

This will be one of the more emotional games in recent AFL history, it is not known how Adelaide players will cope with the sudden passing of coach Phil Walsh. Statistically West Coast are still ranking highly in key areas attributed to success in the AFL, the Eagles have a +38.0pts differential this season and are the only team to be ranked in the top 3 of both Pts For & Against. Purely from a game point of view it will be interesting to see if there any subtle or significant game style changes for the Crows, but in reality that will likely be for another time to analyse.

GWS Giants 7-6 v St Kilda 5-8

If there was ever a team that required a bye it was GWS a couple of weeks back, the young Giants appeared to be refreshed and energetic in a narrow loss to Richmond last week and have an opportunity to get back in to the race for a Finals spot with a win against the Saints this Sunday. St Kilda demolished Essendon last week to the tune of 110pts, the Saints have improved defensively in recent weeks conceding only 65.7pts in their last three games compared to 106.1pts from their first 10 games of 2015. Expectations could mean everything in this game, the Giants are 6-1 when starting as favourite this season.

Hawthorn 9-4 v Fremantle 12-1

It is rare to witness a team that has a 12-1 record be an overwhelming underdog in a game, but that is exactly what Fremantle will be at kick off on Sunday in Launceston. The Dockers are coming off a brutal contest in wet conditions last week where a combined season high 234 tackles were placed vs Brisbane, Hawthorn will have two more days to recover and prepare for a must win game in what could be a Grand Final preview this October. The Hawks have won their past five games scoring at an average of 115.3pts per game, it will be no surprise if they get the win comfortably against Freo. It will be wise to check weather conditions prior to kick off, windy conditions will impact betting markets.

Brisbane 2-11 v Sydney 10-3

Brisbane may suffer the same fate as Fremantle in the late game on Sunday, the Swans have three more days in recovery and preparation than the Lions who are returning from Perth. Generally teams playing in Perth fly back to the eastern states the same night, but Brisbane decided to stay on the night following the game as a trial. Brisbane have been competitive in recent weeks but again dropped off significantly at 3QT to lose by 36pts to Fremantle, Sydney are highly unlikely to drop this one considering the big names that are returning into their line-up.

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