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AFL Round 13 Review: Can the Bulldogs make the finals?

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Round 13 was our first week back to normality after the Football Frenzy, and it somehow concluded without any outrageous upsets. Here are the biggest talking points from the week just gone in the AFL 2020 season.

Race for finals gets even tighter

With five rounds to go, there are three clubs outside the top eight that look poised to make a dash for the AFL 2020 finals.

Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs currently occupy the seventh and eighth positions respectively with 30 and 28 premiership points, followed by the Melbourne Demons, Carlton Blues and GWS Giants all on 24 points.

The Blues’ chances to make the eight have risen dramatically with their easy win over the Gold Coast Suns last Thursday, and they are now paying $3.50 with Sportsbet to feature in the postseason.

The Bulldogs are $2.20 to make the finals despite already sitting inside the eight, as upcoming matches against Geelong and West Coast make them the most likely team to drop out.

With the hot Carlton and cold Collingwood facing off in round 14, the shape of the finals race could look very different next week.

Premiership favourites stay cool under pressure

The top six teams in the 2020 AFL Premiership betting market all escaped with a win in round 13, although some were pushed to the limit by their opposition.

The Brisbane Lions beat the St Kilda Saints by just two points, a week after they defeated the North Melbourne Kangaroos by only one point.

Chris Fagan has coached well all season for the Lions, but his players are suffering from a slight form slump that could see them drop outside the top four if it continues any longer.

The West Coast Eagles were challenged by the Giants and the Richmond Tigers held on against the Bombers, but the favourites stood strong, stuck to their strengths and both won by 12 points.

At three-quarter time, the Adelaide Crows could almost smell their first win of the year, but the amazing Geelong Cats defence kept them goalless in the final term and ran away with a 28-point victory.

Are the Magpies doing enough to stay alive?

Although the Collingwood Magpies‘ form is far from impressive, they could still have a big part to play in the back end of the season.

The Pies have already been torn apart by injuries this season, but now Steele Sidebottom will part ways with the team and return to his partner for the birth of his child.

All they need to do is stay competitive enough to secure a spot in the top eight, where they can formulate a run for the flag once star players such as Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe return.

The Magpies were good enough to beat the Kangaroos despite starting slowly, but there was not a lot of fluency or cohesion about their game for most of the contest.

This week’s clash with Carlton could prove critical to Collingwood’s finals hopes ahead of tough matchups against Brisbane and Port Adelaide.

How much do we trust the Western Bulldogs?

There’s something about the 2020 Western Bulldogs that reminds us of the 2016 team that famously won a flag from nowhere.

Their structure worked very well against the Demons, who many pundits had tipped to make the top eight after they beat the Magpies convincingly in round 12.

Aaron Naughton is a huge presence in the forward half, and we think his return has been a huge boost for his teammates.

Marcus Bontempelli has moved back into the midfield since the return of Naughton, where he has had 30, 33 and 22 touches in the last three matches.

We believe the Bulldogs will challenge the Cats and Eagles in their next two contests, where they can cement themselves inside the top eight and begin another premiership run.

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