With round seven done and dusted there is still no clear form lines in which to bet upon week-to-week.
The Tigers upset the Pies, The Giants smashed the hapless Blues, and the Lions stunned the AFL world, handing Port Adelaide its second consecutive loss.
Thankfully a Brownlow medal fancy is free to play, but several key injuries to other stars from around the league have severely dented the chances of teams making a premiership push.
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Round seven review – Dockers on top, Blues bottom out
The round kicked off on Friday night with the Bombers and the Kangaroos both desperately needing a win to keep themselves in contention for the top-four.
After a titanic struggle for much of the game it was the Roos who pulled away late to record an 11-point victory at Etihad Stadium.
Both teams squandered chances all throughout the match to put the other side away, but it was North Melbourne free agent signing Shaun Higgins who did the damage late, scoring a clutch goal in the final five minutes to give his side a two-kick buffer, and it was strongly-built midfielder Jack Ziebell who sealed the win, kicking a 70-metre bomb that rolled through for a goal.
The win elevated the Roos inside the top-eight and right back into contention for a top-four finish with WilliamHill offering the $3.25 quote for North Melbourne to finish with the double chance.
The loss leaves the Dons in a precarious position outside the top-eight, but with a decent stretch of match-ups in the next month James Hird’s men should be able to get their season back on track.
The Bombers are currently at $2.75 with Sportsbet to make the final eight.
Saturday afternoon saw the Giants and the Blues clash at Etihad Stadium, with GWS smashing the lamentable Blues by 78 points.
The Giants led at every change and even with minor injuries to star midfielders Ryan Griffin and Devon Smith, still managed to comprehensively dismantle Carlton right across the park.
The Giants were well-served by spearhead Jeremy Cameron, who added a further five goals to his already impressive goal tally for the season, moving him to third in the league for goals kicked and into second favourite for the Coleman medal with William Hill at $5.
The win firmly entrenches the Giants inside the top-eight and the ‘little brother’ in Sydney looks likely to play in their first ever AFL finals series, with the $1.70 quote offered by Sportsbet a far cry from the $7 you could get prior to the commencement of the season.
In contrasting fortunes, the loss condemns Carlton to the bottom of the ladder and outright favourite to finish the 2015 season with the least amount of wins, with Sportsbet offering 2.25 for the Blue-baggers to end the season on the bottom of the ladder.
The first Sunday game saw the Western Bulldogs and the Dockers play out one of the games of the season, with the gallant Dogs falling just short of ending Fremantle’s unbeaten run by 13 points.
The visitors skipped out to a six-goal lead early in the game and looked to have the Dogs’ measure, but a late second half flurry lead by Tory Dickson’s career-best seven goals kept the Western Bulldogs in the match right up until the final siren, where it took a perfectly-executed set shot from Michael Walters and a miracle snap from Freo captain Matthew Pavlich to ice the game.
One of the main points of contention coming out of the contest was the report of Fremantle superstar Nat Fyfe, who despite having another best-on-ground performance, was facing the prospect of being ineligible for this year’s medal after being the clear-cut favourite with all the bookmakers.
Fortunately the Freo medal fancy was only given a fine by the match review panel and is still in contention for the 2015 Brownlow medal.
Nat Fyfe is currently at $2.50 with both WilliamHill and Sportsbet to win the competitions’ premier individual award.
The last match of the round in Melbourne saw the Tigers and Magpies clash before a packed house at the MCG, with Richmond prevailing by five points to snap a seven-game losing streak against their opposition that stretched all the way back to 2007.
The Pies were the early aggressors in the match, piling on five unanswered goals before the Tigers sprung to life, surpassing Collingwood’s effort to take a two-goal lead into the main change.
After several last quarter lead changes it took a strong grab and a duly converted set shot from the much-maligned Ty Vickery to give the Tigers back the lead, before four-goal hero Jack Riewoldt’s 40 metre snap gave the Tigers an 11-point lead that proved to be too much.
The win moves Richmond right back into the finals frame, with the $4 quote from William Hill very enticing given how impressive the Tigers’ turnaround was.
There are several severe injuries coming out of round seven, headlined by Geelong’s Mitch Duncan, who is set to miss the next three months of football with a foot injury. The up-and-coming midfielder has been a big part of Geelong’s resurgence in recent weeks and will be sorely missed.
In better news for the Cats Tom Hawkins will be available for selection after missing Saturday night’s clash with Sydney with a minor glute strain.
The news is not as positive for Adelaide’s Matthew Jaensch, who will miss the remainder of the AFL season after suffering a ruptured ACL in his side’s victory over St Kilda.
The match between the Saints and the Crows was a war of attrition, with Saints’ captain Nick Riewoldt and dashing Crows defender Brodie Smith suffering a sickening head clash which saw the pair subbed out of the contest.
Both players are in doubt for their respective clubs this week.
Finally, Collingwood’s Alan Toovey should be available for selection after scans revealed no structural damage to his already surgically repaired knee. The versatile defender was subbed out of his side’s narrow loss to Richmond with a knee compliant.
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