2016 Premiership up for grabsJuly 20, 2016
Preview of Round 18 and the AFl Premiership contenders
The 2016 AFL Premiership season is one of the most even and hotly contested in recent memory. Most of the teams within the top eight have the right to be genuinely confident about their chances come September. Whereas in recent seasons, most teams feared the Hawks, and rightly so, the reigning premiers seem more vulnerable this year, despite occupying top spot on the AFL ladder.
As we head in to Round 18 of the season, perhaps the only top 8 eight team not favoured to perform well and genuinely compete for the flag is one-time ladder leader North Melbourne. The Roos won their first 9 matches but have since slumped, losing their last five matches in a row to sit 8th on the ladder. It would now take a remarkable turnaround for the Kangas to make the Grand Final, let alone fancy their chances of winning it.
All seven other top 8 teams have all but guaranteed their spot in the 2016 AFL finals, and all seven have strong Premiership claims. It’s a given that the Hawks will feature prominently in September, as they look set to claim an all-important top four spot and resultant double chance. Many of their wins have been less than convincing this year, leading many pundits to believe that the premiership race is more open than in seasons past.
Despite losing two of their last three games, Sydney is also well placed to contend deep into September. The Swans will likely finish in the top four, and may even finish top two, guaranteeing them a home final. All other contenders including: Adelaide, Western Bulldogs, Greater Western Sydney, Adelaide and Geelong will also fancy their chances of making the Grand Final.
Round 18 is a pivotal round for both Geelong and Adelaide, as they square off against each other down at Skilled Stadium in Geelong. The game is effectively worth 8 points as the winner has a chance to cement themselves within the top four. There is a terrific offer available on this match and indeed all other Round 18 matches with Sportsbet, whereby securing a lead at any break will ensure any losing bet is refunded. The Kangaroos will also be desperate to atone for their recent losing streak and sure up their position in the final eight when they play a resurgent Collingwood.
Meanwhile, the race for the Brownlow Medal gets more intriguing each week. Patrick Dangerfield is the hot $1.85 favourite, having maintained his terrific form throughout the season. Also enjoying a fine season is Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin. Martin got off to a slow start during the first five rounds but now averages in the 30s for disposals in season 2016, he’s currently rated a $6 chance. Also making a late run for the Medal is Adelaide’s Rory Sloane. Sloane’s price is now in to $9 thanks to Adelaide’s unbeaten run of 8 matches.