Mon, Jul 18, 2:19pm by Staff Writer
With six weeks to go until the finals, the top of the ladder has an extremely familiar look to it. Hawthorn are on top having won 5 games by under 10 points.
They once again got out of jail in Sydney on Thursday after trailing by seven points with just three minutes left on the clock. After watching North Melbourne’s worst performance of the season on Saturday in their loss to Port and West Coast fall over the line against Carlton on Sunday, I believe the premiership race has been cut to six clubs with those two out of the hunt.
Sportsbet has Hawthorn at $3.75, followed by Sydney and Adelaide on the second line of betting at $5.50 then an unpredictable Geelong at $6. The latter have shown throughout the year they can match it with the very best but by their own admission haven’t been consistent enough. At $8 are GWS, they’ve never played in a finals series before but have the pace and promise to cause an upset. The Western Bulldogs are at $9; they currently sit in third place and are every chance of holding onto a spot in the top 4 with four more games at Etihad Stadium. The premiership winner will surely be one of these.
Speaking of that game on Thursday night, that could well have been the Grand Final preview, it had the intensity of a final with nerves and tension in bucket loads. Hawthorn proved once again that they are the team to beat when a Cyril Rioli goal snatched the four points.
Their skill execution under pressure has been and continues to be absolutely brilliant. No club has won four flags in a row since Collingwood in 1927-30 and this club now has every chance of equalling that feat on the first Saturday in October.
Despite controlling long periods of the game and dominating the contested possession count, the Swans have now dropped their past two home games by under a kick which could prove crucial come season’s end. It’s not all doom and gloom though, their run home is quite cushy, playing only one more top eight side.
Equal with the Swans at $5.50 for the flag, the Crows are firming all the time to make their first Grand Final since 1998. They key performance indicators are all there, they’re the highest scoring team and despite losing former skipper Patrick Dangerfield to Geelong they haven’t missed a beat. They have a decent run home, which includes four more games on their home patch and if they can beat Geelong away this week they may secure the all-important second spot on the ladder which would enable them to stay on their beloved Adelaide Oval until the big day.
I’m backing the Hawks to once again be lifting the cup come Grand Final day. They are a game clear on top of the ladder with the experience, class and toughness required to get the job done again. Whether you like them or not, we could all be witness to something special should they salute at the post. But as they say ‘a week is a long time in football’ so plenty can change between now and September.
BEST BET: Hawthorn to win – $3.75 at Sportsbet
The Run Home:
Rd 18: Richmond (MCG)
Rd 19: Carlton (Aurora Stadium)
Rd 20: Melbourne (MCG)
Rd 21: North Melbourne (MCG)
Rd 22: West Coast (Domain Stadium)
Rd 23: Collingwood (MCG)
Rd 18: Geelong (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 19: Essendon (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 20: Brisbane Lions (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 21: Fremantle (Domain Stadium)
Rd 22: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 23: West Coast (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 18: St Kilda (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 19: Geelong (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 20: North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 21: Collingwood (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 22: Essendon (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 23: Fremantle (Domain Stadium)
Greater Western Sydney:
Rd 18: Port Adelaide (Adelaide Oval)
Rd 19: Richmond (Manuka Oval)
Rd 20: Gold Coast (Metricon Stadium)
Rd 21: West Coast (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 22: Fremantle (Spotless Stadium)
Rd 23: North Melbourne (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 18: Carlton (SCG)
Rd 19: Fremantle (Domain Stadium)
Rd 20: Port Adelaide (SCG)
Rd 21: St Kilda (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 22: North Melbourne (Blundstone Arena)
Rd 23: Richmond (SCG)
Rd 18: Adelaide (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 19: Western Bulldogs (Simonds Stadium)
Rd 20: Essendon (Etihad Stadium)
Rd 21: Richmond (MCG)
Rd 22: Brisbane Lions (Gabba)
Rd 23: Melbourne (Simonds Stadium)
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