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AFL Preview – 2018 Australian Rules Betting

The Australian Football League (AFL), which is the professional Australian football contest, is getting ready to start its 122nd season of competition. The 2018 AFL season will feature 18 teams, much like its previous six seasons.

The Richmond Football Club

The Richmond Football Club joined the AFL, which was then known as the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 1908. Since then, they have won 11 premierships. Their most recent victory was in 2017.

Richmond's headquarters and training facilities, the Punt Road Oval, has been their home since 1965. The club has a long- standing rivalry with the Carlton Club from across town. The two teams have been competing in the opening match of the AFL season every year for a long time.

The club is currently coached by Damien Hardwick and is being led by their Captain, Trent Cotchin.

Despite the short pre- season, the Tigers seem to be in very good shape. They acquired two victories at the JLT series under their belts. The JLT Community Series, which is the AFL pre- season competition, first started in the year 2003. The games featured 18 matches across 16 days in their 2018 event.

In this year’s JTL games, the Tigers defeated The Essendon Football Club with a score of 37 – 124 and The North Melbourne Football Club with a score of 58 – 128.

Richmond Livewire, Daniel Rioli, who won the award for AFL's Goal of the Year in last year’s AFL season, has undergone a major surgery in his ankle and still recovering from it. It has been announced that he will miss the opening game. Shai Bolton, who plays in the Small Forward position will be taking over for him. While Bolton seems more than a capable player, it is unclear whether or not he is ready to take on Rioli’s position.

Jack Riewoldt, who serves as one of the club's co- vice captains, will have a lot of pressure on his hands. It looks like the Mid Field and the Small Forward players will be the ones to really come forward and keep the team going in the game in Rioli’s absence.

The Richmond Football Club seems to have a strong team for this year’s AFL matches. They have been given the 4th position on the Predicted Ladder. However, it is going to be a long season and for the first time in many years they do not have an uncontested upper hand. It might not be easy, but fans expect to see them at a top spot on the ladder once again.

Odds to win: 7,5 Unibet

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The Carlton Football Club

The Carlton Football Club was founded in 1864 in Carlton, Melbourne and is one of the eight founding member clubs of the AFL. The club is headquarters at Princes Park in Carlton but plays their home matches at the Etihad Stadium or the MCG.

At the pre- season 2018 JTL Community Series games, the club defeated The St Kilda Football Club with a score of 67 – 89 and The Hawthorn Football Club with a score of 97 – 102.

While Carlton’s long term prospects looks promising, their 2017 trade period may not have helped get them score wins this year.

On top of that the team has lost one of their star attacking Mid Fielders, Bryce Gibbs, to the Adelaide Football Club. It is uncertain how that will affect their game this year. Carlton has, on the other hand, acquired two new Mid Field players, Matthew Kennedy and Darcy Lang; and bolstered their hand at the draft. This also means that a lot of the midfield pressure will fall upon Marc Murphy and Patrick Cripps. The Blues will, therefore, try and protect these two from anything that might cause them to miss a game. If they were to go absent due to injury or any other factor during the 2018 games, the team will face a serious shortfall in their Mid Field quality.

However, all is not lost for Carlton fans. Charlie Curnow, who was nominated for the 2017 AFL Rising Star award in round 16 of the 2017 season, might have some new tricks up his sleeve for the upcoming season. Another player, who might be able to turn the game around for the club is Paddy Dow. This will be his first year of playing senior footy. Other notable players to keep an eye on are Sam Petrevski- Seton, Jacob Weitering and Harry McKay.

The team does not pack a lot of experience this year, so a good number of losses can be expected. However, it is too early to say how much the players may have improved on their game since the last season. Fans can expect another bottom four finish for the Carlton club, unless the team manages to surprise everyone with their youthful enthusiasm and talent, like they did in 2017. The team has been assigned the 17th position on the Predicted Ladder for the 2018 AFL series.

Odds to win: 151,00 bet365

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The Essendon Football Club

The Essendon Football Club formed as a junior club in 1871 and has been playing as a senior club since 1878. It is historically associated with Essendon, Melbourne, Victoria. The club has been headquartered at The Hangar, Melbourne Airport, since 2013. The team plays their home games at either the Etihad Stadium or the MCG.

The team is currently coached by John Worsfold and led by their Captain, Dyson Heppell.

Essendon is one of Australia's best- known football clubs and they have won 16 VFL/ AFL premierships over the years.

This year at the JTL pre- season games, Essendon scored one victory against The Geelong Football Club, with a score of 97 – 101. In their second game, they suffered a loss against The Richmond Football Club, with a score of 37 – 124.

Since last year, the Bombers have traded in three very good players in the form of Adam Saad, Devon Smith and Jake Stringer. However, this has not seemingly affected their game very much. The players are still young and inexperienced but show incredible potential. However, there is a small matter of Smith’s body and Stringer’s off- field issues that would need to be resolved before the team can expect a stellar performance from the three.

The players are only as strong as their positions on the team. While Stringer is a 50 + Goal Forward, the coach has mentioned that he plans on using him as a Mid Fielder. It is unknown whether he has the stamina to succeed in that position. It might be easy to criticise the coach’s decision to use Stringer in the Mid Field, but the team needs extra help in that area and he will just have to bring his best game forward to help the club succeed.

At least the team is confident with their Back Line for being strong and capable for this year’s games. Their players in the Forward position also seem strong enough to hold their own. However, several of the other clubs, such as the Sydney and Geelong, have strong Mid Fields. If Essendon are to face them in any of their matches, it would be a rather difficult position to come out of with a win.

The team has been put in 8th place on the Prediction Ladder. Experts believe they will make the finals, but will not be able to do much damage.

Odds to win: 17,00 WilliamHill

The Adelaide Football Club

The Adelaide Football Club is based in Adelaide, South Australia. The team was formed in 1990 and has its training and administration base at Football Park in West Lakes. However, they play their home matches at Adelaide Oval. They won both the Grand Finals in 1997 and 1998, and have appeared in 15 finals series in their 27 year long history.

The club is currently captained by Taylor Walker and coached by Don Pyke.

The Crows played well in last year’s games but suffered in the end. The team and their fans must be looking for a comeback in this year’s series. They team has lost two strong players during the trade period. Jake Lever left the Crows to join The Melbourne Football Club and Charlie Cameron went off to join The Brisbane Lions. Despite that, their list for the season is still pretty good; not to mention the club acquired Bryce Gibbs from The Carlton Football Club. Gibbs is known for his incredible abilities in the Mid Field, This will obviously give the team a massive boost in their Mid Field and Forward line.

The Adelaide Crows had one victory against The Fremantle Football Club in the 2018 JLT Community Series games, with a score of 91 – 81 and a loss against The Port Adelaide Football Club, with a score of 98 – 72.

While the Port Adelaide club is likely to continue being a challenge for the team, the Crows are not going to lose many games at their home grounds this season. This alone should be enough to put then in the top four contentions.

Last time they faced the Tigers, the Crow’s Forward Line waivered. However, it is expected that almost every other team will also struggle with that against the Richmond team.

Even if the coach tries out a few plays that do not pay off, fans are convinced that the team should be able to secure one of the top four spots in this year’s series.

The Crows are a strong team, so they can be expected to do well and go far this season. They have been assigned 2nd position in the Prediction Ladder. The Adelaide Football Club is likely to at least make it to the preliminary rounds of the final weekend.

Odds to win: 6,50 Unibet

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The St Kilda Football Club

The St Kilda Football Club is based in Melbourne, Victoria. It was established in 1873 and has only won a single premiership to date. The team has developed a reputation for being the constant underachievers, with the record for of finishing last more often than any other club.

The team is currently coached by Alan Richardson and led by their Captain, Jarryn Geary.

The Saints were defeated in both their 2018 JLT Community Series games against The Carlton Football Club, with a score of 89 – 67 and The Melbourne Football Club, with a score of 119 – 93.

The Saints have lines up quite a number of young stars on their team for the 2018 showdown. However, it seems like these players are all positioned at either end of the ground, which leaves their Mid Field lacking suitable athletes. The team is not entirely unprepared to deal with this. There is no doubt Jack Billings will be expected to spend more time in the Mid Field this season. On top of that, they have picked up two new players from the top- ten picks from last year’s draft – Hunter Clark and Nick Coffield. Both of them seem capable of handling the Mid Field positions in their debut seasons.

Until the team has established a strong set of players to cover all the key positions on the field, the Saints are unlikely to reach the premiership. Despite that, given that they still have both Jack Steven and David Armitage on the team, they could very well sneak into the finals.

Paddy McCartin has shown great potential in the pre- season games. Fans can expect great things from him in this year’s upcoming tournament. The team is often criticised for being wildly inconsistent, but with McCartin in top form, it could be big step in the right direction for the Saints this year.

Taking everything into consideration, it seems like The St Kilda Football Club is headed for another mid- table finish this year. However, if any of the Mid Field players bring an extraordinary game to the table, it can change their fate for the better.

All in all, when they bring their best game forward, the Saints can be quite a good team. They have been assigned position number 11 on this year’s Prediction Ladder.

Odds to win: 41,00 Ubet

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The Brisbane Lions

The Brisbane Lions is based in Brisbane, Queensland. The club was formed in 1996 through the merger of the Fitzroy Football Club and the Brisbane Bears. The Lions have remained the most successful AFL clubs of the 21st century. They have appeared in four consecutive AFL Grand Finals between 2001 and 2004 and won three premierships in between 2001and 2003.

The club is based at the Gabba and the team is captained by Dayne Beams and coached by Chris Fagan.

At the pre- game 2018 JLT Community Series The Brisbane Lions lost their first match against The Sydney Swans, with a score of 40 -95. They also lost their second match against The Gold Coast Football Club, but with a much closer score of 45 – 49.

Despite their amazing performance throughout the last decade, they seem to have not been placed very high on the Prediction Ladder for the upcoming season. The Brisbane Lions have been assigned position number 16 this year. They had a poor year in 2017 and there is no doubt that they will be hoping to bring their position up on the ladder through this years’ performance.

The team has some real positives to take in to the new season. Since last year’s AFL games, they have acquired one draft pick Cam Rayner; it looks like the coach has planned his debut in the first round. They have also brought in Charlie Cameron from The Adelaide Football Club. Another player to join the Lions this year is ex- Hawks superstar, Luke Hodge. As a successful Back Line player, he is likely to teach the younger Lions the ropes to a successful play.

While The Lions have brought in some incredible players for their team for the upcoming season, they have also lost some talent. Ex- skipper, Tom Rockliff, left the team to join Port Adelaide, and their Key Forward player, Josh Schache, also followed suit. While there is no arguing that Rockliff is a strong player, he has recently been plagued by constant strain of injuries. This had obviously left the group felling his absence for a while. Therefore, the loss of Rockliff might not be felt as strongly by the Lions as one might expect. At the same time Schache is a rather inexperienced player; he has the potential to develop into a Gun Forward in a few years, but that should not pose a threat in this upcoming season.

For what it is worth, this could be another year of development for the team. They should at the least aim to improve their win- loss ratio. The team has been placed 16th of the Predicted Ladder.

Odds to win: 251,00 bet365

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The Port Adelaide Football Club

The Port Adelaide Football Club is based in Alberton, Port Adelaide, South Australia. It is the oldest professional sporting club in South Australia and the fifth- oldest club in the AFL. Till date, the club has won 36 South Australian league premierships and also the Champions of Australia competition in 1997.

The AFL team from Port Adelaide is currently coached by Ken Hinkley and the team is led by their Captain, Travis Boak.

The team had one win and one loss at the 2018 JLT Community Series pre- games. They lost their first game to The West Coast Eagles by a narrow margin of 54 – 56. They won the game against The Adelaide Football Club, with a score of 98 – 72.

The Power came extremely close to claiming the title last year. They were knocked out of the finals by the Eagles, whist in extra time. During their trade period, Port Adelaide went out to recruit a number of mature players that might be able to help their game this season. Tom Rockliff, who played with the Brisbane Lions for 154 games between 2009 and 2017, will be joining the Power this year. While he has infamously suffered a number of injuries in the past, if he can stay fit, he will be a great asset for the team. Steven Motlop, who played for the Geelong Football Club from 2010 to 2017, will also be joining Port Adelaide for the upcoming season. Another player to join the team is Jack Watts, who has a reputation for scoring goals fairly often. Experts and fans are likely focus their attention and expectations on Charlie Dixon, who scored 79 goals in the 41 games he has played for Port Adelaide since joining them in 2017.

There is no doubt that this was a successful trade season for the team and they have recruited some strong players for this year’s line- up. However, the main question that remains is how well all of them will play together on the field. The team managed to win 14 games last year, but lost out whenever they tried to travel, or were placed against any of the top eight teams. Not being able to score a win against the top contenders is definitely a cause for concern; especially if the team wants to make it to the finals. It remains to be seen if they have been able to work on any of these weaknesses since last year’s AFL games. Port Adelaide has been scheduled to face The Sydney Swans in Round 2 at the SCG. It will be a hard game for them to win, but if they manage to do so, it would show that they have really improved in their game since last year.

There is no doubt that the team has great potential on paper, but it still remains to be seen how they actually fair in this year’s AFL games. They have been assigned the 6th position in this year’s Predicted Ladder.

Odds to win: 9,5 bet365

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The Fremantle Football Club

The Fremantle Football Club, nicknamed the Dockers, was originally based in Fremantle in Western Australia. They are now headquarters at Cockburn ARC in Cockburn Central. Fremantle became the second team to join the AFL from Western Australia in 1995.

The club is coached by Ross Lyon and led by their Captain. Nathan Fyfe. They have not won a single premiership during their time in the AFL, but managed to reach the 2013 AFL Grand Final which they lost to Hawthorn.

In the pre- game 2018 JLT Community Series, Fremantle won their first match but lost the second one. The team defeated The West Coast Eagles, with a score of 101 – 91 and lost against The Adelaide Football Club, with a score of 91 – 81.

The Dockers were rather inconsistent throughout their 2017 season. They started off strong but could not sustain that momentum till the end of the series.  Experts say that this was because Coach Lyon was using new players and trying out too many risky tactics. The same experts believe that this year’s game play is likely to follow a very similar trend.

The Dockers already have some great players on their team and they have added to that in the draft this year. The team has acquired two of the top five players, Andrew Brayshaw and Adam Cerra, in this year’s trading season. Andrew Brayshaw comes from a talented family with two older brothers in the AFL.

Captain of the team, Nathan Fyfe, also looks to be in top form and ready for the big games. On the other hand, many have been concerned about Lachie Neale’s lack of preparation. However, he picked up 36 touches and kicked three goals in his first hit out of the pre- season, so, it seems like his level of preparedness might not affect his performance in the upcoming season.

The team has been placed 12th on the Predicted Ladder. They will undoubtedly have a few wins this season, but might struggle against most of the stronger teams. Experts expect them to finish near the bottom ten once again this year.

Odds to win: 67,00 Ladbrokes

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The Gold Coast Football Club

The Gold Coast Football Club, based on the Gold Coast in Queensland, joined the AFL in 2011. The club is the product of a sole consortium, formerly known as “GC17.”

The team is currently coached by Stuart Dew and Captained by Tom Lynch and Steven May.

The team performed very well at the pre- season JLT series this year. They won both the matches they were a part of. The Gold Coast defeated The Geelong Football Club in their first match with a score of 85 – 49 and the Brisbane Lions by a much smaller margin of 49 – 42.

This is Dew’s first year in charge of the Suns. Their performance will have a lot to say about his abilities as a coach. This is his chance to really prove himself to the AFL and AFL fans. If Dew is able to guide the team to win a respectable number of games this season, everyone’s faith in his coaching abilities will be greatly affected. It seems that Forward player and current captain of the team, Tom Lynch, might leave the team in the near future. His departure will definitely have a negative effect of their performance. However, while it may be a tough position to be in, Dew will have sufficient time to rebuild his team without doing any damage to their game.

The JLT victories, although do not have any impact on the actual season results, has gone a long way to boost their confidence for the upcoming games.

The team has also recently acquired the prized player, Lachie Weller, from the Dockers. Both the coach and fans expect the 21 year old to bring about some exceptional play in the forthcoming season. The Sun has supposedly sacrificed a lot to have Weller on the roster; and if he does not pull out an above average performance, they will have a lot to worry about.

The player and the teams have obviously had another year of preparation since the last season; so, there is immense possibility of improvement for the team. Coach Dew is a highly regarded in his profession, so, it is likely he had really strengthened the team since last season’s performance.

In addition, the former captain of the team, Gary Ablett Jr., has now left the team. This gives them the perfect opportunity to reinvent their identity as an AFL club. Experts have places the Gold Coast team at the 14th position in the Predicted Ladder. Their actual performance under the guidance of a new coach still remains to be seen.

Odds to win: 251,00 Crownbet

The North Melbourne Football Club

The North Melbourne Football Club is the fourth oldest club in the AFL and one of the oldest sporting clubs in the world. It is based at the Arden Street Oval in North Melbourne, Victoria, but the team plays their home matches at the Docklands Stadium.

The North Melbourne team is coached by Brad Scott and led by Captain Jack Ziebell.

The North Melbourne Football Club did not have a great pre- season at the 2018 JLT series. They lost their first game against The Melbourne Football Club, with a score of 71 -124 and their second to The Richmond Football Club, with a score of 58 – 128.

The pre- season games have not been the only low points the Kangaroos have suffered since the last season; trading season went quite poorly for the team as well. They made big plays for out- of- contract player, Dustin Martin and Josh Kelly, but failed to recruit either one of them. As a backup they decided to take their pick from the new drafts instead.  While it is too early to say, all of that might just pay off in their favour. There has been a lot of hype about their top pick, Luke Davies-Uniacke. It is likely that the coach will put him on the field early on in the season and for a lot of matches too. It might be a good strategy regardless of their inconveniences. If the Kangaroos begin to train more and more younger players as part of the team, they will soon have a strong club to take them into the future.

The North Melbourne team is another that seems to be lacking in the Mid Field. They have some young talent in the Forward and even in the Backline. Davies- Uniacke seems to fit perfectly into that role. There is no doubt the coach will look to place him and his other young Mid Fielders out on play this season. So, it seems that once again, it is going to be another year of development for the team. As expected that is likely to translate into another year near the very bottom end of the ladder. Their position on the Predicted Ladder for this season is at 18.

Odds to win: 251,00 bet365

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The Hawthorn Football Club

The Hawthorn Football Club was founded in 1902. It is also the youngest of the Victorian- based teams in the AFL. They have won 13 VFL/ AFL premierships till date. They are from Hawthorn, Melbourne and now train at the Waverley.

The current coach of the team is Alastair Clarkson and led by their Captain, Jarryd Roughead.

In the 2018 JLT Community series pre- season games, the Hawks were defeated by The Western Bulldogs in their first game, with a score of 100 – 78. The team was also defeated by The Carlton Football Club in their second game with a close score of 102 – 97.

The Hawks had enjoyed a long legacy of success in the past and have since had to undergo a serious rebuild, grooming young members into the team. After the first year of restructure, the Hawks managed to stay competitive whilst shaping their new players. This success was somewhat of a surprise as they had lost most of the players that had been responsible for their past success. It is impressive that despite the disruption, the team is still well- coached and well- drilled.

Tom Mitchell, who has just played for the team for one year so far, delivered an exceptional performance on the field. Jaeger O’Meara, who was drafted into the team at the same time, did not see as much time on the field as his fellow teammate, but rumour has it that he is also on track for a big showdown in the upcoming 2018 AFL season.

Jarmen Impey, who is known for his defence skills, was recruited by the Hawks during the most recent trade period. Fans can expect the coach to slot him straight into the top and put him out on the field from the opening round onwards.  O’Meara is still recovering from injuries. If he does manage to come out of those woes, together with Mitchell, they will be able to offer the team a solid young Mid Field. Everybody knows that that could be enough to come out on top against several of the teams in the AFL.

The team has been positioned at number 13 on the Predicted Ladder for this season. This year, their game is expected to be very similar to that of the the last one. While the Hawks may win some games, they are not likely to create any big waves. Experts believe that it is time for the team to replace Jarryd Roughead and Shaun Burgoyne; however, they will not have to worry about that till the next season of the AFL in 2019.

Odds to win: 29,00 WilliamHill

The Collingwood Football Club

The Collingwood Football Club, which was formed in 1892, hails from the suburb and city of Collingwood. The club is now based in Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct and they play their home games at the MCG. Their training and administrative base is at the Olympic Park Oval and the Holden Centre.

Collingwood is the most popular AFL club in the country. They saw a spike in membership registration after their 2010 win. So far, the club has won 15 VFL/ AFL premierships, the third- highest of any team in the league. In addition to that, Collingwood has also played in a record 43 grand finals as well.

The team is currently being coached by Nathan Buckley, whilst being led by team Captain, Scott Pendlebury.

Collingwood lost their first pre- season 2018 JLT Community Series game to The Greater Western Sydney Giants, with a score of 36 – 96. However, they managed to defeat their opponents, The Western Bulldogs, in their second game with a score of 80 – 113.

It seems everyone is rather quiet about what to expect from the Magpies in the 2018 AFL season. Some experts have predicted that they will sneak through the ranks and play at the finals, while others expect them to end yet another season with a less than stellar performance.

It seems surprising that some experts expect this season to be much better than the previous one as they have done little to alter their playing list during this year’s trade period. So, it seems that Coach Buckley is largely relying on the same group of people to deliver a different result this season by means of an extra year of training.

Coach Buckley is also likely to introduce their draft pick, Jaidyn Stephenson, to the field in Round 1 of for his debut with Collingwood. On another note, Jordan De Goey might not be able to be part of the player list this year, as he is not only recovering from his ankle injuries but also uncertain about when the ban on him might be lifted. The Magpies seem keen to get him back on the team though, despite the ban that was placed on him. After a drink- driving incident from earlier this year, he was issued with an indefinite ban from the senior team. The 2018 AFL season will be the one that either makes or breaks Coach Nathan Buckley’s reputation along with that of the team. It is essential that the games go exactly like he has envisioned; losing more players to injuries and incidents like De Goey’s DUI is the last thing he needs.

A lot of attention is on Darcy Moore at this time; fans are also looking towards him to see how he fairs in the upcoming games this year. However, after seeing his performance at the JLT series, it seems like he might be a good bet for the team, at least for the short term.

Last year’s performance left a lot to be desired from the team’s Mid Field and Forward cooperation. Their success will depend on the Mid Fielders being able to efficiently pass it to the players in the Forward position. Last season, they dwindled a lot of their opportunities by not being able to do so, and it hurt them big time! If they can somehow overcome those issues they are likely to put on a good fight against their opponents in the league.

Fans expect the team to perform much better than they did last year, but it is difficult to say whether they will be able to deliver on those expectations. If their game is much better than last year’s, they might be able to scrape into the last finals, but they are most likely going to finish in the 9th to 12th position. Currently they have been placed 10th of the Predicted Ladder.

Odds to win: 34,00 Ladbrokes

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The Greater Western Sydney Giants

The Greater Western Sydney Giants, also known as the GWS Giants is based at the Tom Wills Oval in Sydney Olympic Park. The team's primary home ground is the Spotless Stadium, which is also located in the Sydney Olympic Park. Every year, they play four games at the Manuka Oval as part of a deal with the government of the Australian Capital Territory.

The team is coached by Luke Beveridge and led by Captain Easton Wood.

The GSW Giants defeated The Collingwood Football Club in their first per- season game of the 2018 JLT Community Series. The Giants won with a score of 96 -36. They failed to sustain this momentum in the second game; the team lost their second game in the JLT to The Sydney Swans, with a score of 71 – 82.

The Giants have been performing well but still going home with disappointments the last couple of years. After a heart breaking loss to the Bulldogs in the 2016 preliminary final match, they were expected to do much better the year after. Unfortunately, the results from the 2017 season were also disappointing; they got stuck in the same position and failed to come out victorious. If anything, in their final match against the Tigers, their performance was even weaker against their opponents than the year before.

On top of that, the team has sustained a plethora of problems since the last AFL series. A number of athletes had to be benched because of injuries, leaving them as vulnerable as many other team on the league. They also lost some strong players during the trade period.

It stands to be seen if they can come back for the third year stronger than before. Fans are not as confident in their abilities as they have been in the past, despite the immense talent the club packs. While they have a lot of good players, it is unclear whether or not they will be able to come together as a team to make it to the finals. This year, they have been placed in the 3rd Position in the Predicted Ladder.

Odds to win: 8,50 bet365

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The Western Bulldogs

The Western Bulldogs that was formerly the Footscray Football Club, was founded in 1877 in Footscray, Melbourne. The club has nine VFA wins under their belts as well as two VFL/ AFL victories. The club's headquarters and training facilities are located in Footscray at Whitten Oval, and plays its home matches at Docklands

The coach of the current team is Luke Beveridge and the Captain is Easton Wood.

The Bulldogs won their first pre- season match in the 2018 JLT Community Series against The Hawthorn Football Club, with a score of 100 – 78. They were not as lucky in their second game, when they went up against The Collingwood Football Club and lost with a score of 113 – 80.

The team was stuck in a drought for many years, until they broke free from it in 2016. Although the premiership games from two years ago went well, the team has still been struggling to establish some sort of a consistency.  In the 2017 games, the team did not make it to the finals, and failed to defend their new found confidence. Many of their players were out of shape, while others out of form; the remainder of the players tried their best to take the team up the ladder, but could not bear the burden of the unfit players. The team managed to show some spark in the 2017 AFL games but they were nowhere near as good as they had been just one year ago.

It looks like this year’s series will prove to be a struggle as well. Experts are not convinced of their scoring abilities.  Jake Stringer, who left the club to join The Essendon Football Club last year, has left the Bulldogs under a lot of pressure. The inexperienced players in the Forward position will be left in charge of bolstering the score each week.

Taking a closer look at their performance at this year’s JLT series suggests that their coach is still very keen on experimenting with new moves. Coach Belvedere, who has been with the team for four years was not shy of putting Easton Wood to play in a Forward position. This risk, however, did not pan out for the team in the last set of games.

Another criticism that the team has faced since both the last season and JLT games is that they have a tendency to leak easy goals. The team’s zone defence is notorious for losing their position on the field quite frequently and easily. This was firstly noted in last year’s AFL series, and it seems like they have done little to fix it since. They coach will have to make serious efforts to teach his young defenders where to position themselves in the field during a match.

The Western Bulldogs have also recruited two solid players, Jackson Trengove and Hayden Crozier, in this year’s trade period. These additions should mark an immediate improvement to their game compared to what it was in the year before this. Another new recruit for the team is Josh Schache; fans do not believe he is quite ready to hit the ground running like the other two recruits. However, he is a good player and with a bit more training he could become a very strong player for the Bulldogs too.

Unlike many of the other teams in the league, the Dogs have a very strong Mid Field presence. However, two of their star Mid Fielders, Tom Liberatore and Marcus Bontempelli, had both put on a rather spectacular performance during the per- season games. Whether that is enough to claw them back up the ladder or not is something that still remains to be seen. Football fans expect the team to show a decent level of skill in the 2018 AFL games, but not enough to land them back near the top. If they keep up this level of improvements, they may become a serious challenge to go up against in a few more years. The Western Bulldogs have been placed in the 9th position of the Predicted Ladder for the 2018 season.

Odds to win: 23,00 Sportsbet

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The Melbourne Football Club

The Melbourne Football Club is named after and based in the city of Melbourne, Victoria, and plays its home games at the MCG. Melbourne is the world's oldest professional club of any football code. It can be traced back to 1858. In May of 1859, Tom Wills, the captain of the Victoria cricket team, and three of his other teammates codified “The Rules of the Melbourne Football Club.” This is what the entire Australian rules football has been based upon.

The team is currently coached by Simon Goodwin and the Captains leading them are Nathan Jones and Jack Viney.

Melbourne defeated The North Melbourne Football Club in their first pre- season game at the 2018 JLT Community Series, with a score of 124 – 71. The team also won the second match they played against The St Kilda Football Club, with a score of 93 – 119.

After keeping their heads up for 22 Rounds, The Demons failed to come out victorious in Round 23 of the 2017 AFL Series. Many believe they bear the largest responsibility for that and they will do everything in their power to claim back their position on the Leader Board. They are determined to play in the finals of the 2018 AFL series and experts believe that they are likely to survive till then too. The team already has several strong players like Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Angus Brayshaw. With another year of training behind them, they should come back stronger than ever. During the trade period of this year, the club acquired Adelaide star, Jake Lever. With him in the mix, the team could really step up their performance.

While they seem fit with talent, whether or not they will have the mental strength and stamina to last the full year, and make it to the finals, is another question. It should not be ignored that their teamwork has been on the up, over the last few years. So whatever the final outcome, the Demons will definitely deliver a much improved game than last year.

Their performance at the pre- season games was commendable. However, they have now lost Jack Viney for the start of the upcoming AFL season, and that may affect their game negatively. It is to be noted that the team is still left with many talented players in Mid Field, who should be able to cover any gaps in the roster.

If the players can hold on to their current form and state of preparedness, they could finish this series in the 4th position. However, if they are unlucky with injuries and other events that might affect the player list, they could finish anywhere between the 4th and 8th spot. Currently, however, they have been placed 7th on the Predicted Ladder.

Odds to win: 15,00 Unibet

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The Geelong Football Club

The Geelong Football Club, which is based in the city of Geelong, Australia have won the VFL/ AFL premiers nine times in total. The club was formed in 1859, which makes them the second oldest club after Melbourne. Their home ground is Kardinia Park, which is currently also known by as the GMHBA Stadium.

The team’s current coach is Chris Scott and their Captain is Joel Selwood.

The most exciting development for the club since last year’s AFL season is possibly the return of Gary Ablett Jnr. He started his career with the Cats and is now back to play with them once again. It is to be noted that he is not in the same shape and form as he once used to be, but with the proper training and planning, he  could go on to form part of a formidable Mid Field. At the same time, he can be used elsewhere on the field. Ablett is capable of scoring plenty of goals when resting Forward position too.

While the team is excited about Ablett’s return, they are mourning the loss of Stevel Motlop. Motlop can cause a lot of damage on the field, so would make a good addition to anyone’s offence. However, experts and fans have pointed out that he can be rather inconsistent, so it would be difficult for any coach to develop a strong game plan around his performance.

The problem they will face in this year’s season is that the same as what they had faced last year. The top 30 players for the Cats do not offer the same depth that some of the other clubs in the competition do.

Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Anthony Selwood remain two of the main players for the team. They will surely score a lot of points for their club in the upcoming season. They might even be enough to take the team to the finals. However, putting that much pressure on just two players might make it all just a bit too much. So, it seems like until they can recruit some strong players, they do not really stand a serious chance of taking the title. Right now, the Cats have been places in the 5th position on the Predicted Ladder. If the coach decides to put Ablett on the field for the majority of the games this year, the team might make it into the top four. However, if he has to sit out of most of the matches due to his injuries, then they might miss out on reaching the top 5 too.

Odds to win: 9,50 bet365

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The West Coast Eagles

The West Coast Eagles is based in Perth, Western Australia. The club trains and plays its home games at Perth Stadium in Burswood, Western Australia. It was founded in 1986 and became the first non- Victorian team to play in and win a Grand Final. The Eagles have since won two more premierships.

The club's current coach is Adam Simpson, and the current captain is Shannon Hurn.

West Coast managed one win and one loss in the pre- season games at the 2018 JLT Community Series. They defeated The Port Adelaide Football Club in their first game in the JLT with a score of 56 – 54. Unfortunately, the team was defeated by The Fremantle Football Club in their second game, with a score of 39 – 101.

Since the last AFL season, a number of senior players have retired from the league. The West Coast Eagles will have to deal with the retirement of Matt Priddis and the loss of Drew Petrie and Sam Mitchell. This mean the 2018 player list will be a whole lot younger than what it was last year. This will be especially evident in the Mid Field.

In the absence of Priddis, who is known for aggressively stealing the ball from his opponent, Luke Shuey and Andrew Gaff will have to carry the entire weight of the Mid Field. They will have the support of Jack Redden and Dom Sheed. On occasion, Liam Duggan and Lewis Jetta will also have to step in.

Despite the partnerships between these players, the West Coast has been reputed for having the weakest Mid Field in the 2018 AFL. If the opposition manages to get the better of Shuey or Gaff, it will be very difficult for the Eagles to get the upper hand.

The Eagles do, however, have some solid players in other key positions. There is no doubt that Coach Simpson will use Josh Kennedy to play in the Forward half, while Jeremy McGovern to patrol the defensive half.

Given the familiar playing grounds, the Eagles are definitely likely to a few games. However, it seems because of the loss of their seasoned players, they are most likely going to go down the ladder in 2018. The team has been placed in the 15th position on the Predicted Ladder.

Lastly, the team is meant to appear for the 2018 games in a brand new look. The new West Coast uniforms will be debuted in their match against the Sydney Swans in Round 1.

Odds to win: 51,00 WilliamHill

The Sydney Swans

The Sydney Swans was established in Melbourne as the South Melbourne Football Club in 1874. The team relocated to Sydney in 1982, making them the first club in the competition based outside of Victoria. The Swans' headquarters and training facilities are located at the Sydney Cricket Ground, which has been their playing home ground since 1982.

The current Coach of the team is John Longmire and their current Captain is Josh Knnedy.

The Sydney Swans defeated the Brisbane Lions in their first game in the pre- season 2018 JLT Community Series. They won with a score of 95 – 40. They also won their second game in the pre- season against The Greater Western Sydney Giants, with a score of 82 -71

The Swans had a slow start to the season last year and have failed to pick up momentum since then. They started off with 0 – 6 and still managed to make it to the finals. They also managed to beat the Bombers in the first week but their efforts fell apart when they had to face Geelong. Experts believe that if they had had a stronger start then they would not have been quite as exhausted towards the end and would have fared much better in the series.

In their first Round 1 game, they will most likely come out with aggressive strength against the Eagles but the coach should do everything in his power to avoid repeating the same mistake from the previous series.

If the team does manage to skirt falling into the same trap as last year, they should have a similar chance at the title as the Crows.

In addition, last year the team also suffered because of a number of players suffered rather poor form and others had sustained injuries. Their prospects have improved on that front. With any luck they will take it to the top four this year and be a tough team to defeat.

Lance Franklin, the 31 year old player, seems to still be doing whatever he feels like on the field, without much of a plan; yet he maintains one of the best Mid Fields in the league.

The Swans have the top position in this year’s Predicted Ladder. It might also be the year, where they curb some of their bad habits and emerge the Grand Final Winners.

Odds to win: 6,50 Betstar

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