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AFL Round 21 Fixtures and Preview - Plenty at stake with finals just around the corner

Adam Cusworth 7 Aug 2017
  • The Bulldogs take on the Giants in Friday night footy
  • Top four battle sees Geelong host Richmond on Saturday
  • Season on the line for Melbourne and St Kilda

Round 21 of the AFL home and away season opens up with what shapes as a classic Friday night encounter between the Western Bulldogs and the GWS Giants at Etihad Stadium. 

The two sides featured in a remarkable Preliminary Final last year and have plenty to play for on Friday, with the finals just under a month away. The Bulldogs, who defeated the Giants in the Prelim last year, before going on to capture the flag, are in 7th position on the ladder and head in as slight underdogs in the early head to head betting against the 2nd placed Giants. 

However, the Doggies have won their past four games, while they also have a solid record at Etihad Stadium this season, winning seven from nine, while the Giants are 0-2 at the venue in 2017. First bounce is at 7.50PM. 

On Saturday, there are five games in store and the action heads to Sydney, where the Swans take on the Fremantle Dockers at the SCG. The Swans can all but sew up a top eight spot with a win over Freo, who claimed their Round 20 clash against Gold Coast. 

At around the same time in Geelong, the Cats take on the Richmond Tigers in a clash that will have ramifications for both sides respective hopes of finishing in the top four at the end of the home and away season. 

Geelong were no match for Sydney last weekend but regain the services of key midfielder, Patrick Dangerfield. However, they will be without his partner in crime in Joel Selwood, who misses up to a month with an ankle injury. 

The Tigers jumped ahead of the Cats into 3rd spot on the ladder and come off a win over Hawthorn in Round 20. Damien Hardwick's side have been installed at the odds of $1.80, while Geelong are $2, in what is a tight betting market. 

Twilight football sees the Brisbane Lions take on their local rivals, the Gold Coast Suns, at the GABBA. Both sides are out of the finals race but the 4.35PM clash should be a fierce one, if the past history between these two sides is anything to go by. 

On Saturday night, Essendon will be out to maintain a hold on their spot in the eight, but it won't be easy as they take on the competition’s pacesetters, Adelaide, at Etihad Stadium. The Crows were resounding winners over their local rivals, Port Adelaide, last weekend. 

Over in Perth, the West Coast Eagles take on Carlton at Domain Stadium and the Eagles can kiss goodbye to their finals hopes if they drop this one. 

On Sunday, there are three games to close out the round and it is Melbourne and St Kilda that open up proceedings when they meet at Etihad Stadium, while in Tasmania, Hawthorn and North Melbourne do battle at the University of Tasmania Stadium in Launceston. 

Of that quartet, only St Kilda and Melbourne remain in contention and the loser of this battle will join the 2017 also-rans, while the winner will keep their top eight prospects alive. 

The final game of the weekend will be when Port Adelaide take on Collingwood at the Adelaide Oval. The Power were outmuscled by the Crows in Round 20 and can ill afford another slip up. They are just one game clear of 10th placed Melbourne and face a Pies outfit that have enjoyed a solid recent month of football. 

All the fixtures for Round 21 are outlined below. Times are in AEST and head to head betting is courtesy of CrownBet. 

Friday August 11

Western Bulldogs ($2.10) v GWS Giants ($1.73), Etihad Stadium (7.50pm)

Saturday August 12

Sydney Swans ($1.12) v Fremantle ($6.25), SCG (1.45pm)

Geelong ($2) v Richmond ($1.80), Simonds Stadium (2.10pm)

Brisbane Lions ($1.83) v Gold Coast Suns ($1.95), Gabba (4.35pm)

Essendon ($2.75) v Adelaide ($1.44), Etihad Stadium (7.25pm)

West Coast Eagles ($1.16) v Carlton ($5.25), Subiaco Oval (7.40pm)

Sunday August 13

Melbourne ($1.65) v St Kilda ($2.25), MCG (1.10pm)

Hawthorn ($1.23) v North Melbourne ($4.15), University of Tasmania Stadium (3.20pm)

Port Adelaide ($1.35) v Collingwood ($3.15), Adelaide Oval (4.40pm)


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AFL Round 21 Fixtures and Preview - Plenty at stake with finals just around the corner

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