The MCG will play host to the game of the round on Saturday night, if Geelong take on Carlton. The Cats will be out to maintain the top spot, while the Blues will try to break into the top four.
Jack Tobin is here with a preview for Saturday night’s blockbuster, and be sure to check out our AFL Round 18 tips page for previews of every game this round.
Carlton vs Geelong Preview & Betting Tips
MCG, Saturday, July 16, 7:25 PM AEST
Injuries: Jordan Boyd, David Cunningham, Caleb Marchbank, Jack Martin, Oscar McDonald, Mitch McGovern, Jack Newnes, Matt Owies, Luke Parks, Sam Philp, Marc Pittonet, Zac Williams
Carlton made two changes on their part that took care of West Coast last week. Mid-season draft pick Will Hayes has been upgraded from the medi-sub to start his first game for the Blues, and Liam Stocker has been recalled to the senior side after a 30-removal performance in the VFL. Lochie O’Brien and Josh Honey give way to Hayes and Stocker.
The Blues produced an outstanding offensive performance in a 63-point win against the Eagles. Dominant first and fourth quarters recorded the feat, kicking 5 goals to no score in the first quarter and seven goals to no score in the final quarter. Carlton conceded seven goals in the second quarter, highlighting the vulnerability they have in defence.
If Carlton wants to take down the leaders of the ladder, Harry McKay and Charlie Curnow will have to produce a special performance. Carlton is sixth in the AFL for points per game (89), while Geelong is third (93). It’s going to be tough for the Blues defense to contain Hawkins and Cameron, so it’s crucial for the Blues chances of winning this match that McKay and Curnow get big.
Injuries: Toby Conway, Shaun Higgins, Flynn Kroeger, Cooper Stephens, Tom Stewart (suspension)
The Cats have just one change from the 22 Melbourne defeated with Jake Kolodjashnij returning from concussion protocols while Jed Bews is rested. Geelong tops the ladder for the first time since round one after seven consecutive wins.
Geelong put in an outstanding performance last week in a top game against Melbourne, dismantling the demons in a way we haven’t seen in the last two years. The Cats completely dominated the clearing game, winning the clearing 18 despite losing the goals by 13. Geelong completely nullified Max Gawn and Luke Jackson’s influence on the game, and the 29-point margin flattered the demons given the Cats 12.19 kicked.
Another impressive aspect of the win was the fact that the Cats were so dominant with Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins only combining for one goal last week. With the plethora of injuries Carlton has had in defense this season, it will be a tough ask to have the second and third highest goal kickers this season. Jacob Weitering will probably get that the matchup at Hawkins will be a blockbuster matchup, but the Blues don’t have a great matchup for Cameron.
This clash has the potential to become one of the best games of the season, and Geelong is starting to take on an ominous shape as they prepare for another tilt in a premiership. It’s hard to discredit what the Blues have done so far this season, but Fremantle is the only top four team they’ve played this season, they’ve yet to take on a team of Geelong’s caliber.
The Cats had the wood over Carlton, winning 12 of their last 14 games against the Blues. With the way Geelong has played over the past two months, it’s just too hard to pass. They have a big advantage over Carlton with their great gaming experience, and you’ll see a professional Cats outfit get the job done again on Saturday night.
$2.00 (1.5 units)
Going into this game, most of the focus has been on the star-key forwards, and these key-forwards will create a lot of opportunities for the small players. Tyson Stengle has had a remarkable season, scoring 32 goals from 16 games to place himself in the All-Australian conversation. Stengle has scored 2+ goals in three of his last four games and scored multiple goals in 10 of his 16 games in 2022.
Tyson Stengle 2+ Goals, $1.70 with Ladbrokes
With the attacking quality on both sides, this should be a high scoring encounter in the home of football. Eleven of Carlton’s sixteen games were over 158 points in total and Cats was involved in nine games over 158, with all five of their games at the GMHBA stadium coming under 158 points. On the broad expanses of the MCG, there should be plenty of targets on the board.
Total points over 157.5, $1.88 at Ladbrokes
Adam Saad has been excellent for Carlton over the past two months and managed to make divestments at will. Saad had a quiet game with very little ball in the Blues defensive 50 last week but had reached the 25+ mark in the three games leading up to last week. There should be a lot more ball close to Saad this week and allow him to continue his excellent form.
Adam Saad 25+ Divestments, $2.45 at Ladbrokes