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AFL Round 18: St Kilda v Adelaide Betting Preview – Friday 22 July, 2011

Thu, Jul 21, 5:05pm by Kevin Pitstock

When and Where:

7.40pm at Etihad Stadium

Overall Head-To-Head:

St Kilda – 14
Adelaide – 18
Draws – 1

Last Time They Met:

Adelaide 13.12 (90) defeated St Kilda 9.17 (71), Round 6, 2011 at AAMI Stadium

Recent Form:

St Kilda – LBWWW
Adelaide – LLWBL

Current Ladder Positions:

St Kilda – 10th (7-1-7)
Adelaide – 14th (4-11)

Key Players:

Raphael Clarke has always been a much maligned figure at St Kilda since the start of his career. But after his performances against Port Adelaide and West Coast over the past fortnight, no one should doubt the 25-year-old’s ability ever again. Clarke gathered 16 touches and six marks against the Power in Round 16, but it was his effort against the Eagles last weekend that really made pundits take notice. He sparked the Saints in the first quarter, gathering nine touches (four contested) and giving his team plenty of drive off half-back. Clarke found space and delivered perfectly by foot all night to finish with 20 touches and even snuck forward for a running goal in the opening term. The challenge for him now is to back his form up over the next couple of weeks.

Patrick Dangerfield started the season like Usain Bolt at the start of a 100 metre sprint. The 21-year-old gathered 17 and 25 touches, plus a total of four goals, across his first two games of the season. Despite a brilliant 23-possession and six-goal haul against Gold Coast in Round 8, many feel Dangerfield hasn’t taken too many steps forward this season. Out of the 15 games he’s played this season, he’s only had 20 touches or more on four occasions. Yes coach Neil Craig might be playing him out of position, but it seems he doesn’t have the aerobic capacity to run through the midfield for a prolonged period of time. Dangerfield is an extremely talented player, but he needs to improve his tank before spending more time through the centre.

St Kilda Team Changes:

IN – Jarryn Geary
OUT – James Gwilt (Knee)

Adelaide Team Changes:

IN – Jack Gunston
OUT – Matthew Jaensch (Shoulder)

Who Wins?

It’s a must-win game for the home team on Friday night as it continues its charge towards another finals appearance.

Watch out – it’s back! Things have changed dramatically down at St Kilda over the past two months, with the club winning six of its past eight matches. The Saints’ good players are somewhat back to their best, highlighted by Leigh Montagna’s scintillating 17-disposal first term against West Coast last weekend. Fringe players are stepping up too, with Clarke and Brett Peake playing their best games for 2011 against the Eagles. The Saints are mentally switched on once again and if they make the finals, no team will want to run into them in the first week.

Adelaide coach Neil Craig is now officially the coach under the most pressure in the AFL. The Crows had the foot on the jugular during the first half of their match against Essendon last round, leading by 37 points at one stage. But then, they stopped. Yes important defenders Graham Johncock and Matthew Jaensch went down with injuries, but it seemed like the players’ intensity dropped off dramatically. You could tell how genuinely angry Craig was in the coaches box. From here, the Crows have a decent run home. But if they fail to meet expectations, Craig is a dead man walking

Tragedy struck the Saints’ backline last weekend when reliable defender James Gwilt suffered a season-ending knee injury. However St Kilda bats deep down back and with every game a must-win now, expect the red, white and black army to run out comfortable winners.

Best Head-To-Head Bet:

St Kilda by 1-39 points ($2.45 – Centrebet)

Also Sportingbet Australia is doing a first goal scorer special on the AFL, on top of the usual first goal scorer payout. If your first goal scorer bet scores the second goal, the guys at Sportingbet will pay you out as well! If he kicks the first two, they will pay you double! Get on!

Other Suggested Bets:

First Goal Scorer – Stephen Milne on Sportingbet

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