Round 18 begins with an intriguing clash between Western Bulldogs and St Kilda at Marvel Stadium. The winner keeps their finals dream alive, while the loser is likely to miss September action.

Carlton host Geelong at the MCG on Saturday night, with four of the best key forwards in the game set to take place at either end.

Fremantle take on Sydney at Optus Stadium, as the Dockers will attempt to push for a top two finish.

An in-form Essendon will play Gold Coast to complete the round, in what will be a telling contest for the Suns.

Here at The Sporting News, we’ve put together our betting predictions for round 18:

Odds courtesy of Neds.

Last week, we scored four of our nine predictions, with key forwards Tom Lynch injured, Jack Macrae falling short of 30 disposals and Charlie Cameron kept to one goal.

Western Bulldogs (10th) vs St Kilda (9th)

Both sides are desperately needing a win if they are to be in the top eight come season’s end.

The Dogs welcome back a host of key players, including Bailey Smith and Josh Bruce, although lose Aaron Naughton and Josh Schache to COVID-19 protocols.

In what is tipped to be a close encounter, Luke Beveride’s men showed up the Saints in their last match up with the margin blowing out to 111 points, from which the Bulldogs should take plenty of confidence going into Friday night.

Coming up against his old side, Bruce has been in strong goal kicking form in the VFL and will need to put a few through the big sticks if the Bulldogs are to be a chance.

Josh Bruce 2+ goals – $1.85

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Adelaide (15th) vs Collingwood (6th)

In what looms as a danger game for the flying Collingwood line-up, a travel to the Adelaide Oval to face the Crows shouldn’t be taken as a walk in the park.

Adelaide have struggled of late and slumped to 15th position on the ladder, but their youngsters are showing a bit, giving hope to the fans and members.

The Pies are on a seven-win streak and will be looking to continue that as they have rebounded in superb fashion from a 17th place finishing in 2021.

Collingwood have been the kings in winning tight games over their past six matches and have proven time and time again that they should be worthy of a finals berth this season.

Expect a close one.

Collingwood to win – $1.57

GWS (13th) vs Brisbane (4th)

Brisbane fell to fourth after a disappointing loss to Essendon at home, despite losing key players to COVID-19 protocols.

The Giants also lost Phil Davis and Lachie Whitfield to injury, but welcome back midfield bull Jacob Hopper, in what should spark GWS.

Caretaker coach Mark McVeigh almost pulled off a miracle last time these sides met, when the Giants travelled to the Gabba.

Despite the Lions’ top four position, they haven’t been at their usual best and are seen as vulnerable.

When Charlie Cameron plays well, it usually means Brisbane come away with the four points.

After a quiet week in round 17, expect him to respond.

Charlie Cameron 2+ goals – $1.46

Charlie Cameron.jpg

North Melbourne (18th) vs Richmond (8th)

North Melbourne have had a tumultuous week, saying goodbye to senior coach David Noble, who will be replaced by former Kangaroo Leigh Adams.

Richmond are currently clinging onto eight spot, after an after-the-siren goal from Noah Anderson shattered the hearts of the Tiger faithful.

The Shinboners were honourable against Collingwood last week and realistically deserved the four points, however left the MCG empty handed.

Despite the spirited performance, Richmond will turn it on on Saturday afternoon and put a scare through the competition, as a big win will be on the agenda.

Shai Bolton’s form of late is the main reason why the Tigers look threatening in September and will continue with another impressive performance.

Shai Bolton 3+ goals – $1.68

Carlton (5th) vs Geelong (1st)

Knocking Melbourne out of top spot, Geelong are arguably the number one seed in the competition heading into the finals.

Carlton however have proven themselves throughout the season, but would stake themselves as genuine contenders if they were to defeat the Cats at the MCG.

Charlie Curnow and Harry McKay combined for 10 goals against West Coast last week, while Geelong pair Jeremy Cameron and Tom Hawkins have averaged nearly three goals a game this season.

In what could be a shootout between the key forwards, this game has a lot of intrigue and the victor will come away with tremendous confidence.

This is a game you do not want to miss. Geelong to win. Hawkins to star.

Tom Hawkins 3+ goals – $2.20

Fremantle (3rd) vs Sydney (7th)

Fremantle have shot right back into top two contention after a decent five weeks of football, resulting in only one loss to Carlton.

Sydney are still in the hunt to secure a spot in the eight after a mixed bag of outcomes in recent matches.

The Dockers at home have been difficult to topple in 2022, losing two games there so far.

The Swans have travelled well this year but will need to put their best foot forward to cause an upset.

Fremantle midfielders Andrew Brayshaw and Will Brodie have been in stellar touch of late and will be a safe bet to reach their season averages of around 30 disposals a game.

We’re predicting them to hit their marks.

Andrew Brayshaw 30+ disposals – $1.80

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Hawthorn (14th) vs West Coast (17th)

Hawthorn snapped a five-game losing streak with a strong win over the Crows last week by 32 points.

West Coast have been valiant of late but without a lot of core players and a struggling side, they don’t seem to be testing their opposition, except Essendon.

Mitch Lewis has arguably been the surprise packet of the year, averaging three goals a game and looking like tearing games apart.

With a depleted Eagles backline, expect the 23-year-old to have plenty of shots on goal.

Mitch Lewis 3+ goals – $1.98

Melbourne (2nd) vs Port Adelaide (12th)

Port Adelaide were dealt a fresh blow, with coach Ken Hinkley unable to make the trip to Darwin to face off against Melbourne.

The Demons will also be without Brownlow fancy and star midfielder, Clayton Oliver, who fractured his thumb in the loss to Geelong last week.

The Power simply need to win this match in order to keep their season alive, whilst the Dees need to win to keep in touch with a top two finish.

In neutral territory at TIO Traeger Park, Melbourne look to be be strong favourites, but have lost three of their past five, while Port Adelaide boast a strong form of late.

Connor Rozee has been excellent for the Power and could be in All-Australian contention if he continues on his merry way.

Rozee fires, Port win. Rozee kept quiet, Melbourne win.

Connor Rozee 25+ disposals – $2.05

Essendon (16th) vs Gold Coast (11th)

Both sides come into the game with strong form behind them, with Essendon finding their feet after round 13.

Gold Coast kept their season alive with a thrilling win over Richmond last week and will be looking to come away with the four points.

Former Sun Peter Wright has had a career best season, kicking 40 goals this year, including a stretch of 15 goals in the past four weeks.

Wright has been the key to the Bombers’ improvement of late and will need to kick another bag if they were to find their sixth win of 2022.

Essendon haven’t been beaten by Gold Coast since 2016 and would enjoy ruling one side out of the premiership race as we near the finals.

Peter Wight 3+ goals – $1.98

Peter Wright.jpg

More: Want more AFL? Watch Warriors On The Field celebrating Aboriginal Australia and its long history and association with the AFL. Streaming on AMAZON PRIME VIDEO

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