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AFL: Battle of the basement takes centre stage

There is a battle at the basement in the AFL on Sunday afternoon, with four of the bottom five teams all in action.

All eyes tend to be on the top of the ladder as the race to win the premiership and make the top eight hots up, but there is a lot at stake at the bottom also.

Nobody wants to end up with the AFL wooden spoon, while there is also pride and your future at the club to play for.

Some are in a rebuild and it is important to finish the season strongly and take some momentum into 2024, in the hope of having a much stronger campaign.

So, these games are not dead-rubbers by any means and all four teams will be giving their all to get a much-needed result.

Kangaroos out to close the gap

WhatNorth Melbourne v Hawthorn
WhereMarvel Stadium, Melbourne
When13:10 (AEST), Sunday 16th July 2023
How to watchKayo, Foxtel
OddsNorth Melbourne 3.00, Hawthorn 1.40

Hopes for North Melbourne were high heading into the new season following the appointment of new coach Alastair Clarkson.

And they got off to a flyer with two wins to start the season, however, they have not won since and it has been another season of disruption for them.

Clarkson has spent time away from coaching and, although he will return at some point this season, it will not be in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, they continue to battle on in the hope of picking up results and boosting confidence.

Hawthorn are just one place above them on the ladder, but there is a big eight-point gap, although a Kanagroos win on Sunday would see that halved.

The Hawks are not in great form either and have won just one game out of the last five. It was a big one when beating high-flying Brisbane, but they have not shown that enough this season, winning just four games in total.

Hawthorn have had the edge over North Melbourne in recent meetings, winning each of the last three games.

Two of them were close, the Hawks winning by no more than 20 points, and they can be backed at 5.50 to win by 13-24 on Sunday.

Tigers out to boost top-eight hopes

WhatWest Coast v Richmond
WhereOptus Stadium, Perth
When16:40 (AEST), Sunday 16th July 2023
How to watchKayo, Foxtel
OddsWest Coast 6.50, Richmond 1.11

West Coast have had a season to forget, winning just one game and becoming the AFL’s whipping boys in 2023.

There were some encouraging signs in the last home against St Kilda when they lost by just the eights points.

That 85-77 loss was only the third time they have not conceded over 100 points in a game this season and that says it all.

Even though they are down in 14th, Richmond still have an outside chance of making the top eight and sit just four points away from finals.

However, with five teams between them and the eight, they will still need a lot to go their way to make it.

They are in good form, though, winning four of their last five games. One of those was at Optus Stadium just over a month ago, when they beat Fremantle by 15 points.

Jack Riewoldt booted a couple of goals in that win and is priced at 9.50 to register the first on Sunday.

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