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AFL: Top-eight hopes on the line at the MCG

Richmond and Sydney both see their finals hopes dangling by a thread as they head into the opening game of week 17 on Thursday night.

Beginning the new season both of these sides would have had high hopes of making the top eight at the very least.

Indeed, Sydney made the AFL grand final in 2022 before suffering a heavy defeat to Geelong, but they have been on a downward spiral ever since.

The same can be said of Richmond, who squeezed into finals last season but are now in severe danger of missing out altogether.

Both teams now need a big turnaround if they are to extend their season into September and whoever loses at the MCG will face an even bigger uphill battle to play finals.

Richmond are 5.00 to make the eight, Sydney 5.50, so there is plenty on the line under the lights at the MCG.

WhatRichmond v Sydney
WhereMCG, Melbourne
When19:20 (AEST), Thursday 6th July 2023
How to watchChannel 7. Kayo, Foxtel
OddsRichmond 1.65, Sydney 2.25

Tigers look to bounce back

Richmond had been on a great run of form when winning three games on the bounce against Greater Western Sydney, Fremantle and St Kilda.

That set of results breathed life into their hopes of playing finals, only for a heavy defeat against Brisbane Lions to stop them in their tracks.

The Tigers went down 134-53 at the Gabba and now they need to brush themselves down and get ready to go again against the Swans.

There was no shame in a defeat like that against a high-flying Brisbane side on their own turf, but they do need a response back at the MCG.

Richmond have been hit and miss at home this season, but did impress when seeing off St Kilda by 20 points in week 15.

Tim Taranto will again be key to Richmond’s chances of getting the win. The midfielder is averaging just over 31 disposals a game and 13.3 contested possessions.

He can be backed at 1.65 to produce 30+ disposals against the Swans.

Swans need away-day boost

The Swans were involved in a thrilling 54-54 draw against Geelong on Friday night and have lost just two games out of the last five.

Like the Tigers, they are locked on 26 points and are just six away from the top eight with eight rounds of action remaining.

Sydney’s last two wins have been on home soil, but now they have to do it on the road against the Tigers.

They have already beaten the Tigers this season back in round 5 and that game was also away from home.

However, it was the Gather Round at the Adelaide Oval with Sydney coming out on top by 44 points. So they can take plenty of heart from that.

They also won on the Gold Coast against the Suns at the start of the season, but apart from that their form outside of Sydney has not been great.

The Swans also have a good record against the Tigers, having won the last three meetings of the two sides.

Tom Papley will once again be a threat. The small forward has booted 25 goals this season and is priced at 1.16 to get another at anytime against the Tigers.

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