It has been a long wait, but the AFL 2013 season is finally upon us. We start round 1 with two games in the first week and seven games in the second week. For those who followed The Profits over summer, you may also know our new AFL expert Rover as our T20 writer Mr Century – recording a very strong strike rate of around 75%. Rover has a keen interest in both Cricket and AFL and has displayed his knowledge of the game in person by naming the premiership, coleman or brownlow winner from the past 30 years on request. Rover watches every second of every game and records a weekly brownlow spreadsheet. On his figures, Jobe Watson the clear winner last year. We hope you enjoy his views on the game we all love. Just one final note, those who are having a punt on the AFL, you will find the upsets come thick and fast during the first few weeks of the season, so lower your average stake until round 4.
Best Bet: FREMANTLE TO WIN @ $2.05
ADELAIDE ($1.45) vs ESSENDON ($2.75)
AAMI STADIUM, FRIDAY 22/03/2013, 20:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Adelaide 16.8 (104) defeated Essendon 15.10 (100) at AAMI Stadium, R19, 05/08/2012
Line: Adelaide -14.5
When this game was first drawn to open the season, it certainly wasn’t seen as something that would capture the imagination. But after an offseason of controversy for both clubs, the attraction has grown. The Bombers in particular will be watched closely, with everyone wanting to see how the players can perform with a drug investigation hanging over their head.
The last four clashes between these clubs have all been played in Adelaide, with Essendon only taking one game off the Crows in this time. Although Essendon got within 4 points of Adelaide late last year, most indicators point toward a comfortable Adelaide win at home.
ADELAIDE BY 27 POINTS
FREMANTLE ($2.05) vs WEST COAST ($1.77)
PATERSONS STADIUM, SATURDAY 23/03/2013, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Fremantle 17.11 (113) defeated West Coast 6.12 (48) at Patersons Stadium, R19, 04/08/2012
Line: West Coast -3.5
It is great to see a Western Derby this early in the season. In saying that, 2012 produced two lopsided results between the Western Australian rivals, with wins shared between the two clubs. This time, expect a tight tough contest with a two week rest until round 2. The competitive juices will be flowing.
Interesting odds for this match. The Eagles have a deep injury list coming into the game. Naitanui, Kerr, Rosa, Wellingham and Nicoski will all miss. Naitanui in particular is a major loss as it means the aging Dean Cox will have to ruck a large percentage of the match, creating far less flexibility forward. The pure numbers when Nic Nat is either out or down are defining. Freo have their own ruck problems with Aaron Sandilands injured indefinitely, but Jon Griffin has performed admirably when the giant has missed in the past and doesn’t hurt team balance. Despite West Coast being my Premiership favourite, the Dockers are great value and every chance to get over the line.
FREMANTLE BY 14 POINTS
Supercoach and the newly named AFL Fantasy (formerly Dreamteam) are back with the first lockouts due on Friday night. Both competitions have seen a number of changes including an increase in trades (Supercoach to 30, AFL Fantasy to 44) which is sure to create whole new strategies. Supercoach has also introduced the rolling lockout, which will enable you to trade or substitute a player right up until the opening bounce of his club’s match. AFL Fantasy will keep the traditional Friday night lockout, which will certainly suit those who have weekend commitments.
It needs to be remembered that the lockouts this week are only partial. Adelaide, Essendon, Fremantle and West Coast players will have to be decided and locked in without the option of change next week. I’ll be going through some of the names to consider out of these four clubs.
PREMIUMS THAT WON’T LET YOU DOWN
PATRICK DANGERFIELD (MID) $636,000 SC/$525,000 AF
He became an elite fantasy player in 2012. He has lost his dual position status, but at 22 looks like taking another step up this season. Expect him to lift his averages well past the 100 marks.
JOBE WATSON (MID) $647,200 SC/$579,400 AF
The 2012 Brownlow medallist is expensive but a guaranteed big point scorer. Averaged 120.95 in SC and only scored under 100 points in AF 5 times in 2012. His scores have been good in the preseason and appears certain to continue his fine recent form.
SCOTT THOMPSON (MID) $591,000 SC/ $541,200 AF
Thompson has been a gun fantasy footballer for a long time now. With Dangerfield and Sloane set to demand more attention, he could go under the radar. He will average above 100 in both competitions once again.
DEAN COX (RUCK/FWD) $600,700 SC/ $512,400 AF
Another long term fantasy gun who has been in most teams for the last decade. Naitanui is out for the first month or so which will see Cox play long ruck minutes early in the season. Expect him to cash in. The only negative is his age.
DAVID MUNDY (MID) $477,300 SC/ $451,800
Way under priced, especially in Supercoach. Started 2012 slowly due to a serious ankle injury and had some sub affected scores. He finished the year on fire averaging 114.38 points in his last 8 games. Serious bargain.
DYSON HEPPELL (DEF/MID) $450,000 SC/ $439,000 AF
Not exactly mid price, but far cheaper than what he looks like producing. He has spent a large portion of the preseason in the centre square which is certain to see his clearances and fantasy averages jump. Make sure you select him in defence.
MICHAEL HIBBERD (DEF) $395,100 SC/ $342,800 AF
Based on his preseason numbers, he looks like having a breakout season in defence. He has averaged 96 SC points and 86 AF points during the shortened games. His job security looks very safe.
MARK LECRAS (FWD) $369,200 SC/ $355,400
Not the most reliable scorer, but good value at this price. Coming off a bad knee injury, he’ll be determined to make an immediate impact. Hopefully he can play extra midfield minutes. Expect an average of 80-90 in both competitions.
BRAD CROUCH (MID) $115,900 SC/ $108,500 AF
Taken in the GWS mini draft in 2011, Crouch played senior SANFL football for West Adelaide throughout 2012. Brenton Sanderson was quoted as saying that he would have played games for the Crows last year if eligible. Check that he hasn’t been given the vest on Friday night before lockout.
NICK KOMMER (MID) $109,500 SC/ $102,700 AF
Mature aged inside midfielder from East Perth in the WAFL who will have an impact this year. He is apparently a favourite of James Hird. Again, you have 90 minutes to check between the teams/subs being named and lockout. Ensure he hasn’t been given the vest before committing.
Good luck with all your player selections and we’ll give some more recommendations before next week’s final lockouts.
I’ve been a supporter and follower of AFL for as long as I can remember. Having been born into a family with deep football history and tradition on both sides, you can say it runs through my blood. I’ve got a keen interest in the stats and analysis of the game, which helped me finish in the top 100 of fantasy competitions DreamTeam and Supercoach last year. While my own local football career was cut short due to injury at 22, it has created an opportunity for me to frequently watch and build a deep knowledge of the sport at its highest level. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and views throughout the season.
All of the above are the opinions of the author and are not recommendations or advice. The author may not be taking every bet listed above. Bet at your own risk.
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