2016 Round 12 AFL Preview & Bets

Welcome to the Round 12 AFL preview. The completion of Round 11 sees the half-way point of the home and away rounds, always an interesting time to assess where the season is heading. While it can be slightly misleading with a compromised fixture, not much generally changes in the top eight after Round 11. That doesn’t mean that clubs from the bottom ten can’t steal a position, as the ladder has only held the same group of sides from the midway point to the completion of the home and away rounds three times since the turn of the century. But 2016 is already looking very settled, with Port Adelaide the only serious threat of taking a position from the current top eight. The Blues deserve consideration being just the one win from eighth, but its poor percentage of 86.22% is almost as worthy as taking four points away. The top of the table team rarely fails to make at least the preliminary final based on history, so North Melbourne are very well placed to contend for the premiership.

Carlton -11.5 Line @ $1.92

Home Team (Melbourne) Total Points O/U +99.5 Points @ $1.88
(Brisbane vs Fremantle) Under 184.5 Total Points Line @ $1.88

ESSENDON ($13.00) VS HAWTHORN ($1.03)

Line: Bombers +54.5, Hawks -54.5
The young Bombers outfit is starting to show signs of tiring and the second half of its season is threating to become ugly. Essendon travelled to Perth to take on the winless Dockers, an encounter the red and black should have been competitive in. But Fremantle absolutely tore the Bombers to shreds, running away to a drought breaking 79 point victory. The stats sheet wasn’t much better than the scoreboard for Essendon either, as negative differentials dominated the screen. The loss sees John Worsfold’s men fall to 18th on the table and if Saturday night is anything to go by, this club will only be relevant in being a percentage booster for the rest of the season. Kelly and Stokes return for Essendon, but Crowley, Baguley and McDonald-Tipungwuti are all out through injury.
Hawthorn had to fight hard for its four points against a plucky Melbourne side that was right in the game until time on of the final quarter. The Hawks were again monstered in the contested situations and stoppages, finishing -23 for contested possessions and -11 for clearances. It is now becoming a serious concern for Clarkson as there is no sign of improvement and compared to September 2015, Hawthorn have fallen off the cliff in those areas. Positively, his side just keeps winning and can’t be discounted I it makes the top four. There are still many clubs fearing the Hawks. Ceglar, Mitchell and Duryea all miss the clash.
This is a perfect opportunity for Hawthorn to improve a mediocre percentage of 108.94%. The Bombers won’t get close here.

Bet to Consider:
Jack Gunston to Score 6 or More Goals @ $9.00


Line: Port -3.5, Dogs +3.5
Are Port Adelaide just starting to get its groove back? The last two weeks have been encouraging against Collingwood and Melbourne, albeit teams that are below the Power on the ladder. Ken Hinkley finally appears to have his defensive structures right, as the extra man back has constantly created issues on the rebound. The likes of Jasper Pittard, Jarman Impey and Darcy Byrne-Jones have started numerous fast forays forward that has created enormous amounts of space in the front half. Port Adelaide were able to kick 7 goals from the goal square against Collingwood, most of which were uncontested. The signs are good, but now it is time to prove what it is capable of against a top eight team in the Dogs.
The Western Bulldogs haven’t been playing its best football over the past month, but important wins against Collingwood and West Coast now see the team from the west in the top four. Much of the Dogs recent success has to be credited to the form of Marcus Bontempelli, who has lifted to another level in the past five weeks. Before Round 7 Bontempelli had never won 30 disposals in a match, since then he has passed the mark four times and averaged 16 contested possessions. He became the youngest ever captain to win a game on the weekend and is arguably the form midfielder of the competition. The Dogs have a superstar in the making.
The Western Bulldogs have struggled in its two previous games against Port Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval, going down by 72 points and 38 points. The Power have hit solid form and must be considered head to head with the Dogs playing some patchy football.

Bet to Consider:
Port Adelaide head to head @ $1.80


Line: Lions +5.5, Freo -5.5
Another week, another loss for the Brisbane Lions, its seventh in succession. It looked like being one of the uglier days for Justin Leppitsch when his side could only manage one goal to half time against Carlton. Yes it was wet and slippery, but only outside the indoor stadium that provided pristine conditions. Thankfully Brisbane were able to kick 8 second half goals, outscore Carlton by a point and make the scoreboard look respectable. The return of Tom Rockliff was worth waiting for though as the skipper gathered an amazing 48 disposals in a losing side. At least there was one player who can put their hand up and say he gave 100%.
The Fremantle Dockers are finally off the bottom of the ladder after giving Essendon a 79 point touch up. It was like old times, big bodied midfielders clocking up large disposal tallies, Pav kicking goals, the crowd getting around Ryan Crowley, it was just nice. The tanking talk has been forgotten quickly, but could be tested again if the Dockers produce a poor effort against the struggling Lions. Fremantle are unlikely to escape the bottom four in any circumstance, so Ross Lyon will ensure his side is out to win as many games as it can. Matthew Pavlich and Jon Griffin are big outs though.
Fremantle has beaten the Brisbane Lions the last eight encounters, but five of the last six have been at Domain Stadium. If the Dockers can dominate the stoppages again, I can’t see them losing.

Bet to Consider:
Under 184.5 Total Points Line @ $1.88


Line: Cats -3.5, North +3.5
Geelong had two genuinely bad performances against Carlton and Collingwood, but lifted its output immensely against the highly rated Giants. The Cats were actually quite dominant statistically, finishing +30 for contested possessions and +28 for inside 50s. But as we have become accustomed to with Geelong this year, it wasted so many scoring opportunities and gave the opposition simple chances. It meant the Cats had to scramble in the final quarter for the points, but there were more positives than the 10 point margin suggested. Geelong will be without its number one target Tom Hawkins after he was surprisingly suspended for an inconsequential hit to Phil Davis, but Rhys Stanley is back.
Is it time to start taking North Melbourne seriously as a premiership contender? Most teams that have been a game clear on top of the ladder at the half way point of the season are seen as a favourite for the flag, but the Roos sit almost unnoticed on the sixth line of betting. North were really impressive against Richmond on Friday night as it created scoring opportunities at will to win by 70 points. This all occurred without the presence of Todd Goldstein in the ruck, who will return this week. A win against Geelong will see the Kangaroos shorten substantially.
North Melbourne has had the wood over Geelong since the 2014 semi-final, winning three games consecutively. Todd Goldstein has generally monstered them in that time and will be hungry to return to the field. The loss of Tom Hawkins sways this match in the favour of the Kangaroos.

Bet to Consider:  
North Melbourne head to head @ $2.05

WEST COAST ($1.48) VS ADELAIDE ($2.65)

Line: Eagles -15.5, Crows +15.5
West Coast looked a lost cause when it trailed the Western Bulldogs by 21 points halfway through the final quarter, before three goals in four minutes quickly reduced the margin to 3 points. With momentum on its side, the Eagles had a great opportunity to steal a win away from home and show the critics that it isn’t just a Domain Stadium flat track bully. But some poor defensive running created space inside the Dogs forward 50 and a Tom Liberatore snap destroyed the West Coast adrenaline. Adelaide are the first current top eight side that West Coast has will have played at Domain Stadium, so the Eagles must prove it can be dominant at home against quality opposition. Jeremy McGovern returns.
Adelaide were superb on Sunday, but St Kilda were just as bad as the Crows were good which resulted in some large statistical differentials. Adelaide ended +176 for total disposals, +48 for contested possessions, +142 for uncontested possession, +98 for marks, +20 for inside 50 marks, +11 for clearances and +39 for inside 50s. It was a bruise free match with only 81 tackles laid between both clubs. The Crows worked hard early to ensure St Kilda were never in the game, but the opposition pressure was minimal for a majority of the match. Thompson returns and strengthens the midfield.
West Coast’s form at home has been too good to ignore, despite it being against mostly poor opposition. You can’t go against them at Domain Stadium until proof emerges that the advantage has weakened.

No Bet to Consider

ST KILDA ($2.50) VS CARLTON ($1.53)

Line: Saints +11.5, Blues -11.5
Many are discussing the poor form of Essendon, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Fremantle in recent weeks, but the effort put up by St Kilda on Sunday against Adelaide requires attention. The Saints were generally uncompetitive and the stats tell an ugly story. St Kilda could only lay an embarrassing 45 tackles, despite Adelaide having the ball an extra 176 times! That certainly indicates that the players haven’t put in the effort required to be competitive at the top level. It happened against West Coast three weeks ago and for a half against the Dockers last week. This St Kilda side is prone to just shutting off. Riewoldt, McCartin, Dempster and Goddard will all miss the clash.
If Carlton aren’t the story of 2016, there must be some pretty special things going on at another club that we don’t know about. Brendon Bolton has managed to recalibrate his senior players to love their footy again and most importantly put the correct development procedures into his young players at the same time. I can’t think of a coach who has been able to implement such a perfect balance of improvement between his younger and older players. Even once fringe players like Dennis Armfield, Sam Kerridge and Matthew Wright are redefining themselves. There is a long way to go for the Blues, but the future is bright.
St Kilda are a much better team at Etihad, but I can’t see them matching Carlton’s intensity. There are some big outs for the Saints and the Blues -11.5 line looks extremely tempting.

Bet to Consider:
Carlton -11.5 Line @ $1.92

RICHMOND ($1.22) VS GOLD COAST ($4.50)

AT THE MCG, SUNDAY 12/06, 15:20
Line: Tigers -31.5, Suns +31.5
Just as we were all starting to believe that Richmond had turned all its woes around, we were given a shock surprise that perhaps this team really aren’t underachieving. The Tigers have top tier players are as good as any club in the competition, but when things start turning for the bad, there are so few contributors. Richmond were very good at the stoppages in the absence of Goldstein with a +8 clearance differential, but couldn’t get the ball forward. It finished the match -31 differential for inside 50s, as Riewoldt and Vickery were starved of opportunity. Injuries hurt structures, but clubs with experience like Richmond should be able to adapt. There are serious depth problems at Punt Road.
It is extremely difficult to judge the performance of the Suns in torrential conditions, but you certainly can’t fault the effort put in. Gold Coast took an 11 point lead into quarter time, which looked a lot considering the rain. The Swans finally got into gear, but the Suns certainly didn’t let them run away. The surface water obvious led to ridiculously high contested possession and tackle numbers, but in a situation you think would have suited Sydney, Gold Coast won the clearances 52-44. The margin ended up at 38 points, but there were enough positives. Aaron Hall has been surprisingly dropped.
Richmond have a 9 day break while the Suns are sure to have had heavy legs after the swimming carnival against Sydney. The Tigers aren’t as bad as the Friday night showing and will bounce back against the Suns.

Bet to Consider:
Richmond 40+ @ $2.20

GWS ($1.85) VS SYDNEY ($1.95)

Line: Giants -1.5, Swans +1.5
Consecutive away interstate trips against quality top eight opposition produced two respectable losses for the Giants, but it has left everyone feeling slightly underwhelmed. While GWS are certainly playing more consistent football, the gap between its best and worst during games is still too wide. There are times when the Giants produce scintillating football for 5-10 minutes, before a brain fade or loss of concentration gives the opposition a look in. The Giants probably never deserved to be in the game after conceding 76 inside 50s to Geelong, but its efficiency in the forward half kept them alive. If it can tighten the structural mishaps, interstate wins will come.
Sydney travelled to the Gold Coast hoping for a percentage inflating victory, but had to work much harder than expected due to the cyclonic weather. The match produced a record 391 contested possessions and 254 tackles, 173 more than the Adelaide vs St Kilda game. While the Swans came home with the four points comfortable, the conditions would have been brutal on their bodies. There will be some sore boys nursing battle wearied limps, which is likely to see a recovery focused week. Could the Swans be a tad flat after participating in the most contested match on record?
The question on this match is just how much of a toll has the Gold Coast slop taken on Sydney? GWS will be happy to be back in NSW and probably won’t get a better opportunity to beat its big brother. The gut says GWS, but the 8-1 record in favour of Sydney is difficult to ignore.

Bet to Consider:
Tom Mitchell to get 35 or More Disposals @ $5.60


AT THE MCG, MONDAY 13/06, 15:20
Line: Dees -10.5, Pies +10.5
Melbourne responded well to its disappointing loss in the Alice with a mighty effort against Hawthorn in messy conditions. Scores were all square at the final break, but a goalless Melbourne last quarter ensured Hawthorn would get the points. There was plenty to take out of the match for the Dees though, especially at the contests and stoppages. The Demons won the contested possession count by 23 and ended with a +12 clearance differential to comfortably beat the reigning premier in the hard stuff without Jack Viney. Paul Roos looks to be leaving Simon Goodwin with a decent inheritance. Viney has surprisingly been named.
Could Collingwood have possibly been more disappointing than it was against Port Adelaide? Much like Richmond, fortunes appeared to be improving for the black and white faithful, but then it produces a performance that is difficult to comprehend. The Collingwood defensive structure was just getting opened up with ridiculous ease, as Port Adelaide walked into seven goals from the goal square. Are the tactics not worthy or do the players not understand them? The Pies tried hard in some areas, but small wins in other categories did nothing to stem the final 67 point margin. Finals look all but over for Collingwood in 2016. Travis Cloke has been dropped yet again.
It is great to see the Queen’s Birthday match become interesting again, despite the Dees not winning since 2007. Melbourne have won the last two encounters against Collingwood and come in with high confidence levels after the Round 4 result.

Bet to Consider:
Home Team (Melbourne) Total Points O/U +99.5 Points @ $1.88



Covering all things Australian Rules Football for The Profits. I’ve been a passionate 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.

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