Welcome to the Round 10 AFL preview. A very entertaining week of footy was overshadowed by the Adam Goodes racism row that saw a 13 year old girl ejected from the MCG on Friday night. Just when we thought everything had settled, Eddie McGuire’s brain explosion on Wednesday morning saw all football discussion hijacked once again. While the reasons and subjects are justified, I’m looking forward to providing some genuine football related content.
Round 9 saw mostly consolidation for the top teams. Hawthorn, Geelong, Sydney, Essendon and Fremantle all had comfortable wins and look like the five who will be fighting for the double chance. Round 10 certainly offers some value and you’ll be pleased to see that there are some non favourites whose chances I rate highly.
Fremantle to win @ $2.10
BRISBANE ($4.70) vs COLLINGWOOD ($1.19)
AT THE GABBA, FRIDAY 31/05, 19:50
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Collingwood 17.14 (116) defeated Brisbane 8.10 (58) at the Gabba, R7, 2012
Line: Brisbane +28.5, Collingwood -28.5
After Collingwood’s performance on Friday night, the Lion’s would have been quite optimistic about their chances for this game. Unfortunately, injury and suspension has struck hard. They will now be without Matthew Leuenberger (dislocated thumb), Tom Rockliff (quad) and Jonathan Brown to suspension. Add that to Daniel Merrett (suspension), Daniel Rich (shoulder), Matt McGuire (ankle) and Saturday night’s late withdrawal Mitch Golby, the Lion’s will be missing arguably seven of their best ten players. They just don’t have the depth to cover such large holes.
The Pies produced one of their worst performances in 3-4 years. Their one way running was plain for all to see. While Nathan Buckley is blaming a lack of players with pace, it was unacceptable to see Sydney players running into space with a five to ten metre gap between their opponents time after time. It will be interesting to see the response.
The Pies will recall Heath Shaw to the team and he is sure to provide some much needed run and carry despite the question marks on his fitness and skin folds. Darren Jolly may be rested which will see Ben Hudson return to number one ruck duties. Rookie Kyle Martin will make his debut after tearing the VFL up all season.
There are too many holes to fill for Brisbane, Collingwood will win comfortably.
COLLINGWOOD TO WIN BY 33 POINTS
CARLTON ($1.005) vs GWS ($21.00)
AT ETIHAD STADIUM, SATURDAY 01/06, 13:45
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Carlton 15.20 (110) defeated GWS 6.7 (43) at Etihad, R6, 2012
Line: Carlton -80.5, GWS +80.5
The respectable performances by GWS are becoming less common as the year goes on and unfortunately we are going to have another one sided result here. There is genuine concern around the competition that this side is doing more harm than good for the development of AFL in the key western Sydney market. The crowds are horrendous and the interest is limited. If you were getting pushed into following a different code, how many uncompetitive performances by the new local side would you be able to take? I am positive that this team will be a power house, but it is going to take a lot longer than most expected, especially with so few senior players.
Carlton is now in the eight and really starting to hit their straps. They can’t afford to take this game for granted as every team above them has a percentage better by at least 8%. They need to close that gap as it is likely to be the difference between a home final or even a top four position.
It is only a matter of how much. The triple figure margin will be threatened once again.
CARLTON TO WIN BY 94 POINTS
ADELAIDE ($1.81) vs FREMANTLE ($2.10)
AT AAMI STADIUM, SATURDAY 01/06, 14:10
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Adelaide 12.9 (81) defeated Fremantle 11.5 (71) at AAMI, SF, 2012
Line: Adelaide -3.5, Fremantle +3.5
There aren’t many games where a team is down by 30 points at the 15 minute mark of the last quarter and come home with the full points. It only happens once or twice out of 207 games a season, but Adelaide managed to pull it off on Sunday afternoon. How does Adelaide respond after such a spectacular victory? Some clubs can be drained by it and struggle to back up the next week, while others treat it as a turning point of a season and can go on to bigger and better things. Brenton Sanderson will certainly be attempting to make the latter come to fruition. The best 22 is starting to take shape, but the form of Sam Jacobs would be of huge concern. After nearly earning All Australian honours in 2012, Jacobs’ form has dropped so much that he was subbed out of the game against North and they certainly benefitted for it.
The Dockers only played Melbourne on Sunday, but their structures were still at their disciplined best. The Demon’s were restricted to only 25 inside 50s, an abnormally low total even for the battling Dees who average 39 for the season. Fremantle may not have the most talented squad, but they are the most well drilled unit and the benchmark that all other coaches are striving to get too.
Adelaide have won 5 of the last 7 encounters, but 5 of those 7 encounters have been played at AAMI Stadium. Fremantle almost got Adelaide in the Semi Final last year with Tippett and Walker. Admittedly, Freo did possess Pavlich and Sandilands, but I think they are benefitting from the unpredictability of the two big names missing.
I’m really surprised by Fremantle’s $2.00 odds, but I’m not going to complain about them. They are great value!
FREMANTLE TO WIN BY 28 POINTS
SYDNEY ($1.49) vs ESSENDON ($2.60)
AT THE SCG, SATURDAY 01/06, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Sydney 13.8 (86) defeated Essendon 11.16 (82) at Etihad, R11, 2012
Line: Sydney -13.5, Essendon +13.5
This deserves to be seen as match of the round. It is third versus fifth and the victor will be in the top 4 at the end of the round. Both clubs bounced back from uncharacteristic performances in round 8 with important Round 9 wins. Each club has also had to endure unwanted controversies with Essendon continually dealing with ASADA investigations, while Adam Goodes’ unfortunate week has been well publicised. How much effect will that has on their performances? That is anyone’s guess.
Unfortunately, all the headlines took away the gloss of an impressive Sydney win on Friday night. The Swans spread and run was too much for the Pies, winning the uncontested possession count 246-209. Adam Goodes was back to his brilliant best, gathering 30 disposals and kicking 3 goals. After playing the majority of the season as a KPF, he has finally been released up the ground and is reaping the benefits.
Essendon gave Richmond’s highly rated midfield an absolute flogging on Saturday night. Watson, Stanton, Goddard and Heppell all had more of the ball and greater impacts than the likes of Cotchin, Deledio, Martin and Foley. Jobe Watson is still in incredible form. He is the most influential captain in the competition and is on track for consecutive Brownlows.
The Bombers have won 5 of their last 7 matches at the SCG since 1999, the most recent being in 2007 and 2009. The Swans have won 3 of the last 4 encounters between the two teams, all 4 having been decided by less than 10 points. I think it is going to be tight again. The Bombers are a real show and their +13.5 line at a minimum deserves consideration.
ESSENDON TO WIN BY 2 POINTS
GEELONG ($1.02) vs GOLD COAST ($14.00)
AT SIMONDS STADIUM, SATURDAY 01/06, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Geelong 15.20 (110) defeated Gold Coast 13.18 (96) at Metricon, R15, 2012
Line: Geelong -55.5, Gold Coast +55.5
This is an historic match with the first game ever played under lights at Simonds Stadium. It is also the first time Gary Ablett will return to Geelong as a Gold Coast Sun. It is sure to be massive occasion for the town, club and supporters.
The Cats proved to the competition that the Collingwood loss was nothing more than a blip on the radar, kicking the first 8 goals of the game against Port. The return to form of Tom Hawkins is a massive bonus for Geelong, having kicked 10 goals in the last two weeks. Nathan Vardy will finally return from injury while Podsiadly will be rested. James Kelly will also return from suspension.
The Suns looked like pulling off the upset of all upsets against Hawthorn last week, before the Buddy and Shaun Burgoyne shows finally hit the stage in the third quarter. At the end of the day, the Suns were smashed in most of the key statistical areas and were lucky to be within 26 points at the final siren.
The Cats big day won’t be interrupted by a loss.
GEELONG TO WIN BY 51 POINTS
WESTERN BULLDOGS ($2.50) vs PORT ADELAIDE ($1.53)
AT TIO STADIUM DARWIN, SATURDAY 01/06, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Dogs 13.17 (95) defeated Port 8.9 (57) at Etihad, R12, 2012
Line: Dogs +12.5, Port -12.5
This is quite an interesting game. The Dogs are coming off an unexpected win against St Kilda, while the Power has had four consecutive losses after a flying 5-0 start. These two have been regulars in Darwin, with the Dogs leading Port 3-2 since 2004.
Brendan McCartney would have had a large sigh of relief after the St Kilda loss. It was only his second win in nearly 12 months. Koby Stevens finally had his breakout AFL game with an intense and courageous performance, gathering 31 touches and kicking 3 vital goals. The senior players stepped up when needed after a bashing from certain members of the media. Just as Matthew Boyd was beginning to hit peak performance, he has been struck down with a calf injury and will miss the Darwin trip.
Port was blown out of the water in the first quarter against a Geelong side wanting to make a early point. After only 38 minutes of game time, the Power was behind by 53 points. To their credit, from that moment they were able to outscore Geelong.
The Dogs have won the last six encounters, but I think Port is a little further advanced. The Power has a bit to play for. Boyd is an important out once again for the Dogs.
PORT ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 13 POINTS
MELBOURNE ($21.00) vs HAWTHORN ($1.001)
AT THE MCG, SUNDAY 02/06, 15:20
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Hawthorn 15.25 (115) defeated Melbourne 6.13 (49) at the MCG, R7, 2012
Line: Melbourne +90.5, Hawthorn -90.5
Could this be the last game that Mark Neeld coaches Melbourne? You’d think his future would have to be considered if the Demons don’t produce a satisfactory performance this week. It is difficult to see this not getting anything but ugly.
When you travel to Perth and get beaten by 90 points, there are generally no positives that can be mustered. But Melbourne have to find something and after being 71 points down at half time, a 15 goal defeat is a lot better than it could have been. Jesse Hogan kicked another 5 goals in the VFL, but as we all know, can’t play until next season. They would love to have him available right now.
The Hawks started slow against the Gold Coast but finally came to life in the third quarter. There could be some more restings this week, so keep an eye for the final teams to accommodate your fantasy sides. Birchall and Hale will return.
The line is set at 90.5 points. The Hawks are definitely a chance to cover that.
HAWTHORN TO WIN BY 102 POINTS
NORTH MELBOURNE ($1.25) vs ST KILDA ($4.00)
AT ETIHAD STADIUM, SUNDAY 02/06, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: North Melbourne 21.10 (136) defeated St Kilda 15.13 (103) at Etihad, R14, 2012
Line: North -26.5, St Kilda +26.5
What does North Melbourne do? They have had four heartbreaking losses by under a goal after having significant leads at different stages of each game. The Adelaide match on the weekend was as bad as it gets for a team’s mental state. In an era of defensive zones, there should be no way that any professional team can be giving up a 30 point lead in the last quarter with single figure minutes remaining. For it to happen four times in nine rounds, it has obviously got in the players heads. Things didn’t get any better on the Monday with Jack Ziebell suspended by the Match Review Panel for another high bump.
St Kilda would have been very disappointed going down to the Dogs as strong favourites. They destroyed St Kilda in tight, winning the contested possessions (138-113), clearances (43-26) and centre clearances (19-8). David Armitage will return for the Saints, but the loss of Lenny Hayes only even outs the inclusion.
Surely there will be no more North Melbourne capitulations? They should be far too strong. The line is a good chance to be covered.
NORTH TO WIN BY 41 POINTS
WEST COAST ($1.28) vs RICHMOND ($3.65)
AT PATERSONS STADIUM, MONDAY 03/06, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: West Coast 16.11 (107) defeated Richmond 14.13 (97) at Etihad, R5, 2012
Line: West Coast -24.5, Richmond +24.5
As I have stated before, I am not a fan of these Monday night games at all. But at least this one carries quite a bit of relevance.
West Coast has been slowly but surely sneaking up the ladder without much fanfare or fuss. They now find themselves at 5-4 and sixth on the table. Yes they have had a comfortable draw, but you can see the confidence grow with every performance. Nic Naitanui is just about back to his influential best and looking the major threat that all clubs will need to counter. The Eagles are also averaging 15.3 marks inside 50, the most in the competition. With targets like Kennedy, Darling, Cox, Naitanui, LeCras and Hill, it’s not hard to see why they lead that category.
The Tigers are travelling well at 5-4, but they are being accused of being flat track bullies. With wins against Carlton, St Kilda, Western Bulldogs, Port Adelaide and Melbourne, there is at least cause to question that. Brandon Ellis is still at least 2 weeks away, which would be extremely disappointing for him after his great recent returns.
These two are 3-3 from the last six encounters, a slightly surprising result. While Richmond was great in Perth earlier in the year, West Coast will get the points.
WEST COAST TO WIN BY 22 POINTS
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.
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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By Mobilegnome (Photographed at the AFL game on July 11th 2009.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons