Welcome to the round 2 AFL preview. After an eleven day opening round, round 2 sees normality return to the fixture with nine games crammed into three days.
Round 1 produced numerous upset victories, highlighted by Essendon, the Western Bulldogs and the Gold Coast. This week certainly looks more stock standard as punters begin to gauge where each club is placed with greater ease.
The highlight of the round is Collingwood vs Carlton, which will see Mick Malthouse coaching against the side he took to premiership glory in 2010 for the first time. Brisbane vs Adelaide, Geelong vs North Melbourne and West Coast vs Hawthorn are also games that will take the fancy of neutral supporters.
West Coast to beat Hawthorn @ $1.94
ST KILDA ($3.45) vs RICHMOND ($1.40)
MCG, FRIDAY 05/04/2013, 19:50
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Richmond 18.13 (121) defeated St Kilda 16.17 (113) at Etihad, R10, 01/06/2012
Current Line: St Kilda +19.5, Richmond -19.5
The Tigers will be on a high after finally breaking its Carlton hoodoo dating back to 2008. Richmond dominated a majority of the match and lead by 36 points at the final break before fatigue kicked in, seeing the Blues nearly snatch the win. The Tigers looked strong in all areas and appeared to have plenty of goal kicking options, highlighted by Riewoldt being held goalless in a selfless display.
The Saints have won 13 of the last 15 games against Richmond, but the last two have been a loss and a draw. It appears the trend is turning. A loss against the Suns doesn’t paint a pretty picture. They finished with the second least clearances for the round against one of the least experienced midfields (excluding Gary Ablett, who as we all know had a freak game).
The Tigers midfield will surely be too strong.
RICHMOND TO WIN BY 28 POINTS
SYDNEY ($1.14) vs GOLD COAST ($8.00)
SCG, SATURDAY 06/04/2013, 13:45
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Sydney 19.12 (126) defeated Gold Coast 8.6 (54) at Metricon, R18, 28/07/2012
Current Line: Sydney -40.5, Gold Coast +40.5
Sydney’s premiership defence is met with its second consecutive fixturing against an expansion club. It is the perfect introduction to the season for the Swans with the late training start that all premiers have to counter. It seemed that they were only interested in doing as much as they needed to against the aggressive GWS youngsters, cruising to a comfortable five goal victory. Adam Goodes is struggling with a knee injury and is in doubt for the game.
The Gold Coast are coming off their first ever round one victory and an impressive one at that. The only concern was that Gary Ablett put on a bit of a one man show. Without him, they simply wouldn’t have won. Ablett has a great record against Sydney, so expect more leather poisoning for the champ.
It is impossible to tip against Sydney here, no matter how impressive Gary Ablett’s Superman impersonations are. I’m not expecting a total blowout though.
SYDNEY TO WIN BY 37 POINTS
WESTERN BULLDOGS ($3.10) vs FREMANTLE ($1.42)
ETIHAD STADIUM, SATURDAY 06/04/2013, 14:10
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Fremantle 14.11 (95) defeated Western Bulldogs 8.9 (57) at Patersons, R15, 08/08/2012
Current Line: Western Bulldogs +19.5, Fremantle -19.5
This is an interesting looking game. The Bulldogs pulled off potentially the biggest surprise of the opening round, thumping NAB Cup premiers Brisbane by a humiliating 68 points. Their new found run and carry was prolific, gathering 239 uncontested possessions and disposing at an impressive 76.3%. The inside work was good too, doubling Brisbane’s centre clearance stats, all without captain Matthew Boyd who’ll still be missing this week.
Ross Lyon’s structures are looking more and more dangerous. Fremantle had a differential of 23 inside 50s and restricted West Coast to the lowest disposal efficiency for the round, proving that the set ups are working. They are a much more difficult team to play against under Lyon.
Fremantle haven’t beaten the Dogs at Etihad Stadium since 2004. In saying that, the Dockers won all three of its games at the venue in 2012 with comfortable victories against St Kilda, Melbourne and North Melbourne.
The disciplined Dockers will be too strong. The Dogs just won’t have it as easy on the outside. Fremantle at the line look tempting.
FREMANTLE TO WIN BY 34 POINTS
BRISBANE ($2.18) vs ADELAIDE ($1.81)
GABBA, SATURDAY 06/04/2013, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Brisbane 13.17 (95) defeated Adelaide 12.13 (85) at the Gabba, R21, 18/08/2012
Current Line: Brisbane +6.5, Adelaide -6.5
Both clubs are coming off disappointing losses after going into their games as strong favourites. Brisbane in particular will be scratching their heads with an unbeaten preseason giving an indication that successful times weren’t too far away. Did they get ahead of themselves? Did they celebrate too hard? Who really knows, but outstanding preseason form of recent years has been taken into the season proper and that fact can’t be just ignored after one game. I’m happy to give Brisbane another chance before dismissing them. They have credits.
Adelaide came off a patchy preseason and that was obvious after the Essendon game. The midfield in particular was well off its usual standards. Dangerfield didn’t have any impact and has plenty of improvement. They just don’t appear to be in peak form. They will have the advantage of a fifteen day break compared to Brisbane’s seven.
Both Brisbane and Adelaide midfields failed to reach double figures for centre clearances in round 1. It could be a question of which midfield begins its 2013 season first. I’d wait and watch before throwing money at either club despite Brisbane looking a tad long.
BRISBANE TO WIN BY 5 POINTS
PORT ADELAIDE ($1.19) vs GWS ($6.20)
AAMI STADIUM, SATURDAY 06/04/2013, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: GWS 16.11 (107) defeated Port Adelaide 10.13 (73) at Skoda, R19, 04/08/2012.
Current Line: Port Adelaide -33.5, GWS +33.5
While the smart money was on Port Adelaide last week, no one would have imagined a 79 point whitewash. Hartlett, Ebert and Boak were all brilliant and look in prime condition. Rising star nominee Ollie Wines has added the much needed big body to the Port Adelaide midfield and equaled the record of most contested possessions by a debutant with Jack Viney. Jay Schulz is proving to be a dangerous key forward target and continues to average multiple goals. But was their performance exaggerated by an uncompetitive opponent? We’ll know more on Saturday night.
GWS had a real crack against Sydney. They were aggressive, physical and hard at the footy. They led the competition in centre and total clearances for round one against the premier who are renowned for their stoppage work. They will be competitive again you’d suggest.
The Giants shocked Port Adelaide in round 19, which ultimately led to the sacking of coach Matthew Primus. Hinkley will ensure they aren’t embarrassed again.
PORT ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 30 POINTS
ESSENDON ($1.12) vs MELBOURNE ($8.80)
MCG, SATURDAY 06/04/2013, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Melbourne 8.10 (58) defeated Essendon 6.16 (52) at the MCG, R10, 02/06/2012.
Current Line: Essendon -41.5, Melbourne +41.5
Based on first round results, you’d expect this to be an extremely one sided contest. If you ask the Essendon supporters, it is a danger game. Melbourne has developed a habit of knocking off the more fancied Bombers over recent times. In fact Essendon haven’t beaten Melbourne since 2009. Last year’s result was unforgivable for the Bombers as they had only been beaten once at the time and it arguably triggered the sharp fall down the ladder. Melbourne was at huge odds and registered Mark Neeld his first win as a senior coach.
Again, the facts are defining. Melbourne were terrible against Port Adelaide and it would have to be a massive turnaround of form. Essendon are coping well with its pending investigation and are coming off a fifteen day break. Essendon should get the job done comfortably. Melbourne’s recent record is keeping the line lower than it should be.
ESSENDON TO WIN BY 58 POINTS
GEELONG ($1.50) vs NORTH MELBOURNE ($2.90)
ETIHAD STADIUM, SUNDAY 07/04/2013, 13:10
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: North Melbourne 20.11 (131) defeated Geelong 16.18 (114) at Etihad, R3, 15/04/2012.
Current Line: Geelong -15.5, North Melbourne +15.5
Geelong continued the Kennett curse against Hawthorn with their tenth consecutive win in a typically enthralling contest. But the contest can take its toll and North Melbourne took full advantage of the fatigued Cats in round 3 last year.
North Melbourne beat Collingwood in key statistic areas including disposal efficiency, clearances, I50s and overall disposals yet couldn’t get the result on the most important column, the scoreboard. Collingwood smashed them with 14 inside 50 marks. One of the strengths of Geelong’s forward half is the contested marking options. The Roos look vulnerable in that area.
The midfield will be interesting. North Melbourne had 43 clearances to Geelong’s 24 in round one. Jim Kelly and Joel Corey coming into the team will help, but hitouts to advantage is Geelong’s biggest worry. Trent West is underdone and while Mark Blicavs is a fantastic story, but the ball found opposition hands too often when he was in the middle.
Excluding last start, the Cats have dominated North Melbourne. I’m confident the Cats can win despite North Melbourne looking long. To me, Geelong 1-39 points at $2.20 looks far more tempting than the line.
GEELONG TO WIN BY 19 POINTS
COLLINGWOOD ($1.44) vs CARLTON ($3.15)
MCG, SUNDAY 07/04/2013, 15:20
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Carlton 12.13 (85) defeated Collingwood 8.14 (62), at the MCG, R15, 06/08/2012.
Current Line: Collingwood -17.5, Carlton +17.5
This game has the potential to sell out the MCG. There is just a huge amount of interest in Mick Malthouse coaching against Collingwood for the first time. The game has been marketed for weeks and the hype is reaching fever pitch. But the match itself is in danger of not being the contest many had originally hoped for or expected.
Carlton are coming off an extremely disappointing performance against Richmond. The Blues were getting hammered on the scoreboard and in key performance indicators before the combination of a tiring Tiger outfit and a slight change in game plan saw Carlton charge late. Despite the momentum of a late run home, the forwards are still a major issue which has been made worse with the illness of Shaun Hampson and broken jaw of Eddie Betts. Jarrad Waite is still at least a couple of weeks away.
Collingwood still have a lengthy injury list, but the replacements have been worthy. Frost, Josh Thomas, Dwyer and Macaffer all had an impact against North. Shaw will return and Dale Thomas will be considered, but Dayne Beams could have a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Here are some key facts to remember. Carlton beat Collingwood twice last year in rare highlights. Scott Pendlebury had no impact in the round 3 encounter and didn’t play round 15. Eddie Betts kicked 5 and 4 goals in each game. Jarrad Waite and Hampson had massive impacts round 3. Who is going to fill the void and kick a winning score? I doubt Rowe, Casboult and Garlett can carry the load unless they receive permanent support from Kreuzer.
COLLINGWOOD TO WIN BY 39 POINTS
WEST COAST ($1.94) vs HAWTHORN ($2.06)
PATERSONS STADIUM, SUNDAY 07/04/2013, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: Hawthorn 14.11 (95) defeated West Coast 10.10 (70) at the MCG, R23, 31/08/2012.
Current Line: West Coast -4.5, Hawthorn +4.5
This game has been overshadowed by the Malthouse euphoria. It is a genuine blockbuster as both teams are seen as premiership threats, yet one will be 0-2 at the end of the game. It is always difficult playing catch up and reduces flexibility.
West Coast still has a worrying injury list. There is talk that Nic Naitanui could be out for longer than expected, now LeCras and Eric Mackenzie have been added after the Derby. While the KPDs will be stretched, there is enough depth short term around the depleted areas of the 22. Any more injuries will have serious consequences though.
Luke Hodge is on the verge of selection for Hawthorn. Despite playing a couple of VFL games, he still seriously underdone and would be classed a risky proposition as the rest of the side is already coming off a six day break. Add the fact that West Coast will have an extra nine days to prepare and you have a wonder if a fresh runner would be more beneficial.
It is a big task for Hawthorn. The long flight off a six day break and a physical encounter, coupled with West Coast having fifteen days is defining. West Coast are great odds.
WEST COAST TO WIN BY 16 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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