Welcome to the Round 10 AFL preview. As we head into Round 10 and the last weekend compromised by the bye, the competition continues to produce one or two surprise results every week, making form extremely difficult to read. Sydney and Fremantle are the flavour of the month with ladder leader Port Adelaide, while there are now question marks on both Geelong and Collingwood. It was interesting to hear the thoughts of Ross Lyon during the week, who gave an indication that he thinks the premiership race is down to four including Sydney, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and of course his own side Fremantle (without mentioning the Dockers in his statement). With so many form spurts, I find it difficult to limit the contenders to so few. It is a genuinely open season and it is becoming more apparent that there will be a couple of unlucky sides to miss out on the double chance.
Port Adelaide fourth quarter -4.5 point line @ $1.80
GEELONG ($1.45) VS NORTH MELBOURNE ($2.85)
AT SIMONDS STADIUM, FRIDAY 23/05, 19:50
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R19 2013 North Melbourne 15.6 (96) dftd Geelong 13.8 (86) at ES
Line: Geelong -14.5, North Melbourne +14.5
It is difficult to know where the Cats are at after the loss to Fremantle in Perth. The scoreboard flattered Geelong and Chris Scott was left struggling for positives. The contested ball and clearances numbers looked like that of a premiership team against a side in contention for the wooden spoon. The Cats were smashed for contested possession 119-161, clearances 28-46 and ultimately forward 50 entrances 41-56. Joel Selwood lessened the differentials with 18 contested possessions and 7 clearances himself, but the support was borderline non-existent. Steve Johnson misses through suspension due to another pointless indiscretion, but Mathew Stokes returns.
North Melbourne easily counted for a Brisbane side that was plagued with illness. The Roos had 59 more contested possessions and the scoreboard could have been uglier if not for poor kicking at goal. The major positive of the outing was that skipper Andrew Swallow got through the game unscathed after such a long break with the achilles injury.
This is a danger game for the Cats. North Melbourne should have won the last 3 encounters against Geelong, but it let a seven goal lead slide in Round 2 last season. Still, two wins from the last three games reads well and the Cats have had found North difficult to match up. Steve Johnson really weakens a midfield that will be further reliant on Selwood. If the Kangaroos turn up, they are a great chance. If at Etihad, I’d have high confidence on North winning, but we all know how difficult it is to win down the freeway.
GEELONG TO WIN BY 3 POINTS
GWS ($3.05) VS RICHMOND ($1.40)
AT SPOTLESS STADIUM, SATURDAY 24/05, 13:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R22 2013 GWS Giants 6.6 (42) lost to Richmond 25.13 (163) at Spotless
Line: GWS +18.5, Richmond -18.5
The break couldn’t have come at a better time for GWS. The performance against West Coast stunk of a side that needed to regroup and most importantly rest. It could only manage 27 inside 50s in Perth, while conceding 67 the other way. Leon Cameron would have looked at methods to refresh his young side, hoping to recapture form similar to something that shocked the Swans in Round 1. That will be helped by Shane Mumford finally being fit, while Jeremy Cameron, Adam Treloar and Curtly Hampton are also great inclusions.
It was an all new low for Richmond on Saturday afternoon as it went down to Melbourne. The Tigers who were once seen as a top four contender, finds itself in 16th position on the ladder with a 2-6 record. So where has it gone wrong for the Tigers? Jack Riewoldt gave an eyebrow raising insight during the week, stating that his side hasn’t managed to adapt to a new game plan that is closely based to Hawthorn’s high efficiency style. It looks like the Richmond coaching staff has completely overrated the kicking skills of its list.
Richmond will be nervous, but it will take a major GWS form reversal for the Tigers to be seriously challenged. They must bounce back.
RICHMOND TO WIN BY 18 POINTS
COLLINGWOOD ($1.30) VS WEST COAST ($3.70)
AT THE MCG, SATURDAY 24/05, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R22 2013 Collingwood 15.11 (101) dftd West Coast 5.9 (39) at the MCG
Line: Collingwood -22.5, West Coast +22.5
The loss to Adelaide wasn’t a performance I was expecting from Collingwood. The Pies couldn’t compete with the Crow’s pressure driven game plan, reducing Collingwood’s disposal efficiency to 66.3%. The Pies also had a clearance differential of -17 and laid 22 less tackles despite reading -45 for total possessions. There have been plenty of excuses including the break, playing on a Thursday night and goals being kicked after sirens had been blown, but at the end of the day Adelaide were far superior in most areas. It is likely that Collingwood just had an off day and will bounce back.
West Coast was merciless against an undermanned GWS in Round 8. It had 67 forward 50 entrances, kicked 30 goals and ultimately won by 111 points. It was a good day out to say the least. The real highlight of the match was the 11 goal haul of Josh Kennedy. Having only kicked 13 goals in his seven games prior, Kennedy exploded with the second double figure bag of his career. The Eagles looked fantastic, but we are still yet to see a competitive effort against a side of relevance. Mark LeCras is lucky to miss only one week after a mistimed bump.
Collingwood have had the wood over West Coast, winning 9 of the last 10 encounters since 2007. I expect that to continue.
COLLINGWOOD TO WIN BY 34 POINTS
PORT ADELAIDE ($1.45) VS HAWTHORN ($2.95)
AT ADELAIDE OVAL, SATURDAY 24/05, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R16 2013 Port Adelaide 12.7 (79) lost to Hawthorn 19.10 (124) at AAMI
Line: Port -15.5, Hawthorn +15.5
How good is life at the moment for Ken Hinkley? His side currently sets a game clear on top of the ladder, is coming off the break with a short injury list and looks perfectly set to take on the reigning premier Hawthorn. It is difficult to comprehend that it was less than three years ago that Hawthorn broke records against Port Adelaide at the MCG, winning by a mammoth 165 points. At the time, experts feared that sides like Port would find it impossible to rebuild quickly due to expansion sides dominating the drafts. Yet look at where the Power is placed now. Lobbe returns as number one ruck.
The Hawks are in the middle of an injury epidemic. Josh Gibson will miss close to 10 weeks after tearing a pectoral muscle, adding to an injury list that already includes premiership players Sam Mitchell, Cyril Rioli and Brian Lake. On top of that, Jarryd Roughead misses a week through suspension. Luke Hodge has thankfully been cleared to play, but there are still plenty of gaps left vacant.
We once again find ourselves spoilt with a top of the table clash. Hawthorn go into the game as underdogs for the first time since Round 4 2012 when it lost to West Coast at Patersons Stadium. Hawthorn has won the last 5 encounters, but that stat is irrelevant based on current circumstances. If results fall their way, Port Adelaide could find itself two games clear on top. Port Adelaide have only lost two quarters after halftime this year, proving they are the best finishing side in the business. The Hawks have been comfortably beaten in last quarters against fellow contenders Fremantle, Geelong and Sydney this season and are undermanned, making Port Adelaide’s fourth quarter line of -4.5 points at $1.80 outstanding value.
PORT ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 25 POINTS
GOLD COAST ($1.23) VS WESTERN BULLDOGS ($4.40)
AT METRICON STADIUM, SUNDAY 25/05, 15:20
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R8 2013 Gold Coast 13.15 (93) dftd Western Bulldogs 8.13 (61) at MS
Line: Gold Coast -27.5, Dogs +27.5
There is a great opportunity for the Gold Coast Suns to jump into the top four here. Their form continues to hold up, but it is helped by the ridiculous form of captain Gary Ablett. He is well and truly on track for a third Brownlow, averaging 33.1 disposals, 18.2 contested possessions, 8 clearances and 2.2 goals per game. We’ll be updating our Brownlow count at the end of the byes, but some other independent sources have him up to 6 or 7 votes clear at this very early stage of the season. The early markets of “Brownlow without Ablett” and his $1.90 odds are completely justified.
The Dogs would have enjoyed the bye after a gutsy win against the ever improving Melbourne in Round 8. Despite getting beaten in contested possession and clearances once again, laying 108 tackles would have had Brendan McCartney smiling from ear to ear. The constant pressure kept Melbourne to a disposal efficiency of 65% which basically kept the Dogs in the game. It could only muster 42 inside 50s though, which has to improve to be competitive against the Suns.
The Suns had a convincing win over the Dogs in Round 8 last year and they are a much better side 12 months on. The line is of value.
GOLD COAST TO WIN BY 45 POINTS
CARLTON ($2.30) VS ADELAIDE ($1.65)
AT ETIHAD STADIUM, SUNDAY 25/05, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R5 2013 Carlton 17.13 (115) dftd Adelaide 12.11 (83) at the MCG
Line: Carlton +7.5, Adelaide -7.5
The Carlton form continues to steadily improve after a poor start. The first half against St Kilda was very good, before slightly dropping its intensity in the second half. It can’t afford to drop the intensity at all against Adelaide, as a slow start to the season ensures all games are defining, especially the 50/50 encounters like this. The Blues will welcome Jarrad Waite and Andrew Carrazzo to the side, but Chris Judd is still at least a week away. Mitch Robinson misses through suspension.
It was an Adelaide outfit that we hadn’t seen yet in season 2014 last Thursday night. It dominated the clearances and tackles after not being influential in either area earlier in the season and they looked a different side. Patrick Dangerfield looks to be hitting peak form having gathered 12 clearances and 20 contested possessions in the Collingwood win after starting the season flat like his side. He has the x factor to lift any team and with further game time for Taylor Walker, we could start seeing form that saw them reach the 2012 preliminary final.
Carlton has won three of the last four encounters, but if Adelaide produce anything like it did against Collingwood, they’ll win in a canter.
ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 26 POINTS
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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