Welcome to the Round 12 AFL preview. If you didn’t think Sydney were a serious premiership threat before Round 11, the performance on Thursday night surely would have changed your opinion. The Swans stormed to $3.70 flag favouritism against the Cats, running away to a record 110 point victory. That million dollar forward line containing Franklin, Tippett and Goodes is beginning to put some scary numbers together, despite having limited time to gel. As Geelong found out on Thursday night, if you are a key defender down, it is next to impossible to keep them all at bay.
Every round appears to be producing a genuine upset or two, but Round 12 is looking like a stock standard affair with the Western Bulldogs the longest priced favourite at $1.42. If you like an outsider, there is great value, but the nine games on offer look low percentage options. Sportsbet have been offering bonuses on 3+ leg head to head multis, which look the way to go this week.
Sportsbet’s 3+ leg head to head multibet with bonuses.
Hawthorn, Essendon, Sydney and North Melbourne to win @ $2.12 (12.5% bonus for four legs)
GEELONG ($1.17) VS CARLTON ($5.30)
AT ETIHAD STADIUM, FRIDAY 06/06, 19:50
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R3 2013 Geelong 18.11 (119) dftd Carlton 15.13 (103) at ES
Line: Geelong -31.5, Carlton +31.5
It is probably the first time since 2006 that the Cats have been made to look so inept on a football field. Geelong seemed to almost give up once it realised the Swans were at a different level on the night, which wasn’t helped by the effects of 3 games and 2 interstate trips in 12 days. Sydney gathered the most disposals in its history, yet the Cats could only lay 55 tackles. The intensity levels were at extreme lows, so don’t expect this type of result to occur often against Geelong. The side will be strengthened by the returns of Corey Enright and Tom Lonergan.
Just when it looked like the Blues were finally getting back on track, they create further question marks with a poor display against bottom of the ladder Brisbane. Carlton should have won the game, but undisciplined acts from Chris Yarran and Jarrad Waite ultimately cost their side the game. To cap off a week from hell at Visy Park, the club was forced to sack Josh Bootsma after a long list of indiscretions. Carlton is only two wins outside the eight, but 2014 just doesn’t look like being their year. Andrew Walker will return after being a late withdrawal.
Geelong has won the last four encounters, but Carlton has been competitive over the last three with an average losing margin of only 10 points. In saying that, the Cats have won every game at Etihad Stadium against Carlton from 11 starts and rarely lose two weeks in a row.
GEELONG TO WIN BY 22 POINTS
HAWTHORN ($1.17) VS WEST COAST ($5.25)
AT AURORA STADIUM, SATURDAY 07/06, 13:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R13 2013 Hawthorn 19.9 (123) dftd West Coast 16.7 (103) at ES
Line: Hawthorn -33.5, West Coast +33.5
Caretaker coach Brendan Bolton nearly got his first match day in charge ruined by a Greater Western Sydney side that wanted to make a statement after two 100+ point losses consecutively. There a few 50/50 moments that Hawthorn won that could easily have swayed the result in either direction. As good teams usually do in tight situations, the Hawks come away with the four points. The Hawks have lost premiership favouritism for the first time this year, but that isn’t going to worry anyone at Waverley Park. The Hawks will be boosted by some important inclusions, as Lewis and Rioli have both been selected.
Another top 8 side, another loss for the West Coast Eagles. The Eagles continue to struggle at home and against quality opposition. It battles to score against any side of decency, averaging a mediocre 57.4 points against current top 8 teams. It has had an extremely comfortable draw and is a flat track bully against bottom four sides, but becomes the bullied when playing most other clubs. Losing Josh Kennedy to a fractured cheekbone doesn’t make things any easier.
Hawthorn is a quality side and as a rule, West Coast doesn’t compete against such opposition. The Aurora fortress just strengthens the confidence.
HAWTHORN TO WIN BY 40 POINTS
PORT ADELAIDE ($1.02) VS ST KILDA ($16.00)
AT ADELAIDE OVAL, SATURDAY 07/06, 16:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R17 2013 St Kilda 13.14 (92) lost to Port Adelaide 14.13 (97) at ES
Line: Port -61.5, St Kilda +61.5
Port Adelaide was pushed at Alice Springs by Melbourne, but it got through unscathed to be two games clear on top of the ladder. It is rare to see a side create such daylight between itself and the rest of the competition, yet it is still sitting outright fourth in the premiership betting markets at $6.50. Despite basically guaranteeing itself a top four berth and second chance, punters still have questions to be answered with the Power. Hamish Hartlett returns from suspension, while Chad Wingard, Travis Boak and Matt White will all be assessed before the clash.
The Saints were blown away by Collingwood in the last quarter after keeping within striking distance for a majority of the night. Alan Richardson continues to point out the improvement in his young troops, but the results are steadily getting worse and worse. There are calls for Nick Riewoldt to come up the ground and spend time in the midfield, but that creates further holes forward. Develop is the key and thrashings inevitably come with that when you are so far behind.
Port won the last two encounters by under a goal each time, but the sides are at completely different ends of the table now.
PORT ADELAIDE TO WIN BY 51 POINTS
WESTERN BULLDOGS ($1.36) VS BRISBANE ($3.25)
AT ETIHAD STADIUM, SATURDAY 07/06, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R22 2013 Brisbane Lions 15.10 (100) dftd Western Bulldogs 13.15 (93) at the Gabba
Line: Dogs -19.5, Brisbane +19.5
If you had a look at the Western Bulldog’s statistics without knowing the result against Fremantle, you would have been sure they took the points. 414 disposals to 362, 67 inside 50s to 41, 47 clearances to 32, 152 contested possessions to 139. I had to look twice to ensure I wasn’t accidently looking at Fremantle’s. The Dogs were let down by turnovers (Fremantle kicked 10 goals from turnovers directly) and poor goal kicking (15 behinds). They just can’t quite put a complete game of football together. Matthew Boyd hasn’t come up after being a late withdrawal due to a hamstring.
Brisbane has given themselves every chance of getting off the bottom of the ladder with an inspired win against Carlton. Everything went the Lions way and they were helped by some opposition players losing the plot, but a win is a win. Tom Rockliff was enormous with 36 disposals, 22 contested possessions, 9 clearances and 13 tackles. He is the heart and soul of this current Brisbane outfit. Trent West has torn has ACL and is a massive loss with Leuenberger already on the sidelines. Stefan Martin will have a big job in taking the leading ruck role in their absence.
If the Western Bulldogs can produce similar numbers against Brisbane, they’ll win comfortably. Brisbane can’t be taken lightly though, having beaten the Dogs three times within the last two years.
WESTERN BULLDOGS TO WIN BY 24 POINTS
GWS ($5.50) VS ESSENDON ($1.16)
AT SPOTLESS STADIUM, SATURDAY 07/06, 19:40
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R17 2013 GWS Giants 11.11 (77) lost to Essendon 18.8 (116) at Spotless
Line: GWS +35.5, Essendon -35.5
The vultures were circling in and Leon Cameron desperately needed a performance of significance before the negative press started keeping further Western Sydney locals away. The Giants didn’t get the four points, but thankfully they provided an immense effort that nearly brought down the reigning premier. The Giants intensity can be judged quickly through its tackle count. It laid only 49 and 69 tackles against West Coast and Richmond respectively, but upped the ante to 103 against the Hawks to only go down by 7 points. These efforts must occur on a more consistent basis. Jeremy Cameron misses through suspension, but would have been in doubt with an arm injury anyway.
Essendon looks to have benefitted from the bye, but it is difficult to assess how good they were as Richmond was very poor. As Jake Carlisle went back to his preferred defensive post, the Bombers looked threatening forward. After originally being dropped, Joe Daniher was a late inclusion and kicked 3 goals, while Ben Howlett was great on the floor kicking a career high 5 goals. It was a more complete performance after weeks of below par efforts.
The Bombers shouldn’t have any issue here, but it would be nice to see the Giants back up the Hawthorn effort.
ESSENDON TO WIN BY 49 POINTS
GOLD COAST ($4.40) VS SYDNEY ($1.23)
AT METRICON STADIUM, SUNDAY 08/06, 15:20
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R2 2013 Sydney 17.12 (114) dftd Gold Coast 11.7 (73) at the SCG
Line: Gold Coast +27.5, Sydney -27.5
The Gold Coast Suns got a nice little reality check at the hands of Adelaide on Sunday afternoon. The Suns were within single figures at every break, but the Crows always looked in control of the game. Excluding North Melbourne, the Suns have only beaten the bottom six sides on the ladder and now face a tough month against mostly top six teams. We’ll know exactly where the Suns are at come July. Guy McKenna will be ecstatic Rory Thompson is available to help take on Sydney’s monster forwards.
You can’t say enough good things about the Swans. As I said earlier, the trouncing of Geelong has seen Sydney shorten to premiership favouritism. The displays have been scary over the last month or so and there just doesn’t seem to be an obvious weakness. Depth was something many questioned at the start of the season, but you now see players like Tom Mitchell, Ryan O’Keefe and Lewis Roberts-Thomson pushing for AFL selection in the NEAFL. This side is in an extremely good position.
Gold Coast has been great, but it meets the new premiership favourite in rare form. The defence will be stretched with the height of Sydney.
SYDNEY TO WIN BY 41 POINTS
FREMANTLE ($1.21) VS ADELAIDE ($4.65)
AT PATERSONS STADIUM, SUNDAY 08/06, 16:10
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R18 2013 Fremantle 11.9 (75) dftd Adelaide 7.11 (53) at PS
Line: Fremantle -29.5, Adelaide +29.5
It was a bizarre display by the Dockers against the Western Bulldogs in Round 11. Fremantle were unfamiliarly beaten for inside 50s 41-67, yet rarely looked threatened throughout its 38 point victory. Midfield stars Nathan Fyfe and David Mundy were down on output with only 31 disposals between them, which also explained a 32-47 loss in the clearances. The Dockers impacted the game through direct turnovers, kicking 10 of its 13 goals in that manner. It was almost as if Ross Lyon was happy for the Dogs to enter their forward arc, as the Dockers looked far more dangerous gaining control of the ball in defence than moving forward with messy contested possessions from stoppages. Nathan Fyfe had work on his ankle throughout the game and will be monitored.
The form of Adelaide continues to improve. Its outing against the Suns was first class and it looks the most likely with Essendon to displace one of the current top eight teams. It has improved the poor early season contested possession returns (173 on the weekend), while the forward line looks far more dangerous with Jenkins and Walker. Taylor Walker is just starting to hit his straps, kicking 5 goals and gathering an impressive 22 disposals against the Suns. Sam Jacobs is in doubt despite being named.
The Dockers won both encounters against Adelaide last year and should be too strong at home.
FREMANTLE TO WIN BY 23 POINTS
NORTH MELBOURNE ($1.27) VS RICHMOND ($3.95)
AT ETIHAD STADIUM, SUNDAY 08/06, 19:10
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R15 2013 North Melbourne 19.14 (128) dftd Richmond 8.18 (66) at ES
Line: North -24.5, Richmond +24.5
Is North Melbourne finally beginning to show some consistency? The signs are good and it is impossible to ignore the interstate form of the Roos this year. After Sunday nights impressive display, it has now won twice at Patersons Stadium, as well as beating the all-conquering Sydney at the SCG in Round 4. As we saw against Geelong the week before, North are still prone to a slow start but it must be taken seriously after these great wins on the road. Lindsay Thomas will miss with a hamstring injury.
Supporting Richmond would have to be one of the most frustrating burdens in Australian sport. The effort against Essendon was a long way off satisfactory. Jack Riewoldt generally cops the brunt of the individual criticism, but even the likes of Trent Cotchin and Brett Deledio haven’t been living up to past standards. What direction does Damien Hardwick take now? Finals are no longer realistic at 3-7, unless numerous wins are strung together.
North Melbourne has won the last 3 encounters against Richmond, the most recent in Round 15 last year comprehensively by 62 points. The Kangaroos are in much more impressive form.
NORTH MELBOURNE TO WIN BY 35 POINTS
MELBOURNE ($4.40) VS COLLINGWOOD ($1.22)
AT THE MCG, MONDAY 09/06, 15:20
PREVIOUS ENCOUNTER: R11 2013 Melbourne 5.9 (39) lost to Collingwood 17.20 (122) at the MCG
Line: Melbourne +29.5, Collingwood -29.5
Melbourne is still in the bottom four, but it is consistently competitive against most sides. It had ladder leader Port Adelaide on the ropes at stages in the Alice, but inevitably didn’t have the class to finish the win off. Cameron Pederson continues to be the surprise packet of the year for the Dees, filling holes in various key positions and nearly becoming a match changer on the weekend. Trading off the No.2 draft pick for Dom Tyson and Christian Salem is looking an inspired decision with every appearance, while Jack Viney and Jay Kennedy-Harris are more than comfortable at the top level. Chris Dawes returns from suspension.
Collingwood dealt with St Kilda as expected on Friday night, but the return to form of Travis Cloke was the real positive for the Pies. The big forward kicked 5 goals, clutched 12 marks and gathered a larger than usual 23 possessions. The real task for Cloke now is to produce it against some relevant opposition. Swan, Ball and Grundy will return to the side, while Steele Sidebottom won’t be seen for 3 weeks after a brain fade saw his elbow connect with Maverick Weller’s head. Nick Maxwell also misses with a calf injury.
Collingwood have won the last three Queens Birthday clashes by a total of 213 points. Expect a much more competitive Melbourne side this time around as Paul Roos’ defensive structures make blowouts far less likely.
COLLINGWOOD TO WIN BY 22 POINTS
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