The following are previews with betting tips for Round 3 of the 2020 AFL season.
Thursday, June 18
Richmond vs Hawthorn
7:40 pm AEST, MCG
Thursday night’s season re-launch clash between Richmond and Collingwood didn’t quite live up to expectations, but it was a gruelling battle that the Tigers will take plenty away from. They were comprehensively out-played for the first quarter and a bit, but in the end probably should have won; they just weren’t quite able to penetrate the Collingwood defence, but the Pies were brilliant in that regard. Let’s hope the almost inevitable finals rematch is slightly higher scoring.
Hawthorn were disappointing in their Friday night clash against Geelong, with their midfield being obliterated by the experienced Cats. Jaeger O’ Meara’s return will boost them in that area, and he’ll make it easier for the others, Tom Mitchell, James Worpel, and Liam Shiels, to have more of an impact. It won’t at all hurt that Richmond superstar Dustin Martin will be sidelined due to rib soreness, but the Tigers are an evenly spread team who play a selfless brand of football. One player missing, even if it is their best, won’t impact them as much as it might another team. I do expect the Hawks to bounce back fairly strongly on Thursday night, but I doubt they’ll be good enough to topple the Tigers. Richmond proved against Collingwood that even if things aren’t going their way, they’ll generally find a way back into the game. The Hawks don’t have that sort of resilience just yet.
Betting tip: Richmond to win @ $1.56 (bet365)
Friday, June 19
Western Bulldogs vs GWS
7:50 pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
The Dogs were just as bad against the Saints on Sunday as they were against Collingwood in Round 1, proving that something is not working at their footy club. They’ve got too many good players to be getting beaten by that sort of margin consistently, but the main issue is, they never even really looked competitive. They had a small patch in the first quarter when they were on top of St Kilda but managed to waste it by kicking a handful of behinds from easy shots, and then they dropped their bundle. From then on, they never looked like challenging the Saints. This week the stakes will be high when they host fierce rival GWS, in what is a huge game for both clubs after the Giants had a shock loss to North Melbourne.
Expect this to be ferocious; the Dogs will be keen to make a point after last year’s embarrassing performance in the finals, while GWS never take a backward step. It’s the type of match the Dogs probably need right now after looking lethargic against both Collingwood and St Kilda, but the problem is, even with a bit more intensity they’re just not good enough right now to beat a side like the Giants. It’ll be fierce in nature, although Toby Greene missing will temper things slightly, but I expect the Giants will take home the four points without too much issue.
Betting tip: GWS to win @ $1.71 (BetEasy)
Saturday, June 20
North Melbourne vs Sydney
1:45 pm AEST, Marvel Stadium
The Kangaroos are one of only three unbeaten teams after a huge win over the more-fancied Giants on Sunday afternoon. North were hard in the contest, as they always are, and were also more polished than the Giants when they had the ball. It was a great confidence booster for the Roos, who should be 3-0 after this weekend when they face the Swans at Marvel Stadium.
Sydney were gallant in defeat against the Bombers, always trailing but never giving in. I think that’s what will define their 2020 season; they’re probably not going to be good enough to win a whole lot of games this year, but they’ll always fight it out. That’s how I see this one going; the Roos should be too good, but I don’t think the margin will blow out too much. I’m predicting a four goal win for the home team, leading into a huge Sunday evening clash with the Hawks in Round 4.
Betting tip: North Melbourne (-10.5) @ $1.91 (bet365)
Collingwood vs St Kilda
4:35 pm AEST, MCG
The Pies were just about flag favourites at half time last Thursday night, but they tired in the second half and let the Tigers back into the game. They were still good enough to restrict Richmond’s scoring, but couldn’t get any attacking momentum themselves. They should have a slightly easier assignment this weekend when they take on the Saints, though St Kilda were very impressive in their big win over the Dogs on Sunday.
There was a lot to like from the new-look Saints, with all of their new recruits playing significant roles. Zak Jones looked like Patrick Dangerfield, bursting through packs and racking up touches, Brad Hill provided his customary run up and down the Marvel Stadium wings, Dan Butler played an influential role up forward, and Paddy Ryder formed a nice ruck partnership with young Rowan Marshall. They’ll have their work cut out against the Pies, but if they bring that brand of footy again they won’t be far off the pace. I think the Pies will be too good, but it should be an interesting game.
Betting tip: Collingwood (-14.5) @ $1.91 (bet365)
Geelong vs Carlton
7:40 pm AEST, GMHBA Stadium
Geelong were super impressive in their win over the Hawks on Friday night. It wasn’t an ordinary game against the arch-nemesis, being the first one in 14 years played in Geelong rather than at MCG, but I don’t think it would’ve mattered where they played. Geelong were just too good, making the Hawthorn midfield look fourth-rate, according to Alistair Clarkson. That’s a pretty fair assessment; the Cats were on another level the whole night. They’ll enjoy backing that up with another home game against Carlton, who were terrible for a half against Melbourne, and then pretty good for the second half.
They can’t afford to start like that again, but if they piece together four quarters of the type of footy they played in the second half then you’d think they’ll be competitive. Patrick Cripps was down on his best, and that doesn’t often happen two weeks in a row so expect more from him, while recruit Marc Pittonet was impressive, much more so than I expected him to be. Speaking of ruckman, Rhys Stanley did a huge job for the Cats against Hawthorn; now he needs to really own the position and cement himself as the number one ruck choice for the Cats. If he can do that, it’ll go a long way towards fixing Geelong’s biggest issue. Either way, the Cats, you would think, should win this one fairly comfortably.
Betting tip: Geelong By 25+ @ $1.75 (BetEasy)
Brisbane vs West Coast
7:40 pm AEST, Gabba
The Lions bounced back from a really disappointing Round 1 result to record their first win of the season against the Dockers on Saturday afternoon. You wouldn’t call it a hugely convincing victory, but they got the job done and will now move onto this big game against the Eagles feeling good. West Coast, on the other hand, will be feeling anything but good. They were dismantled by the Suns, a team who had not won since Round 4 last year, a team who were led by an 18 year old. That’ll sting for West Coast, but they’re a great footy club with experienced leaders, and they’ll bounce back. I’m tipping they’ll show a lot more aggression this week against the Lions, and it should result in one of the games of the round.
They’ll have to do it without Jeremy McGovern, who will miss due to a one-match suspension, but they should still be fairly comfortable with how their backline will line up against the Brisbane attack. Charlie Cameron is the one they’ll have to be wary of; if they can contain him, they’ll be every chance of taking the four points. Stefan Martin is a big out for Brisbane; he’s such an important player for them, and the Eagles should now have a clear advantage in the ruck duel. I reckon it’ll be a great game, and I’m tipping the Eagles to just sneak home.
Betting tip: West Coast to win @ $2.10 (Unibet)
Sunday, June 21
Gold Coast vs Adelaide
1:05 pm AEST, Metricon Stadium
The Suns finally got back on the winner’s list, and in style too, beating one of the premiership favourites by a lazy 44-points. It’s funny how after so much turmoil, one win and all of a sudden the future looks quite bright for the Gold Coast: number one pick Matt Rowell has dominated a game of AFL football in just his second appearance, while fellow draftee Noah Anderson looked fairly promising too. And now they head into this weekend’s clash against the Crows as favourites. Astonishing, but it’s for good reason. As good as the Suns were, the Crows were bad. They were so bad against Port it’s not even really worth delving into; they were horrible, and they’ll be hoping for a much better performance this week.
But it’s not a great time to be leaving home and joining the hub, and it probably doesn’t help that Mark Ricciuto has brought more negative media coverage surrounding the club by publicly speaking about ex-player’s wages. The Crows management don’t seem to be doing a whole lot right lately. Ever since 2017, really. They’ll be desperately hoping they’re good enough to beat the young Suns, but I’m not sure they are. Rowell can expect some attention this week, but the Suns had a nice even contribution against the Eagles; if they get that again, they’ll beat the Crows and notch up two wins on the trot.
Betting tip: Gold Coast to win @ $1.81 (Unibet)
Essendon vs Melbourne
3:35 pm AEST, MCG
The Bombers haven’t won either by much, but they are one of only three teams to clinch two wins so far. I wouldn’t have thought Fremantle and Sydney are two of the better teams this year either, but you can only beat what’s in front of you, and Essendon have done just that. I’m not sure we’ll get a better idea of them after this weekend either, as I think they’ll beat the Demons, but what does that tell us? I’ve still got no idea about Melbourne’s status in 2020.
At quarter time on Saturday afternoon, when they lead the Blues 32 to nothing, I thought they might have been back to their 2018 form. Then, an hour and a half later, when they nearly lost from that position, I was certain they were still the 2019 model Demons. The truth is probably somewhere in between: they are a little improved on last year, but not a top four team like they were in 2018. Christian Petracca’s improvement looks genuine, which is desperately needed, but they’ve still got plenty of issues that need fixing before they’re to seriously challenge again. I think the Bombers will get the better of them this weekend, but, as has been the case with Essendon so far this year, I doubt it’ll be by much.
Betting tip: Essendon to win @ $1.78 (bet365)
Fremantle vs Port Adelaide
6:05 pm AEST, Metricon Stadium
The other team on two wins, sitting atop the ladder, is Port Adelaide, who have won their two games by 47 and 75 points. It’s reason for excitement, but not too much, not just yet: the wins have been against the Suns and the Crows. They’re playing a beautiful brand of footy, and it should stand up against the best teams, but we’ll find that out soon enough. After this weekend when they join the Queensland hub and face the Dockers—who they should beat without too much stress—they’ll take on the Eagles, followed by the Lions. Those two games will give us a really good idea of where Port are at in season 2020.
Ollie Wines should be back in the team, and if he’s fully fit and stays that way, then they’ll have a pretty formidable midfield unit to go with their now dangerous forward line. Fremantle, on the other hand, have too many holes all over their line-up. They are way too reliant on Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters, and despite those two continually playing super games of footy, it’s not enough to win regularly, and I can’t see them getting close to Port this weekend.
Betting tip: Port Adelaide (-18.5) @ $1.91 (bet365)
Best Bets of the Round
Essendon to win @ $1.78 (bet365)