Round 1 was a weekend of football action from heaven. A draw, a 1 point result, a 2 point result and a 4 point result! Half of the AFL fans across the country have no fingernails left! As far as the betting and the tips went, it was a break-even weekend, with the good start on Thursday and Friday eroded by the time the siren sounded on Sunday night.
This season I will keep a progressive tally of the suggested bets and tips. For the purposes of the tally I am going to assume a stake of $10 for each suggested bet.
Season Tally (After Round 1)
Wagered = $90
Collected = $91.90
Profit/Loss = + $1.90
% Profit/Loss = + 2.1%
Tips = 4.5*
*Note: The draw is treated differently depending on your tipping competition. I have assumed it to be 0.5 tips.
Round 2 will struggle to match the excitement of Round 1, but there is still much anticipation surrounding the Gold Coast Suns AFL debut. Daylight savings comes into effect on Saturday night / Sunday morning. So remember to wind your clocks back and get an extra hour of shut eye.
ST KILDA v RICHMOND – MCG (7.40pm AEDT)
LAST TIME: St Kilda 17.13 (115) def Richmond 14.10 (94), Round 21, 2010
AT SELECTION: The Saints make a single change to the team defeated by Geelong last week. Defensive forward Andrew McQualter makes way for debutant Daniel Archer. Archer is a young lump of a lad who will pinch hit in the ruck. Richmond lose full back Alex Rance to a 3 week suspension, but welcome back half forward Jake King, also from suspension. It is interesting to note that the Saints have gone for an extra tall and the Tigers an extra small.
WHO IS MISSING? St Kilda are still missing big units Michael Gardiner and Justin Koschitzke, as well as small forward Adam Schneider. Excluding Rance, the Tigers are virtually at full strength and have again left out ball getting midfielder Shane Tuck.
PREVIEW: I saw both of these teams play live at the ground last week. Richmond struggled to get through Carlton’s forward press and this was reflected in a lopsided inside 50 count against them. The positive was the form of full forward Jack Riewoldt once the ball reached his area. The Jack attack kicked six goals and single handedly got the Tigers into a winning position at 3 quarter time. Carlton steadied to win comfortably and I left the game thinking Richmond, despite all their passion, did not have a proper game plan and lacked the confidence to put their opposition away. St Kilda also lacked the killer instinct and led Geelong all game until the last 5 minutes. The Saints struggled up forward kicking only six majors all game. The positives were a disciplined defensive display, highlighted by the performances of the ever improving James Gwilt and Zac Dawson, and an in form Lenny Hayes. This really is a battle of two Riewoldt’s. St Kilda should be better able to contain Jack Riewoldt than Carlton did, while their Riewoldt should dominate the Richmond defenders. St Kilda to win comfortably
TIP: St Kilda by 38 points
ANDY’S BET: St Kilda to win by 29 points or more @ 2.00 (Sportingbet)
NORTH MELBOURNE v COLLINGWOOD – MCG (2.10pm AEDT)
LAST TIME: Collingwood 23.19 (157) def North Melbourne 14.7 (97), Round 7, 2010
AT SELECTION: The Pies are unchanged, while North have three big ins. Full back Nathan Grima is a welcome addition for the Roo boys as are ruckmen Todd Goldstein and Drew Petrie. The return of Goldstein and Petrie is especially important as West Coast ruckman Dean Cox destroyed North last weekend.
WHO IS MISSING? Collingwood are still without skipper Nick Maxwell, while fellow defender Nathan Brown will be out all year. North are missing Hamish McIntosh, Ryan Bastinac and goal sneak Matt Campbell.
PREVIEW: Collingwood picked up 2011 right where they left in 2010. A swarming domination. Port Adelaide provided resistance to the Magpies for two and a half quarters last weekend, but were ultimately blown away by 75 points. Dane Swan was as effective as ever and Chris Dawes looks to be even more of a colossus in the forward arc. North Melbourne were gallant in defeat to West Coast in Perth last week. In fact, they were one controversial umpiring decision away from a famous win. A date with the reigning premiers is the last thing a young side needs just six days after an energy sapping hitout at football’s house of pain. North have some good inclusions and will probably give as good as they get for a half, but this Magpies side will be there for all four quarters. For my bet, I have gone looking for value in the most disposals market. In TAB Sportsbet’s Group B, I am unsure about both Dayne Beams and Steele Sidebottom getting more than 20 touches from a forward flank, while I think Alan Didak will cop a heavy tag from Brady Rawlings. North’s Michael Firrito and Scott Thompson are not ball winners and Daniel Wells drifts in and out of games. It is between Ben Johnson and Leigh Adams. If Johnson continues his form from last week he should get 25 plus possessions.
TIP: Collingwood by 36 points
ANDY’S BET: Ben Johnson most disposals in his group @ 5.50 (TAB Sportsbet)
PORT ADELAIDE v WEST COAST – AAMI STADIUM (3.10pm AEDT)
LAST TIME: Port Adelaide 8.13 (61) def West Coast 8.12 (60), R20, 2010
AT SELECTION: Port have made the one injury enforced change. Chad Cornes replaces unlucky knee injury victim Jay Schulz. Injuries have also forced West Coast’s hand at selection. Leading goalkicker Mark LeCras and midfielder Chris Masten both miss through serious injuries and Ashtom Hams has been dropped. Into the side come exciting ruck and midfield combination Nick Naitanui and Daniel Kerr. Pat McGinnity will also play his first game of the year.
WHO IS MISSING? Again no Daniel Motlop, Jacob Surjan, Hamish Hartlett and Mitch Banner for the Power. LeCras and Masten are the main Eagles on the sidelines.
PREVIEW: If this game were played in Perth I would have no hesitation in tipping the Eagles. But it’s not, so things are not so straightforward. Both sides are missing their major goalscorers from last year. I think Port have a better spread of goal kickers and can just cover the loss of Schulz. Robbie Gray is the key to this match. If he can get three or so goals from a forward flank, Port will win.
TIP: Port Adelaide by 17 points
ANDY’S BET: None
GOLD COAST v CARLTON – GABBA (7.50pm AEDT)
LAST TIME: N/A
AT SELECTION: I won’t comment on all the new players for the Gold Coast, because there are 22 of them! All the key faces are there – Familiar faces Gary Ablett, Michael Rischitelli, Jarred Brennan, Nathan Bock, Jarrod Harbrow, Campbell Brown, Josh Fraser and Nathan Krakouer as well as number 1 draft pick David Swallow and code swapper Karmichael Hunt. The Blues have included tall defender Matthew Watson for his first AFL game, dropping first game substitute Kane Lucas to the reserves.
WHO IS MISSING? The Suns are effectively at full strength and the Blues are still without key defenders Paul Bower and Michael Jamison, midfielder Brock McLean and ruckman Matthew Kreuzer.
PREVIEW: I can’t seeing Gold Coast winning with so many players new to AFL footy. The average number of AFL games played by this Suns team is only 23. That is a full 15 games less than the next lowest this weekend (Richmond in case you were wondering). Carlton seem to have the forward press working and I can see the ball locked in their forward half for long periods on Saturday night. The holy trinity of Judd, Murphy and Gibbs will get stacks of the footy and if Jarrad Waite can stay on the park he will kick a bag of goals.
TIP: Carlton to win by 40 points
ANDY’S BET: Carlton to win by 27 points or more @ 1.92 (Centrebet)
FREMANTLE v GEELONG – PATERSONS STADIUM (8.40pm AEDT)
LAST TIME: Geelong 20.15 (135) def Fremantle 10.6 (66), Semi Final, 2010
AT SELECTION: The Dockers include young ball winner Matt De Boer at the expense of Jayden Pitt. Geelong have three ominous inclusions, James Podsiadly, Paul Champan and Cameron Ling. The Cats do have to leave out full back Matthew Scarlett for a one week suspension, while youngsters Cameron Guthrie and Daniel Menzel are unclucky to be squeezed out after both showing a bit in last week’s win over St Kilda. Joel Selwood is amazingly expected to take to field just 8 days after being concussed in a sickening incident with St Kilda’s Farren Ray.
WHO IS MISSING? Scarlett is obviously a big out for Geelong, with flanker Shannon Byrnes the only other notable blue and white absentee. Freo have a long injury list populated by names such as Michael Barloow, Roger Hayden, Byron Schammer, Garrick Ibbotson, Alex Silvagni and Anthony Morabito.
PREVIEW: While Geelong triumphed in the Finals contest last year, Freo got the chocolates in the corresponding home and away fixture in Perth. Quite a few people have expressed their surprise that I left Fremantle out of my pre-season top 8. I know they seem to have a young and improving team, but I don’t think they have the hardness to match it with the elite sides, a group to which Geelong still belong. Brad Ottens has a decent record against the AFL’s dominant ruckman Aaron Sandilands and if he can again break even with the beanpole I wouldn’t be surprised to see Geelong on the winners list. I am not going to back them though, purely because Fremantle have made Patersons Stadium are fortress. The Dockers won 10 of their 13 home games last season
TIP: Fremantle by 9 points
ANDY’S BET: Fremantle to win by 5 points or more @ 2.05 (Readbet)
WESTERN BULLDOGS v BRISBANE LIONS – ETIHAD STADIUM (1.10pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Western Bulldogs 17.19 (121) def Brisbane Lions 8.8 (56), R12, 2010
AT SELECTION: At the time of writing, the Sunday squads still have the extended benches that will be trimmed by 3 players. Doggies fans will be disappointed to learn that Brian Lake and Lindsay Gilbee have both not made it back from their respective injuries. Easton Wood’s ankle injury has forced his exit, with at least one of Will Minson, Jordan Roughead, Mitch Wallis and Brodie Moles to come in. Brisbane are without inspirational leader and center half forward Jonathan Brown, with Brent Stake sidelined with a serious knee injury. Matt Maguire returns at center half back for Brisbane and prized draft pick Jared Polec is in line for his debut.
WHO IS MISSING? Lake, Gilbee and Ryan Hargrave represent a significant portion of the bulldogs backline watching on from the stands. Thankfully for them, Brisbane’s key forwards, Brown and Staker, will also be missing. Rebounding defender Josh Drummond is still a few weeks away from a return for the Lions.
PREVIEW: The Bulldogs dusted off the cobwebs last weekend against Essendon and should be raring to go for this one. The side is still a bit light on in areas, but they should have no trouble getting past Brisbane. The Lions simply don’t have a goalscoring threat. To highlight this, regular defender Joel Patfull has been named at full forward! Boyd, Cross, Cooney, Griffen and Ward should provide enough midfield grunt to get the ball going in Barry Hall’s direction. The big Bulldog forward might just have a field day in front of the big sticks and his side will stroll to their first four points of the campaign.
TIP: Western Bulldogs by 45 points
ANDY’S BET: Western Bulldogs to win by 30 points or more @ 1.63 (Sportsbet)
SYDNEY v ESSENDON – ANZ STADIUM (2.10pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Sydney 12.17 (89) def Essendon 12.8 (80), R11, 2010
AT SELECTION: Mark Seaby was a failure as Sydney’s substitute last weekend and has been dropped for Round 2. Brett Merideth, Craig Bird, Mike Pyke and Luke Parker are in line for inclusion for Sydney, although they are hardly players that will cause concern for Essendon. For the Bombers, one half forward goes out and one comes in. Alwyn Davey is tipped to replace the injured Angus Monfries in a like for like swap.
WHO IS MISSING? Both sides are missing the same players as last week. Sydney are without potent goal scorer Daniel Bradshaw as well as key defender Lewis Roberts-Thomson and running backs Nick Malceski and Tadgh Kennelly. The Bombers are also without a few of their best 22, with Andrew Welsh, Tayte Pears, Alwyn Davey and Henry Slattery all out of action.
PREVIEW: The Bombers ferocious victory over the Bulldogs got the football world talking last weekend. One game was enough to convince me that they have the right strategy and the players are firmly embracing it. If they win this week I will be hopping on the bandwagon. As I said last week, Sydney are tough to beat and you really have to earn a victory over them. The Bombers are playing the forward press Collingwood have been using and it is worth noting that Collingwood have not been beaten by Sydney since 2005, so the game plan obviously works against the Swans. The main reason I am tipping Sydney is that the Bombers have lost their last 6 interstate trips.
TIP: Sydney to win by 12 points
ANDY’S BET: Sydney to win by 5 or more points @ 1.92 (Centrebet)
HAWTHORN v MELBOURNE – MCG (4.40pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Hawthorn 15.9 (99) def Melbourne 12.6 (78), R20, 2010
AT SELECTION: Both teams have added 3 players to their extended squads for this match and have not yet left anyone out. The big ins are star midfielder Luke Hodge for the Hawks and Melbourne’s best defender, James Frawley.
WHO IS MISSING? The Hawks are pretty much at full strength and the Dees are missing a host of players from their best 22. Tom Scully, Matty Bate, Cale Morton and Austin Wonaeamirri are all out of action.
PREVIEW: The Hawks impressed me despite their defeat in Adelaide. The brown and gold will be a serious threat come September and should be beating a youthful team like Melbourne. If the Hawks defenders can nullify the attacking threat of Demons Liam Jurrah and Brad Green, then it should be a straightforward Hawthorn victory. Sam Mitchell was in sensational form last week amassing 38 possessions. Star Hawk forward Lance Franklin will have been looking for his radar during the week after kicking a woeful 2 goals and 6 behinds last weekend.
TIP: Hawthorn by 25 points
ANDY’S BET: Hawthorn to win by 17 or more points @ 2.00 (Readbet)