Round 2 was another decent weekend of footy action. Amazingly there was a second draw in as many weeks. The Saints, 1 point losers in Round 1, again agonisingly fell short of victory, but at least this time they split the four points with Richmond. The other highlight of the round was the debut of new club Gold Coast. The Suns were overawed by the occasion and then overwhelmed by their bigger, stronger, and better Carlton opponents. In other action, the Collingwood juggernaut kept rolling on with a second successive domination, setting up a Friday night blockbuster against fierce rivals Carlton this week. The other team to impress me was Hawthorn. The brown and gold played a third quarter against Melbourne that had to be seen to be believed. On the betting front, after struggling early in the weekend the suggested bets came to the party on Sunday to earn a small profit for the second straight week.
Season Tally (After Round 2)
Wagered = $160
Collected = $166.60
Profit/Loss = + $6.60
% Profit/Loss = + 4.1%
Tips = 10*
*Note: The draw is treated differently depending on your tipping competition. I have assumed it to be 0.5 tips.
COLLINGWOOD v CARLTON – MCG (7.50pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Collingwood 15.15 (105) def Carlton 9.3 (57), Round 18, 2010
AT SELECTION: Both sides have made two changes for this one. Magpies skipper Nick Maxwell returns to lead the side after missing the first two matches of the season due to an internal bleeding injury sustained during the pre-season. Leon Davis is elevated to the seniors for his first game in the black and white this season. Simon Buckley (groin injury) and Brent Macaffer (omitted) are the two players making way. For Carlton, they recall full back Michael Jamison after his two week suspension, and ex-Richmond half forward Andrew Collins for his first game in the navy blue.
WHO IS MISSING? Collingwood are really only missing full back Nathan Brown from their first choice 22. Carlton are still without center half back Paul Bower and ruckman Matthew Kreuzer.
PREVIEW: This should be an absolute cracker! There will be about 85,000 packed into the home of football on Friday night. Collingwood fans will come to see the unfurling of the 2010 Premiership flag and Carlton supporters will be desperate to spoil the black and white party. As far as the game goes it will be a battle of the forward presses. Carlton have exactly copied the Magpies successful forward press game plan from last year and it will be interesting to see how Collingwood will deal with their own medicine. The forward press is based on the premise that your team will win the ball in the midfield and then you will pressure the ball carrier in the opposition defense. This is aimed to cause an errant handball inside your attacking 50m arc or a panicked quick kick to a location where you have kept a couple of players back behind the play. The interesting thing about this tactic is that it is heavily reliant on winning the midfield battle. Collingwood generally dominate this section of the ground, but they won’t have it all their own way against a Carlton team which has one of the best ball getting groups going around. Chris Judd and Marc Murphy are attacking players who win the ball in their own right, Bryce Gibbs and Kade Simpson will attack off a wing, and Mitch Robinson and Ed Curnow look to be developing into good in and under players. I believe Collingwood have the slightly greater midfield depth and the Magpies have proven they are more reliable when under pressure down back. It will be a thrilling contest, but the pies should get up by a couple of goals. There is not much value on the Pies head to head and the line has been well set by the bookies, so I have gone to the goalkicking market for my bet. Travis Cloke kicked 5 goals last week and looks on form. His normal opponent in this fixture is the absent Paul Bower, so he will look to run around a physically smaller opponent. Cloke seems to have a new goalkicking routine after his much publicized yips last year. He has kicked 7.1 this season, so get on him before the bookies cotton on to his newfound accuracy.
TIP: Collingwood by 20 points
ANDY’S BET: Travis Cloke for top goalscorer @ 9.00 (TAB Sportsbet)
WESTERN BULLDOGS v GOLD COAST – ETIHAD STADIUM (2.10pm AEST)
LAST TIME: N/A
AT SELECTION: The Doggies will be buoyed by the return of stars Brian Lake and Lindsay Gilbee in place of youngsters Liam Jones and Nathan Djerrkura. The Gold Coast hand out another 3 AFL debuts following on from the 12 last week. Defender Michael Coad, Ruckman Daniel Gorringe and tough cookie midfielder Maverick Weller. Ex-Collingwood ruckman Josh Fraser misses with an ankle problem, while Josh Toy and Marc Lock have been left out.
WHO IS MISSING? Fraser is probably the only first choice Gold Coast player missing, while the Bulldogs are getting closer to full strength, now missing only defenders Ryan Hargrave and Easton Wood.
PREVIEW: The Gold Coast were belted last week. The game was over at quarter time when the Suns were already trailing by 52 points. Ouch! They didn’t seem to have any tactics to gain clearances and were hopelessly undersized down back. It was a tough introduction to league footy for ex-rugby star Karmichael Hunt who had numerous goals kicked on him by his direct opponents. The Bulldogs bounced back to winning ways with a confidence boosting 78 point win over Brisbane at this venue. Expect something similar in this game. Matthew Boyd will have a field day in the middle, and if fit, Barry Hall will snag more than 5 majors. If Carlton can beat the Gold Coast by over 100 points, I think it is entirely possible the Bulldogs can do similar wonders for their percentage.
TIP: Western Bulldogs by 125 points
ANDY’S BET: Western Bulldogs to win by 100 points or more @ 4.40 (Sportsbet)
ADELAIDE v FREMANTLE – AAMI STADIUM (3.10pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Adelaide 16.9 (105) def Fremantle 12.10 (82), R11, 2010
AT SELECTION: Adelaide had the bye last weekend and have made 4 changes to their winning Round 1 lineup. David Mackay, Rory Sloane and Jason Porplyzia are all out with serious long term injuries, while Michael Doughty’s corked thigh hasn’t improved as much as hoped. Kurt Tippett is the big inclusion and he is joined by experienced midfielder Brad Symes, and youngsters Matthew Jaensch and Brodie Martin. Fremantle have made one like for like change, with Jayden Pitt replacing Jay Van Berlo.
WHO IS MISSING? Adelaide are missing their four injured players as well as ruckman Sam Jacobs. Fremantle still have a long injury list that is not getting any shorter. Michael Barlow, Roger Hayden, Byron Schammer, Garrick Ibbotson, Alex Silvagni and Anthony Morabito are all unavailable.
PREVIEW: Something special could be building over at AAMI Stadium. Neil Craig’s young crows are playing an exciting, attacking brand of football and are fresh from a week of rest after knocking off the much fancied Hawthorn in Round 1. The crowd played a huge factor in that game, urging their team on as they successfully retrieved a 30 point deficit. Taylor Walker will have a breakout season this year and I expect the young forward to kick about 50 goals. Fremantle have been disappointing both times they have taken the field in 2011. I think the hard running Crows will record a comfortable win.
TIP: Adelaide by 26 points
ANDY’S BET: Adelaide to win by 14 points or more @ 2.00 (Readbet)
RICHMOND v HAWTHORN – MCG (7.10pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Richmond 13.8 (86) def by Hawthorn 13.11 (89), R8, 2010
AT SELECTION: Both teams make just the one change enforced upon them by suspension. Luke McGuane is replaced for the Tigers by Dylan Grimes, while Xavier Ellis replaces Cryil Rioli for the Hawks.
WHO IS MISSING? Cyril Rioli is the only main man missing for Hawthorn while the Tigers are missing their three best tall defenders as McGuane and Alex Rance are both suspended, and Kelvin Moore is still battling a hip injury.
PREVIEW: I expect Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin to split this game apart as Richmond are seriously lacking in key defenders at the moment. Jarryd Roughead should also regain some goalscoring form for Hawthorn. Richmond are improving and surprised me by earning a draw against St Kilda last Friday night despite losing star man Jack Riewoldt to concussion early in the game. Richmond are likely to suffer the same fate as Melbourne did against Hawthorn last weekend, generally competitive, but blown away by a lethal brown and gold burst. If the Hawthorn onslaught occurs in the first quarter, this one could get ugly.
TIP: Hawthorn by 40 points
ANDY’S BET: Hawthorn to win by 30 points or more @ 2.15 (Sportsbet)
WEST COAST v SYDNEY – PATERSONS STADIUM (8.10pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Sydney 17.13 (115) def West Coast 9.9 (63), R5, 2010
AT SELECTION: For the Eagles Beau Waters misses through injury and Brad Sheppard has been dropped, with Eric Mackenzie and Sam Butler coming into the side. Sydney give a first game to youngster Alex Johnson in place of Brett Meredith.
WHO IS MISSING?: The injury prone Beau Waters is a big loss for West Coast. The rugged defender injured an elbow last week and will miss the bulk of season 2011, joining fellow Eagles Mark LeCras and Chris Masten on the long term injury list. Sydney are still missing full forward Daniel Bradshaw as well as key defender Lewis Roberts-Thomson and running backs Nick Malceski and Tadgh Kennelly.
PREVIEW: I don’t know which way this one will go. Sydney have the better team on paper, but will really be tested out by West Coast’s superior leg speed on the expansive Patersons Stadium playing field. Throw in the crowd factor, and the return to form of Andrew Embley and Dean Cox, and I am really getting a feeling West Coast could go 3-0 to start the season. I am still not sure of the victor, but I expect a close result.
TIP: West Coast by 10 points
ANDY’S BET: Either team by 15 points or under @ 2.90 (Centrebet)
MELBOURNE v BRISBANE LIONS – MCG (1.10pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Brisbane 9.10 (64) def by Melbourne 11.8 (74), R18, 2010
AT SELECTION: Austin Wonaemirri is picked for his first game of the season and that will delight Melbourne fans who love watching ‘Aussie’ work his magic on the forward line. Jordan Gysberts also comes in for the first time this campaign, while Matthew Warnock, James Strauss and Cale Morton are added to the extended interchange bench. Brisbane are yet to drop anybody from the team demolished last weekend, but Jared Polec, Tom Collier and Aaron Cornelius are in line for an inclusions.
WHO IS MISSING? Jonathan Brown, Brent Staker, Josh Drummond and Matt Maguire are all injured and proving difficult to adequately replace for Brisbane. Tom Scully is still out for Melbourne, but the precociously talented teenager is only three weeks away from returning to full fitness.
PREVIEW: You really have to feel sorry for Brisbane at the moment. The club has nothing to really look forward to. There are a few good young players coming through, but they are really lacking quality players in the crucial 21-27 age group. Conversely, Melbourne are just starting to get a core group of players to that stage. Brent Moloney and Colin Sylvia are two big strong bodies that look after their younger teammates. They are players Brisbane don’t have and they are the players who will dominate the Lions on Sunday.
TIP: Melbourne by 45 points
ANDY’S BET: Melbourne to win by 32 points or more @ 2.05 (Readbet)
GEELONG v PORT ADELAIDE – SKILLED STADIUM (2.10pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Geelong 23.21 (159) def Port Adelaide 10.4 (64), R4, 2010
AT SELECTION: The superstar Cats are starting to come back. After the return of Cameron Ling and Paul Chapman last week, this round sees a Geelong lineup further by the inclusion of Cameron Mooney, Matthew Scarlett and Joel Selwood. Andrew Mackie (ankle), David Wojcinski (achilles) and Cameron Guthrie (omitted) make way. Port Adelaide recall Daniel Motlop, Steven Salopek, Jacob Surjan, Hamish Hartlett and Mitch Banner. Power skipper Dom Cassisi misses with a knee injury that will keep him on the sidelines for 6-8 weeks.
WHO IS MISSING? Geelong are missing Mackie, Wojcinski and Shannon Byrnes. Forward Jay Schulz and Cassisi are the key power men missing.
PREVIEW: Geelong are a menace at Skilled Stadium. They crunch all opponents down there. Port Adelaide have not started their year well and will be exposed for the third week in a row. Robbie Gray kicked his four goals last week, but the Power were still defeated at home by the un-fancied West Coast. Geelong will get plenty of ball going forward and I can’t wait for Stevie Johnson to reach into his bag of party tricks and find some amazing goals.
TIP: Geelong to win by 55 points
ANDY’S BET: Geelong to win by 46 points or more @ 2.07 (Readbet)
ST KILDA v ESSENDON – ETIHAD STADIUM (4.40pm AEST)
LAST TIME: Essendon 16.12 (108) def St Kilda 11.9 (75), R18, 2010
AT SELECTION: St Kilda superstar and fans favourite Lenny Hayes was unfortunately cruelled by a serious knee injury last week and his 2011 is now over. Tough nut Stevie Baker has been ruled out by an ankle injury and Jason Blake has been dropped. Justin Koschitzke and Adam Scneider are likely to return as are youngsters Jack Steven and Rhys Stanley, while Al Smith and Nicholas Smith are in line for their debuts. Essendon’s David Myers is out for a few weeks with a hand injury and his replacement will be one of Angus Monfries, Scott Gumbleton, Brent Prismall or Travis Colyer.
WHO IS MISSING? Hayes is obviously the main absentee for St Kilda, but they are also missing ruckman Michael Gardiner. A host of Essendon players are unavailable including David Hille, David Myers and Tayte Pears.
PREVIEW: There is a cracker to start the round on Friday night and this will be an absolute beauty to end it. The Saints must feel like the world is against them. A lucky bounce away from last year’s premiership, an immeasurable number of off field problems over the summer break, a 1 point loss and a draw to start this season, and now a season ending injury to Lenny Hayes, the heartbeat of their team. Things can’t get much worse. But unfortunately, it can as they meet their bogey side, Essendon, this weekend. The Bombers are the only team with an unbeaten record against the Saints since the start of the 2009 season. The red and blacks have beaten the red, white and blacks three times during that period. The simple explanation for that has been the greater leg speed in the Essendon midfield. I am convinced Ross Lyon will have his players primed with an ‘us against the world’ attitude this week. I think the St Kilda fans might finally enjoy a win, if their heart can survive another frantic finish!
TIP: St Kilda by 1 point
ANDY’S BET: St Kilda to win head to head @ 1.91 (Sportsbet)