Andy’s back. After flying the coup to Europe for 6 weeks, I’ve returned home and am ready to roost with some winners. Before I get any further I need to give a properly big thankyou to my two very capable sidekicks Jimmy and Joe who kept this column rolling along in my absence. Jimmy in particular came up with some great winners and was on a very hot streak for a while with back to back ‘cheeky multi’ successes. Due to popular demand he may be required for a permanent guest multi. I left with a yearly profit of 10% and have returned to see it inflated to a whopping 21%. In the words of Brian Taylor, “Oh boy. Wow-wee!”
Before we dive headfirst into the previews for Round 16 I wish to reassure you guys that, even though I was living it up on the other side of the world for 6 weeks, I was still keeping two close eyes on all the action from the MCG to Metricon Stadium. One eye was taking in all the team results, while the other was tracking individual players’ form and injuries in a bid to keep my Supercoach and Dreamteam fantasy squads competitive.
Season Betting Tally (After Round 15)
Wagered = $1510 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $1830.50
Profit/Loss = + $320.50
% Profit/Loss = + 21.2%
Round 16 CHEEKY AFL MULTI
Sydney to win by 25 points or more @ 1.53
Essendon to win by 1-39 points @ 2.39
Collingwood to win by 25 points or more @ 1.33
Combined Odds @ 4.85 (Centrebet)
WEST COAST v GEELONG – PATERSONS STADIUM (8.40pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Before the season began, television broadcasters must have been dismayed by the sight of cellar dweller, and low rating, West Coast taking headline status for this Friday night timeslot. They needn’t have panicked though as the Eagles circa 2011 are flying smoothly upwards and entering a new era post the 2008-2010 turbulence. Geelong travel west hoping their loss to Essendon last week was merely a blip on their premiership radar. The Cats have not lost twice in a row for over two seasons and their recent record at the ground formerly known as Subiaco is superb, so history and stats are on their side. In saying that, the Eagles could not meet the league leaders in better form with the Coasters on a four match unbeaten streak that includes a victory against widely touted premiership contender Carlton. Apart the suspended Quentin Lynch, West Coast aren’t too far off full strength and will be fresh from the bye. Teams losing the week after the bye has been one of the more amazing statistical anomalies of the season, but earlier this campaign the Eagles won by over 50 points after their week’s rest. Geelong have a very good list but will still be below their best covering for onballer Joel Selwood and key forward Cam Mooney. I am always a bit concerned about a side travelling interstate with a few young kids, so will be watching with interest to see how Nathan Vardy, Steven Motlop and Allen Christensen fair in the blue and white hoops at the Patersons Stadium house of pain. In the form West Coast are in, I can’t split these teams, so I’m siding with West Coast because of their better odds. Matthew Priddis is the favourite for most disposals and he is so with good reason, the ‘dunnybrush’ has collected at least 25 touches in 12 of his 13 games this year. He will be in everything and will give you a good interest for your money over the four quarters.
TIP: West Coast by 7 points
ANDY’S BET: West Coast to win by 1-39 @ 2.85 (Centrebet)
ANDY’S BET: Matt Priddis most disposals in Group A @ 3.00 (TAB Sportsbet)
HAWTHORN v BRISBANE – AURORA STADIUM (2.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Hawthorn’s spot in the top four is now in jeopardy. The brown and gold are missing some very big names and have been fielding a patchwork side for a few weeks now, finally coming unstuck against Collingwood last time out. It was always going to be difficult without four of their key players – Cyril Rioli, Brad Sewell, Jordan Lewis and Jordan Roughead – against the reigning premiers. This week they’ll be more confident against lowly Brisbane. The only thing they have to do is stop Jonathan Brown. The beast of the north is capable of winning a match off his own boot and looms as a very large obstacle for an undersized Hawks defence to move. Perhaps the best plan for Hawthorn will be to control the ball in the midfield and try to ensure they don’t do much defending at all. Their own power forward, Lance Franklin, will destroy the Lions if he gets good ball supply. My advice would be to hold off on betting until the teams are announced an hour and a half before the bounce and you know the weather forecast. Franklin is carrying a little niggle and is not guaranteed to take his place come the first bounce, while Tasmania’s weather may play a part if it rains. I don’t have the luxury of waiting time in this column, so I am assuming Franklin will be playing and the rain will hold off until the evening as the current forecast suggests.
TIP: Hawthorn to win by 60 points
ANDY’S BET: Hawthorn to win by 43 points or more @ 2.10 (Sportsbet)
GOLD COAST v SYDNEY – METRICON STADIUM (7.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: After two surprise wins earlier in the season, the league newcomers have been hit with some harsh realities of life in the big league. The Suns are winless in their last seven matches and when they lose, they do it properly, 9 of their 11 defeats have been by at least 50 points. As would be expected of a young side they seem to be overpowered right across the ground, but their forward line is of greatest concern to me. The six players named in that zone have kicked just 47 goals this season, and apart from Josh Fraser, none had kicked an AFL goal before this season. Sydney aren’t the most prolific team in front of the big sticks either, but the Swans do have big bodies that will intimidate the Suns and are keen to snap a three game losing streak. They also have a couple of handy inclusions in Nick Malceski and Kieran Jack. Gary Ablett has been in outstanding form recently, although even his, at times superhuman, feats have not pushed the Suns near victory. Sydney should be safe to cover a four goal handicap.
TIP: Sydney by 52 points
ANDY’S BET: Sydney to win by 25 points or over @ 1.53 (Centrebet)
ANDY’S BET: Adam Goodes most goals @ 6.00 (TAB Sportsbet)
ESSENDON v RICHMOND – MCG (7.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Just six weeks after doing battle in the Dreamtime at the ‘G match these two fierce rivals will be at it again at the same venue this Saturday night. There is a lot riding on the outcome of this match too. Essendon currently occupy eighth spot and the last finals position, but there are five other clubs within a victory of their position and Richmond are one of those teams. The Tigers had the edge in their last encounter and that loss was the first of five defeats in a row for Essendon before an astonishing victory over the previously unbeaten Geelong last weekend. Was that victory a final flickering of the candle or was it the spark that will reignite their season? I fancy neither. The red and blacks should win a couple more games, one of those here, but they have a bye to close out the season and will need to be in the top 8 before their bye in the final round. Upcoming games against Collingwood, Carlton, West Coast and Sydney will make that difficult. Richmond have already built on the steps they made last year and Tiger fans can finally look to the future with real promise, unfortunately a future with finals is still another year away. Essendon look to have a strong advantage in the ruck as well as more scoring options and a better array of key defensive options. They should be able to hold off a fast starting Richmond and win by a couple of goals.
TIP: Essendon by 17 points
ANDY’S BET: Essendon to win by 1-39 points @ 2.39 (Centrebet)
COLLINGWOOD v NORTH MELBOURNE – MCG (1.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: The omission due to injury of Collingwood big man Chris Dawes brings to seven the number of Collingwood premiership players missing from the side this weekend. The much vaunted Magpie depth will be tested. Despite the absence of some big names, the Pies will still field a more experienced side than their opponents this weekend, North Melbourne. The Kangaroos were pipped by the Saints last Sunday and that ended an impressive four match winning run, although three of their victims during that period were in the bottom four on the ladder. North do have a chance to win this match if their three trump cards perform. I speak of in form ruckman Todd Goldstein, key forward Drew ‘the dish’ Petrie and veteran midfielder Brent Harvey. Goldstein should be able to get the better of Pies big man Darren Jolly in the rucking duel, especially around the ground, while Petrie could be difficult for the Magpie defenders to contain if Chris Tarrant is forced to go forward in the absence of Dawes. And Collingwood have such a star studded midfield they may neglect their defensive duties and allow Harvey some dangerous freedom. In saying all that, Collingwood do have Dane Swan, Scott Pendlebury and Dale Thomas, plus Travis Cloke to mark everything in attack. North Melbourne don’t have any defenders capable of matching Cloke, so I expect the Magpie forward to kick a bag of goals. Keep an eye out when the goalkicking market is released.
TIP: Collingwood to win by 57 points
ANDY’S BET: Collingwood to win by 49 points or more @ 2.10 (Sportsbet)
PORT ADELAIDE v ST KILDA – AAMI STADIUM (3.10pm AEST)
PREVIEW: St Kilda have done a lot right in their last six matches after a horror beginning to season 2011. Their only defeats during recent outings were to league leaders Geelong and Collingwood. In the other four games they were victorious over Melbourne, Fremantle, Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne, all direct competitors for the last few finals places. They finally have a match against a lower ranked opponent and thus need to consolidate with a victory which would put them within touching distance of the top 8. The Saints don’t have a great recent record when travelling to AAMI Stadium though, losing their last three at the venue. Port were much improved last week against Brisbane, however the Saints are better than the Lions and have too on the line to let this slip.
TIP: St Kilda to win by 15 points
ANDY’S BET: St Kilda to win by 1-39 points @ 2.20 (TAB Sportsbet)
WESTERN BULLDOGS v CARLTON – ETIHAD STADIUM (4.40pm AEST)
PREVIEW: This match will be a real beauty on a number of levels. Carlton get another chance to push their premiership credentials with a match against a team that has played in the last three preliminary finals, while the Dogs could go into the top 8 with a win and other results falling in their favour. Added to that is the midfield matchups. Last year’s Brownlow Medalist Chris Judd and his supporting cast of Marc Murphy, Mitch Robinson and Bryce Gibbs will go head to head with the 2008 Brownlow Medalist Adam Cooney, Matthew Boyd, Daniel Cross and Ryan Griffen. Tantalising. At their best the Dogs can win this match and I can see them really pushing Carlton at stages. The Blues have greater scoring power though and will use their effective forward press to pressure the Bulldogs backline into more mistakes than recent opponents have done. An in form Carlton should get the early jump and gradually increase their lead as the game progresses.
TIP: Carlton by 30 points
ANDY’S BET: Carlton to lead at the end of every quarter @ 2.00 (TAB Sportsbet)