It’s Semi-Finals weekend in the AFL and we’ve got a couple of ripping contests to get excited about. Hawthorn will be hoping star forward Lance Franklin is fit to take the field against Sydney after the Swans provided the first upset of the finals series by defeating St Kilda last week. In this weekend’s other match, West Coast will do battle with Carlton. The Blues are in good form and fresh thumping bitter rival Essendon in last Sunday’s Elimination Final. Collingwood and Geelong both predictably won their Qualifying Finals and have earnt a direct passage to next week’s Preliminary Finals.
Season Betting Tally (After Finals Week 1)
Wagered = $2650 – $10 per suggested bet
Collected = $3110.60
Profit/Loss = + $460.60
% Profit/Loss = + 17.4%
Finals Week 2 CHEEKY AFL MULTI
Sydney +24.5 @ 1.58
Carlton to lead at quarter time @ 2.22
Combined Odds @ 3.50 (Sportsbet)
HAWTHORN v SYDNEY – MCG (7.45pm AEST)
PREVIEW: Sydney seem to be well respected in the AFL for their never say die attitude and willingness to play tight, contested footy. Despite the admiration many have for Sydney, few in the media give the Swans enough credit for their on-field results. Last week Sydney comfortably defeated St Kilda at Etihad Stadium and became the first interstate side to beat the Saints at the venue since 2007. A few weeks earlier the Swans became the first team to triumph over Geelong in Geelong since 2007. Sydney are also the only team in 2011 to have returned victorious from a match in Perth against West Coast. Sooner or later a few media pundits are going to wake up and wonder why the Swans aren’t rated as a premiership contender.
Hawthorn have not been beaten by an interstate side at the MCG since 2009, but statistics like that don’t count for much when Sydney are the upcoming opponent. This match hinges on the fitness of Hawthorn’s star forward Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin who has booted 10 goals over the last two games he has played against Sydney. Franklin looked certain to miss this match after landing awkwardly in a marking contest last weekend and appearing to seriously injure his knee. Scans have reportedly cleared Franklin of any damage and he trained at the Hawks final training session on Thursday morning. After completing that training session I am sure Franklin will play. His inclusion will be a huge boost and is enough to sway my tip to Hawthorn in a match that really could go either way. The Swans like to lock the game down, so I expect a tight, low scoring tussle. The either team by under 24.5 points at 1.90 looks a good offer from Sportingbet.
Hawthorn half back flanker Matt Suckling was on fire earlier this season, picking up cheap kicks while roaming the defensive area. Lately he has struggled to find the ball and I think there is value in the most disposals head to head market between he and Rhyce Shaw. Shaw is the outsider in the market, but the hard runner has been in great form recently, averaging over 27 possessions a game for the last month. Sydney co-captain Adam Goodes plays predominantly on the half forward line and I think it is unlikely he will collect 25 possessions or more from that position against Hawthorn.
TIP: Hawthorn to win by 3 points
ANDY’S BET: Either team by 24 points or less @ 1.90 (Sportingbet)
ANDY’S BET: Rhyce Shaw more disposals than Matt Suckling @ 2.12 (Centrebet)
ANDY’S BET: Adam Goodes 24 disposals or less @ 1.90 (Centrebet)
WEST COAST v CARLTON – PATERSONS STADIUM (7.50pm AEST)
PREVIEW: As I left the MCG last Sunday my mind was already fast-forwarding to Carlton’s next challenge, a semi-final showdown with West Coast in Perth. I had just witnessed a complete domination by the Blues over bitter rival Essendon and was assessing Carlton’s chances in the West. I could see the Blues serving it up to their hosts, with an A-grade midfield and fleet of dangerous small forwards enjoying the spacious Patersons Stadium. Throw in the return of key big man Matthew Kreuzer to help Robbie Warnock combat the Eagles powerful rucking combination and I was thinking the Blues were going to win.
Transporting back to the present, 2 days before the game, and Carlton have lost classy midfielder Bryce Gibbs to a shoulder injury. Adding to the Blues woes, Kreuzer has still not recovered from his mystery foot injury and remains sidelined. West Coast have injury problems of their own with experienced premiership players Dean Cox and Daniel Kerr both selected to play despite back problems.
The primary reason for Carlton’s win last week was the supreme performance of ruckman Robbie Warnock. The big man played arguably his best game in the Navy Blue and fed his midfielders all match. Marc Murphy was one such midfielder benefiting from Warnock’s work, the speedster gathering a whopping 37 touches. Most opposition teams playing Carlton have focused their efforts on stopping Blues champion Chris Judd, however any success in curbing Judd’s influence has come at the cost of releasing Murphy. West Coast will need to find a better balance on Saturday night.
I only caught the highlights from West Coast’s close loss to Collingwood, but I saw enough to realise the Eagles are a legitimate threat this September. West Coast’s game is based around intimidation. When their opposition have the ball, the Eagles pressure them relentlessly until they turn the ball over and, when in possession, West Coast have some imposing big units to aim for in attacking 50.
I expect a confident Carlton to get their game up and running first. The longer the match wears on the Eagles big men will become more of a factor and, spurred on by their parochial home crowd, I’m tipping West Coast to get the job done. Carlton’s Irish forward Setanta O’hailpin is listed at the crazy odds of 2.86 to kick more behinds than goals. The Irishman may be strong and athletic, but football does not come naturally to him and he often misses very gettable goals. Last weekend O’hailpin kicked just the one goal to go with his three behinds.
TIP: West Coast to win by 26 points
ANDY’S BET: West Coast at the line (-15.5) @ 1.92 (Centrebet)
ANDY’S BET: Setanta O’hailpin to kick more behinds than goals for the match @ 2.86 (Sportingbet)