AFL Round 2 Preview and Betting Tips

The following are previews and betting tips for round 2 of the 2012 AFL season.

Season tally so far

Bets = 12.5 units
Won = 24.97 units
Profit/Loss = +12.47 units (99.8% profit)


Andy’s bet: 1 unit on Essendon -25.5, Collingwood -39.5 and Adelaide – 39.5 @ 9.85 (TAB Sportsbet)


Saturday Afternoon

Essendon v Port Adelaide

Etihad Stadium
1.45pm AEST

What a difference a goal makes! Fans of Essendon and Port Adelaide left their matches with big smiles last weekend as their teams won their respective matches by 2 and 4 points. For two teams expected to finish outside the finals, suddenly the season can be looked forward to with optimism.

Port Adelaide’s list is not well stocked with goalkickers, so the loss of young key forward John Butcher to a hamstring injury will be a big loss. Butcher kicked four goals when these teams met late last season, while small forward Robbie Gray booted six goals in that same game and is another missing for the Power here. The absence of Gray and Butcher means Jay Schulz will need to kick 5 or 6 goals to give his team a chance at victory, although Bomber defenders Tayte Pears and Dustin Fletcher can help inclusion Jake Carlisle nullify Schulz.

Essendon controlled the game against North Melbourne last weekend and only inaccurate kicking for goal plus a last quarter fadeout keeping the scoreboard close. With Paddy Ryder dominating the ruck and Mick Hurley a presence in attack, the Bombers will be too good in all areas of the ground and should score a comfortable win.

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Essendon -25.5 @ 1.95 (TAB Sportsbet)

Sydney Swans v Fremantle Dockers

2.10pm AEST

This match represents a much better chance to find out where Sydney are at after their first round win over the GWS wasn’t a proper test. It’ll take a few weeks before we work out how many points constitutes a good win against the Giants, but I’m thinking Sydney’s 63 point win will be on the low side. Fremantle have already established their 2012 credentials with a first up win over reigning premier Geelong last Saturday night.

The Dockers are also one of the few teams to have a recent winning record at the SCG against the Swans. Traditionally so dominant with their contested style of football on their small home ground, Sydney have been beaten twice in a row at the postage stamp by Fremantle.

These teams appear to be evenly matched and I can’t split a winner, but am confident Freo can match the Swans and I’ll pick the Dockers with a points headstart.

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Fremantle +24.5 @ 1.40 (Centrebet)

West Coast Eagles v Melbourne

Patersons Stadium
4.40pm AEST

It has taken only one week for Melbourne’s season to descend into chaos. The Demons were embarrassed by Brisbane in Round 1, a match in which many pundits expected Melbourne to win in honour of club legend Jim Stynes who died in the week before the game.

A trip west to play the Eagles is the last thing an embattled Melbourne need, with West Coast’s tall timber destroying a committed Western Bulldogs last week. Josh Kennedy was the hero with seven goals in the 49 point win and the sharp shooter was aerially assisted by the rucking dominance of Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui.

Interestingly, Melbourne’s defeat last weekend came despite the team enjoying the greatest percentage of contested possessions of any team in Round 1. New Demons coach Mark Neeld has made winning the hard ball a theme for his players during the pre-season, and while most would agree that winning the contested possession count is very important, Melbourne seem to have forgotten that running to space and creating  the play is just as critical to winning matches. This is especially so on the wide open spaces at Patersons Stadium.

West Coast are a genuine top 4 team and should have no trouble accounting for the Dees in Perth. There is no value for West Coast with the line set close to 50 points, but I’m fairly confident they’ll score heavily.

Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on West Coast to score 121 points or more @ 1.90 (TAB Sportsbet)

Saturday Night

Collingwood v Richmond

7.40pm AEST

In my season previews, I was very big on Richmond to be the league’s improvers, however a largely listless opening round defeat to Carlton has me rethinking my Tiger optimism. I did warn Richmond fans to buckle up as it would be a wild ride for their club this season, and the early season fixtures are particularly tough, with Collingwood their next opponent.

I saw both of these teams live at the ground last week and although both were beaten, I noted that Collingwood were much more impressive in defeat as the Magpies fought strongly against premiership favourite Hawthorn and were only beaten because of some inexperience in defence. Full back Chris Tarrant returns to the Collingwood lineup and will bolster the Pies in that part of the ground, while Richmond make a couple of like-for-like changes. Tigers cult figure Jake King returns from suspension and Jake Batchelor is preferred to Jayden Post in defence.

Collingwood power forwards Travis Cloke and Chris Dawes should monster their outsized and inexperienced Richmond opponents, propelling the Pies to a comfortable victory.

Andy’s Bet: 1 units on Collingwood -35.5 @ 1.95 (Sportsbet, TAB Sportsbet)

Adelaide Crows v Western Bulldogs

AAMI Stadium
7.40pm AEST

Adelaide were excellent last week and carried on their stellar pre-season form as they thumped the Gold Coast in the Crows first regular season match. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, played with great intensity for two and a half quarters before being blown away by West Coast’s big men.

The Crows will look to that performance by the Eagles as a pointer for how to beat the Doggies. West Coast were simply too tall and too strong for Brendan McCartney’s men, which proves ominous given Adelaide possess some power forwards of their own. Taylor Walker and Kurt Tippett booted nine goals between them last week and will be ready for another feast this Saturday night.

Dashing midfielder Ryan Griffen will return to the Bulldogs team and his inclusion will provide some run and ball carry that was lacking for the Dogs in Round 1. Despite getting Griffen back, I still think the Bulldogs will be outclassed and Adelaide should win well.

Andy’s Bet: 1.5 units on Adelaide -24.5 @ 1.67 (Multiple Sites)

Sunday Afternoon

North Melbourne v GWS Giants

Blundstone Arena
1.10pm AEST

We get our second proper look at GWS this Sunday as they travel south to take on North Melbourne at Blundstone Arena in Hobart. I must admit that the GWS rookies impressed me against a battle hardened Sydney side in the Round 1 opener. It was the Giants hardness at the ball and intense pressure that caught my eye and it will be hard for teams to blow them away if the youngsters can maintain that level.

North were disappointing in their Round 1, although a final quarter surge nearly enabled the Roos to pinch victory, which they would have done if Hamish McIntosh’s after the siren shot didn’t slide just too far to the right.

Look for Tom Scully to impress in his GWS debut, but North’s bigger bodies should outmuscle their energetic opponents and record a big (but not too big) win.

Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on GWS +75.5 @ 1.95 (Sportsbet)

St Kilda v Gold Coast Suns

Etihad Stadium
4.40pm AEST

I get the feeling it’s going to be a long season for Gold Coast and their coach Guy McKenna. I reckon the Suns did an excellent job in their first season and now face unrealistic expectations from the board that require the club to record at least 6 wins in 2012. Last week’s 69 point home loss to the Crows was an extremely disappointing start to the season for the Suns.

The Saints weren’t particularly impressive in Round 1 either, going down to Port Adelaide in a game many expected them to win. I watched that game on tv and noted that St Kilda appeared to be stuck on their default setting and most players were managing to execute only the basic skills without trying to take the game on. In short, the Saints were playing not to lose rather than going for the win. New St Kilda coach Scott Watters better be a good motivator as he desperately needs to get his players to believe in their abilities.

This match against the Suns is the perfect opportunity for the Saints to gain some confidence as, Gary Ablett aside, the Gold Coast pose no serious threat. It is time for Leigh Montagna, Nick Riewoldt and Brendan Goddard to stop drifting along and take the game by the scruff of the neck. I’ll back them in.

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on St Kilda -51.5 @ 1.95 (Sportsbet)

Monday Afternoon

Geelong Cats v Hawthorn

3.10pm AEST

An Easter Monday classic between two of the competition’s powerhouses is the perfect way to round out the long weekend. Since Hawthorn surprised Geelong to snatch the 2008 Grand Final, the Hawks haven’t beaten the Cats in any of their seven meetings, although five of those matches were decided by 9 points or less.

With Geelong full back Matthew Scarlett suspended, this is a great chance for Hawthorn to finally score a win over their fierce modern day rival. The Hawks are themselves without a key man as skipper Luke Hodge is still missing with a calf injury.

Without Scarlett, Geelong’s defence is more vulnerable, while the Hawks backline has long been noted as a weakness. This means that the midfield battle is crucial as whoever can get the ball forward will have a good chance to score. Both teams possess three hard nuts capable of doing the grunt work inside the centre square. Joel Selwood, Jimmy Bartel and James Kelly are good clearance players for the Cats, while Sam Mitchell, Brad Sewell and Jordan Lewis are just as effective for the Hawks. I can’t wait to watch this physical battle.

Hawthorn’s forward line match winners Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli were in devastating form last week and I think they can again get their team over the line in this one.

Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Hawthorn to win by 1-39 points @ 2.40 (Centrebet, Sportingbet)

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