The following are previews and betting tips for round 8 of the 2012 AFL season.
Season tally so far
Bets = 70.5 units
Won = 85.9 units
Profit/Loss = +15.4 units (21.8% profit)
CHEEKY WEEK 8 AFL MULTI
Andy’s bet: 1 unit on Western Bulldogs to win by 25 points or more, Brisbane to win by 25 points or more and West Coast to win by 16 points or more @ 4.80 (Sportingbet)
Collingwood v Geelong Cats
This absolute belter from the MCG kicks off the Round 8 action and to add extra flavour to an already mouth-watering clash, it’s a rematch of last year’s grand final.
There’s actually been quite a lot of change since last season’s October decider. Collingwood have switched coaches, with former club champion Nathan Buckley taking over from the distinguished Mick Malthouse, while from the playing personnel, 16 of the 22 Magpies that played in last season’s grand final will take to the field again on Friday, with the Cats selecting 17 players from their 2011 premiership side.
They would never admit it, but I’ve got a sneaking suspicion Geelong went into last week’s game against Adelaide with one eye already looking forward to this clash against one of their big rivals. The Cats were comprehensively beaten by the Crows last Saturday, however Geelong thrive under the big game pressure and Chris Scott’s men will be looking to bounce straight back, making a statement to the other clubs that the Cats are still the team to beat this season.
Collingwood’s defensive vulnerability was exposed during last season’s grand final as Geelong’s Tom Hawkins turned the match in his team’s favour during the second half, regularly outmuscling a slightly injured Ben Reid in aerial contests. With Chris Tarrant and Nathan Brown missing, it is up to Reid and newcomer Lachie Keeffe to quell the influence of the dangerous Hawkins and his forward line partner James Podsiadly. Keeffe has been a revelation down back for the Pies this year and Reid looks to have regained his mobility after an interrupted start to the season, so the Magpies should provide some resistance in defence. Geelong have looked to further press Collingwood’s lack of height down back by including ruckman Orren Stephenson. The aim of this move is to allow fellow Cats ruckman Trent West to spend more time in the forward line against a shorter opponent.
The inclusions for both teams are mighty impressive, with Geelong’s Jimmy Bartel and Matthew Scarlett two of the league’s premier players, while the Pies have recalled their own Premiership pairing of Dale Thomas and Darren Jolly.
I am going with the Cats to win as I can see them breaking Collingwood open with more ease than the other way around.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Geelong to win by 24 points or less @ 3.90 (Centrebet)
Port Adelaide v North Melbourne
Both these teams will head into this match on a downer after a run of poor recent form. The Power haven’t won since the opening week of the season, while the Kangaroos have slipped out of the top 8 after a disappointing recent month saw their only win come against lowly Gold Coast. Of course, the flip side of all that is both teams will see this as a winnable game if they can find some form.
A trip over the border should hold no fears for the Kangaroos as they have beaten the Power in 3 of the last 4 matches between the teams at AAMI Stadium. Of more concern for North is the knee injury sustained last week by in-form ruckman Hamish McIntosh. The big man had overtaken Todd Goldstein to be the club’s top ruckman, so Goldstein will need to recapture his impressive 2011 form with McIntosh back on the sidelines.
Port has made five changes and the one that got me most excited was the return of Jay Schulz. The key forward has recovered from an eye injury and is a timely inclusion to a forward line that managed only 15 goals during his two game absence. Schulz had been solid early this season, booting at least two goals in every game he’d played up until the injury, while his recent form against the Kangaroos is also good, with the big man bagging 10 goals over his last two matches against North.
I feel that North will win, but some handy goals from Schulz will keep the margin down.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on North Melbourne to win by 1-39 points @ 2.35 (Sportingbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Jay Schulz for most goals @ 4.50 (TAB Sportsbet)
Hawthorn v Fremantle Dockers
This match is the second Tasmanian excursion of the season for Hawthorn, with Fremantle the unlucky opponents drawn to play the Hawks in Australia’s coldest state. This is a crunch game for both teams as the Hawks sit surprisingly just outside the top 8, while Fremantle have snuck into 6th spot.
A focus on defence has taken Fremantle to their lofty ladder position and this is proven by the Dockers being ranked as the league’s best for least points conceded, although a glass half empty person might well point to the Dockers lowly ranking of 13th for points scored and say they are not capable of scoring enough goals to beat good teams.
While Freo coach Ross Lyon’s defensive mantra is very effective at winning many games of football, it is very labour intensive and his team has to work very hard to score each goal. Hawthorn are the complete opposite as Lance Franklin and Cyril Rioli can use their brilliance to put a game out of their opponents reach during just a few minutes of breathtaking football.
The inclusion of reliable defender Josh Gibson is a big boost for the Hawks and enough to sway me across to the Hawks and back them to register an important win. Hawthorn on-baller Sam Mitchell collected at least 30 possessions in each of the 4 games he played at this ground last year, so I reckon he’ll bounce back from a poor game here against the Swans earlier this season to top his most disposals group.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Hawthorn to win by 39 points or less @ 2.25 (Sportsbet, TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Sam Mitchell for most disposals in Group A @ 3.00 (Sportsbet)
Sydney Swans v Melbourne
A home game against winless Melbourne represents an excellent chance for Sydney to collect a victory after two successive losses have halted their early season momentum. The Demons, meanwhile, will be desperate for a good result to get them off the bottom of the ladder.
With a seemingly uneven matchup like this, the analysis needs to focus on the winning margin rather than the winning team. The Demons look to be making a real focus to increase their goalscoring capacity by including Liam Jurrah, Brad Green and Jack Watts. Jurrah is a particularly bold selection given he is facing charges related to an alleged machete attack and appeared in court only two days before this match.
Sydney maintain a really consistent attack on the footy and are a well drilled team that play within their limitations. This means that you have to play well if you want to beat them, particularly on the SCG, a ground the Swans have perfectly adapted their game plan too. Sydney are down on personnel and Melbourne are starting to get players back so this game should be closer than many expect, but I don’t reckon the Demons have enough talent and desire to get past the Swans. This should be a scrappy low scoring match, so I’ll play the unders on the total score line.
Andy’s Bet: Total match score under 180.5 points @ 1.87 (TAB Sportsbet)
Essendon v Richmond
Just like the night before, this will be another ripper from the MCG. Essendon has impressed all with a scintillating start to the season, including thrashings of premiership fancies Carlton and West Coast. Even though they weren’t winning, Richmond actually played well early this season against same of the league’s better teams, and with back to back victories over Port Adelaide and Sydney, the Tigers are now being rewarded for their efforts.
Essendon look even more imposing this week as full forward Michael Hurley returns to the Bomber forward line. Despite the extra attention defenders have placed on him, Stewart Crameri has continued to dominate in Hurley’s absence and both men need to be closely watched. I sense this is not a good week to be a Richmond defender.
Even though they were excellent against Sydney last weekend, Richmond will need to improve further if they are to compete with Essendon. The Tigers matched the Swans in the contested possession count last week and out-ran them when they got ball the ball clear, Essendon are a great team when the game opens up, so Richmond will need to be careful if they continue to play a daring attacking strategy.
I got burnt by only tipping the Bombers to win by 39 points or less last week, so this time I won’t cap their winning margin and will back them to win by 16 points or more
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Essendon to win by 16 points or more @ 2.00 (Multiple Sites)
Western Bulldogs v Gold Coast Suns
The season has slipped away from Gold Coast after an embarrassing loss to GWS has left them at 0-7. Coach Guy McKenna already seems to be looking to next year and has wasted no time swinging the selection axe. Four players have been chopped and a further two make way due to injury, meaning a host of players are promoted for their first matches of the season, including former Saint Andrew McQualter for his first Suns game, while 18 year old Alex Sexton makes his AFL debut.
The Doggies have no such problems and a win here would make it four for the season, lifting them close to a spot in the top 8. Two changes have been forced on the Dogs, with forward line options Jordan Roughead and Patrick Veszpremi missing through injury. Not much will be lost though as Liam Jones and Nathan Djerrkura are suitable replacements.
Gold Coast’s youngsters seemed to shrink back a little bit last week as their captain, Gary Ablett, returned to the lineup. Without their skipper, the young blokes had a real crack, so it was disappointing to see them take a back seat against GWS, expecting Ablett to do all the work for them. Ablett will be in for a tough night this Saturday as Bulldog tagger Liam Picken will almost certainly get the job on Gold Coast’s champion, remaining by his side and niggling the little master all evening.
With Ablett set to be under a heavy tag, his younger teammates need to take up some of the slack otherwise it’s going to be a rout.
Andy’s Bet: 1.5 units on the Western Bulldogs to win by 25 points or more @ 1.60 (Centrebet, Sportingbet)
Brisbane Lions v GWS Giants
Brisbane are the next team to face the effervescent youngsters from Greater Western Sydney. Now GWS have won a match, future opponents will treat them more warily. I must admit my surprise at how well the Giants have handled their introduction to the big time and with such a fierce attack on the footy, all their young players are earning plenty of respect.
Despite GWS’s recent victory over Gold Coast, I still can’t see them beating the more established teams. Brisbane are one of the weaker AFL sides but still possess quality players like Simon Black, Tom Rockliff, Jonathan Brown and Daniel Rich, while Jack Redden, Jed Adcock and Matt Maguire do a reliable job each week.
For the Giants it’s back to the boys against men clichés.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Brisbane to win by 40 points or more @ 2.42 (Sportingbet)
Carlton v Adelaide Crows
Adelaide must feel they are capable of anything right now. Two weeks ago the Crows achieved the rare distinction of beating Sydney at the SCG and followed that up by outplaying reigning premier Geelong last week. Carlton has been a bit funny recently, seemingly overawed by premiership favouritism the Blues struggled to put away GWS a fortnight ago before being outplayed by St Kilda at this venue on Monday night.
For me, this match has been won and lost at the selection table. Adelaide are without Taylor Walker as the competition’s leading goalscorer has been suspended for the next two weeks and unheralded youngster Josh Jenkins has been named in Walker’s place at centre half-forward. Carlton are boosted by the return of flamboyant rebounding defender Chris Yarran, which is good news for the Blues as I feel that Yarran’s absence has been the major reason for Carlton’s recent dip in form. Without him, Carlton’s defence is a bit one paced and isn’t very inventive when on the rebound. Yarran can often spark his side with a dazzling run from defence, giving others the confidence to also take the game on.
With Walker our for the Crows and Yarran in for the Blues, my betting scales have tipped in Carlton’s favour.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Carlton to win by 39 points or less @ 2.30 (Centrebet, Sportingbet)
West Coast Eagles v St Kilda
The weekend rounds out with another cracking game, this time from Perth. Ladder leader West Coast will be looking to bounce straight back from a horror showing against Essendon, while St Kilda will be hoping to continue with same enthusiasm and verve that carried them to an impressive win over Carlton.
St Kilda’s patchwork ruck combination of Rhys Stanley and Justin Koschitzke actually did ok on Monday against Carlton’s usually dominant big men, however West Coast’s ruck division is something else entirely. Nic Naitanui is back for the Eagles and he will team up with partner in crime Dean Cox to give the Eagles are head start at every crucial stoppage. That’s a big shame for the Saints as their midfield, led by the inspirational Lenny Hayes, is probably better than West Coast’s, but will have to approach this game with a very defensive mindset.
St Kilda’s small forwards stole the show last week and although their snap goals are exciting for fans, I don’t think it’s a sustainable option to win enough games to make finals. Saints centre half-forward Nick Riewoldt is the key to his side’s fortunes in this game and for the rest of the season. Unfortunately for Riewoldt, with West Coast likely to win the clearances due to the work of Cox and Naitanui, the Saints skipper is unlikely to get enough ball supply in this one. The Eagles should be too good.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on West Coast to win by 16 points or more @ 1.80 (Multiple Sites)
Great work Andy..!! I have tuned into your picks for the last few weeks… After missing on Geelong on Friday in a thriller I took the unders ( total score ) in syd v melb and west coast the overs for a profitable weekend… Also the analysis is great as a lot of other sites just post the picks without giving valid reasons… Keep up the good work… Cheers ray..!!
Cheers, thanks Ray! Glad you’re finding them useful.