The following are previews and betting tips for round 10 of the 2012 AFL season.
Season tally so far
Bets = 90 units
Won = 106.32 units
Profit/Loss = +16.32 units (18.1% profit)
CHEEKY WEEK 10 AFL MULTI
Andy’s bet: 1 unit on Essendon to win by 40 points or more, Carlton to win by 25 points or more and West Coast to win by 16 points or more @ 4.70 (Centrebet)
St Kilda v Richmond
This absolute belter between two form teams is a perfect way to kick off the Round 10 action. St Kilda sit proudly in 7th position on the ladder, one win and five places ahead of Richmond. These sides are very evenly matched as both clubs have enjoyed impressive recent victories over top 8 sides. The Saints have beaten Carlton and Sydney in recent matches, while the Tigers thrashed Hawthorn last week, following on from a similar display against Sydney two weeks earlier.
The football played by Richmond against Hawthorn last week was as good as I have seen the Tigers play against a quality opponent for at least a decade. If you recall, Richmond and Melbourne were the worst performing clubs during 2009, so the Tigers have certainly done a better rebuilding job than the Demons during the past two and a half years.
The Tigers may be playing exciting football, however young sides on the improve are more prone to inconsistency as their inexperienced players start to receive greater defensive attention from the opposition. St Kilda are the worst team Richmond could wish to play a week after the Tigers have had such a good win because the Saints are very experienced, defensively focused and in good form themselves. St Kilda will have 9 players running around that have played at least 150 AFL games, while Richmond have only 3. Further to that stat, two of Richmond’s 150 game players, Brett Deledio and Chris Newman, have not played a finals match. So if the Saints, finalists in 7 of the past 8 seasons, can play this match with a finals like intensity, then it will be tough for many of Richmond’s players to adjust.
Where Richmond will have an advantage is in the ruck contests. With the Saints regular ruckmen crippled by injury, Jason Blake played the position last week even though Blake stands at just 189cm. Richmond’s talented big man Ivan Maric is 200cm tall and will tower over Blake, ensuring an immediate advantage for the Tigers from the ruck contest.
I would be very confident to tip the Saints if they had a ruckman to match Maric. I will still tip St Kilda, but less confidently, with the venue location keeping my vote with the Saints. St Kilda play Etihad Stadium really well and have won 4 out of 5 there this season, while Richmond are 0 from 1 under the roof in 2012.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on St Kilda to win by 39 points or less @ 2.63 (Sportingbet)
Geelong Cats v GWS Giants
When Geelong played last season’s new boys, Gold Coast, at Skilled Stadium during the middle of last year, the margin was a whopping 150 points! So what will it be this year against GWS, the latest batch of footballing protégés.
As I mentioned above when previewing Richmond, it is often difficult for young and inexperienced teams to consistently play to their best each week, and the GWS youngsters are a few years of development behind Richmond’s Trent Cotchin and Dustin Martin, so if consistency is likely to be an issue for the Tigers, it certainly will be for the Giants. After playing with such discipline and enthusiasm against Essendon last week, I reckon GWS will have a bit of a drop-off against Geelong. Furthermore, the Cats currently sit outside the top 8 on percentage, so Chris Scott’s men have plenty of incentive to post a really big win this week.
Geelong have also named a squad which is close to full strength, meaning the Cats are desperate to secure that big win and boost their percentage. I’m going with the Cats at the line.
Hawthorn v North Melbourne
Before last week Hawthorn would have been concerned by a sloppy start to the season in which the Hawks probably came in below expectation, dropping 3 of their first 8 games. Last Saturday, that concern would have morphed into a wail of alarms in Alastair Clarkson’s coaching box as his team, lauded for playing tough uncompromising football, meekly surrendered to Richmond. Yes, Richmond, a team that hasn’t played finals since 2001, completely outplayed the Premiership favourites.
In an almost identical scenario, Hawthorn come up against a similar opponent this week, with Brad Scott’s North Melbourne trekking to Tasmania to play the Hawks on neutral Launceston turf. The Kangaroos have promised much during the last few seasons and this was meant to be the year the players were experienced enough to push the club up the ladder. However, apart from an impressive win over Geelong, North have been a bit of a disappointment, battling to home wins over lowly Gold Coast and Brisbane, as well as losing to the Bulldogs and Port Adelaide.
For as long as I can remember, North Melbourne’s fortunes have rested upon the slender shoulders of pint-sized midfielder Brent Harvey. In recent years Harvey’s veteran legs have slowed and he has been more easily tagged out of matches. Against top 8 sides, which is what Hawthorn still are despite last week’s shambolic display, North haven’t been able to win without a significant contribution from Harvey. Hawthorn doesn’t have a tagger that is perfectly set up to play on Harvey, but I still reckon Clarkson will have a plan to negate the little ball-winner and this will put Hawthorn on course for victory.
The margin will be dependent on the goalkicking accuracy of Hawthorn superstar Lance Franklin. ‘Buddy’ has been spectacularly wayward this season, booting only 21 goals compared to his 36 behinds. Unless that trend completely reverses, Hawthorn shouldn’t win by more than 40 points.
Fremantle Dockers v Adelaide Crows
The well-worn sporting cliché, season defining game, fits this match perfectly for Fremantle. After a promising opening to the season, the Dockers have been belted twice in a row by 8 goals or more, a margin of defeat not usually associated with a team coached by the ultra-defensive Ross Lyon. Adelaide has been superb this season, although the Crows would have been disappointed to lose against a vastly-understrength Collingwood last weekend.
Despite being in a form slump, Fremantle must still be respected when playing at home against interstate opposition. That being said, Adelaide don’t mind playing the role of annoying guest, already raiding Sydney and Carlton for brilliant away wins this season.
The match played by Adelaide and Collingwood last weekend was as good as I have seen this season, and if I wasn’t lying on the couch suffering through the freezing cold weather I could easily have believed I was watching a September final. The intensity and ferocity of the contests around the ball were top drawer and Adelaide matched Collingwood in that area before falling away in the last quarter when Collingwood’s quick ball movement enabled dangerous attacks into an open forward line. Adelaide should be too tough in close against Fremantle, although there is a danger the Crows could be exposed if Fremantle can win enough ball and launch attacks on the spacious Patersons Stadium surface.
With key Adelaide forward Taylor Walker back from suspension I think the Crows can record a victory. Given Lyon is a defensively minded coach, I expect another low-scoring Fremantle match.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Adelaide to win by 15 points or more @ 2.20 (TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on the Total Match Score under 175.5 points @ 1.70 (TAB Sportsbet)
Essendon v Melbourne
Essendon are looking mighty dangerous this season. Glancing through the Dons squad for this Saturday night’s game would be sobering reading for any Melbourne fan. Spare a thought for the Demons’ embattled first year coach Mark Neeld as he is the man tasked with plotting a victory against such a powerful opponent.
Essendon’s recruiting policy in recent years has been brilliant and may be the model other clubs begin to copy. The Bombers have focused on drafting tall key position youngsters as these players are traditionally the hardest to develop. Intuitively, this seems like the wrong thing to do if these type of players are harder to develop, but it is almost impossible to win finals without key position players, and it is even harder to pick up a quality key position player from a trade, so the Bombers have given themselves the best chance of developing a few good tall players by drafting so many of them!
Melbourne looked to have turned the corner last weekend against Carlton, remaining close on the scoreboard for the first three quarters, before the bad habits, which were displayed so prominently earlier this season, returned with embarrassing speed. The Demons pressure was non-existent in the last term and Carlton stormed to a 10 goal win.
Essendon has scored the second most points this season and should have no trouble slotting plenty of goals again this week, while Melbourne’s last 3 scores have been 49, 37 and 49, so I’ll be on the Essendon to record a win by more than 60 points.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Essendon to win by 60 points or more @ 2.15 (Centrebet)
Port Adelaide v Carlton
Port Adelaide will be thrilled to enter this match on a two game winning streak. The Power didn’t manage back to back victories for the whole of last season, so this good form thing will be a bit of a novelty! Carlton, meanwhile, did what they had to do last weekend against Melbourne, with the Blues managing to record a win against the Demons after back to back defeats against St Kilda and Adelaide had sapped some of the early season momentum from Brett Ratten’s side.
The recent head to head history between these teams has been very one sided, with Carlton winning all 5 matches played during the past 3 years. Importantly, the last three times they’ve met, Carlton has beaten Port Adelaide at this venue and the average winning margin has been 47 points.
Carlton has more class, and with Mitch Robinson and Brock McLean improving the grunt, I’m tipping the Blues to prevent Port Adelaide from extending their winning streak past two!
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Carlton to win by 20 points or more @ 2.00 (TAB Sportsbet)
Brisbane Lions v West Coast Eagles
Sunday afternoon football begins with this clash between the Lions and the Eagles. It’s the kings of the jungle playing host to the rulers of the sky and it’s fitting the Eagles are favoured to win because of their aerial dominance.
Poor old Ben Hudson retired from the AFL last year, only to be re-drafted by Brisbane in the off-season. With injuries to other Brisbane big men, Hudson is recalled to the Lions side for this match and will venture on a thankless solo mission against dominant West Coast ruck pairing Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui. Retirement must be looking pretty good to Hudson right now!
Both teams have been forced to omit key players through injury, with Brisbane’s silky Simon Black out with a knee injury, while West Coast’s running machine Luke Shuey is missing through suspension. I think Black’s loss will hurt the Lions more than Shuey’s absence affects the Eagles as Brisbane don’t have great midfield depth. The line looks about right with Brisbane given a 29.5 point head start, so I’ll try and lock in a profit in the early Sunday game by loading up on the Eagles to get home by 16 points or more.
Andy’s Bet: 2 units on West Coast to win by 16 points or more @ 1.48 (Sportsbet)
Sydney Swans v Western Bulldogs
Forget the fact that Sydney are the home team and are ranked 8 places higher on the ladder, the Western Bulldogs are going to make this a real contest. Since losing their first 3, Brendan McCartney’s side has really cracked in and played some good footy, with their only defeats in the past 6 weeks coming in close battles against last season’s two grand finalists. Sydney, meanwhile, have been struggling ever since Adam Goodes went down injured, losing 3 of their past 4 and only beating winless Melbourne during that period.
The Bulldogs revival has been led by an industrious group of midfielders, with ball magnet Matthew Boyd particularly influential and Ryan Griffen finally graduating from very good to elite. Sydney onballer Josh Kennedy has been his side’s standout player this campaign and will need support from players like Jude Bolton and Kieran Jack if the Swans are to overcome the snarling Bulldogs this Sunday.
Both sides lack tall marking forwards that can kick goals so I expect a low-scoring match in which the margin remains below 39 points. Sydney should win, just.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Sydney to win by 39 points or less @ 2.20 (Sportsbet)
Collingwood v Gold Coast Suns
Unfortunately, the Sunday twilight game looks to be a lopsided matchup, with Collingwood, on a 6 game winning streak, hosting a Gold Coast team that is currently on a 16 game losing streak that dates back to July last year.
Collingwood’s victory over Adelaide last week was my performance of the year so far. Travelling west and decimated by injuries, the Magpies charged into every contest and eventually wore down their in-form hosts. Impressive young Collingwood defender Lachie Keeffe seriously injured his knee during the game and is yet another Magpie that has been ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury.
Gold Coast was blown away by Port Adelaide last week, which was worrying given the Power are not noted as a great team. Suns skipper Gary Ablett had his quietest game for the season, well tagged by Port’s Kane Cornes. Collingwood don’t normally tag opposition players, although coach Nathan Buckley effectively used Marty Clarke to shadow Brent Stanton on ANZAC Day. Last week Buckley matched up dangerous Adelaide clearance specialist Paddy Dangerfield with Dale Thomas. Thomas was particularly effective in this role, playing goal-side of Dangerfield at the stoppages and denying the Adelaide player space in which to break clear of the pack. In the last quarter Thomas was brilliant, using his fitness to run off Dangerfield and set up Collingwood’s last quarter triumph. I hope Thomas goes to Ablett this Sunday as it would be a great battle to illuminate an otherwise dull match.
Since Collingwood are still stricken with numerous injured players, I am not confident enough that they will completely dominate Gold Coast, so I can’t find any value in most betting markets. Perhaps a speculative play to finish off your weekend could be throwing some loose change on the Pies to win by 60-69 points.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Collingwood to win by 60-69 points @ 7.20 (Sportsbet)