The following are previews and betting tips for round 13 of the 2012 AFL season.
Season tally so far
Bets = 116 units
Won = 120.69 units
Profit/Loss = +4.69 units (4.0% profit)
CHEEKY WEEK 13 AFL MULTI
Andy’s bet: 1 unit on Geelong and Collingwood to win by 39 points or less @ 6.13 (Sportsbet)
Sydney Swans v Geelong Cats
If you have been a little underwhelmed by the last couple of bye-affected rounds, start to get excited for this weekend because meaningful matches make a welcome return. The Friday night encounter will be a beauty as 4th placed Sydney host Geelong, with the reigning Premiers currently sitting in 7th spot and looking for a win to cement their place in the top 8.
There are so many statistics to sift through when analyzing the recent history between these teams, but none of them really helped me pick a winner! Sydney shocked Geelong in the clubs’ most recent meeting, with the Swans recording a sterling 13 point victory in a late season game last year. Before that match the Cats had enjoyed a fine run against the boys from the harbor city, winning 9 consecutive matches against Sydney. There is not much recent history at this venue as Geelong’s 27 point win early last season was the only time the teams have clashed at the SCG since the Nick Davis Semi Final in 2005.
Sydney’s duel Brownlow Medallist Adam Goodes returns from injury, however he has had a 7 week injury layoff, so I don’t expect too much from the champ first up. Geelong full forward James Podsiadly is back in the team after overcoming a hip injury and the Cats are at close to full strength with his inclusion.
Sydney might have beaten Essendon a fortnight ago, but the Swans were outplayed for most of the night and only won because it took the Bombers too long to start converting their territorial dominance into goals. Geelong are gradually improving with each week and represent the value bet in this match against a team they have beaten 9 of the last 10 times.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Geelong to win @ 2.30 (TAB Sportsbet)
Western Bulldogs v Brisbane Lions
In terms of quality, this is one of the poorer fixtures of the weekend, however the teams are evenly matched on the ladder and it should be a good contest. There is probably more on the line for the Bulldogs as a triumph for Brendan McCartney’s men would put them on 6 wins, leaving them only trailing 8th placed St Kilda by percentage. Brisbane is a win further behind the Bulldogs, so a victory here would still leave the Lions a game and percentage outside the top 8.
Since an early season capitulation against St Kilda, the Bulldogs have performed well at Etihad Stadium, running Collingwood and Geelong very close, while defeating North Melbourne and Port Adelaide. Brisbane is a similar quality of opponent to Port Adelaide, so the Doggies will be confident of a comfortable win against the Lions to back up last week’s 38 point win over the Power.
Brisbane midfield veteran Simon Black is fit again after a couple of weeks on the sidelines battling a knee injury. Black’s sublime skills will be a welcome addition to a Lions midfield that has been relying on grunt more than ability.
The Bulldogs midfield, led by possession king Matthew Boyd, ranks as one of the best in the league and I expect another four quarters of Doggie centre square dominance to result in a straightforward win for the red, white and blue.
Collingwood v West Coast Eagles
The Saturday twilight match is this weekend’s match of the round. 3rd placed Collingwood host table topping West Coast in an important game for both sides. With the Grand Final played at the MCG, the Eagles will need to be able to beat the big boys here if they are to win the Premiership. The Magpies are one of the competition’s heavyweights, so I imagine the Eagles will be looking forward to the chance to prove themselves against a team that has played at this hallowed venue for the past two seasons on Grand Final day.
West Coast were unconvincing against Carlton last week and inaccurate kicking from the Eagles forwards kept the Blues in the match before West Coast eventually fought to a 10 point win. Collingwood had the bye last weekend, which allowed a few weary bodies the chance to rest after injuries threatened to cruel the Magpies’ campaign.
Collingwood has made 3 important changes to the team that defeated Melbourne before the bye, with Premiership defenders Heath Shaw, Ben Reid and Alan Toovey all deemed fit and healthy to resume their places. West Coast also recall a defender, with half back flanker and club vice-captain Beau Waters free to play after serving a 1-match suspension.
This match comes down to how much influence West Coast’s dominant ruck pairing Dean Cox and Nic Naitanui can have against Collingwood ruck regular Darren Jolly and part-timer Chris Dawes. The Magpie midfielders have been adept at roving to opposition ruckmen in the past, so I don’t see that being an issue, the bigger concern is what Cox and Naitanui might do roaming around the ground. With the Eagles big men set to soar, I’m tipping the Eagles to push the Magpies all the way.
Fremantle Dockers v Essendon
The Saturday night game is a similar matchup to the previous night’s contest, with one team hoping to keep pace with the top 4, while the other has a primary focus on a spot in the top 8. Essendon is a bit out of form, with two recent losses as well as a bye last weekend, meaning the Bombers are winless so far in June and have dropped to 6th on the ladder. Things could be very different for the Bombers though, with poor kicking for goal costing James Hird’s team victory against Melbourne and Sydney. Essendon’s combined score in those two defeats was 17.32 and that profligacy in front of the big sticks denied them victory both times as the margin of defeat in both matches was a goal or less.
Fremantle, meanwhile, snapped a 3 game losing streak with an impressive away defeat of Richmond last time out, which helped to silence a growing band of critics that were questioning Docker coach Ross Lyon’s ultra-defensive game plan.
The revolving selection door has been given a real workout by both match committee’s this week as each side makes four changes. Fremantle’s have all been forced, with giant ruckman Aaron Sandilands, dashing midfielder Stephen Hill and full back Zac Dawson all injured, while pesky small forward Hayden Ballantyne is suspended. Alwyn Davey’s suspension forces him out of the Bomber lineup, while three others have been omitted due to poor form.
I was planning to pick Fremantle until the squads were announced, but I’m unsure whether the Dockers can adequately cover the four players that will be missing. This brings the match back to a 50-50 contest, so now I’m going to bet on a close match via the triple margin 24.5 points market.
Melbourne v GWS Giants
If this was the English Premier League, this match would be a good old fashioned relegation scrap. However, this is the AFL, and as such, the loser of this basement battle stands to be the best rewarded! With the way the AFL draft system works, the lower a team finishes on the ladder, the better its access to the top players in the upcoming national draft. Both Melbourne and GWS have had only a single win this season and they occupy two of the bottom three places on the ladder, ahead of only the winless Gold Coast. The short term pain of defeat in this match could be a pre-cursor to long term gain if a young gun is secured in the off-season draft.
Speaking of high draft picks, Melbourne’s number 1 pick in the 2009 draft, Tom Scully, did not prove to be the Demon superstar the club recruiters were hoping for, with Scully defecting to GWS after just two years wearing the red and blue. There exists an intense hatred of Scully by the Melbourne fans and expect the former Demon to be loudly booed whenever he goes near the ball on Sunday.
GWS surprised me with an encouraging performance that saw them come close to upsetting Richmond last weekend, but I still don’t reckon they’ll have enough to beat a Melbourne team that has regained its passion, which was proven by two good June performances – a victory against Essendon and a spirited showing against Collingwood.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Melbourne to win at the line (-22.5) @ 1.92 (Sportsbet)
North Melbourne v Adelaide Crows
The final game of the weekend does not appear to be as evenly matched as the others this weekend, however it should still make for good viewing as 12th placed North Melbourne will be desperate for a win to keep in touch with the top 8 as they commence a really difficult 5 game stretch of fixtures. The upcoming schedule for Adelaide is much nicer and this is one of four matches in a row for the 2nd placed Crows against clubs outside the top 8.
On paper, the spine of Adelaide’s team is phenomenal. Kurt Tippett and Taylor Walker are potent forwards, Daniel Talia and Ben Rutten provide the steady defence and are more frugal than a pair of Scotsmen, while Scott Thompson is a midfield gun and probably leads the Brownlow Medal count.
North Melbourne followed up a 13th place finish in 2009 with 9th placings in 2010 and 2011, so a current ladder position of 12th spot would be seen as a failure for the club that is in danger of going backwards while teams like Richmond and Fremantle look to be going past them this year. Splendidly topical, the other team which has overtaken North Melbourne on the ladder this year is the Kangaroos opponent this week, Adelaide. The Crows’ rise has been all the more impressive considering they’ve lost talented defenders Nathan Bock and Phil Davis to the expansion clubs during the past two seasons.
I was at this ground to witness Adelaide’s stunning demolition of Carlton earlier this campaign, and seeing is believing, so I’ll be on the Crows pick up another win en-route to a likely top 4 finish at season’s end.