The following are previews and betting tips for Round 6 of the 2013 AFL season
Season tally so far
Bets = 63.25 units
Won = 81.53 units
Profit/Loss = +18.28 units (28.9% profit)
Cheeky Multi: 1 unit on Jack Steven most disposals in Group 2 of Collingwood v St Kilda match and Lance Franklin most goals in Adelaide v Hawthorn match @ 6.48 (Sportsbet)
Collingwood vs. St Kilda
Both Collingwood and St Kilda have had to wait a while to return to the field after ANZAC Day defeats. St Kilda managed to keep the margin of defeat against Sydney down to 16 points, earning them that overused football expression of an ‘honourable loss’, while Collingwood were humiliated by rivals Essendon in the final quarter of the glamour home and away fixture at the MCG on April 25.
These teams have met three times since the 2010 grand final replay and Collingwood has prevailed each time, with the margin of victory ranging from a close 6 point finish last year to a 57 point thumping during the middle of 2011.
St Kilda’s core group of players from 2009-10 have aged into their twilight years, or, in the case of Brendan Goddard, headed elsewhere for a fresh start. We are already five games into the new season and the Saints only have a win against GWS to show for their efforts. The nature of their defeats have been particularly telling, with decent efforts against Richmond, Essendon and Sydney all finishing in defeats between 16 and 37 points, while a poor performance in Round 1 resulted in a 17 point loss to the Gold Coast. Ultimately, the Saints just don’t have the star power to beat the big boys anymore.
The one positive for St Kilda in this match is that they have an abundance of talented small forwards, and it is the little quick men that give the most grief to the Magpies defenders, which will only be exacerbated after the loss of in-form running defender Alan Toovey to season-ending knee injury last time out.
Collectively, Collingwood is still one of the competition’s big boys, and individually, key forward Travis Cloke is bigger than most, so look for him to fire against a St Kilda backline that frequently struggles to curtail the power forwards. I have also gone for Collingwood to win by 39 points or less because St Kilda hasn’t lost by more than 37 points so far this season.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Collingwood to win by 39 points or less @ 2.25 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Travis Cloke for most goals @ 2.85 (Sportsbet)
Essendon vs. Greater Western Sydney
The background for this match is quite alarming. Four weeks ago Essendon thrashed Melbourne by 148 points, while 2 weeks ago Melbourne notched a 41 point win over GWS. This weekend Essendon play GWS, so another 100 point margin is most definitely on the agenda!
Essendon’s running power has been superb so far this season and is the reason the Bombers are undefeated and top the table after five rounds. Their superior fitness was evident against Collingwood last week as they ran all over the Magpies in the final quarter. Strong finishes to their matches has been a significant early season trend for Essendon, with the Bombers averaging 39 points more than their opponents during the second half of matches so far this campaign, which is much better than their average 14 point first half advantage.
With those statistics in mind, I think the superior fitness of the Essendon players should see the Bombers cover the second half line against the young Giants.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Essendon to win the second half by 46 points or more @ 1.85 (Bet365)
North Melbourne vs. Port Adelaide
This match is a bit of a market anomaly as North Melbourne have been installed as clear favourites despite their 1-4 record after 5 rounds being clearly bettered by Port Adelaide’s unbeaten 5-0 start. The reason for the unusual market is that North have had a horror run of fixtures and have already played four of last year’s top six teams, and even though they haven’t been winning, the Kangaroos have competed well and most are expecting better results when the fixture list starts to even out. Meanwhile, Port Adelaide have picked up soft away wins against Melbourne and Gold Coast to complement their strong home form that has enabled them to overcome decent opposition like Adelaide and West Coast.
I was surprised and impressed by North Melbourne’s plucky performance against Hawthorn last week and think the Kangaroos are playing well enough to sneak past a Port Adelaide team that is making winning a habit. The Power were actually down by 41 points during the third term last week before reeling in West Coast en-route to a thrilling victory.
Even though they made a stirring comeback last weekend, the signs were clear in the first half that Port Adelaide can be broken down, and without a raucous home crowd to cheer them on, this might be the week Power are blacked-out.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on North Melbourne to win by 16 points or more @ 1.75 (Centrebet, TAB Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit of Jack Ziebell most disposals in Group 2 @ 3.00 (Sportsbet)
Adelaide vs. Hawthorn
The nightmare scenario was played out for Adelaide last Saturday at the MCG as forward line colossus Taylor Walker went down with a season-ending knee injury. After the off-season defection of Kurt Tippett to Sydney, the Crows have gone from having two well-credentialed big men roaming the forward 50 to none. That will require a serious re-jigging of their forward structure. Andy Otten pitched in with 3 goals last week, but given he had only booted 4 goals in his previous 51 appearances, Otten might be a bit more miss than hit in an attacking role.
Forward line problems are not just Adelaide’s domain, because Hawthorn’s electrifying forward flanker Cyril Rioli significantly injured his hamstring last weekend and faces two months on the sidelines. Rioli was Hawthorn’s best player last Sunday before getting injured, so the pressure will be fellow small forwards Luke Bruest, Brad Hill and Michael Osborne to improve and help minimise the impact of Rioli’s absence.
Hawthorn found a way to win last week despite many of their stars playing well below their best. Lance Franklin was at his erratic worst and probably the chief culprit in brown and gold, misfiring his way to no goals and five behinds.
With the return of grunt midfielder Brad Sewell, the Hawks should be too strong for an Adelaide team now looking seriously short on talent forward of the centre. And Franklin can’t have two bad games in a row, right?
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Hawthorn to win by 25 points or more @ 1.95 (Bet365)
Gold Coast vs. Fremantle
This match has upset written all over it. In the corresponding game last year Gold Coast gave Fremantle a massive scare and only succumbed to a narrow 7 point defeat, and that was without skipper Gary Ablett playing. Ablett will certainly take to the field this time, while the Dockers will be without big hitters Aaron Sandilands, Matthew Pavlich and Nat Fyfe.
Fremantle were far from convincing as they held on to beat Richmond by a point last weekend, with the goal umpire getting in the way of a certain Richmond goal during a tense final term. Gold Coast endured no such heart-stopping moments as they cruised to a win over fellow franchise club GWS. A win over the Giants is not normally something to get excited about, but the manner in which the Suns put them away would have pleased coach Guy McKenna.
Gold Coast’s chances have been given a further boost at the selection table as talented youngster Harley Bennell returns from injury. Bennell was the star of the show last time these teams played, collecting 37 possessions and slotting 3 goals in a best on ground performance. Fremantle’s loss of Fyfe to suspension has been compounded by a quad injury ruling fellow classy midfielder Stephen Hill out as well.
This is probably the best chance all year for the Suns to knock off a legitimate top 8 contender. I reckon they can do it!
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Gold Coast to win by 39 points or less @ 3.80 (TAB Sportsbet)
Richmond vs. Geelong
It must be a depressing site for the Richmond match committee to look at Geelong’s team ahead of their clash this weekend. The unbeaten Cats have the luxury of bringing in two elite players, with the inclusions of Tom Hawkins and Paul Chapman set to bolster an already impressive forward line. At least the Tigers have been able to include possible opponents for the Cats pair, however Troy Chaplin and Steven Morris don’t really have the same standing in the game as Hawkins and Chapman.
This match has a lot of similarities to the game played between Richmond and Collingwood a fortnight ago. The midfield matchups have got me salivating as skippers Trent Cotchin and Joel Selwood could go head to head, while Brett Deledio and Dustin Martin may end up playing on James Kelly and Jimmy Bartel.
Richmond were well and truly put in their place by Collingwood a fortnight ago, so I’m taking a strong guide from that match and staying away from the Tigers in these big matches until they prove themselves against a quality opponent.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Geelong to win by 39 points or less @ 2.25 (TAB Sportsbet)
Sydney vs. Brisbane
So far during 2013, Sydney have largely mastered that most handy trait of winning even when they are not really playing that well. Aside from a couple of sensational quarters here and there, the Swans have been mostly average, which makes their 4-1 winning record mightily impressive. Just imagine what they will do when they start playing well!
Brisbane are the visitors to the harbour city this weekend and the Lions travel south boosted by a much-needed win over Melbourne. The Lions don’t have great form on the road this campaign, with a couple of 10 goal reverses at Etihad Stadium sandwiching a narrow win over the Suns on the Gold Coast. Brisbane have also had a very soft draw to start the year and are yet to play a side higher than 10th on the ladder (Adelaide), which makes their 2-3 record look quite poor.
Pearce Hanley is back after a one week suspension and his run off a wing will be a very important addition to the Lions, however Sydney have got a very settled and experienced side and should be far too strong.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Sydney to win by 40-49 points @ 7.80 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Sydney to win by 50-59 points @ 7.80 (Sportsbet)
Carlton vs. Melbourne
After a couple of decent showings during the past fortnight, things could turn nasty again for Melbourne during this match-up with a resurgent Carlton. Beaten by a cumulative 321 points during the first three weeks of the season – with all three matches played at this venue – the Demons escaped further scrutiny by piling on the goals during the final quarter to beat GWS two weeks ago before matching Brisbane for much of last Sunday’s match at the Gabba. For their part, a couple of impressive wins over some of the 2012 finalists has shot Carlton back into top 8 contention and the Blues will be keen to record a big win to give a nice boost to their percentage.
Carlton forward Jarrad Waite returns to the Blues line-up for the first time this season and his marking ability will add an extra dimension to a forward line already functioning quite well through the pace of Jeff Garlett and Chris Yarran. Key forwards Shaun Hampson and Sam Rowe managed only 3 marks between them for the Blues last weekend, so Waite’s presence will only improve an attack that ranks equal 6th for points scored despite a tough draw during the opening five rounds.
On paper, Melbourne certainly does look to have a team of battlers, but at least Demons fans will get to have another look at young-gun Jack Viney as the future star returns to the team after receiving a week off to rest.
When hope rests on the young and inexperienced, you know it will be a tough season, so I expect a strong Carlton team to really hammer Melbourne this weekend.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Carlton to win by 60 points or more @ 1.81 (Centrebet)
West Coast vs. Western Bulldogs
The weekend culminates with this low-key clash in Perth. Despite their rough start to the season West Coast are heavy favourites for this match, and rightly so. Both teams have been subjected to more than their fair share of injuries during 2013, however the Eagles have been able to recall some talented players for this match, headlined by the first game of the season for flamboyant ruckman Nic Naitanui. The athleticism and flair from Naitanui will inspire his teammates and lift the home crowd.
West Coast should win, I can just about guarantee that, so the margin of victory becomes the important thing to work out. The Western Bulldogs have played interstate once already this year and were 52 point losers against Adelaide. The Crows struggling formline is comparable to where the Eagles are at, so somewhere around the 50 point mark would also seem like a reasonable margin of victory to expect from West Coast. Unfortunately the bookies agree and have set the line in the low 50’s. I was going to be conservative and accept the lower odds for a West Coast win of 40 points or more, however those odds weren’t worth it, so I will take the Eagles as the line.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on West Coast to win by 55 points or more @ 1.92 (Sportsbet)