The following are previews and betting tips for Round 16 of the 2013 AFL season
Season tally so far
Bets = 185.75 units
Won = 178.07 units
Profit/Loss = -7.68 units (4.1% loss)
Cheeky Multi: 1 unit on Collingwood, Richmond and North Melbourne to win by 16 points or more @ 4.65 (Sportsbet)
Collingwood vs. Adelaide
Collingwood secured a sweet and important victory over rivals Carlton at this venue last Friday night, putting the Magpies firmly on course for an eighth successive finals appearance. Adelaide were not so successful in their crunch game last weekend, fading in the last quarter as they succumbed to West Coast by 6 points. That defeat left Adelaide in 12th spot on the ladder and the Crows probably need to win 6 of their last 8 matches to make the finals.
Dayne Beams was Collingwood’s best and fairest winner last year, earning the honour after his break-out season in the midfield, however the young star had been sidelined so far this season due to a serious calf injury. Beams put in a dominant display for Collingwood’s VFL team last week in his first hit-out since injury and has been selected to play his first game of the season in the seniors this Friday night. Beams’ inclusion will add a touch of class to the Magpies midfield fleet, which is very timely given the Pies are up against the Crows, who have plenty of stars in the middle, including Paddy Dangerfield, Scott Thompson and Richard Douglas.
Adelaide’s part-time forward and part-time ruckman Shaun McKernan has been suspended for two games for his crude elbow on West Coast’s Brad Shepphard last week, and McKernan’s omission may mean regular Collingwood defender Ben Reid has the freedom to roam forward, as he did to good effect last week with four goals.
If Collingwood bring the same intensity they did last week, they will be too good for an Adelaide team lacking firepower in attack.
Port Adelaide vs. Hawthorn
Port Adelaide were gallant in defeat to Essendon in the twilight match last Sunday at Etihad Stadium, but that loss loosened the grip Ken Hinkley’s side has on a finals position. The Power will begin this match in 8th position on the ladder, and only a game ahead of an improving West Coast team. Hawthorn’s position at the top of the tree is also not as secure as it was this time last week, as the Hawks were outplayed and beaten by Geelong last Saturday night, which is the second time the Cats have beaten them this season.
Port Adelaide have been very good at AAMI Stadium this campaign, winning from 5 from 7 at their home ground, including four wins over teams from last season’s top 6. Their past two matches at the ground produced great wins over Sydney and Collingwood, however those teams don’t have lots of marking targets up forward, meaning they weren’t able to expose what I think is Port Adelaide’s weakness, which is their inability to defend against multiple marking targets. Hawthorn has plenty of tall timber in attack, chiefly Lance Franklin and Jarryd Roughead, and even David Hale likes to drift forward and take a few grabs.
The Hawks will have been stung by the result last week and I think they should have a few too many tricks for a consistently plucky Power outfit. And with the Hawks missing a few of their regular rebounding defenders, Brent Guerra might get a bit of the footy, so I’ll have a small interest on him to win his most disposals group.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Brent Guerra most disposals in Group 2 @ 9.00 (Sportsbet)
Geelong vs. Melbourne
This is the fixture that ultimately cost former Melbourne coach Dean Bailey his job two year ago when his side was completely destroyed to the tune of 186 points by a rampant Geelong team. Since then Mark Neeld has come and gone as Melbourne boss, leaving Neil Craig in charge as a caretaker coach of the Demons until the end of this year. Melbourne’s resilient display against Sydney last weekend, when the Demons lost by 31 points, showed the club has certainly improved with Craig at the helm.
Geelong is in very good touch right now, following up a disastrous final quarter capitulation against Brisbane with a pair of awesome displays during victories against top 4 contender Fremantle and top of the ladder Hawthorn. Those successes were achieved by the Cats without their mercurial midfielder Steve Johnson who was serving a two-match suspension. With Johnson back, the Geelong midfield could run riot against a one-paced Melbourne on-ball brigade that looks out of its depth.
As long as Geelong don’t get complacent this should be a routine win by a big margin. Given the Cats were complacent and got punished by Brisbane three weeks ago, I can’t see coach Chris Scott allowing his players to be anything but focused for a match like this. Geelong should win big.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Geelong to win by 67 points or more @ 1.92 (Sportsbet)
Richmond vs. Gold Coast
Unless you were living under a rock last week you would have heard, at length, about the Kennett curse that has been affecting Hawthorn during their matches against Geelong. During the week I was talking to a Richmond supporting friend who mentioned a different hoodoo that was making him nervous ahead of this weekend’s match between the 6th placed Tigers and 13th placed Gold Coast. My mate talked about a Cairns curse in reference to Richmond’s two losses to the Gold Coast in the AFL’s annual match in the northern city. It may only be two losses, but it is quite significant when you consider the Gold Coast rarely got close to beating anyone in 2011 and 2012, their first two seasons in the big time.
Richmond’s influential ruckman Ivan Maric returns from injury for the Tigers this week, which will be a big boost the club’s midfielders, while Gold Coast will surely be improved by the return of Brownlow medal favourite Gary Ablett.
The Gold Coast have been beaten 26 points or more in 7 of their 8 losses, while Richmond’s last 7 wins have been by 34 points or more. Given I think Richmond will win, I’m more than happy to take them at the line of 23.5 points. I don’t fear the Cairns curse!
Andy’s Bet: 1.5 units on Richmond to win by 24 points or more @ 1.92 (Sportsbet)
Brisbane vs. North Melbourne
Both these clubs recorded morale-boosting victories last weekend. Brisbane completed a double for the season over local rivals Gold Coast, while North Melbourne breathed some life back into their fading campaign with a 62 point thrashing of 6th placed Richmond. That win shot North up to 10th on the ladder, just a game behind West Coast and two games behind 8th placed Port Adelaide, but significantly, the Kangaroos have a better percentage than both of those two teams and remain an outside shot at playing finals, which may be helped further depending on a potential peptide punishment that Essendon might receive before the end of the season.
Brisbane were well beaten when they last played North Melbourne, which was earlier this campaign in Round 4. In fact, North Melbourne have been the equivalent of the schoolyard bully this year, they are 4-0 in matches against the bottom 5 teams (of which Brisbane is one) and have won those games by an average margin of 68 points.
North Melbourne are back in the finals race, while Brisbane might be due for a letdown after beating their local rivals last weekend. I think North to win by 14 points or more is one of the bets of the round!
Andy’s Bet: 2 units on North Melbourne to win by 14 points or more @ 1.91 (Bet365)
Carlton vs. St Kilda
After getting their season back on track following a horror opening to the campaign, Carlton has tumbled back down the ladder, slipping to four straight defeats that has left the club in 11th place and very unlikely to play finals football during new coach Mick Malthouse’s first season in charge. St Kilda have endured a horror season and find themselves occupying the 16th rung on the AFL ladder, although a narrow victory over Carlton at this venue in Round 7 was a rare highlight for the Saints this year and their fans will be hoping for a repeat this weekend.
That earlier meeting between these clubs might be very instructive for how this game will play out. Carlton went in with a very top-heavy team containing a few too many slow lumbering players and St Kilda were just too pacey at ground level and were able to get multiple goals from their main forwards. The Saints were also able to lock-down Blues skipper Marc Murphy.
The loss of to injury of Jarrad Waite, Carlton’s key marking forward, will have a massive impact on this match. The Saints have really struggled to defend against the power forwards this year and Waite is clearly Carlton’s main aerial threat in attack. Conversely, St Kilda will be boosted by the return of small forward Stephen Milne, who is back playing his first match after being charged with rape, relating back to an incident in 2004.
I think Carlton are a much better team than St Kilda and should win relatively comfortably, however the loss of Waite should ensure the margin doesn’t blow out too much.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Carlton to win by 39 points or less @ 2.20 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 2 units on Marc Murphy under 99.5 dream team points @ 1.85 (Sportsbet)
Sydney vs. Greater Western Sydney
The fourth Sydney derby takes place this Sunday afternoon when the Swans and the Giants duke it out at the SCG. For the Round 1 meeting between these clubs, GWS coach Kevin Sheedy was marketing the game as the ‘Battle of the Bridge’, which seemed to get some traction at the time, but I haven’t heard anything from the AFL referring to that slogan ahead of this match.
Sydney have dominated their younger GWS opponents in the first three derby matches, winning by an average margin of over 60 points, although the inexperienced Giants would have negative stats like that against all clubs.
Sydney will be keen to win to keep hold of a spot in the top 4, and the Swans will also be keen to win big considering that just percentage currently separates them from 5th placed Fremantle. For that reason I am tipping John Longmire’s side to put their crosstown rivals to the sword for the full four quarters!
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Sydney to win by 74 points or more @ 1.91 (Centrebet)
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Tom Mitchell under 99.5 dream team points at 1.90 (Sportsbet)
Western Bulldogs vs. Essendon
The Essendon machine continues to roll along oblivious to the peptide scandal, with the Bombers getting the points against Port Adelaide last week to keep 3rd spot on the ladder and win their fourth match in a row. Only league sanctions can stop them from playing finals now. The Western Bulldogs, meanwhile, managed to prize out a win last weekend in Canberra against GWS, lifting the Doggies to 15th place on the ladder. The downside was that the Dogs were pretty poor for most of the match and only just beat the winless Giants, which followed on from a similarly dismal display from Brendan McCartney’s men when they lost to Melbourne a week earlier.
Essendon’s inspirational skipper Jobe Watson misses this match with a collarbone injury that will sideline him for the next month, while fellow gun Bombers midfielder Brent Stanton was also injured last weekend, however Stanton has been named and will face a fitness test on Saturday morning.
The Bulldogs have recalled a number of senior players who will possibly be playing for a spot on next season’s list. These players include Jarrad Grant, Daniel Cross, Liam Picken and Dylan Addison.
The inclusion of those experienced players, should help the Dogs mitigate the damage, however Essendon still look far too powerful and will probably win pretty comfortably.
Andy’s Bet: 0.5 units on Essendon to win by 40 points or more @ 1.92 (Sportsbet)
West Coast vs. Fremantle
Round 16 should conclude with a bang as West Coast and Fremantle face off in a match that looks like it will be Western Derby classic. The Dockers need to keep winning to maintain pace with the top 4, while the Eagles might be able to climb into the top 8 for the first time in over a month, although West Coast’s ascension of the ladder requires a slip-up from Port Adelaide on Saturday afternoon.
Both teams have lost a vital defender to injury, with fearless West Coast half-back flanker Beau Waters sidelined with a knee injury, while Fremantle’s brick wall impressionist Luke McPharlin misses with a calf injury. In better news for the Dockers, superstars Matthew Pavlich and Aaron Sandilands both pulled up well from last week’s match, which was their first after lengthy injury layoffs. Both players should be better for the run.
I think Fremantle are the better team and are deservedly favourites. Backing the Dockers to win by 39 points or less has been a pretty reliable play this year, so I will stick with it!
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Fremantle to win by 39 points or less @ 2.20 (Sportsbet)