Richmond v Carlton
7:45 PM AEDT, MCG, Melbourne
This is the first time these clubs have met since their epic Elimination Final played at this venue last September. On that occasion the unfancied Blues staged a remarkable second half fightback to knock the Tigers out of the finals, which was Carlton’s 11th win against Richmond from the past 12 clashes between the clubs. See the video below for highlights and reflections of last year’s final.
The Tigers got the jump in all three encounters last year and led each match by at least 30 points. The Blues always came back however, narrowly losing by 5 points in Round 1, but winning by 10 points in Round 21 and again by 20 points in the finals series.
Both teams enter this match after disappointing Round 1 defeats. I think Richmond’s loss was worse because the Tigers were outlasted by Gold Coast even though the Suns were hit hard by injuries during the game and well down on their bench rotations. Carlton’s quick ball use counter-attacking out of defence was a feature of their season opener, but the Blues were ultimately outlasted by a supremely fit Port Adelaide team.
Carlton lose some of their dash off half-back with the suspension of Andrew Walker, but the Blues have recalled key position defender Simon White, while prolific midfielder Chris Judd still misses through injury. Richmond have included pesky forward Jake King and promising young defender Dylan Grimes at the expense of Alex Rance and Matt McDonough.
I was really surprised with Richmond’s Round 1 performance. I thought their forward 50 entries were one dimensional long kicks to a contest, and then their forward line looked really slow once the ball hit ground level. King’s inclusion will help the latter issue, but the forward line structure will still need to improve, specifically the presence of more leading targets.
This match could go either way, so I am going to put my hard-earned on the underdog Blues for the better value. Sportsbet are also repeating their Round 1 promotion offering money back on head to head bets if your team leads at the end of any quarter but loses the game.
I am also going to finish with two crazy small bets. The first is on Carlton’s bash and crash midfielder Mitch Robinson to get most disposals in his group. Robinson enjoyed a positive end to his 2013 season gathering at least 20 possessions in 5 of his last 6 games. Robinson faded after a hot start last week, but still got another 20 touches, so he should give a good showing in this market at a very juicy price. I have also been tempted by new recruit Dale Thomas in the most goals market. Thomas frequented the half-forward flank and managed three scoring shots plus another couple hat didn’t make the distance. The greasy conditions should favour the small forwards over the big marking players, so ‘Daisy’ Thomas could be very dangerous in front of goal if he again plays in the forward line.
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Carlton to win @ 2.35 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Mitch Robinson most disposals in his group @ 12.00 (Sportsbet)
Andy’s Bet: 1 unit on Dale Thomas most goals @ 26.00 (Sportsbet)
Note: Previews for the remaining Round 2 matches will be published on Friday morning.