Friday, April 24
Richmond vs Melbourne
7:50PM AEST, MCG
The AFL probably wouldn’t be too happy with how their Friday night scheduling has turned out so far this season. They’ve had mediocre games played by, for the most part, mediocre teams. Hopefully this one doesn’t follow suit, but at this stage you can’t say it will have too many neutral supporters jumping out of their skin with excitement.
Last weekend, the Tigers easily accounted for an undermanned Lions outfit, while the Demons weren’t too bad in their loss to the Crows over in Adelaide. They couldn’t sustain it for four quarters once more, with a few small lapses costing them in the end. The Dees should be pumped up for this one, it’s a winnable game with all eyes of the footy world on them under the Friday night MCG lights. I think the Tigers will probably just be too good for them in the end, but I expect it to be a struggle and wouldn’t be absolutely shocked to see an upset.
Betting tip: 1 unit – Demons at the line of + 27.5 @ $1.79 (LuxBet)
Saturday, April 25
St Kilda vs Carlton
11:10AM AEST, Westpac Stadium
There seems to be a lot of stars of the game who will be missing this weekend. In this one, St Kilda will be without Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna, while Carlton won’t have Chris Judd or Chris Yarran. Unfortunately for Carlton, Chris Judd has been one of their best players in the 3 games played so far this year. It’s a bit of an indictment on the club that he’s still so important to their prospects of winning. It’s not like they don’t have others capable of carrying the load, they just need more out of their senior players in Gibbs, Murphy, etc.
The Saints were poor last week against the Pies; they are a young team and as such are expected to have their ups and downs over the course of the year. The Blues are more experienced and I think the loss of two top line players is more likely to negatively affect the Saints than it is the Blues. I’m tipping Carlton to get their first win of the season and for Mick to break out a smile at the press conference.
Betting tip: 0.5 units – Total Match Points Under 174.50 @ $1.90 (LuxBet)
Essendon vs Collingwood
2:40PM AEST, MCG
Dane Swan was back to his best last week against the Saints with 39 possession and a goal. He loves playing well on ANZAC day (last year Swannie was ‘putrid’, but he still managed to win the ANZAC day medal), and if the Magpies are any chance they’ll need him to have another big game. They’ll also need their young players such as Jack Crisp, Taylor Adams and Brodie Grundy to hold their own against the Bombers’ midfield. It probably wouldn’t hurt if Trav Cloke could try kicking between the big sticks either. Or at least fake an injury every time he marks within 30m of goal.
The Bombers will be without Adam Cooney and possibly David Zaharakis as well, which would no doubt hurt them, but they should have the ability to cover the loss with plenty of other run and carry types running through the midfield. As always, there’s a lot to look forward to in this contest: a big crowd, big game players, a big finish and of course a few big shanks from big Trav. I reckon the Bombers will get home but it won’t be without a big fight from the Pies.
Betting tips: 1 unit – Bombers by 1-24 @ $3.25 (UniBet)
0.5 units – ANZAC Day Medallist – Jamie Elliot @ $21.00 (Centrebet)
GWS Giants vs Gold Coast
5:40PM AEST, StarTrack Oval
Prior to the season, who would have thought that GWS would be such heavy favourites in this match up? Granted, the Gold Coast have a couple of handy players out, but that’s something that all clubs need to deal with at certain stages. They were much improved last week against the Cats, but they have to make sure they back that effort up here otherwise they’ll be in for a long ANZAC day.
The Giants seem to be progressing into a side that is capable of performing week after week and I really can’t see the Gold Coast getting anywhere near them on current form. I’m tipping the Giants to get off the leash and enjoy beating up on their big brother expansion club.
Betting tip: 1 unit – Giants By 25+ @ $2.45 (bet365)
Port Adelaide vs Hawthorn
7:40PM AEST, Adelaide Oval
The Power put their first four points in the bank for season 2015 in an entertaining battle against the Kangaroos last Saturday night. This one should be another Saturday night spectacle, with the Power coming up against the Hawks in the follow-up to last year’s epic preliminary final.
The Hawks had a solid win over the Bulldogs down in Tassie last weekend, with Luke Hodge amassing a career high 44 possessions. I’m not sure what the issue was, but the Dogs players just didn’t want to go anywhere near him. Maybe they were thinking something along the lines of: good players thrive under pressure, save their best for the big games, love an arm wrestle, it’s a bad idea to fire them up, etc etc etc, so we’ll just let him run around with no pressure and he’ll take his foot off the pedal and have a quiet game. Well, they got that one wrong, didn’t they? You wouldn’t think Port will make the same mistake.
The loss of Ollie Wines, already such an important player for the Power at just 20 years of age, will hinder their ability to match the Hawks in clearances and contested ball. This might not be a huge issue if they’re able to pressure the Hawks into making turnovers and can then use their run and carry to expose the Hawks at the other end.
I’m tipping the Power to be hell bent on getting some revenge for last year and to just get over the line in the game of the round.
Betting tip: 1 unit – Power to win @ $2.46 (BetFair)
Fremantle vs Sydney
8:40PM AEST, Patersons Stadium
You’ve got to wonder why the AFL decided to schedule this game at the same time as Port Adelaide and Hawthorn. It just doesn’t make much sense to me. These two games could very well end up being the two preliminary final match ups, why would you put them on at the same time?? Anyway, regardless of the poor scheduling, this should be an absolute belter, and a really good indication of where both teams are at.
Both teams are undefeated so far, but have been going about their business in differing fashions. Sydney look to be cruising at this stage of the season. They turned it up a few notches for a big game against the Power a few weeks ago, but other than that have just been content doing enough to get by. On the other hand, Freo look to be in ripping form and in for a huge year.
Their current form line, not to mention the home ground advantage, points to the Dockers having a win and staying undefeated for another week.
Betting tip: 1 unit – Dockers at the line of -13.5 @ 2.20 (bet365)
0.5 units – Total Match Points Under 166.50 @ $1.91 (bet365)
Sunday, April 26
Brisbane vs West Coast
1:10PM AEST, The Gabba
The battle of the walking wounded. There might be one best 22 side out there if you scraped together players from both clubs. Apparently there’s a chance that Lions skipper Tom Rockliff may make a shock return from the fractured ribs and punctured lung he suffered just a few weeks ago, but you’ve got to think the Lions will err on the side of caution and give him another week off. I would be absolutely shocked if he played this week, and I’m sure Lions fans would wince every time he copped a heavy knock.
Both these clubs suffered some humiliation last round and will be keen for the opportunity to bounce back. I’m not all that confident picking a winner here; I’d give the Lions a sniff at home, but I said a similar thing last week and got burned. Having said that, I like to give second chances, so I’m going to back them in again. The Lions have a strong midfield and this is an area that the Eagles can be found wanting at times, so if they can get on top at the clearances I’m confident they’ll get the four points.
Betting tip: 1 unit – Lions to win @ $3.15 (LuxBet)
Geelong vs North Melbourne
3:20PM AEST, Simonds Stadium
More important players missing from the footy this week: Jimmy Bartel, Matthew Stokes and most likely Jack Ziebell and Tom Lonergan. Tom Hawkins may also miss another week following the passing of his mother last weekend. If Lonergan and Hawkins both miss there is absolutely no chance that the Cats get up, I don’t care if it’s down in Geelong. Even if they both play I’d be backing the Kangaroos in for a win; the Cats have been in average form, to put it nicely, and the Kangaroos, while not setting the competition alight, have played some good footy.
Should the Kangaroos lose they’ll be 1-3 going into a round 5 clash with the Hawks. Doesn’t sound like an ideal situation, so they really need to win this one. Obviously the Cats would feel the same way, but I’m just not sure that they’re good enough this year.
Betting tip: 1.5 units – Kangaroos to win @ $1.67 (BetFair)
Western Bulldogs vs Adelaide
4:40PM AEST, Etihad Stadium
Adelaide are definitely one of the form teams of the competition, and the Dogs have been going along quite well too. Yes, they lost by 70 points last week, but it needs to be put in perspective. To start with, two of their best performing players so far this year in Matthew Boyd and Marcus Bontempelli were late withdrawals. They were playing the Hawks in Tassie, and were two men down by quarter time. I’d say they did well to keep it under 100 points to be frank.
This will be another big ask for them. With the injury to Dale Morris, will the Dogs have enough options in defence to keep the Crows’ multitude of tall forwards under control? I think they’ll struggle. This is a game that the Crows should win; the only reason I can find for them possibly dropping it is if they’ve already got one eye on the showdown next weekend.
Betting tip: 1 unit – Crows at the line of -22.5 @ $1.82 (Centrebet)