ANOTHER week, another round of upsets to throw our weekly tipping into disarray.
Followers of this weekly preview will have noted that we selected eight out of the nine winners last week in a round that had some mind-boggling results and some big winners.
This week’s clash between GWS and Adelaide, which looked like a run-of-the-mill game prior to round one, is now a genuine match-of-the-round with the winner poised to move one game clear in fourth position. Don’t forget the 2014 Grand Final rematch between the Swans and the Hawks, which will attract the attention of the football world.
Let’s get into the action and see if we can find some winners.
Cats vs. Blues
Friday, May 22nd, 7:50pm, Etihad Stadium
Geelong – $1.92 (-31.5)
Carlton- $1.92 (+31.5)
The Cats are coming off the back of a spirited loss to the Swans where they pushed last year’s Grand Finalists right up until the last quarter, while Carlton suffered one of its most humiliating defeats, succumbing to the GWS Giants by a record margin.
There was some bad news for the Cats as scans on the foot of emerging star Mitch Duncan revealed the 23-year-old could potentially miss the season with a foot injury sustained in the loss to Sydney. Despite Duncan’s absence, the Cats will be buoyed by the return of midfielder James Kelly, defender Andrew Mackie and gun full forward Tom Hawkins.
Expect an improved effort from Carlton, but given its playing stocks are so thin, especially down back, the twin-towers of Mitch Clark and Tom Hawkins should have a field day.
Geelong by 40 or more is the preferred bet.
Exotic: Steve Johnson most disposals group 1 – $6 via Sportsbet
Saints vs. Eagles
Saturday, May 23rd, 1:45pm, Etihad Stadium
St Kilda – $1.91 (+33.5)
West Coast – $1.91 (-33.5)
Two teams that seemed destined for an aimless year towards the bottom of the ladder have defied the trends and open Saturday with a contest that looms as one of the more interesting ones of the weekend.
The West Coast Eagles are flying, with only two losses to their name and currently sit in second place on the ladder.
St Kilda’s form stacks up nicely, with the Saints sitting just two games outside of finals contention – not bad for a team that was not meant to win a game this season.
The Saints have lost captain Nick Riewoldt to a concussion and key defender Luke Delaney to a hip injury, but welcome back all-Australian midfielder Leigh Montagna and athletic forward Tim Membrey.
The Eagles finally have welcomed back vice-captain Scott Selwood after a long layoff with injury, as well as versatile defender Jeremy McGovern.
The Saints will be confident of causing an upset here as their Etihad form has been stellar this season, but the Eagles are white-hot at the moment and should prove far too strong, especially through the midfield.
Tip: West Coast to win 1-39 margin $2.30 via Sportbet
Exotic: Most disposals/most goals – David Armitage/Josh Kennedy $7.40 via Sportsbet
Giants vs. Crows
Saturday, May 23rd, 2:10pm, Spotless Stadium
GWS – $1.91 (-11.5)
Adelaide- $1.91 (+11.5)
Two teams that have defied the odds thus far meet in Sydney’s west, with the winner firmly entrenching themselves in the top four while the loser will slip back amongst the pack.
The Giants are absolutely flying after dismantling Carlton at Etihad Stadium, and are looking to win three matches in a row for the first time in their infantile existence, while the Crows are looking to match the feats of their orange-clad opponents.
The Crows will be without important play-maker Brodie Smith who misses after suffering a nasty concussion after a head clash with St Kilda captain Nick Riewoldt, as well as rebounding defender Matthew Jeancsh who suffered a season-ending knee injury. They will welcome back exciting big man Josh Jenkins and enigmatic forward Cameron Ellis-Yolmen.
GWS has some big inclusions, with Giants co-captain Phil Davis returning to the fold alongside exciting youngster Josh Kelly.
This is without a doubt the game of the round, in both the match up and the stakes. The Giants have the chance to create history and cement their finals position even at this early stage, and given the way they have been playing it is hard to see them conceding defeat.
After overcoming an early fight, the Giants should win in a tight contest.
Tip: GWS to win 1-24 point margin $3.25 via William Hill
Suns vs. Magpies
Saturday, May 23rd, 4:35pm, Metricon Stadium
Gold Coast – $1.92 (+20.5)
Collingwood – $1.92 (-20.5)
The Suns and the Pies meet in Saturday afternoon footy up at the Gold Coast with the Suns desperate to keep their good record against Collingwood at Metricon alive.
Nathan Buckley’s men are looking to get back on track after back-to-back losses against Geelong and Richmond.
The Suns have included rising star nominee Adam Saad back into their line-up after missing through a soft tissue complaint, while Collingwood have regained Steele Sidebottom, who hasn’t played AFL football since round one.
Gold Coast has had a great record against the Pies, winning the last two match ups between the two sides, but with captain Gary Ablett Jr missing, as well as the 200 game milestone for Pies’ skipper Scott Pendlebury, Collingwood should easily account for the Suns.
Watch out for Travis Cloke to have a big match after his lack of favourable umpires calls were highlighted by his coach during the week.
Tip: Collingwood to win $1.32 via William Hill
Exotic: Most disposals/most goals – Scott Pendlebury/Travis Cloke $8.50 via Sportsbet
Hawks vs. Swans
Saturday, May 23rd, 7:10pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Hawthorn – $1.91 (-10.5)
Sydney – $1.91 (+10.5)
The Grand Final rematch between Hawthorn and Sydney – how good is this!
The players will say is only worth four points, but the Swans will be stung after their dreadful performance in last year’s finale and should come out swinging.
The Hawks have welcomed back three huge ins – Isaac Smith, Jordan Lewis and Brian Lake with no forced changes, while the Swans have dropped Dean Towers to make room for Harry Cunningham.
Ex-Hawk and Sydney superstar Lance Franklin has already made his intentions clear, saying throughout the week he will be out to physically intimidate his former teammates after they targeted him in last year’s Grand Final, which could ignite this game into a grudge match.
Expect the Swans to come out hard and prove they have what it takes to match the premiers’ physicality, and eventually run away with the points.
Tip: Swans 1-39 margin $2.90 via Sportsbet
Exotic: Most disposals group A – Josh Kennedy $6 via Sportsbet
Dockers vs. Kangaroos
Saturday, May 23rd, 7.40pm, Domain Stadium
Fremantle – $1.92 (-30.5)
North Melbourne – $1.92 (+30.5)
The undefeated Dockers host the in-form Kangaroos to round out Saturday’s action, with the daunting prospect of facing the flag favourites in their stronghold the challenge looming for the Roos.
The Dockers are in unbelievable form, having not lost a game this season, while the Roos ground out a terrific 11 point win over Essendon on Friday night.
The Dockers will be overjoyed by the return of Luke McPharlin, who has missed the last two weeks with a calf complaint. Two gamer Alex Pearce is the man who makes way for the All-Australian centre half back.
The Kangaroos will be without captain Andrew Swallow who whose hand was troubling him throughout Friday’s match against the Dons, and Ben Brown who jarred his knee in the third term in the same match. Mason Wood and Trent Durmont are the inclusions.
The venue holds no fear for the Roos who last year stunned the Dockers at Domain to take the points, but the Dockers are a different beast this season and it is hard to see them dropping a game at home all season.
Tip: Fremantle to win $1.20 via Sportbet
Exotic: Nat Fyfe – 35 or more disposals $4.30 via Sportsbet
Bombers vs. Lions
Sunday, May 24th, 1:10pm, Etihad Stadium
Essendon – $1.91 (-26.5)
Brisbane – $1.91 (+26.5)
The first of three Sunday games sees the Bombers host the Lions in a match that could get physical from the outset.
The Dons and the Lions have history, after their 2001 Grand Final, and the now infamous ‘no-rules’ match at the same venue as Sunday’s match, and with both teams desperate for a win to keep their finals chances alive, we could see fireworks under the roof.
The Dons have welcomed back a host of big names for the contest, with Paul Chapman, Jake Carlisle and Adam Cooney all named on an extended bench, with youngsters Jason Ashby and Kyle Langford both missing through injury.
The Lions are finally starting to get some continuity in their football, and have included Rohan Bewick and Clay Beams in their extended squad.
The Lions are coming off the back of their best win in recent years, defeating the Power at home and will prove a worthy opponent for an Essendon team that badly needs to get back on the winners list.
The Dons should have enough in the tank to run over the top of the Lions though, with arguably the best backline in the competition it is hard to see the Lions kicking a winning score.
Tip: Essendon to win 1-39 $2.15 via Sportsbet
Exotic: First goal –Paul Chapman $15 via Sportsbet
Demons vs. Bulldogs
Sunday, May 17th, 3:20pm, Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne – $1.92 (+19.5)
Western Bulldogs – $1.92 (-19.5)
The Bulldogs and the Demons meet at the MCG on Sunday in a game that could be a lot of fun if recent matches between the sides are any indication.
Only once in the last five games has the margin been over 21 points, with two of the matches decided by a goal or less.
Melbourne will enter the game without imposing full forward Chris Dawes who misses with a calf injury, and Christian Salem who tweaked his hamstring in the Dees’ loss to Hawthorn, but regain exciting forward Jesse Hogan and the much maligned Jack Watts.
The Dogs are set to welcome back Jack Macrae into the line-up after Mitch Honeycurch failed to prove his fitness.
It looks like a formality for the Dogs, who should easily account for the undermanned Dees who have only conceded one defeat to their opponents since 2008, but Luke Beveridge will have to make sure his men are up to the task after showing signs of complacency two weeks ago in their unexpected loss to St Kilda.
Barring a catastrophic calamity the Dogs should be able to put the Demons away and keep their finals aspirations well on track.
Exotic: First goal scorer – Stewart Crameri $8 via Sportsbet
Sunday, May 24th, 4:40pm, Adelaide Oval
Port Adelaide – $1.91 (-22.5)
Richmond – $1.92 (+22.5)
The round closes out with Port Adelaide hosting the Tigers in a match that could be fiery from the get-go with two teams set to atone for lacklustre showings.
The Power were humbled away from home by the Lions in a match no one expected Ken Hinkley’s men to drop. The Tigers will be looking to atone for their embarrassing elimination final loss to the Power at the same venue last year.
Included in the extended squad for the Power is gun on-baller Ollie Wines and Alipate Carlile, both of whom have missed in recent weeks due to injury, with Cam O’Shea the only omission named thus far.
The Tigers welcome back Shane Edwards who was a late out last week against the Pies, which will be a key inclusion as he proves run and spark – something the Tigers lack against the better teams.
If Port are going to finish anywhere near the top eight they need to be putting away sides like Richmond, and whilst the Tigers’ form was magnificent last week against the Magpies, coming up against last year’s preliminary finalists on their home track is a different prospect.
Expect the Power to bounce back in a big way and dismantle the Tigers.
Tip: Power to win 40+ @2.90 via William Hill
Exotic: First goal scorer – Patrick Ryder $13 via Sportsbet
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