IT might be a watered-down version of the game we love, but for all intents and purposes, the AFL is finally back.
The pre-season competition is all about getting a look at the new recruits teams have, the bulked up physiques of the younger players and the strategy your team will be looking to implement in the season proper.
The second week of the competition is when teams start to get a bit more active in their pursuit of perfection heading into round one of the home and away season, and that is reflective of the squads that have been named this weekend.
We have put together a multi that we think will salute for investors, and at a tidy price to boot.
All odds for the second week of the AFL pre-season competition were provided by Sportsbet.com.au, which is offering punters a fantastic deal for punters that are yet to sign up.
New customers can get their first bet at Sportsbet matched up to the value of $501.
AFL JLT Community pre-season multi selections:
Richmond to beat Adelaide ($1.85)
Melbourne to defeat Carlton ($1.57)
West Coast to beat Fremantle ($1.66)
Hawthorn to win against the North Melbourne ($1.50)
Richmond Tigers vs. Adelaide Crows
Friday, February 24 from 7.40 pm AEDST, Etihad Stadium, Brisbane
Richmond and Adelaide kick off our AFL pre-season multi this weekend.
Both teams are playing their first game of the JLT series after having the opening week of the competition off.
The Tigers have named a strong side for their first match of the competition. Only Alex Rance and arguably Shaun Hampson are missing from their best 22 that will run out on round one of the regular season.
The Crows have elected to leave a number of big names at home. On-ballers Rory Sloane and Scott Thompson were not included in the squad, nor were important defenders Jake Lever, Kyle Cheney and Paul Seedsman.
Based on the strength of the squads and the fact the game is played in Melbourne we are taking the Tigers.
Richmond should be looking to make a pre-season statement after a lacklustre 2016 campaign.
Richmond Tigers to win – $1.85
Melbourne Demons vs. Carlton Blues
Saturday, February 25 from 2.05 pm AEDST, Casey Fields, Melbourne
The Demons and the Blues clash on Saturday in the second leg of our JLT pre-season competition multi, and we are expecting the red and blue to continue their impressive beginning to the 2017 campaign.
Melbourne defeated the reigning premier Western Bulldogs in spectacular fashion last week. The Dees outworked their opponents and the younger brigade of Clayton Oliver, Christian Salem and Sam Weideman led the way for the winners.
Carlton is playing their opening pre-season game after getting the first week off.
The Demons are looking to improve into a finals position in the regular season while Carlton should be anticipating another footy-free September.
Melbourne should win this comfortably to continue their terrific pre-season.
Melbourne Demons to win – $1.57
West Coast Eagles vs. Fremantle Dockers
Saturday, February 25 from 10 pm AEDST, Wonthella Oval, Wonthella
It is a Western Derby at an unfamiliar location for Eagles and Dockers fans in the third leg of our pre-season multi.
The teams face off in Geraldton in the country’s west in a match that could get heated, even though it’s a pre-season fixture.
The Eagles were hammered last week in their opening pre-season fixture against the Giants, but welcome back Brownlow Medalist Matt Priddis, Coleman Medalist Josh Kennedy, Jeremy McGovern, Luke Shuey, Andrew Gaff, Jack Darling as well as captain Shannon Hurn into the line up.
Fremantle did not play in the opening week of the JLT competition, but are set to unveil returning Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe, who will play his first competitive game since breaking his leg last season.
Fyfe is a big tick but the Dockers will be without Lachie Neale, Aaron Sandilands, Zac Clarke and Harley Bennell, leaving them lacking class across the board.
The Eagles should win this match based on the squads named to notch up their first victory of the JLT series.
West Coast Eagles to win – $1.66
North Melbourne Kangaroos vs. Hawthorn Hawks
Sunday, February 26 from 2.05 pm AEDST, Arden St Oval, North Melbourne
Two battle-hardened teams round out the pre-season multi this week as the Roos host the Hawks at their training base at Arden St.
Both teams are coming off nail-biting wins.
The Kangaroos held on by two points against last year’s grand finalists the Sydney Swans to take out their opening pre-season fixture. North was lead well by new recruit Nathan Hrovat who booted two goals and was named among the best players.
The Hawks did it the hard way against Geelong last week, needing a kick after the siren to topple their long-time rivals. The Hawks were boosted significantly by the return of Jarryd Roughead and will take heart from the fact high-prized recruit Jaeger O’Meara got through the game unscathed.
The Hawks looked good last week and the Roos got lucky. Had Sydney converted just one of their 15 behinds into a goal they would have went down
We are backing Hawthorn to make it through to the third week of the JLT series undefeated.
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