Essendon Bombers vs. Richmond Tigers
MATCH UP STATS
Essendon Bombers vs. Richmond Tigers
2018 AFL premiership odds:Essendon Bombers: $14 @ Sportsbet.com.auRichmond Tigers: $8 @ Sportsbet.com.au
2017 finish:Essendon Bombers: 8th - eliminated first finalRichmond Tigers: Premiers
Saturday, February 24, 2018, 4:35 PM AEST, Norm Minns Oval, Wangaratta, Watch on Fox Footy,
THE AFLX experiment is thankfully over and while the ladies in the AFLW are still going strong, the men are back for a taste of the real thing.
It has been a marvellous offseason for the Bombers with the recruitment of three star players – Adam Saad, Devon Smith and Jake ‘the Package’ Stringer.
Whether the new-look Essendon will blend well together is the question on the minds of the footy world and this practice match will give fans an early indicator of how the Bombers will shape up in 2018.
Their opponents are coming off the ultimate high in football.
After breaking a 37-year premiership drought last season, the Tigers have enjoyed a solid summer without controversy and no major injuries. While they didn’t pick up any players through free agency or trade, they did draft some future stars in Jack Higgins and father-son prodigy Patrick Naish. There’s also the 194cm Noah Balta, who could debut early as a key forward – a position that the Tigers went without in 2017.
Having shocked the footy world last year, the Tigers are fourth on the line of premiership betting at +700 with Sportsbet. Their long road back to September starts with baby steps on Saturday afternoon.
Let’s take a look at the odds and see where we can find value for the match:
Essendon vs. Richmond JLT first goal scorer tips
Would it be too good to be true if Jake Stringer bursts out of a pack and smashes through the first goal from 50 plus to open his account for the Bombers? It’s just the kind of fairytale that’s likely here. The Bombers have been trialling Jake at training in the guts and he seems to be thriving.
Also, the Package would want to be expressed delivered, making an immediate impact would be on Stringer’s mind and you best believe that if he has the ball within distance, he’s having a crack.
Jason Castagna – $17 at Sportsbet.com.au
After a relatively-quiet finals series last season, Jason Castagna would like to get off to a quick start and cement his 2018 position as a premium small forward. ‘George’ Castagna was given the illustrious honour of captaining the club’s AFLX and enjoyed the role, showing some good early signs for the season ahead.
We think he’ll start forward and find himself in a handy position early.
Tigers vs. Bombers player disposal tips
Zach Merrett 30 +
Zach Merrett is in prime position to become one of the league’s best midfielders. Last season Merrett tallied 30 disposals a whopping 12 times, against the Richmond midfield it shouldn’t be too difficult for Merrett to find some space outside.
Merrett will carry a heavy burden in an under-manned Essendon midfield, so we expect him to have another big year, starting in Wangaratta.
Jack Graham 20 +
Not many first year players instantly become a cult figure and hall of fame member after five matches, but Jack Graham is the exclusion in this situation.
Graham could be anything, the boy was electric on Grand final day and his senses around the contest were second to none. After a great finish to the season, Graham should look to tear the league apart in 2018. We like the idea of him pushing higher up the ground and 20 disposals is value
Essendon vs. Richmond JLT match predictions
Match result: Richmond Tigers to win @ -200 with Crownbet.com.au
Line Betting: Richmond -12.5 @ $1.90 with Sportsbet.com.au
Many think Richmond they will drop off this year and that they fluked last season’s Premiership, but we think they’ll be there abouts again this year, starting here.
Yes, Essendon look to be a much stronger side, but we expect the Tigers to carry some momentum in this practice and get the job done. Keep an eye on Brownlow superstar Dustin Martin to raise his game another level this season.