AFL Round 8 - Bombers vs. Cats
MATCH UP STATS
AFL Round 8 - Bombers vs. Cats
Win-loss recordEssendon: 3-4Geelong: 5-2
Round 7 resultsEssendon: Defeated by Fremantle 17.14 (116) to 11.13 (79)Geelong: Defeated by Gold Coast 18.16 (124) to 15.9 (99)
CAN too many marquee fixtures hurt a team?
Essendon have paid a dear price in the rounds since their big win over Collingwood on ANZAC Day.
After a sloppy and ragged display against Melbourne two weeks ago, they started brightly at Subiaco on Sunday only to be run off their feet in the second half.
Perhaps the Bombers can be excused their fatigue after playing three games in 13 days, but their season statistics show some alarming trends.
Their midfield is ranked last in the competition for clearances and contested possessions, while only the Brisbane Lions have made fewer entries into the forward 50.
Young Darcy Parish might be due for a break after a few tired-looking displays, while Jobe Watson could return after sitting out the trip west.
Andy McGrath and Ben McNiece will also be in the mix, yet the state of the Essendon back-line remains a real worry.
Matt Taberner and Shane Kersten are not names that usually inspire fear in the hearts of opposition defenders, but Michael Hartley and Matt Dea were well beaten by the unheralded Docker duo.
With Patrick Ambrose and Mitch Brown both sidelined, Bombers coach John Worsfold may have to consider throwing Cale Hooker back to give Michael Hurley – a standout against both the Demons and Freo – a hand against Geelong’s big guns.
Tom Hawkins, Sam Menegola, Daniel Menzel and Aaron Black all kicked multiple goals last weekend, but not enough for the Cats to get the cream.
Returning Gold Coast co-captain Sam May severely limited Hawkins’ impact, while Gary Ablett Jr. got the better of his old mob in the midfield battle.
Geelong kicked back to within a goal on several occasions in the second half, but the Suns had all the answers and ran out 25-point winners.
It would have been a lot worse had Gold Coast’s Tom Lynch converted more than three of his eight attempts on goal.
Patrick Dangerfield and Mitch Duncan were among the best for the Cats, but skipper Joel Selwood again failed to recapture his early-season form.
One area Chris Scott will want to address is the ruck.
Zac Smith was left out in favour of Rhys Stanley for the trip to Queensland, but the former Saint was smashed in the hitouts by Collingwood reject Jarrod Witts.
Geelong also missed Lachie Henderson last week after he pulled out with sore ribs, but the big swingman is a chance to return for the Country Game.
Both camps will be cheering on Essendon’s James Kelly, who makes in his 300th senior appearance this weekend.
The 33-year-old midfielder played 278 times for the Cats between 2002 and 2015, winning three AFL Premierships and earning All-Australian honours in 2011.
Joe Daniher bet specials
- Four or more goals – +215 at William Hill
- Three or more goals/Essendon win – +500 at Ladbrokes
- First goalscorer – +800 at Sportsbet
JD’s goal-kicking has come in for some serious scrutiny in recent weeks.
Where were all the haters when he finished with three goals straight at Freo after another excellent all-round display?
Daniher has risen to a new level this season, averaging 16 disposals, eight marks and five scoring attempts per game – all big improvements on previous years.
He seems to enjoy the open expanses of the MCG, so the Geelong backs had best be on their game or else risk Joe finding his range.
Patrick Dangerfield betting
- 32 or more disposals/Geelong win – +150 at Ladbrokes
- 140 or more AFL Fantasy points – --100 at William Hill
- First goalscorer – +1300 at Sportsbet
Geelong’s star on-ballers should sense an opportunity here.
With the exception of Zach Merrett, the Essendon midfield is struggling.
The likes of Dyson Heppell, Jobe Watson, Brent Stanton and especially David Zaharakis are performing well below their best.
This is the kind of situation where Dangerfield could explode and rack up some ridiculous numbers.
Bombers vs. Cats match tip
Neither of these teams impressed last week.
The Dons were good early, but their inability to run out games in tough conditions is a bit of a worry.
Hartley and Dea in the key defensive posts inspire little confidence against the aerial threat of Hawkins, Menzel, et al, while Geelong’s engine room should have too much juice for a battling Bombers midfield.
The Cats have won 12 of their last 13 against the Dons, often by big margins, so another hiding would hardly surprise.
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