Adelaide vs. GWS, Adelaide Oval, 3.20pm
MATCH UP STATS
Adelaide vs. GWS, Adelaide Oval, 3.20pm
Last time:Adelaide: ADELAIDE 15.17 (107) Goals: Walker 5, Betts 5, Jenkins, Sloane, Milera, Lyons, McGovern. Best: Walker, Betts, Thompson, Atkins, Sloane, Talia, Lever, DouglasGreater Western Sydney: GWS 13.7 (85) Goals: Greene 3, Steele 2, Scully 2, Cameron, Hopper, Tomlinson, Kelly, Steele, Lobb Best: Shiel, Kelly, Coniglio, Scully, Greene, Haynes
Captain:Adelaide: Taylor WalkerGreater Western Sydney: Callan Ward
Coach:Adelaide: Don PykeGreater Western Sydney: Leon Cameron
Line betting:Adelaide: +8.5 ($1.92 at Crownbet)Greater Western Sydney: - 8.5 ($1.92 at Crownbet)
GREATER Western Sydney will go into the AFL season with the unusual proposition of having high expectations.
The expansion club graduated from whipping boys to serious contenders in stunning fashion last year, as they upset good team after good team, only falling to eventual premier Western Bulldogs in a breathtaking run to a preliminary final.
This year GWS go into the season as the Premiership favourite ($4.50 at Crownbet.com.au) as most footy pundits tip them to graduate to the big boys table.
But with expectation comes pressure and Sunday’s clash against Adelaide, in Adelaide, will give us a indication of how well Leon Cameron’s men will handle the weight of the footballing public.
There are few tougher road trips than the one to the Adelaide Oval to face the Crows and their army of passionate fans.
These two teams both enjoyed solid preseason campaigns with Adelaide losing first-up to a determined Richmond side, before knocking off Geelong and Brisbane in successive matches.
GWS won its opening clash against West Coast in impressive fashion, before losing a slog to cross-town rival Sydney and then eclipsing North Melbourne in a final JLT clash.
Football matches can often be won at the selection table and both teams have several issues to confront before running out for the season opener.
The Giants will be without boom recruit Brett Deledio, gun midfielder Stephen Coniglio and youngster Aidan Corr, while no.1 draft pick Lachie Whitfield is serving his AFL sanctioned suspension.
The Crows are also sweating on the availability of some big names with captain Taylor Walker, gun midfielder Rory Sloane and important tall defender Jake Lever all racing the clock.
The potential loss of Sloane is the biggest blow for the Crows who already have question marks over their midfield depth.
Big win, Little win betting predictions – Crows v Giants
While the sum of the outs for the Giants is probably greater than the players missing for the Crows, the importance of Taylor Walker, Rory Sloane and Jake Lever is bigger.
That is why I think the Giants will be too strong.
If Walker doesn’t play the Crows will struggle to kick a winning score, remember him and Eddie Betts putting the Giants to the sword in round 10 last year?
If Sloane doesn’t play the Crows lack that A-Grade talent through the midfield to punch with the Giants guns like Callum Ward and Josh Kelly.
While Lever’s absence would make it that much harder to man up Jon Patton, Jeremy Cameron and Rory Lobb, who look like forming one of the most lethal trios of tall’s we have ever seen.
For these reasons I think the Giants will sneak home against Adelaide, but it will be close, as Don Pyke’s men never give in without a fight.
North Melbourne v West Coast – Sunday – Etihad Stadium – 1.10pm
There are so many questions hovering over North Melbourne, it is almost impossible to predict how this match will pan out.
How will they cope without their delisted veterans Brent Harvey, Nick Dal Santo and Drew Petrie, who will face his former club in his debut for the Eagles?
Are they a spent force destined for the lower rungs of the ladder? Which is always a concern for the fiscally reliant Roos who pride themselves on never bottoming out.
The Eagles have unanswered questions of their own, how will they handle this testing first up trip without their best ruck men? How will ex-Hawthorn champ Sam Mitchell go at his new club? Do they have enough pace through the midfield to trouble the best teams?
While the goal scorers market is yet to be released, big Eagle Josh Kennedy has got a great record against the Roos and looms as a match-winner again.
If you can get over $4 for most goals snap it up.
Fremantle v Geelong – Sunday – Domain Stadium – 4.40pm
The Dockers are rebuilding – this is no secret – but you get the feeling Ross Lyon’s team will fancy its chances of jumping the Cats in round 1 of the AFL season.
The AFL’s best player Nat Fyfe is back fit and raring to go, which is a huge boost to the Dockers chances of curbing the Cats own ball magnet Patrick Dangerfield.
Fyfe/Lachie Neale vs Dangerfield/Joel Selwood is the material football wet dreams contain.
For the Dockers it will come down to whether they can kick enough goals, as they look good enough on paper to match the Cats through the midfield.
They need GWS recruit Cam McCarthy to get his hands on the ball early and they need elusive forward Michael Walters to jag at least three.
Geelong fans will be hoping to see the support cast grow around Dangerfield, because if it doesn’t, finals are the best they can hope for.
Tip: Fremantle to win ($2.55 at Crownbet.com.au)