JUST a few more sleeps until the AFL gets back underway after an 81 day hiatus due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Round 2 may or may not be restarting with members in the stands, although it’s not all doom and gloom, as bigger crowds are seeming increasingly likely in the near future (Not just corporates) as days go by. We’re pumped for the restart of footy, and with the selection of games available, it’s not hard to see why.
Collingwood V Richmond
What a way to kick-start AFL’s reboot as two of the AFL’s powerhouse clubs take the field on a Thursday night at the G.
The Tigers ($1.61) have won 41 out of their last 46 MCG games, a record dating all the way back to the start of the 2017 season. A truly remarkable feat that has seen them claim two premierships. However, two of those five losses have come against Collingwood, with one of them being as recent as Round 2 in 2019 where Richmond had trouble curtailing the influence of Brodie Grundy (23 disposals, 27 hit-outs).
Both are coming off the back of wins in Round 1. With Richmond putting away Carlton comfortably by four goals and the Pies ($2.26) putting in Round 1’s most dominant display, knocking off the dogs by seven goals and making them look like a second-tier side. This is a difficult match to predict with arguments aplenty for both sides, but I think the Pies should take this one out if their dominant form carries over into round two.
Prediction: Collingwood by 15 points.
Geelong V Hawthorn
Another blockbuster game, as Hawthorn, make the trip to Kardinia park for the first time in 14 years.
Geelong ($1.53) have been given a gift this season by the AFL, with a big majority of their home games being set to be played at GMHBA for the foreseeable future. They have won 41 of their last 48 games at this venue, with the dimensions of the ground proving challenging for visiting teams, being the narrowest ground in Australia.
Hawthorn ($2.44) are heading into this match in good spirits after their convincing win against the Lions, and they’ll be hoping that Mitchell is even more set to erupt after an extended break. Geelong suffered a loss against GWS, with de Boer doing an impressive job in halting the influence of Dangerfield. Some interesting battles will take place on Friday, with the midfield battle likely going a long way in deciding the outcome (O’Meara, Mitchell, Worpel vs Selwood, Dangerfield, Duncan). I think home ground advantage will be too much of a factor for Hawthorn to overcome.
Prediction: Geelong by 24 points
Brisbane V Fremantle
We get to see the effect of hubs for the first time in this matchup, as Fremantle ($3.25) take on the Lions ($1.32) at the Gabba.
Both teams are coming off of less than impressive performances in round one, with Brisbane convincingly beaten by Hawthorn, whilst Fremantle made a second-half push against Essendon to ultimately fall by a goal. There were highlights for both sides however, as the reigning Brownlow medallist amassed 26 disposals for Fremantle and rookie Sam Sturt received a rising star nomination off the back of his impressive debut performance. For Brisbane, Eric Hipwood looks set for a big season with three goals and Lauchie Neale continued his dominant 2019.
The bottom line for Brisbane is that this is a must-win. They are reeling off of a straight-set exit in the finals and if they want to avoid a Melbourne like 2019, then they need to get their 2020 campaign back to 1-1 with a win against a Fremantle team that is predicted to finish in the bottom rung of the ladder.
Prediction– Brisbane by 30
Carlton V Melbourne
Saturday Twilight takes off as Carlton ($2.42) host Melbourne ($1.54) at Marvel Stadium for the first time since 2009.
Carlton outscored Richmond by 22 points in the second half of their match-up despite finishing as four goal losers. There were some impressive signs in that second-half fightback, with the recruit Jack Martin having a 4-goal second half, and Vice-Captain Docherty finishing off his first game in two seasons. Carlton were leading both contested and uncontested possessions against Richmond but came unstuck with an efficiency inside 50 of only 39%.
Melbourne on the other hand, were dominated from the outset by the Eagles. Although, it’s hard to say what factor the AFL shutdown had to play in the mentality of the players, with both teams being aware that this was their final game for a while. Melbourne are expected by many to have a bounce-back 2020 after a dismal 2019, and supporters would be buoyed by the performance of their Fremantle recruit Ed Langdon (31 disposals)
Harley Bennel is expected to make his debut for the Dees, which would make for an incredible story, but I think Carlton will spoil the party and get a win on the board for 2020
Prediction– Carlton by 8
Port Adelaide v Adelaide
Arguably the match of the round takes place at Adelaide Oval. There are reports that a couple thousand fans will be allowed to attend the game, which will consist of a mixture of corporates and club members. This would be a huge result for both clubs and the AFL, as larger crowds loom as an increased possibility.
Port Adelaide ($1.48) are on a mission to improve this year, and they got their path set on the right trajectory with a thumping over Gold Coast. Adelaide ($2.58) on the other hand, have experienced all sorts of turmoil following round one, with footage of a training altercation coming to light, as well as the comments made by Andrew Mcleod regarding the footy club. For a club looking to be positive following two mediocre seasons, this is hardly the sort of things they want to be circulating. Their three-point loss against the Swans at home also didn’t do them any favours.
Port Adelaide should beat Adelaide, and beat them comfortably as they progress on their way to a hopeful finals berth this season.
Prediction– Port Adelaide by 30
Gold Coast Suns V West Coast Eagles
This will be the second time we get to see the effect of Hubs, as the Eagles take on the Suns at Metricon stadium.
The Eagles ($1.12) are eyeing a top-two finish this year after getting beaten by Geelong in last year’s finals series. They put in a solid display against the Demons, with their off-season acquisition Kelly putting in a well rounded performance (19 disposals, 1 goal). Development is the goal for the Suns ($1.12) this year, as they aim to get as much experience and games into their young players as possible. There were encouraging signs from their young brigade, with Rowell, Forini and Miller having solid games against Port Adelaide.
This will be a one-sided affair on Saturday night, with the news of Ellis missing doing the Suns no favours. Watch for the likes of Kennedy and Darling to put on a highlight reel.
Prediction– Eagles by 35
GWS Giants V North Melbourne
The Giants host North Melbourne in what looms as an interesting matchup.
It is hard to say how good the Roos ($3.25) are this season, after finishing their 2019 season two wins out of the eight and starting their 2020 campaign with an impressive 2 point win over the Saints. In a competition that is stacked, the Roos will need to find improvement from a few up-and-coming players such as Dumont and Zurhaar to compete for a spot in the eight. GWS ($1.32) put forth a commanding 32 point win over the Cats with Greene, Perryman and Cameron combining for 11 goals. The Giants are another team that will be eyeing a top-four finish after getting embarrassed in last year’s grand final, and if they are serious contenders, then a win this week for them is crucial.
This should be a close matchup, and the Roos will welcome back Captain Jack Ziebel who got injured early in their game against the Saints. However, the Giants will prove to be too classy for North and tally a win in a close matchup
Prediction– GWS by 10
Sydney Swans V Essendon
The Swans host the Bombers at the SCG for the fourth time in seven games.
The Swans ($1.75) will be without Franklin, Ronke, Reid for their clash against Essendon, with Naismith also under an injury cloud heading into the clash. Although, Sydney have showed that they are more than capable of putting forth a competitive performance despite their injury list, with the likes of Parker, Kennedy stepping up to the occasion, and Heeney booting four goals on their way to a win against the Crows. Essendon ($2.02) just held on against Fremantle in Round 1 after blowing a lead in the fourth quarter. They will also experience a depleted team when they travel to the SCG, as they will be without Fantasia, Daniher and Tipungwuti.
Essendon will be looking to make finals this year and get their first finals win since 2004 and should take care of Sydney whom many expect to be near the bottom of the ladder.
Prediction– Essendon by 18
St Kilda Saints V Western Bulldogs
The last match of the round should prove to be a belter, as the Dogs take on the Saints at Marvel Stadium
Saints and the Dogs are both coming off the back of losses against the Kangaroos and the Pies, respectively. St Kilda’s recruits failed to get the job done against the Kangaroos as they struggled to convert in front of goal, booting 7 goals and 12 behinds. The Bulldogs were simply outclassed by Collingwood, who were quicker, harder, and more efficient for the entirety of the game.
St Kilda won their last encounter against the Doggies by 27 points, however, I expect to see a different tail this week as the Dogs get their season back on track with a win. Watch for the Bont to bounce back after a quiet game in round 1.
Prediction– Bulldogs by 24
Geelong to beat Hawthorn $1.53
Port Adelaide -12.5 $1.91
Giants to win $1.32
Essendon to win $2.02
Total odds $7.8
With the Sportsbetting.com.au 20% multi boost a $25 bet will pay $229.00