AFL Round 3 Preview

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FOOTY’S return is done and dusted, after a complete boil-over saw the last 4 matches of the round end as upsets. We have more questions than answers after the completion of Round 2, but the upcoming schedule of games will hopefully go a long way in providing us with much-needed clarification!

Richmond V Hawthorn

Round 3 kicks off at the home of footy as the Tigers take on Hawthorn on Thursday night.

The Tigers ($1.38) match against Collingwood last week ended as a draw (What? You didn’t hear?) after Richmond gave up an early 4 goal lead and spent the rest of the match trying to claw their way back. A 14 disposal second half by Houli and a 3 goal haul by Lynch (After being kept goalless in round 1) were positive signs for the Tigers, but perhaps the most positive thing to come from the match was Jack Higgins return to football after brain surgery, finishing with 12 disposals and a goal.

Hawthorn ($3.00) was part of a much different narrative, as they got decimated in the second half by a Geelong outfit who used every inch of their home ground advantage. Hawthorns midfield was bullied in the second half, gaining 31 less contested possessions than their counterpart, and amassing 14 fewer clearances. The proverbial ball magnet Tom Mitchell was also kept to only 9 disposals in the second half.

Richmond has won their last 4 matches against Hawthorn, and although the return of Jaeger O’Meara should bolster the Hawks, Richmond looked the far better side in round 2 and will be looking to extend their impressive MCG record and pile on the pain to Clarko’s men.

Prediction: Richmond by 25

Western Bulldogs V GWS Giants

Friday night footy presents us with one of the most intriguing contests of the round as these two sides face off at Marvel Stadium.

This is a danger game for the Dogs ($2.28), as a loss would see them go down to 0-3 for the season, and with this shortened format, every game bares more importance. We could excuse their round 1 performance against the Pies as we knew that the Magpies were a top 4 team this season, however, a 39 point loss against the Saints would be unacceptable for Beveridge, as many of his players just weren’t up to standard. Perhaps the most prominent headache for the Bulldogs is Tim English, who got beaten convincingly in the Ruck for the second straight week. We all know that they rate English highly, and he will be a super player for them one day, but if he wants to maintain his spot in the team then he must simply stop letting the opposition Ruckman dictate the direction of the game.

The Giants ($1.61) on the other hand, started strongly in Round 1 with a win over Geelong, but then fell to the Roos in an upset. This isn’t too concerning, as the Roos are capable of beating anyone in the competition when they play their brand of footy. However, this isn’t a performance that the Giants would be happy with and they will be looking to bounce back strongly against their rivals.

This is arguably the most important match of the round, as a loss for either of these sides will spell trouble for their top 4 aspirations. Expect to see Beveridge swing the axe and bring back the likes of Liberatore, McLean, Dickson, and Trengove for this match, but I believe the Giants are the stronger team at the moment and should take care of the dogs in a close match.

Prediction– GWS by 10 points.

North Melbourne V Sydney Swans

North Melbourne host the Swans at Marvel Stadium to start off Saturday footy.

Sydney Swans ($2.36) finished 6 point losers against the Bombers on Sunday, after letting Essendon get off to a fast start, and then trailing by 4 goals for the majority of the game. Longmire will be far from disappointed with this game, as they grinded back the deficit after quarter time. The key for Sydney is too get off to a good start and control the pace of the game from the outset. They were able to beat the Crows after getting off to a slow start, but against higher quality teams like the Bombers and the Kangaroos, they cannot rely on a comeback to always get the win.

The Kangaroos ($1.57) have proven to be the surprise packet of 2020 thus far in this short-lived season. They completed an impressive comeback in Round 1 against the Saints and pulled off a gutsy upset over the Giants. They will be pleased to see the performances of some of their young guns, as Simpkin (22 yo) is averaging 24 disposals across the first two rounds, and Zurhaar (22 yo) is heading into this match after a 3 goal haul. North has been impressive, and if their young players can remain consistent then they are a real danger to make the top 8 this season.

The last 3 matches between these sides have all been decided by a goal or less, and we’ll likely see a similar story play out in this game. Whoever gets off to the best start will set themselves up for the win on Saturday, but if North Melbourne bring their form from Round 2, then they should take care of Sydney on home soil.

Prediction– North Melbourne by 7

Collingwood V St Kilda

Twilight footy makes a return as old rivals Collingwood and St Kilda face off at the MCG.

Collingwood ($1.38) has been impressive in the first two rounds, making the doggies look like a second rate side and matching it against the reigning premiers after leading for the majority of the game. The one thing that Collingwood seemed to be missing against the Tigers was a player that could break the lines with their speed and take the game on. Treloar will hopefully return this week for the Magpies and buoy them even further.

The Saints ($2.95) put in an impressive performance against the Western Bulldogs, finishing 39 point winners. Jack Billings was the best player on the ground, kicking three goals and picking up 24 disposals. The Saints will be hoping for more of this, as maybe this is the year that Jack takes the step into ‘Superstar’ territory. Their recruits all stepped up and delivered, of which Zak Jones was most impressive with 29 disposals and a goal.

This match will go a long way to showing us whether the Saints are genuine top 8 fancies, or perhaps still another year away. Nonetheless, Collingwood is a quality team and shouldn’t have any trouble taking care of St Kilda.

Prediction– Collingwood by 20 points

Geelong V Carlton 

Geelong hosts their second game at GMHBA as Carlton travel over to try and tally their first win of the season.

Geelong ($1.17) outclassed Hawthorn in all facets of the game last weekend and reminded everyone just how much of an advantage the ground is. They extend their streak to 42 wins out of their last 49 games at this venue. Although Geelong put forth a positive performance, Hawkins was kept goalless, and he is coming up against a full-back in Weitering, who seems to be quietly having a breakout season. He kept Hawkins goalless in Round 23 last year, Lynch goalless in Round 1 this year, and McDonald goalless in round 2, an ultra-impressive short run of form for the youngster.

Carlton ($4.80) fell to 0-2 this season, after succumbing to the slimmest of margins against Melbourne. Their problem seems to be similar to Sydney’s, in that they get off to awful starts (Down 46 points at HT against Tigers, Down 29 points at HT against Melbourne) and then spend the rest of the match picking away at the margin, which came to be a case of too little, too late against the Dees. Carlton has looked impressive in the second halves of their games, but Footy is 4 quarters and they will need to put forth a consistent effort to get their first win on the board.

Carlton have looked impressive, but their job doesn’t get any easier against the formidable Cats at GMHBA, and although Carlton should make it competitive, I expect Geelong to come out on top

Prediction– Geelong by 20 points

Brisbane Lions V West Coast Eagles

Another opportunity to see the effects of Hubs on teams after 2 rounds, as the Lions take on Eagles at the Gabba.

The Lions beat the Dockers by 2 goals last week, as Zorko kicked the sealer in a gut-wrenching last quarter. They don’t look as impressive as they did last year, albeit a small sample size, but after getting beaten comfortably by the Hawks, and then barely scraping by the Dockers, they have clear work to do. Although, Lachine Neale hasn’t missed a beat after his stellar 2019, finishing with 29 disposals and 2 goals, acting as Lion’s barometer.

In a shock upset, the Eagles fell 44 point victims to the Suns. This is a reality check for the Eagles, who are aiming for a top-two finish this year. Darling and Kennedy were kept to 2 goals in total, as the Suns exposed the Eagles in the contest, handling the conditions of the game much better than their counterpart.

The Eagles will get a chance to redeem themselves, and I am yet to be convinced of Brisbane’s adequacy heading into Round 3. I expect the mature playing group of the Eagles to bounce back hard against the Lions, and prove that Round 2 was just a blip in the season.

Prediction– Eagles by 17 points.

Gold Coast Suns V Adelaide Crows

The battle of two sides predicted to finish bottom of the ladder will take place on Sunday Afternoon at Metricon Stadium.

Gold Coast ($1.82) will head into this match as favorites after their stunning display against the Eagles. Matthew Rowell (26 disposals, 2 goals) put forth a performance that let the footy public know the Suns will be a problem in the coming years. Their young players (Ainsworth, King, Lukocious, Weller, Bowes, Fiorini, Anderson) had a field day against their opponents and showed that the Suns are not to be underestimated this season.

The Adelaide Crows ($1.96), however, faced a demolition job at the hands of their cross-town rivals in a performance that coach Nicks labeled as ‘bruise free’, and is reflected in the tackle count that Adelaide lost by 16. Their top-end players mostly left more to be desired, as Walker and Lynch were kept goalless, and their star midfielders lacked efficiency going inside 50.

This is a must-win for Adelaide, who will be looking for some sort of positivity after the first two rounds. Suns were impressive in their win, but I don’t think their young guns can back it up for a second week in a row. Adelaide should win in a close one.

Prediction– Adelaide by 10 points.

Essendon V Melbourne

Essendon host Melbourne at the MCG on Sunday afternoon.

Essendon ($1.84) is heading into this round 2-0 after barely hanging on against the likes of Fremantle and Sydney. McGrath has been a shining light and looks ready to take the next step, along with Parish who had a 13 disposal 4th quarter, including the match-winning goal.

Melbourne ($1.95) started on fire against the Blues, leading by 32 points at QT. The brigade of Gawn, Petracca, and Oliver proved to be too much for Carlton, who tried their best but ultimately fell short. Goodwin will be hoping that this is the baseline standard for Petracca and that he can continue to put in such incredible performances.

Both teams are going into this matchup off the back of wins, but the return of Fantasia should see the Bombers progress to 3-0 against the Demons, although, they are capable of pulling off an upset at the G.

Prediction– Essendon by 20

Fremantle V Port Adelaide

The round ends with the Dockers taking on Port Adelaide in what will be the second match of the Metricon Stadium doubleheader.

Fremantle ($3.45) have been competitive in their first two rounds and got close to beating the Lions at the Gabba after some second-half brilliance by Fyfe and Walters. The Dockers will need to find some players that can act as a ‘game-breaker’ as they can’t rely on Fyfe and Walters to get the job done every week (Walters and Fyfe combined for 52 disposals, 3 goals, 8 tackles).

Port Adelaide ($1.30) is one of three teams that are heading into round 3 with a 2-0 record, although it is hard to know just how impressive the Power is, as both wins came against 2020s predicted bottom two sides.

If the last two rounds are anything to go by, then Port Adelaide should take care of Fremantle comfortably. It’ll be interesting to see how the Power fare against the Eagles in the following week.

Prediction– Port Adelaide by 30

Daniel’s Multi

Richmond to beat Hawthorn $1.38

West Coast to beat Brisbane $2.04

Collingwood to beat St Kilda $1.38

Adelaide to beat Gold Coast $1.97

Total odds $7.6

With the 20% multi boost a $25 bet will pay $223.00