AFL ROUND 6
GWS v WESTERN BULLDOGS
Friday night will be a cracking affair this week with GWS looking for revenge from last years Prelim when they take on the Western Bulldogs in chilly Canberra.
The Giants play this big wide ground well and it suits their hard running gifted midfield. The Dogs have lost just the one game this season but have hardly looked convincing with come from behind wins against North and Brisbane in the last fortnight.
Teams news for this game sees the Giants lose their captain and best defender Phil Davis through injury while the Doggies have given veteran Matthew Boyd the night off. The Giants will desperately miss Davis down back as he is their general and this brings the Doggies right back into the game.
While the Dogs haven't set the world on fire they have only been beaten once and the line looks a touch on the large side here at 23/24. Think the Dogs will keep it tight and lift for this huge clash.
HAWTHORN v ST KILDA
Hawthorn and St Kilda do battle in Hobart on Saturday afternoon. The Hawks are fresh of their first win for the season in accounting comfortably for a very ordinary West Coast. They have lost a key component to that win in the mercurial Cyril Rioli though injury. On the plus side they have regained Jaeger O'Meara.
The Saints were good for three quarters last week before being totally over run by the Cats in what was a high quality game.
These two sides played out a thriller at this venue last season in Round 4 with the Hawks winning by 3 points. The Saints pace worried them that day and 12 months later its fair to say the Hawks have real issues with quick sides. The Eagles were dreadful last week and allowed Hawthorn to play the game on their own terms. If Saints allow the same thing they won't win. But i am predicting Allan Richardson will be instructing his young quick players to take the Hawks on at every opportunity.
Rioli will be a big out for Hawthorn, it's not often the goals he kicks but the ones he sets up with his unique skills and great defensive pressure. Also worth noting that even though the Hawks won last week they still lost the contested ball. I'm not convinced the Hawks are back on track just yet.
Always a risk taking the Hawks on when they play at Launceston but i'm prepared to bet on a Saints side that is playing much better football than their opponents.
BRISBANE v PORT ADELAIDE
This weeks edition of Saturday twilight football takes us to Brisbane town for the Lions and Port Adelaide clash.
In a round that has many enticing match ups this one is probably down the list. But the Lions have been a much improved side this year and despite only winning just the one game they have been in front in the 3rd qtr or 4th qtr in four of their five clashes. Simply they are performing more to their ability than they did under previous coach Leppitsch. New coach Fagan has installed some passion and structure which was on view last week when the Lions got as far as six goals in front of the Premiers Western Bulldogs at Etihad before tiring late and getting over run.
The Power have been very good in 2017 winning 3 and losing 2. Their two losses have come to the in form sides Adelaide and GWS. But their three wins have also been against Sydney (0-5) Fremantle (2-3) who were legless that day and last week they destroyed a very young Carlton side (1-4). We will get a better gauge of Port's form in this match.
The midfield battle will be as important as ever here. The Lions actually have a strong starting midfield with A Graders in Beams - Zorko and Rockliff and Stef Martin has been huge in the ruck for them. The Lions main issue is they lack depth in the middle outside those big four. The Power midfield has guns Ollie Wines and Robbie Gray but will be missing captain Travis Boak who is out injured. Gray has been spending more time forward this season and has been dangerous in the forward 50 but with Boak out he is more likely to spend time in the centre.
The line came up Port -30.5 for this game which i thought was too high. As i write this preview the line now sits at 33.5 with money for Port to cover the minus. I am going to go against the steam here and say the home side will be more than competitive here. The Lions have only been beaten by more than 32 points once this season by Richmond (5-0). Home team with the start theory.
NORTH MELBOURNE v GOLD COAST
Looking at North Melbourne this season and one thing stands out from their 0-5 start to this year and that is they start every game extremely well before fading badly late in the match. They have lost three games now where they had established big leads against Geelong - Western Bulldogs and last week Fremantle. They have won the first qtr in 3 games this year - scores were tied in one fixture and they trailed by 3 points to GWS in Hobart. They clearly start all guns blazing.
Their opponent Gold Coast have been the opposite this year at start of games. They allowed the Lions to kick 7 goals on them in the first qtr of the opening game and then got destroyed the following week by GWS. They had back to back wins over Hawthorn and Carlton but trailed Carlton at HT. Last week the Crows kicked 7 goals on the Suns in the first qtr.
The Kangas will be sniffing out a much needed win here at home against a flakey Suns side. I expect the home side to come out all guns blazing as they have done all season.
WEST COAST v FREMANTLE
Saturday night in Perth and the derby is on again. These are always tough bruising affairs. The Dockers are coming into this game with three straight wins which no one saw coming after their two opening insipid losses. The Eagles are also three and two but have been far from convincing. They were horrid last week and their ball movement was slow and clunky. They have named Sam Mitchell for the derby and they will desperately need his quick decision making to improve their game and chances. The Dockers have lost one of their most consistent players in Stephen Hill and that will hurt their chances.
I have trouble lining up both sides with their form not solid. Freo might have won three in a row but they were behind for 99% of the game last week against a Kangaroos side who hasn't won this year.
The bet for this game may well lie in the game total. The Dockers after being hammered in the opening weeks have reverted back to their more defensive pattern. In their last two games at Subiaco they beat the Dogs 89-73 and last week North 67-62. The Eagles last game at Subiaco saw them win a tight low scoring affair against the Swans 91-65.
The derby normally throws up tight desperate contests and hard to see this being any different. The two clashes last year saw the final totals being 174 and 151 respectively.
GEELONG v COLLINGWOOD
Collingwood and Nathan Buckley are in a world of pain with just the one win for the season and that was against the winless Swans. They have been in every contest but just can't put up a score to trouble the opposition.
This week doesn't get any easier for the Pies when they face the undefeated Cats at the MCG. To make matters worse Collingwood will be coming off a five day break while the Cats will have a seven day break. Throw into the mix that Geelong seem super fit and have over run sides by huge margins in the last quarters and things look bleak here for the Magpies.
Geelong have scored in their five games this season 115 - 112 - 126 - 134 and 126. Compare that with Collingwood 86 - 80 - 80 - 55 and 82. It doesn't make pretty reading for Collingwood supporters.
The Cats have rested goal sneak Daniel Menzel for this game which helps Collingwood but they have in turn decided to rest their best and main defender in Ben Reid. Tom Hawkins could be licking his lips here.
The only bet here on form and with two extra days rest is the Cats at the minus.
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Grand Final +9 11 82% Finals Week Three -4.2 12 -35% Finals Week Two +0.42 11 4% Finals Week One +7.18 11 65% Round Twenty-Three -9.09 21 -43% Round Twenty-Two +9.47 16 59% Round Twenty-One +8.55 13 66% Round Twenty -8 17 -47% Round Nineteen -9.2 13 -71% Round Eighteen +3.01 15 20% Round Seventeen +9.88 16 62% Round Sixteen -4.05 15 -27% Round Fifteen +0.12 13 1% Round Fourteen -2.48 15 -17% Round Thirteen +1.93 5 39% Round Twelve -6.3 14 -45% Round Eleven -2.1 9 -23% Round Ten -5.26 10 -53% Round Nine +4 11 36% Round Eight +10.01 9 111% Round Seven -10.26 17 -60% Round Six -2.4 14 -17% Round Five -12.3 18 -68% Round Four -5.21 11 -47% Round Three -1.16 10 -12% Round Two -11 11 -100% Round One -0.27 6 -5% Total -29.71 345 -9%