AFL ROUND 2
Collingwood v Greater Western Sydney
The Pies have the luxury of staying in Melbourne this weekend and back up again at the G' against the visiting Western Sydney Giants. The Giants made mince meat of the Doggies up in Canberra last week and will have their sights set on doing the same in Melbourne while the Pies where safely held by a lesser team than the Giants, in the Hawks and will need to improve dramatically if they are to get on the board here.
The Giants were able to get through their 'training session' last week unscathed and did every thing we expected them to do against the Dogs. Jeremy Cameron and Toby Greene booted half of the Giants full time score while hard running midfielders Coniglio and Kelly both chipped in with two each. Jacob Hopper and Tom Scully will force their way into this already stacked team which will not bode well for the Pies. Nathan Buckley defended his decision to not send anyone to ball-magnet Tom Mitchell last week as he led the Hawks to victory on the back of his 54 disposals. Instead, Bucks' said that his team did not adapt to the heat over the weekend which resulted them weakening late. A modest deflection using Melbourne weather of all cities as the reason why your team lost. De Goey, Greenwood and Elliott are still all a couple of weeks away and will need to do with what they've got for the time being. Mason Cox will join the lengthy list on the sidelines through suspension which will hurt the Pies in the ruck and up forward. Let that sink in for a moment- An AFL import with no more than four years of AFL experience hurts the team structure any their chance of possibly winning.
The last tip of round one will be our first tip of round two in that of the Giants to cover their very generous line. Earlier this week the line opened up a touch under three goals and has been trending in the Giants favour ever since. They will come to Melbourne and will run over a Collingwood team that will simply be outclassed.
Giants -20.52.5 at 1.92-2.5
Brisbane Lions v Melbourne Demons
Two teams that were unable to add premiership points to their season tally last week will square up here hoping to finally get on the board. The Demons, who fell painfully short of knocking off premiership contenders Geelong, will travel up to the Gabba and take on Brisbane in their home season opener after, they too, were held in check by St Kilda.
The Demons left their run too late as the tiring Cats were able to hold onto victory after Max Gawn spectacularly missed a shot on goal that surely would've sealed a Melbourne win. What is interesting to take from their game against the Cats was the Dees had a clear edge in clearances, inside 50s resulting in clearances, tackles, and hit outs to advantage but still were not able to get the job done. Quite damning for Melbourne, who will need to take advantage of - quite clearly - Max Gawn's effect on the team with his ruck work. Zac Smith did his best for the Cats in the ruck but big Gawny will now go up against a true ruckman in Stefan Martin. Martin is a strong ruckman that continues to give his midfielders every chance with his tap work. This will be a significant step up in ruck competition and it would appear the Demons only edge from last week could very well be nullified.
Daniel Rich was the story out of the Brisbane camp through the week, having ruptured ligaments in his ankle that'll see him be sidelined for a lengthy period of time. What is also worth noting is All-Australian midfielder Dayne Zorko failed to make any impact last week. Zorko is an extremely consistent player that was one of the shining lights for the Lions last year, and if manages to get himself up for this game, he should be able to offset the loss of Rich through the midfield. Last week, despite losing Rich in the early parts of the game and one of their superstar midfielders not firing, Brisbane were very much in the game at three quarter time. As is the modern game of AFL these days, having a spare interchange makes all the difference as the Saints were able to close out the Lions in the final term.
Brisbane should be able to get a nice showing from their faithful for their season opener and with Gawn facing an equal ruckman which could undo their biggest advantage, expect the Lions to keep their first game back up in Brisbane a nice and close one.
Lions +18.51.5 at 1.92-1.5
Western Bulldogs v West Coast Eagles
Following suit from the above game, we'll focus our attention on another two teams that failed to pickup victories last week. The Doggies will put their tails between their legs and return to Melbourne after suffering an 82 point hiding to the Giants, round ones biggest defeat to take on the Eagles who welcomed in the visiting Swans and were edged out on the back of Lance Franklin's 8-goal haul last week.
The horror show that is the Western Bulldogs were belted off the park last week and for their efforts lost premiership midfielder, Tom Liberatore, to a season-ending ACL injury and first gamer since making the cross from Fremantle, Hayden Crozier. The Doggies never threatened the Giants last week and questions can be asked of coach Beveridge and his decisions to not play any traditional forwards (Tom Boyd & Josh Schache) in a squad lacking such players. All-Australian defender Easton Wood was his response and was thrown forward but the decision quickly backfired as Wood simply couldn't trouble the Giants defenders and get himself into the game. Jack Redpath will return from suspension this week and should sit forward for the Doggies and give them something to look for in their forward line.
The Eagles were far from disgraced against the Swans last week where all the talk was about Lance 'Buddy' Franklin and his bag of eight. The Eagles were within two kicks of the lead heading into the fourth before fading to the stronger team. The final score of this game does no justice for the Eagles who were without significant players from their senior team and it could be argued that Buddy was the difference between these two teams this time round. Nic Naitanui will come on from his first appearance back in 19 months and should gradually be better for every game he plays. J.P Kennedy is still 2-3 weeks away from returning to the Eagles forward line but were still able to kick 13 goals off 60 forward line entries and it would appear they can still kicking winning scores against sound defensive teams, such as the Swans.
Simply put, favouritism in this matchup is the wrong way round. We were happy to lay the Dogs last week and for reasons unknown have come up favourites against West Coast here. It won't be convincing but if the Eagles dish up what they did last week against the Swans, then they'll account for the Doggies here to wrap up our weekend.
West Coast to Win2 at 2.25+2.5
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Round Four -2.1 6.5 -32% Round Three -0.35 5.5 -6% Round Two -1.5 6 -25% Round One +2.56 6 43% Total -1.39 24 -6%