AFL ROUND 9
North Melbourne v GWS Giants
We'll kick the weekend off on Saturday afternoon where the GWS Giants and the North Melbourne 'Roos lock horn down in Tasmania. North Melbourne are coming off a stinging loss to the reigning premiers, having taken the lead in the last quarter last week only to be beaten to the post. The Giants continued their poor run with another loss to West Coast in their own backyard of Spotless Stadium.
The Kangaroos are coming off a strong performance against the Tigers last weekend in which they had a real oppurtunity to steal it from the reigning premiers. As mentioned above, they had stolen the lead midway through the final term, and if it wasn't for a few errant passages of play, they could've easily have walked away with the four points. The Roos have been the surprise packet of the year so far, and currently sit just one game outside the top eight. Injuries have been the theme for the Giants season so far and unfortunately this will be what costs them making finishing top four at season's end. Their injury list comprises of six of their top ten best players and they you can expect to see them all starting to return after the mid season bye has come. The Giants put up a fight last week against West Coast but in the end of the younger Giants fell over to the bigger, stronger West Coast team. When Dylan Buckley is getting games for the Giants is when you know the Giants list depth is being tested.
The 'Roos play stronger when they're down in Tasmania and i'm expecting them to really stick it to the Giants here. As of writing, Deledio and Kelly were still questionable to return and with that, North Melbourne take the four points here. Their purple patch of form continues through the Giants to kick our weekend off.
North Melbourne -12.52.5u at 1.92+2.3
Essendon v Geelong
Saturday afternoon at the 'G and the Bombers will welcome in fellow Victorians from down the highway, The Geelong Cats, into Melbourne to see if they can rekindle their season. The Bombers fell to a new low last week by allowing the previously winless Carlton Blues to knock them off while the Cats kept the Pies at arms length all game last week to grab the win.
Heads began to roll over in Bomber land with performance coaches being shown the door. This has begun a downward spiral for the Bombers and it definitely does not look any brighter here for them against the Cats. Last week the Cats welcomed back Harry Taylor into their side who galvanizes their back line and straigtens them up when coming out of defence. The Cats will also welcome back Tom Hawkins and Scott Selwood this week who will slot straight into this already strong line up. Big query on where Dan Menzel is at with his injury as he'll miss again. This will be the fourth consecutive week that Menzel has been sidelined and concerns are growing for him. Michael Hurley has been told to rest and you can expect to see him after the mid season byes now which will really hurt the Bombers. He is simply their best player at the moment and it could spell trouble for the Bombers more so without him in the team.
The Bombers simply can't kick a score and with the Geelong backline tightening up every week, a high Bombers score is quite unlikely. Even if the Bombers kick 10 goals, the Cats would have to kick upwards of 15 to put this total in threat which they dont do all that often. Hurley out of the Bombers backline has inflated the total somewhat, I believe, so take the under as the Cats dominate both sides of the ball.
Total Points Under 169.52.5u at 1.90+2.25
West Coast v Richmond
Match of the round here as the ladder leaders square off in WA that will give us a good bearing on where both teams are at. West Coast return home after putting the battered GWS Giants to the sword at Spotless Stadium while the Tigers were able to dig deep to fend off the Kangaroos last Sunday having been headed off midway through the last quarter.
West Coast will continued their gritty run through the season to date and they have all but solidified themselves as finals contenders for this year already. When Brownlow medallists, Matthew Priddis and Sam Mitchell both retired at season's end last year, The West Coast Eagles were expected to go backwards in their progression. They have done anything but. West Coast have regained their 2015-16 identity of locking up defences and attacking from their backline and now with their forward line becoming as potent as ever, they have found other avenues to kick goals besides Josh Kennedy. They have a young brigade nipping on the heels of senior players in Waterman and Ryan who are ready made AFL players and all of a sudden West Coast become a premiership threat. The Tigers have been blessed with injuries to date and will head to WA with just about a full list. A couple of their superstar players have been down on form and its questionable whether they've simply been up for too long? Dustin Martin and Jack Riewoldt have a had modest couple of weeks and if The Tigers are going to lift themselves over West Coast, will definitely need to see more from them two.
Even though the Tigers have kept winning, there have been some lapses in their game in the past fortnight which will allow a team like West Coast to take advantage. Two weeks ago, Fremantle opened up the second half of the game with 5 unanswered goals to bring a 50 point deficit back under 30. Again last week, The Roos were able to continue clawing their way back into the game against the Tigs and were able to take the lead in the final stages of the game. West Coast have both teams mentioned above covered and the Tiges will need to play better than they have in the last fortnight to beat the Eagles in WA.
West Coast To Win3.5u at 1.94+3.29
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Round Twenty-One -4 13 -31% Round Twenty +3.76 10 38% Round Nineteen -9.5 9.5 -100% Round Eighteen -7.75 14 -55% Round Seventeen +0.68 7 10% Round Sixteen -4.11 12 -34% Round Fifteen -8.5 8.5 -100% Round Fourteen +6.5 8 81% Round Thirteen -7 7 -100% Round Twelve -0.72 5.5 -13% Round Eleven -2.93 7.5 -39% Round Ten +1.5 8 19% Round Nine +7.84 8.5 92% Round Eight +3.5 8 44% Round Seven +2.35 7.25 32% Round Six +1.15 5.5 21% Round Five +5.32 9 59% 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 -13.3 172.25 -8%