AFL ROUND 14
ADELAIDE v HAWTHORN
Early play this week for Thursday nights game between Adelaide vs Hawthorn. Think it's worth taking the Crows 40+ at around 1.65 - 1.62 now. The line opened up at around 42.5 but has already moved to 45 - 46 at most books. Would not be surprised to see it start around 50 or more.
Very hard to see the Hawks being competitive here. They will regain some much needed experience and class in Hodge, Breust and Birchall. However i am not sure they will be enough to reign in an Adelaide side that has beaten up on better sides than the Hawks at home this year.
The Crows have won six from seven at Adelaide Oval this year with the margins being 56, 17, 65, 74 ,100 and 57. Their only loss was to Melbourne.
The Hawks last two games have seen a loss at the MCG to the Gold Coast Suns and before that they played Port Adelaide and got pumped by 51 on a Thursday night in Adelaide.
I expect Clarkson will continue to give games to new untried players in second half of the season as he begins the Hawks next rebuild. Think they could be in for many more big defeats before the season is out and this week looks like being one of those.
SYDNEY v ESSENDON
Sydney host Essendon for Friday night football in what shapes as a ripping contest. Both sides have struck some decent form in the last few weeks with the Swans coming off wins against Richmond and the Western Bulldogs. The Bombers had a huge win against Port Adelaide before the bye.
The Swans seem to be back playing the style of game that has made them so hard to beat over the last five years. They are still a few players short of the quality of previous years but Essendon face a tough task here to beat the Swans at the SCG. The Swans have lost a key player in Zak Jones due to suspension and his speed/run will be missed badly in a side that lacks pace.
The Bombers are not without their own issues losing key forward Cale Hooker to injury. They also have a very poor record interstate and haven't won in Sydney since 2009. Put simply the Bombers are poor travellers.
The Swans can ill afford to drop any games in the run home to the finals and even though they have struggled at home this season i think they should get the job done here. They haven't kicked high scores this year 80,88,75 last 3 games) so we will take the home side at the margin of 1-39.
Sydney Margin 1-392 at 2.15+2.3
COLLINGWOOD v PORT ADELAIDE
Collingwood and Port Adelaide do battle at the MCG on Saturday afternoon. The Pies come in off the bye after losing in a thriller to Melbourne on the Queens Birthday clash. They were 5 goals up in that game so they are not far off the pace. Port are a funny side this year. They have handed out more thrashings than just about any side in the comp but they have also been on the end of some poor losses. Their last game in Melbourne being the prime example where Essendon got a hold of them handed them a 70 flogging. That performance will still be fresh in the minds of the Port players. They won against bottom side Brisbane last week by 40 points but the final margin flattered them with some late junk goals.
I'm not totally convinced by Port Adelaide and although Collingwood have hardly been consistent themselves i think they have played decent football in the past month. Elliott and Wells will be missed by the Pies but they do regain Ben Reid and Tyson Goldsack. The Power have lost Jared Polec one of their key midfielders.
We will go with the home side as the outsiders.
Collingwood to Win2 at 2.10-2
WESTERN BULLDOGS v NORTH MELBOURNE
Saturday night at Etihad the Western Bulldogs and Kangaroos do battle. Not sure what to make of the Doggies this year - they just don't have the same hunger as the last few years and their demanding style of game might be starting to take it's toll on the players. You get the feeling they will want to bounce back this week as their season is on the line.
The Kangaroos had a mini run going back over a month ago winning four games but have lost the last two to Richmond and St kilda. These two sides played early in the season on Good Friday with the Doggies coming from five goals down to win by 3points.
Hard to see this being a blow out but i expect the Premiers to lift and they have just a little bit more class than the Kangaroos. We will take the Dogs at the margin 1-39.
It's also worth having something on the game total overs. The total sits around 167/168 for this game which seems just a touch low for a game at Etihad under the roof. While the Dogs have struggled to score recently these two teams played out a 175 point game early in the year. Also both sides have added tall forward to give themselves more goal kicking options. The Dogs have bought in forward Jack Redpath. The Roos have Majak Daw back in the side to give them another target up forward.
Western Bulldogs Margin 1-392 at 2.20+2.4
WEST COAST v MELBOURNE
A huge clash for West Coast and Melbourne on Saturday night in Perth. The winner will consolidate a spot in the final 8 while the loser will once again feel the pressure from teams underneath.
The Eagles had a good win against Geelong last start at home and although they let the Cats finish fast they held on for a 13 point win. The Eagles as always are extremely hard to beat in Perth losing just the one game there this year. The Dees are currently in a rich vein of form having beaten Collingwood and Western Bulldogs in the last fortnight. They made light work of last years Premiers in a display that has got everyone's attention. What's more they have done it this year without big Maxy Gawn since round 2 and Jesse Hogan has only played a few games as well.
The good news for Melbourne fans is Gawn is finally back this week. The other bonus is Josh Kennedy will miss another week for the Eagles. The bad news for Melbourne is they have lost inspirational midfielder Nathan Jones and the in form Jack Watts. They will both be badly missed. The Eagles have also lost Mark Le Cras which isn't great with Kennedy already missing.
So both teams have their share of problems which makes the home ground advantage so important. Another major factor will be the fact that the Demons will be playing their third game in 18 days and travelling across the country doesn't help them.
I'm a big fan of Melbourne and think they will be a very strong side in the years to come but i have a feeling that injuries to key players and the heavy schedule might get them here and i think the Eagles will win a tight game.
Take the home side at the margin of 1-39.
West Coast Margin 1-392 at 2.22-2
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%