AFL ROUND 16
ADELAIDE v WESTERN BULLDOGS
Adelaide and Western Bulldogs is this weeks Friday night game. Both sides are struggling at the present the Dogs more so.
The Crows last game at home saw them start minus 52.5 against the Hawks. The failed to cover the line and failed to win the game in a massive upset. Last week they did enough against a determined Carlton outfit winning by 3 goals. You wouldn't say the Crows are at the top of their game at present.
Last years premiers are going very ordinary. They got rolled last week by an Eagles side that has been atrocious in Melbourne this year and was also without a number of key players. The Dogs are just a shadow of the side that took all before them last year. Players like Jake Stringer and Tom Liberatore haven't got even close to the form of previous seasons. Tom Boyd is now out for the short term. To make matters worse skipper Bob Murphy has agains succumbed to a hamstring injury. As I have said previously the Dogs seem to be making three or four changes every week and have not been able to have a consistent 22/24 all year.
Adelaide is forecast to have a wet day tomorrow and should start to clear around match time. If the rain is still about during the game this will help the Dogs make it a scrap and slow down the fast running - quick ball moving Crows outfit.
The Crows will be out to make amends in front of their passionate crowd after the Hawks loss at home and I expect they will have to much firepower for a low scoring Bulldogs side. I'm not keen on taking the Crows at the line of 23/24 with the weather a possible issue and I expect the Dogs to fight tooth and nail.
Going to take Adelaide at the Margin 1-39.
Adelaide 1-392 at 2.17-2
COLLINGWOOD v ESSENDON
Collingwood and Essendon do battle for the second time this season on Saturday. The Bombers won the Anzac Day clash earlier in the season by 18 points and have been the better of the two sides this year. That said they will be seething after giving up a 27 point lead last week in the last qtr against the bottom side Brisbane. Expect a response.
What do we make of Collingwood? They have won just five games for the year but have been competitive in the majority of matches. They seem a typical "looks good on paper side". They have average skills and a very poor game plan/structure. They just don't have a functioning forward line and now find themselves without Darcy Moore for this weeks game. Ben Reid returns after being dropped in a puzzling decision by Nathan Buckley.
When assessing these two sides the difference seems to lie in the fact the Bombers have Joe Daniher and Cale Hooker up forward and Michael Hurley down back. The Pies are going to be relying heavily on Mason Cox - Ben Reid up forward and Lynden Dunn down back.
I fancy the Bombers to win here and keep alive a spot for the final 8.
SYDNEY v GOLD COAST
Quick preview here. Sydney starting minus 44.5 here against a Suns side that is missing Gary Ablett and a host of other players. The value is gone at the line (started 36.5) and therefore perhaps the better bet for now is taking the games total over 176.5
The Swans are notoriously low scoring side but with an opportunity here to cement a spot in the top 8 and build some percentage I expect the Swans to a bit more offensive.
The Suns really do struggle on the road and will have a lot of defending to do against a Sydney side that seems to be getting back to its best and also has just about a full list to pick from.
The weather forecast is fine.
ST KILDA v RICHMOND
Etihad is the venue Saturday night when St Kilda takes on the flying Richmond. The Tigers have been the story of season 2017.
Many an expert would have had them in the bottom five at the start of the season after there terrible finish to season 2016. It's a credit to Damien Hardwick that he has managed to turn their fortunes around with only a few additions to the squad. That said Prestia and Caddy have only been fair but Nankervis has been excellent. The real change for the Tigers is there change in game style - they have gone from a slow moving chipping the ball around side to a fast moving side who like to play on and run hard from half back. They have two superstars in Dusty Martin and Alex Rance. Cotchin and Riewoldt have been much better the year after poor seasons in 2016. The Tigers right now as we speak are genuine top 4 contenders.
St Kilda have been up and down this year which is not unexpected for a side that is still relatively young but relies on the experience of Nick Riewoldt and Leigh Montagna. The Saints had a hard fought win last week in Perth against the Dockers. They have had some good wins at Etihad this year including beating the Premiership faves GWS.
I fancy this to be a tight contest. The Tigers are not a high scoring side and wear teams down through their solid defence and catching teams on the rebound. The Saints will fancy themselves to cause an upset at Etihad however the Tigers have played well at the ground this year.
Going to select Richmond at 1-39.
Richmond 1-392 at 2.30-2
CARLTON v MELBOURNE
Melbourne coming off a bad loss and with injuries and suspensions find themselves with a tough match up this week against Carlton on Sunday at the G.
The prices for this game were as short as 1.35-1.38 Melbourne two weeks ago. Two weeks is a long time in AFL these days. The current prices are now around the 1.60 -2.30 price. It's little wonder the money has come for the Blues. They have been more than competitive this year and with a bit of luck could have won more than the five games in 2017. The Demons have a wonderful young side but rarely have there best 22 to pick from. They have been decimated this year by injuries to key players and stupid suspensions. Jack Viney is the latest to succumb to injury and with Nathan Jones still missing the midfield is starting to look thin. Thomas Bugg got himself suspended for the rest of the home and away season and probably won't play again this season after such poor discipline.
The Dees will be sweating on Jesse Hogan being fit and playing as they need a key forward desperately with Jack Watts and Jeff Garlett battling injuries.
The Blues will do what they do best here. Stack players behind the ball and make it hard for Melbourne to break them down. They will rely heavily on the in form Bryce Gibbs - Marc Murphy and Patrick Cripps to get on top in the midfield.
I fancy the Blues to win here. They had their chances to beat Adelaide last week and they will sense a huge opportunity here. I suggest taking the Blues at the handicap - head to head and 1-39.
Carlton +8.53 at 1.80+2.4
Carlton to Win2 at 2.35-2
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%