Qualifying Final 1 – Richmond $1.28 v St Kilda $3.75
- Line Richmond (-20.5) v St Kilda (+20.5)
The first of this weeks semi finals will be played on Friday night when Richmond faces St Kilda at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
Richmond appeared in control of their Qualifying Final against Brisbane for most of the first half before a couple of undisciplined 50 metre penalties let Brisbane back into the game. Credit must also go to the Lions for their resolve and determination to scrap and stay in touch of Richmond, something they were not able to do in last years qualifying final.
The inside 50 count was +4 in Richmond’s favour but they struggled to turn these entries into scoring shots. The Tigers were clearly missing key forward Tom Lynch who is expected to return from a hamstring injury this week. One of the few positives to come out of the night for Richmond was the impact the returning Dion Prestia was able to have on the game. Dustin Martin was good in the first half too and I am expecting him to have a massive game this weekend.
The narrow margin probably didn’t do justice to St Kilda’s dominance in their win over the Western Bulldogs. For close to three quarters they owned the Bulldogs, especially in the ruck which we talked about last week as having the potential to have a huge impact on the end result. It really would have been a heartbreaker for Saints fans were the Dogs to pinch it at the end.
Moving forwards, St Kilda will have new found belief after proving to themselves and the competition that they can stand up under finals pressure. I was particularly impressed by some of their younger players, Nick Coffield who was good down back and young forward Max King provided glimpses of what is to come over the next 10 years.
Unfortunately the Saints are going to lose three of their better performers from Friday night. Defender Jake Carlisle will return home to Melbourne for the birth of his third child, Ben Long was sighted by the AFL tribunal for a high bump and the Saints have since been unsuccessful in their attempt to have that ruling over turned. And the biggest loss of all veteran ruckman Paddy Ryder, who many had as best a field last week, injured a hamstring late in the game and has returned home to Melbourne for surgery.
The last time these sides clashed was in round three of this season and the Saints won easily. Matthew Lloyd highlighted on Footy Classified St Kilda’s exposure of Richmond’s leg speed or lack there of on that occasion so there is no doubt that the Saints will look to use that Blueprint again. However, finals footy is played under a different intensity and it may not be as easy to execute as it was in an early season game under the roof at Marvel Stadium.
I am expecting a rampant Richmond, fuelled by a loss and bolstered by the inclusion of Tom Lynch to be too much for the Saints to handle on Friday night. I cant help but think that last week was the Saints grand final and they may have used up all of their the petrol tickets in winning that game. I am suggesting a bet on Richmond to cover the line of 20.5.