Collingwood v Brisbane
This is a make-or-break game for early flag favourites Brisbane after successive losses to start the year. They were simply under-prepared a white-hot Sydney outfit in round one before a gallant loss to the Cats last week. Brisbane’s stats so far this season are far from impressive in a number of key areas: last for hit-outs and a clear last for disposals. In contrast the Pies have landed double the number of hit-outs this season (101-50). Neither side have been big ball-getters, both sitting in the bottom three for total disposals. Brisbane also sit last for total marks in the competition. Brisbane’s ruck woes are a major concern with Oscar McInerney on the sidelines, while for the Pies, goal-sneak Jamie Elliott (injury) is a big loss. Collingwood has a good record over the Lions (winning four of the last five). A tough, tough game to work out and while I’d love to suggest taking the Lions at the price here, their ruck woes remain far too dire to dive in.
No suggested bet
North Melbourne v Western Bulldogs
The Dogs will be looking to stamp their mark on the competition in this Good Friday fixture against the struggling Roos. Already this season has revealed a fairly large gap between the two sides, so the big question is can the Dogs cover what is a fairly significant line for this clash. A positive for the Roos is Ben Cunnington’s return but they will need to show big improvements after two thrashings to start the season. The Roos are struggling in many aspects, most notably polish with the ball (second for clangers) and are very much in the rebuild phase, whereas the Dogs seem back on an upward spiral and destined for finals.
Suggested bet – 1.5u on Western Bulldogs -44.5 at $1.90
Adelaide v Gold Coast
We got it wrong last week backing the Crows to beat Sydney last week, but there was still plenty of upside to their performance. I’m shocked the Crows are underdogs at home against the Suns. The Suns were gallant in round one over in the West against the Eagles and then breezed past the lowly Kangaroos at home. The Suns now face their second big road trip in three weeks and come up against a Crows side which looks to have improved off the back of improved speed and skill, and the resurgence of key forward Taylor Walker. The Crows have dominated the Suns in recent years, barring their most recent loss on the Gold Coast. For the Suns, Matt Rowell remains on the sidelines, but fellow young gun Noah Anderson is stepping up. The Suns defence is also showing good signs but they’ll have their hands full with Tex and co. The Crows should also welcome back key defenders Luke Brown and Jake Kelly. This should be an enjoyable free-flowing contest and keen on the Crows.
Suggested bet – 2u Adelaide win at $1.97
Richmond v Sydney
Big clash with the resurgent Swans taking on the biggest test in football. This will likely reveal the extent of the Swans surprise improvement in 2021. The Swans have been ultra-impressive in the opening rounds, beating the Lions and Crows with its forward line absolutely flying and Buddy Franklin’s return further adding to its strength. It will be a huge test for the Richmond’s famed two-way defence. Suspect the Tigers may have just enough firepower to get the win, but the Swans will test a Richmond side which is far from running on all cylinders at this early stage of the season. The past eight of the nine clashes between two sides have been decided by less than 26 points and that gives the Swans a big chance with the head start.
Suggested bets – 1.5u Sydney +26.5 at $1.95
Essendon v St Kilda
The Saints will be seething after losing to the Demons last week and out to rectify its turnover-riddled early season footy. They currently lead the competition for clangers, which hurt them last week against the Bombers and was a key issue in limping to victory over the Giants in round one. That aspect should be improved by boom recruit Brad Crouch expected to make his Saints’ debut. The Bombers come off two losses to start the season, with a poor second half costing victory against the Hawks in round one and then a thrashing at the hands of a classy Port outfit last week. This is a game the Saints simply have to win – and win well – to solidify finals credibility.
Suggested bet – St Kilda -21.5 at $1.85
West Coast v Port Adelaide
One of the games of the round and a big test for Port over in the West. The first two rounds have done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of Port’s flag hopes, thrashing lowly opponents the Kangaroos and Essendon. Now they face a genuine test and have been put up equal favourite, mostly due to home ground advantage for West Coast. These two sides are quite evenly matched, however Port have been able to grab the past two encounters between these two sides, including a 58-point thrashing last time they met. Luke Shuey could return for the Eagles, but the game will likely be won and lost in the ruck, with Nic Natanui in scintillating form already this year for West Coast.
Suggested bet – 1.5u Port Adelaide at $1.91
Carlton v Fremantle
Interesting game, with the Blues still seemingly under-achieving and a Fremantle side which showed improvement against the Giants last week. The Blues continue to turn the ball over at crucial stages, leaking points from mistakes like no other in the competition. Carlton have won the past two clashes between these two sides, but only by slender margins. If the Blues supposed resurgence this season is genuine, this is a game they simply cannot relinquish as they’ll be 0-3. Fremantle kicked poorly last week and could’ve won much more comfortably at home to the Giants. Their forward line will be bolstered by the likely return of Michael Walters, but that will be countered by the loss of Brownlow Medallist Nat Fyfe. While I think the Dockers will be competitive, Fyfe’s absence is enough of a concern to stay out of betting in this one.
No suggested bet
GWS v Melbourne
The Giants show glimpses of promise in the narrow round one loss to the Saints, but last week’s performance against Fremantle showed reason for extreme concern. Serious pressure is now on the Giants and they’ll be looking to silence those who have written them off. Home ground advantage is a big plus for the Giants, but Melbourne come into this undefeated after beating the injury-plagued Dockers and a wasteful Saints. The Dees are playing a good brand of footy with their defence rock-solid. Interestingly, the Giants have played the two same sides as the Dees so we should be able to get a some sort of guide through the form. It’s hard to see the rudderless Giants side being able to produce the necessary form reversal from last week’s loss to the Dockers.
Suggested bet – 2u Melbourne at $1.60
Geelong v Hawthorn
Last year’s grand finalists Geelong snatched their first win of season 2021 against the Lions in controversial circumstances last week, while Hawthorn come off an honourable loss to Richmond. Barring the most recent clash between this pair (Geelong by 61) recent encounters are evenly-poised in this rivalry. The Hawks are second in the comp for rebound 50s, fourth in disposals and third for total marks, but might have some trouble in the ruck department against the Cats. Happy to stay out of this one.
No suggested bet