After a host of upsets made Round 2 a tricky affair for punters, will the AFL return to normal transmission this weekend?
Thursday 18th June, 19:40 (AEST)
|Nathan Broad, Dylan Grimes, David Astbury||B||James Sicily, James Frawley, Blake Hardwick|
|HB||Bachar Houli, Nick Vlastuin, Jayden Short||HB||Ben Stratton, Ben McEvoy, Shaun Burgoyne|
|C||Marlion Pickett, Dion Prestia, Jack Graham||C||Ricky Henderson, James Worpel, Isaac Smith|
|HF||Shai Bolton , Shane Edwards, Jason Castagna||HF||Tom Scully, Tim O’Brien, Luke Breust|
|F||Tom Lynch, Daniel Rioli, Jack Riewoldt||F||Jack Gunston, Jon Patton, Chad Wingard|
|FOL||Ivan Soldo, Trent Cotchin, Kane Lambert||FOL||Jon Ceglar, Tom Mitchell, Liam Shiels|
|I/C||Jack Ross, Josh Caddy, Jack Higgins, Sydney Stack||I/C||Paul Puopolo, Jaeger O’Meara, Oliver Hanrahan, Sam Frost|
History: Played 159: Richmond 89 v Hawthorn 70
Last Meeting: AFL Round 9, 2019: Richmond 14.11 (95) def Hawthorn 8.11 (59)
Final Thoughts: Completely outmuscled by the Cats in last week’s season restart, the Hawks’ hopes of snagging a finals berth has drifted from $1.83 to $2.25 such is a shortened nature of the season. And given Richmond, by contrast, looked sharp around the contest in Round 2, it’s no surprise Alastair Clarkson’s side are $3+ outsiders. In good news, though, Shaun Burgoyne has escaped suspension and Jaeger O’Meara will return.
Having won their last four encounters against the Hawks by an average of 27 points, the Tigers go into this one chock full of confidence. They’ll be without Brownlow Medalist Dustin Martin (sore ribs) and Liam Baker (personal issue), so Josh Caddy and Jack Ross get their chance. Despite an ankle scare, key forward Tom Lynch will play.
Friday 19th June, 19:50 (AEST)
|B.Williams, A.Keath, C.Daniel||B||N.Haynes, A.Corr, S.Taylor|
|HB||J.Johannisen, Z.Cordy, H.Crozier||HB||Z.Williams, P.Davis, H.Perryman|
|C||E.Richards, M.Bontempelli, J.Macrae||C||L.Whitfield, S.Coniglio, J.Kelly|
|HF||B.Dale, A.Naughton, T.McLean||HF||Z.Langdon, J.Cameron, D.Lloyd|
|F||M.Wallis, J.Bruce, S.Lloyd||F||B.Daniels, J.Finlayson, H.Himmelberg|
|FOL||T.English, J.Dunkley, B.Smith||FOL||S.Jacobs, M.de Boer, C.Ward|
|I/C||M.Suckling, T.Liberatore, L.Vandermeer, L.Jong||I/C||J.Caldwell, L.Ash, J.Hopper, H.Shaw|
History: Played 12: Western Bulldogs 6 v GWS 6
Last Meeting: AFL Elimination Final, 2019: GWS 16.17 (113) def Western Bulldogs 8.7 (55)
Final Thoughts: The Dogs have been, by some margin, the most disappointing side in the first two rounds of the AFL season. In just two games they’ve gone from $12 premiership hopes to $34 after big losses to the Pies and Saints. Dogs coach Luke Beveridge has defended his under-fire selections in the first two games, and with luck could welcome back both Tom Liberatore and Toby McLean for this crucial clash. But veteran Easton Wood will miss at least the next two weeks with a quad injury.
The Dogs need a circuit breaker, but it’s unlikely to come in the form of the Giants, who were uncharacteristically poor against North in Round 2. The Giants get few chances on the Friday night prime-time stage, and Leon Cameron will be desperate to ensure they don’t waste it. Having won four of their last five against the Dogs, they should walk away with four points.
Saturday 20th June, 13:45 (AEST)
|K.Hayden, R.Tarrant, J.Pittard||B||J.Lloyd, D.Rampe, A.Aliir|
|HB||L.McDonald, J.Walker, S.Atley||HB||C.Mills, R.Fox, H.Cunningham|
|C||T.Thomas, J.Simpkin, J.Polec||C||L.Taylor, L.Parker, I.Heeney|
|HF||S.Higgins, B.Brown, C.Taylor||HF||O.Florent, T.McCartin, J.Dawson|
|F||J.Ziebell, C.Zurhaar, M.Wood||F||S.Gray, J.Rowbottom, W.Hayward|
|FOL||T.Goldstein, B.Cunnington, J.Anderson||FOL||C.Sinclair, J.Kennedy, T.Papley|
|I/C||T.Dumont, P.Ahern, J.Macmillan, A.Hall||I/C||C.O’Riordan, J.McInerney, N.Blakey, G.Hewett|
History: Played 163: North Melbourne 74 v Sydney 88 (1 draw)
Last Meeting: AFL Round 9, 2019: North Melbourne 10.12 (72) lost to Sydney 11.11 (77)
Final Thoughts: North were one of the good-news stories out of Round 2, a stunning last quarter setting up an upset win over premiership hopes the Giants. Their cleanness with ball in hand and discipline defensively was particularly impressive. They rightly start this AFL clash as favourites at Marvel.
The Swans, by contrast, were only good in patches in Round 2, and will need to address some inconsistencies this weekend. Coach John Longmire spoke of the on-again-off-again nature of their pressure around the footy against Essendon, which is usually something the Swans hang their hat on. Their tendency to bang the ball forward was also exposed and, without Sam Reid and Buddy Franklin in the forward 50, will need to lower their eyes to more regularly find the likes of Tom McCartin and Nick Blakey on Saturday afternoon.
Saturday 20th June, 16:35 (AEST)
|J.Crisp, J.Roughead, J.Howe||B||B.Paton, C.Wilkie, J.Carlisle|
|HB||B.Maynard, D.Moore, J.Noble||HB||B.Long, D.Howard, H.Clark|
|C||J.Daicos, S.Pendlebury, W.Hoskin-Elliott||C||B.Hill, S.Ross, J.Billings|
|HF||J.Stephenson, B.Mihocek, C.Brown||HF||D.Hannebery, M.King, Z.Jones|
|F||J.De Goey, D.Cameron, J.Elliott||F||P.Ryder, T.Membrey, D.Butler|
|FOL||B.Grundy, T.Adams, S.Sidebottom||FOL||R.Marshall, J.Steele, J.Gresham|
|I/C||C.Mayne, R.Wills, T.Brown, T.Phillips||I/C||J.Marsh, N.Coffield, J.Lonie, N.Hind|
History: Played 220: Collingwood 159 v St Kilda 59 (2 draws)
Last Meeting: AFL Round 9, 2019: Collingwood 17.10 (112) def St Kilda 10.11 (71)
Final Thoughts: One of the surprise packets of Round 2, the Saints have already showed renewed purpose under Brett Ratten. Most pleasingly for them is the run and carry brought in by the likes of Brad Hill and Zak Jones. And while their injury list remains positively bare, they will however miss skipper Jarryn Geary who sustained a hamstring injury during his strong performance on the Dogs’ Jason Johannisen on Sunday night.
The Pies, too, were impressive in their Round 2 performance and while coach Nathan Buckley remained perplexed post-game on what to take from the draw against Richmond, most AFL fans would take his side’s attributes in a heartbeat. Their pressure and ball use particularly in the defensive 50 was superb, and they should prove too strong for the Saints.
Saturday 20th June, 19:40 (AEST)
|H.Taylor, M.Blicavs, J.Henry||B||L.Plowman, L.Jones, S.Docherty|
|HB||M.O’Connor, T.Stewart, J.Bews||HB||S.Petrevski-Seton, J.Weitering, K.Simpson|
|C||S.Menegola, P.Dangerfield, J.Selwood||C||W.Setterfield, P.Cripps, S.Walsh|
|HF||L.Dahlhaus, G.Rohan, M.Duncan||HF||J.Martin, L.Casboult, D.Cuningham|
|F||E.Ratugolea, T.Hawkins, G.Miers||F||E.Betts, H.McKay, M.McGovern|
|FOL||R.Stanley, G.Ablett, B.Parfitt||FOL||M.Pittonet, E.Curnow, M.Murphy|
|I/C||T.Atkins, Q.Narkle, C.Guthrie, Z.Tuohy||I/C||T.Williamson, J.Newnes, M.Gibbons, J.Silvagni|
History: Played 220: Geelong 101 v Carlton 117 (2 draws)
Last Meeting: AFL Round 23, 2019: Geelong 19.15 (129) def Carlton 8.13 (61)
Final Thoughts: For the Blues, it’s very simple: they must address their starts. While they almost made a miraculous comeback against the Dees, by giving up a 42-point lead in a quarter and a half of football, they had already shot themselves in the foot. And it’s a recurring trend. In nine of David Teague’s 13 games in charge, they’ve trailed by 30+ points at one stage in the game. They need to address it quick smart – especially against one of the premiership hopefuls.
For the Cats, their dream run for the next three weeks features the Blues, Dees and Suns. Chris Scott will be desperate to ensure a 4-1 start eventuates, which should all but sew-up finals footy in this shortened season.
Saturday 20th June, 19:40 (AEST)
|R.Lester, H.Andrews, D.Gardiner||B||L.Duggan, W.Schofield, S.Hurn|
|HB||D.Rich, G.Birchall, C.Ah Chee||HB||L.Jetta, T.Barrass, B.Sheppard|
|C||M.Robinson, J.Berry, H.McCluggage||C||A.Gaff, E.Yeo, J.Redden|
|HF||L.McCarthy, E.Hipwood, C.Rayner||HF||J.Cripps, J.Darling, D.Sheed|
|F||O.McInerney, D.McStay, C.Cameron||F||L.Ryan, J.Kennedy, B.Ah Chee|
|FOL||A.Smith, D.Zorko, L.Neale||FOL||N.Naitanui, T.Kelly, L.Shuey|
|I/C||J.Lyons, T.Berry, Z.Bailey, B.Starcevich||I/C||O.Allen, J.Petruccelle, J.Rotham, J.Brander|
History: Played 33: Brisbane 11 v West Coast 22
Last Meeting: AFL Round 1, 2019: Brisbane Lions 15.12 (102) def West Coast 8.10 (58)
Final Thoughts: Match of the round, for mine. West Coast were inexplicably poor against the Suns where, despite starting as $1.15 favourites, were outgunned by 44 points. We can cut them some slack, however, given their disruptions in moving (and staying) interstate. But there’ll be few excuses this weekend. Some pundits believe they went in too tall against the Suns, and struggled when the ball hit the deck. Adam Simpson’s movements at the selection table, then, will be watched closely.
The Lions, while patchy in their win over Freo, still picked up their first points of the AFL season. They’ll be buoyed by the state government announcement that 2000 fans will be in attendance at the game.
I’m tipping this to be a close one, which is reflected in the head-to-head odds. As such, I’ll be using the Game Saver option for the clash.
Sunday 21st June, 13:05 (AEST)
|C.Budarick, S.Collins, J.Lukosius||B||F.McAsey, D.Talia, L.Brown|
|HB||P.Hanley, C.Ballard, J.Harbrow||HB||P.Seedsman, T.Doedee, R.Laird|
|C||L.Weller, H.Greenwood, N.Anderson||C||T.Lynch, R.Sloane, R.Atkins|
|HF||W.Powell, S.Day, B.Ellis||HF||B.Crocker, D.Fogarty, B.Keays|
|F||A.Sexton, B.King, B.Ainsworth||F||N.McHenry, T.Walker, L.Murphy|
|FOL||J.Witts, D.Swallow, M.Rowell||FOL||R.O’Brien, M.Crouch, C.Jones|
|I/C||J.Bowes, B.Fiorini, T.Miller, C.Ellis, S.Lemmens, S.Flanders, N.Holman, D.MacPherson||I/C||B.Crouch, J.Kelly, K.Hartigan, W.Hamill, S.McAdam, W.Milera, B.Smith, E.Himmelberg|
History: Played 13: Gold Coast 0 v Adelaide 13
Last Meeting: AFL Round 17, 2019: Gold Coast 8.8 (56) lost to Adelaide 23.13 (151)
Final Thoughts: The Suns were simply stunning in Round 2. Despite starting as $5.50 outsiders against premiership fancies the Eagles, they romped home by 44 points in undoubtedly the round’s biggest upset. With 26 disposals, two goals and almost certainly three Brownlow Medal votes in just his second ever game, Matt Rowell proved those right who called him a ‘ready-made’ AFL player. He will be pivotal if the Suns are to grab a second win on the bounce. In 13 games, they’ve never beaten the Crows – perhaps this is finally the time.
Adelaide, by contrast, were insipid in Round 2. In going down to the Power by 75 points – their worst ever Showdown defeat – they proved they might even be a wooden spoon chance this year. The stats were damning, as they were out-tackled 61-45 despite having 104 less disposals. This is a day of reckoning for them, and with doubts around skipper Rory Sloane (corky), senior players need to step up.
Sunday 21st June, 15:35 (AEST)
|A.Francis, C.Hooker, M.Hurley||B||C.Salem, S.May, N.Jetta|
|HB||A.Saad, M.Redman, J.Ridley||HB||J.Harmes, J.Lever, T.Rivers|
|C||T.Cutler, A.McGrath, Z.Merrett||C||E.Langdon, C.Oliver, A.Tomlinson|
|HF||D.Smith, W.Snelling, A.McDonald-Tipungwuti||HF||A.Brayshaw, T.McDonald, J.Hunt|
|F||J.Stringer, S.McKernan, J.Townsend||F||H.Bennell, B.Fritsch, J.Melksham|
|FOL||T.Bellchambers, D.Heppell, D.Shiel||FOL||M.Gawn, C.Petracca, J.Viney|
|I/C||D.Parish, K.Langford, D.Zaharakis, C.McKenna, M.Guelfi, P.Ambrose, B.Ham, O.Fantasia||I/C||N.Jones, L.Jackson, M.Hibberd, M.Hannan, A.vandenBerg, A.Neal-Bullen, K.Pickett, J.Smith|
History: Played 215: Essendon 130 v Melbourne 83 (2 draws)
Last Meeting: AFL Round 3, 2019: Melbourne 18.4 (112) lost to Essendon 20.10 (130)
Final Thoughts: Essendon shot out of the blocks against the Swans in Round 2 and, despite a scare, registered a drought-breaking win at the SCG. It sees them as one of just three clubs with a perfect record after two games. And with gun forward Orazio Fantasia and dashing half-back Conor McKenna in line to return, they could – and should – go 3-0.
Demons fans, by contrast, struggled to come to terms with Saturday’s result against Carlton. Sure, they picked up four points which, for a side that finished 17th in 2019, was a huge positive. But giving up a 42-point lead to a fellow battler – and almost losing in the process – suggested Simon Goodwin still has still had plenty to work on.
Sunday 21st June, 18:05 (AEST)
|L.Ryan, G.Logue, R.Conca||B||T.McKenzie, T.Clurey, R.Bonner|
|HB||S.Hill, B.Cox, J.Aish||HB||H.Hartlett, T.Jonas, D.Byrne-Jones|
|C||B.Bewley, N.Fyfe, A.Cerra||C||X.Duursma, T.Rockliff, K.Amon|
|HF||A.Brayshaw, M.Taberner, S.Sturt||HF||S.Powell-Pepper, T.Marshall, C.Rozee|
|F||T.Colyer, J.Hogan, M.Walters||F||Z.Butters, C.Dixon, R.Gray|
|FOL||R.Lobb, D.Mundy, D.Tucker||FOL||S.Lycett, D.Houston, T.Boak|
|I/C||E.Hughes, L.Schultz, B.Matera, H.Young, C.Serong, N.Wilson, C.Blakely, B.Banfield||I/C||M.Bergman, B.Ebert, S.Motlop, J.Westhoff, K.Farrell, M.Georgiades, P.Ladhams, O.Wines|
History: Played 37: Fremantle 17 v Port Adelaide 20
Last Meeting: AFL Round 23, 2019: Port Adelaide 15.20 (110) def Fremantle 10.7 (67)
Final Thoughts: The Power’s 75-point Showdown shutdown was their biggest ever win over Adelaide. Young guns Connor Rozee and Xavier Duursma again lit it up, giving fans at Alberton perhaps the biggest reason to cheer in some time. The win saw their finals hopes firm from $2 into $1.72.
The Dockers gave the Lions a huge scare at the Gabba, but again proved far too reliant on stars Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters. If they’re to register their first points for the year, Justin Longmuir needs a far better spread of contributions across the board. With luck, both Stephen Hill and Jesse Hogan will make the match day squad.