Boyz II Men – Gold Coast Suns v St Kilda Saints, AFL Round 1 2013

gold coast vs st kilda

When: Saturday March 29, 7:45PM
Where: Metricon Stadium

BigFooty Gameday Thread

GOLD COAST

Gold Coast Board Gameday Thread
FB: Joel Wilkinson, Matthew Warnock, Tom Murphy
HB: Dion Prestia, Rory Thompson, Greg Broughton
C: Matt Shaw, Gary Ablett, Jarrod Harbrow
HF: Harley Bennell, Charlie Dixon, Brandon Matera
FF: Luke Russell, Sam Day, Steven May
R: Zac Smith, Karmichael Hunt, David Swallow
I/C: Aaron Hall, Jaeger O’Meara, Jared Brennan, Michael Rischitelli
EMG: Maverick Weller, Jack Hutchins, Kyal Horsley

NEW: Jaeger O’Meara

ST KILDA

St Kilda Gameday Thread
FB: Jason Blake, James Gwilt, Dylan Roberton
HB: Jarryn Geary, Tom Simpkin, Sam Gilbert
C: Jack Newnes, Lenny Hayes, Nick Dal Santo
HF: Arryn Siposs, Nick Riewoldt, Terry Milera
FF: Stephen Milne, Beau Maister, Rhys Stanley
R: Ben McEvoy, David Armitage, Jack Steven
I/C: Ahmed Saad, Tom Hickey, Clint Jones, Farren Ray
EMG: Nathan Wright, Trent Dennis-Lane, Tom Lee

Forecast: Possible shower, 28 degrees
Sportsbet: Gold Coast $3.25, St Kilda $1.36

Snapshot
All eyes will be on Gold Coast throughout their third season in the AFL as they aim to make a big improvement with kids turning into young men. The Suns notched one victory from the NAB Cup, defeating Hawthorn by a point after the siren in the tri-series. St Kilda had a relatively strong pre-season campaign, winning three games out of four.

Stop him at all costs
There is no greater match-winner than Gary Ablett in the AFL, and the St Kilda match day committee will have spent hours trying to figure out how to curb his influence. In Round 2 last season, Ablett was terrific, picking up 40 disposals and kicking two goals. However, in their return match, Ablett didn’t look interested, collecting just 20 touches. With Clinton Jones and Farren Ray in the side, surely one of them will be asked to tag the Brownlow Medalist, and you would think that the other will be thrown onto the electrifying Harley Bennell. Not much can be said about either two drawing the short straw here..

Nick Riewoldt caused the Gold Coast plenty of headaches in 2012. In Round 2, the Saints’ skipper had 21 disposals, took 11 marks and booted four majors in the massive win. Fast forward nine weeks, and he again had 21 touches, eight marks and 7.2, taking home the three Brownlow votes at Metricon Stadium. The Suns are expected to give young defender Rory Thompson the task of handling the champion forward, and if that fails, the task falls on the shoulders of Matthew Warnock, who is still having nightmares of big Roo.

New faces
One of the most-hyped youngsters to ever pull on footy boots will make his official AFL debut on Saturday night. Jaeger O’Meara has the rockstar name and, according to his captain Ablett, it won’t be long until he has a genuine presence to match. He is one of the favourites for the NAB Rising Star award in 2013, and all eyes will be on him on Saturday night. Also making their debut for the Suns are former Hawthorn defender Tom Murphy and Fremantle playmaker Greg Broughton.

At St Kilda, they will unveil former Docker Dylan Roberton in defence, while ruckman Tom Hickey will possess plenty of nervous energy as he takes on his old side for the first time after being traded to Moorabbin in the off-season.

Burning questions
Which Gold Coast youngsters will step up to the plate in 2013? We saw last season Harley Bennell, Dion Prestia and Steven May make significant inroads to successful AFL careers, but they need more help. It’s time for David Swallow, Sam Day, Brandon Matera, Zac Smith and more to become regular contributors and take that next step.

Can the Suns generate a winning score? Sam Day is sure to be a handful in years to come, but can he be the focal target up forward that the Gold Coast lack? May has shown signs, while Matera, Russell and Bennell have potential to be exciting goalkickers.

How will St Kilda’s depleted defence perform? There was a reason they chased Mitch Brown from West Coast so strongly, and with Sam Fisher going down with injury on the eve of the season, the Saints are relying on James Gwilt (188cm) and Tom Simpkin (21 games). Sam Gilbert and Jason Blake can offer support, but it might be the perfect night for the 196cm, 96kg Day to impose himself.

SuperCoach
Everyone is getting on the O’Meara train. At $115,900, he is one of the cheapest midfielders going around, but almost entrenched in Gold Coast’s best 22 means he could be one of your most valued players. The superstar in the making averaged 84 points from three full-length NAB Cup matches, and appears a bargain pick for every fantasy coach in the land. You’d be mad not to have him.

He’s still only young, but the man-mountain in Ben McEvoy looks ready to become one of the most important players in the AFL. St Kilda’s number one ruckman, he will relish having the smarts and competitiveness of Tom Hickey on board. With the former Sun giving him a chop-out, it gives McEvoy the chance to fill a hole in defence or go forward and kick a goal. He’s priced at $557,400, and his average in the NAB Cup over the full-length games was 71.5. Don’t fear though, as his SuperCoach average in his five years has increased every season, so expect a rise on his 104.2 from last year. A unique pick.

History
St Kilda have total ownage over the Gold Coast Suns, especially after 2012 in which they won both encounters by a combined 187 points.

Since 2000, Gold Coast and St Kilda have played three times. From left to right, this is the result of each game since the start of the millenium.

STK – STK – STK

Overall
Gold Coast: 0/3
St Kilda: 3/3

Gold Coast home game (Metricon Stadium)
Gold Coast: 0/2
St Kilda: 2/2

St Kilda home game (Etihad Stadium)
Gold Coast: 0/1
St Kilda: 1/1

Prediction
This should be a good game between two sides that will be around the same region on the ladder at the end of the season in my opinion. In an upset victory, i’m tipping the GOLD COAST to possibly be in the eight for the first time since their inception.

Margin: 10.

First goalkicker: Gary Ablett.

GWS Birthday Bash – GWS Giants v Sydney Swans, AFL Round 1 2013

greater western sydney vs sydney

When: Saturday March 29, 4:40PM
Where: ANZ Stadium

BigFooty Gameday Thread

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY

GWS Board Gameday Thread
FB: Adam Kennedy, Tim Mohr, Stephen Gilham
HB: Tomas Bugg, Phil Davis, Curtly Hampton
C: Will Hoskin-Elliott, Callan Ward, Lachie Whitfield
HF: Stephen Coniglio, Jeremy Cameron, Tom Scully
FF: Liam Sumner, Jonathon Patton, Devon Smith
R: Jonathan Giles, Adam Treloar, Toby Greene
I/C: Taylor Adams, Dean Brogan, Lachie Plowman, Dylan Shiel
EMG: Sam Frost, Rhys Palmer, Nathan Wilson

NEW: Lachie Whitfield, Lachie Plowman

SYDNEY SWANS

Swans Board Gameday Thread
FB: Rhyce Shaw, Heath Grundy, Nick Smith
HB: Martin Mattner, Ted Richards, Nick Malceski
C: Ben McGlynn, Daniel Hannebery, Lewis Jetta
HF: Kieren Jack, Sam Reid, Ryan O’Keefe
FF: Mike Pyke, Adam Goodes, Jude Bolton
R: Shane Mumford, Josh Kennedy, Jarrad McVeigh
I/C: Tony Armstrong, Dane Rampe, Luke Parker, Lewis Roberts-Thomson
EMG: Andrejs Everitt, Jed Lamb, Jesse White

NEW: Dane Rampe

Forecast: Mostly sunny, 25 degrees
Sportsbet: Greater Western Sydney $9.00, Sydney $1.06

Snapshot
Greater Western Sydney are turning two years old in this clash and face a stiff birthday as they face up against older brother and reigning premiers the Sydney Swans. In the newly dubbed ‘Battle of the Bridge’, the Swans are warm favourites, the shortest of Round 1, but are carrying plenty of underdone players into this clash, including Nick Smith, Martin Mattner and Shane Mumford. Missing from the premiership team of last year is Mitch Morton, Craig Bird and Alex Johnson, with Tony Armstrong, Ben McGlynn and rookie Dane Rampe coming into the side. The Swans put in the usual effort in the NAB Cup, while the Giants were impressive at times, giving every indication that majority of their young squad will be immune from second-year blues.

Top talent
The Giants held the first three selections in the National Draft last season, and two of them will take to the field in their first ever AFL game on Saturday night. Number one pick Lachie Whitfield is primed to hit the ground running, while talented defender Lachie Plowman, who was taken at selection number three, will also feature. The man in the middle, Jono O’Rourke, is still suffering from an injury that he sustained in the NAB Cup, while key position players Kristian Jaksch and Aidan Corr were not considered for selection. GWS will have a total of three number one draft picks on Saturday night, with Tom Scully, Jon Patton and Whitfield playing together for the first time. Combined with exciting youngsters in Stephen Coniglio, Liam Sumner, Jeremy Cameron, Will Hoskin-Elliott and Toby Greene, it is clear why the rest of the competition fears what the Giants will be in a few seasons’ time.

Another season, another dollar
The Swans will be fielding the usual experienced line-up, with veterans Adam Goodes and Jude Bolton starting their 15th campaign of AFL, and elder statesmen Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Ryan O’Keefe, Rhyce Shaw, Ted Richards and Jarrad McVeigh all gearing up for another tilt at the flag. With some of the Sydney players having two premiership medals from their career, will the hunger burn the same as previous years? Or will they need to rely on the younger brigade of Josh Kennedy, Kieren Jack, Dan Hannebery and Lewis Jetta, who’s thirst for another Grand Final win will be as strong as ever you would imagine.

SuperCoach
He was one of the more valuable cash-cows last season, but Adam Treloar is still a solid selection in your fantasy side. At $455,000, he is one of the most expensive players at his age. He averaged just under 90 points from three full-length NAB Cup games, which is higher than his average from last season.

Formally a much-maligned player, Nick Malceski shot to Sydney stardom with his match-winning role in the 2012 Grand Final with two outstanding snap goals to bookend the game. He has carried that confidence into the pre-season, averaging 100 SuperCoach points from two normal NAB Cup games. At $404,100, he is a point of difference and could be an inspired pick.

History
The AFL and Kevin Sheedy have worked hard to build up the rivalry between these two sides, but one would suggest that it will take some time until it is held in the same regard as the two WA and SA rivalries. It wasn’t helped by Sydney’s dominance over the Giants in their inaugural season, winning two games by 63 and 94 points.

Since 2000 (yeah yeah I know), Greater Western Sydney and Sydney have played two times. From left to right, this is the result of each game since the start of the millenium.

S – S

Overall
Greater Western Sydney: 0/2
Sydney: 2/2

Prediction
You would think that Sydney will take care of this clash, but the youth and excitement around the Giants is infectious. You can tell that they are primed to make a statement in their second year, and I think, given their contrasting pre-season campaigns, this one will be closer than most think. Still tipping the SYDNEY SWANS.
Margin: 34.

First goalkicker: Jonathon Patton.

Potential spooners vs big improvers – Western Bulldogs v Brisbane Lions, AFL Round 1 2013

western bulldogs vs brisbane lions

When: Saturday March 30, 1:40PM
Where: Etihad Stadium

BigFooty Gameday Thread

WESTERN BULLDOGS
Bulldogs Board Game Day
FB: Dale Morris, Jordan Roughead, Liam Picken
HB: Jason Johannisen, Tom Young, Brett Goodes
C: Adam Cooney, Nick Lower, Koby Stevens
HF: Tory Dickson, Liam Jones, Daniel Giansiracusa
FF: Rob Murphy, Ayce Cordy, Luke Dahlhaus
R: Will Minson, Ryan Griffen, Tom Liberatore
I/C: Mitch Wallis, Daniel Cross, Shaun Higgins, Clay Smith
EMG: Jason Tutt, Lukas Markovic, Tom Campbell

NEW: Brett Goodes

BRISBANE
Brisbane Board Gameday Thread
FB: Elliot Yeo, Daniel Merrett, Joel Patfull
HB: Jed Adcock, Matthew Maguire, Pearce Hanley
C: Patrick Karnezis, Tom Rockliff, Mitch Golby
HF: Dayne Zorko, Stefan Martin, Josh Green
FF: Rohan Bewick, Jonathan Brown, Ash McGrath
R: Billy Longer, Daniel Rich, Brent Moloney
I/C: Claye Beams, Jack Redden, James Polkinghorne, Aaron Cornelius
EMG: Sam Docherty, Andrew Raines, Ryan Lester

Forecast: Mostly sunny, 18 degrees
Sportsbet: Western Bulldogs $2.65, Brisbane $1.48

Snapshot
The Bulldogs are being widely backed for the wooden spoon in 2013 and after a terrible year last season. They seem to be behind the development of Melbourne, Port Adelaide and the two expansion sides in Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney. Coach Brendan McCartney begs to differ, and his side will be out to prove themselves on Saturday afternoon. They will face stiff competition though, as the reigning NAB Cup premiers travel to Melbourne to keep their unbeaten record this season alive. This will be Brisbane’s third game in a row at Docklands, and they will be hoping to clinch their third win from there.

New faces
Saturday afternoon will see a total of five players making their debut for their new club, and one player making their official AFL debut. That man is Brett Goodes, the 28 year old younger brother of Sydney star Adam. After a flawless pre-season, Goodes has been tipped to give vital experience to the backline as well as through the midfield. He will have a few teammates donning the famous Footscray jumper for the first time, including former Collingwood defender Tom Young, ex-Fremantle and Port Adelaide midfielder Nick Lower, and hard-nut Koby Stevens who was recruited from West Coast.

At the Lions, former Melbourne duo Stefan Martin and Brent Moloney will play their first official game with their new club. For Moloney, it is his third crack at an AFL team, having had a stint with Geelong at the start of his career. No doubt there will be plenty of nervous energy, not just from this group of players too.

Changing scenery
He is one of the classiest players on the Western Bulldogs’ list, but 2013 could see more time spent in the forward line for Bob Murphy after his role off of half-back in the past five or so seasons. He is capable of kicking goals (34 in 2008, 33 in 2005) and he could be the much-needed spark that the Bulldogs’ forward line needs. Spare a thought for Goodes as well, formerly a welfare manager at the Bulldogs, now he will be plugging holes in defence.

Drafted as a versatile forward, Patrick Karnezis spent his second season in the AFL finding his way as a midfielder in the NEAFL. Now, judging by his 2013 NAB Cup performance, he is ready to make the switch at the highest level. Karnezis has plenty of skill and is one of Brisbane’s most promising youngters. At 190cm and 90kg, it is very hard to forecast what role he’ll be playing in five years.

SuperCoach
He’s arguably the Western Bulldogs’ best player, and now a genuine SuperCoach gem. Midfielder Ryan Griffen is a unique pick for your side, and after averaging 99.5 SuperCoach points from two full-length NAB Cup games, it bodes well for his proper season form. He has a hefty price tag at $567,400, but you can sleep easy at night if you have him in your team.

He was the best performing player in terms of SuperCoach for players that played majority of the games in the NAB Cup, and it is ominous for his real season form for Daniel Rich. The Lions’ midfield star costs $485,800, but expect that price to rise. If you want to get on the Rich train that averaged 114.5 points from two full-length NAB Cup games, then you would want to get on it now.

History
Since 2000, the Western Bulldogs and Brisbane have played 24 times. From left to right, this is the result of each game since the start of the millenium.

BL – BL – BL – WB – BL – BL – BL – BL – BL – BL – WB – WB – WB – WB – WB – BL – WB – WB – WB – BL – WB – BL – BL – BL

Overall
Western Bulldogs: 10/24
Brisbane: 14/24

Western Bulldogs home game (Etihad Stadium/MCG)
Western Bulldogs: 6/10
Brisbane Lions: 4/10

Brisbane home game (Gabba)
Western Bulldogs: 4/13
Brisbane: 9/13

Prediction

You wouldn’t blame Dog supporters for feeling a little apprehensive about this game, especially when they are coming up against the boom side of the competition at the moment and a side that has the wood on them on recent times. I have had a little feeling about the WESTERN BULLDOGS for a couple of weeks now, and with Round 1 usually throwing up some upset victories, I think we’ll see a bit of a boil-over, for no reason other than I’ll look like a king if it comes off. :D

Margin: 13.

First goal kicker: Liam Jones.

Why everyone will slide in 2013

goodbye 2012 hello 2013

According to the punditry, everyone will do better in 2013.

This rather extraordinary exercise in groupthink has occurred holistically but, basically, everyone seems to be suggesting this year is the most difficult to pick the eight finalists, how everyone is improved in 2012, all the while essentially picking the same final eight, the next four, and the last six.

For some reason, whether it be a disengagement from the football mainstream, and newly found streak of rebellion, or just a desire to be different from everyone else, I can only think of reasons why every team will struggle this year. So permit me this counterpoint, this minority report, on what will happen in 2013 – the reasons any and every team will not perform as well as in 2012.

Adelaide

Main reason: everyone is talking up Tex Walker this off-season, but I can see a slide from him purely because of the absence of Kurt Tippett. Suddenly Walker will be getting the best defender instead of the second-best, and he’ll have to deal with that effectively for Adelaide to traverse their way through a much tougher fixture in 2013 than the one they enjoyed in 2012.

When I think of Walker this year, I always seem to think of Lance Whitnall after Aaron Hamill left Carlton – he was never anywhere near as productive.

Brisbane

Main reason: They exceeded expectation last year, and this year no one will take them nearly as lightly. Jonathan Brown is another year older, and the Lions haven’t yet shed their reliance on him to kick a winning score.

(You can tell my heart really isn’t in this one – I like Brisbane to impress this year.)

Carlton

Mick Malthouse doesn’t play. They haven’t addressed any area of on-field need, such as tall defender or reliable tall forward. They’ve won one final since 2001.

Collingwood

They’ve been up for a while. Dane Swan could be a massive destruction, and he, Darren Jolly and Nick Maxwell are getting on in footballing years. And Jolly’s replacement is the positively youthful Ben Hudson.

Essendon

See 2012-13 pre-season. That and even with the recruitment of Brendon Goddard, they still lack real midfield depth, quality, proven small forwards, and reliable small defenders.

Fremantle

Pavlich a year older. The propensity of Ross Lyon-coached teams to fall back into timid football that produces low scoring. And they’re Freo – they’ve never won anything.

Geelong

Father time must catch up with these guys, right? And possibly, their best ruck option is a steeplechaser. Can’t play Hawthorn every week.

Gold Coast

Perhaps those youngsters won’t be as good as anyone thinks? Still lack reliable key position players at either end.

Greater Western Sydney

See Gold Coast Year Two.

Hawthorn

These guys are done – I’m putting my neck out. They’re not young, and were in a winning position late in a Grand Final (the year after being in a winning position late in a Preliminary Final) and lost it. And with Clinton Young gone and Matt Suckling done for the season, they lack outside class.

Melbourne

I know that the natural way of things is for a team that has been down so long and has rebuilt so fundamentally to eventually start to climb the ladder, but seriously, where is the improvement going to come from? They certainly added some mature depth, but Byrnes, Dawes and Rodan are not about to set the footy world on fire. Those are three spots that could have gone to youngsters. Nothing excites me about these guys, nothing, and after everything, they’re still Melbourne.

North Melbourne

Like the Crows, their 2012 fixture was a hell of a lot easier than their 2013 one promises to be. They now have a target on their backs, and one of their spots on the list was reserved for a old man who can’t play until Round 7.

Port Adelaide

A basketcase with no fans, no money and no hope. President lives in another state. A horde of mature players walked out on the club last year, to be replaced by Angus Monfries. Read that last sentence again.

Richmond

They are Richmond. Good teams always progress and make finals ahead of schedule. For examples of this, see St Kilda & Geelong in 2004, Hawthorn in 2007, and West Coast in 2011. I’m expecting a quintessentially “Richmond” performance from the Tigers this year.

St Kilda

Surely the club which has won more wooden spoons that any other will finally revert to type in 2013? Goddard’s gone, their quality players are ancient, and their youth is uninspiring or playing for West Coast. And in the off-season, Lenny Hayes had one of his hearts removed.

Sydney

They won the premiership in 2012, and history advises that they probably won’t do it again in 2013. By definition, a slide.

Western Bulldogs

With their only appointed leader out for a month, not only are the Western Bulldogs looking a good candidate for last spot this year, we have no idea who will even be their captain this weekend. They look like St Kilda without the class.

West Coast

In the modern footy world, an uninterrupted pre-season almost takes precedence over any other one factor as the biggest determinant of success in any given year. With so many players hurt through the first few months of 2013, perhaps most pundits faith in the Eagles is just a little bit premature? Also Cox, Glass and Embley all must be nearing their final decline.

For posterity, and to ensure their is some sort of written record of how much of a bad judge I am, here is my ladder for 2013:

Sydney
Fremantle
West Coast
Collingwood
Hawthorn
North Melbourne
St Kilda
Brisbane
Geelong
Adelaide
Carlton
Richmond
Essendon
Gold Coast
Melbourne
Port Adelaide
Greater Western Sydney
Western Bulldogs

Blues aim for a 5th straight Rd 1 win, Tigers might shock – Carlton v Richmond, AFL Rd 1 2013

carlton vs richmond AFL round 1 2013

When: Thursday March 28, 7:45PM
Where: MCG
BigFooty Game Day Thread

CARLTON
(Vote Blues on Facebook)

FB: Chris Yarran, Michael Jamison, Lachie Henderson
HB: Zach Tuohy, Nick Duigan, Bryce Gibbs
C: Kade Simpson, Andrew Carrazzo, Mitch Robinson
HF: Chris Judd, Andrew Walker, Jeff Garlett
FF: Eddie Betts, Levi Casboult, Shaun Hampson
R: Matthew Kreuzer, Marc Murphy, Brock McLean
I/C: Dennis Armfield, Josh Bootsma, Aaron Joseph, Kane Lucas
EMG: Tom Bell, Sam Rowe, Jeremy Laidler

RICHMOND
(Vote Tigers on Facebook)

FB: Steve Morris, Alex Rance, Troy Chaplin
HB: Jake Batchelor, Chris Newman, Bachar Houli
C: Shaun Grigg, Trent Cotchin, Reece Conca
HF: Brett Deledio, Shane Edwards, Daniel Jackson
FF: Luke McGuane, Jack Riewoldt, Robbie Nahas
R: Ivan Maric, Dustin Martin, Shane Tuck
I/C: Ben Griffiths, Jake King, Tyrone Vickery, Brandon Ellis
EMG: Matthew White, Chris Knights, Nick Vlastuin

Forecast: Rain easing, 22 degrees
TAB: Carlton $1.82, Richmond $2.00

Snapshot
The 2013 AFL Season begins with this game in my eyes. Footy is back at the MCG, two old rivals with plenty at stake, both teams highly-touted going into the new year, and both sides desperately wanting a first-up victory. Carlton will be aiming for their fifth straight Round 1 win over the Tiges, while Richmond will be hoping to beat the Blues for the first time since 2008. Carlton are coming off a NAB Cup Grand Final defeat the hands of the Brisbane Lions, while the Tigers posted close victories against Hawthorn, Western Bulldogs and Essendon to suggest they might be over the last-minute shock defeats that held them back in 2012.

Gamebreakers
Cast your eyes over both squads and, on paper, each side has an endless amount of gamebreakers; players capable of taking hold of a game and having a big say on it. For the Blues, you can’t go past Chris Yarran running off half-back, and it will be interesting to see if he has a greater role under Mick Malthouse. We saw how Leon Davis flourished in the twilight of his career in defence under the premiership coach, and we could see a similar form-rise from Yarran. Kicked the Goal of the Year in the corresponding match last season.

He has had a tumultous pre-season, and no doubt Dustin Martin has had this date circled on the calender as the day that the off-field troubles take a backseat to his on-field performance. 2013 could be the year that he explodes. Whether that is in a positive manner or negative is yet to be determined, but coach Damien Hardwick and captain Trent Cotchin are backing the young star to force his critics to eat their words. Round 1 in front of 80,000 fans will tell if Martin is serious about doing that or not, and if he is, Richmond are a step closer to winning.

Needing a big year
All pre-season, Carlton fans have been spruiking former first round draft selection Kane Lucas, announcing that, under Malthouse, 2013 will be his coming of age. It definitely has merit, as the Silver Fox has history of being a close mentor to younger players (think Dale Thomas, Alex Fasolo and Jarryd Blair). The silky midfielder was one of Carlton’s best players in the NAB Cup Grand Final against the Lions, and will be wanting to start off his third season in the AFL in a positive manner.

Another former first round draft pick, Tyrone Vickery’s 2012 season was wiped out due to injury, and he managed just nine games. In those games, he struggled playing as a key forward, a role in which he excelled at in 2011, kicking 35 goals. Tall enough to play as a ruckman and agile enough to be a key forward alongside Jack Riewoldt, Vickery has two powerful strings to his bow, and needs to avoid injury and cement his position in the best 22.

SuperCoach
He has been one of the most selected player in the past few seasons, but you get the feeling that 2013 will be Bryce Gibbs’ year to shine. With more midfield time forecast for the number one draft pick, he is sure to increase his SuperCoach average to a career-high. His form in the NAB Cup was excellent, averaging 112 points from two full-length matches. With a handy DPP status allowing him to be selected in defence and the midfield, he will be another player that coaches will invest in. $509,800 to be exact.

A former Essendon fringe player, Bachar Houli has transformed himself into a quality player for both Richmond and fantasy coaches. The half-back flanker will cost you $444,800, but his average of 100 from three full-length games in the NAB Cup ensures that you will be spending it wisely. A good point of difference.

History
As aforementioned, this is the sixth Round 1 blockbuster clash between these two sides, and seventh Round 1 game in a row. Carlton have dominated, winning six out of seven, including the past four. When you include return matches later in the season, Carlton have won nine games in a row, and a win tomorrow night will mean that for the first time since 1917, they will have defeated the Tigers 10 times in succession.

The best attendance between these two sides in Round 1 clashes was in 2009. On the night that Ben Cousins made his high-profile debut for Richmond, 87,043 people attended. That number will be given a fair shake tomorrow night.

Since 2000, Carlton and Richmond have played 22 times. From left to right, this is the result of each game from the start of the millenium.

C – C – R – R – C – C – C – R – C – R – R – C – R – C – C – C – C – C – C – C – C – C

Overall
Carlton: 16/22
Richmond: 6/22

Prediction
I’ve been looking forward to this game for about six months now, and it promises to be a beauty. Richmond, fighting to start the season with a win for the first time since 2008, while Carlton, aiming to hold their dominance over the Tigers. In a changing of the times, i’m tipping RICHMOND with not much confidence due to their forward power as well as a stronger backline. Midfield battle should be class with a capital C.

Margin: 7.

First goalkicker: Matthew Kreuzer.

Bulldogs Best Bet – AFL Round 1 2013

bulldog

After a very profitable 2012 The Weekly Punt is back for another year giving you the best way to use your hard earned money on AFL betting. Every week team’s strengths, expected performance, form lines and various other factors are calculated on each game to work the expected margin. This is then compared to the expected lines found with the current betting markets and whenever large enough discrepancies are found, a tip is given to bet on beating that line. The larger the discrepancy the more is staked, usually because it is more likely to be accurate.

This may seem like 50/50 proposition but most weeks the weekly punt is on the money and the reason why last year we turned $1000 into over $4000 just by beating the betting agencies at their own game. And every week the weekly punt will give you tips on what lines to bet, the amounts and a description the logic formed to arrive at the tip. We also pick one bet as bet of our round.

Usually there is about at least three or four games every week where discrepancies are found, but only one was found this week. Maybe the bookmakers have finally caught up to the Weekly Punt’s assessment of teams? Will see how the year plays out.

If you want to take NAB cup form into full account than of course you may think that Brisbane is heavily favoured to win this, that been said, the Bulldogs did not have such a bad preseason. That’s if you take it into account. Brisbane is still the better team but it is the Bulldogs home game, it should be closer than the +20.5 line offered by Centrebet at $1.91 and the only bet is of course the bet of the round.

Current Betting Fund: – $150.00

Total staked so far: $150.00

Western Bulldogs v Brisbane – Handicap (+20.5) – $150 @ $1.91 Centrebet

(Bet is on team in Bold)

Odds correct at time of posting

Adelaide vs Essendon, Rd 1 2013: Eyes on the 4 points, not the scandals

Adelaide Crows logo Essendon Bombers logo

Game day thread, plus BigFooty Live Chat from 7:30

When: Friday March 22, 8:10PM
Where: AAMI Stadium

TEAMS FORTHCOMING

Forecast: Cloudy, 18 degrees
Sportsbet: Adelaide $1.45, Essendon $2.80

Snapshot

The Toyota 2013 Premiership Season kicks off with the Adelaide Crows and the Essendon Football Club clashing at AAMI Stadium. Both sides had incredibly distracting off-seasons, with the Crows embroiled in the Kurt Tippett/salary cap saga, while Essendon are still in the midst of the ASADA investigation into drug use among players. Both sides will be keen for the first bounce.

Stop him at all costs

The Crows have plenty of dominant matchwinners, such as Patrick Dangerfield, Scott Thompson, Sam Jacobs and Daniel Talia, but the one Essendon defenders will be losing sleep over tonight is Taylor Walker. ‘The Mullet’ hasn’t been outstanding in the NAB Cup, but in 2012 he booted 63 goals, entrenching himself as one of the next dominant forwards of the current era. Who does James Hird send to Tex? Cale Hooker could be a possibility, while Jake Carlisle proved last season he isn’t incapable of playing on the big forwards. Or we could see Michael Hurley thrown back for a mouthwatering contest.

The Crows will have their own worries though. The 2012 Brownlow Medalist needs to be curtailed. Jobe Watson could determine the fate of the match by his own game. As captain, he has been under more scrutiny than most during the off-season drama, and he will be hoping to put in a big performance. The Crows could put Thompson on Watson, which would be an all-star match-up, or they could bring Brent Reilly into the midfield to try and curtail him.

Draftee watch

Mini-draft selection Brad Crouch is a strong chance to make his long-awaited debut for Adelaide on Friday night. He spent 2012 training with the group and playing in the SANFL, and is primed to make a big impact from the get-go.

Hird has made it clear that exciting father-son recruit Joe Daniher won’t play, but Nick Kommer will. The mature-age (22) recruit will make his debut for the Bombers after being selected in the fourth round of the National Draft. From East Perth, he is a hardened midfielder who had an impact in the NAB Cup and won’t be overawed on the big stage.

SuperCoach

Reliability, consistency, and durability. If you look up the SuperCoach Dictionary, under those words you will find Scott Thompson. The Adelaide midfielder has been a beacon of success in the past two seasons, playing 22 games and averaging 110.5 points each year. He has been carefully managed in the NAB Cup, playing two full-length games and averaging 85 points. But once the real stuff kicks off, you’ll realise that it is $591,000 well spent.

He was one of the biggest movers in the off-season, now it’s time for Brendon Goddard to walk the walk. The St Kilda star of 10 seasons may find himself wearing new colours, but he is still a SuperCoach staple in your defence or midfield. He played two games in the NAB Cup as well as the two shortened versions. In the two full-length games, he scored 102 points, which gives you plenty of confidence in selecting him at $541,500.

History

It is not often that Adelaide plays Essendon in Melbourne, with this clash being the fifth home game for the Crows in a row. Since 2000, the Crows and the Bombers have played 17 times. From left to right, this is the result of each game from the start of the milennium.

E – E – A – E – A – E – A – A – E – E – A – A – A – A – A – E – A

Overall

Adelaide: 10/17

Essendon: 7/17

Adelaide home game (AAMI Stadium)

Adelaide: 8/11
Essendon: 3/11

Essendon home game (Etihad Stadium)

Adelaide: 2/6
Essendon: 4/6

Prediction

This should be a cracking game, and although there will be plenty of miskicks and poor handballs, it will be great to have the footy back. Given it’s a home game and the crowd should well be in excess of 45,000, i’m tipping the ADELAIDE CROWS to defeat Essendon.

Margin: 33

First goalkicker: Brent Stanton