It was an incredible Round 1 of footy with high scoring and players racking up plenty of the footy. The Wolf’s value bet saluted to kick off the season with the Power beating North Melbourne by 40+, and I’m confident the Suns will also do a number on the inexperienced Kangaroos. Here are The Wolf’s AFL tips for Round 2.
Blues / Power / Saints / Suns / Tigers = $5.67
Blues to bag a win
These two bitter rivals enter Thursday night’s clash off Round 1 losses and both will be desperate to avoid going 0-2 to start the season.
Collingwood’s forward line continues to look completely inept, scoring just 53 points in Round 1 – the least of any side. But despite this, they’ll enter this contest as favourite for the 12th straight time against the Blues.
The Pies have won the last four contests with Carlton, but they’ve had some great battles over that time with the margin 24 points or less in seven of the last eight. Carlton has won two of those last eight games, although the Pies have entered shorter than $1.60 favourites in seven of them.
Based on each team’s Round 1 performance though, The Wolf is leaning towards the Blues. Sam Walsh looks set for a break out year after 31 disposals against Richmond where he spent 87% of his game time as an inside mid, up from an average of 17% in 2020. Expect his disposal numbers to remain high. Up forward, Harry McKay could have quite easily kicked a bag if it wasn’t for a few brain fades.
Although Collingwood has had the recent stranglehold over the Blues in the win-loss column, Carlton has managed to clear the line in three of their last five games. They’ve been competitive with a good Collingwood team for many years now, but with Nathan Buckley’s side struggling to kick a winning score and Carlton on the way up, expect the Blues to beat the Pies for the first time since 2017.
Same Game Multi: Carlton (+2.5) / Sam Walsh 30+ Disposals / Harry McKay 2+ Goals ($5.25)
Geelong at the Cattery
What loomed as a clash between two premiership fancies coming off easy Round 1 victories has suddenly become a must-win game for Geelong and Brisbane, who will both be desperate not to dent their top four chances early in the year.
Geelong will be without Patrick Dangerfield due to suspension and Sam Menegola is questionable after injuring his shoulder in Round 1, while they’re hopeful Mitch Duncan will return to fill the void.
What the Cats do have in their favour is their trusty home ground – GMHBA Stadium. They’ve won 20 of their last 23 games at their home ground, clearing the line in 14 of those games. Their record at home against Brisbane is just as impressive, winning their last 11 at the venue by an average of 52 points dating all the way back to 2003.
On top of this, Geelong has won 10 of the last 11 games against Brisbane including both games last year – the most recent a 40-point victory in the Preliminary Final. To emphasise the dominance, Geelong has also cleared the line in their last 10 against the Lions.
Without Dangerfield and potentially Menegola, Joel Selwood should step up in this crucial clash after 18 disposals last week. As for Brisbane, the inclusion of Joe Daniher had some early growing pains for their forward structure with Charlie Cameron failing to kick a goal, but the star small forward has a good record against the Cats kicking 13 from his last four games.
Expect a better performance from both teams in Round 2, but despite being undermanned it’s hard to go against the Cats at their fortress.
Same Game Multi: Joel Selwood 20+ Disposals / Tom Stewart 20+ Disposals / Charlie Cameron 2+ Goals ($4.00)
Something to Crow about
Both Sydney and Adelaide were exceptional in Round 1, knocking off top contenders in Brisbane and Geelong respectively.
These two sides have played in some close match-ups of late, with four of the last six decided by 15 points or less including the Swans’ three-point win in Round 1 last year.
Sydney enter this SCG clash currently $1.36 favourites, but this may not be a good thing – the winner of the last four games between these two teams has gone in as outsiders. This includes the last two SCG games, with Adelaide winning both as $2.10 and $3.80 underdogs.
Over the years the SCG hasn’t exactly been a ground Sydney have played well at, only winning two of their last seven games there, and if you go back to late 2018 they’ve only managed to win six of their last 17 there.
Taking nothing away from Sydney’s dominant Round 1 win against the Lions, but the $1.36 odds seems short for such a young team – The Wolf is keen on the 18.5 point head start for Adelaide.
For your Same Game Multi, Rory Laird is the only player in the competition to have 25+ disposals in his last five games with Matthew Nicks persisting with him in the midfield in 2021. Tom Papley is an SCG specialist, averaging 3.3 goals there in 2020 while another small forward at the other end of the ground in James Rowe has added another scoring option for the Crows. Rounding us off, James Rowbottom is a likely type in the Sydney midfield who racked up 22 touches in their Round 1 win.
Same Game Multi: Rory Laird 25+ Disposals / James Rowbottom 20+ Disposals / Tom Papley 2+ Goals / James Rowe Any Time Goal Scorer ($5.75)
Power to hit the scoreboard
At half time on Saturday Night we would have been discussing an exciting contest here between two easy Round 1 winners in Essendon and Port Adelaide, but the Bombers unravelled against the Hawks while the Power were clinical on Sunday against the Roos.
Port Adelaide will enter this clash confident in their recent record at Adelaide Oval where they’ve won 9 of their last 11 games by an average of 33.4 points.
Essendon were one of those nine wins for the Power last season, where they managed to kick 79 points – 19 above last year’s average points scored despite horrific weather conditions. It resulted in a 50-point victory for Ken Hinkley’s men, a similar result to their previous meeting in 2019 when Port beat the Bombers by 59 points at Marvel Stadium.
The last five games between these two teams have scored 21.5 points above the AFL average, and with Essendon’s new-look backline looking rather shaky without the likes of Hooker, Hurley and Saad, The Wolf expects the floodgates to open on Saturday.
Port Adelaide managed 117 points against the Kangaroos in Round 1 despite only kicking 14 points in the first quarter, and with their recent record at home, expect them to pile on the goals on Saturday.
Karl Amon impressed for the Power in Round 1 and has a good record against the Bombers, averaging 20.6 disposals in his last three games against them, while Zach Merrett for Essendon is coming off 31 touches against the Hawks and averages 28.3 disposals in his last four against the Power. Also keep an eye on young Essendon forward Harrison Jones – although he missed four opportunities in front of goal in Round 1, he threatened on a number of occasions and should kick his first career goal on Saturday.
Same Game Multi: Port Adelaide / Karl Amon 20+ Disposals / Zach Merrett 30+ Disposals / Harrison Jones Any Time Goal Scorer ($8.50)
Saints rise above Demons
This looks an intriguing clash at Marvel Stadium on Saturday night between two sides both coming off Round 1 wins.
While the Saints remain undermanned with a number of key injuries, they should welcome back Max King up forward, and they’ll be buoyed by their excellent record at Marvel. St Kilda has won six of their last seven games at home, while the Demons have only played there three times in the last two years for a one-point win over Carlton and two losses.
St Kilda has a pretty good recent record against Melbourne winning three of their last four, but the Demons taking last year’s encounter in Alice Springs by three points.
Last time they met at Marvel Stadium the Saints were 19-point victors in 2019, with Jack Sinclair finishing with 20 disposals and Christian Petracca three goals. The Melbourne star also kicked four against the Saints in their meeting last year.
Although there were promising signs for Melbourne last week in their victory over Fremantle, The Wolf thinks this game is a much big step up against a St Kilda team that play Marvel so well.
Same Game Multi: St Kilda / Hunter Clark 20+ Disposals / Jack Sinclair 20+ Disposals / Christian Petracca Any Time Goal Scorer ($5.00)
Suns to shine at Metricon
North Melbourne flew out of the blocks against Port Adelaide with the first quarter played at a very high intensity, much the opposite to the Suns who were down three goals in three minutes against West Coast.
But the inexperienced Kangaroos quickly ran out of gas against Port, while the Suns really took it to the Eagles at Optus Stadium before being overrun in the final quarter.
Minus the devastating knee injury to Matt Rowell, there were plenty of promising signs for the Suns who are looking to take another step forward in 2021. They’ve played well against North Melbourne over the last few years too, winning three of the last five and clearing the line in five of the last six.
In 2020, Gold Coast absolutely smashed the Kangaroos at Metricon Stadium by 63 points, with Hugh Greenwood the Suns’ equal leading possession-getter with 23 touches, whilst Alex Sexton kicked four goals. Both players were quiet in Round 1 and The Wolf expects them to bounce back against this Kangaroos outfit.
North Melbourne has lost their last nine games now by an average of 39 points, and although their endeavour was there against the Power, they’ve got plenty of work to do in their rebuild before they become competitive.
Same Game Multi: Suns (-20.5) / Hugh Greenwood 20+ Disposals / Alex Sexton 2+ Goals ($4.75)
Tigers too strong
As expected, Richmond did what they needed to do to get the four points in their season opener against the Blues, while Hawthorn’s second-half comeback win from Essendon was one to remember.
The Tigers have won four of the last five against the Hawks, with Hawthorn a shock 32-point winner in their 2020 clash. Richmond were without Dustin Martin in that meeting, however.
The winner in the last seven meetings between these sides has also cleared the line, which is set at 29.5 for this clash, but as we know the Tigers aren’t exactly a blowout team. Their last four wins over Hawthorn have been between 1-39, with an average winning margin of 27.3 points.
Expect this to be a high-scoring contest – seven of Hawthorn’s last eight games have gone over the total points, with Richmond one of four teams to kick over 100 points in Round 1.
Josh Caddy enjoys playing the Hawks, kicking a goal in his last 12 games against the brown and gold, while you can expect a similar performance from Tom Mitchell to what we saw in Round 1. The Brownlow Medalist carved up the Bombers with 39 possessions, and averages 37.3 in his last four full-length games against the Tigs.
Same Game Multi: Richmond / Over 174.5 Points / Josh Caddy Any Time Goal Scorer / Tom Mitchell 30+ Disposals ($4.00)
Keep your eye on the Eagles
There’s plenty of hype around the Bulldogs after their Round 1 win over the Pies but The Wolf still has concerns over their forward line, which only managed to kick 69 points despite having a round-high 465 disposals – 63 more than any other team.
They host the Eagles at Marvel Stadium on Sunday, which has been a tricky match-up for them recently. West Coast has won three of the last four games by 50+ against the Bulldogs, with Luke Beveridge’s men winning in wet conditions last year by just two points.
The Western Bulldogs enter this currently at $1.56 favourite, but in the last two clashes where they’ve entered as favourite against West Coast, the Eagles have won both games – and both were at Marvel Stadium.
West Coast has won their last four games at Marvel Stadium, and despite missing Luke Shuey and Elliot Yeo, their midfield mix of Tim Kelly, Dom Sheed and Andrew Gaff is still good enough to compete with the Bulldogs stacked midfield.
Tim Kelly averages 30.3 disposals at Marvel Stadium and is coming off a great first round performance against the Suns, while Oscar Allen has kicked 2+ goals in his last four games. He looks set for a break out year.
It’s not going to get any easier for the Bulldogs to kick a score against the Eagles’ experienced backline and The Wolf’s expecting West Coast to cause an upset Sunday.
Same Game Multi: Eagles (+9.5) / Tim Kelly 25+ Disposals / Oscar Allen 2+ Goals ($4.33)
The Giants had every chance to grab a win against the Saints on Sunday but couldn’t quite secure the four points, while the Dockers really struggled up forward against Melbourne with make-shift forward Alex Pearce going down with a knee injury in the first half.
It doesn’t get any easier for the depleted Dockers, facing a team that has a very good recent record against them in the Giants. GWS has won five of the last six against Fremantle, including the last two games in Perth.
The Giants are outsiders on Sunday, which has been quite rare for them over the last two years – but from their last six games as outsiders they’ve won four.
Outside of Matt Taberner, the Dockers looked unlikely of kicking a goal each time they went forward on Saturday with Steven May and Jake Lever picking off a number of inside 50s with ease. We should expect something similar from intercept machine Nick Haynes on Sunday.
Another defender that impressed in Round 1 was Fremantle’s Hayden Young, racking up 19 touches and producing plenty of run off half-back with his penetrating left peg.
A fully-fit Dockers at Optus Stadium and it’s probably a different outcome, but it’s going to be really difficult for Fremantle to compensate for their long list of injuries against the Giants.
Same Game Multi: Hayden Young 20+ Disposals / Nick Haynes 20+ Disposals / Matthew Taberner 2+ Goals ($9.25)