Friday, 24 April 2015

AFL Round 4 previews

Time for a bit of variety on the blog, some match previews for the greatest sport on the planet - Aussie Rules footy! Cheers to the guys at @aflratings for the preview.

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AFL Round 4 Preview
By aflratings.com.au via @aflratings

Last week was a very comfortable week for punters as 9 favourites were victorious; this week is a completely different story with as many as 8 games providing varied opinions. Weather is likely to play a factor in Melbourne, Adelaide and Canberra games this week, here are our Round 4 thoughts.

Melbourne v Richmond
Melbourne were highly competitive against a very good Adelaide team a week ago in heavy conditions in Adelaide, they are unlikely to get blown out of the water but have again struggled to score averaging 55.5pts FOR in their last 2 games. Richmond were clinical against a poor Brisbane team at the Gabba in Round 3, it is hard to put a form line on the Tigers as they have not played anyone decent as yet. Defensively Richmond has conceded only 73.7pts AGA from their first three games, this one shapes as a low scoring contest even more so if wet weather hits the MCG on Friday night.

St Kilda v Carlton
The Saints have been very competitive in Wellington games in the last two years with narrow losses, both games were played at night and provided low scoring contests. Carlton are a mess on and off field right now with mixed messages, one could assume the players are also confused but don’t be caught off guard especially considering the Blues are coached by one of the all-time greats. The Line does seem a bit high for the Blues considering the quality of players that will be missing from their team, but the Saints are also missing some stars.

Essendon v Collingwood
The Bombers appeared to be a little flat in the second half v Carlton last week, the legal proceedings against them are likely long gone but at some stage they will put in a stinker. Collingwood have started the year ok apart from a 1st half capitulation v Adelaide in Round 2, the Magpies have conceded only 76.7pts AGA from their opening three games. The Bombers are also in good defensive form, expect the ANZAC Day classic to be a low scoring affair especially if rain hits on Saturday afternoon.

GWS Giants V Gold Coast
The Giants pushed the Swans for the most part last week at the SCG, they have improved again this year scoring an average of 92.7pts FOR per game. The Suns narrowly missed out on a win at Geelong last week, the most important piece of information heading in to the game against the Giants this week is that this will be a back to back travel game for the Suns and also a 6 day break. Gold Coast won only three of 10 (30%) travel games and one of two (50%) six-day break games in 2014. The Giants are 2-0 in all travel games in 2015.

Port Adelaide v Hawthorn
If the Power can manage a victory against the Hawks on Saturday night in Adelaide, their Home & Away draw will open up playing only four games v Final 8 teams from a year ago between Rounds 5-20. Port Adelaide have had a brutal early season draw, a 2-2 split will likely set up a high Ladder finish at the end of the year. Hawthorn demolished the Bulldogs last week with class; Jordan Lewis has stepped up his game again and is likely to figure in Brownlow Medal contention if he continues on this pace. As for this game, sit back and enjoy a great contest. Even in light weather conditions this may be a high scoring game.

Fremantle v Sydney
You must have been sitting under a rock if you have not noticed Fremantle in the opening rounds of the AFL season, they literally have been awesome. Sydney are also in good form with a 3-0 start and have won the most Qtrs (9) for the year of any AFL team, both teams are defensive minded so expecting a tight low scoring contest. A win for Fremantle can set up a Top 2 position at the end of the Home & Away season, this is a must win for the Dockers as they have never finished Top 2 under coach Ross Lyon.

Brisbane v West Coast
Brisbane has conceded 135.0pts average in their last two games, Josh Kennedy and Marc LeCras must be licking their lips for a goal fest at the Gabba on Sunday. Both the Lions and Eagles have been hit hard by injuries in the early part of the season. West Coast won 11 of 13 games (85%) v Non-Final 8 teams in 2014, both teams will be keen for a victory but the Lions could be up against it if Kennedy and LeCras receive a fair few scoring shots up forward for the Eagles.

Geelong v Nth Melbourne
No longer are teams afraid of travelling to Geelong despite a remarkable win rate at Simonds Stadium by the Cats in recent years, Nth Melbourne are a strong offensive team and could open up the Cats on their home turf in Geelong. The Cats have conceded 107.7pts AGA average per game and Nth Melbourne have scored 100.3pts FOR so far in 2015, if not for Joel Selwood last week the Cats would be 0-3. Geelong has won only three of 12 Qtrs in three games and are struggling to contain teams, this is a great opportunity for the Kangaroos this week.

Western Bulldogs v Adelaide
The Crows love a fast track and Etihad Stadium will provide that late on Sunday afternoon, Taylor Walker will be a key target for the Crows up forward and could enjoy a day out if Adelaide can dominate through the middle of the ground. The Western Bulldogs won only one game v Final 8 teams in 2014, they are not yet ready to provide this type of upset. Expect the Crows to score over 100pts in this game, they are also only conceding 60.3pts per game in 2015.

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