Not only are we amidst the bye rounds, but the AFL has decided to start playing matches on Thursday night in the middle of winter, while I'm focused on Royal Ascot! So apologies for missing the first game of the round which has just gotten underway.
Once again, previews provided by the smart chaps at @AFLRatings.
AFL Round 12 Preview by aflratings.com.au via @AFLRatings
Last week five favourites were successful from six games in the AFL, here are our thoughts for Round 12.
Adelaide 6-4 v Hawthorn 6-4
The Crows opened the 2015 AFL home & away season 3-0, since then a 3-4 record has them precariously located inside the top 8. Adelaide has won only one game vs a team currently residing in the top 8 (R2 Collingwood), they have scored 80.0pts per game between Rounds 8-10 and are 0-3 when starting as underdog this season. If you get the sense our thoughts here are swayed towards selecting Hawthorn then you are correct, the Hawks are the no.1 scoring team in the AFL again this season which has been their simple formula for success. Since the beginning of 2013, Hawthorn are 39-0 when scoring 100pts or more & only 9-12 when scoring fewer than 100pts. Adelaide are going to have to shutdown Hawthorn for four quarters, but the Hawks with a relatively healthy playing list are going to be very difficult to defeat.
Richmond 6-4 v West Coast 8-3
The Tigers have rebounded extremely well from a poor start to the year to be inside the top 8 with a 6-4 record, more importantly in
the last four weeks they have been able to take control of games and tempo whenever they have wanted which is a sign of a very good
team. Richmond did lose coming off the bye 12 months ago so this will be a great test for their maturity as an emerging team,
defensively the Tigers have conceded just 57.3pts Ave from their last three games and that will be tested against the no.2 scoring team
in the AFL this season. Interestingly, West Coast has played only two top 8 sides so far in the 2015 home & away season and seven of
their wins have been by 50pts or more. This will be a brutal game from the Tigers, the Eagles have a 3-2 travel record so far this
Carlton 1-9 v Port Adelaide 5-6
Be aware, be very aware that Carlton has adjusted their game. The Blues racked up 410 disposals vs Adelaide two weeks ago in a narrow
loss at the MCG, prior to that they were averaging only 332.9 Disposals per game. Opinions needs to change quickly as Carlton are +2
vs the Betting Line in their last two games, despite a poor 1-9 record the Blues are highly likely to challenge the Power all the way
at the MCG on Saturday. Port Adelaide have had their own struggles this season failing to provide any type of consistency similar to
that of last year which nearly led them in to a Grand Final spot, the Power are scoring 17.4pts less per game compared to last
season. This one could be a very close contest, a loss to Port Adelaide will be disastrous to their finals chances in 2015.
GWS Giants 7-4 v Nth Melbourne 5-6
Regardless of the result last week, GWS were well in control of their own destiny of playing finals in 2015. Two quarters of footy may
have taken away any chance of September action with critical injuries to arguably four of their better players, the Giants will be well
short of quality defenders and may have to adjust their game style as a result. All is not lost this week for the Giants however as
the Kangaroos have their own injury problems to deal with, midfield numbers are way down for Nth Melbourne this season resulting from
long term injuries to Wells & Dal Santo along with the departure of Greenwood to Collingwood. The Kangaroos have averaged only 340.7
Disposals from the last six games and do not have a player ranked in the top 50 for average disposals in 2015. This game might be for
viewing only for future knowledge, but if you must the Giants might be a great small value investment at game time considering all
the money that will come for the Kangaroos this week.
Western Bulldogs 5-5 v Brisbane 2-8
Brisbane won their opening two games coming off the bye last year, they have been hit hard by injuries this year and are lacking key
forwards & defenders on their playing list and as a result are conceding 107.3pts per game (Ranked 17th). Throughout this year the
Western Bulldogs have been very impressive but they can also turn it up when expectations are high, the Bulldogs have a 0-2 record
when starting as favourite & a 5-3 record when starting as Underdog this season. The Bulldogs are overwhelming favourites, be aware
they have a -138pt differential in last quarters this season.
Geelong 6-5 v Melbourne 3-8
In the only AFL Sunday game Melbourne will do their best to be competitive against Geelong at Simonds Stadium, the Cats are very good
in first quarters this year with an 8-3 record so an expected fast start is quite possible. Geelong are getting it done defensively in the
last two weeks conceding only 61.0pts Ave, Melbourne are ranked 17th scoring only 71.3pts per game in 2015 but have averaged 84.0pts in
the last two weeks. Not expecting an upset in this one, but the Demons would be still hurting from conceding a late winner against the
Saints last Sunday. Keep an eye on the coin toss as forecast high winds will assist scoring to one end of the ground, a check of
weather conditions is highly recommended as there may be better offers available at quarter-time.