AFL Round 2 Preview

A few sides will be out to settle some old scores as the second round of the AFL kicks off over the Easter break. We start the round with a Grand Final rematch as the Crows take on the premiers at the Adelaide Oval. The Saints tackle the Kangaroos on Friday and Carlton will test themselves against the Suns.

The new look Lions get the chance to give their fans some renewed optimism for 2018 when they host the Demons. Collingwood will face a real test when they take on the Giants, with Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley under real pressure to justify Eddie McGuire’s faith in him.

The round finishes with the clash of traditional rivals Geelong and Hawthorn at the MCG. These two clubs have had some terrific battles over the last two decades and the younger Gary Ablett will be looking to settle a few scores for his old man.

The Sydney sides impressed in the first round with some big wins away from home, while Richmond showed there wouldn’t be a premiership hangover despite struggling to get the win against the Blues.

 

Adelaide Crows v RIchmond Tigers
Richmond to win ($2.30)

The Crows playing group would have been itching all summer for another crack at the Tigers after the disaster on Grand Final day.

The Crows were comprehensively outplayed on the day that matters most in the competition. With Trent Cotchin notching his 200th game for Richmond, the Tigers playing group will be wanting to continue their winning start to their premiership defence.

The Tigers lost the corresponding fixture last year by 76 points and the Crows have won three of their last four clashes with Richmond.

The Crows will be fired up despite losing their opening round fixture to the Bombers. There was plenty of promise from a new look Crows side that included Bryce Gibbs.

The former Carlton midfielder looked at home in the Adelaide jumper and the Crows will be counting on another big effort against the premiers.

The Crows brains trust will be concerned by their last quarter fade-out against Essendon as Adelaide led by as much as 20-points at one point in the game. Richmond showed their premiership pedigree by overcoming a determined Carlton side in round one.

This will be a physical contest and the Tigers have shown they are up to the challenger of becoming the first side since Hawthorn to defend the flag. The premiers have shown some admirable qualities in round one and have won six of their last eight games on the road. Richmond will edge out the Crows by a goal and leave the Crows searching for answers early in the season.

St Kilda v North Melbourne
St Kilda to cover the line (-19.5 points)

North Melbourne have one of the oldest lists in the league and Kangaroos coach, Brad Scott’s position at Arden Street could come under intense scrutiny if his side doesn’t improve on their first-round effort.

The Roos could only kick five goals in the wet conditions in Cairns and will need to find some points on the board if they want to remain competitive in 2018. Saints fans will be buoyed to see their side sitting near the top of the AFL ladder, but won’t be getting carried away with their first-round results.

The Saints had the measure of the Lions in round one with David Armitage putting on a masterclass with 24 disposals. The Saints have won their last two clashes with North Melbourne but historically the Kangaroos have had the wood over the Saints.

Saint Kilda have more scoring options across their midfield and half-forward line. The Saints are good value in the marketplace to make a perfect start to 2018 and run out comfortable winners by three goals.

Carlton v Gold Coast Suns
Carlton to beat the line (-14.5 points)

The Blues showed their intent this season when they jumped out to a five-goal lead against premiers in the opening round.

Unfortunately for Carlton fans, Brendon Bolton’s young side could not maintain the rage against their more experienced opposition and succumbed to the Tigers by 26-points.

The young Blues side showed some serious improvement in their opening fixture and Bolton will have taken some heart from the performance of Charlie Curnow. Curnow kicked five goals and midfielder Patrick Cripps picked up 32 disposals against one the best midfield combinations in the league.

Stuart Dew’s coaching career started with a win against the Kangaroos in some of the worst conditions seen for an AFL match. The Suns showed enough promise to outscore a lacklustre North Melbourne side.

The Suns will welcome the change to better match conditions, but they may struggle to match the pace of the Blues midfield. Carlton showed a willingness to bomb away into the forward fifty area and the tactic worked for three quarters against the Tigers last week. The Blues have an opportunity to take advantage of the Sun’s inexperience on the road to go 2-0 for the season and have their best start to the competition since 2012.

Collingwood v Greater Western Sydney
GWS to beat the line (-19.5 points)

The Pies will be missing Mason Cox through suspension and have lost Josh Smith to injury. Nathan Buckley will be under massive pressure to maintain his position if his side can’t show some major improvement against the Giants.

Collingwood were poor in their first-round loss to Hawthorn and struggled with their ball movement across the midfield and lacked a key threat up forward.

The Giants were outstanding in their 82-point demolition of the Bulldogs in the opening round. GWS Coach Leon Cameron will be looking for his young charges to remain ruthless as they look to make it to a perfect start to the season.

The Giants forward line of Jeremy Cameron and Toby Greene will be looking for another major haul with one of the best midfields in the competition.

The Giants have a terrible record at the home of football, having only registered a single victory in their last twelve attempts. It’s vital for the Giants to turn around their dismal home record at the MCG if they are to make their first Grand Final this season.

The Giants will be hoping that Tom Scully is able to overcome an injury niggle that saw him rested against the Bulldogs. Scully will add an edge to a Giants side that is set to do some serious damage in this year’s final race. The Giants will be too slick for Collingwood and expect them to do some real damage to Buckley’s coaching credentials.

Brisbane Lions v Melbourne Demons
Brisbane to win ($3.10)

The Lions will be happy with their effort despite losing a tough encounter to the Saints in Melbourne. Former Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge and new recruit Charlie Cameron will both play their first home games for the club at the Gabba.

The Lions got to within a goal of the Saints and will be confident against a Melbourne side that has been inconsistent on the road.

The Demons will be feeling they should have gotten the better of Geelong in the opening round. Max Gawn should have won the game for Melbourne, but the ruckman struggled to handle the pressure.

The Lions will be looking for a big performance in front of their home fans despite the loss of Daniel Rich. The leadership of Luke Hodge will be vital and will give the Lions a chance of causing an upset win against an improved Melbourne side.

Fremantle Dockers v Essendon Bombers
Bombers to beat the line (-10.5 points)

The Dockers were helpless in their first-round loss to Port Adelaide and it shapes as a long season for Ross Lyons’ troops.

Fremantle will struggle to adjust to the dimensions of Optus Stadium and won’t enjoy the dominance they experienced at Subiaco Oval. With the ground side similar to the MCG, we’ll see more Victorian teams notch some big wins out West, as both WA sides start the rebuilding process.

Essendon will have enjoyed their breakthrough first-round win against the Crows. For much of the match, John Worsfold’s men trailed Adelaide but were able to come over the top of their more fancied rivals. The Bombers have recruited well in the offseason and they have the makings of a genuine premiership contender.

The Bombers may have a substandard record out West but Essendon have too much talent across the field to be troubled by a Dockers side that seems out of ideas early in the season.

Western Bulldogs v West Coast eagles
West Coast to win ($2.25)

The Eagles were rolled by the Sydney Swans juggernaut at home and christened Optus Stadium with a heavy loss to a traditional rival.

The Eagles are going through a rebuilding phase with the loss of two Brownlow Medal winners. The Bulldogs were shocking against the Giants in the first round and have been decimated by injury.

Liam Picken will be sitting on the sidelines with a concussion and Tom Liberatore will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury.

Dale Morris won’t be returning this week and the injuries are starting to take a toll on the Bulldogs as we head into the second round of the season.

The Eagles have traditionally been poor in Melbourne for the last couple of season but if they can show the same endeavour as they did against the Swans then they could be in the box seat to grab an upset victory.

Sydney Swans v Port Adelaide Power
Swans to win ($1.42)

The Swans powered to victory over the Eagles in the first round thanks to Buddy Franklin. The Swans full-forward was back to his best with an eight-goal performance.

Port Adelaide were equally as impressive at home as they dismantled the Dockers in front of a packed house at the Adelaide Oval.

The Swans will be buoyed by the news that midfielder Dan Hannebery is close to a return after coming through a NEAFL practice game unscathed. The midfielder looms as a vital weapon for John Longmire’s men this season.

The Power will be hurt by the loss of big man Paddy Ryder as the ruckman picked up an Achilles injury that is set to sideline him for at least a month. The Power will be stretched throughout the middle with Peter Ladhams and Billy Frampton expected to be called up in his place.

Sydney will be too good at home and even though Port remain competitive, the Swans should be able to run out comfortable winners.

Geelong v Hawthorn
Geelong to win ($1.58)

The Easter Monday clash between these two sides promises to be an epic encounter. Patrick Dangerfield returns for the Cats from a hamstring injury and Nakia Cockatoo could also be coming into the side that stole a win against the Demons.

Dangerfield is likely to combine with Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood across the middle of the park. The Cats will need to build more chances inside their own forward fifty if they want to get across the line against a slick Hawthorn side. Alistair Clarkson would have been elated with the performance of Tom Mitchell.

The Hawks midfielder blew Collingwood away with 50+ possessions and a best on ground performance.

The Cats are looking dangerous with the return of Ablett to their midfield and will be able to get the better of a traditional rival to close out the round.