The long Easter weekend of footy brings us plenty to look forward to.
Like the occasion itself, it promises to be epic.
For some their seasons will be resurrected, others will keep on keeping on and some markets suggest certain teams are set to be crucified – how appropriate.
Can the Easter Bunny deliver us a few winners in AFL Round 3?
Read on in our tips and preview.
It’s been quite the week for the mighty Brisbane Lions (proudly sponsored by Neds).
First they were robbed/murdered/mugged by the umpires down in Geelong last week.
We’ll leave it at that.
Then with all the shenanigans back home in the Sunshine State, the AFL made them stay back in Melbourne for an extra night or two, and now until further notice.
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A simple fixture-swap has taken place with the Magpies now hosting the Lions at Marvel Stadium this Thursday night originally meant to take place in Round 22 with that game now at the Gabba.
Logistics aside, to call this a make or break game for the mighty Brisbane Lions (proudly sponsored by Neds) is an understatement.
Old mate, Owen-two is lingering around like a bad smell and what better way to get the season back on track with a backs to the wall win over the Magpies on Thursday night.
Collingwood was outstanding last Thursday night beating their old rivals the Blues by 21 points with Jordan De Goey booting four goals in a high-scoring attacking affair. They will take plenty of confidence.
Having said that, the Brisbane Lions (proudly sponsored by Neds) is far too good a team to start the season 0-3, and perhaps a little taste of the extended road trip will do wonders for team morale.
We’ll take them with the small +2.5 point start
At the time of publish, North Melbourne was $8.25 in a two-horse race against the Western Bulldogs ($1.07)
It’s fitting this game be played on Good Friday as the punters expect the Doggies to crucify the Kangaroos.
And they will.
While it may only be Round 3, the Western Bulldogs are coming off the game of the year – a thrilling 7-point win over the Eagles, coming from 14-points behind in the last quarter with the likes of the Bont, Bailey Williams, Adam Trealor, Jack Macrae and Aaron Naughton all playing their part. One could argue it was the clubs best win since the 2016 Grand Final.
Can’t stop thinking about this play from Bailey Williams 🤯 pic.twitter.com/RYE6vMhXVd
— Western Bulldogs (@westernbulldogs) March 29, 2021
North Melbourne have started the season 0-2, with beltings handed out by Port Adelaide and the Gold Coast Suns last week.
The Kangaroos are very much in a rebuild, and by re-build we mean that they still need to go to Bunnings to purchase the bricks and mortar.
The line for this match has been set at -41.5 in favour of the Bulldogs, I don’t even think North Melbourne will get close to it and happy to back the Dogs 60+ for a serious value play.
Let’s talk about Tex baby.
It’s clear that the new man on the mark rule is working.
We’re seeing far more fast, attacking, one on one football and key forwards are back in business.
One player that has definitely benefited from the new man on the mark ruling is Tex Walker.
The big fella kicked five in the Crows huge upset against the Cats with 18 disposals and last week against Sydney he booted six – in a losing side (6-3), with some easily missed shots.
Five one week, six the next. This is brilliant for the game and just a joy to watch.
Tex Walker is winding back the clock with his past 2 performances which now combine for 11 goals. Can he keep this up all season? pic.twitter.com/MoFhItwDbN
— The Oval Office (@OvalOfficeAFL) March 29, 2021
In a sign of where the two sides are at, the Gold Coast Suns ($1.77) who dished out a 59-point belting to North Melbourne last week will actually go in as favourites against the Crows ($2.05) at Adelaide Oval.
This game could be a lot of fun to watch if you’re a neutral supporter, and I’m all-in on another bag from the big Texan, hence why my tip will be for 4+ goals.
The forwards are back and it is a beautiful thing.
The Swans are up and about and have started season 2021 in an absolute flurry, with this amazing style of moving the ball directly down the corridor, taking full advantage of the forward line and high scoring – a far cry from when they had 75,000 men in the backline last time they played the Tigers.
Richmond is just doing what they need to do at the early stage of the season.
They did all the damage early against a plucky Hawthorn, claimed a comfortable lead at quarter time and never looked back.
With some added Dustin Martin brilliance and a cast of 21 other men many of whom are multiple premiership players, there is no sign that the Tigers are done with yet.
Saturday afternoons contest at the MCG will prove a great test to see where this exciting, young Swans outfit is at against the best in the business.
While it was terrific to see Buddy Franklin back in action, it’s looking more likely that Sydney will rest him with a softly softly approach to his return to footy.
It’s a great shame as given the more one on one nature of the game right now, Buddy taking on Dylan Grimes or Noah Balta would make for excellent viewing – as it did when he matched up with Alex Rance back in the day, what a shame.
The line has been set at -22.5 in favour of Richmond, and I’m expecting the Tigers to cover it.
The Saints will look to make up for a very disappointing 18-point loss to Melbourne last week as they face Essendon under the lid at Marvel this Saturday.
St Kilda allowed the Demons to score five consecutive goals during the third and second quarters last week, giving their opponents the edge, despite co-captain Jack Steele’s best efforts to get his team back in the game.
The Bombers are 0-2 and all roads point to a long season and that buzzword “re-build”.
They were thrashed by Port Adelaide last week by 54 points, and not only on the scoreboard but the entire stat sheet made for grim reading.
St Kilda opens the betting clear $1.30 favourites with the Bombers the $3.60 outsider.
The line has been set at -21.5 in favour of the Saints and if they are going to have another run to the finals as they did last season, these are the games St.Kilda need to bank.
They should cover it.
Based on current form, some would say the Eagles v Port clash on Saturday night is the match of the round.
Port Adelaide have made the most of their start for season 2021, easily accounting for North Melbourne and Essendon and are back on top of the ladder.
West Coast was challenged by the Gold Coast Suns in round 1 and allowed the Western Bulldogs to come back from 14-points down in the last quarter and ended up losing by 7-points in one of the games of the season.
They will rue plenty of missed chances to ensure victory.
It has been a delight to see Nic Naitanui back to his All-Australian best, 40 hit-outs from the big man last week in an absolutely dominant display.
Nic Naitanui with a casual 10 clearances at 3QT. This guy is somehow getting better #AFLDogsEagles
— Oliver Caffrey (@ollycaffrey) March 28, 2021
The Eagles and Port have produced many a dramatic contest in recent times and we could be in for a Saturday night special.
Regular readers of my tips will have noticed that I’m a big fan of the Tribet market, and either team to win by less than 15.5 points looks like a good thing in this game, it’s going to be a thriller!
Like a frustrated commuter, Carlton fans are starting to get a little impatient for the Teague Train to take them to their desired destination.
Owen-two nine years running, the promise of “THEY KNOW WE’RE COMING” and “CAN YOU SMELL WHAT THE BLUES ARE COOKING?” and 26 years since Carlton was top of the pops, you can understand why.
The doomsday hot-take Monday night footy shows gave the Blues a bit of a whack last week, honourable losses just won’t cut the mustard anymore and they simply must beat Freo on Sunday for things to cool down.
Is it time for the Blues to move on from these experienced players and focus on the future? pic.twitter.com/NidFvWKyBS
— Footy on Nine (@FootyonNine) March 29, 2021
Fremantle easily got the job done over GWS last week at Optus Stadium to the tune of 31-points.
It would have been significantly higher had the Dockers kicked straight and old-hands in David Mundy managed 35 disposals in an attacking display of Australian Rules Football.
While the win was impressive, Nat Fyfe being sidelined late in the third quarter after a Sam Reid bump will be a big out for Freo.
Carlton and Fremantle have produced plenty of drama in the last two meetings between these two sides, with the Blues winning both.
I’m not sure if we’ll have as dramatic a contest on Easter Sunday, but in the spirit of the day, I expect the Blues to win and resurrect their 2021 season.
The nation’s capital gets a fix of Easter Sunday footy with the Giants hosting Melbourne.
If GWS had a bigger fanbase, there would be people demanding answers as to where this team is headed.
Once labelled the Ferrari, the Giants feel more like a used car that needs a proper service at the mechanics.
Their once elite-midfield disappeared last week, losing the contested ball by 30 disposals against the Dockers.
Toby Greene appeared to be the only one having a crack.
Melbourne, on the other hand, was brilliant in their 18-point win over the Saints at Marvel Stadium last Saturday night.
Five unanswered goals between the second and third quarters ensured a Demon victory, and it’s clear that the likes of Kysaiah Pickett – who kicked two goals is going to be a star.
Exciting. Very exciting. 🤩
And a Round 2 Goal of the Year nominee!
— Melbourne Demons (@melbournefc) March 29, 2021
The Dees have now won their first two games of a season for the first time in four years.
Melbourne will go into Sunday nights game as the favourite ($1.64) and deservedly so.
Depending on which GWS team bothers to show up, it might be a hard game to pick, but I’m happy to play the margins rather than the line for a bit of value.
I really like the Dees by 1-24 to get the chocolates on Easter Sunday in this one.
There’s never a dull moment when Geelong and Hawthorn meet.
Thanks to dodgy umpiring and a bit of home-cookin’ the Cats were lucky to get four premiership points against the Brisbane Lions (proudly sponsored by Neds) last Friday night.
A surprise loss to Adelaide followed by a gifted win.
Last years Grand Final runners up will be favourites against the Hawks who had a decent crack at the Tigers last Sunday only to be outclassed.
It was as honourable a 29 point loss as you could have, and it did result in Hawthorn breaking many a multi with the line at -31.5.
There will be even more feeling in this clash with Isaac Smith now a Cat.
The banter begins 😅 pic.twitter.com/gmgBXZ5DbP
— 7AFL (@7AFL) March 30, 2021
He kicked what turned out to be the winning goal last week against the Lions but couldn’t do it for Hawthorn in the 2016 Qualifying final.
Geelong are clear favourites ($1.24) heading into this match, but you just feel the Hawks could give them a real run for their money.
The line has been set at -23.5 and I reckon Clarko’s young Hawks might just cover it.