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North Melbourne Kangaroos vs Essendon Bombers AFL Betting Preview

AFL Round 13: Essendon v North Melbourne Betting Preview – Saturday 18 June, 2011. When and Where: 2.10pm at Etihad Stadium.

Overall Head-To-Head:

Essendon – 94

North Melbourne – 50

Draws – 1

Last Time They Met:

Essendon 18.14 (122) defeated North Melbourne 18.11 (119), round 17, 2010 at Etihad Stadium

Recent Form:

Essendon – WLBLL

North Melbourne – WLLWW

Current Ladder Positions:

Essendon – 8th (5-1-5)

North Melbourne – 12th (4-7)

Key Players:

After 13 long weeks on the sidelines, Tayte Pears makes his long awaited return from injury on Saturday afternoon. The 21-year-old, who has been one of the Bombers’ most important defenders over the past two years, will go head to the defensive 50 and is likely to line-up on the in-form Aaron Edwards. It will be fascinating to see how freely Pears moves around the back half and how effective he is on his direct opponent. Let’s not judge him too quickly though, because it’ll take some time for him to adapt to AFL level again.

We’re running out of adjectives to describe Brent Harvey. The 33-year-old veteran played his 312th match last weekend, meaning he has now played the most games for the North Melbourne Football Club. The scary thing for opposition teams though is Harvey is like Benjamin Button: he just gets better with age. He’s averaging 23 disposals per game this season and has booted 17 goals from 11 matches so far. A few footy experts have labelled Harvey ‘selfish’ because he doesn’t give the ball off to teammates often enough. But as the captain and best player in the side, Harvey has the right to do whatever he wants on an AFL field.

Essendon Team Changes:

IN – Tayte Pears, Tom Bellchambers, Brent Stanton, Heath Hocking and Sam Lonergan

OUT – David Hille, Travis Colyer, Andrew Welsh, Henry Slattery and Alex Browne

North Melbourne Team Changes:

IN – Sam Wright and Nathan Grima

OUT – Ben Speight and Lachlan Hansen (concussion)

Who Wins?

If you enjoyed the midseason elimination final subplots last weekend, then you’ll enjoy this game.

Essendon is tired – very tired. After being up for so long, the young Bombers have inevitably fallen back to the pack. They now sit in eighth spot on the ladder after their ordinary loss to Fremantle last round. A few injuries to key players have been a big reason behind the form slump, but we can’t underestimate the tapering form of their big men in David Hille and Patrick Ryder, particularly the latter. If the Bombers want to play finals, they must win this game – no questions asked.

After the first two months of the season, many were concerned North Melbourne wouldn’t shake the top eight come season’s end. But after three wins from their past five games, the Kangaroos are once again a finals contender. Their more experienced midfielders in Andrew Swallow and Daniel Wells have really stood up around the stoppages, while Drew Petrie and Aaron Edwards are marking everything that comes their way up forward. It’s also good to see young Jack Ziebell running through the midfield and accumulating more possessions.

A few weeks ago, most tipsters wouldn’t have had any hesitation in tipping Essendon to win. However times have changed dramatically since then and the two teams are currently heading in total opposite directions. And with a few of their youngsters starting to find some consistency, expect the Roos to be too good on Saturday.

Best Head-To-Head Bet:

North Melbourne by 1-19 points ($4.75 – Sportingbet)

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Other Suggested Bets:

First Goal Scorer – Aaron Edwards on Sportingbet