AFL Round 1: Richmond Tigers v Carlton Blues Betting Preview – Thursday 29 March, 2012
7.45pm at MCG
Richmond – 15
Carlton – 7
Draws – 0
Carlton 28.16 (184) defeated Richmond 12.9 (81), Round 15, 2011, at MCG
He is perhaps the most charismatic player on Richmond’s list, but Jack Riewoldt is also the most important. The 23-year-old has become one of the most dangerous forard in the competition, highlighted by his big bags of goals for the Tigers over the past two years. Riewoldt slotted 78 goals in 2010 to win the Coleman Medal and backed that up 62 goals in 2011. Despite his awesome strength, Riewoldt isn’t a stand-and-deliver type forward. He prefers to beat defenders using his pace or high-marking ability. Expect ‘Jumping Jack’ to get on top of the weakened Blues defense tonight.
Chris Yarran is one of the most naturally skilled players in the competition. The 21-year-old had his career-best season in 2011, averaging 18 disposals, three marks and three tackles per game. But it was Yarran’s run and carry off half-back that scared opposition teams the most, often putting a tag on him to try and curb his influence. The half-back has the potential to be one of the best players in the competition in years to come. Can he prove that tonight on the big stage?
The season may have officially begun last week with the Sydney derby, but Melbourne footy fans believe 2012 begins tonight with a clash between two AFL giants.
Will this season be the one where Richmond finally squeezes into that top eight? Going on its NAB Cup form, it is a possibility. The Tigers defeated Hawthorn and Geelong, both top four teams in 2011, during February and March, with some individual performances really catching the eye. Dustin Martin accumulated 12 possessions in one quarter against the Cats, proving he could be ready to take another big step this season. Brett Deledio was scintillating against GWS after a hamstring injury had sidelined him for the majority of the pre-season.
Conversely, Carlton had one of the worst pre-season campaigns imaginable – a far from ideal start considering it is considered a genuine premiership contender in 2011. The Blues lost all five of their NAB Cup matches, with their 10-goal loss to North Melbourne in the final round perhaps the most humiliating. On a positive note, midfielder Marc Murphy is fitter and stringer than ever and is guaranteed of a huge season.
Most pundits believe the Tigers will take this one out – and it’s easy to see why. An AFL team’s most important line is its defensive line, which the Blues will be thin in tonight. Michael Jamison, Jarrad Waite, Nick Duigan and Jeremy Laidler will all be watching on from the grandstand tonight, leaving the likes of Paul Bower and Jordan Russell, who had shocking 2011 season, to carry the load. With goal sneak Riewoldt and classy midfielder Trent Cotchin in top knick, expect the Tigers to break their seven-game losing streak against the Blues.
Richmond by 1-39 ($3.20 – Sportingbet)
First Goal Scorer – Jack Riewoldt ($9.00 – Sportingbet)
AFL Round 15: Richmond v Carlton Betting Preview – Saturday 2 July, 2011, 2.10pm at MCG
Richmond – 84
Carlton – 119
Draws – 2
Carlton 14.20 (104) defeated Richmond 13.6 (84), Round 1, 2011 at the MCG
Richmond – LBLWL
Carlton – WWWWL
Richmond – 11th (5-1-7)
Carlton – 4th (9-1-3)
He might not be in his team’s top 10 players, but Jake King is perhaps Richmond’s most important player on its list. The 27-year-old missed last weekend’s game against Melbourne due to suspension and he was sorely missed. The Tigers not only lacked a small target up forward, but they also lacked pressure without the ball. King is perhaps Richmond’s best player without the footy, because what his tenacity inspires his teammates and encourages them to go to new levels. He returns for Saturday afternoon’s game and if he can apply that forward pressure, the Tigers are a chance.
Speaking of team barometers, what about Mitch Robinson? The 22-year-old missed last weekend’s match against West Coast due to injury, which proved costly for the Blues. Robinson is one of the most selfless players in the competition. His attack on the footy and passion for the contest is second to none, so when he injects himself into game, it’s infectious. Without him last weekend, the Blues lacked edge and aggression in the midfield, which allowed West Coast to win the contested ball out of the middle and put the Blues’ vulnerable defence under pressure. Watch for Robinson to make an immediate impact.
IN – Will Thursfield, Jake King, Jayden Post, Ben Griffiths and Bradley Helbig
OUT – Luke McGuane, David Gourdis, Jeromey Webberley, Reece Conca and Brad Miller
IN – Jarrad Waite, Mitch Robinson, Simon White and Jeremy Laidler
OUT – Mark Austin, Michael Jamison (Knee), Dennis Armfield and Rhys O’Keeffe
After they failed many tipsters last weekend, expect plenty of emotion and many sparks to fly at the AFL’s colosseum on Saturday when two of game’s great traditional rivals go head-to-head.
When the opportunity arose for Richmond to announce itself a finals contender, it flopped. The Tigers fell back into some old habits during their 27-point loss to Melbourne last weekend, turning the ball over in crucial positions and gifting the opposition easy goals. They’re now a win and a fair bit of percentage outside the top eight, a gap they can’t afford to have for too much longer. On a positive note, coach Damien Hardwick would be thrilled with excellent season of ex-Bomber Bachar Houli, who has found his niche at the Tigers and is averaging 22 touches and six marks per game this season.
Like the Tigers, many thought Carlton would continue its winning ways against West Coast last weekend. Like the Tigers though, it flopped. Without the footy, the Blues lacked the hunger and tenacity that have made them one of the most respected teams in the league in 2011. Many of their better players, such as Chris Judd and Andrew Walker, were also down on their usual output. It didn’t help when full-back Michael Jamison went down with a knee injury in the first term, which will see him miss the next four weeks of action. Expect Brett Ratten’s men to bounce back hard on Saturday though.
With Jamison out and Jack Riewoldt due for a big bag of goals, the Carlton defence will be under enormous pressure to perform. But the Blues have a more advanced midfield and should stop the ball from entering the Tigers’ forward 50. Led by Walker up forward, expect the Blues to kick a winning score and bounce back with a solid win.
Carlton 1-39 ($2.25 – Sportsbet)
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First Goal Scorer – Andrew Walker or Jack Riewoldt on Sportingbet