Wed, Sep 11, 1:00pm by Clarinda Campbell
Match: Geelong Cats ($1.25) vs Port Adelaide Power ($4.00) – AFL Semi-Finals
When/Where: 7:50pm, Friday 13 September 2013 at the MCG
Bet on Cats vs Power: IASbet.com
There was a bit of fire in the qualifying final between Geelong and the Dockers last week as each team “beat its chest” in an attempt to prove who was boss. Fremantle ran out impressive winners by 15 points. Such were the heated feelings between players that tempers boiled over after the full-time siren and harsh words were exchanged between a number of opposing players as they shook hands. The Dockers showed they are the master of the niggle.
The Magpies also attempted to wear down the Power in their elimination final last week. However, it quickly became apparent Port was not afraid of the challenge and frustration crept in to the Magpies game. Port Adelaide was able to take advantage and come away with an upset four-goal triumph. It was a remarkable victory by the Power away from home, in front of a largely Black and White fan base, and with a team with limited finals experience against a squad with the most finals experience in the competition.
Heading in to the cut-throat semi-final this week, Port Adelaide, brimming with confidence, is once again the underdog against the hurting Cats. It might be difficult to see the Power causing another upset but it’s certainly not beyond this impressive mob. Geelong has opened up as short-priced favourites in the betting market with a 26-and-a-half-point handicap in line betting.
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The Cats were effectively shut down in the midfield last week and star Fremantle tagger Ryan Crowley kept Steve Johnson quiet. Crowley is one of the best taggers in the AFL and if Port wants to challenge Geelong, it might need to consider adopting some of the Dockers’ defensive tactics.
The Cats were also missing key forward Tom Hawkins after he withdrew late from last week’s match with back soreness. Geelong’s forward structure struggled against Fremantle and the team finished with less than 10 goals; a feat which hasn’t occurred since 2008. It was noticeable that the Cats were missing the poise and leadership of Corey Enright who was subbed off at half time after suffering an injury to his knee. Enright will not play against the Power.
Port led at every change against the Magpies last week and in the end, ran over the top of the Black and White Army. Brad Ebert, Alipate Carlile, Chad Wingard, Hamish Hartlett and Angus Monfries all played brilliant roles in the victory. Monfries, targeted by the Collingwood faithful and the players too (especially Heath Shaw), managed to shrug it all off and continually frustrate and hurt Collingwood. Matthew Lobbe was outstanding in the ruck and gave plenty of first ball use to his midfielders. Port’s tactics were sound, it shut down key forward Travis Cloke and had more run, carry, speed and energy all night long. It was an enthralling and exciting match and the Power will need to reproduce that grit and determination this week if they are to challenge the Cats.
The Geelong-Port battle will most likely be won in the midfield; in the engine room. A crucial match-up which will play a large role in the outcome of the match is in the ruck; Nathan Vardy v Matthew Lobbe. The Cats also need to control Port Adelaide’s small forwards, particularly Monfries. Another player Geelong needs to keep a close eye on is Chad Wingard who’s effort against the Magpies last week was fantastic, booting three goals and amassing 19 touches.
Geelong don’t often lose two games in a row though and will be very hard to beat. But finals often throws up some surprising results as we saw last week.
I think the Cats should be strong enough to end Port’s inspiring season on Friday. Even with the wood they hold over Port Adelaide, Geelong will be wary of the Power’s never say die attitude. Many punters still believe Geelong are genuine premiership contenders, and the Cats will certainly be out to prove that on Friday. It’s a tough ask for Port Adelaide to back up last weeks heroics against a side which has won three flags in six years, but they are certainly not without a fighting chance. A tantalising preliminary final against the Hawks awaits the winner of this semi final, and I have a feeling the Geelong-Hawthorn rivalry might just kick up another gear.
Cats Head to Head: $1.25
Power Head to Head: $4.00
At $1.25, a H2H wager on the Cats might be a good bet to throw in a multi as there are some better value odds on offer for Geelong.
Cats 1-39: $2.25
Cats 40+: $2.55
Power 1-39: $4.60
Power 40+: $21.00
Whether or not Hawkins plays might have an impact on the final winning margin if you fancy Geelong, so keep an eye on the Thursday night team lists for any late withdrawals come Friday. If Geelong comes out firing, it might blow the game open and Port may find it difficult to keep up. But I think Ken Hinkley’s side can make a game of this battle and would back a 1 to 39-point victory to the Cats.
Cats -26.5: $1.92
Power: +26.5: $1.92 with IASbet.com
The line is often spot on in AFL games and I reckon this is just about what the margin might end up being. I hate to sit on the fence so I’ll say Port will keep the margin under 26.5 points.
Cats over 15.5 points: $1.53 with IASbet.com
Either team under 15.5 points: $3.30
Port Adelaide over 15.5 points: $7.40
The Cats can be expected to put at least two to three goals on Port. If you aren’t confident of the four to five goal spread being covered in the line market, then consider a bet here. The $1.53 odds is not bad value for money at all.
Consider Geelong skipper Joel Selwood for most possessions and Port’s Angus Monfries to bag three or more goals.
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