Fri, Jun 13, 3:36pm by Brad McGrath
CARLTON fans have some reason to feel optimistic ahead of their crunch game against reigning premier Hawthorn on Friday night.
The Blues outplayed Geelong for three quarters and looked likely to notch their fourth win of the season last weekend, before the Cats snatched a dramatic victory.
There were positive signs for the Blues with Dale Thomas showing he had lost none of his nous around goal and Marc Murphy running until he could run no more.
A little bit more composure or even a free kick at a crucial moment would have put them firmly back in the finals race.
Now they face a Hawthorn team which will be boosted by the inclusion of David Hale, and rookie Ben Ross.
The Blues will regain Brownlow Medallist Chris Judd after he made it through a VFL match unscathed in his return from a hamstring injury.
Jeff Garlett was dropped for the Blues and the Hawks were unable to consider Billy Hartung because of an elbow injury.
Hawthorn is a $1.40 favourite for the clash with online bookmaker Sportsbet, while the Blues are at $2.60 to breathe life into their ailing season.
The Blues livewire has been one of the success stories this season, with 16 goals from 10 games, to sit behind Lachie Henderson as the Blues leading goal scorer.
The Hawks have been known to struggle with the pacey types on occasion and Yarran certainly has speed to burn.
Neither Henderson or Jarrad Waite have been in particularly good form, so it has been up to the Blues smalls to do the damage and as luck would have it, it’s the smalls that are offering value in the market.
Yarran is paying $26 with Sportingbet which we think is very generous. (Sportsbet has Yarran at $12 for most goals).
Flip a coin. Thomas showed he had lost none of his creativity around goal against the Cats to almost inspire a victory.
While Menzel was dangerous all night and showed he will be a good player for a long time for the Blues.
Like we said, the Hawks generally control the opposition’s tall timber pretty well, which leaves the Blues best two small forwards to battle over the crumbs.
The Hawks have been exposed by several good small forwards this season and these two certainly have plenty of talent. Thomas is paying $27 with Sportingbet to lead the Blues goal scorers, while Menzel is a generous $17. (Both prices are better than Sportsbet).
The star Hawk returned from suspension with a bang last round with eight goals in the dismantling of West Coast. He is likely to be manned by Blues stopper Michael Jamison and is even more likely to spend time forward with the return of David Hale from injury.
We won a tidy sum on Roughead last round when he was paying $4 for most goals, and while he’s shorter this week, we see no reason to change the winning formula. Roughead for most goals also offers some value in your multis at $2.75 with Sportingbet.
Jack Gunston and Luke Bruest are two of the most valuable forwards in the competition because of their lethal accuracy around goal. Bruest has a staggering 30.4 for the season, to clearly be the most accurate amongst the top echelon. His mate Gunston has 29.14 this year, while down on previous seasons, he is generally regarded as an extremely good kick at goal.
These types of players provide great value for punters in the goal scorers market because they can contribute three or four goals from limited opportunities. This week we think Bruest might slip under the guard. Back him for most goals at $9 with www.sportingbet.com.au.
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