Thu, May 9, 4:19pm by Clarinda Campbell
Match: Geelong Cats vs Essendon Bombers – AFL Round 7
When/Where: 7:50 pm Friday, 10 May 2013 at Etihad Stadium
AG Online Bookie of the Week: www.Bet365.com
Friday night football sees the mouth watering top of the table clash between Geelong and Essendon at Etihad Stadium. The match is highly anticipated and this is demonstrated by the many calls for the AFL to move the match to the bigger MCG stage. Geelong are sitting in second spot on the ladder behind Essendon. This match will determine who takes top spot.
Geelong are currently $4.50 chances to win the flag whilst Essendon are at $10.00 with IASbet.
Last round, Essendon were a bit slow out of the blocks against GWS. At one stage, GWS were 5 goals up. Essendon ended up comfortable 39 point winners. They can’t afford to take it slow against Geelong, who defeated Richmond comfortably by 44 points last week.
Geelong have not tasted defeat in the 2013 season. In Round 4, the Cats defeated the Swans on the Swans home turf by 21 points. Joel Selwood was a stand out for Geelong. Geelong had a better disposal rate than the Swans. It was classy performance by Geelong to take down last year’s Premiership title holders.
In Round 5, Geelong were unconvincing against the Bulldogs. Admittedly, Geelong were down on troops and still managed to win despite this, so that is a positive. They did not perform well in the centre clearances (losing 17-11). However, when they did manage to get the clearance, the midfield, led by a speedy Steven Motlop, proved too good and the likes of Harry Taylor and Joel Selwood were able to get goals on the board.
Last round against the Tigers, Geelong did not really break clear until the last two quarters, scoring 11 goals. During the Richmond game, they were 19 points down during the second quarter. Geelong had been failing to win the ball in the centre clearances (12-4 to Richmond at half time). Geelong showed their hardiness by turning their poor areas from the first half into their strengths Tom Hawkins had an indifferent game after returning from a back injury and he will need to be more effective in this game if Geelong are to prevail.
So far this season, Essendon have won all their games. The biggest margin was against Melbourne in Round 2 (148 points) and the smallest margin was just 4 points against Fremantle in Round 3.
In the Round 4 match against St Kilda, Essendon led from the first quarter and were consistent across each quarter in terms of goals. They scored most of their goals in the first quarter. The match was played in a rather clinical matter by Essendon as they won the centre clearance, dominated possession in the midfield and gave the forwards more ball and more goal scoring opportunities.
In Round 5 against Collingwood, they were off to a slow start. Even though they led Collingwood throughout the match, the Bombers could only manage 2 goals in the first quarter. They did recover quickly though by scoring 7 goals in both the 3rd and 4th quarter. The Bombers persistence and their ability to stick to the basics (defence, possession and options close to goal) saw them through the match and this was noted by the Pies coach who was quoted as saying “They were more persistent and their work rate over the full four quarters was really strong”. The Bombers also came out on top in the centre clearances.
Against GWS, Essendon scored poorly in the first 2 quarters. They only scored 3 goals in the period to half time whereas the Giants had posted 7. Coach Hird felt it was their defence that was the problem in this period and ensured this was addressed throughout the match. After the break, Essendon responded with 14 goals in the second half of the match. When the Bombers narrowly won over Fremantle, they got off to a similarly slow start. They cannot afford to do this against the Cats.
The Bombers will be strengthened for this match with the hopeful return of Dustin Fletcher, Michael Hurley, Jack Carlisle and Dyson Heppell.
As the statistics show, Essendon are rated highly in kicks, disposals, marks and points per game. Jobe Watson (midfielder) is leading disposals for Essendon with an outstanding average of 30 per game. Up front, Stewart Crameri and Scott Gumbleton are averaging 3 goals each per game.
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According to the statistics, Geelong are ranked highly in handballs, disposals, points and marks per game. Steve Johnson (forward) is leading disposals for the Cats (27 per game) and Tom Hawkins is averaging 2 goals per game.
Essendon have been winning their games through their midfield strength and big guys up front. Geelong also have a speedy midfield. There forwards are smaller, but they are tenacious.
Essendon appear to have the measure of the backlines as they are ranked first, conceding an average of 72 points per game. Geelong are ranked 9th, conceding an average of 96 points per game.
The concern for Geelong is that they are struggling with their centre clearance rate. They cannot afford to give the Essendon midfield too much ball.
The match will be won by the team that can successfully clear the ball and get it cleanly and quickly to their goal scorers. Both sides have proven they have the ability to score points. The pace of the match will be fast, so the result should go to the more hardened side.
This is a hard match to make a call on, but I am going with Geelong to come out on top. They have played harder teams in the lead up and this should just give them the edge over Essendon.
Head to Head
Geelong – $1.60
Essendon – $2.25
Geelong 1-39 – $2.35
Geelong 40+ – $4.40
Essendon 1-39 – $2.90
Essendon 40+ – $8.50
Draw – $51.00
Geelong -8.5 – $1.92
Essendon +8.5 – $1.92
The game should be a close one, so Geelong at 1-39 looks great value at $2.35 with Bet365.com.
Another bet to consider is the tri bet which offers odds of $2.70 for either team to win by under 15.5 points.
I will also be placing some hard earned on Geelong to win the last quarter at $1.72.
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