Sat, Aug 23, 12:48pm by Brad McGrath
A HOME final is on the line in the huge clash between Geelong and Hawthorn at the MCG on Saturday night.
The bitter rivals, who are arguably the greatest modern antagonists, sit second and third on the AFL ladder with the Cats boasting one more win than the Hawks, who have a far superior percentage.
A Cats victory would ensure a home final for Chris Scott’s team and keep the pressure on Sydney, which is ahead of the Cats on percentage.While a win for $1.55 favourite Hawthorn will almost guarantee itself second position on the ladder, with just a game to come against lowly Collingwood.
The Hawks were upset by fourth-placed Fremantle last round but welcome back forward Jarryd Roughead, who will re-join Jack Gunston in the Hawks forward line after serving a one match suspension.
The Hawks have recalled another premiership hero Brad Sewell as well as Jon Ceglar and Matt Spangher, with Ryan Schoenmakers, Ben McEvoy, Taylor Duryea and Tim O’Brien omitted.
Interestingly the Hawks are opting to go with Ceglar as their no.1 ruckman over the more experienced McEvoy, who joined the Hawks via a trade from St Kilda.
Geelong has welcome back Brownlow Medallist Jimmy Bartel and talented youngster Jordan Murdoch, who both missed the Cats narrow victory over Carlton.
Youngster Billie Smedts and Jed Bews have been dropped after quiet games against the Blues.
Australian Gambling examines the goal scorers market ahead of the season-defining clash between the Hawks and Cats.
Head to head:Geelong ($2.50); Hawthorn ($1.52)
The Line:Geelong + 10.5 ($1.92); Hawthorn – 10.5 ($1.92)
Over/Under: Over 187.5 ($1.88); Under 187.5 ($1.88)
Margin betting: Geelong 1-39 ($3), 40 + ($9.50); Hawthorn 1-39 ($2.25), 40 + ($4.20); Draw ($51)
Geelong’s big match-winner these days is undoubtedly Tom Hawkins, when the big Cat is kicking goals his team is extremely hard to beat. Hawkins has booted 52.33 for the season to clearly be the Cats leading goal-kicker with Jimmy Bartel (22), Joel Selwood and Mitch Duncan (20) their next best.
If it’s a dry night on Saturday night, and the weather forecast suggests it will be, Hawkins is the obvious candidate to put your money on. He is paying $5 for most goals with Sportingbet which is generous considering the Cats reliance on him for kicking their goals. (This is better than the $4.50 on offer at Sportsbet).
If it’s raining, the wet weather maestro Bartel is paying $15, and is likely to spend plenty of time up forward. Other Cats who are in the market include Steven Motlop ($10), Jordan Murdoch ($17) and Shane Kersten ($14).
Kersten is an interesting option, with Hawkins likely to cop Brian Lake as his opponent, he may be one to slip under the Hawks guard.
He’s back. The big Rough. Jarryd Roughead will resume the race for the Coleman medal in second position, six goals behind former partner in crime, now Swan Lance Franklin. Roughead has kicked 55.34 for the season to be one of the league’s premier forwards.
Roughead is paying $4 for most goals with Sportsbet which is generous considering his form and after a week off should be fresh. (This is better than the $3.50 on offer at Sportingbet)
However the Hawks are no one trick pony. Dead eye Luke Bruest has 51.9 for the season to be in All Australian contention and with Geelong struggling against small forwards on occasion is definitely in the mix here.
Jack Gunston has kicked 45.22 to also be a constant contributor for the Hawks, whose even spread of goal kickers has been a big factor in their strong season.
Gunston is paying $5.50 for most goals with Luke Bruest offering some value at $8.50.
Like with the Cats and Hawkins, Roughead is the man here if it is dry, if not load up on Bruest.
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