Mon, Mar 27, 11:18am by Head Editor
The first round of the AFL season was highly anticipated and it delivered. The nine games over the weekend set a new attendance record for a single round at just over 400,000, eclipsing the previous high of 371,212.
The round began way back on Thursday night at the MCG, when Dustin Martin put on a masterclass to ensure the Tigers won their fifth straight against the Blues.
Richmond were one of only four favourites to win in a round that was full of upsets.
The biggest of those – according to the bookmakers – came on Saturday afternoon in Sydney when Port Adelaide stunned last season’s runners-up. It was only Port’s second win over the Swans, with Brad Ebert, Ollie Wines and Travis Boak – playing in his 200th game – setting up a famous win. They started as a $4.10 outsider.
There was also a pair of upsets on Saturday night. Firstly, the “Banned Bombers” returned to the field with great affect, in front of the biggest crowd of the weekend – more than 78,000.
The Dons came from behind in the third term to run out comfortable 25-point winners and their supporters soaked up every minute of it. Dyson Heppell was outstanding in his first game as captain, kicking three goals from his 34 touches.
An Essendon win was priced at $2.35 before the match.
Just half an hour after that contest finished, the Q Clash on the Gold Coast was providing it’s own stunning conclusion. The Lions led by 46 points at half time before the Suns stormed back into the match, kicking eight goals to three in the third term, to get back into the match.
The final two minutes was a pulsating affair with the Lions eventually prevailing by just two points. Dayne Beams was awarded the Marcus Ashcroft Medal for the best man on the ground, he finished with 28 touches, 10 of which were contested. The Lions were a $3.20 outsider.
The upsets continued on Sunday when the Crows smashed the Giants in Adelaide. Eddie Betts kicked four for the winners, who were without their skipper, Taylor Walker.
The 56-point win sent a clear warning to the rest of the competition, Adelaide will be tough to beat this season. This match also had an affect on the Premiership market, with the Crows coming in from $10 to $9 and the Giants drifting slightly from $4.50 to $5.
Onto our best bets and we started well.
On Thursday, we had the Tigers to win by over 15 for a $1.83 collect. The following night we had either side to win by under 25 points for another collect ($1.91).
Our first loss came on Saturday, when we had either team to win by under 20 points in the Melbourne – St Kilda game. The Dees ran out 30 point winners – breaking their 14-game losing streak against the Saints and overcoming their horrible record at Etihad Stadium.
We bounced back on Sunday with a $2 win when the Crows beat GWS but lost out on our bet on North to cover the 21 point line against the Eagles.
Round Two kicks off on Thursday night when Richmond ($2.03) host Collingwood ($1.80) at the MCG. Once again, there are many matches to look forward to, including the Grand Final rematch on Friday night.
The Dogs are currently a $1.58 favourite to win that rematch with the Swans ($2.39). Hawthorn ($2.07) host Adelaide ($1.76) on Saturday, while the Scott twins face off yet again in the coaching box when Geelong ($1.23) meet North Melbourne ($4.20).
Round 2 (Sportsbet)
Richmond ($2.03) v Collingwood ($1.80)
Western Bulldogs ($1.58) v Sydney ($2.39)
Hawthorn ($2.07) v Adelaide ($1.76)
Greater Western Sydney ($1.13) v Gold Coast ($6.05)
Brisbane ($2.97) v Essendon ($1.40)
West Coast ($1.15) v St Kilda ($5.50)
Geelong ($1.23) v North Melbourne ($4.20)
Melbourne ($1.23) v Carlton ($4.20)
Port Adelaide ($1.40) v Fremantle ($2.98)
Greater Western Sydney $5
Western Bulldogs $6
West Coast $8
Port Adelaide $26
St Kilda $34
Gold Coast $50
North Melbourne $101
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