Sat, May 11, 5:06am by Clarinda Campbell
Match: St Kilda Saints vs Carlton Blues – AFL Round 7
When/Where: 7:40pm Monday, 13 May 2013 at Etihad Stadium
In a rare Monday night match for the AFL, Carlton clashes against St Kilda. Historically, Carlton have dominated against St Kilda (winning 158 of 210 matches).
Carlton are currently in 8th spot on the ladder with 3 wins and 3 losses. St Kilda are way down in 15th. With the Bet365 online bookmaker, Carlton are $12 chances to take out the title and St Kilda are at $25.
The Saints were beaten by the top rated Bombers in Round 4. They lost by 37 points, but never gave up throughout the match. It was the Saints heaviest defeat this season and it is no embarrassment to go down by that margin to a side who have not lost a match. In the same round, Carlton started their winning streak by defeating the Eagles by 24 points. The Blues managed to prevent the Eagles scoring a goal in the final quarter. Carlton’s leg speed was on display throughout the match. Chris Yarran was the star, with a career high 4 goals.
The Saints were only beaten by 16 points by last year’s flag winners in Round 5. The match was played on New Zealand soil and was a fairly even tussle throughout the 4 quarters. The Swans were up by 29 points after the first goal of the final quarter. It was an admirable effort by the Saints to bring the final margin to 16. Riewoldt was at his best, drawing in defenders across the ground and running their legs off them. IN the same round, the Blues won their second on the trot, defeating the Crows by 32 points. Admittedly, the Crows lost their key forward in the match due to injury. The notable feature of this match was that the Blues did a lot of running.
Last week, the Saints lost against Collingwood. Whilst they put in a brave effort, injuries and poor form continue to haunt them this season. It was a scrappy contest and again, Nick Riewoldt was prominent. Carlton scored a 61 point victory over the Demons. Carlton limited the Demons to 8 goals.
Despite the Saints only winning one game this season, they did test Richmond, Sydney and Collingwood. They don’t have the depth of class to find a way to turn a good effort into a win. They were tactically good against Collingwood and frustrated them, but couldn’t sustain the effort.
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Carlton has injury concerns, a poor record at Etihad Stadium and a lacklustre recent record against the Saints. However, the Saints are also going to be missing some key senior players in Sam Gilbert and Lenny Hayes.
For the Saints, Nick Riewoldt is in great form. He is the first player since Wayne Carey in 1994 to average 18 possessions, 10 marks and 3 goals in the opening 6 rounds in the season. For the Saints to win, they will need a variety of avenues to goal aside from Riewoldt. Arryn Siposs and Stephen Milne will loom as dangerous prospects for the Carlton defenders should they find any space in the forward half. Jack Steven came in for last week’s match against Collingwood as a replacement for Lenny Hayes. He did not disappoint, winning 10 clearances (9 of those in the centre) and set up Riewoldt for a goal.
Carlton’s forwards (Eddie Betts, Chris Yarran and Jeff Garlett) have been successful in recent times. Carlton’s on-ballers will present a challenge for the young Saints midfield. Bryce Gibbs and Chris Judd are averaging 22 disposals per game this year. Carlton will be without Bryce Gibbs for this match and he is not expected to return until Round 8. Jeff Garlett has also been great for the Blues in recent times. He kicked 4 goals in each of his last two games and is applying great defensive pressure in the forward half, averaging 5 tackles per match in the past 5 weeks. When the Blues and Saints last met, Jarryn Geary held Garlett to one goal and 13 disposals. Saints will need to ensure Garlett is similarly held in this match.
As the statistics show, Carlton are limiting scoring opportunities for their opposing teams. It is common knowledge that Riewoldt is the Saints gun up front so Carlton will no doubt have him well covered. The Saints are struggling to find other avenues to score goals. If they can get the ball to the other forwards cleanly then this will bring the Saints into the game. If the Saints can contain Carlton’s midfield and stop the ball getting to the efficient Carlton forwards, then this will also assist their chances.
I predict Carlton to just come out on top. They are paying a skinny $1.26 for the win whilst St Kilda are paying $4.00. Bet365 have the line bet of $1.92 at 23.5. I don’t think the margin will be too hefty in this match so the line bet on Carlton (-23.5) offers good value.
In a similar vein, you could also have some on Carlton to win by 1-39 which is paying $2.25 with Bet365.com.
Another bet to consider is Carlton to kick a goal as the first scoring play. This is currently paying $3.10.
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