Wed, Feb 22, 4:15pm by Head Editor
Week Two of the JLT series will see six clubs play their first games of the pre-season. Four of those clubs, (St Kilda v Port Adelaide, Richmond v Adelaide) are set to meet on consecutive nights, (Thursday and Friday) at Etihad Stadium.
First up, we’ll see St Kilda ($1.50) take on Port Adelaide ($2.55), the Saints will be close to full-strength, with midfield recruits Jack Steele and Koby Stevens named, as well as defender Jake Carlisle, who’ll play his first competitive match since serving a season-long ban as part of Essendon’s supplements scandal.
Speaking of that scandal, another player who was caught up in that was ruckman Paddy Ryder, he’s been named for Port to play in this one. The experienced duo of Robbie Gray and Matthew Broadbent will not be though.
The following night, Richmond ($1.95) will also be unveiling a pair of recruits in Dion Prestia and Josh Caddy. The latter, now at his third AFL club, is expected to spend plenty of time in the midfield alongside Prestia, both former teammates at the Suns.
It might not be a bad time to debut either, with Adelaide’s ($1.85) star on-ball duo of Rory Sloane (fractured eye socket) and Scott Thompson (shoulder) unavailable. Former-Blue Troy Menzel will be in the Crows colours for the first time.
Carlton ($2.53) will make their first appearance of 2017 at Casey Fields on Sunday against the Demons ($1.53), who hit the ground running last week, with a one-goal win over the reigning premiers.
Jesse Hogan is set to enter fourth season at AFL level and looked sharp in the 0.14.8 (92) to 2.9.14 (86) victory, booting four goals.
Fremantle will also begin their year and in a big way when they take on West Coast in a pre-season derby (or durrh-by as they say out west) . Fremantle are $2 outsiders after a horror 2016, when they won only four games.
West Coast ($1.80) lost to the Giants by 33 points last Saturday but are expected to name a much-stronger side against their rWA ivals.
Headlining that list is four-time Premiership player, Sam Mitchell, ex-North Melbourne forward Drew Petrie and Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis, who are all in line to play.
Petrie’s former club, North Melbourne, won their opening game Sunday by just two points over the Swans.
This week, they’ll name a much stronger side when they Hawthorn on Sunday at their traditional home, Arden St. It’s the first official AFL match at the ground in 32 years with a sellout crowd of about 5000 expected to pack out the suburban venue.
Star ruckman Todd Goldstein, back-up big man Majak Daw, and key defenders Robbie Tarrant and Scott Thompson have received the all-clear to play.
The Hawks beat the Cats in a thrilling contest last Friday where the most pleasing sight of all, was seeing their newly-crowned skipper, Jarryd Roughead return from his cancer treatment.
Suggested Bet: Richmond to beat Adelaide: $1.95
St Kilda ($1.50) v Port Adelaide ($2.55), 7:40pm, Etihad Stadium, Thursday 23 February
Richmond ($1.95) v Adelaide ($1.85), 7:40pm, Etihad Stadium, Friday 24 February
Melbourne ($1.53) v Carlton ($2.50), 2:05pm, Casey Fields, Saturday 25 February
West Coast ($1.80) v Fremantle ($2), 6:40pm, Wonthella Oval, Saturday 25 February
North Melbourne ($2.25) v Hawthorn ($1.64), 2:05pm, Arden St Oval, Sunday 26 February
Gold Coast ($1.88) v Essendon ($1.92), 4:40pm, Harrup Park Country Club, Sunday 26 February
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