Fri, May 9, 3:15pm by Dominic Ciconte
Match: Sydney Swans ($2.75) vs. Hawthorn Hawks ($1.48)
Where: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
When: 7.50pm, AEST
ALL eyes will be on one man when Hawthorn travels to Sydney’s ANZ Stadium to take on the Swans tonight.
This man won two premierships at Hawthorn. Four times he was named as an All-Australian. Six times he led Hawthorn’s goal-kicking. Twice he led the league’s goal-kicking. In 2008, he was the first man since Tony Locket in 1998 to kick 100 goals in a home and away season.
That’s right, Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin, the man who signed a 9-year, $10 million contract, the biggest in AFL history, plays his old side for the first time.
In perhaps the most keenly contested encounter on the AFL calendar this season, the Swans, sitting at 4-3, could be playing to keep its dreams of a top four spot alive when they face the all-conquering, ladder-leading Hawks.
Sydney may still hold the mental edge from its 2012 Grand Final win over Hawthorn, but its 2014 form has been anything but impressive. Despite the recruitment of Franklin, things haven’t clicked for the Swans this season and the pressure is building.
A win over Hawthorn is a must.
Even with so much riding on the game from a team perspective, the attention, and the punters will all be focused on one man.
A number of bookies have set up some interesting markets for the game. The most notable is Sportingbet.com.au, which is offering $6 on Buddy to kick three or more goals – a very enticing offer.
All eyes will be on Franklin’s output and the leading goal-scorers for the game. So, that’s the market we will be covering in this match preview.
Will Buddy turn it on against his old side? Will the Hawks spoil the party? Read on to get our take on how the match will unfold.
As always, AustralianGambling has gone to the trouble of finding you the best odds for each bet. Make sure that you’ve got multiple online accounts so that you can collect the biggest profits. Remember, opening an online account costs you absolutely nothing – don’t rob yourself of some extra cash!
The Buddy show hasn’t quite clicked into full gear since he travelled south, but if there was ever a time to find his best form, this is it. Buddy will be matched up against old teammate Josh Gibson and with fellow forward Kurt Tippet also returning from injury, it’s unclear whether he’ll play as a deep forward or further up the ground.
Over the course of his career, Buddy has had a knack of producing on the big stage. Hawthorn is simply too good of a side to let Buddy completely off the chain, but we think there is real value at $7 (with all bookmakers) in the most goals market and tremendous value in the $6 Sportingbet.com.au are offering for Buddy to kick three or more goals – that is our bet of the match.
If you don’t have a Sportingbet.com.au account – you’ll never find a better reason to open one up.
Lost in the media circus surrounding Lance Franklin has been the return of key forward Kurt Tippett.
The former Adelaide spearhead is playing his first match in 2014 following a nagging knee injury and this will be the first time he plays with Franklin – a dream duo Swans coach John Longmire would have been visualizing since October last year.
We think Tippett is under the odds here. Coming back after eight weeks away from the game is tough enough, but coming back against the best team in the competition is a whole other matter.
Kurt has a very good record of coming back from injury and playing well on his return, but we’re a little concerned by his odds. He can win this market, but you may find better value elsewhere.
Yet another Swans player who has been hit by the injury curse is Sam Reid.
In the years before Franklin and Tippet were recruited to the club, Reid was the Swan’s future up forward. Because of his ability to play down back, it’s now a bit of a mystery as to where Reid will line up in this game, especially with Tippet and Franklin playing, but, if Longmire decides to play all three up front and stretch the Hawks defence, the $21 you could get on Reid to kick the most goals is the best value of anyone on the ground.
Reid, should he play forward, would receive the Hawk’s third best tall defender and is more than capable of taking a grab and kicking a bag of goals.
He is paying $21 at Sportingbet.com.au (better than the $18 at Sportsbet and IASbet) and is certainly worth a dabble.
If one player has benefited from Lance Franklin’s Hawthorn departure more than anyone in 2014, it’s Jack Gunston.
Gunston is third on the league goal-kicking list with 19 majors after seven games and provides a constant threat up forward for the Hawks.
While he may not be big enough to be included in ‘power forward’ discussions, Gunston has pace, good hands and is one of the most accurate set shots in the competition. He provides a tough match-up every week and while $5.50 @ Sportingbet.com.au is short ($5 at Sportsbet), he’ll provide value for money, just like he does every week.
It would seem that even though the Hawks lost Buddy Franklin, one of the greatest forwards in the history of the club, they still have an embarrassment of riches lurking in their forward line in 2014.
Jack Gunston may be third on the league goal-kicking tally, but Breust is second with 21 goals – an incredible feat for a small forward who spends time up the ground.
Breust just has a knack for being in the right spot at the right time and his tally of goals is no fluke.
In big games like this one, when all the focus is on key forwards, the little men often end up delivering the goods.
At $11 with Sportsbet.com.au ($9 with sportingbet), Breust is serious value.
Jarryd Roughead – $4.50
It would be remiss of us not to mention the favourite in the market and the 2013 Coleman Medalist, Jarryd Roughead.
Roughead is short in this market, but he will be setting himself for a big game against his old mate, Buddy.
The Hawks’ key forward caps off a deadly three-pronged attack and is at his most dangerous when his teammates are helping to isolate him in one-on-one contests.
Typically, we’d advise against backing Roughead when the odds are so short, but, there’s a reason why he is at $4.50 – he continually delivers the goods.
Sportsbet.com.au is offering a money-back special on the first goal-scorer market. This is one to keep an eye on. If Cyril Rioli kicks three or more goals, all losing first goal-scorer bets will be refunded.
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