Tue, Aug 19, 12:00pm by Dominic Ciconte
Red hot favourite Gary Ablett ($3.50) went down with a season ending shoulder injury in Round 16, the heir apparent, Nat Fyfe’s chase was over almost before it began after he was rubbed out in Round 2 and now Josh Kennedy ($10 with Sportingbet.com.au) has pinged a hamstring.
While Fyfe’s people had been mounting a challenge to the early season suspension, all thoughts of that are just about out the window, with the Fremantle champ set to miss another fortnight for his hit on Jordan Lewis on Sunday night. The Match Review Panel has offered him a two match ban, which you’d think the Dockers will accept, considering he could miss a third match if a challenge was unsuccessful at the AFL Tribunal.
The Swans hammered St Kilda and got back on top of the AFL ladder, but will be sweating on Kennedy, who was subbed off in the second quarter with hamstring tightness. Kennedy has been cleared of serious injury, but could miss Sydney’s next outing against the Western Bulldogs – a vital chance to collect more votes.
Sportingbet’s Adam Patterson told Australiangambling.com.au it was the first year he can recall where four would-be favourites had either gone down or been eliminated from the race because of suspension.
“Ablett was the favourite, Pendlebury was the favourite, Kennedy was the favourite and while Fyfe was never officially favourite, if he wasn’t suspended early in the year, he would have been favourite now,” Patterson said.
“This is survival of the fittest now and at the moment, you’ve got a bloke like Matt Priddis, who we think is sitting on 20 votes, who has probably got the easiest run home.
“West Coast play Melbourne at Patersons this week and then Gold Coast at Metricon – arguably two games that Priddis could poll in, so he could go from 20 to 24-25 votes and that could be enough to get him over the line.
“We’ve got Ablett on 24-25 so I’m going to say 26 wins it, which is probably one of the lowest winning totals I can remember.”
It appears Cats captain Joel Selwood ($3) will battle it out with his predecessor Ablett for the honours, with West Coast Eagles prime mover Priddis ($9) making the big move.
Selwood had 17 possessions in the first half that should have caught the umpires’ eye, even if he did fade when the Blues applied a tag.
Big-haired Essendon star Dyson Heppell is also making plenty of noise, his monstrous 29-possession second half to will the Bombers home against the Eagles more than halving his market from $21 to $9.
And the big Swan, Lance Franklin ($14), did his hopes plenty of favour with a vintage nine goal haul against the Saints – if he doesn’t get the three votes in this one, there will be an inquest.
“We’ve got Buddy on 17-19 votes and they’ve got two winnable games – the Dogs and then Richmond,” Patterson said.
“Say he is on 19 votes, if he gets two best on grounds, that takes him to 25 and that gives him every possible chance.
“This is probably the only year he hasn’t been ineligible from memory, he hasn’t been suspended.”
How about a smoky? Hawthorn hard man Jordan Lewis ($31) had a massive game in the Hawks’ loss to the Dockers. Right underneath the umpires’ nose, Lewis had 44 disposals (11 contested), took nine marks, had seven clearances and laid four tackles in perhaps his best game in brown and gold.
Lewis’ past six weeks have been as good as anyone’s and, while he might not have the early season votes, he’s certainly someone to include in your quinellas and trifectas.
“The Hawks have won the second most games out of any team and Lewis has been their best player this year, so you can understand why the punters want to back him,” Patterson said.
“We’ve got him on about 15 votes, but they share the load a lot – his worst enemies are his own team mates there.”
2014 Brownlow Betting Market
Joel Selwood ($3)
Gary Ablett Jr ($3.50)
Matt Priddis ($9)
Dyson Heppell ($9)
Josh Kennedy ($10)
Scott Pendlebury ($12)
HAWTHORN’S horrible three-goal second half against the Dockers, coupled with Sydney’s destruction of St Kilda, has the punters back on the Swans’ bandwagon.
Sydney is in to $2.60 for the flag, with the Hawks on the second line of betting at $3.50.
The punters think the chase for the flag is a race in four, with Fremantle at $5 after its disposal of the Hawks at Patersons Stadium and Geelong next at $6.50.
You can write your own ticket after that with Port Adelaide at $26 and North Melbourne at $31.
Sydney resumed top spot after the Buddy show finished off St Kilda, while Freo firmed after the midfield duo of David Mundy (33) and Michael Barlow (31) combined for 64 possessions, feeding courageous captain Matthew Pavlich up front, who finished with five goals.
The Hawks had the lead at half time, but couldn’t maintain the rage after the long trip to Perth, despite four goals from diminutive hard man Paul Puopolo.
A sputtering Geelong almost coughed up the points against Carlton on Friday night, but you just have to admire the Cats. They look like they might keel over and die, but they just dig deep and find something.
Trailing by three-points at three-quarter time, Geelong had the last laugh, Allen Christensen slotting the match winner after a controversial free kick against Sam Docherty.
Sydney should find the going easy against a fast-fading Western Bulldogs this weekend, while Fremantle has to travel to Queensland to face a re-energised Brisbane after it hammered a depleted Collingwood – that’s one of the longest trips in football and, with Pearce Hanley, Tom Rockliff and Dane Zorko in red hot form, this is no certainty.
But forget about those games, all eyes will be on the MCG at 7.40 on Saturday night when Geelong and Hawthorn go into battle.
Is there a more intense rivalry in the game at the moment? A Geelong win and the Hawks will almost certainly end up without a home final in week one, while a Hawthorn victory would give them a sniff of a top two finish.
Patterson said Fremantle were the big shorteners this week.
“They were sevens into fives on the back of their form against Hawthorn, not only winning, but in the style they won the game,” he said.
“Even though Geelong won, they only just scraped over the line against Carlton, and they drifted from $5.50 to $6.50.”
Patterson said it was likely Hawthorn and Geelong would square off at the MCG in week one of the finals, while Fremantle would travel to Sydney – a date the Swans will fear.
“We give Fremantle a big chance of winning that, on the form they’re starting to round into,” he said.
“The Swans have a dodgy record at ANZ Stadium and definitely don’t want to play Freo in the first final.”
Port Adelaide ($26)
North Melbourne ($31)
West Coast ($101)
Gold Coast ($501)
The Coleman is Franklin’s to lose after his nine-goal haul on the weekend.
He’s six clear of Roughead and, even if he does get rested in the next two weeks, with a couple of massive bags required from Roughead, Jay Schulz or Tom Hawkins for them to unseat Lance at the top of the goalkicking table.
No other Coleman candidate was able to fire on the weekend, with Roughead suspended, Hawkins going goal less and Schulz struggling against the Suns.
Patterson said this race was all but over.
“Nine on the weekend put Buddy six clear, and we don’t expect him to be rested this week,” he said.
“They’re playing the Dogs, so he should be in for three to four at a minimum.
“Even if he’s rested in the last week, he should still be six clear of Roughy or Schulz.”
Coleman Medal market
Franklin (61) ($1.10)
Roughead (55) ($7.50)
Schulz (54) ($10)
Hawkins (52) ($15)
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