Round 1, 2016

Early thoughts for R1, 2016

ROUND 1 (all times are AEDT)

Updated tips on 23/24 March to be added


Thursday March 24

Richmond v Carlton at MCG (Thursday March 24 7.20pm)
Early thought: The Tigers look like certs here; the Blues are trying to learn a new game plan; it is ironical that Chris Yarran will miss this game with injury; Tigers by 50 points

23/3 thoughts: not so sure on the Tigers now that big Ivan Maric is out – along with Brett Deledio; however, still tipping them to win; the Blues came to the draft table last year with a pair of 2s; they threw their hand in! this means that they will be on a slow build;  last year in R1, the Blues flew out of the blocks, bu were overrun by the Tigers; expect Richmond to come out steaming early this time;  the Blues only hope (and it is a slim one) is if they can win in the ruck and some of the underdone Tiger players strike trouble; Tigers by 24 points

Players of note definitely missing:  Reece Conca, Brett Deledio, Shaun Grigg, Ivan Maric, Chris Yarran, 

Players of note in doubt or underdone:  Shane Edwards, Shaun Hampson, Anthony Miles
Injury quotient: 16

Players of note definitely missing: Dennis Armfield, Kristian Jaksch,  Lachlan Plowman, Dale Thomas (sus)
Players of note in doubt or underdone:  Marc Murphy, Andrew Walker
Injury quotient: 8

Post match review: Tigers were tipped by 24 and won by 9; analysis was reasonably good; maybe the Tiger injuries were not taken enough into account; the underdone Marc Murphy ran out of puff late after being great for 3Q; the Blues generally moved the ball better than expected for a team with a new style and lots of new players; “got out of jail” said Tiger coach; it is ironical that Shaun Hampson (not known for clunking marks) took a clutch grab late in the game when defending a slender lead; finally, Tigers happy to get the 4 points, but it was hard work and the Blues won the inside 50s by 11, but couldn’t finish off the work (a similar story to the NAB games in a way); Jacob Weitering looks good!


Melbourne v GWS Giants at MCG (Saturday March 26 1.40pm)

Early thought: Tough one to pick – both teams looking good in early season; at this stage the Dees by a point

23/3 thoughts: this is an enticing match-up; both teams have been tipped to improve this year; the Dee fans are asking “ARE WE THERE YET”?; the answer will be known soon; they went through undefeated in the NAB, but may have “caught” teams at the right time; in partricular, they played the Dogs when WBD rested a number of players; and they played the Saints after the Saints had missed a match in NAB2

The Giants played the other team in NAB3 that missed NAB2 (Lions) for an easy win; both teams played the Dogs; the Giants were easily beaten by the Dogs (with many regular Giants rested) – so the “line” through the Dogs is not a good analytical tool.

There is no cert in this game but the tip will now be the Giants by 13 points


Players of note definitely missing: Chris Dawes, Ben Newton, Christian Petracca, Jake Spencer, Jack Trengove (but will play VFL), Jake Melksham is gone for 2016
Players of note in doubt or underdone: Angus Brayshaw, Heritier Lumumba,  Matt Jones, Aaron vandenBerg
Injury quotient: 13

Players of note definitely missing: Jeremy Cameron (sus), Cam McCarthy (leave), Tim Mohr (playing NEAFL),
Players of note in doubt or underdone: Nick Haynes,  Jonathon Patton,
Injury quotient: 8

Post match review: Giants were tipped by 13 but the Dees won by 2; analysis was fair in this case; in the end, the early tip was better, but the feel of the game was that the Giants possibly threw the game away – with 28 shots to 20 and a few out on the full; Stevie Johnson was “a bit crook during the week” but played a typical game and scored 96 SC points; but credit must go to the Dees who did well to take advantage of the door being left slightly ajar; Jesse Hogan really came good late in the game after being put into the midfield after half time; Ben Kennedy did extremely well in his first game for the Dees



Gold Coast Suns v Essendon at Metricon Stadium (Saturday March 26 4.35pm)

Early thought: The Suns will win this one by a street; Suns by 61 points
Players of note definitely missing: Jaeger O’Meara, David Swallow

Players of note in doubt or underdone: Gary Ablett (but may excel), Jarrad Grant, Dion Prestia, Danny Stanley
Injury quotient: 13 (is actually 11, but upped a bit because there are so many mids in this group)

Players of note definitely missing: 12 blokes gone for the whole year; and then Jason Ashby, Courtenay  Dempsey (sus), Nathan Grima (may play VFL), James Polkinghorne,
Players of note in doubt or underdone: Jayden Laverde, Matthew Leuenberger, Darcy Parish; all the top-up players (to varying extents)
Injury quotient: (not including the 12 players ) – a bit hard to pick, but 16 at a guess

Post match review: Suns were tipped by 61 and they won by that exact amount; analysis was perfect (well, in the numerical sense anyway); Kade Kolodjashnij was a late out due to illness – replaced by first gamer Callum Ah Chee; the Suns won 1H 11 goals to 5 and 2H 6 goals to 4; so, as John Worsfold said, the Dons were competitive later in the game; Darcy Parish did well in his first game – especially after missing a week or two recently with a hammie; with less time than every other team to get their “new” team to gel, it is (and will be) tough work
the Suns played early like a team that had something to prove; Gazza started off like a rocket with about 13 touches; Dion Prestia was surprisingly good with 29 touches after an interrupted pre-season; Rocket thought that his team relaxed a bit later in the game with a big lead; but he was pleased when they had 2 guys off the field for 20 mins (Trent McKenzie concussion and Jesse Lonergan a bad cut) and did well with limited rotations; estimating the Bombers form trend may be slightly tricky – with nothing really to compare it to




Sydney Swans v Collingwood at ANZ Stadium (Saturday March 26 7.25pm)

Early thought: An interesting game; the Swans often start the season slowly and both teams have had their share of injuries; Swans by 5 points, but would like to see the team line-ups

Summary on 23/3: both teams have had injury troubles in the lead-up; there must be some big doubt on Treloar playing to 100% capacity; and losing Varcoe is a minus (he had been flying until recently); and the Pies have regularly been outsiders; they have won 7 of the last 8 out west at ANZ Stadium; the 2015 SCG R20 game between these teams was the first at the SCG since 2000; the Swans won the 2015 game by 11 points after coming from behind at 3QT; the change of ground is a definite help to the Swans; but they won’t be certs because of their injury concerns; of interest is that the Swans led at QT in the last 2 x ANZ Stadium games but then were overrun by Pies

Players of note definitely missing: Alex Johnson, Jarrad McVeigh, Sam Reid, Gary Rohan

Players of note in doubt or underdone: Isaac Heeney, Ben McGlynn, Ted Richards
Injury quotient: 12

Players of note definitely missing: Jamie Elliott, Matt Scharenberg, Travis Varcoe
Players of note in doubt or underdone: Tim Broomhead, Tyson Goldsack, Jeremy Howe, Ben Reid, Adam Treloar, Marley Williams
Injury quotient: 13

Post match review: Swans were tipped by 5 and they won by 80; analysis was way off and bad in two ways; firstly, the tip was 75 points off the mark (not that too many tipped the Swans by a big margin); secondly (and worse): the game was NOT labelled as an EXTREME variance game; 1 possible explanation was the Collingwood drug news story which broke on the eve of R1; Bucks, in his post-match, said his players have been betrayed (because all players agreed to this testing under the guise of anonymity); he had no idea why his team was so poor, but he said “we were different tonight”; there performance was not helped by losing Dane Swan early with a serious injury; Alex Fasolo fell on his head (good if you are a diver, but not when flying for a screamer), but played out the game; Nathan Brown was a bit tight in his hammie and taken off 4Q as a precaution; Marley Williams got a late knock to the knee late (not known if it is serious); recruit Adam Treloar excelled on the back of an interrupted pre-season; Steele Sidebottom has been reported in what can only be described as an AS (Absolute Shocker) for the Pies.
“Youngest team we have had in for a long time – 11 players 50 games or less and 3 debutantes”, said Swans coach John Longmire; he gave a big tick to Tom Papley as a small pressure forward who can hit the scoreboard; Daniel Hannebery disappointed Fantasy footy fans by not coming on in 4Q after a knock in 3Q; coach says he will be fine; Luke Parker started with 161 SC points after missing the latter part of the 2015 season; Buddy copped a knock to the shoulder but continued; while Michael Talia rolled an ankle late, but should be ok for R2;  
Maybe it isn’t prudent to assess the Pies just yet; but the Swans look likely to play finals yet again!



North Melbourne v Adelaide at Etihad Stadium (Saturday March 26 7.25pm)

This is very interesting as a contest; the Crows have been flying in the NAB Cup, while the Roos have been a bit scratchy at times; maybe Roos by 2 points

Summary on 23/3: the Roos have not won a R1 game since 2009; meanwhile, the Crows have been flying in the pre-season; this is a tough one to tip & the Roos have struggled a bit in the NAB; The Roos will remain the tip, but the Crows are given a huge chance to win; Roos by 2 points remains the tip

Players of note definitely missing: 

Players of note in doubt or underdone: Shaun Higgins, Robbie Tarrant, Kayne Turner
Injury quotient: 4

Players of note definitely missing: Curtly Hampton
Players of note in doubt or underdone: Brad Crouch, Charlie Cameron, Ricky Henderson, Riley Knight, Troy Menzel, Andy Otten
Injury quotient: 8

Post match review: Roos were tipped by 2 and they won by 10; analysis was pretty good & a mirror image of the Dees / Giants game; some sympathy needs to be given to those who tipped both the Giants and the Crows (who both led at every change except the end of the game); the Roos lost recruit Jed Anderson with a hammie (another ex Hawk to get injured at his new club); Brad Scott gave Taylor Garner a tick for his pre-season form; this was the Roos first 1Q win in Brad Scott’s time and he mentioned that they had done things differently this time; nonetheless, it took until the final siren before Roo fans could relax; the fact that they were able to overrun the Crows was a good sign; Adelaide began the game the same way they finished the NAB Challenge; they were quite impressive, but couldn’t quite finish it off; coach Don Pyke had mixed feelings – pleased with numerous things, but 0 points


Western Bulldogs v Fremantle at Etihad Stadium (Sunday March 27 1.10pm)

Early thought: The Dogs have their ruck troubles, but big Aaron Sandilands is out suspended for this one; Dogs by 10 points
A really tough one to pick – due to the ruck issues; as below, Zac Clarke may be a bit underdone and it will be interesting to see if he or Jonathon Griffin gets the nod; then there is Tom Campbell for the Dogs struggling to overcome an ankle injury; the other query is – can the Dogs reproduce the form of 2015?  The early guess is YES, probably;  this sort of game is the one the Dockers need to win if they are by be a top 2 team; they were struggling in the finals in 2015, but had Fyfe hobbling and a few others struggling with injury;
the Dogs by 10 points will remain the tip, but this is an EXTREME variance tip

Players of note definitely missing: Will Minson, Clay Smith; Stewart Crameri is out for the year
Players of note in doubt or underdone: Tom Campbell, Tory Dickson, Marcus Bontempelli
Injury quotient: 7

Players of note definitely missing: Michael Apeness, Harley Bennell, Anthony Morabito, Aaron Sandilands (sus)
Players of note in doubt or underdone: Zac Clarke, Alex Pearce
Injury quotient: 10

Post match review: Dogs were tipped by 10 points and they won by 65; analysis was okay overall; firstly, the winner was tipped; also, this was labelled an EXTREME variance game; as the result was >6 goals outside the expected margin, this was definitely an EXTREME variance contest; this magnificent quote came form Ross Lyon: “they were up for a street fight and we were out for a nice Sunday stroll and we got what we deserved”; of course, the Dockers lost Michael Johnson a day or so before the game; they lost the contested ball by 43; Pav is on report; there was a report in the WA newspapers that Nathan Fyfe and Michael Johnson (see above) didn’t train on Wednesday and Harley Bennell was on light duties; Pav was on light duties also on Wednesday, but that didn’t (at the time) ring alarm bells due to his age; he scored 37, although the Dockers only had 30 inside 50s (to the Dogs 57); Fyfe scored 61 SC points – just over half his normal output; of interest is that the AFL website said Lachie Neale (109SC pts) played 71% of game time; of interest is that most of the money was on the Dogs during the week; this all points to Freo having health problems; Clancee Pearce was a late in for Alex Silvagni and he was one positive

Port Adelaide v St Kilda at Adelaide Oval (Sunday March 27


Early thought: Port should comfortably win this one if they are aiming for finals; Port by 34 points
Summary on 23/3: was 2015 the year that Port “had to have” (a la Geelong in 2006)? If so, then they will rocket up the ladder this year; the Saints look to be a fair way off the top regions of the ladder; Port by 40 points and certs

Players of note definitely missing: Tom Clurey, Nathan Krakouer

Players of note in doubt or underdone: Charlie Dixon, Jay Schulz, Jared Polec, Chad Wingard
Injury quotient: 7

St Kilda:
Players of note definitely missing: Nathan Freeman,
Players of note in doubt or underdone: Paddy McCartin, Jimmy Webster
Injury quotient:

Post match review: Port was tipped by 40 and they won by 33; analysis was very good in terms of end margin; but Port fans were given a scare along the way and the fact that they won by 33; they trailed by 21 pts in 3Q; this means the game trend was borderline EXTREME variance – something not tipped here; sorry! Charlie Dixon was a bit underdone, according to Ken Hinkley; Chad Wingard also didn’t have much game time in NAB, but scored 125 SC points; you could see how totally spent he was after kicking a 4Q goal!  Still not sure why the game scoring trend went as it did; but it is a bad sign for the Saints for R2



West Coast Eagles v Brisbane Lions at Subiaco Oval (Sunday March 27 7.40pm)

Early thought: This looks like being a blow-out – with the Lions struggling on various fronts; Eagles by 58 points

Summary on 23/3

Tom Rockliff trained very well on 17/3, so seems a cert at this stage.  This is good news (hopefully) for those who “own” him; but the big concern is that the Lions look likely to field so many players who have missed chunks of the pre-season.  For this reason, the Eagles will be labelled as absolute certs (no great surprise as they are the hottest favourite of the week); the “underdone-ness” of the Lions could see them fall away badly late in the contest.  Adding to their problem is the washed out game up north for NAB2; they rested a lot of players in NAB1 and had intended to give them NAB2&3 as a nice lead-in to the season

The Eagles have plenty of injury headaches themselves and are fortunate to play a bottom ranked team at home first up; they are generally a good R1 team; they can cover their troubles here and Eagles by 58 points still looks good
Players of note definitely missing: Mitch Brown, Chris Masten, Dom Sheed, Simon Turnbridge, Sharod Wellingham; Damien Cavka has retired due to injury

Players of note in doubt or underdone: Mark Hutchings, Lewis Jetta, Jack Redden, Luke Shuey
Injury quotient: 15

Players of note definitely missing: Dayne Beams, Justin Clarke, Dayne Zorko (sus)
Players of note in doubt or underdone: Claye Beams, Allen Christensen, Michael Close, Darcy Gardiner, Josh Green, Trent West,
Injury quotient: 15

Post match review: Eagles were tipped by 58 points and they won 64; analysis was very good in terms of the end result; but this was pretty much expected with the loser of the 2015 GF hosting the “loser” of the 2015 wooden spoon; if the Lions’ chances weren’t totally shot already, they certainly were when Daniel Merrett pulled out before the game (replaced by Claye Beams – not a “like for like” swap and Josh Kennedy duly booted 8 for the Eagles); to somewhat offset the Merrett omisson, the Eagles picked up 2 injuries (Jeremy MvGovern and Xman Ellis) to 1 for the Lions (Mitch Robinson); all 3 struggled to get a touch late in the game



Geelong v Hawthorn at MCG (Monday March 28 3.20pm)

Early thought: The Cats have a lot of new players and haven’t had much time to gel as a group; the tip (without huge confidence) is the Hawks by 11 points

23/3 thoughts: this is definitely an EXTREME variance game; there are so many players with questions marks over them – and the game is played on Monday; it will be a big build up; after all, they have won 7 of the last 9 flags between them; and there is talk of the Cats rocketing up into the top 4 this year; maybe the leader might totally run away with the game in the final term;  a game to avoid as far as tipping a cert is concerned, but Hawks by 4 points
Players of note definitely missing: Mitch Clark, Nakia Cockatoo (sus); Scott Selwood, Billie Smedts, Jackson Thurlow

Players of note in doubt or underdone: Jew Bews, Daniel Menzel, Joel Selwood
Injury quotient: 12

Players of note definitely missing: Bradley Hill, Jarryd Roughead, Liam Shiels, Matt Spangher,
Players of note in doubt or underdone: (Hawks may be playing ducks and drakes with their injury list) – Grant Birchall, Taylor Duryea, Will Langford, Jordan Lewis
Injury quotient: 13

Post match review: Hawks were tipped by 4 but the Cats won by 30; analysis was mixed; the wrong team was tipped (insert frown here) – and maybe the early notification of the omission of Jonathon Ceglar – replaced by debutante Marc Pittonet (sounds more like a formula 1 driver) was almost enough to change the tip; at 3QT, the Hawks had hit the front and the tip looked good; but then the Cats ran away with in late; the big positive was the EXTREME variance call; the margin was just in the EXTREME range (37 pts away from expected result), but the real EXTREMENESS came in the game trend – with the Hawks being 5 goals down at HT, then leading at the last break – then losing by 5 (as if they were kicking with a howling gale in 3Q – they weren’t); these wild fluctuations have occurred in quite a few recent Hawks / Cats clashes; Luke Hodge inflicted a minor injury on Jimmy Bartle and then himself copped a major injury; aside from that, the clubs escaped uninjured; this is the first time for many years that they only meet once during the regular season; a word on Patrick Dangerfield; he is the best number 35 they have had since Robert Scratcher Naal; an impressive debut; but also significant was the game of new ruckman Zac Smith who managed to hit the scoreboard early while resting forward

The certs (Suns, Port and Eagles) all won comfortably in the end