AFL Tips & Preview – Round 2

After a compelling start to the AFL season, Round 2 is set to sort out the early contenders and pretenders in 2022, starting on Thursday night.

Thursday 24th March, 19:20 (AEDT)

Western Bulldogs Carlton
Pos Player Pos Player

B

E.Richards, A.Keath, H.Crozier B A.Saad, J.Weitering, S.Docherty
HB C.Daniel, R.Gardner, B.Dale HB M.McGovern, O.McDonald, N.Newman
C R.Smith, J.Dunkley, L.Hunter C M.Kennedy, P.Cripps, L.O’Brien
HF C.Weightman, Z.Cordy, A.Treloar HF Z.Fisher, C.Curnow, L.Fogarty
F L.Vandermeer, A.Naughton, J.Ugle-Hagan F M.Owies, H.McKay, J.Silvagni
FOL T.English, J.Macrae, M.Bontempelli FOL T.De Koning, S.Walsh, G.Hewett
I/C T.Duryea, T.Liberatore, A.Scott, M.Hannan I/C W.Setterfield, C.Durdin, M.Pittonet, Z.Williams


History:
Played 150: Western Bulldogs 57 v Carlton 89 (4 draws)

Last Meeting: AFL R8 2021: Western Bulldogs 16.11 (107) dftd Carlton 13.13 (91)

Final Thoughts: Thursday night’s clash against the Bulldogs looms as a real test of where the Blues are really at. While the history and pressure of the season opener against Richmond made that win perhaps more special than ‘just four points’, the reality is that the Tigers finished well outside the Top 8 last season while the Dogs, as we know, made the Grand Final. There’s good news and bad for the Blues. Gun recruit Adam Cerra misses due to AFL COVID-19 protocols, but they have a more-than-handy replacement in reigning best-and-fairest winner Sam Walsh.

For the Dogs, they will likely relish being back on the field after a chaotic week off it. Desperate to put the drama surrounding coach Luke Beveridge behind them, don’t be surprised if they start strongly in this one.

Tip: Western Bulldogs 1-39 @ $2.20

Friday 25th March, 19:50 (AEDT)

Sydney Geelong
Pos Player Pos Player

B

(To come) B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C I/C


History:
Played 227: Sydney 102 v Geelong 125

Last Meeting: AFL R7 2021: Sydney 14.6 (90) dftd Geelong 12.16 (88)

Final Thoughts: The two most impressive clubs in Round 1, without doubt. The Swans came from behind against the Giants in the highest-quality clash of the opening weekend that some said was finals-like, while the Cats were clinical in a dismantling of fellow 2021 finalist in Essendon. John Longmire has already said Jake Lloyd and Chad Warner would come back after being unavailable due to COVID protocols, while Tom Papley is still a few weeks away. For the Cats, Jeremy Cameron will be given most of the week to prove his fitness while Mitch Duncan and Jed Bews can return.

Both of these clubs are gunning for Top 4 spots and after tricky starts to their draw respectively, going 2-0 will put the winner in a great spot to launch in 2022.

Tip: To get 20+ disposals, James Rowbottom (Syd) @ $2.00

Saturday 26th March, 13:45 (AEDT)

Collingwood Adelaide
Pos Player Pos Player

B

(To come) B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C I/C


History:
Played 45: Adelaide 15 v Collingwood 29 (1 draw)

Last Meeting: AFL R12 2021: Adelaide 10.13 (73) lost to Collingwood 12.6 (78)

Final Thoughts: The Craig McRae era at Collingwood got off to the perfect start in Round 1, although the new coach will face tougher challenges in 2022 than a disappointing Saints outfit. The Pies go into this one with a brilliant recent record against the Crows, having won the last four clashes by an average of 36 points. Further, each of these four games were at the Adelaide Oval. The Crows start considerable outsiders (perhaps surprisingly) in this one, way out at $3.17. A first-up one-point loss to the Dockers at home will certainly hurt, but don’t be surprised if they’re in this one right up until the final siren.

Tip: Line, Adelaide +19.5 @ $1.90

Saturday 26th March, 16:35 (AEDT)

Essendon Brisbane
Pos Player Pos Player

B

(To come) B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C I/C

 

History: Played 33: Brisbane 16 v Essendon 16 (1 draw)

Last Meeting: AFL R5 2021: Brisbane Lions 15.12 (102) dftd Essendon 6.9 (45)

Final Thoughts: Essendon will be desperate to bounce back from a comprehensive Round 1 loss to the Cats that perhaps recalibrates some expectations for 2022. A young side that performed well last season, the assumption that Ben Rutten’s side are simply on an upward trajectory will be put right under the microscope in this clash.

The Lions have dominated recent encounters, winning the last two clashes by 57 and 63 points respectively. And while Chris Fagan will be pleased with four points against a seasoned Power outfit in Round 1, the Lions weren’t at their best for the majority of that clash. Expect a hard-fought encounter here at the ‘G.

Tip: Margin, Brisbane 1-39 @ $2.10

Saturday 26th March, 19:40 (AEDT)

Port Adelaide Hawthorn
Pos Player Pos Player

B

(To come) B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C I/C


History:
Played 37: Port Adelaide 21 v Hawthorn 16

Last Meeting: AFL R16 2021: Hawthorn 7.11 (53) lost to Port Adelaide 13.9 (87)

Final Thoughts: The Hawks had some positive signs in their win over North Melbourne in Round 1. Jiath and Sicily showed they’ll be a rebounding force out of defensive 50 in 2022, while Mitch Lewis impressed. But there was little to suggest Sam Mitchell’s side will be challenging the top half of the ladder this season, in a game that was generally error-riddled. Combined with the fact Port Adelaide are both at home, plus looking to bounce back from a first-up loss, and this clash could potentially get ugly. The Power will, however, have to plug a gap in the backline with Aliir Aliir (ankle) set to miss at least the next month.

Tip: Margin, Port Adelaide by 40+ @ $2.80

Saturday 26th March, 20:00 (AEDT)

Gold Coast Melbourne
Pos Player Pos Player

B

(To come) B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C  I/C

 

History: Played 15: Gold Coast 3 v Melbourne 12

Last Meeting: AFL R20 2021: Gold Coast 4.6 (30) lost to Melbourne 18.20 (128)

Final Thoughts: The reigning premiers kicked off the year in style with another comfortable albeit seesawing affair against the Dogs in Round 1, and have already shortened from $3.75 into $3.30 minor premiership favourites. There could be a boost to the Demons backline in this clash with with Hibberd, Lever and Rivers all chances to return this week, if not next. Simon Goodwin’s side thrashed the Suns at Metricon by 98 points in 2021 and while this mightn’t blow out that far, they’re certainly expected to do it comfortable.

For the Suns, coming off a good win on the road in Round 1, perhaps the most pleasing sign is the return to full fitness of Matt Rowell. The 2019 number 1 pick showed he is back to his best, and his Brownlow price has been smashed as a result. Pre-game Rowell was a $51 hope. Post-game, he was into $21.

Tip: Line, Melbourne -22.5 @ $1.90

Sunday 27th March, 13:10 (AEDT)

North Melbourne West Coast
Pos Player Pos Player

B

(To come) B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C (from) I/C (from)

 

History: Played 52: North Melbourne 23 v West Coast 29

Last Meeting: AFL R17 2021: West Coast 8.12 (60) lost to North Melbourne 10.10 (70)

Final Thoughts: There was little to suggest in North Melbourne’s first-up loss to Hawthorn that David Noble’s side won’t feature in the bottom four clubs this season. A turnover-riddled clash with fellow bottom-four chance Hawthorn suggests it could be a long year at Arden Street. However they get West Coast at a good time, coming off the back of a loss to the Suns. Plus, if Noble’s side has shown us anything in the last 12 months, it’s that they’re competitive until the end. The Eagles get some respite from a terrible early-season injury list this week with Luke Shuey (hamstring), Jack Darling (foot), Liam Duggan (knee) and Luke Edwards (groin) all available.

Tip: Margin, West Coast 1-39 @ $2.30

Sunday 27th March, 15:20 (AEDT)

Richmond GWS
Pos Player Pos Player

B

(To come) B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C (from) I/C (from)

 

History: Played 16: Richmond 10 v GWS 6

Last Meeting: AFL R22 2021: GWS Giants 16.10 (106) dftd Richmond 10.7 (67)

Final Thoughts: Of all clubs at this early stage of the season, Richmond is perhaps the most difficult to get a read on their prospects for 2022. Still stacked with a host of multiple-premiership winning players, at their best they are a Top 8 side. But given many of those experienced players have already played their best footy, are they on the decline? They remain $1.80 Top 8 chances with Palmerbet, still (slightly) better fancied than the side that beat them last week in Carlton ($2.00).

The Giants were gallant and perhaps the ‘best’ of the losing side in Round 1. There was little to suggest in that clash that they can’t feature in the Top 8 again this season, and Leon Cameron will be pleased with their attack on the footy, with their pressure rating remaining high throughout the 120 minutes.

Tip: H2H, GWS @ $1.90

Sunday 20th March, 18:20 (AEDT)

Fremantle St Kilda
Pos Player Pos Player

B

(To come) B
HB HB
C C
HF HF
F F
FOL FOL
I/C (from) I/C (from)

 

History: Played 38: Fremantle 17 v St Kilda 21

Last Meeting: AFL R23 2021: St Kilda 17.5 (107) dftd Fremantle 6.13 (49)

Final Thoughts: The Dockers pulled off an incredible one-point win over the Crows in Round 1 that could prove huge in their outside hunt for a Top 8 berth in 2022. Returning back to Perth, it’s a big week at the selection table with captain Nat Fyfe and Sean Darcy both potentially returning from injury; both of which would constitute big ins. They face a Saints side whose poor Round 1 effort has already seen them lengthen from $2.80 Top 8 hopes out to $3.30. While the performance of debutant Jack Hayes was impressive, there were few other positive signs for the Saints who need an instant response here.

Tip: To score 2+ goals, Michael Walters (Fre) @ $2.50