AFL round one preview
- Hawthorn Hawks news
- Sydney Swans news
- Collingwood Magpies news
- AFL news
- Toyota Premiership news
- GWS Giants news
After a long, dry summer with no footy, the AFL is back. WIth the first round of the 2012 season just days away, we look at the first nine fixtures of this year.
This weekend, the inclusion of GWS has prompted the AFL to schedule the showdown between the two Sydney clubs as a stand alone fixture.
GWS Giants versus Sydney Swans
You could be forgiven for thinking that the first game of the 2012 AFL season is the old versus the young when Sydney host the league’s newest club, Greater Western Sydney.
Daniel Shiel, Stephen Coniglio, Jonathan Patton, Dom Tyson, William Hostin-Elliott to name a few are taking on Adam Goodes who has played 300 games AFL games, Jude Bolton (279 games), Ryan O’Keefe (233 games) and Jarrad McVeigh (169 games).
Although the big names are still firing great guns, it is the likes of Sam Reid (24 games), Daniel Hannebery (52 games), Kieran Jack (89 games) Shane Mumford (61 games), Gary Rohan (18 games) and Andrejs Everitt (47 games) that Sydney’s success in 2012 depends on.
The bookies have offered punters a 90-plus point lead for Greater Western Sydney. If you refer back to Gold Coast’s first ever game, they lost to Carlton 52-171. The points offered up may not be enough.
This will be simply a walk in the park for Sydney although they would never say that. The Swans will dominate the ruck and the ball will continually flow down into their forward line.
Adam Goodes is favourite to notch up three Brownlow votes here. I would be a fool to tip against Sydney – a win is on the cards here by over 95.
Richmond versus Carlton
This is a rematch of round one last year and I expect the same result – a Carlton victory.
In that night battle at the ‘G, the score showed that Richmond only lost by 20 points however Carlton kicked an inaccurate 14.20 (104).
Going to stick with the Blues as they’re a class above and must win these games to make it when it counts.
Blues by 20.
Hawthorn versus Collingwood
What a cracker we have here. The preliminary final rematch.
This is a game that could go either way.
To say that Hawthorn was the best team in that finals clash would be erroneous because when the game was there to be won, Collingwood were too good. The Hawks left the door ajar one second too long and the eventual 2011 runners-up managed to slip through.
You could throw up excuses for why the Hawks didn’t make it to the big dance however they had their chance and blew it. The 2012 season is their year.
Hawthorn’s list has the most depth out of any club – yes, greater than Geelong and Collingwood.
Both have their injury concerns however I’m jumping on the Hawks by less than 10.
Melbourne versus Brisbane
Jim Stynes was Melbourne. A club great who passed away this week, far too young. Melbourne will be out to celebrate his life with a win. Unfortunately for Brisbane, they meet the Dees at the wrong time.
Despite that, I still would’ve picked Melbourne who plays their first match under new head coach Mark Neeld.
Melbourne won their only clash last year against the Lions last season by 11 points at the ‘G.
Demons by 22 for me.
Gold Coast versus Adelaide
Brenton Sanderson and his boys are coming of a successful NAB Cup and now need to convey that form into the real season. Fortunately for them, their opener is against the Suns.
Last season Adelaide were victorious by 57 points when the two sides met at AAMI Stadium. This time they do battle at Metricon Stadium, however I don’t think that’ll be enough for the Gold Coast.
I wrote in the Adelaide preview, “Although I don’t like the Crows the way they’re playing, they do have the potential to finish just outside of the top eight”, and that potential will be far too good in this game.
Adelaide by 41 points.
Fremantle versus Geelong
The premiers did this trip in round two last year when they got the win over Freo by just shy of two goals. Since then, Ling, Milburn, Ottens, Mooney and Blake have all retired – big losses yet a strong team remains. The Cats have the young talent coming through to help fill those gaps.
Putting injuries to the side for the time being, Fremantle need to improve and focus on two areas in 2012. Firstly, they need a big presence up forward – in short, they severely lack a forward. Bradley and Mayne led the goalkickers list last year with 25 apiece, Ballantyne next with 23, Pavlich booted home 21 and Fyfe contributed 18.
To combat this, Ross Lyon should position both Bradley and Pavlich up forward – permanently. Let the young guys and the solid midfielders play their game, and Pavlich will continue to rack up numbers.
Tip – going to go with the Cats here due to their class and desire to show the league that they’re not finished yet.
Geelong by 18.
North Melbourne versus Essendon
If the past five games are anything to go by, this will be a Bombers victory. In 2007, the Kangas won 117-95, in ’08 Essendon got the chocolates 122-67, ’09 saw North win 69-57, the Bombers just pipped North in 2010 by three points and last year, the Roos won 111-90.
I’m going to predict that North will buck the trend on Saturday week. This will be one of the closest games of the round due to the two clubs being similar.
Kangas by 12 points in a thriller.
Western Bulldogs versus West Coast
The Eagles were satisfactory last year when travelling to Melbourne. The losses in Victoria came at the hand of Essendon, Collingwood twice, St. Kilda and Geelong in the prelim. One of the wins was over the Dogs – they also defeated Carlton.
West Coast has a better, bigger and stronger team and they will win here.
Eagles by 23 points.
Port Adelaide versus St Kilda
One side is completely uncompetitive, the other is slipping. The latter is St. Kilda, however they should just win this.
Saints to win by 38 points.
Watch out for:
2011 number-two draft pick Stephen Coniglio who has been named on the half forward flank for the Giants – put him in your fantasy teams.
The Brownlow Medal match between Hawthorn and Collingwood. The medal will go to a player from one of these teams – I’m predicting Sam Mitchell will take home ‘Charlie’.
New Demon Mitch Clark taking on his old club for the first time when Melbourne tackle Brisbane at the ‘G.
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