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Two top-four fancies in the Western Bulldogs and the Collingwood Magpies will go head-to-head at Marvel Stadium in Round 1 tonight. Join The Roar for live scores and a live blog of the match, starting from 7:50pm AEDT.
The season got underway last night with a whimper rather than a bang, Richmond holding out for a four-goal win against Carlton in front of a sea of empty seats at the MCG.
There’ll be no more in attendance to night at Marvel than there was on Thursday, but perhaps with two of last year’s finalists going head to head, we might see a lift in intensity.
The Bulldogs are one of if not the most exciting teams in the league going into season 2020 – already possession so much young talent, they added two mature key position players to their spine this past offseason in Alex Keath and Josh Bruce.
Both will debut for the Dogs tonight, and along with the expected development of Tim English, provide a much stronger complement of talls than the sons of the west have typically enjoyed in recent years.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Dogs have left Josh Schache and Billy Gowers on the sidelines. Lewis Young is on the bench and might play a bit forward, Aaron Naughton has recovered from a knee injury in time to play.
The Dogs’ other debutant is little-known Ben Cavarra, whose story of hard work to crack an AFL debut rivals that of anyone in the league. The 173cm 2013 Morrish Medal winner is finally getting his chance.
Collingwood have also brought a debutant in to the side, with Tyler Brown to play his first AFL game. The son former Collingwood captain Gavin Brown will play alongside his brother Callum.
Scott Pendlebury has recovered from flu symptoms that had him in isolation earlier this week in time to play, but the Pies will be missing Adam Treloar who is 1-2 weeks away with a hamstring injury.
The Pies haven’t opted to give trade recruit Darcy Cameron a crack, preferring their 2019 mainstays Brodie Mihocek and Mason Cox in the tall forward department.
There’s a lot to like about both of these teams, and I wouldn’t look at you funny for tipping either one.
The Dogs are probably the more exciting prospect over the next few years in my view, but whether they can beat a more mature Collinwood side first-up remains unclear – and this being Round 1, it’s only harder to predict.
I’m putting my tip on Collingwood but expect a competitive game of footy. In a 17-game season, this is an important match early for both teams.
Collingwood by 12.
Join The Roar for live scores and a live blog of the match, starting from 7:50pm AEDT.
Bounce: 7:50pm (AEDT)
Venue: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne
TV: Seven, Fox Footy
Online: Kayo Sports, Foxtel GO, AFL Live Pass
Head-to-head: Collingwood 109, Western Bulldogs 47, one draw
Last five: Collingwood 3, Western Bulldogs 2
Odds: Collingwood $1.80, Western Bulldogs $2.00