The AFL Lines – Finals Week 2

Filed in AFL, AFL Lines by on September 14, 2011

The Saints and Bombers have departed for 2011; the Cats and Magpies lie in wait for the preliminary finals next week. Can the Swans and Blues ride the momentum of victories last week to make it to a prelim, or will the stronger home-and-away season form of the Hawks and Eagles prevail? Greg Oberscheidt and Cliff Bingham have much to discuss this week.

CB – I’ve only recently recovered from the Bombers gawd-awful loss to Carlton on Sunday and focused my mind on the two upcoming matches. I don’t think much at all can be read into that win by Carlton with reference to how they might go this weekend, but that the performances of the Swans and Eagles were much more instructive in assessing whether they can survive the second week of the finals.

GO – So, what have we learnt? We’ve learnt that the Hawks defence is only as good as their midfield pressure and if they aren’t winning contested ball their undersized backline can be shown up. We’ve learnt that West Coast, with Cox and Nic Nat both up and about can seriously hinder the best sides and their forward press is as good as it gets. We’ve learnt that the Swans lesser lights are playing serious footy and their ability to run and carry poses a big threat. We’ve learnt the Carlton will always be able to bully sides that don’t really want to be in a contest but they still lack quality talls. With only two games this week we’ll have to cast a rigorous eye over proceedings but there is definitely money on offer. You beauty!

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Summary of Finals Week 1results

GO – Three selections, four units bet, return of $5.70, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 43%

CB – Two selections, three units bet, return of $5.70, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 100%

Total – Five selections, seven units bet, return of $11.40, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 63%

Summary of overall results

GO – 75 selections, 94 units bet, return of $110.20, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 17%

CB – 51 selections, 64 units bet, return of $60.80, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -5%

Total – 126 selections, 158 units bet, return of $171.00, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 8%


(Please note – all times are EST)


Hawthorn v Sydney, MCG, 7.45 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Hawthorn –13.5

GO – What are the bookies thinking? At best this game is a flip of the coin. Franklin will definitely miss. Shoenmakers is an absolute gimp. Rioli is down on form and the Hawks still only have one defender over six foot three. Benny McGlynn has been in stellar form as a run with player and will get the job on Mitchell. Goodes is playing the house down and the Hawks don’t have an obvious match up for him with Sewell being too short and Lewis too slow. Smith will get the job on Cyril and he has proven to be a great defender of the little men but if Cyril plays out of the square he might be able to burn him. Jesse White will play a negating role on Birchall which will leave Reid to do the bulk of the lead up work. Shaw, Mattner and Kennely can be creative off half back and their run and carry will put plenty of pressure on the Hawks defence. Mumford is the deciding factor with his ability to bully opposing rucks at the stoppages likely to be too much for Bailey to handle. Expect plenty of third man up work from Hodge and Lewis.

As much as it pains me to say it, the Hawks are up against it this week and unless Cyril can shine and Hodge, Sewell and Mitchell can dominate the stoppages then Swans at the plus is definitely the play. I’m going to play one, hopefully sacrificial, unit on the Swans at the plus. The only previous time I have backed against the Hawks was when they took on the Swans in Sydney and Hawthorn got up – hoping against hope for a repeat of that performance.

CB – Ordinarily, I’d love to take such a small minus about a number three seed coming off a loss to a very worthy two seed (Geelong) and now faceing a number seven seed travelling interstate. Everything about the previous sentence, along with the Swans’ subpar recent record at the MCG, makes me want to load up on the minus. However…

The Swans arrive here in their best form of the year, perhaps even their best form since the back-to-back Grand Final appearances in 2005 and 2006. Over the past four matches they’ve convincingly had the better of the Saints twice, beaten Geelong at Skilled Stadium and taken care of business against Brisbane. Right now, they are playing like a top-four side. Moreover, the likely loss of (or if he does play, the injury cloud surrounding) Franklin leaves the Hawks short-staffed up front. Whilst they’ve handled the loss of Roughead to a season-ending injury with great aplomb, there comes a time when you simply can’t absorb any more hits. The Hawks may be rapidly approaching that point.

Essentially I boiled my thinking process for this game down to two key elements: (1) how many goals I think Franklin is worth; and (2) what line would I have taken had he been fully fit. I think he’s worth two goals minimum and had he played and the Swans started 25.5 point underdogs, I’d have happily taken the plus. Suffice to say that with Franklin almost certain to miss and the line being what it is, I’ll be having one unit on Sydney at the plus.



West Coast v Carlton, Patersons Stadium, 9.50pm

Bookmakers’ line:  West Coast –13.5

GO – West Coast are a money making machine and you’d be mad not to jump on them again this week. The only mitigating factor is whether Cox is one hundred percent after back spasms last week. All signs indicate that he’ll play and if so, Carlton are gone.

Don’t read too much into Carlton’s performance against the Dons last week. They were good but Essendon were shithouse. Carlton still lack quality talls and my mail is that Kruezer wont be ready and Jamison is only 70 percent fit.

The West Coast forward set up is formidable and that will be the key to them winning. They’re tall but they also work incredibly hard and that is they key to their press. No one really expects a 6 foot five bloke to make a 100 metre chase and tackle but they do it with such regularity. Glass and McKenzie have been great down back and should have the measure of the O’Hailpin and Thornton. Nicoski will get the job on Yarran and after a down game last week will be eager to put in a big performance. Carlton do have the gloss in the middle in Judd and Murphy which will give then plenty of drive but with Gibbs doubtful and Scotland running out of steam I think they’ll struggle.

Throw all that out in front of 40,000 West Coast fans on the hardest, away ground in the comp and you’ve got West Coast by plenty – two units on the Eagles at the minus.

CB – I agree with pretty much everything in Greg’s spiel, to which I will add the following:

(1) West Coast have won 14 of their last 17 overall (losing only to Collingwood twice and St Kilda, with all three matches played in Melbourne) and haven’t lost at home since Round Three. Had Dean Cox not gone down with back spasms last weekend, there’s some possibility that this preview would have been rehashing the time-honoured Collingwood v Carlton rivalry;

(2) Carlton have won only five of their last nine matches, defeating Essendon (twice), North Melbourne, Melbourne and an injury-depleted Fremantle whilst losing to the Bulldogs, Collingwood, Hawthorn and St Kilda. In terms of premiership points, they ended up closer to sixth-placed St Kilda than they did to fourth-placed West Coast; and

(3) West Coast comprehensively defeated Carlton in Round 14 at Etihad Stadium at a point where Carlton wrestled with this same problem regarding a lack of talls. If Waite, Kreuzer and Jamison were all fully fit you might entertain them being able to handle the height of the Eagles – but they’re not.

As much as it pains me to look like a copycat, I can’t find any alternative to taking the Eagles here – two units on the minus.


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Recommended bet summary

GO – One unit on Sydney + 13.5 and two units on West Coast -13.5.

CB – One unit on Sydney +13.5 and two units on West Coast -13.5.

Thanks to Mark Nolan/Getty Images AsiaPac for use of the photo




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