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2021 AFL Round 1: Essendon vs Hawthorn Preview & Betting Tips

March 19th 2021, 2:22pm, By: Jack Tobin

AFL Bombers vs Hawks Betting Tips

Round 1 continues with a massive Saturday night clash between arch-rivals Essendon and Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium! We’ll be bringing you a dedicated preview and betting tips for EVERY game in the 2021 season so be sure to check our AFL Betting Tips page regularly for updates.

AFL Round 1 Essendon vs Hawthorn Betting Tips

Marvel Stadium, Saturday 20th March, 7:25pm AEDT

There will be plenty of spice in this clash given the historic rivalry between the two clubs. With both sides likely to finish in the bottom six, they will be eager to pick up a win early in the season.

Match Prediction

Both sides are coming off disappointing campaigns in 2020 as both clubs look to rejuvenate their lists with youth. Whilst the Bombers had a turbulent trade period losing Adam Saad, Joe Daniher and Orazio Fantasia, the arrivals of Jye Caldwell and Peter Wright addressed much needed issues in their midfield and key forward stocks. 

The Hawks finally began the rebuild process with premiership heroes Ben Stratton and Paul Puopolo hanging up the boots, the Hawks look set to give opportunities to their younger players this season. The arrival of Tom Phillips will give them much needed class through their midfield, however the depth at either end of the ground looms as a major concern for Hawthorn in season 2021.

With the limited pre-season it’s hard to get a read on teams form, however both sides showed plenty of promise in the Marsh Community Series. Essendon outplayed Geelong for the majority of the match in their seven point loss, with inaccuracy in front of goal costing the Bombers the win. The Hawks had a convincing win over the Kangaroos, however given the Kangaroos prospects this season, the Hawks wouldn’t have been getting carried away with that result.

Both sides have strong midfields with the likes of Shiel, Merrett, McGrath, Parish, Mitchell, Worpel, Shiels and Phillips, the midfield battle will be crucial given the both teams struggled at each end of the ground in 2020. The Bombers will have plenty of height with Cale Hooker, Peter Wright and Harrison Jones giving tall targets that they didn’t have in 2020. The absence of Jack Gunston and James Siciliy through injury significantly weakens the Hawks at both ends of the ground, and outside of Luke Bruest, Hawthorn will be fielding an inexperienced forwardline, it’s hard to see them kicking a winning score. Essendon have won their last two matches against the Hawks and will be confident that they can extend their good form against Hawthorn.

Bombers H2H (1.5 Units)


Bombers Prop

The Bombers parted ways with two second round picks to gain Jye Caldwell from the Giants, who fills the role of an inside mid that the Bombers have been searching for, for years. Caldwell played just 67% game time in the Marsh Series game against Geelong, but attended the third most centre bounces for the Bombers as he picked up 24 disposals. 

Ben Rutten has been full of praise for his new recruit in the pre-season. Caldwell will play higher minutes which should see a jump in those numbers. The Hawks will be looking to put plenty of time into Zach Merrett, which will open up plenty of opportunities for Caldwell to rack up disposals.

Caldwell 20+ Disposals


Hawks Prop

James Worpel has had an excellent track record against Essendon. In his last three games against the Bombers, Worpel has averaged 28.5 disposals against Essendon since 2019. Worpel picked up 34 disposals the last time these two sides faced off at Marvel Stadium. Worpel attended 27 centre bounces in the Marsh Series match against North Melbourne. 

The Bombers haven’t used a run with player across the last few seasons, so Worpel will have free reign to hunt the footy. With Tom Mitchell coming off an interrupted pre-season, the Hawks will be expecting plenty out of Worpel who looks set to take his game to the next level in 2020. 

Worpel 25+ Disposals



Jack Tobin has a Bachelor of Media and Communications Degree, majoring in Sports Media, and has been part of the Before You Bet writing staff since 2019.

Jack is a sports fanatic but is particularly keen on Cricket, AFL, Basketball, NFL and Soccer where he has a keen eye for spotting a winner or three. Jack is still waiting for Essendon to win a final in the AFL, while he also supports the Miami Heat in the NBA, Manchester United in the EPL and the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL.

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