It’s a crucial Easter Sunday clash between two sides that are expected to make a big jump in 2021. 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.
Marvel Stadium, Sunday 4th March, 3:20pm AEDT
The Dockers are sitting 1-1 after an impressive 31 point win over the Giants, whilst it’s a must win for the Blues who are 0-2, after a disappointing performance against Collingwood last week.
The Blues have been one of the biggest disappoints so far in 2021, after a spirited effort in round one, the Blues dished up an awful showing last week against the Pies. Carlton’s defence was sliced up by a Collingwood outfit that has struggled to score over the past two seasons, conceding eleven goals in the first half against a side that only scored seven goals in round one.
David Mundy (35 disposals) and Andy Brayshaw (32 disposals, 2 goals) ran riot as the Dockers picked up a convincing win over GWS. The Dockers inaccuracy kicking 11.21 was the only reason the score remained somewhat respectable, but the young Dockers showed plenty of promise. Justin Longmuir’s side has improved its ball movement drastically, and look like they will begin to kick big scores this season.
There’s been some carnage at the selection table for both teams. Carlton will be without Zac Fisher (ankle) and Jack Martin (knee) for six weeks, while Fremantle will be without star Nat Fyfe who will miss due to concussion. However the Dockers will welcome back Michael Walters who is set to play his first game for the season after suffering a hamstring injury in the pre-season.
You can expect a fired up Carlton on Sunday, the Blues know it’ll be a massive dent in their finals aspirations if they fall to 0-3. Carlton will have a major height advantage up forward. With Alex Pearce and Joel Hamiling out with injury, Brennan Cox and Luke Ryan are having to play in the key position posts. Harry McKay and Levi Casboult will have a major impact if they get enough supply inside forward 50, given the major height advantage they’ll have over their direct opponents.
The absence of Nat Fyfe creates a major matchup problem for the Dockers and how they attempt to dampen Patrick Cripps’ influence. Cripps struggled last week, but without a big body like Fyfe to go head to head with Cripps, the Blues skipper will be able to control the game through his contested work.
Carlton have won their past two matches against Fremantle, and the Dockers have lost their last five games at Marvel Stadium. The Blues know their finals aspirations are on the line and they’ll be desperate for a win. Fremantle’s small defence is a massive worry, especially with Harry McKay’s four goal performance last week. Add that to a poor recent record at Marvel Stadium, and it’s clear that this is an excellent matchup for the Blues.
While there has been plenty of frustration around Carlton in the first two weeks of this season, Sam Walsh has continued his rise towards the competition’s elite. Walsh is averaging 30 disposals so far this season, carrying the load as Patrick Cripps’ struggles with his form. Walsh averages 27 disposals against Fremantle, and looks set to put together another big performance against the Dockers. With 20 minute quarters back, you can expect those averages to rise.
Fremantle small forward Lachie Schultz had an impressive back end to 2020, and has continued that form to start season 2021. Schultz has kicked eight goals in his past four games. Schultz had 20 disposals and 3 goals in the best performance of his young career, and will be full of confidence that he can produce again. Carlton’s defence was torched by Jordan De Goey and Jamie Elliott last week, and has struggled to contain small forwards in the past few seasons. With his solid recent form, and Carlton’s struggling defence, Schutlz is excellent value to kick 2 or more goals.
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