There is an interesting triple header in the AFL on Sunday for Round 1 and sandwhiched in the middle is a clash between the Crows and Dockers from Adelaide. It's not the sexiest matchup of Round 1, but one that we think has some value nontheless.
Check out our full preview and betting tips for the Adelaide vs Fremantle clash below and remember to head to our AFL Tips page for regular updates throughout the season.
Adelaide vs Fremantle Betting Tips
Adelaide Oval, Sunday 20th March, 4.10pm (AEDT)
Injuries: Rory Laird, Paul Seedsman, Shane McAdam (Out) Jordan Dawson, Lachlan Murphy, Mitch Hinge (Test)
The Crows will unfortunately be without some of their key players for the Round 1 clash in Rory Laird, Paul Seedsman and Shane McAdam. On on positive note, new recruit Jordan Dawson is looking likely to play as his recovery from a calf injury is tracking well.
It was an up and down season for Adelaide that included some quality wins over the likes of Geelong, Melbourne and St Kilda, but ultimately it was a year of development for the young side. They finished the season in 15th place on the ladder with a 7-15 record and will be looking to continue to improve in 2022.
Acquiring Jordan Dawson was one of the best pickups in the off-season from any club, and the former Sydney Swan is set to make an instant impact in the Crows midfield. The addition of Dawson and the return of Matt Crouch, who missed the entire 2021 season with groin surgery, will give the Crows some much needed experience in the midfield, combining with the likes of Laird, Seedsman, Rory Sloane and Ben Keays.
Injuries: Nathan Wilson, Matthew Johnson, Eric Benning, Matt Taberner (Out) Nat Fyfe, Rory Lobb, Darcy Tucker (Test)
Good news for the Dockers is that all three of Nat Fyfe, Rory Lobb and Darcy Tucker look like they will be fit to play in the Round 1 clash. Freo will be without running defender Nathan Wilson, who is set to be out for the first portion of the season and Matt Taberner who is battling a hamstring.
The Dockers have been slowly accumualting talent over the last few seasons and now have a really solid looking depth chart. Settling on a small/medium forward contingent will be challenging for the selectors, with the likes of Sam Sturt, Sam Switowski, Lachie Schultz and a few more fighting for spots.
The thing that the Dockers are still slightly lacking is top end talent. Outside of Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters, the Dockers don't have a lot of pure match-winners, but they are certainly developing some future ones in the likes of Andrew Brayshaw and Caleb Serong.
The Dockers start as slight favourites here, which is a little surprising. I thought they would open up at round 8-10 point favourites but with the line at just 2.5 points, I think they are good value. They might change if Nat Fyfe is ruled out of the game, but he is listed as probably at the moment, so I am basing my pick off him playing on Sunday.
Fremantle have covered the line in each of their last four games against the Crows, winning three of them straight up. They have also won each of their last eight games as a favourite. I think they cover here in a relatively low scoring game.
$1.90 (2 Units)
With Matt Taberner out of the line-up on Sunday, the Dockers will be hunting a target up forward. Rory Lobb should be the focal point, but I think there is some value in Michael Walters to hit the scoreboard multiple times. With Brayshaw, Fyfe and Serong running through the midfield, Walters isn't needed as much, so should spend most of his time forward.
Michael Walters 2+ Goals ($2.25 at Sportsbet)
Caleb Serong went through a quiet period in the middle of 2021 where he didn't have 20+ possessions for nine straight games. However, he ended the season in a flury, averaging 27.4 touches across his last seven games. Should have an even greater role in the midfield this season as the likes of David Mundy take a step back. Back serong to have 25+ here.
Caleb Serong 25+ Disposals ($1.85 at Sportsbet)