A sunny Sunday encounter awaits between two developing clubs, Hawthorn and North Melbourne, as Round 1 of the 2022 AFL season reaches its conclusion. Its unlikely either of these teams will get many chances to bank wins this season, so a victory is crucial to the early momentum of both clubs.
Remember, Before You Bet will be previewing every game of the 2022 AFL season, so be sure to check out our AFL Tips page for regular updates.
Hawthorn vs North Melbourne Betting Tips
MCG, Sunday 20th March, 1.10pm (AEDT)
Injuries: Lachlan Bramble, Will Day, Daniel Howe, Jarman Impey, Jai Serong
Hawthorn’s injury list is looking fairly manageable heading into Round 1, with Will Day and Jarman Impey the biggest names missing. Ben McEvoy and Luke Breust will also miss this week due to COVID protocols.
There is cause for optimism at Hawthorn with the arrival of new coach Sam Mitchell and a fresh pool of drafted talent. Indeed, Josh Ward and Connor Macdonald will get the opportunity to impress immediately in Round 1 after impressive preseasons. Despite that, there is no doubt that Hawthorn are still very early into their rebuild and the year ahead will be laden with challenges.
Injuries: Jed Anderson (fitness), Aiden Bonar, Ben Cunnington, Matt McGuinness, Flynn Perez, Will Phillips
North will be a couple of experienced midfielders down to start the season, but a depth in this area will help them to cover for those losses.
The transformation of North Melbourne from a lowly laughingstock to finals contender is well underway, with the list having been refreshed significantly in recent years. Valuable new recruits have been added in the most recent offseason, Hugh Greenwood and Callum Coleman-Jones joining prized draftee Jason Horne-Francis joining the fold to bolster the squad across the field. I expect the Kangaroos to continue on their upwards trajectory this season, led by a deep midfield and exciting young forward line.
This may not be the most thrilling game on the Round 1 schedule, but I am looking forward to seeing two young sides do battle, with stars of the future dotted across the park.
Hawthorn may have to regress initially in order to make long term progress, and I can see this being a tougher year for them than their opponents. The Hawks are also hampered by the loss of their captain McEvoy and lead small forward Breust.
On the flipside, North enters this one with a relatively clean bill of health and strong sense of belief. Their spine is strong and there is quality across all lines – Jack Ziebell and Aaron Hall lead a balanced backline, Jy Simpkin and Luke Davies-Uniacke are elite talents in the middle and Nick Larkey is the focal point of a dynamic front six.
For that reason, I’m backing North to make a strong start to their season on the wide open spaces of the MCG.
North Melbourne +0.5
$1.90 (1 Unit)
New golden boy Jason Horne-Francis will get his chance to shine playing mostly as a forward on Sunday. He kicked 2.2 in the AAMI Series game against Sydney, showing himself to be strong overhead and have excellent goal sense.
Jason Horne-Francis Anytime Goalscorer ($1.67 at Sportsbet)
This market is a two-horse race between Mitchell and Aaron Hall according to the bookies. Both are ball magnets and both are coming off injury concerns but I don’t see the ball spending as much down in North’s backline on Sunday and Mitchell shouldn’t receive any tagging attention.
Tom Mitchell Most Disposals ($2.00 at Sportsbet)
Breakout alert. Davies-Uniacke made huge strides to average 22 disposals last year, including a standout effort of 38. After bumping his average up by 5 touches per game in 2021, I can him achieving further gains in 2022.
Luke Davies-Uniacke 25+ Disposals ($2.25 at Sportsbet)