The West Coast Eagles and Gold Coast Suns will close our Round 1 in the AFL at Optus Stadium from 7.40pm on Sunday evening. Check out our full preview and betting tips for the clash below.
Remember, Before You Bet will be providing betting tips for EVERY game of the 2022 AFL season, so remember to head to our AFL Tips page for regular updates.
West Coast vs Gold Coast Betting Tips
Optus Stadium, Sunday 20th March, 7.40pm (AEDT)
Injuries: Tim Kelly, Liam Ryan, Oscar Allen, Dom Sheed, Elliot Yeo, Jamie Cripps, Tom Cole, Alex Witherden (Out) Luke Shuey, Liam Duggan (Test)
It might be easier to outline who isnt injured at West Coast rather than who is. They are the walking wounded at the moment, with at least eight of their best 22 set to be out of the line-up for their Round 1 clash.
The Eagles have an aging list but I still feel that on paper, they are capable of making one more tilt at the finals as long as their injury list cooperates. They will start the season with a bunch of key players out, but that could end up being a good thing if they can find health and form later in the season.
Despite their injuries, they still have some top end talent in the line-up this weekend in the likes of Nic Naitanui, Andrew Gaff, Jeremy McGovern, Josh Kennedy and Tom Barrass. On the other end of the scale, four players will play their first game for the Eagles in Sam Petrevski-Seton, Hugh Dixon, Brady Hough and Patrick Naish.
Injuries: Sam Day, Ben King (Out)
Apart from the glaring omission of tall forward Ben King, who will be out for the entire season with a torn ACL, the Suns are actually looking really healthy at the moment. Sam Day has recovered from a wrist injury but will likely play a few weeks in the VFL to regain form.
Some fresh faces will make their debut for the Suns in Round 1, with former Tiger Maboir Chol and former Blue Levi Casboult both expected to suit up. They were the big moves that the Suns made in the off-season, but the most important thing for the Gold Coast will be getting continued development from their young stars.
Another pre-season into the legs of guns like Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson, Nick Holman, Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine can only be a good thing for the Suns. This list looks like one that could be something special in a few years, the Suns just need to work hard on retaining and developing talent.
The Suns start as 8.5 point favourites on the road, which is a pretty interesting line. It would probably be the first time in their history that the Suns have been favoured over the Eagles in a game, and for that to happen at Optus Stadium just shows how little faith the bookies and the general public have in the Eagles and all of their injuries at the moment.
I think the Suns have a lot of potential but to be honest I don't like them to cover this 8.5 point line. Sure, the Eagles have a bunch of players out but a trip to Optus is always a daunting prospect regardless of which Perth team you're playing and how strong they are at the time. I like getting points with the Eagles here.
$1.90 (1.5 Units)
Andrew Gaff had a quiet day when he last played the Suns, finishing with 16 touches, however, his three previous matches against the Suns resulted in him racking up an average of 32.0 touches per game. Will have a lot of work to do in the middle of the ground on Sunday.
Andrew Gaff 30+ Disposals ($2.10 at Sportsbet)
No Jack Darling in the line-up for the Eagles on Sunday means that the majority of the targets inside forawrd 50 will be going in the direction of Josh Kennedy. Kennedy hasn't played any games without Darling in the line-up since all the way back in 2019, so I'm sure he'll want to step up for his side on Sunday evening.
Josh Kennedy 3+ Goals ($1.83 at Sportsbet)