The AFL heads to Tasmania for the first time in season 2022 as North Melbourne host Geelong at Blundstone Arena from 1:10pm. Both sides will be looking to bounce back after disappointing losses in Round 5. Can Geelong get back on the winners list? Or will the Kangaroos cause a massive upset?
Jack Tobin is here to preview the opening game on Sunday football, and be sure to check our AFL Tips page for coverage of every game this season.
North Melbourne vs Geelong Preview & Betting Tips
Blundstone Arena, Sunday 24th April, 1:10pm AEST
Injuries: Jed Anderson, Aaron Hall, Ben Cunnington, Jared Polec, Phoenix Spicer, Jack Mahony, Jaidyn Stephenson (Out)
There’s been plenty going on at the selection table for North Melbourne with Aaron Hall (hamstring) and Jaidyn Stephenson (illness) forced out of the side, while Tom Powell has been omitted. Tarryn Thomas (internal bleeding) and Cam Zuhaar (concussion) return to the side which is a positive, as well as youngster Paul Curtis who will make his debut on Sunday. The Roos will sorely miss Hall’s ball use off half back, particularly given the difficult conditions that are often presented in Hobart.
It’s been a case of one step forward two steps back for the Kangaroos. North Melbourne were gutsy in an eleven point defeat to Sydney a fortnight ago, but followed up with an awful performance in a 68 point defeat to the Western Bulldogs on Good Friday. North Melbourne were uncompetitive for large portions of the game, the Kangaroos won the second quarter five goals to two but were outscored nineteen goals to six across the other three quarters. North Melbourne rank 17th in the AFL for points against, conceding an average score of 103 points per game across the first five rounds of the season. The Roos are also the lowest scoring team in the competition, averaging just 65 points per game.
The Kangaroos were dominated around the ground by the Bulldogs - losing the disposal count by 139, contested possessions by 36, marks by 62 and the inside 50’s by 22. The task doesn’t get any easier for North Melbourne coming up against an experienced Geelong outfit, and the Roos will need to improve drastically if they are to avoid a third smashing in four weeks.
Injuries: Patrick Dangerfield, Jack Henry, Jon Ceglar, Toby Conway, Flynn Kroeger, Quinten Narkle, Sam Menegola, Gary Rohan, Sam Simpson (Out)
The Cats have made three changes after their Easter Monday loss, in a big blow for Geelong Patrick Dangerfield and Jack Henry are out through injury, while Luke Dalhaus has been managed. Jake Kolodjashnij has been elevated to the starting 22 after being the sub last week, Shaun Higgins has earned a recall while Ollie Dempsey will make his debut after some strong form in the VFL.
Despite a 3-2 record that seems underwhelming, the Cats brand of football is stacking up this season. Geelong ranks second in the AFL for clearances, third for points scored and third for inside 50’s. They have made adjustments to their game style and are beginning to play a more front half gameplan. This style continues to create repeat opportunities for Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron in front of goal, with the duo combining for 28 goals already this season.
The Cats have had an excellent spread of contributions in their midfield with five players averaging above 20 disposals in Joel Selwood (24), Isaac Smith (23), Brandan Parfitt (21), Patrick Dangerfield (21) and Cameron Guthrie (20). Geelong have an abundance of different combinations they can turn to, and that’s going to cause North Melbourne plenty of trouble on Sunday afternoon.
Geelong will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss to Hawthorn, and they get the perfect opportunity against a vulnerable North Melbourne outfit. Despite their 3-2 record, the Cats have played some high quality football this season, had they kicked straight last week they’d be 4-1. Geelong’s experienced bodies in the midfield and up forward are simply going to be too much to handle for a young North Melbourne side that is at a very different stage to the Cats.
Geelong have won eight in a row against North Melbourne by an average margin of 28 points, with the Cats making a habit of winning low scoring games by comfortable margins. The total points has been under 166.5 and the Cats covered -28.5 in three of their last four games against North Melbourne.
$2.00 (1 Unit)
The scoring trends have been fascinating at Blundstone Arena since the first game for Premiership points at the venue in 2012. Between 2012-2019 North Melbourne played 22 games at Blundstone Arena with a 16-6 record, and the average total points for games was 179. However with North Melbourne becoming a bottom four side in the last two years, these numbers have changed drastically. Since 2020 the Kangaroos have played six games at Blundstone Arena for a 1-1-4 record, and an average total points of 136. These two sides played in Round 20 last season, for a scoreline of 62-42, with the last four games between the two teams going under 166.5, at an average total of 119.
Total Points Under 166.5, $1.88 with Ladbrokes
Tom Hawkins has continued his stellar career in 2022, sitting equal first in the Coleman Medal race with 16 goals from five games. Hawkins has been red hot in the last three games, kicking eleven goals. Hawkins is coming up against North Melbourne, who he has enjoyed playing against across his career. In his last seven games against North Melbourne, Hawkins is averaging 2.5 goals, 7 marks and 4.4 scoring shots per game.
Tom Hawkins 3+ Goals, $1.92 with Ladbrokes
With Aaron Hall out of the side, Jack Ziebell looks set to move into defence and his disposal markets could provide plenty of value. Ziebell has spent more time up the ground this season, seeing his disposal average drop to 16 per game after averaging 25 per game last season. Coming up against a quality Geelong outfit, the ball will spend a large amount of time in the Roos defensive 50 and Ziebell plays a low risk, possession retention style of football in defence, which is perfect for racking up disposals.
Jack Zieball 25+ Disposals, $2.75 with Ladbrokes