Traditional rivals Essendon and Hawthorn face off on Saturday night football at Marvel Stadium from 7:25pm! The young Hawks have been impressive this season, and they’ll be looking to pile on the misery for the struggling Bombers.
Jack Tobin is on deck with his preview and tips, and the BeforeYouBet team has you covered with AFL Tips for every game in 2022.
Essendon vs Hawthorn Preview & Betting Tips
Marvel Stadium, Saturday 7th March, 7:25pm AEST
Injuries: Jake Stringer, Nik Cox, Michael Hurley, Harrison Jones, Kyle Langford, Andrew Phillips, Will Snelling, James Stewart, Patrick Voss, Tex Wanganeen
Essendon have made three changes this week with Jake Stringer a massive out for the Bombers. Stringer picked up three Brownlow votes the last time these two teams faced off, with 29 disposals and 4 goals. Nik Cox joins Stringer on the sidelines with an ankle injury, while Kaine Baldwin has been omitted from last week’s side. Dylan Shiel has been upgraded to the starting 22 after being the medi-sub against the Bulldogs. Nick Hind has earned a recall to the side after a strong performance in the VFL and ruckman Nick Bryan has been included for his first game of the season.
Essendon’s final appearance last season came off a strong clearance midfield and a side that was one of the best tackling teams in the AFL. The 2022 Bombers are a shell of last years side ranking dead last in the AFL for tackles and 15th for clearances. Essendon are the 16th ranked defence this season and have conceded 93 or more points in every game this season.
Not only can’t they defend, Essendon are struggling to score, ranking 14th in the AFL for points per game (76 ppg). Peter Wright sits ninth in the Coleman Medal race with 17 goals, however it’s Wright or bust with no other Bomber kicking more than eight goals this season.
Injuries: Changkuoth Jiath, Mitch Lewis, Ben McEvoy, Tom Phillips, Ned Reeves
The Hawks have brought Josh Ward, Harry Morrison and Denver Grainger-Barras back into the side after missing against Melbourne while Liam Shiels, Connor MacDonald and Connor Nash have been managed.
Hawthorn will be buoyed after a strong performance against Melbourne, with the ten point loss the closest game the reigning premiers have played all season. The Hawks managed to continuously take the game on against the best defence of the last two seasons, which would have coach Sam Mitchell bullish about the potential of his side.
Hawthorn’s aggressive manner in which they’ve moved the ball will be a key factor against the worst transition defence in the AFL. Teams have moved the ball coast to coast with ease against the Bombers, and it will open up plenty of scoring opportunities for the Hawks, especially for in form small forwards Dylan Moore and Chad Wingard.
Hawthorn come into this clash as rightful favourites and the line looks to be the way to go in this clash. Essendon’s six losses this season have come at an average of 36 points, while Hawthorn have an average winning margin of 32 points in 2022. The Bombers are missing four of their five leading goal kickers from 2021 so Peter Wright can expect to be competing against a plethora of Hawks defenders on Saturday night.
Hawthorn don’t have the top end talent to put the Bombers to the sword as some teams have this season, but their system is far outperforming Essendon and if they continue the way they have so far this year they won’t have too many issues covering a the -8.5 line.
$1.90 (1.5 Units)
Dylan Moore has established himself as one of the best small forwards in the AFL season, with 13 goals already this season. Moore averaging 2 goals per game across the last six weeks and has kicked four goals in his last two games against the Bombers. Moore will be full of confidence after recording a career high 33 disposals last week against Melbourne, remarkably without attending a centre bounce. Moore might not have that many disposals this weekend, but he’ll have more opportunities at goal against a poor Essendon defence.
Dylan Moore 2+ Goals, $1.77 with Ladbrokes
After being signed late in the pre-season as an SSP selection, Nic Martin has had a remarkable start to his AFL career. Through six games Martin is averaging 22 disposals per game and recorded 25 last week against the Bulldogs. Martin has consistently found the footy this season, and his role on the wing is very friendly for getting possessions.
Nic Martin 25+ Disposals, $2.60 with Ladbrokes
Jai Newcombe has put together a consistent month of football, averaging 24 disposals per game. Newcombe’s spike in performance has come on the back of recording the most centre bounce attendances of any Hawks player in the last month. Newcombe has had 26, 21, 22 and 22 CBA’s in his last four games, providing outstanding value to pick up 25 disposals.
Jai Newcombe 25+ Disposals, $2.35 with Ladbrokes