Round 9 concludes with the biggest mismatch of the season as Melbourne heads west to take on the Eagles in Sunday twilight football. It’s first versus last at Optus Stadium from 5:20pm, can West Coast cause an almighty upset?
Jack Tobin is here to preview the final game of Round Nine, and be sure to check out our AFL Tips page where the BeforeYouBet team has coverage of every game this season.
Optus Stadium, Sunday 15th May, 5:20pm AEST
Injuries: Oscar Allen, Campbell Chesser, Tom Cole, Tom Joyce, Zac Langdon, Nic Naitanui, Xavier O’Neill, Willie Rioli, Dom Sheed, Luke Shuey, Connor West, Elliot Yeo
The Eagles lengthy injury list has been well publicised, but they will regain Bailey WIlliams this week from a hamstring injury which will add some desperately needed height for West Coast. Jackson Nelson, Alex Witherden and Greg Clark have been named in the extended squad after missing last week through health & safety protocols.
It’s been a horror month for West Coast who have suffered losses by 63, 84, 109 and 75 points in their last four games and now they take on the reigning premiers who are on a fifteen game winning streak. The Eagles are the lowest scoring team in the AFL averaging just 56 points per game, and they’re the worst defensive team as well, conceding 108 points per game. Over the last four weeks they’ve conceded scores of 121, 117, 165 and 105.
It will be interesting to see what adjustments Adam Simpson makes to the Eagles game style. He has shown a reluctance to move away from the Eagles high kicking, slow ball movement style. If West Coast continue this way, Melbourne’s defensive system will have a field day and Demons will dominate the territory battle.
Injuries: Michael Hibberd, Blake Howes, Andy Moniz-Wakefield, Christian Salem, Joel Smith, Taj Woewodin
The Demons are missing defenders Michael Hibberd, Christian Salem and Joel Smith, however their depth has been proven with an 8-0 start to the season. Melbourne won’t be forced into any changes this weekend, with Jake Melksham, Adam Tomlinson, Kade Chandler and Mitch Brown added to the extended squad. Last week’s unused medi-sub Toby Bedford is the only omission.
It took only a quarter and half for the Demons to dispose of St Kilda last week, with the game over at the fourteen minute mark of the second term as Melbourne led by 47 points. The Demons built their brand on an elite defence, ranking second in the AFL for fewest points conceded this season, conceding just 68 points per game.
While their defence gets a lot of the credit, Melbourne’s midfield allows them to control games week in, week out. The Demons rank 2nd for disposals and 2nd for inside 50’s, with their midfield dominating the football against St Kilda as Ed Langdon (39 disposals), Clayton Oliver (38), Christian Petracca (36) and Angus Brayshaw (31) had a field day.
Obviously there is no value in the H2H and wire to wire markets in this clash, so the two markets punters should be looking at are the line or total points. The line is set at -59.5 for the Demons, however Melbourne haven’t had a habit of dominating teams this season. Melbourne has one win this season by 67 points, but their other seven wins have come by an average margin of 24 points.
They’re clearly capable of covering the line, but the smart play here is Melbourne to score 110 points or more. The Eagles have conceded an average score of 127 points over their last four games and it’s hard to see that trend stopping against the best side in the AFL.
Melbourne Over 109.5 Points
$1.70 (3 Units)
Angus Brayshaw has had an excellent campaign so far in 2022, and is one of the most underrated players in the AFL. Brayshaw has spent time across wing and half back this year, and is averaging 25 disposals per game. Brayshaw has picked up 25, 26 and 31 disposals in his last three games and ranks second in the AFL for marks, highlighting his work rate to earn possessions.
Alex Witherden has been a shining light in a dismal season for the Eagles, with the 23 year old averaging 25 disposals per game in 2022. Witherden has seen an increase in his kick ins this season, and with the ball living in West Coast’s defensive 50 this season Witherden will have no trouble finding the football.
To round out our prop bets, we’re going with Christian Petracca to kick 2+ goals. The Norm Smith medalist hit the two goal mark nine times last season and has had ten scoring shots in the last four games. West Coast have conceded goals to midfielders in the last month, with Hugh McCluggage (4), Kamdyn McIntosh (3), Luke Parker (2), Chad Warner (2) all hitting the scoreboard in the last month against the Eagles. Petracca has consistently got shots on goal this season, and could be in for a big day against West Coast.
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