The Western Bulldogs and Greater Western Sydney Giants have developed a fierce rivalry over the past few years and that rivalry will get another instalment on Friday night as the two teams square off from Marvel Stadium.
As usual, we have a full dedicated preview for the Friday night clash but remember, you can head to our AFL page for the rest of our Round 3 betting picks.
MCG, Friday June 19, 7.50pm
The two teams have met in multiple finals games over the last few years and while the Giants got the better of them last year on their way to a Grand Final, it was the Dogs who won that epic match back in 2016 to send them through to a Grand Final of their own. Will we see another classic on Friday night?
The Bulldogs have been disappointing to open the 2020 AFL season. In Round 1 back in March, they were absolutely destroyed by the Magpies to the tune of 52 points and after the two month hiatus, it looked as though not much had changed as they lost easily to St Kilda by 39 points on Sunday evening.
Star midfielder Marcus Bontempelli has really struggled to get into both games, averaging just over 19 touches a game through the first two rounds and is yet to kick a goal. Jack Macrae is also well down on his regular output, and if the Dogs are to be competitive on Friday night they’ll need to get more out of their star-studded midfield group.
On the injury front, the Dogs are still without defenders Easton Wood and Taylor Duryea with calf strains while star mid/forward Lachie Hunter remains on the sidelines through a club suspension.
The Giants have traditionally put a lot more defensive work into Josh Dunkley and Bontempelli than Jack Macrae, and over their last three contests Macrae has been able to rack up 34 possessions per game. After a quiet start to the season, we expect Macrae to bounce back here.
The Giants looked as though they would be a force to be reckoned with once again in 2020 when they defeated the Cats in Round 1 by 32 points. However, they were handled comfortably at home by the Kangaroos in Round 2 to fall to 1-1 and 8th place on the ladder.
The GWS midfield failed to show up in the loss to the Roos, as North Melbourne boasted the top six possession winners on the ground and notable Giants ball magnets in Lachie Whitfield, Stephen Coniglio and Josh Kelly all had under 20 touches.
The Giants love to play a more open and free flowing style of football, which is probably why they have been successful in the past against the Western Bulldogs, who allow them to do so. Against a very contested-ball-minded team in the Kangaroos, however, they were not able to compete through the middle of the ground.
Love the look of Lachie Whitfield to bounce back after a disappointing week here. Whitfield has monstered the Dogs in the past, averaging just over 31 disposals in his last three games against them.
Have to see that game against the Kangaroos as just a bad matchup for the Giants. The Bulldogs issues look much more glaring at the moment. If any of these teams are to re-find their feet after a one week break, it’s likely to be the Giants, who have dominated this fixture since that preliminary final back in 2016.
They start as 8.5 point favourites here and we are happy to side with them at that line given their four wins against the Dogs since 2016 have come by an average of 51.5 points.
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