Melbourne v GWS

Demons come into their opening fixture brimming with confidence, unbeaten and pretty impressive from all accounts in the NAB Challenge. The Giants have had the better of Melbourne, winning four of the last five games including a 64 point win in 2014. Whilst I was in the jungle, GWS won two of their NAB fixtures, however Jeremy Cameron will be a huge loss! Their other star McCarthy is also missing, which leaves a lot of pressure on others to kick the goals. Melbourne will cause an upset in the second game of the weekend, I’m quite surprised to see the value of $2.45 on offer for Melbourne.

Jesse Hogan will have a huge season in 2016, the young gun had a difficult time against the Saints in their last Nab Challenge fixture. He copped a spray by all, which is pretty surprising bearing in mind the number of people watching the pre-season games. He’ll be the difference tonight, backing him to slot 3 or more at $1.95.

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Melbourne - 1pt @ 2.3
Jesse Hogan - 1pt @ 1.92

Gold Coast v Essendon

What a rotten off-season the Bombers have had, it’s time for them to forget about what’s happened and let their footy do the talking. John Worsfold has got a very tough job getting this team up and ready for the new season. His team face Rodney Eade’s Suns who were pretty piss-poor last season, winning just four games. Gold Coast were pretty decent in their pre-season hitouts, and they’re boosted by the return of Gary Ablett. Suns looked a force in games where Ablett played last season, will be interesting to watch how he holds up this year, keep an eye out on Essendon targeting that shoulder on Saturday. Essendon can’t expect to play at the level required with some many missing, hence why I’m backing the Suns to win by 25+ at $1.47 with Palmerbet.

Gary Ablett is a gun, if he stays fit he’ll 100% be finishing in the top 3 for the Brownlow. Reports suggest he’s ready and raring to go for Round One. I expect Ablett to have a day out to announce he’s back, he’s well worth backing to have 30 disposals at $1.89.

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Gold Coast +25 - 1pt @ 1.47
Gary Ablett - 1pt @ 1.89

North Melbourne v Adelaide

The post-Dangerfield era begins at the Etihad for Adelaide, this is a replay of last season’s opener where the Crows smashed North by 77 points. Brad Scott will expect a lot better from his players this year, North have key home advantage for their 2016 opener, which will hopefully allow him to break the round one hoodoo with the Kangas.
Adelaide looked pretty dangerous in the NAB matches, but don’t read too much into that. Once again they’ll be relying heavily on Taylor Walker and my old mate Eddie to kick the points. If this fixture was in Adelaide the odds would be a lot closer, even though they’re pretty short I’m backing North to come out with the points at $1.51 with Luxbet.

I actually like the look of this fixture on paper, and think we could be in for a bit of a goal-fest. It’ll be a shoot-out between Walker and Betts and North’s veterans Petrie and Waiter. With four gun goal kickers on the pitch, I’m backing both teams to crack the 80 point mark at $1.88.

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North Melbourne - 1pt @ 1.51
Both teams 80+ points - 1pt @ 1.88

Sydney Swans v Collingwood

This could be a huge season for the Swans, with Buddy back to him old self they look like they can mount a charge towards finals. Having Franklin back is a huge coup, I’m backing him and Tippett to have massive seasons. Sydney are missing a few players after three retirees after last year’s finals and McVeigh, Reid, McGlynn and Rohan all missing this weekend. Those absentees will make this fixture a lot closer than it should be.
The Pies were very hit or miss last season, finishing a disappointing 12th. The last thing anyone wants is them to get off the good start, encouraging their fans to become even more bullish about their chances. They have a few injury problems of their own, but looked to have recruited well in Adam Trelor. They will come close, however I don’t have any faith in their kicking. Swans will win at $1.65.

Pendlebury had a cracking season for the disappointing Collingwood last term, I’m backing him to have over 30 possessions on Saturday combined with Buddy to kick 3+ at $3.5 with Sportsbet.

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Sydney Swans - 1pt @ 1.67
S Pendlebury/L Franklin - 1pt @ 3.5