GWS V Essendon

Saturday 26th May, 7:25pm EST – Spotless Stadium

Greater Western Sydney

The Giants injury driven slide continued last week, getting blown off the park in the second half by a Ben Brown inspired Roos. While Essendon don’t have a forward anywhere near the calibre of Brown, the Giants cause isn’t helped with the continued absence of Phil Davis and the loss of yet another defender in Finlayson (although he’s apparently been dropped for form rather than injury). We’re not confident in Buntine getting up to AFL speed in his first game of the year. Josh Kelly is obviously a massive inclusion, but even a player of his class will struggle to have a meaningful impact after such a long absence.

Essendon

After copping it in the media for weeks, the Dons finally responded with a thumping win over an extremely disappointing Geelong. Despite their poor performance this year, the model still sees Essendon as a reasonably strong squad with a solid core of midfielders that should be able to breakeven with the depleted GWS midfield. If Goddard can spend more time marshalling than berating his backline, they should be able to contain the currently misfiring GWS forwards, whose highest score in the last 5 rounds came against an appalling Brisbane Lions defence. This will only be the Bombers second game played outside of Victoria this year but we have a sneaky feeling they might enjoy getting away from the blow torches of the Melbourne media for a week.

Betting Strategy

The model has this game as a coinflip and we have a suspicion the package may finally be unwrapped this week against a weak GWS defensive line.

 BACK – Essendon at $3


Melbourne v Adelaide

Sunday 27th May, 3:20pm EST – TIO Traeger Park

Melbourne

Tom McDonald returned three weeks ago and the Dees have been on a rampage ever since – something which we don’t think is a coincidence. A hugely crucial player for their setup, he allows Hogan to maraud the wings, where he is almost impossible to match up on. The return of Viney last week sees the Demons fielding basically a full-strength squad which has our player model rating them as one of the strongest teams this round. It would be classic Melbourne to drop a game of this significance after such a strong run of form but they look to have Adelaide covered all over the park.

Adelaide

Some questionable umpiring and appalling conversion from the Dogs made Adelaide look OK last week, despite missing basically half of their best 22 to injury. Matt Crouch has been named but we wouldn’t be banking on him suiting up for gameday. Bryce Gibbs has been admirable leading a midfield missing so many big names but up against the league’s strongest mids we don’t like his chances. Eddie Betts had a vintage game last week, but we think his incredible wet weather skills masked some serious issues with the Crows forward line down to Jenkins as its lone big man.

Betting Strategy

The Crows have done incredibly well to be where they are despite their injury toll, but we expect a full strength Melbourne squad to make a statement this week and see them as big value around $1.80.

 BACK – Melbourne


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