It doesn’t make last year’s Grand Final loss any easier but Adelaide got a little revenge over Richmond when they defeated the Tigers by six goals on Thursday night. It was Richmond’s first loss since August 12 last year and it was despite a five-goal performance from reigning Brownlow Medallist Dustin Martin.
All the money with the bookies was with the Tigers prior to the match, but it was the Crows’ lesser lights that shone, including second gamers, Tom Doedee (25 touches), Lachlan Murphy (2 goals) and Darcy Fogarty (2 goals).
Up next: Adelaide ($1.38) will start short priced favourites against a St Kilda ($3.30) that will have a lot of pressure on it after Friday’s embarrassing performance against North Melbourne, though the Crows are likely to be without star midfielder Matt Crouch with a hamstring injury.
THE WEEK OF THE UNDERDOG
PORT ADELAIDE, NORTH MELBOURNE, GOLD COAST, WEST COAST AND FREMANTLE
In a game worthy of a Final, Port Adelaide defeated Sydney at the SCG and announced themselves as a genuine contender to win the premiership. Last year, the Power made the finals despite being unable to defeat any top eight side so to beat the Swans at their home ground will make the competition take notice. Port Adelaide beat the Swans at their own game, with Ollie Wines leading the way in contested ball and young forward Todd Marshall kicking multiple goals for the second week in a row.
North Melbourne defeated a terrible St Kilda outfit in a Good Friday clash that nobody will be ordering the replay for. After just six goals in the first three quarters, the Roos kicked seven goals to none in the final stanza with Ben Brown kicking a back of six goals.
While Brown notched a big haul, it wasn’t as large as the eight-goal bag from Gold Coast skipper Tom Lynch. Matthew Kreuzer’s late withdrawal had a big influence on the match with Suns ruckman Jarrod Witts dominating the ruck with 48 hitouts and giving his midfield first use of the ball. Gold Coast, many punters tip for most losses, now sits unbeaten in the top four.
West Coast was one of the most impressive sides of the weekend. Last year, they were involved in more upsets than any other team and that trend has continued into 2018 with an upset win over the lacklustre Dogs. The star of the day was the human highlight reel, Liam Ryan, who in just his second game, kicked three stunning goals and also took an early nomination for mark of the year.
It was a good round for the West Australian teams with Fremantle also winning as an underdog in their first match at Optus Stadium. The Dockers were too good for the disappointing Bombers, who have won just 17 out of 52 games interstate over the past decade.
Up next: Port Adelaide ($1.08) will be raging favourites against Brisbane ($9.50), while the game of the round will be the Sydney derby with the Swans $1.72 against the Giants ($2.25). North Melbourne ($4) will be aiming to beat Melbourne ($1.29) for the 18th consecutive time. Gold Coast ($2.90) and Fremantle ($1.48) meet in Perth with the Suns playing a home match at Optus Stadium with the Commonwealth Games starting this week at Gold Coast’s home ground. West Coast ($2.15) looks like starting as an outsider against Geelong ($1.90) at home.
WHAT A GAME
In what was the best game in many seasons, Hawthorn won a thriller against Geelong after a Jarryd Roughead behind with a minute to go decided the match.
The unveiling of the midfield of Patrick Dangerfield, Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood didn’t disappoint with the trip combining for 95 touches, four goals and almost lifting their side over the line in a pulsating last quarter. For the second week in a row it was Tom Mitchell who led the way for the Hawks with 40 disposals and two goals as the Hawks caused the sixth upset of the round – the equal most in a round since 1995.
Up next: Hawthorn are currently $2.65 outsiders against Richmond ($1.68) though the Hawks should firm closer to game time while the Cats are $1.90 against the Eagles.