Carlton v Gold Coast Sat 1:45pm AEDT at Etihad Stadium
Carlton stunned the footy world in the season opener at the ‘G, kicking the first 5 goals before they were overrun by a more mature Richmond side- and on Saturday afternoon they will host a Gold Coast side that has started perfectly under new coach, Stuart Dew. The Suns will be stoked they are playing under the roof after they endured cyclonic rain in Cairns; and if Aaron Hall comes back into the team, that will be a huge boost on the fast deck at Etihad. No doubt the Baby Blues will be up and about after their first half in Round 1, but this Suns side that bases its gameplan on huge amounts of pressure and press should not be taken lightly.
FormCarlton pushed the defending Premiers for 3 quarters before Richmond’s class and experience ran over the top of them. Patrick Cripps was superlative, notching 17 contested possessions and 6 clearances in his 32 disposals haul, while key forward Charlie Curnow finally announced himself on the big stage with an imposing 5 goal performance. What is clear, is that they finally look to have some genuine scoring options; although Brendan Bolton’s famed young defence looked leaky, and will need to settle it down now the first round adrenaline is out of the way.
Stuart Dew got his senior coaching debut off to the perfect start, as his youthful charges accounted for the Kangaroos in horrid conditions in Cairns. The prodigious, and injury prone, David Swallow looked to relish the mantle as #1 midfielder while new recruit Aaron Young while Jack Bowes looked like he now genuinely belongs at AFL level. Just how much the waterlogged conditions will affect the run in their legs is the question.
Stats That Matter– Meetings between the clubs are 5-3 in favour of the Blues – Carlton kicked 95 points against the defending Premiers after averaging only 72 points per game last year – Kade Simpson averages 24 disposals and 104 Fantasy points per game against the Suns – The Suns were 2-9 ATS away from home in 2017 – Tom Lynch has kicked 20 goals in 6 matches against Carlton – The Blues have lost the first two games every season since 2013
What To ExpectThe Wolf is expecting a good tussle in this game, despite the expected lack of silky ball skills. Carlton’s willingness to pump the ball forward at all costs will be tested by an energetic Gold Coast press, and how Curnow and Lynch fare for their respective sides may have a big say in the game. Hard to tell who has the better midfield, and the Wolf thinks this is one of the harder games to pick a winner in, despite the clear favouritism Carlton hold. Going with the Blues at home to get over the line against what will likely be a tired Suns side come the last quarter.
How It’s Shaping UpCarlton by 11
Best: Carlton WIN and Over 179.5 Total Points ($2.25) Value: Highest Scoring Quarter- Fourth Quarter ($3.40) Player Prop: Tom Lynch 3+ goals ($TBC) First Goalscorer: Matthew Wright ($TBC)