RICHMOND v HAWTHORN
MCG THURS 0720 PM
MCG THURS 0720 PM
The Tigers easily finished on top of the home and away ladder with an 8 point advantage over the West Coast Eagles in second. They are red hot favourites to win this qualifying final at $1.40 and another Premiership at $2.20. Luke Beveridge almost orchestrated a surprise victory in the final round of the season with a blueprint that focused on replicating many of the things that the Tigers do so well.
A high risk, attacking style of football that directed the ball straight down the corridor worked well for the Doggies and you can bet master tactician Alastair Clarkson will have some surprises in store for the reigning Premiers.
The line in this match is set at 17.5 points with the Hawks going in as underdogs at $3.00 for the win. Hawthorn have played 9 times against teams that finished in the top 8 this season for 5 wins, although all 4 of those losses have been by 15 points or less. Strangely the team that troubled the Hawks this season the most was the Brisbane Lions who won by 56 points at the GABBA and 33 points in Tasmania.
The Wolf thinks that the Hawks offer excellent value with a +17.5 point advantage ($1.92). They have consistently kept games close against top teams this season.
STATS THAT MATTER
- Defence is going to be the key for the Hawks and that starts in the midfield. The Tigers are ranked 2nd in the AFL for inside 50s and points per game. The Hawks need to cut off that supply. They were able to win the clearances 45-36 against the Swans and the first use of the ball will be crucial in this match.
- Shutting down Jack Riewoldt will be a big priority for the Hawks. The Tigers forward had 65 goals for the year and won the Coleman Medal after 5 goals against the Bulldogs in round 23.
- Keep an eye on Luke Breust who is the Hawks leading goal scorer this season (53). Finishing fifth in the Coleman Medal, the Hawthorn forward’s tackling pressure in the forward 50 is elite, ranked 2nd in the AFL for total tackles inside the forward 50.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The Tigers are going to need to come back from the break and step it up a level because they won’t defeat the Hawks with the football they played against the Bombers and Bulldogs. Both teams enter the match without any major injury concerns although the weather might play a factor with rain expected on Thursday evening.
Richmond certainly don’t appear to be as untouchable as they were last season although they should be good enough to get the win at the MCG. The Wolf expects a very close match with the Tigers midfield to give them the edge when it counts.
HOW IT’S SHAPING UP
Richmond by 17 points
BEST BETS: Richmond 1-39 ($1.90), Hawthorn +17.5 ($1.92), D Martin over 26.5 disposals ($1.88), T Mitchell over 32.5 disposals ($1.73)