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2016 AFL Opening Round

ObiWan
Posts: 732
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3/26/2016 2:26:38 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
My Tips for Round 1

Richmond 92 def 83 Carlton
Already missed the boat with this one. The Blues sure gave Richmond a scare on Thursday night. With almost everyone expecting an easy start to the season for the Tigers, it was Carlton who lead at quarter time and again at the final change. Some last quarter brilliance from Sam Lloyd (see video) and some the extra class around goal that comes with experience was enough to ensure Richmond ran out winners in the end, but there was plenty of positives for a young Carlton team and new coach Brendan Bolton should expect a better season than last year's bottom of the table finish.

Melbourne vs Greater Western Sydney
Expect a spirited contest at the MCG for this one. Melbourne went undefeated through the preseason and look primed to begin a long awaited climb up the ladder. Full Forward Jesse Hogan will hope to continue the form that earned him the Rising Star award last season and the inexperienced GWS defenders will have their hands full all day with him. Tomas Bugg will also run out for the demons for the first time against his former teammates. For the Giants offseason recruit Steve Johnson should add a little more experience and polish to a side that's still fairly young. Ryan Griffen will be hoping to give more support to Dylan Shiel through the middle of the ground, especially after the loss of Adam Treloar to Collingwood. After seeming on track to make the finals last year before the loss of Shane Mumford to injury the Giants will be hoping to prove their winning form wasn't a fluke and get their season off to a strong start here.
GWS by 14 points

Gold Coast vs Essendon
Well. This game has the potential to be an absolute disaster, with the World Anti-Doping Agency handing down a suspension to 12 Essendon players in regards to the clubs 2012 supplements program they have had to turn to state leagues and rejected players to fill their list for the 2016 season. The Suns will be hoping to capitalise on an opening game against such an underwhelming team and the long awaited return of captain and dual Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett should mitigate the loss of Andrew Swallow. Look for Aaron Hall to impress after a fantastic preseason and Touk Miller and Adam Saad to continue their form after breakout seasons in 2015. While the Bombers may be able to stick with the Gold Coast boys early on, once the game opens up I can't see them being able to get anywhere near a Suns team with finals aspirations.
Gold Coast by 60

North Melbourne vs Adelaide
This could very well be the match of the round. North are coming off back-to-back preliminary final defeats after exceeding expectations for the past two seasons. The addition of Jed Anderson from Hawthorn and the return of injury plagued Daniel Wells should give them some added depth through the middle of the ground. The quality of this Kangaroos side if now good enough to match it with anyone in the league but with some ageing stars they'll have very high aspirations for a season that could possibly be their best shot at ultimate success. Adelaide became everyone football fans second team last year after the tragic death of head coach Phil Walsh halfway through the season and the determination the team showed to be able to bounce back and make it all the way to a semi-final earned them praise from all over the nation. The loss of star midfielder Patrick Dangerfield during the offseason will hurt the Crows, who will look to Rory Sloane and Matt Crouch to go up another level after solid seasons last year while young guns Wayne Milera and Mitch McGovern have impressed first year coach Don Pyke enough to earn a debut in round one. This game could go either way but I'm going to side with the home team who will be hoping to send an early statement to the rest of the comp.
NM by 21

Sydney vs Collingwood
Sydney will have 5 players play their first game for the club (including 3 debutants) when they take on Collingwood at the SCG. Callum Sinclair arrives from West Coast to fill the ruck position vacated by the retiring Mike Pyke and former Bulldog Michael Talia has been selected at centre half back ahead of veteran Ted Richards. Superstar forward Lance Franklin will play after mental health issues saw him miss the end of last year with many saying 'Buddy' is in the best shape he's been since 2008 when he was the last man to kick 100 goals in a season. The Magpies will unveil high profile recruit Adam Treloar who will look to have an immediate impact in the middle of the ground. Young forward Darcy Moore will hope to continue his impressive development, as will Jack Crisp and Brayden Maynard. Jarred Witts is a surprise inclusion in the ruck ahead of last season first choice Brodie Grundy. If history suggests anything it"s that this game will be a tightly fought contest. Collingwood will be disappointed to have missed the finals last year while the Swans will be looking to bounce back from a straight sets defeat and in front of a home crowd in Sydney I'm backing them in to get the job done.
Sydney by 20

Western Bulldogs vs Fremantle
The bulldogs were the surprise of the competition last year, coming from nowhere to finish 6th and although they lost their elimination final to Adelaide, the boys from Melbourne's west will be full of confidence heading into this season. The loss of former bomber Stuart Crameri to the WADA ban will hurt the dogs but Tom Boyd looks set for a break out year after struggling to find consistent form last season and Jake Stringer's meteoric rise has made the dogs forward line one of the best in the league. After missing all of last season Tom Liberatore will return for the dogs to add depth to the midfield. Fremantle will come out breathing fire after losing last years Preliminary final and in front of their home crowd, with head coach Ross Lyon determined to give the 'Purple Haze' their first ever AFL premiership. Reigning Brownlow medalist Nat Fyfe has overcome offseason injury worries to be named in the side and Lachie Neale will be hoping to improve on a breakout year in 2015. It's now make or break for the Dockers, who failed to bring in the key forward they desperately lacked last year to provide support to veteran captain Matthew Pavlich. If last year"s game between these two is any indication we're in for another cracking match. On that day the Dockers got the job done late and I can't see them slipping up here as they look to replicate last season run of 9 unbeaten games to open their campaign.
Dockers by 15
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ObiWan
Posts: 732
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3/26/2016 2:31:30 AM
Posted: 8 months ago
Port Adelaide vs St. Kilda
Port Adelaide's 2015 season was perhaps the biggest let down in the competition; after finishing 5th in 2014, Port failed to even make the finals. This year they've added former Gold Coast forward Charlie Dixon, who will hopefully provide some more reliable support to Jay Schulz. The loss of Patrick Ryder to the WADA ban will give Matthew Lobbe more responsibility in the ruck, a situation which has been him excel in recent years and Ollie Wines, Travis Boak and Robbie Gray are now one of the most dangerous midfield trios in the competition. St. Kilda will continue to build on a season that showed plenty of positive signs for a club going through an on field rebuild. Nick Riewoldt appears to be embracing a Matthew Richardson style move to the wing, which will allow young forwards Josh Bruce and Paddy McCartin more opportunities to develop their games. First year player Jade Gresham has also been given a debut and will hope to emulate the success of last seasons debutants, jack Billings and Jack Lonie. The Power should run out winners here, especially in front of their home fans, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Saints but up a decent fight.
Power by 35

West Coast Eagles vs Brisbane
After being smashed in last years Grand Final, the Eagles will have plenty to play for. Former Lion Jack Redden will debut for the Eagles against is old club however fellow offseason recruit Lewis Jetta has been unable to overcome a calf injury. Nic Naitanui will have increased ruck responsibilities with Scott Lycett after the loss of Callum Sinclair to Sydney while Matt Priddis, Andrew Gaff and Luke Shuey will all be hoping to build on the teamwork through the middle of the ground that was so instrumental to the Eagle"s success last season. Eric Mackenzie also returns after a knee injury last season to strengthen the West Coast backline. Brisbane continue to rebuild their list, with former Blue Tom Bell and Roo Ryan Bastinac two of the main off season recruits making their debut for the Lions. Tom Rockliff will be hoping to remain injury free this year and replicate the form that saw him dominate the competition in 2014. 2015 was a long season for the young Brisbane players and while there are signs that they may have unearthed some talent, a trip to the west is never an easy task. Especially when you're up against a side determined to make up for a poor display in the Grand Final.
Eagles by 55

Geelong vs Hawthorn
These traditional Easter Monday rivals have produced some of the best games of the modern era (see video). Geelong were busy over summer, with former Geelong local and superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield arriving at the Catery from Adelaide, along with Zac Smith, Lachie Henderson and Scott Selwood. All will make their debut for the Cats except Selwood, who will have to overcome injury before he is able to run out alongside his brother Joel. Many experts have the Cat's high profile recruits, as well as the continued progression of Marc Blicavs, Mitch Duncan and Steven Motlop, putting them in a good position to challenge for the finals after missing out for the first time since 2006 last year. However there is no tougher opposition in the game than Hawthorn. The reigning premiers will begin 2016 as the competitions favorites, looking to do what no team in the top competition has achieved since the 1930's and win four Grand Finals in a row. The injury to Jaryd Roughead is a loss for the Hawks, as is the retiring of Brian Lake. However you don't get to be the best without a deep list. The only concern for Hawthorn may be the age of their midfield. Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell and Jordan Lewis all dominated the league last year but are moving into their 30"s and could struggle to match it over 4 quarters with the likes of Dangerfield and J. Selwood. I think I"m going to tip an upset here, but every footy fan in the country is looking forward to this one and really anything could happen.
Geelong by 3
These are not the droids you're looking for.