The 2015 AFL season got underway last weekend and there were a number of exciting games as well as a few upsets across the first nine games of the season.
A number of teams are already under pressure after suffering disappointing Round 1 defeats and it is a very interesting weekend of fixtures, with a couple of short-priced favourites under pressure to perform against teams that won last weekend.
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West Coast Eagles vs Carlton Blues
Friday, April 10 – 8:10pm AEST – Patersons Stadium
Both these sides suffered disappointing losses last weekend and will be desperate to avoid an 0-2 start to the season. The Blues played good football at times against Richmond, but their midfield was overrun in key parts of the game and players like Bryce Gibbs lead to stand up if they are going to be competitive this season. West Coast gave up a lead to go down to the Western Bulldogs and their lack of a key defender is already having a major impact. This should be a low-scoring contest, but the home ground advantage should give West Coast an edge over a Carlton side that has won just three of their past 14 games.
Richmond Tigers vs Western Bulldogs
Saturday, April 11 – 1:45pm AEST – MCG
The Westerns Bulldogs stunned the Richmond Tigers in their only meeting in 2014 and will be taking plenty of confidence into this game after their come from behind win over West Coast. The Bulldogs played a much more attractive brand of football in round 1 and have the chance to win their first two games of a season for the first time since 2009. The Tigers were slow out of the gates against the Blues in Round 1, but their midfield was able to take control in the second quarter and they ended up recording a fairly comfortable victory. Richmond have a class edge over the Bulldogs, but they will need to tighten up their defending and improve their clearance rate to improve their record to 2-0.
Greater Western Sydney Giants vs Melbourne Demons
Saturday, April 11 – 2:10pm AEST – Manuka Oval
The Greater Western Sydney Giants and Melbourne Demons are both sitting in the top eight following the conclusion of round 1 and the Giants are favourites to make a 2-0 start to their season for the first time in history. The Giants showed composure at key times to beat St Kilda in round 1 and they will take plenty of confidence from the fact that they have won their past three games against Melbourne. The Demons were one of the biggest stories of round 1 and they produced an outstanding performance to beat a Gold Coast Suns team that is expected to be a finals contender in 2015. The Demons are currently available at the juicy odds of $2.70 and they are excellent value to make it two wins on the trot.
Collingwood Magpies vs Adelaide Crows
Saturday, April 11 – 4:35pm AEST – Etihad Stadium
The Adelaide Crows could not have made a better start to the reign of new coach Phil Walsh and they were far too strong right across the park against North Melbourne. Taylor Walker looks to have relished the added responsibility of captaincy and, along with Patrick Dangerfield, will be key to his sides chance. The Magpies played two and a half quarters of great football against the Brisbane Lions, but they were very ordinary in the final quarter and they will be punished if they produce a similar effort against the Crows. The Crows look like they could be the goods in 2015 and we expect them to record their third straight win over the Magpies this weekend.
Gold Coast Suns vs St Kilda Saints
Saturday, April 11 – 7:20pm AEST – Metricon Stadium
The Gold Coast Suns were, along with North Melbourne, the most disappointing side in round 1, but they are still set to start this game as clear favourites. The Suns were generally out enthused against the Demons and it is clear that Gary Ablett has not fully recovered from his shoulder injury. Ablett is still left to do far too much by this side and his support crew needs to stand up if the Suns are going to be genuine finals contenders. The Saints tried hard against the Giants last week, but their list just lacks genuine quality and they have lost their past 12 games played interstate. The Suns should win this game and the pressure will well and truly be on if they slip to 0-2.
Port Adelaide Power vs Sydney Swans
Saturday, April 11 – 7:40pm AEST – Adelaide Oval
This is one of the most interesting games of round 2 and it should be a very even contest. The Swans got the four points against the Bombers last weekend, but they were absolutely woeful for the majority of the game until they pulled their finger out in the final quarter. If they produce a similar performance against Port Adelaide they will be beaten by 100 points. The Power went down to Fremantle narrowly in their opener, but they played fairly well and they have produced their best football at the Adelaide Oval in recent years. In saying that, the odds currently on offer for the Swans represents good value as they have won ten of their past 11 meetings with Port Adelaide.
Geelong Cats vs Fremantle Dockers
Sunday, April 12 – 1:10pm AEST – Simonds Stadium
The Geelong Cats and Fremantle Dockers have played in some blockbusters in recent years and this game should be no exception. The Cats are under a heap of pressure heading into this game after their 62-point loss to Hawthorn last week and the experts will be quick to right off the Cats if they don’t return to winning form at home. The Dockers produced a typically scrappy performance to get past Port Adelaide in the opening round, but this is a team that is all about getting the job done and they will be buoyed by the win. The Dockers are one of only two teams that have beaten the Cats at home since 2011 and they are good value to do it again this weekend.
Essendon Bombers vs Hawthorn Hawks
Sunday, April 12 – 3:20pm AEST – MCG
Hawthorn went into the 2015 AFL season and the team to beat and they confirmed their status as premiership favourites with a big win over the Cats on Easter Monday. The scary thing for their rivals is that the Hawks still have improvement in front of them and it is tough to see them going down this weekend. The Bombers almost produced the biggest upset of the round against the Swans they will take plenty of confidence from the performance, despite failing to close out the game. It will be interesting to see how Essendon respond from that inspired effort and they will need to play even better to avoid a 0-2 start to the season. The Hawks have not lost to the Bombers since round six of 2010 and they does not look likely to change this weekend.
North Melbourne Kangaroos vs Brisbane Lions
Monday, April 6 – 4:40pm AEST – Etihad Stadium
North Melbourne coach Brad Scott is a man under plenty of pressure after the Kangaroos started their season with a woeful performance against the Adelaide Crows. The Kangaroos were outclassed right across the field, but it was their lack of fight that proved most worrying for Scott and their supporters. The Brisbane Lions went into their clash with Collingwood as clear favourites, but they did not play with any confidence and their second and third quarter performances were nothing short of disgraceful before they gave themselves a chance with a strong final quarter surge. The loss of captain Tom Rockliff is a big one, but it is tough to back the Kangaroos at such a short quote.