2020 AFL State of Origin Preview

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Team Victoria and the newly named ‘All-Stars’ meet at Marvel Stadium on Friday night hoping to earn State of Origin bragging rights as well as raise some money for bushfire relief.  

Footy fans have been calling for the rebirth of Origin footy since its demise in the late ‘90s, and while Friday’s game will be nothing more than a bit of high-scoring, unofficial fun, there are plenty of interesting storylines and betting markets to get around.

Team Victoria

  • Mark Blicavs, Marcus Bontempelli, Jeremy Cameron, Ben Cunnington, Trent Cotchin, Patrick Dangerfield, Todd Goldstein, Robbie Gray, Toby Greene, Jade Gresham, Nick Haynes, Shaun Higgins, Bachar Houli, Josh Kelly, Jake Lloyd, Tom Lynch, Jack Macrae, Stefan Martin, Dustin Martin, Darcy Moore, Tom Papley, Scott Pendlebury, Adam Saad, James Sicily, Steele Sidebottom, Rory Sloane, Lachie Whitefield

Victoria beat the Dream Team 137-120 during the 2008 AFL Hall of Fame Tribute match, and now just 12-years later, they are favoured heavily for a repeat performance thanks to some strong selections from Damien Hardwick.  

The two-time premiership-winning coach wasted no time loading up on some familiar faces by selecting Dustin Martin, Tom Lynch, Trent Cotchin and Bachar Houli to the side.

Team Victoria isn’t all yellow and black though, because they’ll also be headlined up front by Jeremy Cameron and Marcus Bontempelli, leaving Patrick Dangerfield to man the middle and Toby Greene at half-forward.

Although there are plenty of Tigers and Giants players, there are plenty of other big names to watch.

Disposal machine Jack Macrae is one of only three Bulldogs players taking part, but he should play an integral role alongside Steele Sidebottom in setting up Cameron, Bont and even Martin in the forward line.

Meanwhile down back, James Sicily is the only Hawk in the Victorian team, but his skills will go a long way against a potent All-Star forward line.

The Big V looks close to unbeatable and it goes beyond those on the field.

While tactics likely won’t play a big part, Hardwick will also be joined by Alastair Clarkson, Adam Kingsley, Dean Solomon and Robert Harvey.

All-Stars

  • Harris Andrews, Luke Breust, Charlie Cameron, Stephen Coniglio, Patrick Cripps, Shane Edwards, Nat Fyfe, Brodie Grundy, Tom Hawkins, Bradley Hill, Jeremy Howe, Neville Jetta, Jason Johannisen, Rory Laird, Scott Lycett, Callum Mills, Lachie Neale, Jack Riewoldt, Brad Sheppard, Isaac Smith, Brodie Smith, Zach Tuohy, Taylor Walker, Michael Walters, Lachie Weller, Elliot Yeo, Dayne Zorko

All-Stars coach John Longmire has plenty of work to do if he’s to overcome the Victorians, but he should feel confident knowing just about every one of his players are currently in their prime.  

The top names include Patrick Cripps, Nat Fyfe and Jack Riewoldt, but perhaps the most impressive part of Longmire’s side is the depth.

Watching Riewoldt go head-to-head against Dusty should be plenty of fun – as well as the side battle between Tom Hawkins and Dangerfield. With some bright young names like Harris Andrews, Lachie Neale and Callum Mills though, the Victorians need to be careful they don’t underestimate the All-Stars.

Longmire’s squad is much more balanced with only the Brisbane Lions holding four selections. Neale, Andrews, Charlie Cameron and Dayne Zorko should all provide some big moments, while there’s also something to be said for Hawthorn’s dynamic Isaac Smith and Luke Breust duo.

Overall, the All-Stars might have a slight edge through the midfield – especially if Cripps and Fyfe find themselves on the same page.

Whether it be two Hawthorn premiership winners, the core of the new-look Lions, or the Hawks and Zach Tuohy tandem, there is plenty of chemistry in this team that makes them a serious upset chance.

Best Bet

It’s a shame we won’t get to see names like Buddy Franklin, Tom Mitchell, Tim Kelly or Nic Naitanui out on the park, but this should be a cracking contest that turns out to be reasonably close.

Tipping against Victoria is tough considering Dusty and Dangerfield, two Brownlow Medalists, lead the charge.

I do, however, think Victoria could be a little short in the ruck department with the duty falling squarely on Stefan Martin’s shoulders in the absence of Max Gawn. Martin is easily one of the games top-class ruckmen, but will he match up well against Brodie Grundy? We wait and see.

To be totally honest, there probably won’t be much of a ruck “battle” anyway. But there is every chance some of the younger guys take this exhibition match seriously with a chance to prove themselves ahead of the real stuff in three weeks’ time.  

Both teams have their strengths and weaknesses, so with some insurance available at the line, take the All-Stars to make a game of this.

Tip: Back the All-Stars to Cover the Line (+8.5 Points) @ $1.88

Tips, recommendations and commentary are for entertainment only. We provide no warranty about accuracy or completeness. You should make your own assessment before placing a bet.