Mick’s Picks: Round 4 AFL Preview

Mick Malthouse: Round 4 Preview

Mick Malthouse is back on the William Hill team in 2018 and Mick’s Picks will be a weekly article throughout the season.

Round 2 saw a myriad of upsets and it reflects the evenness of the competition. Teams that were expected to progress like St. Kilda and Carlton were terribly disappointing, while North Melbourne and the Gold Coast Suns have been far better than expected. Both those teams came off playing in torrential rain up in Cairns, so to come out on the fast deck at Etihad Stadium and respond like that is a credit to them and their coaching staff.

Round 3 Tips

(Time AEST)
Mick’s Pick
Adelaide v Collingwood (Fri 19:50) Adelaide 1-39 ($2.30)
GWS v Fremantle (Sat 13:45) Fremantle +35.5 ($1.90)
Richmond v Brisbane (Sat 14:10) Brisbane +42.5 ($1.90)
Western Bulldogs v Sydney (Sat 16:35) Sydney 1-39 ($2.05)
North Melbourne v Carlton (Sat 19:25) North -13.5 ($1.90)
West Coast v Gold Coast (Sat 20:10) West Coast 1-39 ($2.15)
Essendon v Port Adelaide (Sun 13:10) Essendon WIN ($2.25)
Hawthorn v Melbourne (Sun 15:20) Melbourne -5.5 ($1.90)
Geelong v St. Kilda (Sun 16:40) Geelong -28.5 ($1.90)

Adelaide v Collingwood (Fri 19:50)
Adelaide still has depth issues in the midfield with the Crouch brothers missing, but they are fortunate that Bryce Gibbs has clicked straight away in that side and their tall players are really playing well. Collingwood had a good win against Carlton last week, and they have a strength in the area that Adelaide is weak – midfield depth. I think their midfield is still underperforming, but they have real talent there and Brodie Grundy is in superb form. The line in this one is 31.5 but given Collingwood do scrap and hang in games I can see them keeping it competitive.
Mick’s Pick: Adelaide 1-39 ($2.30)

GWS v Fremantle (Sat 13:45)
Fremantle have been very impressive winning their last two matches and they have got a number of their key players in good form, like Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters. GWS have been a little up and down and still have an extensive injury list. Nonetheless at home they should be too good, but given the relative condition of the two sides I expect Fremantle to hang in the game, especially as Aaron Sandilands will have things his own way in the ruck.
Mick’s Pick: Fremantle +35.5 ($1.90)

Richmond v Brisbane (Sat 14:10)
Brisbane was superb last week – they were huge outsiders but in many respects deserved to beat the league leaders last week, and that was without captain Dayne Beams who should return this round. Richmond has been up and down so far this season, and it will be a question of which Richmond turns up. A number of their key contributors from last season haven’t quite hit their best form, and I’m not sold that they are quite as hungry as last year. Given the huge line here Brisbane have considerable appeal with the seven goal head start.
Mick’s Pick: Brisbane +42.5 ($1.90)

Western Bulldogs v Sydney (Sat 16:35)
The Bulldogs bounced back hard last week against Essendon, albeit Essendon’s lack of pressure allowed the Dogs to start fast and build confidence early. They shouldn’t have things their own way this week against the Swans who are a great pressure team. The Swans have some issues of their own though, they will miss Sam Reid and some of their big guns have been inconsistent so far. The Dogs will need to have a plan to cover Buddy Franklin – with their key defenders injured, he could have another big game. If they can stop him, that goes a long way towards beating Sydney as they are heavily reliant on Franklin scoring and setting up play.
Mick’s Pick: Sydney 1-39 ($2.05)

North Melbourne v Carlton (Sat 19:25)
Carlton have been very disappointing this year. To have ten goals in a row scored against them shows that something is seriously wrong. Robbie Tarrant is under an injury cloud and he will be key to the game – North’s backline can be exposed if he doesn’t play. I think the ground will be a big factor here. The wind usually favours one side strongly down in Hobart, but North are used to that and that will be a big advantage for them. I think they can win fairly comfortably, with Ben Brown and Jarrad Waite leading the way.
Mick’s Pick: North -13.5 ($1.90)

West Coast v Gold Coast (Sat 20:10)
As covered off in the introduction, West Coast have been fantastic this season, albeit they will be disappointed that they let Geelong back into the game last week. Gold Coast have chosen to stay in Perth last week after their loss to Fremantle, but they need to be very careful they don’t get into holiday mode. I expect the Eagles to be too strong for them either way, but the Suns best form is good enough to keep it competitive.
Mick’s Pick: West Coast 1-39 ($2.15)

Essendon v Port Adelaide (Sun 13:10)
Essendon were horrid last week and they have heard all about it with the blowtorch being applied to them. Port Adelaide on the other hand were lucky to sneak home against Brisbane, and the loss of Sam Powell-Pepper to club imposed suspension won’t help. The Bombers should come out fired up this week and they will gain some confidence from their dominant win over Port at this ground last year. At home, I am giving the edge to Essendon, narrowly.
Mick’s Pick: Essendon WIN ($2.25)

Hawthorn v Melbourne (Sun 15:20)
If Melbourne produces four quarters of good Melbourne football, they should win. But the problem with Melbourne, is time and time again they lose matches they ‘should’ win. They no doubt miss Tom McDonald and Jack Viney, but they are talented and have tremendous scoring power. It will be interesting to see if they send a tagger to Tom Mitchell – I believe they should, and Bernie Vince could be the man for the role. The Hawks forward line is functioning far better than last year and if they get enough supply, they can definitely win. But I think the Dees can put together four solid quarters and beat them.
Mick’s Pick: Melbourne -5.5 ($1.90)

Geelong v St. Kilda (Sun 16:40)
The Saints have been very poor this season and there is not much reason to think they will get better. Their forward line is a huge problem. Tim Membrey is out, Paddy McCartin is out of form and Josh Bruce is quite frankly lazy. It is hard to see how that will improve, even with Geelong’s questionable backline. Geelong will miss Cameron Guthrie and Nakia Cockatoo but I don’t think the loss of Gary Ablett will trouble them much, and the addition of Mitch Duncan will make them much better. Down at Kardinia Park the Cats should win this one by a decent margin.
Mick’s Pick: Geelong -28.5 ($1.90)

Prices correct as of 1:00PM AEDT, Thursday 12 April.