Mick’s Picks: Round 8 AFL Preview

Mick Malthouse: Round 8 Preview

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

The big surprise from last week was Sydney getting up down at Geelong despite the absence of several key players. They didn’t have Lance Franklin, but this may have ended up benefiting them as they were forced to spread the load. If they continue to rely too heavily on Franklin they will be in for a disappointing finals campaign, not because he isn’t good enough but because they put all their eggs in the one basket and the good teams will be able to stop them. The Swans come up against the real disappointment of last round, North Melbourne, who didn’t give a yelp against Port Adelaide. Collingwood continues to improve and they were right in the game for three quarters of it, even though the final result was a blowout. Coming off the shorter break from ANZAC Day may have contributed to that as well as Essendon were similarly taken apart in the second half by Melbourne.

Round 8 Tips

(Time AEST)
Mick’s Pick
Hawthorn v Sydney (Fri 19:50) Hawthorn WIN ($1.82)
GWS v West Coast (Sat 13:45) GWS 1-39 ($2.20)
Carlton v Essendon (Sat 14:10) Essendon 1-39 ($2.15)
Gold Coast v Melbourne (Sat 16:35) Melbourne -22.5 ($1.91)
Port Adelaide v Adelaide (Sat 17:10) Adelaide -10.5 ($1.91)
Western Bulldogs v Brisbane (Sat 19:25) Bulldogs 1-39 ($2.10)
Fremantle v St. Kilda (Sat 20:10) Fremantle 1-39 ($2.10)
North Melbourne v Richmond (Sun 13:10) Richmond -25.5 ($1.91)
Collingwood v Geelong (Sun 15:20) Collingwood WIN ($2.50)

Hawthorn v Sydney (Fri 19:50)
This should be an absolute classic. The Hawks are in pretty good nick. Luke Breust and Jack Gunston have been in ripping form, while Jarryd Roughead has been improving as well. Nevertheless, they continue to miss Paul Puopolo and Cyril Rioli. I don’t think Sydney are quite the side they were. The continued absence of Lance Franklin will hurt, but two weeks ago against Geelong they showed they can win without him.  I am going with the Hawks on this occasion as I think they play the MCG very well and match up well against the Swans.
Mick’s Pick: Hawthorn WIN ($1.82)

GWS v West Coast (Sat 13:45)
I was up there for the final these teams played last year and the Giants gave the Eagles a hiding – but the Eagles are a new team this year, and GWS are a shadow of that side. Nonetheless the Eagles have a real challenge on their hands with Nic Naitinui’s suspension and the absence of Luke Shuey. The Giants were uncompetitive last week, and I was amazed at some of the inept attack on the ball by their senior players, like Ryan Griffen, who was exposed for lack of intensity. The return of Jeremy Cameron should help the Giants and they will be motivated to respond after their shocker last week. I think that motivation, combined with the Eagles being due for a flat game with a couple of key players missing, can see the Giants over the line narrowly here.
Mick’s Pick: GWS 1-39 ($2.20)

Carlton v Essendon (Sat 14:10)
Two very disappointing sides, for different reasons, clash here. On manpower alone, Essendon should be too good for Carlton. If you look at the talent across the park they are a superior team. I expect Carlton to keep coming at them, and if Essendon fade out of this game like they have of so many others they could be in trouble. Nonetheless in a close one the Bombers should prevail.
Mick’s Pick: Essendon 1-39 ($2.15)

Gold Coast v Melbourne (Sat 16:35)
Melbourne were quite impressive last week, in just about the first game all year they have put together four good quarters of football. Tom McDonald makes a massive difference to that side, having him in there frees up Jesse Hogan to go up the ground and win the ball, while still having a target to kick to once he takes possession. Gold Coast have been brave and are a vastly improved side this year despite what their record says, but they are undermanned and look tired. The Demons have everything to play for and should be able to win comfortably.
Mick’s Pick: Melbourne -22.5 ($1.91)

Port Adelaide v Adelaide (Sat 17:10)
These two always have a red hot crack at each other no matter where they sit on the ladder. Adelaide are not as dominant as they were last year, but they are far more calculated. I think Port Adelaide have been disappointing. I expected them to challenge for the Top 4 on the back of some good recruiting but they haven’t been able to find any consistency. Getting some match practice into Patrick Ryder should help, but they are still too reliant on him, Robbie Gray and Chad Wingard to win games off their own boot. Port can also be exposed with their small backline, and Adelaide’s power forwards like Taylor Walker and Josh Jenkins can get hold of them. I’m expecting the Crows to win fairly comfortably.
Mick’s Pick: Adelaide -10.5 ($1.91)

Western Bulldogs v Brisbane (Sat 19:25)
Brisbane were game last week against Collingwood but their problem is they can’t finish sides off. They get into winning positions but don’t close games out. Brisbane are good at winning the ball out of the centre, but if they don’t score when they get the ball inside 50, too often they let the other side take the ball down the other end uncontested and score against them. The Bulldogs are playing okay football, not great football, but at home should be able to get over the line.
Mick’s Pick: Bulldogs 1-39 ($2.10)

Fremantle v St. Kilda (Sat 20:10)
I watched the Saints play last week and they are rudderless. They don’t have any forwards capable of kicking a bag of goals, and save for Jack Steven they lack class and leadership in the middle of the ground. They are feeling the absence of Nick Riewoldt even more than expected. Fremantle play very well at Optus Stadium, and even though they will miss Michael Walters still, Aaron Sandilands should dominate the ruck and Nat Fyfe is in ripping form. The Dockers got whacked by the best team in the competition last week but they should bounce back here.
Mick’s Pick: Fremantle 1-39 ($2.10)

North Melbourne v Richmond (Sun 13:10)
Richmond is the best team in the comp and they are seemingly better than last year which is a scary prospect for the rest of the league. North are vastly improved from last year and they will welcome back Jarrad Waite this week, although they will need to find a balance between offence and defence in their forward line with him, Ben Brown and Mason Wood who was outstanding last week. North will keep cracking in but the Tigers are a well-oiled machine and I expect them to win comfortably.
Mick’s Pick: Richmond -25.5 ($1.91)

Collingwood v Geelong (Sun 15:20)
The odds have Geelong comfortable favourites here but Tom Hawkins is a big loss, and with Daniel Menzel missing as well the Cats will have a big job ahead of them to kick a winning score. Collingwood has had good success against Geelong in recent years by winning centre clearances and not allowing the Cats first use of the ball. The Pies will miss Scott Pendlebury if he doesn’t play but Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood are a long way from their best form. It should be a tight game but I expect Collingwood to prevail as their superior midfield depth should overwhelm the Cats even without Pendlebury.
Mick’s Pick: Collingwood WIN ($2.50)

All prices correct as of 1:00pm, Thursday 10 May.