Mick’s Picks: Round 6 AFL Preview

Mick Malthouse: Round 6 Preview

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

It feels like an eternity ago, but Adelaide really came back from the dead against Sydney after a shocking loss to Collingwood prior to that. I have had reservations on Sydney all year, specifically the over reliance on Lance Franklin, and that came home to hurt them enormously last week, and this week they will be forced to play without him due to injury. The most disappointing side of the weekend was Essendon. They were horrid on the big stage against Collingwood, and they have real personnel issues as I will touch on later in the preview.

Even though we are only a quarter of the way through the season, the ladder is starting to sort itself out and in the final shake up for finals places, every game will count, and this looks like a terrific round with a number of games between teams figured to be in close contention at the end of the year.

Round 6 Tips

(Time AEST)
Mick’s Pick
Western Bulldogs v Carlton (Fri 19:50) Carlton +15.5 ($1.91)
Geelong v Sydney (Sat 13:45) Geelong -16.5 ($1.91)
North Melbourne v Port Adelaide (Sat 16:35) North Melbourne WIN ($2.50)
GWS v Brisbane (Sat 16:35) Brisbane +39.5 ($1.91)
Hawthorn v St. Kilda (Sat 19:25) Hawthorn 1-39 ($2.10)
Adelaide v Gold Coast (Sat 19:40) Gold Coast +46.5 ($1.91)
Essendon v Melbourne (Sun 13:10) Melbourne WIN ($1.80)
Collingwood v Richmond (Sun 15:20) Richmond 1-39 ($2.10)
Fremantle v West Coast (Wed 16:40) West Coast 1-39 ($2.25)

Western Bulldogs v Carlton (Fri 19:50)
These teams have played ten games for one win this season, which is an accurate reflection of how they are going. The Bulldogs looked like they had turned a corner when beating Essendon and getting close to Sydney, but subsequent results make that form look less impressive, and they had their colours lowered by Freo last week. Matthew Kreuzer will miss again for Carlton and he is a vital cog in their team, but with Levi Casboult and Charlie Curnow they can trouble the Dogs defence if they can get it down there often enough. There isn’t much between these teams so the Blues have appeal with the head start.
Mick’s Pick: Carlton +15.5 ($1.91)

Geelong v Sydney (Sat 13:45)
Sydney are under enormous pressure with injuries and lack of form among their key players. With the loss of Lance Franklin and Sam Reid to injury they will need to find another avenue to goal and it is difficult to see who can cover for them. Geelong have been less than brilliant so far this season but on their home deck they get an opportunity to find some form, especially Patrick Dangerfield who is overdue for a big game. I think the Cats should win comfortably.
Mick’s Pick: Geelong -16.5 ($1.91)

North Melbourne v Port Adelaide (Sat 16:35)
I thought before the season that Port were the real deal. What they needed to do was come out and beat sides above them on the ladder, but they have failed to do it so far this season. I also thought that North would struggle, but I have been hugely impressed with them over the last two weeks. Ben Brown is an absolute beauty and their forward line structure is working really well. They have the number one defence in the league having conceded only 64 points per game this season. Port have tended to struggle at this ground, most recently against Essendon in round 4, and given they continue to miss Patrick Ryder, I think North can overcome them, despite the loss of Shaun Huggins.
Mick’s Pick: North Melbourne WIN ($2.50)

GWS v Brisbane (Sat 16:35)
GWS were unlucky not to get the result last week against St. Kilda – on balance they had more of the play. Nonetheless, they don’t win games in the manner that they should if they are going to be regarded as a top club. They need to start destroying teams. Phil Davis is a great leader for them in defence, but the lack leadership in the midfield and the forward line. Dylan Shiel spent six minutes off the ground when the game was in the balance last week due to rotations and that simply isn’t acceptable. Given their patchy form, missing personnel, and so on, it is likely that Brisbane can keep it close given they have been competitive in every match this year except against Richmond.
Mick’s Pick: Brisbane +39.5 ($1.91)

Hawthorn v St. Kilda (Sat 19:25)
The Saints were vastly improved last week when managing a draw with GWS. Hawthorn has really felt the loss of Paul Puopolo and Cyril Rioli, due to the scoring power and especially the defensive pressure they provide. The absence of James Sicily to suspension will hurt. St. Kilda have lost Josh Bruce this week, and even though he hasn’t been in great form it puts a lot of pressure on Paddy McCartin and Tim Membrey to kick a winning score. If St. Kilda can get their running game going and get the ball down quickly, they can trouble the Hawks. But down in Tasmania, Hawthorn should have too much midfield power for them and I expect them to win a close one.
Mick’s Pick: Hawthorn 1-39 ($2.10)

Adelaide v Gold Coast (Sat 19:40)
Adelaide were outstanding last week against Sydney and their ability to shut down the Swans midfield was outstanding. It was a great coaching performance by Don Pyke because he really stopped Sydney from playing the game on their terms. Gold Coast have been brave, but the continued run of games away from home will be very difficult for them. It’s hard to see them winning this but they have shown some really positive signs, particularly in defence, and I think that they can keep the scoreboard respectable.
Mick’s Pick: Gold Coast +46.5 ($1.91)

Essendon v Melbourne
With Essendon, you don’t know what you are going to get from game to game. With Melbourne, you don’t know what you are going to get from quarter to quarter. For the first three quarters against Richmond the Dees did keep it close, but they were blown out in the end by a very good Richmond side. They miss Jack Viney enormously and his return cannot come soon enough. Essendon should be totally embarrassed by their performance yesterday. They were monstered in the contest and without Fantasia and McKenna, they lack speed. There is very little in this but given Melbourne has the slightly longer break, and were competitive for longer parts of their last match than Essendon, I think they should prevail.
Mick’s Pick: Melbourne WIN ($1.80)

Collingwood v Richmond (Sun 15:20)
As touched on before, Melbourne faded out of the game last week but Richmond’s intensity was outstanding. They would have beaten just about anyone on Tuesday night. Collingwood also, was fantastic, I know Adam Treloar won the medal but Brodie Grundy is the catalyst for so much of their play and he was terrific. All of a sudden the Pies have an embarrassment of riches, with the likes of Jamie Elliott, Daniel Wells, Darcy Moore and Taylor Adams available to come back into the side as well. A large part of this game will depend on who recovers best on the short back up, but I am going with Richmond narrowly in what should be a tremendous game.
Mick’s Pick: Richmond 1-39 ($2.10)

Fremantle v West Coast (Wed 16:40)
Both of these teams are vastly improved from last season. The duel between Nic Naitinui and Aaron Sandilands should be a fantastic one and will play a large part in determining the winner. The Eagles this season have been defined by their speed – they have covered the loss of Sam Mitchell and Matt Priddis by changing their game plan and it is working brilliantly so far. Fremantle rely heavily on Nat Fyfe and Michael Walters, and so far they haven’t let them down. I think this one will go down to the wire, but the Eagles should win, narrowly.
Mick’s Pick: West Coast 1-39 ($2.25)

Prices correct as of 3:30PM AEDT, Thursday 26 April.