Mick’s Picks: Round 9 AFL Preview

Mick Malthouse: Round 9 Preview

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

Injuries have been a defining feature of the 2018 season. GWS find themselves out of the Top 8 with many of their best players not being able to get on the park and it is a hard road to get back to where they think they should be. As I have said before, the Giants need to have a long look at what is contributing to their injury rate. Other teams to be significantly affected include Adelaide, Collingwood and Sydney. If you want to see just how vital one player can be to the structure and balance of a team, just look at the impact Tom McDonald has made since coming back into the Melbourne side.  They are a vastly different team with him playing deep – they are far more confident to kick the ball long and direct knowing that even if he doesn’t mark the ball, he will create a contest.

Round 9 Tips

(Time AEST)
Mick’s Pick
Adelaide v Western Bulldogs (Fri 19:50) Adelaide -27.5 ($1.91)
North Melbourne v GWS (Sat 13:45) North -6.5 ($1.91)
Gold Coast v Port Adelaide (Sat 15:15) Gold Coast +41.5 ($1.91)
Essendon v Geelong (Sat 16:35) Essendon +29.5 ($1.91)
St. Kilda v Collingwood (Sat 19:25) Collingwood -20.5 ($1.91)
Sydney v Fremantle (Sat 19:25) Fremantle +27.5 ($1.91)
Carlton v Melbourne (Sun 13:10) Melbourne 1-39 ($2.25)
Brisbane v Hawthorn (Sun 15:20) Hawthorn -16.5 ($1.91)
West Coast v Richmond (Sun 16:40) Richmond WIN ($1.82)

Adelaide v Western Bulldogs (Fri 19:50)
Adelaide will be smarting from last week as they faded out badly and lost the game in the last minute. There tends to be a lot of dew on the ground on Adelaide Oval at night which is something the Crows are used to, but the Bulldogs – whose best form has been under the roof at Etihad – will likely not be suited by. Adelaide will miss Taylor Walker, but they have proven this season they have good depth and plenty of scoring options. The Dogs are in reasonable nick but on their home ground, where their smallest winning margin against an interstate side this year has been six goals, the Crows should be too strong for them.
Mick’s Pick: Adelaide -27.5 ($1.91)

North Melbourne v GWS (Sat 13:45)
The Giants’ injury list continues to lengthen and the loss of Matt de Boer, one of their harder players, and Phil Davis won’t help against a North forward line that is one of the most potent in the competition. North are very good in Hobart and know how to play the ground which is a distinct advantage as a strong breeze means one end of the ground is far easier to score at. North have great belief at the moment, and with the Giants battling a combination of form and injury worries I think they will win.
Mick’s Pick: North -6.5 ($1.91)

Gold Coast v Port Adelaide (Sat 15:15)
This game is being played in China which might throw some randomness into the outcome. I like what Stuart Dew has done with the Gold Coast side but they are getting smashed by the schedule which sees them travelling yet again this week. Port on the other hand will be coming off a real high with their come from behind Showdown win against Adelaide. The line in this game seems to be a bit big for mine and I think Gold Coast can keep it reasonably competitive.
Mick’s Pick: Gold Coast +41.5 ($1.91)

Essendon v Geelong (Sat 16:35)
I keep waiting for Essendon to show some fight but they have been insipid ever since ANZAC Day. Last year they showed tremendous speed all over the ground but they seem to have lost it. They are plagued by indecision and timidity.  Geelong last week were solid defensively but they were a bit lost offensively without Daniel Menzel and him missing again is a concern. I think this week the Bombers have to show something so with an almost five goal head start they look the way to go.
Mick’s Pick: Essendon +29.5 ($1.91)

St. Kilda v Collingwood (Sat 19:25)
Six weeks ago I asked where the Saints goals were going to come from and they have got nowhere near providing an answer. Their struggles with accuracy have been well documented but it goes beyond that to lack of basic talent. The Pies struggled against Geelong last week but they had scoring troubles of their own. The return of Scott Pendlebury should allow them to rotate him, Adam Treloar and Steele Sidebottom through the forward line and that has proven effective so far this year. I expect the Pies to do it comfortably.
Mick’s Pick: Collingwood -20.5 ($1.91)

Sydney v Fremantle (Sat 19:25)
Sydney are an enigma. They keep losing games at home but on the road they are performing some amazing feats. Fremantle aren’t a bad side – they have Nat Fyfe and Aaron Sandilands in good form and Michael Walters should come back this week, and he is a difference maker. Sydney can’t rely on Ben Ronke to kick 7 goals again but overall, they have done a good job of covering for the absence of Lance Franklin. Freo should get a big advantage in the ruck through Sandilands so given that I can see them keeping it close.
Mick’s Pick: Fremantle +27.5 ($1.91)

Carlton v Melbourne (Sun 13:10)
Carlton broke through for their first win last week and did it with good, honest, tough football. In present form however, the Dees will present a far greater challenge than did Essendon. I have been critical of the Demons for losing concentration in their games but over the last two weeks they have produced four quarter efforts and won easily. Their worst efforts are now a lot closer to their standard. As mentioned in the introduction, Tom McDonald makes an enormous difference to their side. The Demons have a big opportunity to consolidate themselves in the 8 – as long as they don’t get carried away with their own importance.
Mick’s Pick: Melbourne 1-39 ($2.25)

Brisbane v Hawthorn (Sun 15:20)
This is a must win game for Hawthorn as they are in the thick of the finals race. Brisbane are winless, but they have gone close at home against Collingwood and Gold Coast, and have been solid on the road at times, particularly last week against the Dogs and at Adelaide Oval against Port. So make no mistake, this is a danger game, especially if Eric Hipwood, who is really starting to come into his own, gets off the leash against James Frawley who looks slow and down on confidence. The Hawks have been very consistent this year and I think if they can reproduce their effort of recent weeks they should be able to get the job done.
Mick’s Pick: Hawthorn -16.5 ($1.91)

West Coast v Richmond (Sun 16:40)
The game of the round sees first v second clash and the game will largely be determined by whether Toby Nankervis plays or not. If he doesn’t Nic Naitinui and Scott Lycett will dominate and the Eagles should win. However, if he plays, and Richmond bring their intense pressure game, West Coast might get a bit of a shock because some of their young players won’t be used to that kind of intensity. In the end, I think the Tigers should win but selection will be pivotal.
Mick’s Pick: Richmond WIN ($1.82)

All prices correct as of 4:00pm, Thursday 17 May.