Friday, June 3 from 7.50pm at Blundstone Arena, Tasmania
North Melbourne Kangaroos: First
Richmond Tigers: 14th
North Melbourne Kangaroos: 9-1
Richmond Tigers: 4-6
Last five match results:
North Melbourne Kangaroos: WWWWL
Richmond Tigers: LLWWW
Head-to-head match odds:
North Melbourne Kangaroos: $1.45 with CrownBet.com.au
Richmond Tigers: $2.75 with CrownBet.com.au
North Melbourne Kangaroos: -14.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Richmond Tigers: +14.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
FINALLY, North Melbourne has been beaten in the AFL and, all of a sudden, the Kangaroos look vulnerable under the bright Friday night lights against a rejuvenated Richmond.
The Roos’ nine match winning streak was stopped in its tracks by a rampant Sydney last Friday night.
And, after starting the season with just one win from their first seven, the Tigers have hit a rich vein of form, claiming three games on the trot.
One man who has had a big say in that winning streak is the tattooed beast, Dustin Martin.
The midfield hard nut has hit a purple patch, claiming 28, 30 and then a massive 38 in a best on ground performance against the Bombers on the weekend.
Martin was criticised early on in the season as he struggled to get going, but he has finally hit his straps and the Tigers tend to go as he goes.
It is hard to believe that the Tigers’ dynamo is just 24 years of age and it makes you think that he could one day be the best midfielder in the AFL.
Coach Damian Hardwick is delighted at the form of his young gun and so should punters be, especially if he can continue to snare serious numbers.
“We know it would come, and we’re really pleased that it’s come to the fore at the moment, because he’s playing some outstanding footy,” Hardwick said.
“He had a couple of quiet ones early in the piece, but the last four weeks have been fantastic. When we needed him to stand up when captain Trent Cotchin was out, he did that, which is a sign of his maturity level as a player.
“He’s been a pretty good player for a period of time, even when he first came in, but the good thing about Dustin is he’s always improving.
“Every year, he’s added something to his game and that’s the quality of player that he is. We expect that to continue.”
Martin is $1.89 to gather 30 or more disposals for the third week in a row and we reckon that’s good value – especially considering he had 30 against them in round six last year. We will sign ignore his back to back 21 disposal efforts in round 23 and then the elimination final last year.
Martin has started to stand up and what better test than against the top of the ladder Kangaroos?
If you think he has even more in him, he is $4.50 to get 35 or more touches.
Big Dusty has kicked more goals against the Kangaroos than he has against any other side, so, despite his move to the midfield, a sneaky punt on him to bag the first on Friday night at the juicy odds of $23.
If Martin is one of the form players in the game at the moment, the flip side is Kangaroos’ legend Brent Harvey.
The ageing superstar tore through Essendon three weeks ago with 31 possessions, but his last two have been lacklustre. He had on ok effort against Carlton with 21 to go with two goals, but he was one of many who lowered their colours against Sydney on the weekend.
Just 13 disposals, his worst return since, well, since his 10 disposal stinker against Richmond last year.
But he won’t be thinking about that effort. His mind will drift back to the 31 disposal two goal tor de force that helped the Roos get over the line in last year’s elimination final against the Tigers.
He has only averaged 21 across his career against the Tigers, but the $1.35 about him to have 20 or more touches appears better than bank interest. If you think he will bounce back, the $3.10 for him to get 25 or more has some merit.
Harvey continues to defy father time in his pursuit of the games record and, with 419 games up his sleeve, his form is good enough for him to easily surpass the great Michael Tuck, on 426.
“It is getting closer. I think you think about it a little bit because of all the interviews you do and people are talking about it,’’ Harvey said.
“But there is a lot of water to go under the bridge before then.
“Hopefully we can keep winning and that just keep the place alight for now.’’
Whichever one of these two champions fires best will go a long way to leading their team home.
Match predictions and player props tips
Dustin Martin 30 or more possessions: $1.89
Brent Harvey 20 or more possessions: $1.35
Dustin Martin first goal scorer: $23
Match result: North Melbourne Kangaroos to win ($1.45 with Sportsbet.com.au)
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