North Melbourne Kangaroos: First
Western Bulldogs: Second
North Melbourne Kangaroos: 5-0
Western Bulldogs: 4-1
Last five match results
North Melbourne Kangaroos: WWWWW
Western Bulldogs: WWLWW
North Melbourne Kangaroos: $1.77 with CrownBet.com.au
Western Bulldogs: $2.05 with CrownBet.com.au
Line betting odds
North Melbourne Kangaroos: -3.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Western Bulldogs: +3.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
WHAT a brilliant start to the AFL season North Melbourne key forward Jarrad Waite is enjoying.
The often maligned former Carlton spearhead already has 18 goals from his first five matches in a side that has yet to lose in 2016.
He is smashing the scoreboard with a bag of five and two bags of four, coupled with disposal counts in the high teens and early 20s.
His five goal, 23 disposal effort against the Lions was impressive, but he has ripped down 19 marks in the past two weeks.
Defenders can’t handle him and, at $9 to kick the first goal, he is the equal favourite with Dog Jake Stringer, but looks a very good chance to open to Kangaroos’ account on Friday night.
But Stringer simply loves the night lights of Etihad Stadium and his early season form has been almost as impressive as his Kangaroos counterpart.
The Package has become one of the most exciting players in the game and boasts 11 goals from his first five games, with a five goal effort in round one in the rout of Fremantle a highlight. He was a bit quieter in the next three games, but bounced back with a three goal, 17 disposal effort against Brisbane on the weekend and will be hungry for more.
His shrugging of two Lions and then snapping across the body from about 45 may just be goal of the season.
He is more than capable of bagging the first one in this game.
He’ll have some competition though, and it might come from an unlikely source.
Widely accepted as the best ruckman in the game – although Melbourne’s Max Gawn is making a case – Todd Goldstein is North Melbourne’s most important player.
And it looks like he might have added yet another string to his already brilliant game – goal kicking.
The towering star has booted nine goals to start the season, including a sensational bag of five against Gawn and the Demons in round three. Considering his best output for an entire season is 13 and he only kicked 10 goals from his 24 games in 2015, he has now become a dangerous option up front for the Kangaroos. There is a reason, though, that he is at the odds of $18 with sportsbet.com.au. He starts in the guts and, if he knocks one down to a midfielder and they hit the likes of Waite or Drew Petrie laces out, your bet is going to be over real quick.
For the Doggies, you could throw up any old name and they’d be a chance. They are a bit like Hawthorn in that they have about 15 midfielders who rotate through the guts and up forward.
Who will start where is any one’s guess, but we like their ball magnet Lachie Hunter, who has only kicked two goals all season, but managed to exceed 31 disposals in every game but one. A bloke that finds it that often always gives himself a chance to get goal ward and we like him at odds as a smokey.
First goal scorer predictions
Back them in: Jarrad Waite ($9 with sportsbet.com.au)
Worth a look: Todd Goldstein ($18 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Back them in: Jake Stringer ($9 with sportsbet.com.au)
Worth a look: Lachie Hunter ($21 with Sportsbet.com.au)
First goal scorer market
Jarrad Waite ($9)
Jake Stringer ($9)
Ben Brown ($11)
Tory Dickson ($12)
Drew Petrie ($12)
Lindsay Thomas ($13)
Marcus Bontempelli ($13)
Brent Harvey ($15)
Caleb Daniel ($15)
Luke Dahlhaus ($16)
Tom Campbell ($17)
Todd Goldstein ($18)
Lachie Hunter ($21)
Shane Biggs ($21)
Liam Picken ($21)
Shaun Higgins ($23)
Toby McLean ($23)
Mitch Wallis ($26)
Jack Ziebell ($26)
Lin Jong ($26)
Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
Match winner: North Melbourne to win ($1.77 with CrownBet.com.au)
Line: North Melbourne -3.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
Sneaky tip: North Melbourne by 40 plus ($5.40 with Sportsbet.com.au)
We’d love to pick the Dogs here, but the poor puppies have been blighted by injuries. The Dogs haven’t played a Friday night game for four years, so there is added pressure there on footy’s biggest regular season stage. With captain Bob Murphy, Jason Johannisen and now Matthew Suckling all out, the Dogs backline has been decimated. And that’s not good news against the most potent attack in the AFL. You could argue that the only team of note either side has beaten is the Crows, when North won in round one, and perhaps this is a bit of a false top of the table clash, but you can only beat what is put in front of you and we think that bodes well for a North win here. Look for the old firm of Daniel Wells, Boomer Harvey and Drew Petrie to run rampant in a big win – perhaps by 10 goals against the spirited, but undermanned Dogs.
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