Friday, July 29, 2016, 7.50pm AEST, Simonds Stadium. Watch on Fox Footy, 7
Geelong Cats: Fourth
Western Bulldogs: Seventh
Geelong Cats: 12-5
Western Bulldogs: 12-5
Geelong Cats: 133.2 per cent
Western Bulldogs: 119 per cent
Last five match results:
Geelong Cats: WLLWW
Western Bulldogs: LWWWL
Geelong Cats: $1.30 with CrownBet.com.au
Western Bulldogs: $3.60 with CrownBet.com.au
Geelong Cats: -19.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Western Bulldogs: +19.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
This game has everything.
Two massive milestones.
A smaller milestone.
A wounded Dogs side that has had an emotional week.
A Cats side that might just be cooking at the right time.
And two teams locked on the same amount of points with a top four spot at stake.
The only problem: it’s at Simonds Stadium.
A full strength side would no doubt provide stiff contest, but Geelong rarely ever loses at its home ground and there is no way it is going down to an injury-ravaged Dogs side on a night when club legends Corey Enright and Jimmy Bartel celebrate massive milestones.
Enright becomes the outright leader in games played at Geelong with his 327th match, breaking the record of another club great in Ian Nankervis.
The three-time premiership player who won a pair of best in fairests in those flag years was at his brilliant best against Adelaide on the weekend.
The Cats put three ordinary weeks behind them by putting the Crows to the sword in a 12.13 (85) to 7.13 (55) win.
Enright was the best player on the park, roaming the back half and doing whatever he wanted on his way to 31 possessions.
Like a fine wine, the five time All Australian just gets better with age and it would surprise no one if he were to be named in the AFL’s best 22 again this season.
The South Australian reckons he’s got every little bit out of his body, after coming to the club off a low skill base. The decision now on whether he plays on at the end of each season is left in the 34-year-old’s hands.
“For anyone who saw me when I first came down I wasn’t very good and I didn’t think I was going to hang around too long,” Enright said.
“It took me 18 months to find my feet and settle down.
“I was homesick and I was playing catch-up to the rest of the guys that got drafted – we had seven guys that got drafted that year.
“I was coming from a low base, I suppose, and I had to put in a lot of work.”
An even more beloved Cat in Bartel plays his 300th game against the Dogs.
A Brownlow Medallist, triple premier and Norm Smith Medallist, Bartel has done it all and yet he is still doing it well, claiming 34 possessions against the Crows on Friday night.
He is a juicy $2.88 with sportsbet.com.au to go back to back with 30 or more and we think, after having a week off to freshen up two rounds ago, he should have plenty in the tank to achieve that.
It’s hard to see why anyone would have doubted this man’s ability and resolve.
“I have always had people telling me what I can’t do in football and so I have had to prove a lot of people wrong throughout my career,” Bartel said.
“I sort of enjoyed that. It has always given me a little bit of a chip on my shoulder.
“I feel like I really belong somewhere and I always belong here and I think that is because of the supporters and the fans and all the people you meet.
“You feel like you owe them so much and that is why you put in so much effort every week to try to win because you want to win it for them as well.”
In the Crows game, star Patrick Dangerfield had 36 against his old club, and captain Joel Selwood had 34.
A pair of star forwards dominated the game.
Tom Hawkins ($8.50 to kick the first goal with spoertsbet.com.au) showed he is still relevant in the AFL game with a four goal haul, while Geelong’s new Stevie J, Daniel Menzel ($10 with Sportsbet.com.au) also kicked four goals.
Those two boys are our picks for the Cats’ first goal scorer this week.
They have the ability and form to get the job done.
It was a shocking weekend for the Western Bulldogs.
Three serious injuries to key men compounded a loss to St Kilda, 11.9 (75) to 9.6 (60), which tipped them out of the top four, pushing them all the way down to seventh.
Key defender Dale Morris has done a hamstring, key forward Jack Redpath’s knee injury will put him out for the season and Mitch Wallis’ horrible leg break was one of the worst injuries seen this season.
It leaves the Dogs thin on the ground.
Marcus Bontempelli was a monster against the Saints, collecting 25 disposals with seven marks and booting three goals three in a losing effort.
Lachie Hunter led from the front with 28 disposals to be the Dogs’ highest accumulator against the Saints and we think much of the midfield burden will fall on him against the Cats.
We think the $1.83 for 30 or more possessions is good value – he will have to find plenty of it or they will get blown out of the water.
With Redpath gone, it is now up to the $6 million man Tom Boyd to stand up.
And, while he hasn’t shown much evidence that he actually can be a spearhead, he has the vessel for it and he simply has no choice.
He did not kick a goal against the Saints, but we’re backing the big fella to stand up and have a big game. He $14 to kick the first goal, indicative of how poorly he is going. A big spearhead forward should never be more than $10 or $11 to bag the first.
Player props predictions
Geelong Cats first goal scorer:
Tom Hawkins to kick the first goal ($8.50 with sportsbet.com.au)
Daniel Menzel to kick the first goal ($10 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Western Bulldogs first goal scorer:
Tom Boyd to kick the first goal ($14 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Geelong Cats disposal bet tips:
Jimmy Bartel to have 30 or more disposals ($2.88 with sportsbet.com.au)
Western Bulldogs disposal bet tips:
Lachie Hunter to have 30 or more disposals ($1.83 with sportsbet.com.au)
Match result: Geelong Cats win ($1.30 with CrownBet.com.au)
Line betting: Geelong Cats -19.5 ($1.92 with Sportsbet.com.au)
The Cats are going to win this and win this well. They have so much to play for with their two veterans celebrating milestones and a win would almost solidify a top four spot. The Dogs have not beaten the Cats since Round 21, 2009, they have not won at down at Geelong in almost 13 years. Couple that with the fact they will be sending half a side down the highway and it’s simply bad news all round. Expect the Dogs to play with emotion, but they just don’t have the cattle to go with a Cats side that is just starting to find form at the right time of the season.
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