Friday, May 6, 7.50pm AEST, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Watch on Seven Network, Fox Footy
Richmond Tigers: 15th
Hawthorn Hawks: Eighth
Richmond Tigers: 1-5
Hawthorn Hawks: 4-2
Last five matches
Richmond Tigers: LLLLL
Hawthorn Hawks: WWWWL
Richmond Tigers: $7.50 with CrownBet.com.au
Hawthorn Hawks: $1.09 with CrownBet.com.au
Line betting odds
Richmond Tigers: +44.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
Hawthorn Hawks: -44.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
THERE is always plenty of feeling in AFL matches between Richmond and Hawthorn, with the Tigers enjoying being somewhat of a bogey side for one of the best teams of all time.
The Hawks were absolutely humbled by a younger, hungrier Greater Western Sydney Giants team on the weekend, while the Tigers made it five losses in a row by falling to an undermanned Port Adelaide on their home deck.
But the Hawks might just be the tonic the Tigers need to turn their season around, with the recent record looking pristine up against the triple premiers.
Despite all their success, the Hawks have tended to struggle against the Tigers in recent times, losing three of the last four clashes between these two sides.
While both teams have struggled to start the season, the Hawks had got out of jail three times in as many weeks before the weekend’s loss.
And they have bright lights in their respective goal squares, with gun forwards the two Jacks, Riewoldt for Richmond and Gunston for Hawthorn, in solid form.
They are the joint favourites at $8 with Sportsbet.com.au to kick the first goal in the game and for good reason.
They are the two men the midfielders look for first when streaming into the forward line and they are the two most talented attackers in the match.
Take Gunston on the weekend.
The Hawks were humbled by 75 points by the Giants, but you couldn’t apportion any of that blame to Gunston, who worked his way up the ground, collecting 15 touches and booting five goals straight.
That haul nearly doubled his goal tally for the season, after four quiet weeks that produced just the three goals.
They will need him to fire and fire early if they are going to hold off the desperate Tigers and their spearhead Reiwoldt.
Jack has been in sterling form, while the Tigers have been far from it, with 16 goals on the season including a three goal, 24 disposal, seven mark tour de force in a losing effort to Melbourne a fortnight ago.
He backed that up with three goals against Port Adelaide and what makes him so dangerous is his accuracy.
If one of those Tigers mids hits him laces out early on in the match, you can just about count your money as he is a dead eye dick from a set shot.
If the big forwards aren’t your cup of tea for first goal scorer purposes, then there are certainly some other solid options to direct your hard earned cash toward.
For the Tigers, Dustin Martin had a welcome return to form against the Power, with 31 disposals. He was the Tigers’ best and, while he only booted the one goal, he will always be dangerous if he can get close to goal. Most of his work is done in the midfield nowadays, though and that is why he is a juicy $18 to kick the first one.
Another guy to consider is the unassuming Shaun Grigg at $34. Embattled Tigers’ coach Damian Hardwick appears to be using the hard working utility in a forward role more often and that ended with him booting two goals on the weekend to go with 32 disposals. He’s never going to kick a bag, but could be worth a tiny drink if he lines up somewhere near the 50.
For the Hawks, it’s hard to go past little Poppy as an alternative to big Gunston. The little master, Paul Puopolo is rated a $14 chance for the first goal and that would have been absolute juice against the Giants after he split the middle with his first kick of the match.
He has gone two, five and two in his past three weeks and is always a danger around the goals with his pace, low centre of gravity and nose for the big sticks.
If you are looking for a Hawks outsider, how about Isaac Smith? The running machine is one of the major culprits in the Hawks’ fall from grace and looks a shell of the player that used to rip games apart with his run and gun. You feel like he is too good to continue his poor form and, if he can get on the hop and get something going, the $26 might represent some value. Maybe he bursts off the wing and slots one on the run from 55?
First goal scorer market
Jack Gunston ($8)
Jack Riewoldt ($8)
Cyril Rioli ($9)
Luke Bruest ($9)
James Sicily ($11)
Tyrone Vickery ($11)
Paul Puopolo ($14)
Sam Lloyd ($15)
Brett Deledio ($16)
Tim O’Brien ($18)
Daniel Rioli ($18)
Dustin Martin ($18)
Ben McEvoy ($21)
Shane Edwards ($21)
Jonathon Ceglar ($23)
Liam Shiels ($26)
Isaac Smith ($26)
Bradley Hill ($26)
Ivan Maric ($31)
Jordan Lewis ($31)
Shaun Grigg ($34)
Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
Match winner: Hawthorn ($1.09 with CrownBet.com.au)
Line betting: Richmond +44.5 ($1.92 with sportsbet.com.au)
Beware the wounded Hawk. Beware the wounded Tiger. The same could be said for both. While Richmond has enjoyed the wood over the Hawks in recent times, you simply can’t back them here. The Hawks have fallen back with the pack and they would absolutely know it. They will be desperate to fire a shot here to signal to the AFL there is still life left in the triple premiers. We expect this one to be tighter than the odds suggest and the Hawks to hold on to win by a couple of goals.
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