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Cats crunched for flag as AFL trade week comes to a close

AFTER a trade week that yielded a prized bounty, featuring one of the best players in the game, Geelong has been the one AFL team all the punters want.

With superstar midfielder Patrick Dangerfield shipping home to Moggs Creek, a short trip from Geelong, to be closer to family and to team up with courageous captain Joel Selwood, the Cats possess arguably the best one two centre bounce punch in the game.

Throw in the addition of versatile Carlton key position player Lachie Henderson, talented, if a little forgotten, Gold Coast ruck man Zac Smith and hard nosed run with man Scott Selwood, brother of Joel, and you have a recruiting class the likes of which would be the envy of most other clubs in the competition.

And the punters at sportsbet.com.au have taken notice, flooding the bookie with big bets on the Cats to win the AFL grand final.

The bookie has taken 10 bets on the Cats, who are now $13, for every one bet on triple premiership winner and four peat favourite Hawthorn at $4, since the signings were announced.

The bookie is holding more money on the Cats in the premiership market than the rest of the competition combined, with one brave punter dropping $6,100 on the Cats go all the way, along with several other $1000 plus bets.

“The interest in Geelong to win the 2016 AFL Premiership has been phenomenal, with punters predicting the Cats will be a major force in 2016,” the bookie’s Ben Bulmer said.

“Geelong has been the stand out performer in this year’s trade period securing high end talent which has Sportsbet punters convinced the Cats will be challenging again.”

Dangerfield, who will wear number 35 instead of his traditional 32 when he pulls on the blue and white hoops for the first time, wanted to be closer to his family and it was a childhood dream to play for the Cats.

“I changed my mind so often, then Phil (Walsh) died, and that really threw me out,” he told News Limited.

“I just had a gut feel this was the right thing to do.

“It was a tough one … it really was two pulling emotions.

“I sit here a very happy Geelong player.

“I’m very excited to join the club.

“I grew up standing on a milk crate on the Moorabool Street wing watching guys like (Garry) ‘Buddha’ Hocking and Peter Riccardi.

“I’m certainly glad I have made the decision.

“This allows me to combine the two things I love most, family and football.”

“I have got 100 odd Dangerfields and other relatives around the Geelong and Surf Coast area.

“It will be nice to surf and fish and then cruise into Geelong and play footy so there is a good work-life balance, I think.”

Bulmer reported Sportsbet has taken strong bets on its Dangerfield specials, with punters coming for the star to win the Cats 2016 Best and Fairest at $3.50 and the former Crow to kick a career high 32 or more goals in 2016 at the same quote. The best backed market is Dangerfield to have eight or more 30 plus possessions games in 2016 at a juicy $4.

In other 2016 Premiership betting, the Sydney Swans, who were as low as $6.70 in August, continue to slide ($10 out to $11). Sportsbet is taking just two bets on the Swans for every 100 bets on Geelong, after it did little other than ship out workmanlike midfielder Craig Bird and a couple of draft picks to help get the Essendon deal with St Kilda for Jake Carlisle done.

“Sydney have fallen off the radar with punters suggesting the Swans premiership window has firmly closed shut,” Bulmer said.

Speaking of Carlisle, the trade week was an eventful one for him and for the Saints.

They sent their top pick, number five, to the Bombers in exchange for the wiry key position player and he was subsequently depicted on a television show allegedly sniffing a white powder in a social media video.

The Saints were rope able at the image, but it appears Carlisle’s position at the club is safe, with plans for him to face Nick Reiwoldt and the club’s leadership group when he returns from holiday.

Carlisle, a supremely talented player who was plagued by attitude issues at Essendon last season, was contrite following the release of the footage.

“I have made a very poor decision and let people down and for that I am embarrassed and truly sorry,” Carlisle said in the statement.

“First, I would like to apologise to all St Kilda members, supporters and staff, AFL fans as well as my new team mates.

“The video casts me in a very poor light and reveals clearly inappropriate behaviour which I regret, but am accountable for.

“I want to be up front and say that I made a mistake.”

“I know … when I join St Kilda I’m going to be expected to be open and honest with my new club so want to start by confirming my error of judgment right now.

The other big mover in trade week was Collingwood, nabbing Melbourne high flyer Jeremy Howe, highly rated Brisbane Lion James Aish and Greater Western Sydney’s gun midfielder Adam Treloar.

This may seem relatively minor compared to the Carlisle sage, but Treloar was embroiled in separate controversies when it was firstly revealed he had off season groin surgery without the Giants’ knowledge and then video of the 22 year old of him touting his signing on with the Pies was leaked online – before the deal was signed off.

And what of Carlton, the Blues under new coach Brendan Bolton and power figure Stephen Silvagni had a wholesale clean out, embracing the rebuild.

The Blues will have picks 1, 8, 11 and 19, after shipping out Tom Bell, Troy Menzel, Chris Yarran and Lachie Henderson and welcoming in Sam Kerridge from Adelaide and half of Greater Western Sydney’s side.

Freo took a punt on Gold Coast bad boy Harley Bennell and Sportsbet has also given it’s punters a chance to wager on the talented midfield forward, pricing him at $21 to win the Dockers’ best and fairest.

There’s the little problem of Nat Fyfe, though, and he is $12 to lead the club’s goal kicking.

“If the Dockers can steer Harley Bennell down the right path he will have an immediate and devastating impact and could be the missing piece to Fremantle’s premiership puzzle,” Bulmer said.

Lastly, the Aussies ($1.50) have been installed as favourites for the upcoming International Rules series with Ireland ($2.55) at Croke Park next month.

“Australia, with Alastair Clarkson at the helm, will be a formidable opponent for the Irish, but on a home track and with the round ball the locals are great value at $2.50 and every chance to cause an upset,” Bulmer said.

AFL Premiership market

Hawthorn Hawks ($4.25)

West Coast Eagles ($6)

Fremantle Dockers ($8.50)

Port Adelaide Power ($9)

Geelong Cats ($12)

Sydney Swans ($13)

Richmond Tigers ($15)

North Melbourne Kangaroos ($17)

Western Bulldogs ($17)

Adelaide Crows ($21)

Collingwood Magpies ($23)

Greater Western Sydney Giants ($26)

Gold Coast Suns ($51)

Essendon Bombers ($67)

St Kilda Saints ($151)

Melbourne Demons ($151)

Brisbane Lions ($251)

Carlton Blues ($251)

Odds provided by CrownBet.com.au