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Round 3

Brisbane v Collingwood

The AFL have delivered yet another mouth-watering clash to introduce the Easter weekend as the Lions host the Pies at what will be a packed out Gabba. Who would’ve predicted these sides to be winless going into Round 3?

With redemption on their mind, there’s no doubt that Brisbane had this one circled out as soon as the fixtures came out. Following a devastating loss in last years’ Grand Final to the Pies, the Lions have struggled to pick themselves back up off the canvas. In both their games prior to the bye, they coughed up convincing leads and were unable get over the line. Their woes were compounded even moreso during the week with new recruit Tom Doedee doing his ACL in training when he was due to debut here. Still, there have been enough positives to in both their games this year to suggest they can put pay to Collingwood, especially at home.

The Pies start to the 2024 campaign has been well-documented, and despite trying to fight it off in the media it’s fair to say they are severely hungover. 0-3 and conceding an average of 30 points higher than last season, there are serious problems for the black and white. Coming out of their defensive 50 continues to be a problem and their skills and decisiveness is uncharacteristically clunky. Craig McRae has opted with changes, some forced and some not. Sidebottom will be ‘managed’, while Oleg Markov has been dropped.  They go into this outsiders and understandably so. It will take a swing in form to get up and beat Brisbane at the Gabba, and I don’t think you can get that improvement in a week.

TIP: Collingwood (+15.5)

I think Brisbane will edge it out but the Pies can keep it within a few goals.

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Port Adelaide v Melbourne

Port Adelaide face arguably their first true test of the season as they take on Melbourne at the Oval on Saturday night.

The Power have accounted for West Coast and Richmond in their opening rounds despite some wayward goal-kicking, and you get the sense that once they’re screwed down, the rest of the competition will be on notice. Ken Hinkley has his midfield firing, with stars such as Rozee and Butters in nice touch while the likes of Dixon and Marshall continue to prove a handful down forward. With Steven May and Jake Lever both out through injury, this is an area the Power can really capitalise on and I think will prove the difference.

Admist a week off off-field drama, the Dees have had to prepare for what will be a tough assignment for them in Adelaide. Although bouncing along 2-1 to kick off the campaign, the omissions of Lever and May can’t be understated. They’re more than capable of matching it through the midfield with Oliver, Petracca and Viney all in superb touch, but they’ll now have to bear extra emphasis around winning the clearance battle. All things equal, Dees are the better side and in better form, but the loss of their two generals down back could be detrimental to their chances.

TIP: Power (-13.5)

Power will need to lift, but they get the nod at home.

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Hawthorn v Geelong

Easter Monday action comes from the MCG as two old foes in Hawthorn and Geelong face off once again.

It’s been a tough old slog for Hawthorn fans, who couldn’t be blame for being optimistic heading into Round 1.  But following a defeat to the Bombers there and then a disheartening 55-point loss to the Dees, things are looking a little more ominous. Sam Mitchell took a more controlled and conservative gameplan into last week and boy were they punished. Their skills didn’t stand up and they were battered in clearances, albeit by one of the better clearance sides in the competition. With more ferocity and aggression around the ball, they’ve shown they can match it with the better sides so I expect that’ll be the approach this week. This will mean big games from the likes of Jai Newcombe. If Sam Mitchell is thinking for longer-term outcomes and they go with the same game-style as last week, I can’t see them win.

Geelong on the other hand are rewinding the clock and showing the competition they aren’t here just to make up the numbers. With two impressive wins over St Kilda and Adelaide, the Cats are proving hard to score against, with Tom Stewart standing tallest amongst a resilient and tough defensive group. This week, they face a side who are struggling to score and with that in mind, it’s hard to imagine any other result than a Geelong win.

TIP: Geelong (-18.5)

Can’t trust Hawthorn.

PRICE: $1.90

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