NRL – Grand Final – Preview & Betting Advice NRL ...

 

Grand Final Preview NRL 2012 
BULLDOGS v STORM

Homebush  5.15pm Sunday

Opening Pricing and Lines – Bulldogs $1.90 > $2.10 line + 2.5 / Storm $2.00 > $1.75 -2.5

Any market moves: There has been a significant move for the Storm since the markets first opened last weekend with them heavily supported from $2.00 in all week to $1.75 and the market position roles reversed. Should Hawthorn win the AFL GF on Saturday you can then expect the Storm to firm even further on the weight of longer term doubles. If you are looking to play the line dependent on who you wish to play it ranges from 1.5 to 2.5.

And so now the big dance has arrived!

A few facts and figures –

Bulldogs

–          Won their last 10 straight at the ground

–          Won 14 of their last 15 games

–          Won 7 of 8 this season when playing with a plus points start

Storm

–          Won 7 of their last 8 at the ground

–          Won their last 7 straight

–          Won 14 of 24 this season when conceding a minus points start

 

–          Storm have won 9 of the last 12 H2H contests

–          None of their last 6 H2H match ups between these two sides have been at Homebush

–          13 of the last 19 grand final winners have been out ofSydneysides

–          Hasler and Bellamy coached sides have played in 5 of the last 7 grand finals

–          4 of the last 5 GF’s have resulted in a 13+ margin result

–          7 of the last 9 GF winners have lead at half time

Both sides are line ball in attack and defence, the Bulldogs A 23.6 and D 15.3, the Storm A 24.1 and D 15.0.

Both sides should appear as named with no obvious or critical last minute injury issues.

An intriguing matchup with two sides who play very different patterns of attack play. Both sides have come through similar approaches to reach the GF, the Bulldogs through the Eagles then a commanding result over the Rabbits, the Storm a similar result over the Rabbits and then a comfortable enough touch up over the Eagles.

The Bulldogs have a clever mix of play. While not playing the traditional yardage and go forward game style they do have 3 big up front forwards who can carve particular plays as required. Their pet options are while going forward play after play to be pushing sideways across the park with the options of either quick tip on passing plays to the outer edge or quick return passing plays back at where they have come. With the options of Reynolds, Keating and Barba able to link in they have the speed and skill to catch defensive lines short or on the back foot. Alternatively they can crack your line off one of their big men, or in the final 30 metre attack zone look to play variations of their run around and or decoy plays. Although they play with a lot of speed and passing plays they are very well structured and drilled. Barba is the key to the Bulldogs attack, he is a game change, his freakish touches and speed can turn a game on its head in a matter of minutes.

Defensively the Bulldogs right edge has been exposed on a number of occasions, with each Reynolds,Jacksonand Inu being found out. The Storm like to favour their left edge in attack so we’ll see plenty of play targeted down this side. Their big forwards are also susceptible to being worked over (work rate) and run around, then targeted with clever dummy half play in and behind them. I’m sure the Storm will look to use Smith, Slater, Cronk and Widdop with various plays through these channels.

The Storm have looked their structured and disciplined best through recent weeks. All the hallmarks of Bellamy’s game plans are there, high completions (near 82% and 88% their last two games, near faultless), quality long kicking and field position, accurate short options (7 drop outs / repeat sets through their last two games) and a significantly improved defensive effort.  They grind their opponents down with pressure and field position, and more often than not can weather the storm if and when it’s thrown at them.

They have had their moments when taken on physically through the middle, but interestingly here the consistent roll through the middle and work them over approach is not so much how the Bulldogs like to play. Like most they can get caught defensively against the up tempo play and clever ball shits to the edges, notably they have also had some problems on their left defensive outside edge which I’m sure Reynolds and Inu will look to play at.

The kicking tactics and general game of either side will have critical influence on this game. Both sides have brilliant fullbacks with outstanding kick return speed and skill so where and how the ball is placed (field position, on the ground or in the air) will be key. Following the injury to Reynolds last week the next 4 kicks from the Rabbits went to Barba on the full (as opposed to on the ground away from him or in a corner) allowing him reception on the run and additional time to play or set up their play. Keating also made a number of key error s with his kicking game execution last week which were not necessarily capitalised on, a repeat of such errors and the Storm won’t be as kind.

The Bulldogs have had an outstanding year and can win but I have the Storm marked on top for a number of reasons. I think their experience is a significant factor, especially at 9, 7, 6 and 1. I have quoted it before but rarely if ever is a premiership won by a side not led by a representative 7 or 6, the Storm have both on top of which all 4 key position players are current internationals. Kicking game and field position, I think Smith and Cronk have a decided advantage and if the Storm are playing off the back of their low error game then they’ll be spending a lot of game time playing the Bulldogs at their end of the park. Ruck play; Smith is arguably one of the best in today’s game, I’m sure we’ll see plenty of his skill and guile either out of dummy half and or linking with the other 3 to advantage.

Lastly I think the Storm are driven by a deep if not unique hunger. Regardless of what ever spin they have attempted to put on it through the last 18 months Bellamy, Smith, Cronk, Slater and co have endured much (of their own making) to get to this day, from stripped titles to rebuilding their player list to climbing step by step back to title contention. On the back of all of that they faltered in the preliminary final last year where the hurt and anguish was very obvious. I have no knock for the Bulldogs, and they can certainly win, but I think the Storm have an edge in a number of key game areas but in particular in the attitude, drive and hunger stakes.

Storm

Last Word : Tipping the Storm’s clinical, disciplined approach to set the foundation,  also think they have an edge in a few areas and when it maters might well be driven by a unique fire in their belly.

Betting Interest : No need to get to clever, Storm at the line -2.5 and then play a few exotic options of your choice (try scorers, man of the match, etc).

 

Betting Interests

The Storm were nominated here back on the 1st of Feb as our anchor bet for the season at $9 for the title. For those who followed I’d suggest you might save a little on the Bulldogs to cover your outlay and let the rest roll. For anyone looking for additional betting interests I’ve listed the following options.

Anchor Bet – Storm line -1.5 $1.91

Chance your arm – Storm Tri bet Over 6.5 $2.75

But I bleed Blue – Bulldogs H2H $2.10 or Margin 1-12 $3.20

Man Of The Match – Back three players, Cameron Smith $8, Ryan Hoffman $13, James Graham $13

First Try Scorer / Last Try Scorer –  A Winger, Centre of Fullback has been FTS in 7 of last 9 GF’s & LTS in 6 of last 9. Based on that Morris, Barba or Wright for the Bulldogs and or O’Neill, Chambers or Waqa for the Storm.

 

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©Copyright Reading The Play All care taken. No responsibility accepted. Please check all information at your own discretion. Any prices quoted for suggested bets are accurate at the time of writing. For personal use ONLY. This information may not be reproduced in any way whatsoever or re-used for any purpose whatsoever without the prior written permission of Reading The Play.

AFL – Grand Final – Preview & Betting Advice AFL ...

Grand Final Preview AFL 2012 
HAWTHORN v SYDNEY

 

H

2012 ATS DATA

S

17

7

ATS TOTAL

16

8

15

7

ATS FAVE

12

4

1

0

ATS DOG

4

3

9

6

ATS MCG

0

1

8

5

ATS HOME GAMES

8

4

8

5

ATS HOME FAVE

8

3

0

0

ATS HOME DOG

0

1

9

2

ATS AWAY GAMES

8

4

7

2

ATS AWAY FAVE

4

1

3

2

ATS AWAY DOG

3

2

2

3

ATS LAST 5

3

2

 

2012 AVERAGES

Hawthorn

Sydney

121.3

FOR

102.8

80.1

AGAINST

72.6

201.4

TOTAL

175.4

GAMES AT MCG

122.5

FOR

62.0

84.6

AGAINST

91.0

207.1

TOTAL

153.0

(MCG)

AWAY FROM HOME

(SCG)

119.2

FOR

100.2

72.6

AGAINST

72.9

191.8

TOTAL

173.1

LAST 5 GAMES

111.6

FOR

101.4

83.8

AGAINST

82.2

195.4

TOTAL

183.6

 

RECENT HEAD TO HEAD AND ATS HISTORY

R22 27/8/2012 SCG Sydney 95 lt 102 Hawthorn (-2.5)
R5 9/04/2012 Aurora Hawthorn 69 lt 106 Sydney (+19.5)
SF 16/09/2011 MCG Hawthorn (-36.5) 122 d 86 Sydney
R9 22/05/2011 SCG Sydney 60 lt 106 Hawthorn (+3.5)
R19 7/08/2010 SCG Sydney (+5.5) 129 d 85 Hawthorn
R10 30/05/2010 MCG Hawthorn 79 d 77 Sydney (+21.5)
R11 7/06/2009 MCG Hawthorn 86 d 75 Sydney (+15.5)
R22 4/04/2009 ANZ Sydney (+16.5) 143 d 105 Hawthorn
R15 13/07/2008 MCG Hawthorn (-16.5) 106 d 75 Sydney
R22 2/09/2007 SCG Sydney (+11.5) 141 d 69 Hawthorn
R11 9/06/2007 MCG Hawthorn 66 lt 75 Sydney (+11.5)

(team that covered the line is underlined. Game winner in italics)

Sydney have won just 1 of their last 15 games at the MCG since beating Hawthorn at the ground in R11 2007. They have 1 win, 1 draw and 13 losses in those 15 games. Even as finalists in 2008/10/11 the Swans were unable to beat the likes of perennial non finalists Richmond and Melbourne at the ground. They only win they have at the MCG since 2007 was against Richmond in 2008 – a year the Swans finished 12th and the Tigers were 15th. Through those 15 games the Swans scored more than 90 points only once and managed more than 13 goals once – both in the solitary win.

We have seen in 2011/12 a common theme in games between top teams. Pressure is not able to be maintained. Teams come out and dominate another for a period then fade away, some come back again some don’t, games ebb and flow or change dramatically. Think about these games in 2012 – Sydney v Essendon, Sydney v Geelong game I, Hawthorn v Sydney meeting I and II, Geelong v Hawthorn I & II, Hawthorn v Collingwood I & III, Hawthorn v WCE II, Collingwood v Freo, Collingwood v WCE II.  Hawthorn v Adelaide II.

I can go on and on with examples. The theme is momentum shifts. That one team starts fast and then tries to hold on as the other comes back or one team finally kicks away after a first half struggle only to have the other come back or that one team is able to desperately and doggedly stick with the other before finally capitulating and allowing the other team to kick away late (Hawthorn v Collingwood I & III)

This brings me back to Sydney and their MCG ‘hoodoo’ – On a smaller ground the Swans can maintain their pressure for longer periods of time and when turnovers are inevitably forced they are able to move the ball quickly to score.  This is the basis of their ‘style’ and who it is so successful at the SCG.  Over past decade the swans have a winning percentage at the SCG of 71% .  The pressure and intensity are harder to maintain on the larger ground as increased effort is required, this leads to fatigue, which leads reduced second efforts which of course will advantage an opponent with the high disposal efficiency percentage and structure of the Hawks.

The lack of a key position forward also hurts on larger grounds. We have seen this year Hawthorn, Geelong and Collingwood employ similar tactics in their wins over Sydney in the past 8 weeks. Collingwood somehow failed to use the same tactics in the Semi Final 2 weeks ago. In the swans defeats the ball barriers were pressured heavily out of half back and through the middle of the ground. The extra time & possessions needed allowed the defence to zone off causing the midfield to bomb kicks in that could more easily be defused and subsequently run out of defence. Both Hawthorn (R22) and Collingwood (R20) had more clearances than Sydney. After the Swans unleashed hell in the first quarter against Hawthorn with over 25 tackles, the Hawks beat them in the tackle count for the next 3 quarters as did Collingwood 2 weeks earlier – Geelong had them covered here as well.   The Swans forwards then struggled to kick a winning score as Sydney rely on their midfielders for run and carry and to kick goals.  Sydney had more inside 50s against both Hawthorn and Collingwood in their defeats but failed to turn that into goals. Collingwood’s structures fell down last week causing easy entries for the Swans midfielders.  They over committed forward and then did not work back or pressure the ball carriers nearly enough. In R22 the Hawks took a quarter to implement and gave a head start, but cats (R23) and pies (R20) did same and zoned off across HB. Collingwood also failed to do what Hawthorn, Geelong and the Pies themselves in the previous meeting had done with great effect – they let Jetta run free. He was damaging. His possessions in the other match ups were not. There is no way he will be given the same space to run.

Sydney was able to take their season high marks inside forward 50 in 2 games against Hawthorn, 13 and 14.  The wet weather will not help them replicate that here.  Hawthorn beat Sydney twice in 2011 and was 26 points up at half time in their R5 meeting this year before capitulating  with just 2 second half goals that had Sydney running away, the Hawks were not interested there. Schoenmakers led Hawthorn in contested possession Round 5. Mitchell, Sewell, Lewis didn’t even break their top 5 for contested ball.  That speaks volumes.  In the R22 meeting this year the swans opened an early break and were up by 38 points midway through the second quarter before 6 unanswered goals got the hawks back in the game. A combination of Sydney’s effort not being able to be maintained and Hawthorn tweaking their matchups and structure after quarter time changed the games – The Hawks kicked 15 goals to 10 after the first break. In fact to be more accurate you can almost pinpoint the spot where the swans early effort took its toll – from the 18 minute mark of the second quarter Hawthorn kicked 14 goals to 7.  The free kick count could be mentioned as well – it was 17-4 Sydney’s way at half time. After HT it went 8-8. Reduced effort, reduced reward.

The Swans were able to beat the Hawks in Contested and Uncontested possessions in that game – something that does not happen very often, however the Hawks pressure led to 9 swans turnovers. There has been much said about the Sydney “pressure” but the bring a pressure of their own – shifting the ball quickly at high disposal efficiency and running their opponent ragged.  Sydney rely on their feeders to kick goals and create goals for them so it’s imperative that the Hawks put the pressure on and make them accountable going the other way – this is something Hawthorn does very very well – they dominate teams as they come out of defence and shift the ball quickly and precisely.  Before their last meeting the common theme was that the Hawks would struggle on the SCG because of their possession style game – Hawthorns disposal efficiency is key -The Hawks used to be the best team in chipping the ball around with deft short passes, but now they are also excelling at going long and accurate. When they control the ball in set-position play, they are still the No.1 short-term kicks. And they still go short on most occasions in the defensive half. But this year the Hawks are smashing teams with long, piercing kicks used to a stunning effect. In 2011 Hawks were No.1 in short kicks in general play (69.2%). This year they are ranked 18th (55.6%) – a significant change in style. And in the forward half, the Hawks have gone from No.1 in short kicks (69.7%) last year to No.17th (53.1%) so far this season. They work to get men in space with short kicks then move it quickly with long accurate passes.

Hawthorn are #1 for inside 50s. They are also #1 for inside 50s allowed.

Sydney #9 inside 50s #6 for inside 50s allowed.

Hawthorn average +13.9  inside 50s per game, The Swans average +5.2 inside 50s per game.

Sydney are ranked #1 allowing opponents to score on 42% of inside 50s, the hawks are ranked #7 allowing opponents to score 49% of inside 50 entries.

This is key – If Hawthorn had of kicked straight and taken their chances against Adelaide last week they would have won by 40+ points. They had 32 shots at goal and failed to score 100 points.  Similar could be said for the Swans who kicked 13.18.  However there is a big difference when you plot the position of the shots. Many of Hawthorns were set shots in front and shots in play within 30m of goal. Sydney’s were not – the majority of Sydney’s behinds came from 45m+ and on angles – both set shots and in general play. This is the defensive structures in effect.

Sydney will not give up easily though this will be a tight contest. The Swans have the ability to tackle heavily like last time and force turnovers – they do this almost better than anyone (ranked #2 in clangers against).  Hawthorn thought are in a good position to withstand it though, they are #1 in disposal efficiency and #2 in least clangers committed. Sydney average +3 turnovers per game, the Hawks +2 turnovers per game.

I have heard a lot of people saying the weather favours the Swans. I don’t buy it. Hawthorn has been one of the best wet weather teams in recent years – its all about disposal efficiency.   I don’t think Sydney can expose Hawthorns lack of a ‘big’ defender with a wet and windy day forecast. Sydney’s reliance on small forwards and mids to kick goals will be tested.

Hawthorn are #1 Offence, #3 Defence #1 scoring differential #1 ATS.

Sydney are #5 Offence # 1 Defence #2 scoring differential #2ATS.

This is superb match up, however I can not see Sydney maintaining the required level of pressure for the four quarters that will be required. Hawthorns disposal efficiency, advantage at the ground and their powerful offence will inevitably get them across the line in a tough battle. I see this as very similar to the Hawthorn v WCE game in R23. You also have to consider the ‘freak factor’ in big games – Hawthorn have guys like Franklin and Rioli who can change a game in minutes. Hawthorn has the ability to flick a switch like no other team.

Predicting scores is always tough, especially when the weather is involved by i would be looking at a score around Hawthorn 95 to Sydney 75 here.  Hawks by 15 to 20 points.

That makes the line and the total both within a goal – no bet for my liking.

The 1-39 margin is currently priced at $2.21 which implies a 45% chance.  I rate this above 55% and think this is overs. It is hard to see Hawthorn blowing Sydney away here. A hard fought contest and this represents the value.

Bet Hawthorn 1-39 points @ $2.21 (Pinnacle)

 

Dr Matt will be prviding his detailed game by game AFL Previews and Betting advice for Reading The Play followers through out 2013.

 

https://readingtheplay.com

Twitter @ReadingThePlay

Twitter @RTP_NFL

©Copyright Reading The Play  All care taken. No responsibility accepted. Please check all information at your own discretion. Any prices quoted for suggested bets are accurate at the time of writing. For personal use ONLY. This information may not be reproduced in any way whatsoever or re-used for any purpose whatsoever without the prior written permission of Reading The Play.