Almost three months after the 2020 campaign was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, the AFL season is back!
Collingwood and Richmond resume the season in a highly anticipated clash, but there are a host of mouthwatering match-ups in Round 2.
Read on for our AFL tips in this comprehensive preview.
AFL Tipping – Thursday, June 11
Collingwood v Richmond
Venue: MCG | Start: 7.40 PM
Both the Magpies and the Tigers made fast starts in Round 1 on the way to comfortable victories. Collingwood’s upset of the Tigers in the 2018 preliminary final still stings for Richmond fans but the two meetings last year were split, the Tigers winning the most recent clash in Round 19. Dustin Martin starred in that win, gathering 38 disposals and breaking a run of three successive matches where he failed to get 20 disposals against the Magpies. Tom Lynch was a handful for the Pies last year and his combination with Jack Riewoldt will be crucial for Richmond. The Tigers are the reigning premiers and have a very healthy list, with Bachar Houli (calf) the only automatic selection in doubt. Collingwood, on the other hand, will be without Adam Treloar, Ben Reid and Levi Greenwood (all calf), Tom Langdon and Mason Cox (both knee). It takes a brave tipster to go against the Tigers and the early evidence suggests 2020 will be another good year for Damien Hardwick’s men.
AFL Tipping – Friday, June 12
Geelong Cats v Hawthorn
Venue: GMHBA Stadium | Start: 7.50 PM
Hawthorn’s first trip to Geelong since 2006 looks like a fascinating clash, with plenty of attention focusing on the Cats’ home ground advantage in recent weeks. Hawthorn’s good record at the ground (nine wins from their last 12) is almost irrelevant given this match has been staged exclusively at the MCG in recent years. Hawthorn have won eight of their last 14 against Geelong, including the last meeting, but the Cats have lost just four times at GMHBA Stadium since June 2015. The narrow dimensions of the ground may harm Hawthorn’s game style and in Patrick Dangerfield, Joel Selwood, Gary Ablett and Mitch Duncan, the Cats have the midfield to give their fleet of small forwards the opportunity to kick a winning score. The Cats should bounce back from a Round 1 loss at Greater Western Sydney.
AFL Tipping – Saturday, June 13
Brisbane Lions v Fremantle
Venue: Gabba | Start: 1.45 PM
Brisbane’s Round 1 loss to Hawthorn meant it has dropped four matches in a row – a stat the Lions will be desperate to end. It should happen and in comfortable fashion here, with Fremantle expected to slide in 2019 after losing both Bradley Hill and Ed Langdon in the off-season. The Lions have been stewing over a straight sets final exit all summer and the likes of Hugh McCluggage, Harris Andrews, Cameron Rayner, Alex Witherden and Eric Hipwood can all improve even further in 2018. Freo’s attack will struggle to kick winning scores in 2020 and the Lions forwards might just get off the chain on home soil. The Lions to win this one comfortably.
Carlton v Melbourne
Venue: Marvel Stadium | Start: 4.35 PM
Harley Bennell’s potential debut has dominated pre-match discussion ahead of this clash between two of 2019’s worst-performed sides. The Blues at least won seven times last year, the Demons triumphing on only five occasions just one season after reaching the preliminary final in 2018. The heat will be on Simon Goodwin in a big way if Melbourne lose this but that does not seem likely. The Dees have a relatively clean bill of health and if Steven May and Jake Lever stay fit for all of 2020, their defence looks solid. Adam Tomlinson and Ed Langdon made promising debuts in Round 1 – a match that the Demons were far from disgraced in, despite a 27-point loss to West Coast. This looks far easier and Melbourne should claim victory without too much trouble, regardless of if Bennell plays or not.
Port Adelaide v Adelaide Crows
Venue: Adelaide Oval | Start: 7.40 PM
There will be no shortage of motivation in the latest edition of the Showdown and Port know they can heap the pressure on their cross-town rivals with victory at the Adelaide Oval. The Crows, in their first match under new coach Matthew Nicks, were upset by Sydney in Round 1 at home, and this task should be far more difficult. Port sit on top of the ladder after thumping the Gold Coast in Round 1 and there is plenty of quiet optimism about their chances this season. Robbie Gray (toe) is a doubt for the Power. Gray has won five Showdown medals and has an outstanding record against the Crows. If he misses out, Tom Rockliff is great value to win the Showdown Medal given his record of 32 disposals per match in the clash. Port should win this one well.
Gold Coast Suns v West Coast Eagles
Venue: Metricon Stadium | Start: 7.40 PM
Impossible to tip the Suns given they have now dropped 19 matches in a row. There was some optimism about them heading into Round 1 but they put in a poor showing against the Power that forced more re-assessment of the club’s list. One match does not mean they are in for another shocker of a season, but it is very difficult to be optimistic about their chances against a West Coast side still smarting from the way its 2019 season ended. The 2018 premiers added Tim Kelly from Geelong in the off-season and look seriously imposing in a shortened season, particularly if they can get back to WA ASAP and play home matches at Perth Stadium. Four of West Coast’s last five wins against the Suns have been by 52 points or more and they should dine out in this clash, kicking a big score en route to a big victory.
AFL Tipping – Sunday, June 14
Greater Western Sydney v North Melbourne
Venue: Giants Stadium | Start: 1.05 PM
Greater Western Sydney’s run to the 2019 grand final was extremely impressive and the early indications are that 2020 might just be the year they go one step further. A 32-point win over Geelong in Round 1 was very comfortable and most of the club’s stars are now in the age bracket for success. Giants star forward Jeremy Cameron has been well held in recent meetings against North, but if he does not fire, a host of others will. Of GWS’ last nine wins at home, just one has been by under 25 points. North came from the clouds to edge the Saints in its Round 1 encounter but this is a few grades of difficulty higher. Taylor Garner (hamstring), Nick Larkey (foot), Kayne Turner (foot), Majak Daw (pectoral), Luke Davies-Uniacke (groin) and Marley Williams (suspended) are all out for the Roos, too, who are unlucky getting the Giants away in their first match back from the break.
Sydney Swans v Essendon
Venue: SCG | Start: 3.35 PM
Essendon may never get a better time to break its SCG hoodoo than this Sunday. The Bombers have lost their last seven at the Sydney venue by an average of 32 points but face a Swans team missing forwards Lance Franklin (hamstring), Sam Reid and Ben Ronke (both knee). Ruckman Sam Naismith (hamstring) could miss for the Swans, too, who upset the Crows in Round 1 but are tipped to miss the eight this season. Isaac Heeney was great up forward against Adelaide, kicking four goals, and is likely to play there again. The Bombers snuck past the Dockers in Round 1, Dylan Shiel leading the way with 35 disposals. And while it is hard to be too confident about the Bombers in 2020, especially with a lengthy injury list that features the likes of Joe Daniher, Orazio Fantasia and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, they should be a little too strong for the Swans here.
St Kilda v Western Bulldogs
Venue: Marvel Stadium | Start: 6.05 PM
The Bulldogs were left with egg on their face after being belted in Round 1 by the Magpies. The result followed a summer of hype about Luke Beveridge’s side and, in a shortened season, they can ill-afford another loss at Docklands. Tom Liberatore will return from a knee injury to add grunt to an outstanding midfield featuring the likes of Marcus Bontempelli, Jack Macrae and Josh Dunkley. The recruits of Alex Keith and Josh Bruce should help the Dogs in 2020 and they can bounce back with a victory here. St Kilda should have won in Round 1, coughing up a 29-point half-time lead to be beaten by the Kangaroos, and a win against the Dogs would be a nice way to respond. The Saints do not have one player on the injury list, and the off-season acquisitions of Brad Hill, Dougal Howard, Zak Jones, Dan Butler and Paddy Ryder should make them a better side this year. But are they good enough to beat the Bulldogs? Probably not.