Despite defeating Carlton by 40 points in the NAB Cup tournament, we won’t be touching them at 100-1. Pre-Season is a bad measurement of a team’s ability
Australians absolutely love the Australian Football League, which is why the world’s top Australian Rules competition had an average attendance of more than 30,000 people last season, a mark for which most sports events would kill.
Most similar to Gaelic football, Australian Rules football is played between teams of 18 players (Gaelic Football is 15-a-side) on a large oval-shaped field, with many sides using modified cricket arenas because of the requirement for grounds much bigger than those on which sports such as football and rugby league take place.
Indigenous Australians say that Australian Rules football grew out of one of their games but what is beyond debate is that one of the current 18 Australian Football League teams, Melbourne, published the first edition of the laws of the game in 1859 and the sport has gone gangbusters since.
The Victorian Football League started in 1897 and Essendon won the first premiership in what was one of only two years in which the title was determined without any form of Grand Final. The Victorian Football League became the Australian Football League in 1990 as the tournament had by that stage become national and not centred upon Melbourne and its environs. Now more than half of the 18 sides are based outside Victoria. New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia each have two teams.
Essendon and Carlton are the most successful sides in Victorian Football League/Australian Football League history. The Bombers and the Blues have won 16 titles apiece. The other teams are the honour roll are, in descending order of success, Collingwood (15 titles), Melbourne (12 titles), Hawthorn (10 titles), Richmond (10 titles), Geelong (nine titles), Fitzroy (eight titles), Sydney/South Melbourne (five titles), North Melbourne (four titles), Brisbane (three titles), West Coast (three titles), Adelaide (two titles), Port Adelaide (one title), St Kilda (one title) and Western Bulldogs (one title). Fremantle, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney have yet to win a premiership but they are relatively young sides.
The 2013 Australian Football League season will start with Sydney bidding to become the first team since Brisbane 10 years ago to mount an ultimately successful premiership defence. The Swans defied the odds several times during 2012, most notably when shocking Hawthorn in the Grand Final. Sydney won 91-81 and its tireless midfielder, Ryan O’Keefe, picked up the prestigious Norm Smith Medal.
Do Not Buy In To Pre-Season Results
Brisbane won the pre-season NAB Cup tournament, defeating Carlton by 40 points in its championship match at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne. But there is a reason as to why the Lions are trading at odds of around 100-1 to win this year’s Australian Football League Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Punters are not interested in them.
That is because Australian Football League punters do not rate NAB Cup form highly. Only five times has a side won both competitions in the same season – Essendon (1993, 2000), Hawthorn (1988 and 1991) and Geelong (2009) – in spite of there being a massive cash bonus on offer.
Despite losing four of its five pre-season games, Hawthorn will go into the 2013 Australian Football League campaign as the premiership favourite, with bookmakers quoting the Hawks at odds of around 7-2. Punters are not reading too much into Hawthorn’s NAB Cup results, particularly as it went down by one point in three of its four defeats. The Hawks thrashed North Melbourne 122-41 in their last warm-up match, a sign that Alistair Clarkson’s team are worthy of great respect.
Hawks And Swans Could Meet In Another Decider
Carlton and West Coast have been the major 2013 Australian Football League market movers, with punters expecting big things from Mick Malthouse’s Blues and John Worsfold’s Eagles. But Hawthorn is the favourite for good reason.
On its day, Hawthorn is head and shoulders above the other 17 Australian Football League sides. If the Hawks play to their potential, which they did on a couple of occasions last year, none of their rivals are going to beat them. Hawthorn’s squad is the strongest in the competition and Lance Franklin, known to Australian Rules football fans as Buddy, is unstoppable when he is in the mood. Franklin kicked 13 goals in a 2012 game versus North Melbourne.
Reigning premier Sydney is unfashionable with Australian Football League punters again but it stands out as the team most likely to stop Hawthorn justifying favouritism. The Swans beat the Hawks two times out of three last term, including in the match that mattered most, and they have recruited Kurt Tippett in the interim. Tippett is not one of the most liked Australian Rules football characters but he knows how to boot a goal and he will have served his lengthy suspension by the middle of the 2013 season. The ex-Adelaide forward provides Sydney with another X factor, making John Longmire’s side fairly appealing at odds of around 6-1.
Two-time Winner Represents Brownlow Value
Carlton may not have what it takes to go from Australian Football League pretender to contender in its first season under Malthouse but Chris Judd may make bookmakers pay for listing him at odds of around 20-1 to win the Brownlow Medal. The Blues midfielder is a two-time winner of the prestigious individual award and one knows that he will catch the eye of the voting umpires if his team wins more than their fair share of games under new management.
Essendon Is Not Going To Be The Bomb
Essendon has been the subject of the pre-2013 Australian Football League season headlines but for all the wrong reasons, with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority investigating the Bombers for various serious offences.
Bookmakers are offering odds of around 8-13 that Essendon does not make the Australian Football League Finals Series for the second year in a row. The Bombers were three wins away from making the cut in 2012, losing their last seven matches to finish in 11th place. Surely the odds are very much against Essendon having a good season in 2013.