Bulldogs Edge Into Favourites for AFL Honours

Discussion in 'Blog' started by walesy, Jun 9, 2021.

By walesy on Jun 9, 2021 at 2:59 PM
  1. walesy

    walesy Administrator Staff Member

    Nov 30, 2015
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    The Western Bulldogs had the worst defence of the eight teams during the regular season that contested last year’s AFL Finals Series. After 10 games of the current campaign, however, they sit atop of the ladder after snatching the highest rung from Melbourne on points percentage.

    It’s clear that the Bulldogs, who lost in the first round of the AFL Finals by three points, have tightened things up. They had the second-best defence in the league going into a top two clash with Melbourne at the Marvel Stadium in Docklands.

    That clash could well shape how the rest of the regular AFL season pans out. The pair have a six-point advantage over Brisbane Lions, Geelong and Adelaide Crows going into that game. Strong form for both the Bulldogs and Melbourne, who recently lost their unbeaten record for the campaign, comes in stark contrast to the reigning premiers Richmond.

    The Tigers finished last season third on the ladder before bouncing back from a loss to the Brisbane Lions to make and win the AFL Grand Final, beating Geelong to claim the Premiership. However, Richmond have been indifferent with five wins and as many defeats this term, form which isn’t as yet enough to book another berth in the Finals Series.

    It’s, therefore, no surprise that Western Bulldogs and Melbourne seemingly have it between them in the Aussie Rules betting on the regular season winner. Going into their match, it’s the Bulldogs who are made the 2.87 favourites to finish top of the ladder.

    An outright AFL Grand Final success is a bigger price in a more open betting market, however. Nobody is disposing of the ball in the league more than Jack Macrae right now with the Bulldogs. Not only is he winning possession in midfield so well, but he’s also distributing it in an effective way.

    One of the main beneficiaries of that has been key forward Josh Bruce. He had a slow start to his Bulldogs career after trading from St Kilda ahead from 2020, but he has hit form with 30 goals in the first 10 games of this season. That is why they top the charts for goals with 150 scored and a mean of 15.

    Only Hawthorn are handling the ball more than the Bulldogs in the AFL at present, so it’s no wonder they sit second in the stats stable for disposals. Kicking is also a greater feature of the side this season than last when they were among the bottom four on average.

    While Melbourne tops the hit-outs and have two of the best tacklers in the AFL courtesy of James Jordon, that is not the Bulldogs’ style of play at all. The different approaches to the game of Aussie Rules have helped them both become forces to be reckoned with in the league, certainly during the first half of the campaign.

    It will be fascinating to see which tactics pay off when they meet, but also long-term over the course of the rest of the season.


Discussion in 'Blog' started by walesy, Jun 9, 2021.

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