Fri, Jul 15, 6:15pm by Staff Writer
North Melbourne have failed to capitalise on their sensational start to the year and are in freefall down the ladder, sliding from first to eighth after four straight losses. Port Adelaide aren’t in great form themselves having dropped three of their past four. All of that leads to this game being labelled as a final in July, critical to both clubs chances this season.
Despite the month from hell, all the money has been with North Melbourne to snap their losing streak mainly due to the fact it’s being played in the familiar surrounds of Etihad Stadium plus the three big inclusions into the line-up in Waite, Wells and Dal Santo. Sportsbet have them at $1.39, with the Power at $3.10.
The visitors do have the midfield pace to worry the Roos with All-Australian Robbie Gray in superb touch. The club were fined $20,000 for breaching concussion rules after Hamish Hartlett was allowed to return to the field after receiving a head knock against Hawthorn last Thursday night. This is a further indication that the League is taking the new concussion protocol very seriously. There was also some bad news on the selection table with Brad Ebert failing to make the trip following a heavy fall attempting a mark in the same game last week.
It really is now or never for the injury ravaged Roos who lost another important cog in their engine last Sunday with promising forward Mason Wood ruled out with a knee injury, he’s now racing the clock to be back for the finals. The injury list is long but the club is running out of excuses, they have recruited for the now and now is the time to deliver. Incredibly no club has had more 30 year olds take the field since Fitzroy in 1919. Their average age is 26.6, which is also the oldest since South Melbourne in 1945.
One man who sits in that category and has come under some scrutiny this week is 33-year-old Drew Petrie; his numbers of 1.2 goals, 7 kicks and 4.6 marks per game are the lowest they’ve been since 2005. Brad Scott publicly backed big Drew, saying that his defensive acts have been elite but I think one more quiet game from the 300 game star could spell the end which would be a massive shame for a club legend.
I’m backing North to bounce back here. They’ll be bolstered by the return of three of their prime movers and should be too strong on their happy hunting ground of Etihad Stadium. It will be close though and the 1-39 bracket looks the goods.
BEST BET: North Melbourne to win $1.39
BEST OUTSIDER: North Melbourne by 1-39 $2.10
*All odds provided from Sportsbet and were correct at time of publishing
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