The Hunter’s Weekend of Sports – 12 Jun
Tips, Tricks, Picks and Odds.
The sports world is rebuilding again….
The post-lockdown world is one defined by uncertainty; be that in economics, health, work, or indeed sport. But, bit by bit it seems as though the world is rebuilding and, with the return of the AFL this weekend, Australia’s starting to look a bit more like its old self again.
And, as the strength of the sporting world gradually returns – so too does The Hunter. There’s a good weekend of Australian and international sports ahead, and I’m back again to cover the best of it all. As always in this column, I’ll explore what Australians can look forward to in this weekend of sports – focusing on a different sport for each day – and provide the tips that I feel most confident in based on my research, analysis and expert intuition.
FRIDAY – AFL
The other kind of footy is back!
Australia’s national code triumphantly returns this week with some absolute blinder matchups (Adelaide Showdown anyone?), and I – for one – am excited to see how it all unfolds. One of the better games of the weekend is the meeting between two Victorian rivals.
Geelong Cats vs Hawthorn Hawks
Any time these teams meet, it’s close – be that during finals or regular season play. The Kennett curse has eased its grip over this fixture in the past half-decade, so wins won’t come as easy for Geelong as they once did. If the first game is anything to go by, the Hawks look like exactly the kind of team to knock off last year’s premiers. A convincing win over a decent and young Brisbane side has them looking like favourites in my eyes (provided they can do the same to Richmond and Collingwood). A win against a rival on Friday could prove very beneficial to the cause – but either way I don’t see them outside the 8 again this year.
Geelong’s performance in round one was less than ideal. Admittedly, Great Western Sydney Giants are a good team, but a 20+ point loss against any side will have doubters questioning your team’s ability. Don’t get me wrong, I think Geelong are a finals side this year – just not a grand final side. I see Hawthorn running away with this one in the fourth.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Hawks to win
SATURDAY – NRL
A couple of rounds back into the action, and things have been looking great for everyone except the Broncos and Dragons. The Titans snapped their year-long losing streak, the Bulldogs claimed their first win, even the Panthers look like they’re on top of the world. Two teams who hope to keep the good-times coming face off on Saturday in what is easily the match of the round.
Newcastle Knights vs Melbourne Storm
Speak to any Novocastrian in the past few weeks, and I can almost guarantee they’ll have brought up how well the Knights are playing. And to be honest, I can’t blame them. They held the Panthers to a draw without Pearce or Ponga (with a great performance from Tex Hoy who didn’t miss a beat), they steamrolled the title-hopeful Raiders with ease and a phenomenal rookie performance from Bradman Best, so, right now the Knights look virtually unbeatable. With a strong squad back in the mix on Saturday, they’ll be one of the best teams to play this round.
The Storm are a good squad, there’s no denying that, but they’ve been missing a bit of a spark these past few rounds that may not be evidenced in the results. Their first half against the Rabbitohs was basically an even matchup (against a team they should be demolishing), and they didn’t look like a solid side at all against Canberra. A win against Newcastle could prove critical in determining their momentum for the rest of this shortened season.
Unfortunately for the Storm, I’m picking the Knights here. They’re on a roll and I don’t think it stops this weekend.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Knights to win
SUNDAY – Bundesliga
Heading overseas to Germany, the biggest football league currently operating is serving us an absolutely beautiful match this week – as the league leaders face off against one of this season’s most exciting competitors.
Bayern Munich vs Borussia Mönchengladbach
Bayern are one of the best football teams in modern history, there’s no doubt about that. They’ve won the Bundesliga too many times to count – and often by exorbitant margins. But this season, the race to the top hasn’t been as clear. They’re only seven points above Dortmund as it stands, and with Dortmund playing a relegation team this weekend, that could easily become four points if Mönchengladbach pull off the win here.
Of course, that’s a win that won’t come easy for the side (even with the best Twitter page in world football.) Mönchengladbach have been a solid team all season, looking much better than the mid-table irrelevance they’ve toiled in for years, and if any team can steal points from the reigning champs, it could be them. They’ll need a better performance than their red-card-plagued showing last weekend, but I think they can put one in here and force the draw.
The Hunter’s Hot Tip: Draw
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Feature image: Allianz Arena Munich Germany. Photographed by Isaac Mok. Image via Shutterstock.