Hawthorn Hawks the latest AFL favourites to slide
It’s the AFL tag that refuses to stick, with Hawthorn the latest in a succession of clubs to crash out of premiership favouritism.
IT’S the AFL tag that refuses to stick, with Hawthorn the latest in a succession of clubs to crash out of premiership favouritism.
The season is playing out like a group of kids on a slippery dip; clubs take their turn at the top in punters’ minds before sliding.
Hawthorn’s 62-point thrashing at the hands of Richmond at the MCG on Saturday – the club’s biggest defeat in more than two years – was as significant a loss by a flag favourite as any.
But the Hawks are just one of five clubs to have spent time as favourites in a uniquely turbulent season.
Those include Collingwood – who were favourites in the pre-season and have now returned to that status with some bookmakers.
Geelong, Carlton and now West Coast – who like the Magpies are joint or outright favourites with various agencies – have also taken their turn.
Significant losses by the Magpies, to Hawthorn in round one; the Hawks, to Geelong in round two; the Cats, to North Melbourne in round three; and the Blues, to Essendon in round four, all shifted the markets.
Hawthorn, though, had spent most time as the punters’ choice before Saturday’s loss to Richmond prompted a rethink.
A depleted Collingwood’s gutsy win over in-form Adelaide and West Coast’s derby demolition of Fremantle helped those two clubs take over.
Sportingbet Australia’s Bill Richmond said he was not aware of a previous AFL season in which there had been as many as five favourites by round 10.
There might still be one or two more this season.
Second-placed Essendon and Adelaide, third, were both huge outsiders early in the year but are now both inside the $10 mark and among the top five fancies, along with the Magpies, Hawks and Eagles.
The Blues and Cats have slumped outside that group, although there is still a clear break between them and the next tier of clubs, such as St Kilda, Sydney and Richmond.
It is a stark contrast to recent seasons.
Last year, Collingwood were flag favourites from the time they won the 2010 premiership until Geelong took over three days before winning the 2011 decider. – AAP