Thursday night footy will see Carlton and Richmond supporters flock to the MCG with over 80,000 fans expected for the second night running. Two big traditional Melbourne clubs with huge followings, Carlton versus Richmond is traditionally the season opener, but such is Carlton’s terrible record in this match, the AFL wisely threw the Grand Final replay ahead of it to kick off the 2022 AFL season on Wednesday.

There is a touch of expectation about this match with Carlton rejuvenated and eyeing off a long-awaited finals spot, while Richmond will be keen to bounce back from a shock fall-from-grace last season.

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Carlton vs Richmond (Rich -10.5, 163.5)


A warm and slightly humid day is expected in Melbourne on Thursday, with some possible late showers, but given how well the MCG plays, it really shouldn’t affect the contest at all.

Where to Attack?

Richmond are well known for their fast aggressive style that doesn’t include tagging opposition midfielders. They prefer to build pressure behind the ball and then explode forward as fast as they can. This means they have historically conceded points through the midfield.

This is great news for Carlton mids and the Blues have certainly added a few into the mix this season with Adam Cerra and George Hewett new to the club, Patrick Cripps looking fit and Matthew Kennedy ready to have a breakout year.

The Carlton defence has been a huge leak as they were the worst overall in the league for fantasy points conceded to forwards. That won’t be helped in this match with Liam Jones retiring and Jacob Weitering under an injury cloud. Mitch McGovern has been thrown into the backline while Oscar McDonald will be given a big responsibility as a key defender.

Game Script - Carlton mids, Richmond forwards


Joshua Gibcus ($6,000)

An interesting selection for this one is rookie Joshua Gibcus. The number 9 draft pick is set to debut in the Richmond backline, and although he hasn't set the world on fire in terms of fantasy scoring, he is definitely in play here at the basement price.

Noah Balta ($8,290)

Noah Balta is listed as a defender but this season he might be the ultimate swing man for Richmond, and spend large periods across half forward. He marked like a beast in the preseason, so with Carlton vulnerable in defence, Balta becomes a viable play as a Richmond forward.


Liam Baker ($10,470)

With the Richmond midfield looking a little unsettled, perhaps it’s Liam Baker who might step up and become the next premium midfielder for Richmond. He was dynamic in the AAMI Community Cup match, arguably best on ground, and that performance again would give you a 100+ score and excellent value at this price. Available as a mid or defender option.

George Hewett ($11,190)

I expect George Hewett to be highly owned as his switch to the Blues to play a key role in their midfield has been well publicised. He was good in the preseason and with the Tigers leaking points to mids, he is certainly in play at the price. His ability to tackle adds to his scoring potential, so you’d really only want to fade him based on him being over-owned.


Patrick Cripps ($13,710)

I was happy to fade Patrick Cripps all of last season, even when his price dipped. He just wasn’t right. However it only took one preseason match in 2022 to convince me that he’s now 100% fit. He looked like the Cripps of old. He was dynamic through the packs and if he continues to hit the scoreboard then he could be in for a big night. Carlton definitely need goals from him, so the only risk is if he spends too much time sitting in the forward line. For lower ownership, it’s an easy pivot to Matthew Kennedy or Adam Cerra at the same price who are both solid options.

Jayden Short ($14,280)

My preferred spot to pay up in this contest is with Jayden Short. With Bachar Houli and Nick Vlastuin both out, Short becomes the number one receiver and distributor from the Tigers backline. He was enormous in the preseason matches and if that continues then he might just be the highest scoring player on the slate.

Suggested Draftstars Team

Draftstars AFL Lineup Carlton Richmond


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