Robertson for home soil win
Our expert Jeff Anderson thinks Neil Robertson can make home advantage count in the Australian Goldfields Open.
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2pts win Neil Robertson at 6/1 (Stan James).
1pt e.w. Stephen Lee at 18/1 (Sky Bet, Boylesports 1/2 1,2).
0.5pt e.w. Marcus Campbell at 80/1 (Sky Bet, Boylesports 1/2 1,2).
0.25pt e.w. Matthew Selt at 175/1 (Boylesports 1/2 1,2).
The snooker tour heads down under on Monday for the Australian Goldfields Open, where Mark Selby is the 5/1 favourite.
Firstly, it must be noted that in addition to Ronnie O'Sullivan, six other members of the current top 16 including Judd Trump and John Higgins have also elected not to play.
This makes the draw somewhat uneven - for example in the top quarter the highest ranked player is Stuart Bingham at 12th.
We can discount the form from the Six Reds World Championship in Thailand this week - not because it was only six reds but because the Shenson table had very thick cloths which made the tables much slower.
The pockets were oversized too, which allowed players to take liberties. In some ways they were a throwback to the 1980's and reminded me of Kirk Stevens' 147 at the Masters in '84.
Neil Robertson missed Bangkok to prepare and do PR for his home tournament and is well drawn here, so he heads the selections.
He is ordinarily a slow starter into the season but has practised hard for this event. It must be said that at the Crucible in April he was the only player who put O'Sullivan under any pressure going down 13-10 in their quarter final from 5-3 up.
He's a very proud Aussie and was heartbroken to lose to Dominic Dale in the second round last year after his opponent needed a snooker. Now a seasoned, clinical and tough match player the 6/1 for a home win should be taken.
In the bottom half of the draw, Stephen Lee is worth following again after losing his opener to the in-form Marcus Campbell in the Wuxi Classic.
He was runner-up in the first PTC of the season last month, going down on the final black to Bingham, and was the most consistent player at the start of the year.
The 18/1 on offer looks top value considering the depleted field and the Trowbridge player and should be backed each-way.
Looking at the outsiders, Matthew Selt continues to impress in patches and is worth a minimum-stakes play.
He went down 5-4 to Peter Ebdon in the final qualifying round in the Wuxi Classic which was a decent effort, and he has impressed on TV before.
Selt does have a tough opener against the form man Bingham, but he won't be so confident after failing to produce in China last month when he lost readily to Ricky Walden, who didn't overly impress either.
It was surprising how worried Bingham was about losing, because he has won a lot of matches recently including final frame deciders at the start of this campaign. I thought he'd stopped choking at the business end but we'll have to see.
Last year, here in Bendigo, Selt beat John Higgins and Stephen Hendry before going down 5-3 to Shaun Murphy in the quarters, and he might be able to catch Bingham cold.
He is on record as being happy wih his form and arrived in Australia a few days ago to acclimatise and prepare for the event, so take the 175/1.
Marcus Campbell is in the form of his life and reached his first major ranking semi-final in Wuxi after 20 years as a professional.
Now up to 21 in the rankings, it is the manner he has progressed which has been particularly impressive, and he could surprise in Australia.
Campbell has a tough opener here against Murphy, but if he can get through it he then plays Dale or Tom Ford and I'd fancy him to make the last eight.
At this point the draw could really open up for him and at 80/1, Campbell completes the staking plan.