AFL Finals: Everything You Need To Know About The Do-Or-Die Prelims
We started with 18 teams, now we're left with just four.
It's now Week Three of the AFL Finals and the remaining sides are just one win away from the most important game of the season.
Two blockbuster preliminary finals are on the cards this weekend and without getting too carried away, we simply cannot wait - let's go!
Here's everything (yes everything) you need to know ahead of the games.
FIRST PRELIMINARY FINAL - MELBOURNE DEMONS V GEELONG CATS
For all your latest odds on Melbourne vs Geelong, CLICK HERE.
Date: Friday 10 September, 7:50pm
Venue: Optus Stadium
H2H: Melbourne ($1.47) v Geelong ($2.70)
Line: Melbourne (-12.5 $1.90) v Geelong (+12.5 $1.90)
Best Bets (odds correct as of 07/09/21):
Bayley Fritsch (MEL) - $8.50
Jeremy Cameron (GEE) - $9
Tom Hawkins (GEE) - $9
Clayton Oliver (MEL) - 40+ @ $5.50 (season average of 31.7)
Christian Petracca (MEL) - 30+ @ $2.40 (season average of 28.7)
Cameron Guthrie (GEE) - 35+ @ $6.50 (season average of 29.1)
Last five meetings:
Round 23, 2021 - Geelong 12.5 (77) def. by Melbourne 12.9 (81)
Round 4, 2021 - Melbourne 12.13 (85) def. Geelong 9.6 (60)
Round 4, 2020 - Melbourne 6.8 (44) def. by Geelong 7.5 (47)
Round 2, 2019 - Geelong 20.6 (126) def. Melbourne 6.10 (46)
Round 18, 2018 - Geelong 16.14 (100) def. Melbourne 14.14 (98)
This is clearly Melbourne's game to lose but don't underestimate Geelong. The Dees have had the week off after an impressive Qualifying Final win over Brisbane and have won both their matches against the Cats in 2021, including that spectacular 44-point comeback at GMHBA stadium that saw Max Gawn goal after the siren to lock up the minor premiership for the Demons. They were even more impressive against the Lions a week later and with a midfield boasting Gawn, Clayton Oliver (33 disposals v Lions), Christian Petracca (30 disposals, two goals) and Jack Viney (28 disposals), it's hard not to see them replicating the result again this week to book their first grand final appearance in 21-years. The Cats however were solid against GWS last week, rebounding strongly from their Qualifying Final loss with their three-headed monster of Tom Hawkins (five goals), Jeremy Cameron (two) and Gary Rohan (two) dominating inside 50. It's something they'll have to replicate against the Demons, but they'll be coming up against a defence boasting All-Australians Steven May and Jake Lever. The Cats have the big game experience which shouldn't be discounted, and it'll be up to their experienced heads in Joel Selwood and Patrick Dangerfield to lead from the front if they are to upset the Demons and make back-to-back grand finals.
SECOND PRELIMINARY FINAL - PORT ADELAIDE V WESTERN BULLDOGS
For all your latest odds on Port Adelaide vs Western Bulldogs, CLICK HERE.
Date: Saturday 11 September
Venue: Adelaide Oval
H2H: Port Adelaide ($1.44) v Western Bulldogs ($2.80)
Line: Port Adelaide (-13.5 $1.90) v Western Bulldogs (+13.5 $1.90)
Best bets (odds correct as of 07/09/21):
Aaron Naughton (WB) - $9
Orazio Fantasia (PA) - $9
Charlie Dixon (PA) - $9
Jackson Macrae (WB) - 40+ @ $3.75 (season average of 34.1)
Oliver Wines (PA) - 35+ @ $3 (season average of 32.1)
Travis Boak (PA) - 30+ @ $2.25 (season average of 28)
Last five meetings:
Round 23, 2021 - Western Bulldogs 10.4 (64) def. by Port Adelaide 9.12 (66)
Round 9, 2021 - Port Adelaide 12.5 (77) def by. Western Bulldogs 15.6 (96)
Round 10, 2020 - Port Adelaide 8.7 (55) def. Western Bulldogs 5.12 (42)
Round 15, 2019 - Port Adelaide 5.11 (41) def. by Western Bulldogs 10.6 (66)
Round 19, 2018 - Western Bulldogs 5.4 (34) def. by Port Adelaide 11.12 (78)
Out of this weekend's two matches, this should be the most exciting. Both sides play high intensity, attacking football and with the Bulldogs riding high off a thrilling one-point win over Brisbane in the semi-final, they'll give themselves every chance to continue their winning ways against Port. The sides faced off just three weeks ago where Port overran the Dogs at Marvel to win by two points in a game that saw the Dogs drop out of the top four. Ollie Wines (34 disposals and one goal) and Travis Boak (31 disposals and two goals) starred for the Power that night while ruckman Scott Lycett dominated the game with 22 disposals and 40 hit-outs. All three will be key players Dogs coach Luke Beveridge will have to put work into during the week with the task of defeating a rested Power on their home deck even harder should captain Marcus Bontempelli not recover from a leg injury suffered against the Lions. He's expected to play but it'll be clear he won't be at 100 per cent while livewire forward Cody Weightman will miss with concussion. The Power will also have to pay a fair bit of attention to Dogs midfield duo Jack Macrae (39 disposals and one goal) and Bailey Smith (27 disposals and three goals) who both starred in the semi-final win while they'll need a lift from Adam Treloar who had just 10 disposals as he works back into form following a long injury layoff mid-year. Travelling to Adelaide Oval will hold no fears for the Dogs who defeated the Power by 19-points at the venue in round nine this year but it's hard to go past the fresher home side who should be able to put the pain of their 2020 preliminary final loss to bed and win their way into their first grand final since 2007 in front of a home crowd.
Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons
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