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AFL Finals: Everything You Need To Know About The Four HUGE Games

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AFL Finals: Everything You Need To Know About The Four HUGE Games

By Ryan Rosendale

The AFL Finals are officially underway!

Here's our match previews for four colossal games...

SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL - PORT ADELAIDE V GEELONG

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Date: Friday 27 August, 7:50pm

Venue: Adelaide Oval

H2H: Port Adelaide ($1.70) v Geelong ($2.15)

Line: Port Adelaide (-5.5 $1.90) v Geelong (+5.5 $1.90)

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Jeremy Cameron. Credit: AFL
Jeremy Cameron. Credit: AFL

Last five meetings:

Round 13, 2021 - Port Adelaide 14.7 (91) def. by Geelong 17.10 (112)

2020 Qualifying Final - Port Adelaide 9.4 (58) def. Geelong 5.12 (42)

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Round 12, 2020 - Port Adelaide 4.7 (31) def. by Geelong 14.7 (91)

Round 14, 2019 - Port Adelaide 9.13 (67) def. Geelong 8.8 (56)

Round 5, 2018 - Port Adelaide 7.8 (50) def. by Geelong 12.12 (84)

Match Preview:

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After a frantic final round which saw Port Adelaide secure a top-two finish and Geelong lose one, the second-placed Power and third-placed Cats will face off in a Qualifying Final for the second consecutive season. In last year's clash at Adelaide Oval, it was the Power who walked away 16-point winners over the Cats. Geelong got a measure of revenge in round 13 this season when they defeated the Power by 21-points at the same venue, setting up a mouth-watering clash this Friday night. Despite holding a 1-6 record against fellow top-eight sides, the Power should head into the clash as favourites. They've won their last six games, hold home ground advantage, and won't have to enter quarantine conditions like their opponents. However, Geelong have been one of the inform sides all season, defeated the Power in round 13 and led Melbourne by 44-points at three-quarter time last week, showing how strong a side last year's grand finalists are. Power midfielder Ollie Wines has been in terrific form all season, averaging 32.1 disposals, and along with veteran Travis Boak, is one Cats coach Chris Scott should look at tagging should he start to dominate the match. Each side has quality inside 50 with the Cats three headed monster of Tom Hawkins, Jeremy Cameron, and Gary Rohan the biggest danger for the Power while Charlie Dixon and Orazio Fantasia could cause headaches inside 50 for the Cats should the delivery going forward be to their advantage. Either way you look, the 2021 AFL Finals Series should be kicked off by a quality contest that could go either way.

Best Bets:

First Goal Scorer:

Jeremy Cameron (GEE) - $8.50

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Orazio Fantasia (PA) - $12.00

Gary Rohan (GEE) - $12.00

Most Disposals:

Ollie Wines (PA) 30+ @ $1.65 (season average of 32.1)

Cameron Guthrie (GEE) 25+ @ $1.22 (season average of 30)

Ollie Wines. Credit: Wiki Creative Commons
Ollie Wines. Credit: Wiki Creative Commons

SECOND ELIMINATION FINAL - SYDNEY V GWS

Date: Saturday 28 August, 3:20pm

Venue: UTAS Stadium

H2H: Sydney ($1.65) v GWS ($2.25)

Line: Sydney (-7.5 $1.90) v GWS (+7.5 $1.90)

Last five meetings:

Round 18, 2021 - Sydney 15.8 (98) def. GWS 11.6 (72)

Round 5, 2021 - Sydney 10.9 (69) def. by GWS 9.17 (71)

Round 12, 2020 - Sydney 10.6 (66) def. GWS 3.7 (25)

Round 20, 2019 - Sydney 12.9 (81) def. by GWS 12.11 (83)

Round 6, 2019 - Sydney 12.7 (79) def. by GWS 18.12 (120)

Match Preview:

Two sides that not many would have tipped to make it to September action, cross-town rivals Sydney and GWS will face off in finals for the third time. The ledger is currently firmly in the Giants favour, winning both clashes in 2016 and 2018. Despite this, the Swans should head into the game as favourites having finished fifth and defeating the Giants by 26-points in their most recent match-up in round 18 this season. With the game taking place in Launceston, a venue not a regular one for either side, expect a close contest that could see Swans spearhead Lance Franklin notch up his 1,000-career goal if he's able to kick eight with Giants' defender Sam Taylor expected to get the game's most important matchup. The Swans will look to hit the scoreboard early, should their midfield be able to get first possession, with the Swans new look attacking style in 2021 seeing them average goals this season. The Giants do play a much more contested, lockdown style so look to see them implement that early with vice-captain Toby Greene expected to set the tone in what could be the hardest of the four matchups to predict a winner in this week.

Best Bets:

First Goal Scorer:

Lance Franklin (SYD) - $7.50

Toby Greene (GWS) - $8.50

Tom Papley (SYD) - $11.00

Most Disposals:

Jake Lloyd (SYD) - 30+ @ $1.95 (season average of 28.2)

Josh Kelly (GWS) - 30+ @ $2.25 (season average of 26.1)

Tom Papley. Credit: Wiki Creative Commons
Tom Papley. Credit: Wiki Creative Commons

SECOND QUALIFYING FINAL - MELBOURNE V BRISBANE

Date: Saturday 28 August, 7:30pm

Venue: Adelaide Oval

H2H: Melbourne ($1.74) v Brisbane ($2.10)

Line: Melbourne (-5.5 $1.90) v GWS (+5.5 $1.90)

Last five meetings:

Round 12, 2021 - Melbourne 14.13 (97) def. Brisbane 11.9 (75)

Round 8, 2020 - Melbourne 7.7 (49) def. by Brisbane 7.11 (53)

Round 15, 2019 - Melbourne 11.8 (74) def. Brisbane 15.17 (107)

Round 2, 2018 - Melbourne 14.16 (100) def. Brisbane 10.14 (74)

Round 22, 2017 - Melbourne 16.8 (104) def. Brisbane 14.7 (91)

Match Preview:

It's as simple as this; if Melbourne can walk away winners on Saturday night, they'll be hard to go past as premiership favourites. The Dees have been the most in-form side all season, have been inside the top four since the opening round and won their first eight games. They are hard KPI's to look past, especially considering they came from 44-points down against fellow top-four side Geelong last week to sew up their first minor premiership since 1964. But the Lions won't make it easy. Despite losing their first two games, Brisbane went on a seven-game winning streak from rounds three to 10 and enter their third consecutive finals series, showing they have the experience to stand up in big games. When the sides met in round 12, it was Brisbane who got out to a 20-point half-time lead before Melbourne got to work in the second half and kicked nine goals to three to win by 22-points. It was another example of Melbourne's ability in 2021 to finish out games strongly, and there's no doubt Lions coach Chris Fagan will have this as an area of concern heading into the game. The game should be won in the middle with both sides batting extremely deep midfields - Petracca, Oliver and Brayshaw v Neale, Lyons, and McCluggage - but Dee's captain Max Gawn could be the difference should he dominate the ruck battle against Oscar McInerny.

Best Bets:

First Goal Scorer:

Bayley Fritsch (MEL) - $9.00

Charlie Cameron (BRI) - $11.00

Joe Daniher (BRI) - $11.00

Most Disposals:

Clayton Oliver (MEL) - 30+ @ $1.50 (season average of 31.6)

Jarryd Lyons (BRI) - 30+ @ $2.20 (season average of 28.2)

Charlie Cameron. Credit: YouTube/AFL
Charlie Cameron. Credit: YouTube/AFL

FIRST ELIMINATION FINAL - WESTERN BULLDOGS V ESSENDON

Date: Sunday 29 August, 3:20pm

Venue: UTAS Stadium

H2H: Melbourne ($1.74) v Brisbane ($2.10)

Line: Melbourne (-5.5 $1.90) v GWS (+5.5 $1.90)

Last five meetings:

Round 21, 2021 - Western Bulldogs 12.12 (84) def. by Essendon 15.7 (97)

Round 7, 2020 - Western Bulldogs 14.9 (93) def. Essendon 7.9 (51)

Round 21, 2019 - Western Bulldogs 21.11 (137) def. Essendon 4.9 (33)

Round 3, 2018 - Western Bulldogs 14.20 (104) def. Essendon 12.11 (83)

Round 19, 2017 - Western Bulldogs 19.13 (127) def. Essendon 13.19 (97)

Match Preview:

This match-up shapes as the first week of finals most intriguing. The Western Bulldogs have long been considered a premiership favourite for most of the season. They've been at the top of the ladder for eight of the 23 rounds but have somehow found themselves outside of the top four after losing their last three games, including to their Elimination Final opponents, Essendon in round 21. On the other side of the coin, the Bombers go into the match with no real expectations. After losing star trio Joe Daniher, Orazio Fantasia and Adam Saad in the off-season, they opened the season at 1-5 and only secured their finals spot during a frantic final round. They'll also fancy themselves on the neutral deck of UTAS Stadium, having defeated Hawthorn in round 14, something the Dogs couldn't do at the same venue just eight weeks later. Bulldog turned Bomber Jake Stringer has been in terrific form, averaging 18 disposals and two goals over the last five weeks, while Bulldogs skipper and Brownlow Medal favourite Marcus Bontempelli will need to discover his early season form after only collecting 15 disposals in two of his last five games, his lowest disposal numbers of the season. After kicking a bag of seven against the Dogs in round 21, expect Peter Wright to cop a fair bit of attention from the Dogs. Either way, the match should be high scoring with both sides averaging 13 goals a game throughout the regular season, so expect a fast and attacking style of football.

Best Bets:

First Goal Scorer:

Jake Stringer (ESS) - $9.00

Peter Wright (ESS) - $12.00

Cody Weightman (WB) - $12.00

Most Disposals:

Jackson Macrae (WB) - 35+ @ $2.30 (season average of 33.8)

Darcy Parish (ESS) - 30+ @ $1.65 (season average of 30.3)

Jake Stringer. Credit: AFL
Jake Stringer. Credit: AFL

Featured Image Credit: AFL

Topics: Aussie Rules, afl, Team News, Betting, Australia

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