AFL FINALS WEEK 1
GEELONG v RICHMOND
Geelong and Richmond is the only Finals match in Melbourne this weekend but what a clash it looms to be in front of 90,000 plus crowd.
The Tigers were not expected to play finals this year but not only have they made it they have finished top four and played fast exciting footy and the Tiger Bandwagon is back out in force.
The midfield clash between last years Brownlow Medalist Patrick Dangerfield and the expected Brownlow medalist in 2017 Dusty Martin will be worth watching alone. Both players hold the key to there sides. Joel Selwood should return for Geelong which will be a huge boost. Josh Caddy likewise is a good inclusion for the Tigers against his old side.
The Cats won by 14 points in Round 21 when these sides last met but you could almost disregard that game simply due to the fact it was played in Geelong where the Cats play the ground to perfection. The MCG if anything may expose the Cats on the wider spaces and the Tigers have the pace to cause them lots of trouble.
Richmond of course have played the G exceptionally this year losing just twice there for the year. The losses were by margins of two and nine. The Cats have lost twice as well at the G in 2017. With Essendon and Collingwood winning comfortably against the Cats and on both occasions exposing there pace.
The Tigers finals record under Damien Hardwick is well known. They have yet to win one but this might be there time. They are playing finals type football with amazing pressure all around the ground and they have the competitions best defender in Alex Range and if Dusty can continue on his brilliant form then I can see them getting over the line in a tight contest in front of a huge Richmond crowd.
SYDNEY v ESSENDON
Sydney host Essendon on Saturday afternoon Elimination final at the SCG.
The Swans have defied history and logic to play finals this year after losing there first six games. They lost just two more times for the season both times to Hawthorn. They can consider themselves very lucky to have beaten Essendon in there only clash this year in Round 14 when they kicked three goals in the last couple mins to win from an impossible position. The Bombers while devastated at losing that game will no doubt have gained some belief they can match the Swans and cause an upset.
The Bombers will go into the game without key forward Cale Hooker who remains injured. The smaller dimensions of the SCG means that Hookers loss might not be as exposed. The Swans base there game on contested footy where Josh Kennedy, Luke Parker and Dan Hannebery excel. The Bombers will need to break even in the contested footy to give there superior outside runners a chance to expose the Swans lack of pace on the outside.
Then of course you have the key forwards - Buddy vs Daniher. Franklin had a nice warm up for the finals kicking a bag of 10 in his last outing. Daniher has had an outstanding year and is very capable of causing the Swans defence headaches.
The Line for this game started at Sydney minus 28.5 and has moved to 32-34. That seems a big start for Essendon considering they should have beaten the Swans at this venue earlier in the year.
Worth backing Essendon with Hurley and Fantasia returning to push the Swans all the way and take the 34.5 point start.
Essendon +34.53 at 1.95-3
PORT ADELAIDE v WEST COAST
Port Adelaide and West Coast finish the first week of finals footy when they do battle at Adelaide Oval on Saturday night.
There is no next week for the loser and the Eagles have been playing must win games for the past month before sneaking into the top 8. Playing those tough games could well stand them in good stead. Port had an easy final round thumping the hapless Gold Coast Suns. It was bruise free footy that night and probably not the ideal lead into the fast tough September action.
These sides have played twice this year sharing a win each. The surprise being that the wins were away. So West Coast come into this game knowing they can win at the Adelaide Oval where they have a good record. No doubt Port will feel confident they have the Eagles measure after a five goal win in the West.
The Power have been good at home this year but the biggest issue for them is they have only beaten the Eagles and Swans of the sides in the top 8 and the win against Sydney was back in Round 1. Simply the Power struggle against strong opposition who don't allow them to play the game on there own terms.
The prices for this game opened around 1.40 -1.45 Port Adelaide. There hasn't been much movement with just a little bit of support for the away side.
I like the Eagles price here. They look value at the win and line. They have a team that while not quick is experienced and knows how to grind out a win which is essential in finals. They will push numbers back and then try to catch the Power on the break and utilise there key forward Josh Kennedy and Jack Darling.
Take the eagles to cause an upset.
West Coast to Win2 at 3.00+4
WEEK RESULTS STAKES ROI Finals Week Three -4.2 12 -35% Finals Week Two +0.42 11 4% Finals Week One +7.18 11 65% Round Twenty-Three -9.09 21 -43% Round Twenty-Two +9.47 16 59% Round Twenty-One +8.55 13 66% Round Twenty -8 17 -47% Round Nineteen -9.2 13 -71% Round Eighteen +3.01 15 20% Round Seventeen +9.88 16 62% Round Sixteen -4.05 15 -27% Round Fifteen +0.12 13 1% Round Fourteen -2.48 15 -17% Round Thirteen +1.93 5 39% Round Twelve -6.3 14 -45% Round Eleven -2.1 9 -23% Round Ten -5.26 10 -53% Round Nine +4 11 36% Round Eight +10.01 9 111% Round Seven -10.26 17 -60% Round Six -2.4 14 -17% Round Five -12.3 18 -68% Round Four -5.21 11 -47% Round Three -1.16 10 -12% Round Two -11 11 -100% Round One -0.27 6 -5% Total -38.71 334 -12%