AFL Grand Final Preview

2018 AFL Grand Final

West Coast Eagles v Collingwood Magpies

It is quite mind boggling to think that the Richmond Tigers, the best team for most part of the year, will not be running out onto the big stage for this year's grand final decider. The Magpies were able to stun the yellow and black army last week to advance through to this year's grand final. The ferrocious pressure the 'Pies were able to put the Tigers under seemingly flipped the script on how the Tigers have played for much of this year. On the other side of the country, the West Coast Eagles dismantled the fairytale team of the Melbourne Demons when they locked it up in WA last Saturday. The Eagles gave the Demons absolutely no chance and when the final siren sounded, you had to assume that odds makers for this matchup were going to overreact, somewhat, in the Eagles favour after that performance. The Demons had not played a bad game all year and when it mattered, were found wanting. The Eagles soft run through to the grand final means they could have it up their sleeve to play 'tough' ball if it is required today for the Grand Final, but that has never been their go anyway. Two injury concerns for both sides, Jeremy Howe had a slight ankle roll last week against the Tigers and spent the better part of the week nursing himself right. An open training session on Friday assured that Howe would be good to go for the Pies as he went through light runs and kicking drills. For the Eagles, Jeremy McGovern was left managing a hip pointer/flexor injury through the week coming off a heavy collision last Saturday. The injury cloud surrounding McGovern has been more significant and the rumour-mill was clicked up mid afternoon yesterday when it appeared McGovern was not even in Melbourne. As of writing, there are no late changes and both, McGovern and Howe will line up for their respective clubs today.

On a far less analytical approach to this year's grand final, a few reason as to why I'm firmly in the Collingwood camp. Earlier this year the AFL announced that the rights to the next twenty two (through to 2040), grand finals would be locked into the MCG venue. This created a stir amongst the AFL public in what outlined a bias for the interstate teams that had to travel to Melbourne to win themselves a premiership. Of course, the argument was made that, years gone past interstate teams have come to Melbourne and won themselves premiership and not just once. The game has changed in the twenty years(ish) since the Brisbane Lions won the hatrick and unfortunately the game hasn't been able to move with the times. The game is now a matter of inches, defining moments, and split second decisions and such a bias of home ground is too much of an advantage in this modern game. I'd argue that for an interstate team to come to Melbourne and beat the Melbourne team in a grand final, you'd need to be, at least, a 5 goal better team to hoist the cup. 

The past six years, the grand final has consisted of one interstate team against one Melbourne based team and only once out of those last six years was an interstate team able to lift the cup. Sydney defeated Hawthorn in 2012 by 10 points. Since that grand final, four of the five interstate teams that come to Melbourne (Fremantle, Sydney, Sydney and Adelaide) were favourites and were inevitably toppled by the Melbourne based team. More so a piggy-back notion from the above point, interstate teams have not had as much luck in the grand final in recent time.

A few novelty picks in the Norm Smith will have us cheering for the Pies just that little bit more. Grundy should be relatively 'un-checked' in the ruck and should be able to hit his season averages for hitouts and possessions. If he does this, he'll go almighty close to being named Norm Smith medallion winner for this year's grand final. A couple others worth spec'ing will be Taylor Adams for the Pies midfield who has had two strong performances against the Eagles already this year. The hard nut Pie is a bull in and around the stoppages and if Pies are going to stop the smooth game style of the Pies, Adams will be a big reason for this. Finally, Jordan De Goey up forward is a true barometre for the Magpies. When he plays well, so do the Magpies. It'd be silly not to have something on De Goey here who could easily bag himself three or four goals to wrap this game up.

As soon as both prelims' finished last week, my tip for this matchup was already set - the Collingwood Magpies would win this years premiership. Three weeks ago when these two teams met in WA, the Eagles were left scrambling for a solution for the Pies as they looked like running away with a win that'd take them straight through to the preminlinarys. To the Eagles credit, they were able to rally themselves and get themselves back into the fight in the last quarter. Can they do that again, on the other side of the country through? As explained above, I can't viably find myself being with the Pies here and, by some chance that the Pies are able to jump the blocks like they did against the Tigers. Don't expect a spirited come back from the West Coagles Eagles away from home. It will only be a matter of time before the MCG is ringing out the hollowed chants of 'COLLINGWOOD' as they go on to win their 16th premiership flag. 

OTP Recommendation

Collingwood Magpies To Win6.5u at 1.72Bookie Image 1-6.5

OTP Recommendation

2.5u Over 160.5 Total Points2.5u at 1.91Bookie Image 2-2.5

OTP Recommendation

Brody Grundy To Win Norm Smith0.5u at 10Bookie Image 3-0.5

OTP Recommendation

Taylor Adams To Win Norm Smith0.25u at 16Bookie Image 4-0.25

OTP Recommendation

Jordan De Goey To Win Norm Smith0.25u at 14Bookie Image 5-0.25

    Grand Final -10 10 -100%
    Finals Week Three -9.5 9.5 -100%
    Finals Week Two +7.53 7.5 100%
    Finals Week One +8.45 13 65%
    Round Twenty-Two -4.7 13.25 -35%
    Round Twenty-One -4 13 -31%
    Round Twenty +3.76 10 38%
    Round Nineteen -9.5 9.5 -100%
    Round Eighteen -7.75 14 -55%
    Round Seventeen +0.68 7 10%
    Round Sixteen -4.11 12 -34%
    Round Fifteen -8.5 8.5 -100%
    Round Fourteen +6.5 8 81%
    Round Thirteen -7 7 -100%
    Round Twelve -0.72 5.5 -13%
    Round Eleven -2.93 7.5 -39%
    Round Ten +1.5 8 19%
    Round Nine +7.84 8.5 92%
    Round Eight +3.5 8 44%
    Round Seven +2.35 7.25 32%
    Round Six +1.15 5.5 21%
    Round Five +5.32 9 59%
    Round Four -2.1 6.5 -32%
    Round Three -0.35 5.5 -6%
    Round Two -1.5 6 -25%
    Round One +2.56 6 43%
    Futures -6 6 -100%
    Total -27.52 231.5 -12%

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