The following is a preview with betting tips for the 2017 AFL Grand Final between the Adelaide Crows and Richmond Tigers.
Saturday, September 30
Adelaide v Richmond
2:30PM AEST, MCG
After what has been one of the most wide open seasons in memory, we’re down to just the final two teams remaining. The Crows have been the best side over the whole year, finishing on top of the ladder and coasting through their two home finals. The Tigers were good all year, but have taken their game to another level over the past month or so—in a similar fashion to last year’s premiers, the Western Bulldogs, in September of last year. Richmond superstar Dustin Martin capped off an outstanding year by taking home the Brownlow medal on Monday night; now he’s looking to become the first player in history to win the Brownlow and the Norm Smith medal in the same year. And if the Tigers get up on Saturday, there’s every chance Dusty ends up with the medal wrapped around his ink-filled neck. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.
The Crows have been the best side all year for a reason. They are strong defensively, have the best attack in the game, and while their midfield was originally a weakness, the form of the Crouch brothers has meant that they can match it with anyone in the middle. Mitch McGovern hasn’t come up from his hamstring injury in time, which is heartbreaking for him and a big loss for the Crows, but one they are more than capable of covering, as they showed last week against the Cats. The Tigers will also field an unchanged lineup following speculation they could be forced to make a change after some players pulled up sore from the win over the Giants on Saturday.
So far it has been one of the worst finals series the AFL has ever seen, with only one game being decided by less than five goals. But a great Grand Final could easily make up for that, and I expect this to be a ripping game. To get to this point they have each had to beat the Giants and the Cats. The Crows beat the Cats by 61 points, the Tigers beat them by 51. They both beat the Giants by 36 points. Looking at those results, these two clubs appear to be very evenly matched. The main difference now is that the Crows will have to travel to the MCG to take on the Tigers on their home deck to win the flag. That definitely gives the Tigers an advantage, but the Crows are a good footy side at any venue.
I love the way the Tigers are playing at the moment, and if they can bring that same intensity and pressure for one last battle then they’ll push the Crows all the way. Trent Cotchin is absolutely manic at the footy, their small forwards are doing plenty of damage, and Alex Rance and his fellow defenders are standing strong. They’d love a few goals from Jack Riewoldt this week. Either way, I give the Tigers a real chance to cause an upset—they haven’t been the best side all year like the Crows have, but they’re peaking at the right time and have the belief that they can do it. I can’t wait to see what happens, but I have a feeling it’ll go right down to the finals seconds and end up a Grand Final of epic proportions.
Betting tip: Richmond (+7.5) @ $1.83 (Ladbrokes)
Norm Smith Medal – Trent Cotchin @ $9 (William Hill)
Best Bets of the Round
Richmond (+7.5) @ $1.83 (Ladbrokes)
All Bets: -28.59 units
Best Bets: +8.15 units