The following are previews with betting tips for the first week of the 2015 AFL Finals.
Friday, September 11
West Coast vs Hawthorn
8:20PM AEST, Domain Stadium
The Finals are finally upon us, and they’re starting off with what most would classify as the most important game; a game that will shape the finals and put one of these clubs in the box seat to play in the Grand Final. At the risk of oversimplifying the whole finals series, I’d say if the Hawks get up over in Perth, the premiership will be theirs to lose. If the Eagles get up, it throws the playing field wide open. Just because of this, I’m sure the Eagles will have a strong contingent of neutral supporters all over the country. The important support, however, will come from the Perth crowd who will flock to Domain Stadium to will the Eagles home. Whatever the result, they’re in for a spectacle. This is going to be a ripping game of footy.
I’ve changed my mind a few times over the course of the week in regards to picking a winner, but at this stage I’m leaning slightly towards the Hawks, mainly because of their experience and their even spread of contributors all over the ground. While the Eagles are also a great team, they’ll be relying ever so slightly more heavily on a few key players to get them over the line. They need Naitanui, Kennedy and Gaff to be amongst their best to win. Especially Naitanui. If he can have a big game then you’d think the Eagles will progress to a home Preliminary Final. I expect the Hawks to put a lot of work into him, but the question is, at full flight, can he be stopped? I definitely think he could have a massive influence and win the game for the Eagles, but all things being equal, the Hawks would probably win this game 6 or 7 times out of 10, so I’m going to have to stick with the reigning champs. But it will be extraordinarily close. Buckle in.
Betting tip: 1 unit – Hawks to win @ $1.94 (Matchbook)
1 unit – First Goal Scorer – Jack Darling @ $13 (Sportsbet)
Saturday, September 12
Fremantle vs Sydney
1:20PM AEST, Domain Stadium
The lead-up to this contest has almost been overshadowed by the recent news that Buddy Franklin is suffering from a mental illness and will be out indefinitely. It’s shocking news for the Swans, as well as the whole footy world, as we all want the opportunity to watch Buddy strut around and perform on the big stage. Well, maybe all of us bar Freo supporters. It does undoubtedly take a huge toll on the Swans, and really hurts their chances of pulling off a win here. They’re already faced with the huge task of travelling over to Perth and knocking off the number one ranked team after 23 rounds of footy. They’re also already without Luke Parker, and now they’ll be without Kieren Jack and Buddy. Three of their absolute top line players. It’s going to make it hard, if not almost impossible. Maybe the Dockers should rest Fyfe just to even things up a bit. I can see Ross Lyon considering that, can’t you?
You would expect, given the home ground advantage, and given the outs for the Swans, that the Dockers will win this game. The pressure will be on them however, as they’ll be expected to win, and if they don’t, then not only will they have to do something remarkable to end up winning the premiership, the critics will come from everywhere. But, no pressure at all, Freo.
Betting tip: 2 units – Dockers by 1-39 @ $2.00 (Centrebet)
Western Bulldogs vs Adelaide
7:20PM AEST, MCG
While all of the games on this weekend promise to be close, exciting games of football, this one could prove to be the most entertaining. Both teams like to play an attacking brand of footy, and with a dry night predicted in Melbourne, the ball could be zipping from one end to the other for the whole 120 minutes.
The Dogs, while not allowed to play at their home ground, have earned the right to host the final in Melbourne. While it may not give them as big an advantage as Etihad would have, it sure beats playing the Crows at the Adelaide Oval. In fact, the MCG should suit their hard running game, as the wider ground will open up even more if they’re prepared to work hard and make space for each other. The Crows will need to work hard to stop this, but the game will be won and lost in the midfield. If Sam Jacobs gets on top and gives consistent first use to Dangerfield, Sloane and co., well they’re too good not to take advantage of that. But I think that if the Dogs can at least break even in the middle, they’ll be good enough in the other areas of the ground to get a finals win, which would be massive for this club considering where they’ve come from just a short 10-12 months ago. There’ll be a feel good story regardless of who wins this game, so here’s hoping it’s just an absolute cracking game of footy.
Betting tip: 2 units – Dogs to win @ $2.01 (Pinnacle)
Sunday, August 30
Richmond vs North Melbourne
3:20PM AEST, MCG
Well, we do get to watch these teams play two weeks in a row. Not that this will be anything like the game that was played last weekend. For starters, North have dropped the reserves in favour of their seniors, and both teams will actually be trying. It’ll definitely be interesting to see how the differing approach to finals works out for both clubs. Will the Kangaroos have the fresh legs capable of running over the top of the Tigers, or will they take a while to warm up considering the number of players who’ve had a week off?
Whatever the result, you know that the media is going to say that the result was decided by what the Kangaroos did last weekend. It’ll either be ‘Roos’ rest backfires’, or ‘rested Roos vindicated’. But in truth, maybe it’ll have an impact, or maybe it won’t. Maybe the best team will win anyway. And who is the better team out of these two? I’m not sure really, to be perfectly honest. At their best, both teams are formidable opponents, but both have had problems with consistency. I think what it might come down to in the end is the belting that the Tigers copped at the hands of the Power in the finals last year, and their desire to avenge that loss might see them edge out the Kangaroos in an epic contest at the ‘G. Let’s hope there’s more to come later on in September.
Betting tip: 1 unit – Tigers by 1-24 @ $3.30 (UniBet)
1 unit – First Goal Scorer – Dustin Martin @ $13.00 (Sportsbet)