The following is a preview with betting tips for the 2015 AFL Grand Final.
Saturday, October 3
West Coast vs Hawthorn
2:30PM AEST, MCG
As a fan, the AFL season always seems to pass by so quickly. The players say the season drags on and is much too long, which is fair enough when you’re out there playing each week, but for us spectators it seems to pass in the blink of an eye. Unless your team is struggling down the bottom of the ladder, that is. And once again, when we’re not yet ready for it to be over, the last, and biggest, game of the season is upon us. And once again, for the fourth consecutive year, the Hawks will be one of the last two clubs left standing. It’s already an outstanding achievement, but if they manage to get over the line on Saturday they’ll rightfully go down as one of the greatest teams of all time.
But it’s not going to be a walk in the park. The Eagles are in full flight and will be ready to give the Hawks everything they’ve got. We all saw a few weeks back how the Eagles were able to make the Hawks look second rate. That game was, of course, played over in Perth, on a ground the Eagles are used to playing on, and in front of a largely supportive crowd, to say the least. But regardless of the venue, the Eagles have shown that if they play their best footy, they’re more than capable of becoming the 2015 premiers. On the other hand, if they don’t produce their absolute best, the game is likely to be over in the early stages of the second half.
All things being equal, I’d probably back the Hawks to win their third premiership on the trot. As good as the Eagles have been all year, the Hawks are probably still the best team in the competition. But all things are not equal, and there are some small things going against the Hawks that could turn out to be quite significant in determining who will hold the 2015 premiership cup aloft. The Hawks didn’t get a week off on semi final weekend, while the Eagles did. They’ve also travelled to Perth twice in this finals series, and these two factors will be exacerbated by the fact that Saturday is predicted to be a warm 28C. Not to mention the fact that the Hawks are going in with a few players who are under injury clouds, in Hodge and Gunston. This clearly all adds up to give the Eagles an advantage, but how big that advantage will be is yet to be determined.
I’ve summed up the reasons each club will win in the following succinct dot points:
- Spread of scoring options
- Deeper midfield
- Defensive structures
- Josh Kennedy (and spread of other scoring options)
- Will cope better with heat considering they’re used to Perth conditions and the Hawks haven’t had the luxury of a week off
- A few key Hawks have injury related question marks hanging over them
In my eyes, what it comes down to is the first half. If the Hawks can overawe the Eagles in the early stages of the contest and create a significant lead, which in a Grand Final can be as little as 3 goals, then I’d expect the Hawks to hold on and go back-to-back-to-back. But if the Eagles start well and keep the contest even, I’m thinking that they’ll be able to go the distance and outlast a Hawks side that surely must be weary after yet another long season.
Betting tip: 2 units – Eagles to win @ $2.50 (LuxBet)
1 unit – Norm Smith Medal – Josh Kennedy @ $16 (Sportsbet)