AFL Finals Week 2 Preview & Betting Tips

The following are previews with betting tips for the second week of the 2017 AFL finals series.

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Friday, September 15


Geelong v Sydney

View a detailed form guide for Geelong v Sydney


The Cats were once more embarrassed on the big stage when the Tigers ran all over them in the last quarter on Friday night. They are now forced to take on the rampant Swans—the team who belted them in last year’s preliminary final—in a knock-out semi-final at the MCG. It doesn’t look good for Chris Scott’s men right at the moment. The Swans continued their red-hot regular season form into the first week of the finals, beating the Bombers by a massive 65-points. The only negative was a heavy knock to the leg of superstar forward Lance Franklin, but that shouldn’t slow him down too much after a full week’s recovery.

The Swans will head in unchanged, while the Cats have recalled Daniel Menzel—with Chris Scott stating it was probably a mistake to drop him in the first place—along with Darcy Lang, while Cam Guthrie is out with a calf injury and Jordan Murdoch has been omitted. They’ve decided against bringing big man Wylie Buzza back into the side, which is probably fair enough considering the weather forecast for Melbourne is again questionable.

The Cats face a real uphill battle to make something of their season from here—if they do manage to get past the Swans they will have to travel to Adelaide to take on the Crows next week. How quickly things can fall apart on the back of just one finals loss after such a solid home and away season.

Once upon a time it would be said that the Swans have nothing to lose, since they finished outside the top four, but the Swans are a genuine flag threat and they know it. If they make it to the big dance I expect they’ll beat Richmond/GWS/West Coast—the big challenge is these next two weeks. They’ve beaten Geelong in their last three encounters and there’s no reason to think they can’t do it again. Their best players are firing and their depth has become strong at just the right time. I’m not sure the same can be said for Geelong. Joel Selwood wasn’t 100% fit last week and I don’t think that’s going to change this week either. Without him firing, I really can’t imagine the Cats getting over the line in this one—he was massive in last year’s preliminary final and they still got smashed. Unfortunately for Geelong, I think we might see a fairly close replica of that game this Friday night.

Betting tip: Sydney (-18.5) @ $1.97 (BetFair)

Saturday, September 16


GWS v West Coast

7:25PM AEST, Spotless Stadium
View a detailed form guide for GWS v West Coast


With the first three games of the weekend all turning into blowouts, footy fans all over the country were crying out for a close contest when the ball was bounced to kick off the Port Adelaide v West Coast contest on Saturday night. Well, it couldn’t have been much closer. Not only were the scores tied at full time, it took a kick after the siren in extra time to separate the two clubs. As with the other games on the weekend, it wasn’t necessarily a great game of footy—the pressure was high, which made for scrappy football. But from three-quarter time onwards, it was an amazing spectacle to watch. West Coast were lucky in some respects to get over the line, but at the same time they deserved it. They worked extremely hard and never gave up, even when it looked like Port were going to run away with it. After such a gruelling encounter, you’d think they’ll struggle to back it up this week if the game is still an arm-wrestle in the dying stages, but only time will tell how much an extra 10 minutes of game time actually has on their recovery.

GWS will be sorely disappointed with their efforts against the Crows on Thursday night. They were the underdogs and were always going to need to be at their best to topple the Crows, but they performed well below par and never really looked like challenging the home side, who did as they pleased all night. It was a low-scoring game in scrappy conditions, which really didn’t suit the GWS tall forward structure. This week their hand has been forced into going smaller, with the injured Jeremy Cameron set to be replaced by veteran Steve Johnson. Ruckman Shane Mumford has also been ruled out for the remainder of the season with an ankle problem, and in a surprise move, GWS have opted to bring in first year midfielder Tim Taranto rather than replacing him with fellow ruck Dawson Simpson. This will mean Rory Lobb will spend most of his time in the ruck, making their forward line even smaller and potentially less predictable. Lobb hasn’t played as a sole ruck too often, and while Eagles’ pair Drew Petrie and Nathan Vardy were massive last weekend, they’re not the strongest ruck combination going around so it might not be such a big move.

I have major doubts over GWS after watching them against the Crows on Thursday, but I think they’ll be able to progress through to a preliminary final showdown against the Tigers without too much trouble. As much as the Eagles deserve to be playing this week, I think Port would have been a greater challenge for the Giants. And with the Eagles having done so much travelling, along with playing an extended game last weekend, I expect them to fatigue more quickly than the Giants, which could be telling if the game is on the line at three-quarter time. Regardless, I don’t expect this to be case—GWS should be strong enough to hold West Coast at arm’s length throughout the whole contest and should win fairly easily.

Betting tip: GWS (-21.5) @ $2.20 (William Hill)


Best Bets of the Round

GWS (-21.5) @ $2.20 (William Hill)


Season Tally

All Bets:        -28.94 units

Best Bets:     +5.80 units

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