The following are previews with betting tips for the Grand Final of the 2021 AFL season.
Saturday, September 25
Melbourne vs Western Bulldogs
7:15pm AEST, Optus Stadium
It’s been another funny season of AFL footy, but when it all comes down to it the two best teams are playing off in the grand final, and that’s what everyone wants to see. The Demons have been great all year, putting together a consistent season on the back of having the best defense in the league, while the Dogs were sensational all year up until a three week slump right at the end left them outside the top four. But they’ve responded perfectly in the finals, and they now find themselves with a chance of securing a second premiership in six years. Standing in their way is the Demons, a club desperate to do what the Dogs did in 2016 and break a significant premiership drought.
Because of that, the Demons are the club on the emotional rollercoaster right now and will ride a wave of support into the game, but the Dogs won’t be taking it for granted either, knowing how hard it was to back up their 2016 success. The Dogs will be the more experienced side heading into this one, but the Demons have more than enough experienced talent to ensure they are able to handle the occasion. If the Dees were ever going to struggle under the pressure, it was probably going to be in the preliminary final, but they didn’t, playing perhaps their best game of the season.
Max Gawn was absolutely phenomenal, not only dominating the ruck against Geelong but running forward to kick five goals of his own in what was just about a career best game. Much of the fate of the Dees rests on Gawn’s shoulders; if he can produce a similarly stunning game of footy then the Dogs won’t get near them. But, if the combination of Stefan Martin and Tim English can somewhat neutralize the impact Gawn can have on the game then the Dogs will be every chance of taking home the cup. The rest of the midfield battle is evenly poised; both teams have stars running around and plenty of depth. The addition of Martin, along with Josh Dunkley and Adam Treloar, to the team the Dogs last fielded against Melbourne will give the Dees a different look to consider. The Demons won the contested ball quite easily in both of their regular season matches, but Dunkley and Treloar will obviously have an impact in that regard.
If all things are equal — i.e. both teams get through the game in good health and there aren’t any disasters with Steven May or Alex Keath, who both enter this coming off hamstring problems — then it should be a ripping game of footy that could fall either way. The Dees are being heavily backed by most in the media, but the Dogs are in ripping form and are just as talented as their opponent. The game will be won and lost in the midfield, as always; if the Demons can make the most of some Gawn dominance then they’ll win the flag, but if the Dogs’ midfield is able to get on top and give their forwards enough opportunity, then they’re more than capable of causing an upset.
I’m expecting this to be classic grand final and think the final margin will be less than three goals either way, but I’m sticking with the Dees. They’ve been great all year and have had the ideal preparation into this game. They’ve got the wave of support and the emotion that surrounds them might be enough to get them over the line when the going gets tough in the final quarter.
Betting tip: Melbourne to win @ $1.68 (PlayUp)
Best Bets of the Round
Melbourne to win @ $1.68 (PlayUp)