It’s been a tight season and the Finals are just around the corner. Richmond are currently favourites for a back-to-back flag at 2.35 but if you like any of the other seven teams, there’s plenty of value to be had – Geelong which finished the year with twin 100 point wins is 12/1, perennials Sydney are 16/1, while the gritty Hawks are 9/1. Head to Aussie Free Bet for all your Afl Grand Final 2018 Betting info.
Let’s take a detailed look at each team’s chances:
RICHMOND: The reigning Premiers & minor Premiers for 2018, just the eigth time in their long history, will come into their Thursday night (don’t get me started……..) Final at near-full-strength after resting multiple players over the last few weeks. Haven’t travelled interstate too well in 2018 but that is largely irrelevant now. Have won a remarkable 21 games in a row at the MCG. The last couple of wins may be considered a touch lucky but sometimes ………’ya gotta be able to win ugly’. With Lambert, Prestia & Butler set to return over the next couple weeks, the Tigers are going to be hard to beat in September. Our Coaches also settled on the Tigers in our latest poll back in July.
WEST COAST: The Eagles have managed to finish 2nd on the ladder despite never really having their best side out on the park. It’s a testament to their recent recruiting of handy rookies like Rioli, Venables & Ryan and the depth of their list. Even the fact that they’ve continued to win without Kennedy & Naitanui on the park is remarkable. Head here for more injury news. Can they go all the way without their big name players on the pitch? The fact I’m even bringing it up shows that I’m still underrating them 😉 Anything is possible……..
COLLINGWOOD: This team was written off before the season began, has had massive problems with injury all year and yet, here they are after finishing 3rd in the regular season. Wells & Elliott have practically been non-existent, Ben Reid has done his best Copperfield-disappearing-act once again, Howe has missed crucial games with a ‘corkie’, Dunn done his knee along with Scharenberg (again) and Treloar hasn’t been sighted since tearing both hammys. There is a lot to like about this Magpie outfit however. Their attack on the ball rivals that of Richmond in 2017and they have a dominant Ruckmen that racks up disposals like a sprightly midfielder. Perhaps their greatest strength lies in their multiple avenues to goal which adds a touch of unpredictability (Stephenson, Mihocek, De Goey, Hoskin-Elliott & Thomas just to name a few). Will be a huge game in Perth in Week One…….
HAWTHORN: Here we are again, how did this happen so quickly? After their recent three-peat, you could’ve forgiven the Hawks for dropping into mediocrity for the next few seasons. No such thing with Hawthorn however! They made some tough calls in the recruiting department with some club legends (Lewis & Sam Mitchell), went all-out to get Tom Mitchell (future Brownlow Medalist……very near future!) and suddenly have a plethora of young talent to assist their ageing stars. I still maintain that the Hawks had an easy fixture after the Bye Rounds but you still have to win the games that matter. McEvoy’s recent return from injury has also given them a jolt at the right time. Hard to see them getting over the Tigers in Week One…..or is that my Tiger bias talking? 😉
MELBOURNE: Finally made their first Finals Series in twelve years but have been burdened with a very long injury list. Honestly hard to see the Dees progressing further than Week Two without a full side. Lever, Hogan and Jack Viney are the big three that are set in their Best22 that will be sorely missed. Perhaps I’m being too negative……….. the Dees have beaten fellow finalists GWS and the Eagles in recent weeks and pummelled most teams outside the Top8 (2nd highest %). Have lost to Geelong by 3 & 2 points this season, bound to be another nail-biter next week.
SYDNEY: Have made yet another Finals Series, continuing their amazing run over the last 20 years. So much will be dependant on the fitness of Buddy Franklin who was a late withdrawal last week against the Hawks. Their once-dominant midfield has been a little inconsistent of late with some shock losses to the Suns and Bombers. Will need everything to go right for them if they are to go further than Week Two.
GWS: Have made their 3rd successive Finals Series and will be looking to improve on their last two Prelim Final appearances, where they have lost to the eventual Premiers. As was the case last year, the Giants have again had no luck with injury in 2018. Patton, Scully and Greene have missed large chunks of the season while Shaw, Deledio and Simpson will be lucky to see any action in September as well. The Giants had a good run mid-year winning 9/10 games but have been a touch disappointing over the last two weeks, losing to Melbourne and Sydney. Hard to see them bothering the Top3-4 if they come that far………
GEELONG: Many media pundits expected a Top4 finish from the Cats, especially with such an imposing midfield as Dangerfield, Selwood, Ablett, Duncan & Menegola. Add to that the X-Factor of new recruit Tim Kelly (how was he not playing AFL earlier??) and it was hard to see the Cats struggling at all. Football is a funny game however and the Cats have been a touch inconsistent in 2018. Losses to Adelaide, Essendon and the Bulldogs have been mixed in with some big victories against Collingwood and the Giants. In the end, Geelong were fairly lucky that their last two games of the year were against the Suns and Dockers , enabling them to sneak into Finals. The potential is there to match it with anyone, but they’ll have to be at their very best. Hard to gauge…….
Who do you see winning the Flag this year? Do you agree with my predictions?
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