Rampaging Roy’s Previews – AFL Finals Week 1
By Roy Horgan
What an absolute killer end to the home and away season. Melbourne shat the bed to again leave their supporters in tears..
Dusty re-signed (good re-signing), so did Bucks (seriously, what the actual fuck???)…
the dogs failed to back up last years flag, Selwood somehow made the All Australian team, Rance was named captain (Why????), Rocket Eade has been put out of his misery, Ablett’s really starting to fail at faking that he likes his team the Suns, the Lions won the wooden spoon…
and Freo fans are near suicidal at having to put up with Ross the Boss for a few more years.
Anyway, after such an epic end to the regular season you’d be forgiven for thinking that this finals series is gonna be an absolute ripper. So, lets get into it, shall we…
Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney
Talking Points; The Crows are the best attacking side in the competition, averaging a League-high 109 points per game. They are also the No.1 ranked team for marks inside 50 and second for inside 50s.
It’s been all one-way traffic between the Crows and Giants. The Crows have a clear advantage in their eight previous meetings, with a 7-1 win-loss record. Five of those games have been decided by more than 50 points.
When it comes to finals experience, the edge goes with the Giants. They have a combined 135 games compared to 130 for the Crows. Adelaide is attempting to win its first qualifying final since 2006.
The Game; I reckon this will be the game of the weekend with first place taking on fourth. The Crows clearly have the wood over the Giants winning 7 out of their 8 encounters including a 56 point flogging in round 1 this year. But the Crows have lost their last 2 games of the home and away season, no doubt taking their foot off the gas as top spot was already assured. Form isn’t something that can be turned off and on with the flick of a switch though and Crows supporters should feel a bit nervous going into this one. The Giants have been underachieving all season and with undoubtedly the most talented list in the game we all keep waiting for the GWS juggernaut to unleash, reach their true potential and start smashing everyone before them. Is this the game where they finally break the shackles and go beast mode???
I’m tipping the Crows to get up by about 17 points in this one due to their current record over GWS and the very advantageous home ground advantage being too much for the Giants to overcome.
Geelong v Richmond
Talking Points; Geelong continues to dominate Richmond, winning the last 13 matches dating back to the Tigers’ last win in round nine, 2006. The Tigers haven’t defeated the Cats at the MCG since 1999!
Richmond finished the home and away season with the third-best defence, conceding 76 points a game and giving up 100 points in a game only twice.
There is a big difference in finals experience between these sides. Geelong has a combined 185 games compared to Richmond’s 65. Chris Scott has coached in 11 finals for five wins, while Damien Hardwick is winless from three finals
The Game; Tigers fans must be absolutely shitting themselves about this game! Talk about a bogey side for the Tigers with the Cats seemingly invincible when they match up against one another. 13 wins in a row for the Cats against the Tigers doesn’t make for pretty reading but if ever there was a chance for the sequence to be broken I reckon it could be in this game. The Tigers definitely have the game plan and players to finally get a win over the Cats and the fact that this is being played at the MCG instead of Kardiniar Park is a huge coupe for Richmond. The Cats look almost certain to regain inspirational skipper Joel Selwood for this clash which will lift the side immensely. Without a doubt, the highlight of this match will be watching the games two biggest starts Dusty and Dangerfield go at it at finals pace.
This should be a classic duel and tight contest and i’m going to buck the trend and pick Richmond to just get up by 5 points and finally end their Geelong hoodoo.
Sydney v Essendon
Talking Points; The Swans won a thriller over the Bombers in round 14; Essendon led by 19 points at the 23-minute mark before the Swans finished strong and won thanks to a Gary Rohan goal after the final siren.
Sydney has dominated Essendon recently, winning the past seven matches including two by 50 points or more. The Bombers last defeated the Swans in round 20, 2011 by just one point.
Sydney has won its last three elimination finals since 2008, while Essendon is aiming for its first finals win since 2004. The sides last played in a final in 1999.
The Game; The bombers had the Swans on the ropes in their game earlier in the season only to let it slip in the dying minute. This will definitely give the Bombers hope but overcoming Sydney in this knockout final is going to be a monumental task. Speed will be the key for Essendon and if they can get the ball on the outside they could really hurt the Swans. This will be countered by Sydney’s big-bodied midfield who will look to dominate the inside contests and starve Essendon from getting outside opportunity. Sydney are definitely the form team of the comp right now and finishing 5th shouldn’t phase them after the obligatory week off for all teams heading into finals. They should be fresh and ready to win the next 4 games to take home the flag while Essendon will already be quite chuffed just to have made the 8 after the last few years of hell. Franklin up forward for the Swans and Joe Daniher for the Bombers should be a real treat to watch playing at opposite ends under frantic finals style play as well as the inside verse outside midfield battle.
Sydney are just too good to bet against in this one and i’m tipping them to get the job done by 35 points.
Port Adelaide v West Coast
Talking Points; Port Adelaide’s win in round 16 ended a three-game losing streak against the Eagles. West Coast has won six of their nine contests since 2011.
Adelaide Oval is a home away from home for the Eagles. They’ve won five out of six games there and are undefeated in three meetings with the Power.
It’s been 10 years since the Power and Eagles met in the finals, Port Adelaide winning that qualifying final in 2007 by three points. The Eagles have lost three of four finals in Adelaide.
The Game; I can’t believe these Port Adelaide pretenders have made it into finals and in 5th place non the less. They’ve barely beaten any top 8 teams all year and to finish in 5th just goes to show that they’ve been gifted an easy draw. The Eagles aren’t much better themselves and have justifiably earned the flat-track bullies tag failing time and time again against the better teams. The Eagles are exceptionally useless at wining games in Victoria but rather strangely have an excellent record at Adelaide Oval. Port will want to get up early to really get the crowd into it and deflate the Eagles confidence. Both teams have very average midfields but each boast a match winning power forward in Dixon and Kennedy. Which of these 2 kicks a bag could very well be the difference on the day.
I just can’t pick these Power flogs even if they are playing at home so i’m going with the Eagles to win by 22.