AFL Preview: Finals Week 1
|Wire to Wire – Sydney Lead at End of Each Quarter ($2.25)
Sydney Line -15.5 ($1.91)
Scorecast – Josh Kennedy to have 30 or more disposals and Sydney win match ($1.90)
We expect to see plenty of fire and brimstone in this Sydney derby.
Sydney have won six in a row heading into finals, but with only one of those against a top eight rival. Big wins over Fremantle (90 points), Port (67), St Kilda (70) and Richmond (113) surrounded a scrappy 9 points victory over North Melbourne down in Tasmania.
GWS have won six of their last seven matches, with the only loss in that time coming to West Coast by a point of the last kick of the day. That may have sparked them into some of their best football with wins over Fremantle by 92 points and North Melbourne by 37 points at Etihad. The last time they beat a top seven side was when defeating Sydney in Round 12.
Lance Franklin v Phil Davis
Buddy has averaged 18 touches and four goals per game in his last four matches against the Giants, which are also his exact averages from the last finals series he played in 2014. He will be looking to make a statement on the big stage after missing September action last year, and his impact will go a long way to deciding the game.
Callum Mills v Toby Greene
The Rising Star winner against the unlikely All-Australian. Mills has made his name this season with his courage under fire, intercept marking and cool decision-making. Greene specializes in getting off the chain, gathering possession and being involved in scoring chains. The most influential of these two will likely be on the winning side.
DT Talk Player Prop Bets
The third final from ANZ Stadium is a game that promises so much. Heath Shaw is usually a guy who breaks promises and our high expectations, but against the Swans he already has some handy runs on the board. He’s paying $2.50 to hold the most marks and has already taken 10 and 9 against them this year. Alex Rance pulled down 9 against the Swans in round 23 and if they are given up marks to defenders, Heath will Shawly be cashing in. Boom Tish!
Earlier this year, GWS tagged Josh Kennedy. That day he had just 25 touches (16 handballs). The guy that caught my eye in the last two rounds was my old mate Tom Mitchell with 19 and 20 handballs. At $4, he’s a good chance, but has burnt me many times this year.
It’s no secret that the Swans midfielders give up plenty of the ball to their opposition. In round 23, even though the Tigers lost by nearly 100pts, Dusty Martin still racked up 33 touches. Enter Stephen Coniglio. This man can find the pill and between rounds 13 and 21 he averaged 31 touches a game. At $8, it’s too good to pass up on.
Stats That Matter
Sydney and GWS have met ten times in their history, with this being their first final. Sydney holds an 8-2 advantage in these clashes. The first three were held at ANZ Stadium, with the Swans winning each one, but the last time they met there was Round 1, 2013.
Sydney are +10% POT this season (ranked league #5) with GWS at +8% POT (ranked #6). Both sides are 64% ATS, putting them equal first for this statistic.
The Swans have lost their last two matches played at ANZ Stadium, which were in 2015, but they have four of their last five finals at the venue. Since the start of 2012, Sydney are ten wins from 17 matches ANZ, at -22% POT and 53% ATS.
GWS have only ever played at ANZ against Sydney, but are yet to win, albeit they covered the line twice in those matches. The Giants have never played a final. GWS have played nine matches in Sydney this season, winning six at -5% POT and 67% ATS.
Sydney bring a wealth of finals and premiership experience to their September campaign, safe in the knowledge they have what it takes to get the job done. GWS will approach the game with the fearlessness that only youth can provide, and will back themselves to win anywhere anytime.
Sydney’s midfield has the edge due to a more consistent spread at the top end, and complementary assets. Josh Kennedy will lead the way, with an understandably superior finals record (average of 29 disposals per final across his career) given his contested and clearance style. He also averages 28 touches per game against GWS.
The Swans will have Buddy Franklin leading the way up forward, along with Isaac Heeney back in form, and someone like Gary Rohan or Ben McGlynn playing a defensive forward role on Heath Shaw, both to prevent his drive and score against him the other way.
Sydney’s defence is the most miserly in the league, and they can strangle the GWS forwards under the pressure of finals, when scoring is more difficult. The Swans will be too hardened, too professional, and too good for the Giants.
How It’s Shaping Up
Sydney by 27 points
Other Recommended Bets
Sydney Line -15.5 ($1.91)