AFL Preview: Cats v Swans

afl-prelimenary-finals-cats-v-swans

AFL Preview: Finals Week 3
Geelong v Sydney
7.50pm AEST, Friday, September 23
MCG, Melbourne

Best: Sydney +7.5 ($1.93)
Value: Sydney WIN ($2.35)
Other: Wire To Wire – Any Other Result ($2.00)

Geelong and Sydney produced one of the most memorable finals this century a decade ago. Can they produce another epic contest?

Form
Geelong reach preliminary final weekend on something of a quiet eight game winning streak, beating worth adversaries like Adelaide, the Bulldogs and of course Hawthorn in that run. They accounted for some lower sides in the final home and away rounds, beating the likes of Essendon, Richmond, Brisbane and Melbourne by an average margin of ten goals, and reach this weekend both experienced and confident.

Sydney were hot coming into finals, winning six in a row by an average margin of 59 points, but were brought completely undone against a more ferocious GWS outfit in their first final. They looked slow and injured coming out of that game, but overcame those concerns in putting Adelaide to the sword early last week, with the result never really in doubt after quarter time. Their best has proven to be fluent and dangerous, winning the ball at the coal-face and running it with authority.

Key Match-ups

Patrick Dangerfield v Lance Franklin
These two will obviously not play on each other, but as the two biggest superstars in the finals series, their respective impacts will go a long way to determining the result. Dangerfield posted big numbers against Hawthorn in week one of finals, and he was a presence but low on impact relative to his possession count. Franklin was further upfield and goalless in Sydney’s loss to GWS, but played closer to goal and kicked four against Adelaide.

Tom Hawkins v Heath Grundy
Tom Hawkins has been a proven big game and big moment player for the Cats since coming of age with a match-winning role in the winning 2011 grand final. His stats belied his influence against the Hawks two weeks ago, creating play and using meaningful possessions whenever Geelong needed it. Heath Grundy has had a good season for the Swans and if he can nullify the big Cat, he can help his side into a Grand Final.

Stats That Matter

Geelong and Sydney have split their last ten clashes 5-5, with the Swans winning their only 2016 match by 38 points at Simonds Stadium. The two sides have not met at the MCG since 1934. They have only met once in a final, in 2005 at the SCG.

Geelong have won four of five at the MCG this year, at +16% POT and 20% ATS. Sydney have won one and lost one at the MCG this season. The Swans have one win from three MCG finals over the last five years (-8% POT and 33% ATS). The Cats have two wins from six MCG finals in the same period (-60% POT and 17% ATS).

Geelong have not conceded more than 83 points in their last seven matches. Sydney have covered the line in five of their last seven games. The Swans have not won as underdog since Round 16 – when they defeated Geelong.

DT Talk Player Prop Bets

AFL DreamTeam Talk Bets

Is there any better way to kick off a weekend than a Friday night Preliminary Final? I don’t think so.

Separating the superstars in this game was always going to be tough. But after weighing up form and previous history here, the answer has to be Patrick Dangerfield (just). He’s paying $3.30 to have the most touches tonight and is coming off a nice 35 against the Hawks two weeks ago. He had 34 on the Swans in round 16 and as we know, Sydney can give up plenty of the ball to their opposition midfielders. Josh Kennedy ($3) is the obvious danger after his mammoth 42 disposals last weekend, but I still have Danger beating him by a couple.

Dan Hannebery ($5) is going far too well at the moment to pass up on in the Fantasy market. He hasn’t dropped under 100 in his last seven games this year at an average of 119.

Last week, Roy was all over Jake Lloyd and for a million and one good reasons. He fell just short but that won’t stop us jumping back on the man who has averaged 28 touches in his last three games. At $2.20 he basically a sure thing to take out group B for disposals and although we won’t get him at $7 this week, he is paying $4 to take out group B in Fantasy. He has averaged 104 in his last six games and even had a solid 96 in his last game at the MCG.

Finally, expect Luke Parker to get down and dirty tonight to lay the most tackles. Out of everyone in the group, he has laid 8 more tackles than the second best player over the last two games and although he’s the favourite, $3.25 is still super value.

Betting Data
2016 Line: Geelong 12-11, Sydney 15-9
2016 Over/Under: Geelong 9-14, Sydney 14-10

Final Thoughts

After looking finished a week ago, all of a sudden the Swans are back, having reminded everyone why they were premiership favourites when the finals started. They put in an awesome performance against Adelaide, led by their premier midfielders racking up big numbers, and while Geelong has the devastating Dangerfield / Selwood combination, Sydney has Kennedy, Hannebery, Parker, Mitchell and now Heeney, with Jack and Lloyd riding shotgun. They bat deep for quality.

Both sides have an inexperienced and potentially vulnerable bottom six, and those younger players handle the heat of the big preliminary final stage will shape the outcome.

There will be doubts all week about whether the week off as well as the pre-finals bye will help or hurt Geelong. Will they be showing ring-rust? Or was it just the freshen up their experienced players needed? If they drop this cut-throat final after an eight game winning streak, it will be blamed.

Sydney is more likely to win the midfield battle through weight of numbers, and they do score more heavily than most people give them credit for. They also have the best defence in the league, so there is enough weapons across the ground for them to secure victory.

How It’s Shaping Up
Sydney by 11 points

Best Bet
Sydney +7.5 ($1.93)

Other Recommended Bets
Sydney WIN ($2.35)
Wire To Wire – Any Other Result ($2.00)

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