AFL Preview: Finals Week 3
|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?
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.
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
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.