Your AFL Finals Feast is served

Well after a long bye week the AFL finals finally arrived, and we know what it feels like to starve for a fortnight. 2022 will go down as one of the most exciting and captivating seasons I’ve seen. This finals series promises a feast – and didn’t the Lions and Tigers deliver a satisfying entrée last night with a finals classic for all footy fans?

Finals fever returns to Victoria after two years of COVID and hubs as Melbourne host the Swannies in a game that may prove more complex than most expect.  The Swans are without a doubt one of the most exciting teams in the competition and although inconsistent at times are a genuine premiership contender.  The Swans knocked off the reigning premiers at the MCG in round 12 by 2 goals and have arguably improved since that clash.

However, the reigning premiers Melbourne have also hit their straps, with a mammoth 4 quarter effort against the Lions in round 23 delivering the momentum they craved. The Dees are hungry for September success in front of their loyal fans at the MCG.  The Swans have won 8 of their last 10, rubber stamping their form while the Demons’ limped home with 6 wins and 4 losses. Undesirable maybe but a top 4 finish was secured nonetheless. The query remains whether the lofty expectations set at the beginning of the season can be realised by this group and I believe they have their work cut out for them here. The Swans play the MCG as well as any visiting team, and at $2.70 in the market, I see great value in them to deliver the upset against the reigning premiers. 

Saturday afternoon the standout Cats take on the Pies at the MCG in what I see as the most straightforward game of the first round of finals.  The Cats were clearly the best side all season finishing two games clear of the rest of the competition.  Beating the Pies in round 3 by 13 points, Geelong has then gone on to improve out of sight since that victory.  With experience through all lines and a proven coach in September, who would bet against them here?  While Collingwood has exciting young talent and an explosive game style, they will go down swinging. Their never say die season has seen them snatch victory time and again, but on this stage, I am with the Cats who are the most complete outfit in the competition. 

The last game of the round is Fremantle v The Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium on the Western coast of the country.  The Bulldogs snuck into the 8 thanks to Carlton’s failure to rush a late behind in the final moments of the home & away season. Can the doggies take advantage of this slice of luck and make a damaging run through the finals?  Fremantle just missed out on a top 4 spot and are another exciting young outfit that brings a different flavour of the game.  The Dockers have a lethal midfield and a good mix in both the forward and defensive ends, however, are inexperienced when it comes to September footy.  The dogs on the other hand have been in this situation before and have dragged themselves into grand finals with sheer will and proven finals footy.  You can never write that off, but this week I’m saying it’s an ask too big for the sons of the ‘scray, and I think the dockers will be too good in Perth to cap off finals week 1.



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