The AFL finals are looming and if the Western Bulldogs’ proved anything last year, it was that the pre-finals bye is a potential game changer.

The week off is a reset button on the season and every team will rate their chances. We look at why your side will win the AFL Grand Final this year. All betting prices, are thanks to our partner, Crown Bet.

 

Picture: Quinn Rooney (Getty Images)

Adelaide Crows

Premiership odds: $3.75

The Adelaide Crows have been the best side all regular season. Nobody can argue that. Their quality has been ever present and they have looked like the Harlem Globetrotters on occasion. The Crows have kicked the most goals in the competition and it isn’t even close. Adelaide has scored around fifty more goals than the next highest scoring side. The other team cannot handle the Crows’ scoring, and if they continue to click Adelaide will win the premiership.

Key Player: Roary Sloan

The physical presence in the middle has laid more tackles than any other player. He is by far the Crows’ best midfielder and when tagged out of games, Adelaide has looked somewhat mortal. Whilst he misses tonight’s match, he should come back for the remainder of the Crows’ finals campaign. Expect Sloan to come back with a bang.

 

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Sydney Swans

Premiership odds: $4.50

You can’t keep a champion down. After a poor start to the season, the Swans are now the second favourite for the flag and are the in-form side. The Swans are the most known quantity heading into in the finals. We know who they are and what they are capable of doing.  Their midfield is still one of the best in the league, and they have the best match winner in the AFL. The Swans have managed to continue to implement a slew of young talent to their team. Expect them to dismantle Essendon this weekend and move on to bigger and better things. They are the side nobody wants to face and they will prove why.

Key player: Lance Franklin

Dangerfield, Martin, Fyfe, Ablett… They’re all great. However, if you still lined up every footballer against a wall and picked a team schoolyard-style to win you an AFL finals game, my first choice would be Lance Franklin. Without question. Buddy has been the most consistent forward this century and is almost underrated. Going from a tall who played small, Buddy is now the complete package as a forward. He is unstoppable

The only thing that we don’t have from Buddy is an iconic Grand Final. His best performances have been in losses. Expect him to cross that off this season.

 

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GWS Giants

Premiership odds: $5.50

The Giants were the pre-season favourites and for good reason. The best collection of young talent since the Micky Mouse Club in the early 90s, the Giants had a roster of future stars. In fact, the Giants have so many young guns that they are trading the ones that don’t even play for further first round draft picks to add to the stable of talent. It is a great little cycle for the Giants. Thir season was a little off, but injuries had an impact on their season. Finally, with their best players on the park, expect them to win the flag.

Key player: Jonathan Patton

The former number one pick has all of the tools and at times he decides to use them and is dominant. However, the feel with Jeremy Cameron still doesn’t fit as well as it could. Patton loses his mojo on occasion, however, if he finds it this month he could single handily drag the Giants to their maiden premiership.

 

Geelong Cats

Premiership odds: $6.00

The Geelong Cats just keep on keeping on. Almost the San Antonio Spurs of the AFL, the small-market team has come good and are now a destination club for free agents. Not that you can blame the players, playing elite footy and living in Moggs Creek sounds like an amazing life. Regardless, the Cats are one of the best sides in the league again this season and go into the finals with a head of steam. A first round match against the Tigers will be a tough one, however after successfully trialling tagging two midfielders against GWS, expect the Cats to shut down Cotchin and Martin. The extra week off will be ideas as Joel Selwood comes back into fitness and pushes the Cats to another premiership.

Key player: Tom Hawkins

Hawkins is not in Geelong’s best five players. However, he is arguably their most important. When Hawkins is at full flight, he is almost unstoppable. Whilst ‘Dangerwood’ will be the names on most of the fans’ lips, the big forwards tend to have their days in the finals and Hawkins is a matchwinner.

 

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Richmond Tigers

Premiership odds: $6.50

The. Lid. Is. Off. Tigers’ fans are up and about, and with good reason. Richmond has not had too many off days this season and the holy tattooed one has committed to the club long-term. The Tigers will obviously be the victim of a lot of hype, which fits because this is the closest they have been to a premiership in many years. They will come out this Friday night against Geelong on a wet MCG and dominate. Rance will make viewers forget Hawkins is playing and Selwood will struggle coming back underdone. Meanwhile, the Richmond small forward line will apply forward pressure and keep the ball in their fifty. After a hard fought win against the Cats, then the Tigers will have a home prelim at the MCG. From there you can see just how much confidence the Tigers have in each other. Martin will win the Brownlow medal and follow it up with a Norm Smith in the Grand Final

KeyPlayer: Alex Rance

The All-Australian captain will need to be at his best throughout the finals. Tom Hawkins this week and possible Taylor Walker or Jeremy Cameron in the prelim, there are many talented key forwards in the finals. If Rance can shadow the best forward, then the Tigers are always a great chance to win.

 

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Port Adelaide

Premiership odds: $17

“Port Adelaide are flat track bullies”. “They can not perform against the good sides”. The critics will say whatever they like but the fact remains, Port Adelaide have had a great season and have hit the finals playing good football. With the all the talk about what Port can’t do, nobody has mentioned what they can do. Port Adelaide has a team full of match winners; There are a number of players who can be an x-factor in an AFL finals game. Furthermore, all of the reserve teams are playing finals in the SANFL and they have depth at the right time. Port should take care of West Coast and then they have enough difference makers in the forward half to go deep in September

Key Player: Charlie Dixon

The big man is one of the best forwards in the league on his day. Expect him to have his ‘day’ a lot during the finals. I am not sure if Crown Bet are offering a Premiership/Most goals in the finals double, but if they were, Charlie Dixon would be my smokey. One will definitely not happen without the other.

 

 

 

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West Coast Eagles.

Premiership odds: $41

The West Coast Eagles snuck in to the finals by a bee’s reproductive organ. The ‘live ladder’ after every goal in their last game against Adelaide was something to savour. Now they hit the finals with an away game, which is usually a tough ask. However, the Eagles have a decent record in Adelaide and they tackle a Port Adelaide team who folds under pressure faster than origami.

The Eagles also have the bonus of having the best goal kicker in the league. Josh Kennedy is the Eagles’ best weapon and he is consistently firing. Expect Kennedy to dominate the full-backs in the AFL finals. To go with their chief forward, the West Coast list is at a prime age and are ready to strike.

Key Player: Sam Mitchell

Sam Mitchell is not the player he once was. The Brownlow medallist’s game has dropped off this year. Sam Mitchell is, however, still a great player. Mitchell is also the most experienced premiership player this AFL finals series. Mitchell has the much needed big-game experience and can lead the West Coast side to glory. A fitting send off for the superstar.

Not bad for someone who would struggle to get a game at another club.

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Essendon Bombers

Premiership odds: $51

The ultimate Cinderella story. The Essendon bombers’ season has gone as well as even the most optimistic fan could have guessed. To be able to make the finals and have All-Australian players after having a season suspension is a credit to the club and players.

Key player: Joe Daniher

Jumping Joe has the habit of making the miraculous look easy. However, Joe Daniher also has the habit of making the easy look impossible. For the Essendon Bombers to keep adding pages their Cinderella story, Daniher will have to be at his best.