Well, here it is, the last Saturday in September. We didn’t think we would get there but the AFL has done a fantastic job of somehow completing this season at the highest standard. The Wild West will host the grand-final this year between two teams that you can say most definitely deserve to be there. The Demons were ladder leaders for most of the year and then secured the minor premiership with their last kick of the regular season, while the Dogs slipped out of the top four and had to go the long way around to make the grand-final. However, after a week off, they are my favourite for the granny.
The game will be won and lost in the middle with Max Gawn the key to the Demons’ flag chances. If he has one of those games he had last weekend, he will win the Norm Smith and also carry the Demons to a famous win. The Dogs will look to tag him like they did last time out to Alir Alir. English and Martin will play tagging roles and block him off the ball so he can’t get to as many contests as he does. Stopping Gawn can win the Doggies this game.
If the Dogs are to win, they need their mids firing, led by the Bont and Macrae. If they get 30+ touches, you know it is going to good use. Hunter and Libba will find hard ball gets and will help the Bont get going. If the Demons can’t put the stops on him, it could be lights out early, like what happened last outing against the Power. The Dogs will bring in Weightman who adds a lot up forward and is a nuisance for the opposition. Add in Naughton as well in the air – the Demons defenders Lever and May need to stop him. May looks to be carrying an injury and you can’t play injured players in finals, so that could work in the Dogs’ favour.
The Dogs have dropped Gardiner and brought in Keith, who is a steady defender and will use his strength to beat off McDonald. Cordy to go to Brown, I would say, but they work for each other down back and could mix it up.
The Demons have the engine room of a Ferrari with Petracca and Oliver rolling through there and then add Brayshaw and Langdon, it is full force and very hard to stop when going. If they all get going it could be one of the best battles we have seen for a while.
Tipping the Dogs in a close one but it could go both ways. Weather has been forecasted as clear skies and both teams have had the week off, which means it will be hot in the kitchen early.
Head 2 Head
Dogs have won two of the last three games vs the Demons
Dogs win $2.25
Dogs +8.5 $1.90
Norm Smith if Dogs win – Jackson Macrae $11
Norm Smith if Demons win – Max Gawn $9
First goal Dogs – Cody Weightman $13
First goal Demons – Bailey Fritsch $10
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