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AFL Finals Week 1 preview

There were four matches in this preview originally, however someone thought the AFL might stick to traditional matchdays in September. But nope, for some reason they have to play on Thursdays as well, so I missed it...

AFL Finals Week 1 preview from @aflratings

Geelong v Hawthorn
Friday 7:50pm AEST
MCG, Melbourne

2016 Win/Loss Record
GEE 17-5
HAW 17-5

2016 Win/Loss Record vs Top 8 Teams
GEE 8-2
HAW 6-4

From a neutral point of view this game is very mouth-watering indeed, off-season list changes at the Cats no more so than the insertion of Patrick Dangerfield has turned Geelong in to an instant Premiership contender. The Cats have struggled for consistency at times this year but enter the 2016 Finals series with the best record of any team against other finalists; they have cruised home in their final 7 H&A games only really being tested by Richmond in Round 21 after storming home in the last Qtr to win by 4pts.

The Hawks have clearly been the heart attack kids in season 2016, they won 6 games by under 10pts and survived a poor percentage to slot in to 3rd position on the AFL ladder. There are so many negatives surrounding Hawthorn this year, the absence of Roughead is huge whilst getting smacked in contested possession most weeks is now considered normal for them but interestingly their lack of scoring has been quite noticeable compared to their 3 previous Premiership years.

Geelong are the only team to be ranked in the top 3 for Points FOR & AGA in 2016, the Cats averaged 101.6pts FOR & 70.6pts AGA during the H&A Season. Hawthorn averaged under 100pts per game for the first time since 2010 this year, the Hawks scored 100pts or more in just 8 games all season.

Most form guides can be thrown out the window when Geelong & Hawthorn play each other especially in finals, forecast wet conditions will favour Geelong with their ability to obtain the contested ball but that may actually fall in to the hands of the Hawks as their game style will thrive on any opponent turnover. Expect a close contest with scoring opportunities more reliant on small to medium forwards, players such as Rioli & Motlop have increased value in Most Goal markets.

Again the week off could be a leveller in this contest, the Cats were disappointing losing to Sydney in Geelong coming off their Round 15 Bye whilst the Hawks were dominant off their Bye with a win in Adelaide against the Power. Not willing to concede on the Hawks chances to win the Premiership this year as they have been outstanding winning it all over the last 3 years, until they are completely out of the Premiership race anytime they start as underdogs the Hawks are appealing even as a small investment.

Sydney v GWS Giants
Saturday 3:20pm AEST
ANZ Stadium, Sydney


2016 Win/Loss Record
SYD 17-5
GWS 16-6

2016 Win/Loss Record vs Top 8 Teams
SYD 6-4
GWS 5-4

Sydney have been outstanding regenerating their playing list whilst remaining in contention to win the Flag in 2016, a necessary influx of youth in to the Swans team has been pivotal resulting in 1st place at the end of the H&A season. Of the 5 losses Sydney encountered 4 of them were by 10pts or less with the only other defeat coming at the hands of the Giants by 42pts at Spotless Stadium in Round 12 this year, if not for a total of 1 less minute in 3 games (Losses to Hawthorn, Richmond & Western Bulldogs) Sydney could have possibly finished the H&A season with a 20-2 record and the entire conversation would have likely been different entering Saturday at ANZ Stadium.

The GWS list build has been first class and as a result they are in contention to contend for their first ever Premiership, devoid of finals experience the Giants playing group will be heavily reliant on experienced stars such as Mumford, Shaw & Johnson to guide them through the intense finals pressure.

Sydney were ranked No.1 conceding just 66.8pts per game in the 2016 H&A season, equally as impressive is the 74.9 points conceded against Final 8 teams also ranked No.1. The Giants challenged for the No.1 ranking for scoring but had to settle for No.2 with 108.2pts per game, however they are ranked No.1 scoring 98.6pts per game against Final 8 Teams.

The venue at ANZ Stadium is intriguing, at the smaller confines of the SCG the Swans would likely be heavier favourites but at the Olympic venue the Giants are much more suited due to their speed and outside running game. Experience should win out in this game with the Swans midfield winning the contested ball and thus giving enough supply to their forward line, if they are vulnerable it could be in defence despite their league best ranking.

Adelaide v Nth Melbourne
Saturday 7:10pm AEST
Adelaide Oval, Adelaide

2016 Win/Loss Record ADE 16-6
NM 12-10

2016 Win/Loss Record vs Top 8 Teams
ADE 4-6
NM 2-9

2016 Home Record
ADE 10-2
2016 Travel Record
NM 4-4

Adelaide would be stunned losing a Top 4 position in the final H&A game at the Adelaide Oval against West Coast, they were completely shut down by the Eagles scoring just 71pts. The Crows have been quite solid all year blowing out inferior opposition with their scoring capabilities, but their 3 worst defeats of the season came when they averaged just 66.0pts per game. Nth Melbourne had a tremendous start to the year winning their first 9 games via a relatively soft schedule, unfortunately injuries hit the Kangaroos at the wrong time of the year limping to a 3-10 record from their final 13 games to make the Final 8 on percentage.

Adelaide scored 100pts or more in 16 games during the H&A Season, that was 5 times more than any other team in the AFL. In their final 11 games Nth Melbourne scored 100pts just once averaging 75.1pts per game, the Kangaroos also conceded 100pts in 5 of their last 11 games at an average of 90.5pts per game.

All the money will be on the Crows this Saturday Night at the Adelaide Oval and quite rightly so, the Kangaroos will almost be friendless in Head to Head Betting. If Adelaide can apply scoreboard pressure early then this could get ugly, the Kangaroos need this game to be in full lock down mode which they are capable of doing.

The Under 176.5 Total Game Points looks quite appealing especially as night conditions could result in a slippery Adelaide Oval and play in to the hands of the contested game style of Nth Melbourne, the last time these 2 teams met was at the Adelaide Oval this year in Round 14 resulting in a total of 167pts (Adelaide did finish with 46 scoring shots). Adelaide should be able to advance with a win, but don’t count out Nth Melbourne for being in this game for an extended period of time.

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