After all eight finals teams were afforded the week off last weekend, the AFL finals action begins on Thursday night with a Perth blockbuster featuring last year’s runner-up West Coast hosting the Western Bulldogs at Domain Stadium. The Eagles’ incredible home record is a big reason why they will start the match as the clear favourites to end the season of the Dogs.
On Friday, a Victorian blockbuster takes centre stage where the Cats and Hawks renew hostilities in front of what is expected to be a massive MCG crowd. The 2008 grand final combatants have developed a decent rivalry over the last eight seasons and with a grand final qualifier on the line, anything can happen!
On Saturday the Sydney blockbuster between the Swans and Giants at ANZ Stadium is sure to divide Sydneysiders. GWS is enjoying its most fruitful year with a maiden finals appearance, while the Swans are seasoned pros. Then the first week of the 2016 finals series wraps up with an elimination final between the fifth-placed Crows and the eighth-placed Kangaroos at Adelaide Oval.
Thursday, September 8, 7:50pm (AEST) @ Domain Stadium
West Coast is in the comfort zone of Domain Stadium in Perth and are the outright favourites to account for the inconsistent Bulldogs. The Eagles have a very good record against the Western Bulldogs at home and the Western Australian side has a pretty handy home record this season, winning 11 of their 12 matches with their only loss coming against a rampant Crows outfit.
The Bulldogs are yet to travel to Perth to face the Eagles this season but last time these two sides met, which was at Etihad Stadium in round 11 the Bulldogs scrapped their way to a narrow eight point victory. However, the Eagles in Melbourne are a completely different team to the Eagles in Perth. For some reason, West Coast drastically improve whenever they are playing at home.
Lewis Jetta is out with a calf injury for West Coast. The Bulldogs named Easton Wood, Jake Stringer, Jordan Roughead, Jack Macrae and Tom Liberatore to play.
West Coast to cover the line.
Friday, September 9, 7:50pm (AEST) @ MCG
Geelong may not possess the best record over Hawthorn but this year’s reinvention of an already classy outfit is a different beast to past versions. The Cats’ recruitment of Brownlow Medal favourite Patrick Dangerfield gives them a midfield edge over every other team in the AFL and the former Crow looks to be in line for his maiden premiership if the Cats can account for the defending premiers on Friday night.
Hawthorn has the wood on the Cats in recent years but in their only encounter this year, the Cats comfortably beat them by 30 points when Dangerfield produced an incredible 43 disposals. The Hawks have some of the most dynamic attacking and defensive players in the AFL with Cyril Rioli, Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge the headline acts as the proud Hawthorn club looks for a fourth straight premiership.
Scott Selwood is in for the Cats while the Hawks have included Ben McEvoy and Ben Stratton.
Cats to lead at every break.
Saturday, September 10, 3:20pm (AEST) @ ANZ Stadium
Sydney are not the minor premiers for no reason and their 113-point humiliation of Richmond two weeks ago underlined why they are the deserved $3 flag favourites with UBET. The Swans may have a decent record against their crosstown rivals, however the Giants are in the midst of a stellar season and even completed a Swans mauling back in round 12 when they won by 42 points.
GWS is set to make its first ever finals appearance and punters believe they are a genuine shot at winning their first flag in just their fifth season. The Giants are on the fourth line of betting at $7 to win the competition behind Sydney, Geelong and Hawthorn and they are at the juicy odds of $2.90 to upset the Swans in this week’s encounter.
Callum Mills has been named by the Swans. The Giants are unchanged from their last start win.
Swans goal as first scoring play.
Saturday, September, 7:40pm (AEST) @ Adelaide Oval
Adelaide was not expected to make the finals, let alone host one but the Crows have been immense this season, missing out on the top four by just one win. The Crows also possess a decent recent record over the Kangaroos, which includes victory earlier this year when they beat North by 33 points in round 14 at Adelaide Oval where Matt Crouch produced 32 disposals.
After winning their opening nine matches of the season, the Kangaroos have since fallen in a heap winning just three of their last 13 games. North has also dropped their last four matches to sneak into the top eight with losses coming against top eight sides the Bulldogs, Hawks, Swans and Giants. Victory is unlikely, which is why they have been placed as $5 underdogs to progress through to week two of the finals.
Brodie Smith and Rory Sloane are the big ins for Adelaide while the Kangaroos are unchanged in what could be Brent 'Boomer' Harvey's final AFL game.
Back the Crows for the HT/FT lead.