The Hawks and Bulldogs kick-off the second weekend of the AFL finals with the home team, Hawthorn opening as the UBET favourites to progress to a fifth straight grand final qualifier where they would meet the equal premiership favourites GWS.
The Bulldogs are a big chance of upsetting the Hawks on the back of last week’s brilliant Thursday night display against the Eagles in Perth. The Bulldogs have had more than their fair share of bad luck this year losing club legend Bob Murphy early in the season, but they have rallied to give themselves a hope of breaking the 62-year premiership drought.
The second elimination semi-final of the weekend comes between two non-Victorian teams with the minor premiers Sydney hosting Adelaide at the SCG on Saturday night. The Swans were favourites with UBET heading into the opening week of the finals but have since fallen back in flag betting on the back of last weekend’s loss to crosstown rivals the Giants.
The Crows have defied the odds for most of the year and will have to do the same again this weekend as they opened as the outsiders to conquer the Swans at the SCG. The Crows started as the $2.60 outsiders against Sydney ($1.50) and will gain plenty of confidence in the fact they’ve won two of their last three matches against the Swans at this week’s venue.
Friday, September 16, 7:50pm (AEST) @ MCG
Hawthorn is playing for a place in a record fifth consecutive grand final and fourth straight flag but they must first dispose of a gutsy Bulldogs team that caused a boilover in Perth against the Eagles last weekend. The Hawks know finals footy better than any other club left standing in the competition with 14 finals played over the last four seasons, which has yielded 12 wins including three straight victories in the big dance.
The Bulldogs finally broke their finals duck with a win over the West Coast at Perth’s Domain Stadium last Thursday night. Prior to that victory over the Eagles, the Dogs had not won a finals match since 2009 and they’ve not reached a major semi-final since 2008 when they lost to the Saints. The Bulldogs are in somewhat of a depressing flag drought with their first and only grand final win coming way back in 1954 when they were known as Footscray in the VFL.
Saturday, September 17, 7:25pm (AEST) @ SCG
Sydney would be smarting after letting their qualifying final against the Giants slip at ANZ Stadium last weekend but they would be boosted by the fact they get a second chance at home. While Sydney’s home record against the Crows is far from impressive, their overall home record is good enough and UBET punters are predicting an improvement on that record this weekend.
The Crows possess an imposing record away from home this year but have not travelled to the Harbour City yet. However the last time they played the Swans in Sydney, it was an unhappy showing losing by 52 points. With a place in a grand final qualifier on the line, the Crows will need to summon every ounce of determination to upset the Swans who have only lost back-to-back home games once over the past two seasons.