What an amazing round to finish the 2021 AFL home and away season. The Power fought back to upset the Dogs and secure a top 2 spot, before Brisbane rubbed salt into the Doggies woulds by defeating the Eagles by enough of a margin to take their place in the top 4. To cap things off, Melbourne came back from a 44-point deficit against the Cats, and with a Max Gawn goal after the siren, they secured the 2021 minor premiership! What a way to finish the season!
It sets up well for the first week of the 2021 AFL Finals which will be played in Adelaide and Launceston to allow some fans to attend. Big advantage for Port Adelaide as the only team to be able to play in front of home fans.
Port will take on Geelong on Friday night with the Power the $1.74 favourites at the start of the week. The Cats will be reeling after choking against the Demons, while the momentum is certainly with the Power after their remarkable come back against the Dogs. Before that match, there were questions over the Power’s ability to compete with the top 4 teams, but with the likes of Duursma, Butters, Fantasia and Gray returning to the side in recent weeks, they are looking far more dangerous. They move and spread so much faster, which bodes well for their power forwards.
The Cats will be looking to slow things down and rely on their foot skills to hit targets and control the ball. And it was a game plan that was working for three quarters against the best team in the competition. It will be tough in front of the rabid Adelaide locals, but I think the Cats are still the team to beat in 2021, so happy to take them as underdogs.
It’s a Sydney derby on Saturday afternoon with the Swans and Giants clashing in Launceston in an Elimination Final. The Giants have hit form at the right time of the season, but the Swans have been excellent all year and just seem a step above their cross-town rivals. Sydney will be sweating the fitness of Callum Mills who didn’t seem right before being subbed out of the game last weekend. Other than Mills, the Swans seem ready to go, with Franklin and Heeney firing up forward, they just seem to have too much firepower for the Giants.
Saturday night will see Melbourne take on Brisbane on the neutral ground at the Adelaide Oval. Not ideal for the Demons, but they are the minor premiers and the favourites to go all the way. They should be confident here against the inconsistent Lions. Both teams have weaponry all over the ground, but the edge will be in the ruck for the Dees with big Max Gawn riding high after his heroic goal after the siren. He’ll be able to give first use to his mids which could be the difference. The Lions really only got the better of the Eagles very late in their Round 23 clash, and while their best has been very good, they have had multiple lapses in games which you just can’t afford to do against the better teams. Melbourne to cover the -6.5 spread is our best bet of the round.
Finally the Bulldogs will be ropeable about having to travel to Launceston to play Essendon in an Elimination Final. After superb start to the season, they really did deserve a better finish than fifth place against a team that defeated them a fortnight ago. They’ve hit a slump at the wrong time. They copped a bad injury to Josh Bruce which really changed their structure last weekend with Lewis Young thrust into the ruck while Tim English played forward. It’s not ideal as the Dogs were dominated in the ruck, making it tough for their star-studded mids. Both teams are looking stronger in the middle with the return of some key soldiers such as Adam Treloar and Josh Dunkley for the Dogs, counter-balanced by Dylan Shiel and Andrew McGrath for the Dons. It should be a good matchup, so let’s hope for good weather in Launny and a fast-paced game. The Dogs should win, as a loss would be a huge fail on a season that offered so much. Essendon have done well to get this far, but their streak for lack of wins in finals looks set to continue.
2021 AFL Finals Week 1 Bets
Geelong win vs Port Adelaide – $2.10
Melbourne -6.5 vs Brisbane – $1.90
2021 AFL Finals Week 1 Tips