What a fantastic week of AFL finals we got to enjoy last week! The Bulldogs vs Lions semi was one of the best AFL matches you’ll ever see. Sure, there were some umpiring controversies, but it was a scintillating contest from start to finish, with the Dogs getting the upset win by just one point. After the Cats covered on Friday night, it gave us a perfect 2/2 for our Semi Final tips. Let’s keep the momentum going for this week’s AFL Preliminary Finals.
On Friday night, it’s the Demons and the Cats in what should be another cracking contest. Melbourne will have the big advatange of a week’s rest to recharge their bodies and adjust to life in Perth. Joel Smith suffered a hamstring injury during the week and will miss with Michael Hibbard set to come in. Otherwise, the Dees are pretty settled.
The Cats are definitely weary but they got the job done against the Giants last week. Brandan Parfitt suffered a nasty hamstring injury and he’ll be out for the season, with Mark O’Connor and Tom Stewart hoping to be right for the Grand Final, if they make it! The Cats do have some depth on the bench with the likes of Quinton Narkle, Jordan Clark and high-profile recruit Shaun Higgins left sitting on the sidelines.
If the Cats had held firm in Round 23 and Max Gawn hadn’t kicked a goal after the siren, then perhaps the roles would be reversed here and the Cats would be the warm favourites. They were in control of that Round 23 match for three-quarters but blew it late. Do they have the legs to match it with the Dees? What impact will the extra week of rest have?
It’s a significant advantage for the Demons. I want to tip the Cats but just can’t. Max Gawn will be hard to stop and I expect Clayton Oliver, Jack Viney and Christian Petracca to run out the game best, to give the Melbourne a tight win.
The second Preliminary Final on Saturday night will see the Power host the Dogs. Again this is a case of a weary Dogs team having to trek all around the country to face a fresh Port Adelaide team. The Bulldogs have been from Melbourne to Launceston to Brisbane to Perth and will now head to Adelaide before potentially going back to Perth for the Grand Final. That’s an enormous travel schedule. How will they handle it?
They’ve also copped some tough injuries with Josh Bruce out for the season, Cody Weightman copping a head knock to be ruled out with concussion, while there was a scare with Marcus Bontempelli late in the Semi Final when he went down with a knee injury. It seems that The Bont has avoided major problems and will be right to go, but there will definitely be a cloud over his fitness. By contrast, Port have some players coming back into contention for selection with several playing in the SANFL last weekend.
The Dogs caused an upset last week. Can they do it again? They’ve been in this spot before and their finals experience will hold them in good stead here. It will be important to start well and subdue the crowd, but they do match up well with the Power in terms of having a smaller fleet of runners. Once again, they’ll be looking to try and break even in the ruck which is an area where they have been dominated. If they can do that, then their mids are strong enough, and their forward line potent enough to give the Power problems.
When it’s going well for Port then they are a difficult team to stop, but this is finals football. I think the Dogs have a real opportunity for another upset here and the line looks appealing for a bet.
2021 AFL Preliminary Finals Bets
Melbourne 1-39 vs Geelong – $2.00
Western Bulldogs +13.5 vs Port Adelaide – $1.90
2021 AFL Preliminary Finals Tips