The finals watch
By Foti Mantis
Port Adelaide vs Geelong Cats
Although Port’s record against the Cats at Adelaide oval is unfavorable, the Power’s home advantage should still give them enough to compete with Geelong. Both teams, in recent years, have not had the type of finals run that either club would have hoped for. This year, however, is the best time for either team to make it to the grand final. With both squads relatively healthy, this game will pan out to be the most exciting match in the finals. As for who I think will win, it’s a close call. But, with Gary Ablett, Joel Selwood and Zach Tuohy back in the squad, I think the talent and experience of Geelong will give them an edge over the minor premiers.

Brisbane Lions vs Richmond
The Brisbane Lions are a young and energetic team that have shown great poise and consistency throughout the entire season, finishing just below the Power on percentage. Everything they have achieved has been through grit, determination and hunger. Richmond, on the other hand, have been in this type of position before. Where the Lions will feel the pressure of the finals, the Tigers will showcase their experience and composure in situations like this and run over Brisbane. Since the return of their injured stars, Richmond have hit the type of form they would have wanted heading into the finals. And, although Dustin Martin’s form hasn’t been great, we all know finals Dusty is a different being. My prediction is that Richmond will run over Brisbane in the last quarter of the game, winning by a margin of 20+ points.

West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood
Yet again, the two foes who fought it out in the grand final two years ago face each other in an elimination final. Regardless of injuries, both the Eagles and the Magpies will be fighting it out to try and knock each other off in the first round, more out of pride than to advance in the finals. With Collingwood just edging into a top 8 position, and the questionable form they have shown throughout the season, the West Coast eagles should have enough to eliminate the Magpies. And, despite West Coast falling off in the last few games of the season, a win over Collingwood should give them enough momentum to challenge any other team in the finals.

St Kilda vs Western Bulldogs
We’ve all seen how much damage the Western Bulldogs can cause in the finals, upsetting the Sydney Swans back in 2016. Footy bandits around Australia understand that a game against the Bulldogs can fall either way, even if the odds are against them 10/1. They’ve solidified themselves as a team that can play under pressure, and arguably, play better as the underdogs. St Kilda don’t have much finals experience, and their form from the middle of the season, which saw them in the top 4 for a couple of rounds, has dropped significantly in recent games, However, there’s no arguing the talent that St Kilda possess, with the likes of Dan Butler, Max King, Dougal Howard, Jack Steele and Paddy Ryder. Both teams have elite ball-users and scorers in their attack, but only one has a player like Marcus Bontempelli. And, because of that, I think the Bulldogs will have that extra leg over the Saints, winning in a tight match by a margin of one goal.

Qualifying Final One – Geelong
Qualifying Final Two – Richmond
Elimination Final One – West Coast
Elimination Final Two – Western Bulldogs
 
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