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AFL Preliminary Finals

AFL PRELIMINARY FINALS PREVIEW 

MELBOURNE VS GEELONG (OPTUS STADIUM) – FRIDAY 10th SEPTEMBER

These two sides met in an Elimination Final in 2018 with Melbourne taking the points. They had a titanic battle in Round 23 this year where the top spot was up for grabs and the Cats squandered a 44 point lead. You have to pose the question does this leave Geelong scarred or do they find the fight to bounce back.

This is an intriguing final with both of these sides “underachievers” in that Melbourne with no premiership since 1964 and no Grand Final since 2000. Geelong had one hand on the premiership Cup leading by over 4 goals near half time last year only for Dusty to come and take them to the cleaners. Geelong’s continued presence in September is admirable but means nothing if they don’t take the final step. 

They say Prelims are the hardest games to win, and this shapes that way on steroids!! The team that can let go of the fear of loss and play with freedom and confidence shapes to be the winning team. The team that takes this as the opportunity to change the story as opposed to let history repeat will win this game.

These two have had some cracking games of recent times with 4 of the last 7 head to head results under a 4 point margin. There has only been one blow out in the last 7 games so take that game out and the average margin is 11 points over 6 games, quite remarkable. Total game scores have ranged between a very low 91 points and a high of 198 points. We see the game here being around 150 total points. We also see both teams kicking around the 75 point range each.   

This shapes as being another heartstopper and all our data through our modelling suggests so. Melbourne comes here on a 3 game peak performance run and a strong one at that. Geelong also comes here off a peak over GWS last week. We see it tight but the Geelong line given the extended Melbourne run makes them a bet.
Geelong 1.5 unit +12.5 and .5 unit win $2.70

SATURDAY 11TH SEPTEMBER

PORT ADELAIDE VS WESTERN BULLDOGS (ADELAIDE OVAL) SATURDAY 11th SEPTEMBER

Port Adelaide went player shopping in the off season in an attempt to go one (or two) steps further than last year. They went down by a kick in the home Prelim to the eventual premiers Richmond. The recruiting of Aliir and Fantasia have been instrumental in advancing to this game, their opening final performance was sublime. 

The Bulldogs have shown some very nice fight. They could have totally dropped their bundle after falling out of the top 4 spending most of the year in the top 2 but they have fought on with courage and advanced. Bontempelli will be the BIG query the guy is absolutely a match winner but even if he plays you would have to question his ability to play to the full potential.

The big question on Port Adelaide is can they replicate the manic pressure they produced in the opening final. That was absolutely premiership style footy and it’s the best they have looked in years so if they reproduce that they win. Now is the time for Port Adelaide with a home Prelim, a full suite of players available to choose from. Port takes on a side that has bounced around in isolation and had the longest travel trip in footy (Melb-Brisbane-Perth-Adelaide).

It is 2-2 head to head of recent times but prior It was an extended Port winning run. 3 weeks ago Port won 66-64 after leading that game for a paltry 7 minutes of game time. 3 of the last 4 head to head games have been at Adelaide Oval and the Bulldogs have won 2 of these games. The last 4 games between the two has an average margin of 15 points per game in a range of 2-25 points. 

Both teams meet here coming with duel game peak performance runs. Port will not get a better opportunity than this however historically they haven’t been able to grasp it. They have more often than not performed inversely to expectation. Not a clear human behaviour model angle but we expect both sides to go toe to toe the whole way and throw everything at it. We have the total score in the 140-150 point range and don’t mind the total game score under 157.5 points. It is a no bet game as such but we think the Bulldogs can cover the line in a tight game and a +13.5 Dogs line