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AFL Round 23 Review: Finalists set

Mon, Aug 27, 12:40pm by Staff Writer

The 2018 AFL home and away season has come to an end, with four finals pencilled in to begin on Thursday, 6 September with Richmond taking on Hawthorn at the MCG.

In round 23, it was the Premiership favourites Richmond who had the perfect tune up ahead of their match with the Hawks, as they narrowly defeated the Western Bulldogs by 3 points.

The Tigers are $2.40 to win the flag this season and forward Jack Riewoldt won his third Coleman Medal on the weekend after he staved off North’s Ben Brown.

It’s been another trying season for the Dogs, who have been unable to reach the dizzying heights of their 2016 Premiership during the past two seasons.

Hawthorn produced a come-from-behind win against an undermanned Sydney Swans side to clinch a top four berth on Saturday night.

The Swans were without Lance Franklin and Luke Parker, but were in control of the game until the latter stages of the final term.

Hawthorn snuck home with a nine-point win, booting the last three goals of the match. They are $9 to win the flag.

Sydney’s loss sets up an all New South Wales elimination final against the GWS Giants. The Swans are $15 to win the flag.

Collingwood secured a top four position on Saturday afternoon with an eight point win against Fremantle in Perth.

The Pies jumped out of the blocks, booting the first three goals of the match before it became an arm wrestle.

Collingwood were always in control of the contest and were deserved winners. The Pies take on West Coast in a fortnight at Optus Stadium and are $8 to win the flag.

The Eagles knew they needed to win against Brisbane to ensure a top two finish and they did just that on Sunday afternoon.

West Coast prevailed by 26 points and if they win their qualifying final against Collingwood, will host a preliminary final in Perth. The Eagles are $7 to win the flag.

Melbourne clinched their first finals berth in 12 seasons last weekend and gave their home fans plenty of optimism ahead of the finals with a 45-point win against GWS.

The Demons finished the home and away season in fifth spot on the ladder and will host Geelong at the MCG in the first elimination final.

The Dees are $10 to win the flag, but will face a stern test against the Cats, who have beaten them twice this season by three points.

GWS are the longest price of any side remaining in the Premiership race at $18 at Sportsbet.

Geelong is $12 to win the flag and enter the finals with consecutive triple figure wins against Fremantle and the Gold Coast.

It is a soft run in to the finals for the Cats, but they flexed their muscle during the last fortnight and demonstrated they are still a force to be reckoned with. They are $12 to win the flag.

Essendon ended Port Adelaide’s finals chances with a 22-point win against the Port at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.

It was a limp end to the season from Port, who have lost six of their past seven games to fall out of the top eight after looking so promising earlier this season.

The 2018 season will be one of lost opportunity for the Bombers, who will lament close losses to Hawthorn and Richmond down the stretch, as well as a poor showing against Carlton earlier this season.

North Melbourne missed out on finals this season but enjoyed a positive season, particularly during the opening 12 rounds.

The Roos capped a good season for their young squad with a 23-point win against St Kilda on Sunday afternoon.

It’s been a poor season for the Saints who have managed only four wins to finish third from bottom.

One side who had it worse was Carlton, who are awarded the wooden spoon after only two wins this season.

The Blues were crushed by 104 points against Adelaide on Saturday night. The Crows were better in all facets of the game as they notched their highest score of the season. Last year’s beaten Grand Finalists will be disappointed to not be figuring in this season’s finals series after being early season flag favourites.

AFL Premiership Odds – Sportsbet

Richmond $2.40

West Coast $7

Collingwood $8

Hawthorn $9

Melbourne $10

Geelong $12

Sydney $15

GWS $18

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