Mon, Aug 28, 11:56am by Head Editor
Richmond are set to enter their first Qualifying final since 2001 as the biggest firmer of all the finalists after defeating St Kilda by 41 points at the MCG on Sunday.
The Tigers moved in from $10 to $6 to win their first Premiership since 1980 following the win, which also sealed a Qualifying Final against Geelong at the MCG.
Dustin Martin moved in from $1.20 to $1.12 to win his first Brownlow Medal after racking up another 36 disposals, and booting two majors.
The club waiting for Richmond in the first week of the finals – Geelong – were even more impressive in their final match of the home and away season, steamrolling the Giants by 44 points on Saturday night.
Sam Menegola booted three goals for the Cats, who stamped their Premiership credentials and moved in from $8 to $6 to win the flag for the first time since 2011.
While the Cats and Tigers faithful had a weekend to remember, the same can absolutely not be said for fans of the Melbourne Football Club, who missed out on the finals but half a percentage point.
Simon Goodwin’s charges only have themselves to blame though, in the club’s biggest game for over a decade, they failed to get going, and trailed by 32 points at quarter time of their must-win clash with Collingwood.
They eventually went down by 16 points, which meant that West Coast had to win by 19 points on Sunday, and after the Eagles saluted by 29 over the Crows, the Demons’ finals draught continued for an 11th straight season.
West Coast now meet Port Adelaide in the first weekend of the finals, but aren’t given much chance, at $2.75, while their quote for the ultimate prize is the biggest of the teams remaining in the hunt, at $51.
Port tuned up nicely for their first finals campaign since 2014, with a 115-point win over the hapless Gold Coast Suns. Their quote for the Premiership is $14.
Port’s cross-town rivals – the Crows – will also be hosting a final in the city of churches, and despite losing to the Eagles on Sunday, they remain the favourite to lift the cup, at $3.25.
At the other end of the table, North Melbourne were too strong for Brisbane at the Gabba on Sunday, which handed the Lions their first wooden spoon since 1998.
The Sydney Swans remarkable charge towards the finals has continued, belting Carlton by 81 points on Saturday. Lance Franklin kicked 10 goals to secure his fourth Coleman medal, which his side is now a $5 chance to win the Premiership, ahead of a home Elimination final against Essendon.
Essendon secured their spot in the finals just one year after winning the wooden spoon, with a 17-point win over Fremantle at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Finals Week 1
Adelaide $1.45 v Greater Western Sydney $2.78 Line: 14.5
Geelong $1.73 v Richmond $2.12 Line: 4.5
Sydney $1.22 v Essendon $4.35 Line: 27.5
Port Adelaide $1.46 v West Coast $2.75 Line: 14.5
Greater Western Sydney $5
Port Adelaide $14
West Coast $51
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