Mon, Sep 19, 1:45pm by Head Editor
The Semi-Finals produced two games that were contrastingly different but fascinatingly brilliant at the same time.
Friday’s clash marked the end of the Hawks’ era, for now at least and signalled the beginning for the Dogs. It was the first time the boys from the west had won consecutive finals for 55 years. The game was played on the Hawks’ terms for the first quarter and a half before the Dogs got their running game going and piled on 10 goals to five in the second half.
Saturday’s night’s clash in the harbour city was brutal. There was nowhere near as much space as we saw at the MCG on Friday with the players flying in with little concern for safety. In the end the Swans ran out victorious by a comfortable 46 points but are now sweating on the fitness of their skipper Jarrad McVeigh and Gary Rohan who was cleared of structural damage to his knee but is in severe doubt to play.
The venue for Saturday’s preliminary final has come under huge media scrutiny. The capacity of only 24,000 at the Giants home ground of Spotless Stadium means that the crowd will be the lowest seen for the penultimate weekend since the great war in 1916 and ‘17. It really is hard to see how the AFL came to this decision given their ‘fans first’ policy, there will be thousands of fans locked out.
We now move on to this weekend’s action and what a weekend we have in store. Here’s an early look at the odds for the preliminary-finals:
Second Preliminary Final –Geelong v Sydney
MCG – 7:50pm Friday 23 September
The Cats would have been licking their lips watching on Saturday night as the Crows and Swans went at it in a brutal Semi-Final. The Swans were in control for most of the contest but will the injuries sustained to key players be the straw that broke the camel’s back?
The head-to-head market sees the Cats as favourites at $1.65 who should be well rested after the week off. The injury-ravaged Swans are at $2.30. This may well change during the week depending on who is named for the Swans. The line is currently at 8.5.
In some much needed good news from the Swans doctors, star big man Kurt Tippett is set to make a remarkable recovery less than two weeks after fracturing his jaw. The Swans will learn on Monday the extent of both Rohan and McVeigh’s injuries and although there is more optimism than on Saturday night when the important duo’s semi-final was abruptly ended, they are still at very long odds to be fit for this one.
Amazingly, given both clubs recent run of finals campaigns, they have only met once in a final since 1934. It was one to remember though with Nick Davis kicking a last-minute wonder goal to steal a win for the Swans in the 2005 Semi-Final.
First Preliminary Final –GWS v Western Bulldogs
Spotless Stadium – 5:15pm Saturday 24 September
The Dogs head to Sydney to take on the AFL’s newbies after ending the highly-fancied Hawks’ triple-premiership reign in front of the third biggest crowd in the history of the club.
The Giants are favourites ($1.50) to progress to their first ever Grand Final in their first ever finals series. The Dogs however, are at eerily similar odds to what they were at this time last week ($2.65). The line is at 12.5.
The penultimate weekend hasn’t been kind to the Bulldogs, they’ve got the weight of seven losing preliminary finals on their shoulders, dating back to 1985. After what we saw on Friday though it’s hard not to be sucked in by their free-spirited play.
There is, of course, no historical milestone around the Giants and therefore, as you’d expect, not much pressure. In a big blow for the Giants, Steve Johnson will not be there on Saturday night after the ex-Cat was rubbed out for a hit on Swans midfielder Josh Kennedy in the Giants Qualifying final win over their cross-town rivals.
This match could well be the first of many finals we see between the clubs in the next decade as both clubs look assured of a bright future.
AFL Preliminary Finals odds:
Stay tuned to www.australiangambling.lv over the coming days for betting previews including best bets and video previews and as we continue to preview the AFL finals.
Odds supplied by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*
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