It feels like forever since the home and away season ended – following two footy frenzies where we enjoyed games almost every day, we have now had a week off for the pre-finals bye.
Our attention now turns to week one of the finals, with four blockbuster games to get us started in a post-season series unlike any other we have ever seen.
— AFL Diversity (@afldiversity) September 23, 2020
Port Adelaide vs Geelong
The Power have been on top of the ladder from start to finish in 2020. They have answered every challenge except the one posed by Geelong and more importantly Tom Hawkins. The Cats defeated the Power by 10 goals as Hawkins booted six in a dominant display that put queries on the Powers team defence.
They surely won’t allow Geelong to expose their defence and isolate Hawkins as they did on that night at Metricon Stadium. If they do they’re in trouble but if they manage to slow down Geelong’s ball movement and create turnover they can get the game on their terms, which has proved a winning formula in 2020.
Geelong’s record in finals over recent years casts some doubt over their hopes in such a crunch game.
Prediction: Geelong by 7 points.
Brisbane vs Richmond
The replay of last year’s qualifying final and the possibility for the Lions to exact some revenge and prove the doubters wrong. A straight set exit in 2019 was a bad look given they hosted both finals, their loss to the Tigers was emphatic.
The Tigers are humming along and seem to be primed for another flag tilt, they have an unbelievable record at the Gabba and haven’t lost to Brisbane in their last 14 clashes. Dion Prestia and Shai Bolton will both be available, with Prestia being a massive inclusions. Unfortunately for the Tigers, Tom Lynch has not recovered in time from a hamstring injury in a major blow for the club.
Richmond’s best is too good but Brisbane’s best is good enough.
Prediction: Richmond by 27 points.
St Kilda vs Western Bulldogs
The Saints have been the surprise package of the season. They’ve come from nowhere and have deservedly earned hosting rights for the elimination final. Brett Ratten has managed to turn mature-age recruits into a well oiled machine much sooner than expected.
The Bulldogs are a team who can beat anyone but the gap between their best and worst is alarming. Aaron Naughton is in a battle to be fit and looms as a crucial piece to the Dogs hopes.
The Saints were brilliant in their Round 2 win over the Dogs but that was some time ago. The Dogs have the star power and if they play their best footy they have all the tools to get the job done here. The Saints tall forwards are their key to success in this one.
Prediction: Western Bulldogs by 3 points.
West Coast Eagles vs Collingwood
The Eagles will be thrilled to be back in Perth, unbeaten through their stretch at home in the middle of the season. That run of wins included a 66-point smashing of the Pies. The Eagles are without Elliot Yeo for the season which is big considering the depth of the Collingwood midfield.
The Pies have slowly found some form again. Jordan De Goey’s return has spurred them on and they have the star power to cause a boil over. But it would be just that, the Eagles seem unbeatable at home even if they don’t play their best.
If Collingwood peak and the Eagles are five per cent off, the Eagles could still win this. Optus Stadium is that important.
Prediction: West Coast by 23 points.