Geelong V Sydney
Friday 7:50 PM, MCG
Minor premiers the Sydney Swans will travel to Melbourne this Friday night to take on the Cats for a spot for next Saturday’s Grand Final.
A game which was predicted by many to be a Grand Final match up, it is now a do or die match for both teams.
Geelong secured a home final, with a two-point win over Hawthorn in week one of the finals, while for the Swans, the road to the finals has been tougher with a qualifying final loss to Harbour Town rivals, GWS and then a 36-point win over the Adelaide Crows to secure their spot in this week’s match.
It will also be the first time since the 2005 final that Sydney and Geelong have met in a final. In their last finals encounter Nick Davis won the game for Sydney in the dying seconds.
Both clubs ended with 17 wins for the year and won their last five matches for the home and away season.
2016 only saw the two clubs take on each other once, which was back in round 16.
The match saw Sydney win by a convincing 38 points, in which was Kieran Jack’s 200th game.
Despite the Cats only playing one game in 27 days, it can be assumed that they have had the perfect preparation leading into this match, despite minimal game time in comparison to Sydney.
Patrick Dangerfield will be the player Sydney need to stop. In their last clash, it was Tom Mitchell that received the job on Dangerfield and restricted him to just 16 possessions in the last three quarters.
Lachie Henderson comes back for the cats for the injured Dan menzel, while Tom Ruggles has been dropped and replaced by Jed Bews. In Henderson’s last two games in rounds 21 and 22 he played in the forward line and could help Tom Hawkins excel up front tonight as well.
If Geelong can shut down powerhouse forward Lance Franklin, like GWS did, the game could easily be theirs. Franklin was kept scoreless in the Qualifying final, but made sure he came back last week, booting four against Adelaide.
Youngster Isaac Heeney will look to patrol the midfield again. He is proving to be a dominating player for the Swans either in the forward line or in the midfield, where he played on the wing last week and racked up a season high 32 disposals.
Josh Kennedy is also coming of a terrific game with 42 possessions against Adelaide and will look to do the job again.
With the six day turn around and numerous injuries the Swans are carrying it will be hard for Sydney to match Geelong.
Geelong by 8.
GWS V Western Bulldogs
Saturday 24, 5:15, Spotless Stadium
History will be made this Saturday when the GWS Giants take on the Western Bulldogs for a spot in the Grand Final.
The Giants smashed the Sydney Swans to earn a week of and a home ground final in the first week of the final series, while the Bulldogs had huge wins over West Coast and Hawthorn to secure their spot.
GWS will look for their first ever Grand Final appearance in their short history, while the Bulldogs will look for their first premiership since 1954.
There was only one win which separated the two clubs in 2016, but it was enough to make the difference between a top four placing for the Giants and 7th spot for the Bulldogs.
GWS have had their best season to date, since joining the league in 2012 the Giants have put together an extremely impressive list which has led to their quick success.
Unfortunately for the Giants Steve Johnson will be out this week as a result of a one-week suspension, after a hit on Swans player Josh Kennedy. Johnson is one of the few GWS players who has extensive finals experiences after being a part of Geelong’s premiership winning sides in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
Heath Shaw is expected to be dominant in defence. He averages 24.5 disposals and leads the Giants with the highest amount of marks and kicks for season 2016.
GWS also have a great record at Spotless Stadium in 2016. They have won six out of eight games and four have been by more than 60 points.
Despite this been there first finals series as a club, numerous players have played finals at other clubs including Shane Mumford and Heath Shaw.
The Bulldogs are out to prove everyone wrong, for the third time this final series.
Wins over the West Coast Eagles in Perth and reigning premiers Hawthorn last Friday, should be a confidence booster as they once again line up as the under dogs.
All-Australian Marcus Bontempelli will off course be a key player for the Bulldogs. He averages 24.5 disposals per game and his clearances are outstanding. It is likely that Stephen Coniglio will play on Bontempelli.
The week off combined with the home ground advantage should be enough for GWS to win and progress through to the Grand Final next Saturday.
GWS by 14