2015 finals week two:
Friday September 18
Hawthorn V Adelaide
Every year pundits get excited about the winners of the elimination finals, but rarely do they beat the losers of the qualifying finals. Adelaide will put up a good fight as they play an exciting, attacking brand of football, but it won’t be enough to beat Hawthorn, who this season have traditionally bounced back well after a loss.
Hawthorn has won the past four matches against the Crows. Adelaide hasn’t won consecutive finals since 1998, their last premiership year, while the Hawks have not been booted out of the finals in straight sets since 1977.
Taylor Walker and Eddie Betts loom as two of the most important players on the night, with both players proving influential against the Bulldogs. If either player is shut down it will go a long way to helping Hawthorn get the win.
Prediction: Hawthorn by 11
Saturday September 19
Sydney V North Melbourne
ANZ Stadium, 7.20pm
The Swans were absolutely brilliant last week given the circumstances and could’ve easily won the game if they’d kicked straight. They are expected to welcome Nick Smith and Kieran Jack back, but they are still without Parker, Franklin and Reid, with the last two out for the season. Daniel Wells has been ruled out yet again for the Roos, but that should not concern North who have been without the star midfielder for most of the season.
Sydney has won eight of the past nine finals at ANZ Stadium and won four of the last five against matches North Melbourne, including a 71 point thumping at the same venue in the preliminary final last year.
Josh Kennedy racked up 39 disposals last week and will be very hard to stop for the Roos. If he gets going again, watch out. North’s two recruits in Waite and Higgins loom as important players for the Roos, with both having good games last week. Higgins will once again prove difficult to match up on, as he has kicked 37 goals so far this season.
The Kangaroos will be keen for revenge on Saturday, but it’s hard to go past Sydney even with several injuries. The inclusions of Smith and Jack will be a huge boost.
Prediction: Sydney by 16