The two best teams of the AFL season go head to head when Melbourne and Geelong meet and greet each other at Optus Stadium for a massive preliminary final.
Our AFL experts breakdown the best bets in this contest between the minor premier and its biggest challenge this year.
Melbourne vs. Geelong
September 10th 7:50pm
Melbourne and Geelong resume hostilities when they meet at Optus Stadium for a Friday night prime time preliminary final.
The memories of that famous clash at GMHBA Stadium back in Round 23 will be fresh in the mind of both clubs here with Melbourne potentially holding the mental edge after a night that sealed its minor premiership.
The Cats looked ready to cap off the year with a big victory on home soil after by seven goals early in the third term, but the Demons showed why they have been the best team in the league all year.
Max Gawn’s goal after the siren ensured the Demons took home the four points after a barnstorming final quarter surge caught the Cats off guard.
The ebbs of flows of this contest will be evident from the get go with both teams being prolific in defence as well as midfield.
But the Demons might be in pole position to make it through to a first grand final since their loss in 2000 against Essendon.
Brandon Parfitt will miss for the Cats with a hamstring injury, while Tom Stewart is also likely to miss out again despite his miraculous recovery from what was dubbed to a season ending foot injury.
Shutting Tom Hawkins down will be pivotal if the Demons want to reach the big dance, but they also have to deal with the other threats of Jeremy Cameron and Gary Rohan who have both added to Geelong’s strong front half.
Both teams rely heavily on intercept marks to thwart opposition, so whoever gets on top in this particular facet of the game will hold the ace.
The Demons have been the reliable team from a defensive perspective all season and seem to have their mojo back in offence after a mid-season lull.
Prediction: Melbourne by 18 points.
Suggested Bet: Melbourne -11.5 at $1.90
Suggested Same Game Multi:
Leg 1: Melbourne -11.5
Leg 2: Total points under 150.5
Leg 3: C. Guthrie 25+ disposals
Leg 4: B. Fritsch 2+ goals
Combined odds = $8
First goal scorer
B. Fristch/G. Rohan
This looks like a game where those zippy medium type forwards can really cause some damage on the wide expanses of Optus Stadium.
With the attention likely to go towards Tom Hawkins and Jeremy Cameron, Gary Rohan looks the man to get off the hook with pace and spread being a dangerous weapon inside 50 for the Cats.
The Demons, meanwhile, have Tom McDonald and Ben Brown who will be watched by the Cats tall defence made up of Lachie Henderson and Marc Blicavs.
Bayley Fritsch has a great eye for goal and finding space in dangerous spots forward of centre.
B. Fristch first goal at $8.5
G. Rohan first goal at $15
Total points scored
The stats point in the direction of this game going ‘overs’ with four of the last five games Geelong has been involved with going over the total point margin set at the first bounce.
But this game provides a different set of circumstances with the Demons defence being the best in the league, while Geelong miss their gun midfielder Brandon Parfitt who is a critical part of the way the Cats foray forward.
When the teams met in Round 23 the score went to 158 points, but that was on GMHBA Stadium where the length and width of ground allows teams to score a little bit more freely than the wide plains of Optus Stadium.
Expect the midfields and forwards to feel each other out early before they attempt to attack.
Suggested Bet: Total points scored under 151.5 at $1.90