Melbourne and Western Bulldogs will battle it out for the holy grail on the last Saturday of September.
The Bet Deluxe team has gone through the best bets from head to head, first goal scorer, total points scored and Norm Smith Medal perspective.
The biggest game of the year deserves the biggest and best preview of the year!
Melbourne vs. Western Bulldogs
September 25th 7:15pm
It is a grand final like no other when Melbourne and Western Bulldogs face off for the first AFL premiership decider to ever be played in Perth.
After travelling to all parts of the nation during the finals series, the Bulldogs have defied the odds stacked against them to book this date with the minor premier.
The boys from Footscray started their affair by knocking off Essendon in Tasmania. From there they were made to travel to the Gabba, defeating the Lions in a famous one-point semi-final victory. Finally, the Doggies belted Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval in one of the most dominant preliminary final performances we have seen for many years. Now the Bulldogs set their sights on their third ever flag.
Having done all this without leading goalscorer Josh Bruce, dealing with the injuries of Cody Weightman and Alex Keath as well as a sore Marcus Bontempelli is a testament to coach Luke Beveridge and his ability to adapt to different scenarios.
The Bulldogs know how to win a premiership from outside the four having done so in 2016 when they ended a 62-year drought.
Melbourne, meanwhile, has a drought of its own to bring to a halt.
The Demons have not lifted the premiership cup in 57 years, but are going to give themselves the best possible chance to do so at Optus Stadium.
Melbourne cruised through to the grand final after a 33-point qualifying final win over Brisbane was followed up by a brutal 83-point smashing of Geelong.
Max Gawn took Melbourne’s finals campaign on his shoulders and carried the load with a best-on-ground effort against the Cats.
Gawn’s four-goal third-quarter effort set up the big win for his side a fortnight ago and stamped his authority as the premier ruckman in the league.
It’s going to be a battle of the midfields with the likes of Christian Petracca, Clayton Oliver and Jack Viney, locking horns with Bontempelli, Jackson Macrae, Josh Dunkley and Bailey Smith.
From a defensive perspective, it is the Demons who have been the strongest team all season having conceded only 55 points per game, inclusive of the finals series.
The Bulldogs, too, have been a fort on the defensive front, conceding only 63 points per game.
The key to splitting these two teams is at the bookends.
Jake Lever and Steven May will be tasked with setting up Melbourne’s play across half-back with their prolific intercept marking. It won’t be a simple mission as both Bulldogs talls, Josh Shache and the ever-dangerous Aaron Naughton, will take a great amount of confidence from their performances in the preliminary final.
Having already played each other once this season and sharing the spoils with a win each, this is one of the toughest grand final tips in the last decade.
Regardless of what happens, both teams will be a worthy winner, but it is hard to be against a Melbourne team who will have the fresh legs.
Prediction: Melbourne by 8 points
Suggested Bet: Melbourne -7.5 at $1.94
Suggested Same Game Multi:
Leg 1: Melbourne -7.5
Leg 2: C. Petracca 25+ disposals
Leg 3: C. Petracca anytime goalscorer
Leg 4: T. McDonald 2+ goals
Combined odds = $6.75
Norm Smith Medal
C. Petracca/B. Smith
Both Christian Petracca and Bailey Smith have had brilliant finals series.
We will start with Chrstian Petracca who was a pivotal cog in the Melbourne midfield machine against Brisbane and Geelong.
Petracca turned the screws with a 32-dipsosal and two-goal effort against the Lions then followed it up with a 32-disposal and one-goal performance against Geelong in the preliminary final.
He has arguably been the best midfielder throughout the finals, but will face stiff competition with the form of Smith.
The young Bulldogs midfielder/winger will be hard to miss with his blonde flailing locks bobbing about as he gets on the end of the grunt work done by his midfield team mates.
Smith was the match-winner in the semi-final against Brisbane with nine disposals and two goals in the last quarter, which was a pre-cursor for what was to come against Port Adelaide in the preliminary final.
His 22 disposals and four goals against Port helped set up a big win and if he can produce something akin to that, he looks great value at double figure odds.
Christian Petracca Norm Smith Medal winner at $6
Bailey Smith Norm Smith Medal winner at $15
Total points scored
Melbourne and Western Bulldogs possess defensive tactics that are going to be hard to break down as they have been all throughout the 2021 season.
It is interesting to note that five of the last six grand finals have gone under the total points to be scored set just prior to the first bounce.
That, in itself, is a popular trend which punters will endear themselves too, but it must also be taken into account that both teams can score at a rate of knots.
Melbourne has averaged 109 points through its two finals matches, while the Bulldogs have averaged a total of 93 points but did have a final against Essendon that was wet and windy.
The weather for Perth on Saturday is going to be fine and 26 degrees so it’s perfect conditions for high-scoring end-to-end football.
Both teams possess offensive weapons that can really hit the scoreboard.
Ben Brown, Tom McDonald, Bayley Fritsch and Kysaiah Pickett for the Demons.
Aaron Naughton, Josh Schache, Cody Weightman Mitch Hannan and Bailey Smith for the Bulldogs.
Going for the overs in this one.
Suggested Bet: Total points scored over 155.5 at $1.90
First goal scorer
B. Brown/C. Weightman
It’s going to be a hotly contested football early in this game as both teams attempt to set their tone.
Melbourne took around 10 minutes into the first quarter against Geelong to really kick into gear ahead of its offensive onslaught.
Ben Brown looked the most dangerous forward for the Demons having had the first shot at goal last week and kicking the first goal for Melbourne – despite not doing so for the actual game itself.
From a Western Bulldogs perspective, they will surely attempt to stifle the intercept marking Melbourne’s defence prides itself on and focus on bringing the ball to the deck so their small forwards can go to work.
With Cody Weightman all but certain to return to the side after doing time on the sidelines under the concussion protocol, he will be eager to get on the end of the Sherrin to pick up the crumbs left by his tall forwards.
The tall forwards for the Western Bulldogs haven’t had a huge impact on the scoreboard this finals series, it has been their smalls and midfielders.
This shapes up perfectly for Weightman to get in on the act.
Ben Brown first goal at $10
Cody Weightman first goal at $12