THE Crows and Tigers are back. Finally, for the first time in 19 years for Adelaide fans and 35 years for Richmond fans, their teams are in a Grand Final. A somewhat boring and mundane finals series to date has seen both sides romp through their opponents on their way to the premiership decider. With both teams naming unchanged sides and with 26 weeks of football behind us, just one game remains.
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Why They Will Win
DUSTIN Martin. That’s all. Richmond has the best player in the comp right now and boy is he feeling himself. The newly crowned Brownlow Medalist is averaging 24 touches a game and booted three goals on the weekend in a staring role. Martin’s play epitomizes the style that Richmond adopts, fast, small ball attack that has seen them win their first final since 2001. Their ‘back six’ has been stellar all season too, allowing opponents to score the third-fewest points per game (76.5). Everyone loves the underdog story and the majority of the nation have got behind a Richmond who are daring to dream big.
Image from au.sports.yahoo.com
Why They Won’t Win
EVEN though the Tigers have made their way to the last match of the year a lot of the numbers don’t back up their date with destiny. They were the fourth worst team in front of goal this year nailing just over 46% of their shots. Funilly enough Richmond led the league in clangers showcasing that they somewhat have issues moving and using the ball. The Adelaide outfit they are going up against isn’t any other run of the mill team and if they aren’t at their elite best then it could be over quickly for Tigers fans.
X-Factor – Jack Riewoldt
DAN Rioli is the easy option to go for here, but instead, I’m going elsewhere. If the Tigers are going to win then they need to kick a winning score. Dusty and the rest of the midfielders have shown that they can impact the scoreboard, but if they are going to walk away with the trophy Riewoldt needs to go big. He hasn’t kicked multiple goals yet this finals campaign and with Daniel Talia or Kyle Hartigan likely to run with him, he will have his work cut out for him. If he can get up and about though Richmond will be hard to stop.
Image from sportingnews.com
Why They Will Win
ALL season Adelaide has had the most potent forwards in the comp, with the firepower to single-handedly swing a game in a matter of minutes. Their trademark fast starts have seen most of their games over before halftime and they can blow the game open just like they did against the Giants and Cats in their past two games. Their midfielders have lifted to another level this year too dominating the contested possession count with more hardball gets than any other team in the league. If their forwards and mids can both start on fire then Adelaide will likely be premiers.
Why They Won’t Win
THE Crows have played at the MCG three times this year good for two wins and a draw. Playing on the big stage away from home is a different story though. The Tigers are basically playing a home game and while Adelaide fans aren’t quiet if Richmond gets a run on it will be hard to ignore the noise. Struggling to score could mean that Alex Rance and his co-workers in defense can give the Tigers their usual drive from their backline.
Image from theroar.com.au
X-Factor – Tom Lynch
LYNCH is my dark horse pick for the Norm Smith medal. After booting 31 goals so far this season, Lynch isn’t the Crows main goalkicker, but he does a lot more of the work up the ground than the other Adelaide talls. He averages 13 touches and over seven marks a game and if he can get off the leash and set up a lot of Adelaide’s attack then he will help to break the Crows 19 year hoodoo.
5 Biggest Questions
- Will anyone tag Dusty?
- Can Richmond stop the dominant Adelaide forwards?
- Who will win the midfield matchup?
- Will Eddie Betts and Charlie Cameron help the Crows start fast?
- Can Richmond kick a winning score?
SINCE the drawn Grand Final back in 2010 we haven’t had a single-digit decider. In fact, somewhat surprisingly the premiership decider tends to end around a five-goal margin and I think that’s what is going to happen on Saturday. Adelaide’s offensive game is hard to stop and once they clear 100 points they virtually don’t lose. If Richmond is going to pull off the upset they will not only need to shut down the Crows but they need to put points on the board themselves. There are just too many offensive threats on Adelaide’s list for them to stop them all.
Adelaide by 34 points
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