AND then there were eight. The battle for the 2018 premiership gets underway in a few short hours, so I thought I should quickly record my picks. Instead of uploading a photo of my picks to my socials, I’m mapping out the finals in the form of six predictions that I believe will come true in a months time.
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1. Melbourne’s fairytale isn’t over yet
AFTER Friday night Melbourne should advance to the second weekend of finals football, earning their first W in the postseason since 2006. Geelong were my pre-season picks to win it all and have disappointed so far this year. I can’t see them magically turning it around against a Dees outfit that well and truly deserves its spot in the finals. Hopefully, Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood have a few more memorable moments in September before they are done and dusted, but I don’t have high hopes for this season.
2. The Giants aren’t just here to make up the numbers
I have been calling out the Giants all year as a pretender and I still stand by it. However, I did say a big reason I wasn’t a true believer is that they lacked a lot of depth. As it stands now there are a few big names still on the shelf (Patton, Shaw and Scully to name a few). The rest of their best 22 is pretty fit and firing though which should lead to them toppling the Swans at the SCG on the weekend. If the injury bug strikes one more big name though, then I’d tip GWS to bow out the following week.
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3. However, I’m afraid Collingwood are
MY opinion on Collingwood’s flag chances has fluctuated throughout the year. As it stands right now I can’t see it. Not only aren’t they good enough to beat West Coast in Perth on the weekend, but they are a real chance to bow out in straight sets the following week. If they are able to get regulars like Adam Treloar, Jeremy Howe and Tyson Goldsack back to full strength then their chances of September glory are definitely better. With a potential matchup against the Giants or Swans in week two though, I don’t think the rest of Collingwood’s young brigade is ready to deliver big finals wins. Yet.
4. West Coast will be left wondering what could have been
EVERY season there can only be one champion and I don’t think it’ll be West Coast. Before Eagles fans beat me up, I would just like to point out that heading into the finals two of your top-5 players are on the sidelines and Josh Kennedy is hardly entering the postseason at 100%. Without Andrew Gaff and Nic Natanui up and running, I don’t think the Eagles can take down a Victorian giant on the big stage. It might be on Grand Final day, it might not be, but if West Coast has to do battle with one of the big two in the football capital of Australia then I think it’ll be the end of their season in heartbreaking fashion.
5. Richmond’s MCG streak will come to an end
YES, shock horror I’m predicting the Tigers will fail in their efforts to go back-to-back in 2018. After their win over Hawthorn in a few short hours time, they should earn a week off forcing the Hawks to take the tough road to the flag. After qualifying final wins to those same Hawks and the Giants two interesting preliminary finals will take shape. Richmond will play in a rematch of last years preliminary final against GWS while Hawthorn will do battle with the Eagles out West for a spot in the big dance. Spoiler alert, the Tigers won’t lose this one so their streak will be snapped on Grand Final day.
6. Alistair Clarkson will do it again
I am well aware that for Hawthorn to win the premiership this season a lot of things have to unfold. One thing that must happen is the Hawks need to beat either West Coast or Richmond at Optus Stadium or the MCG respectively. One could argue that there is no tougher task in football at the moment and I’m predicting that Alistair Clarkson and his players will do BOTH. Why? Why not? They have been the team to stop in the 21st century (sorry Geelong) and with a potential Brownlow medalist in Tom Mitchell leading the charge, they are a dangerous outfit. Throw in the fact that James Sicily is returning from injury at the perfect time and everything is coming together for Clarko’s men. It feels like one of those weird year’s in the AFL and with all eyes on the Tigers, I think it’s the perfect scenario for Hawthorn to swoop on yet another premiership. Damn it.
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