Tonight the AFL finals kick off, and all four games look like being close ones. The bottom four teams are all incredibly strong, and with several local derby matches doubling as finals games the weekend will be a cracker.
The first match up is tonight at the MCG when reigning premiers and minor premiers Richmond take on perennial contender Hawthorn. Despite the game being a Thursday night, the fabled home of AFL will be packed out to watch the crosstown rivals clash. The Tigers are the favourites to go straight through to the semis, but the Hawks are well capable of swooping in to steal an upset result.
Friday night will see another clash between two Victorian AFL sides at the MCG, when the Melbourne Demons face Geelong. The Cats only just scraped into the 8, and their roster is looking a little long in the tooth, but with their array of veterans boasting multiple premierships you would be very brave to bet against them.
On Saturday the two Sydney sides, Sydney and GWS, will clash at the SCG in the second elimination final. The Giants have possibly the best (on paper) roster in the AFL, but the Swans are full of finals experience, and have the best individual player in Lance “Buddy” Franklin. This game will be incredibly close, but the big-game experience of the Swans line up should see them through.
The last match of the first round of the AFL finals will be between West Coast and Collingwood, in Perth. This is also the only game that isn’t a local derby, which is a shame as the premier could well be one of these two teams. The loser will get another chance next week against the winner of one of the elimination finals, so both teams can make a run deep into September.