The AFL qualifying finals for the top 4 sides that have a double elimination chance of making the finals begins on Thursday with minor Premiers Adelaide Crows playing host to the GWS Giants. On Friday, Victorian sides Geelong Cats and Richmond Tigers face off at the home of footy, the MCG. After a thrilling season of footy odds are one of these top four sides will end up winning the flag at the end of the year.
Adelaide Crows vs. GWS Giants (Thursday at the Adelaide Oval)
A worthy final given that both teams haven’t played since the opening round, and have gone to have quite interest seasons since Adelaide won that matchup handily. The Crows pressure the footy and kick a bag of goals on the regular, but the Giants are arguably the most talented best 22 in the competition, and have taken their lumps and endured a few growing pains this season to finish in the top 4. The Crows have experience, led by Eddie Betts and Tex Walker up front, but without Rory Sloane in the midfield due to appendix surgery, the Crouch brothers will need to step up and match the GWS midfield, which is arguably the best in the AFL. Josh Kelly, Callan Ward, and Stephen Coniglio are key for the Giants. Another big battle will take place in the ruck, as Shane Mumford and Sam Jacobs are among the best in the competition for the Giants and Crows respectively. I’ll back the experienced Crows at home at the oval to make the prelim finals, but the Giants could still win the flag regardless. Hugh Greenwood and Daniel Talia come in for the Crows, Matt De Boer and Harrison Himmelberg are ins for the Giants, replacing the retiring Steve Johnson and forward Devon Smith. Crows by 17
Geelong Cats vs. Richmond Tigers (Friday at the MCG)
The Cats nipped the Tigers in round 21, but the Tigers would have finished higher on the ladder if not for some heartbreak losses. Both teams are in good form with Richmond playing on their home ground, and the Cats having won 13 straight against the Tigers. Both teams are highly talented, but the Cats have significantly more finals experience. Likely Brownlow medalist Dustin Martin pilots Richmond, while last years Brownlow medalist Patrick Dangerfield leads Geelong. Harry Taylor for the Cats and Alex Rance for the Tigers are among the best defenders in the AFL, and Tom Hawkins and Jack Riewoldt are among the best forwards in the game as well. Richmond’s small forwards will be key, the Cats have Sam Menegola and Mitch Duncan along with Hawkins, while the Tigers have Dominic Rioli and Dan Butler, and Jason Castagna, on paper the Cats should be able to score enough to win, and the Tigers will need to step up in a big way. This one should be fun. Cats by 14