News » AFL Finals Outlook by Graeme Kelly

AFL Finals Outlook by Graeme Kelly

Going into the first AFL finals round the most intriguing question is whether Brisbane can reverse the loss to Richmond at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Round 23.


There certainly are several reasons that the Lions can go into the second qualifying final encounter at the Gabba with a degree of confidence.


Firstly the side will have the advantage of playing at home, rather than at the M.C.G. where the Lions have had little experience.


Secondly, the Brisbane players were able to hold their own against the Tigers over the last three quarters.


After Richmond had jumped to a 25-point lead by quarter time the Tigers scored 6.8 to Brisbane’s 6.6 over the final three quarters so there was not much between them.


Added to that lightning fast forward Charles Cameron was relatively quiet so he can be expected to lift his game.


Of course Richmond has a team of tough, hardened players led by Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt, who know how to win, especially when playing in finals.


With their impressive history the Tigers can never be under-rated.


Before the Saturday night game at the Gabba Greater Western Sydney and the Western Bulldogs will meet in the second elimination final at the Giants Stadium in an afternoon match.


The Bulldogs are playing in brilliant fashion and thrashed the Giants – 126 to 65 – in their round 22 encounter at the Sydney Showground Stadium.


Despite Greater Western Sydney’s comprehensive Round 23 victory over the Gold Coast, when Jeremy Cameron kicked nine goals, the Bulldogs should continue to show why they are genuine premiership contenders.


Although the club’s recent performances have been the cause of serious concern West Coast should be able to handle the struggling Essendon in the first elimination final at Optus Stadium on Thursday night.


A problem for the Bombers is that the side is likely to go onto the field without reliable defender Michael Hurley, who has a recurring shoulder injury.


Even though the club’s form is hot-and-cold Geelong should be able to cope with an injury-riddled Collingwood in the first qualifying final at the M.C.G. on Friday night.