What a massive weekend in the 2018 AFL Finals series we have coming up. Hawthorn and Melbourne will kick off the semi final action on Friday night at the MCG before another rmassive game at the home of football on Saturday night between Collingwood and Greater Western Sydney. The game gets underway at 7.25pm and the winner will book a date with Richmond the following week.
You can check out our preview for the Hawthorn vs Melbourne game on Friday night here or read on for our full preview and betting tips for the Collingwood vs GWS game below!
After leading for the majority of the game, Collingwood weren’t able to hold on in Perth against West Coast on the weekend, eventually losing by 16 points to book a place in this weekend’s semi-final against GWS. It was an extremely tight game from start to finish with no real domination being displayed by either team. Elliot Yeo was fantastic for the Eagles with 36 touches while the Collingwood midfield as a whole was pretty reliable.
Steele Sidebottom, Taylor Adams, Tom Phillips, Brayden Sier and Adam Treloar all racked up 24+ touches but skipper Scott Pendlebury was very quiet. Treloar returned from a double hamstring injury for the final and should improve this weekend as he gets some fitness back into his legs. Brodie Grundy was dominant in the ruck, accumulating 48 hit-outs and should be a massive factor again this weekend against Rory Lobb, who has struggles at times throughout the year in the ruck for GWS.
GWS were absolutely dominant on the weekend in the Sydney derby to advance to the semi-final. They held Sydney to just two goals in the first three quarters while piling on seven themselves as Callan Ward, Lachie Whitfield and Stephen Coniglio dominated the midfield battle, all racking up 27+ disposals.
The inclusion of Toby Greene after a lengthy injury was proved to be a massive one for the Giants as the small forward racked up 27 touches and booted three goals and was clearly the best player on the ground. There was some anxious times for GWS fans on Monday as the match review panel decided on the fate of Greene after a errant kick in a marking contest put his availability for the Collingwood clash in doubt. However, the match review panel cleared Greene of his charges making him free to line up against the Pies.
The Giants won’t be without their line-up issues though, as star midfielder Josh Kelly sustained a knee injury against the Swans and looks in doubt to play against the Pies this weekend. Ryan Griffen will likely come in for Kelly. The Pies were able to come through their loss against West Coast with a clean bill of health and could face some selection decisions over the next few days. Darcy Moore and Ben Reid will both make their case for selection. Moore is an interesting case as the Pies have really struggled for reliable key defenders in the back half of the season.
It’s hard not to like the Giants here after their dominant display on the weekend against the Swans. However, Collingwood had the tough task of travelling to Perth to take on the Eagles and were very gallant in defeat. The Pies start as $1.60 favourites here at the MCG where they have been great in 2018, however, they still lack a really big scalp this season, with their win over Port Adelaide in Round 22 arguably their best win of the season so far.
The Giants won the two sides only meeting this season back in Round 2 by 16 points. Jeremy Cameron was great that day, taking nine marks and booting three goals while Stephen Coniglio was best on ground.
The Pies lack of a big scalp this season is worrying. They have bullied the teams in the bottom half of the league but it seems that whenever they have been faced with a real challenge they have come up short. I think this game could go either way but with the Giants form against the Swans on the weekend I’m happy to take the $2.35 on offer for them.
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