Its finally here! After a long and drawn out home and away season that saw an extended break due to the COVID-19, the AFL Finals finally get underway on Thursday night! Port Adelaide will host Geelong in the first qualifying final to open up the finals series, and as usual, we have a full preview and betting tips below.
Remember, we will be providing a dedicated preview and betting tips for every single game in the AFL Finals, so make sure you check out our dedicated AFL Betting Tips page for more content regularly.
Adelaide Oval, Thursday 7.40pm (AEST)
Port Adelaide and Geelong will face off in a final for the first time since the 2013 season. The Cats prevailed that night but it’s the Power who will enter this game as the minor premiers and favourites to advance.
The Power were impeccable during the regular season but the bookies have still managed to find a way to have them fourth favourites for the premiership heading into the finals. They lost just three games throughout the home and away season, those losses coming to the Lions, Saints and their opponents on Thursday night, the Cats.
They are strong across all three levels of the ground, with real star power in all areas, led by A-Grade midfielders in the likes of Travis Boak and Ollie Wines and superstar forwards in Charlie Dixon and Robbie Gray. Maybe the most important aspect of the Power’s season, however, has been the development of their young core, which has allowed them to take the next step into premiership contention.
The likes of Zak Butters, Xavier Duursma, Connor Rozee and Todd Marshall have all been important cogs for the Power this year. Maybe the most influential of them all, however, has been Darcy Byrne-Jones, who earned himself an All-Australian selection for a fantastic year. Byrne-Jones averages 17 touches a game this season but has cleared the 20 touch mark in two of his last three in an increased roll off half-back. He’s good odds to get 20+ again this week.
Geelong’s run since their drought-breaking premiership in 2007 has been amazing. They have missed the finals just once in the 13 years since the start of that season and they will mount yet another finals campaign in 2020, hoping to go one step further after losing the preliminary final to the Tigers last season.
The Cats seem to have peaked at the right time of year. After battling injuries to key player throughout the season, they currently have a clean bill of health and should be at full strength going into the finals. The Cats were led by All-Australians Tom Hawkins, Patrick Dangerfield and Cam Guthrie this season, with Sam Menegola also having a break-out year.
Despite increased rolls for the likes of Guthrie and Menegola throughout the midfield for the Cats this season, when push comes to shove at the Cattery, we still think they will be relying heavily on stalwarts in Selwood, Dangerfield, Duncan and Ablett in the finals this season. Selwood has been quiet of late but expect him to lift his game under the finals spotlight as he has done year after year.
What a tough game to call to start the 2020 Finals series. Both teams being at full strength makes the prospect of choosing a winner even harder. You have to draw on their Round 12 clash for some analysis heading into this one, especially since it was an extremely one sided affair, with the Cats absolutely pulverising Port Adelaide at Metricon Stadium to the tune of 60 points.
The Cats were without some of their key players that night, and probably come into this clash in better form with a better outfit. Take the value and back the Cats to cause an upset win here.
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