The big boys flexed their muscles in elimination games against lesser opposition last week and now only four teams remain with a chance to be crowned premiers. We’ve got two huge preliminary finals on this weekend, both of which are very tight in the betting market. The first of them is on Friday night with Port Adelaide hosting Richmond at Adelaide Oval and as always, we bring you our best bets for the match below.
Adelaide Oval, Friday 7.50pm (AEDT)
Port Adelaide were able to back up their impressive regular season, where they remained in top spot for its entirety, by putting in a superb performance in their qualifying final win over Geelong. It was the Power’s first win in a final since 2014, when their run came to end in the preliminary final by three points to the eventually Grand Final winners in Hawthorn.
Power midfielders had their way with the Tigers when they met in Round 11. Five of their mids clocked up 20+ touches and Travis Boak led the way with a game-high 31 and he’s the focus for us this weekend. Boak has had a career-best year at age 32 and has accumulated 20+ disposals in each of his last eight games. He’s also taken advantage of teams that opt not to tag, clocking up 25+ touches on eight occasions this year. The Tigers never tag opposing mids and that certainly won’t change this weekend, so we absolutely love Boaky to rack them up once again.
Richmond had to navigate their way through another injury-riddled season, but came good when they needed to and finished in the top four. The Tigers weren’t able to get over the Lions at the Gabba in their first final, but were able to make amends against the Saints in an elimination game last weekend to book their place in the preliminary finals for the fourth straight year.
The Tigers were without a couple of their key stars when they met the Power a couple of months ago, one of those being Tom Lynch. The big man copped a bit of flack midweek after some dirty incidents against the Saints, but he’s free to take on the Power this weekend. Interestingly enough, if there’s been one weak link for the Power this season it’s been their susceptibility to opposing key bigs. We saw it against the Saints when Ryder and Marshall got a hold of them and we saw it against the Lions when all their big boys were clunking them. Couple that with the fact Lynch has also kicked 2+ goals in seven of his last nine matches and you have yourself some value.
What a juicy match we have on our hands and one that the bookies have found tough to find a favourite for. The H2H market opened at $1.90 a piece, but Port Adelaide have since come into slight favouritism at $1.85 at the time of writing.
Looking at the H2H between these clubs over the past 10 years and it’s incredibly even. In fact, only once has a club won back to back in this matchup over the past decade. The shortened season this year of course meant they only played each other once, which was at Adelaide Oval when the Power kept the Tigers scoreless in the final term and went on to win by 21 points.
The last time these teams met in a final was the 2014 elimination final at Adelaide Oval when Port Adelaide blew Richmond out of the water with eight goals to nil in the first quarter. Times have certainly changed since then and the Tigers have turned into a powerhouse in the sport, but we have to side with the Power in this one. The Tigers haven’t looked at their desperately hungry best in their first two finals and will face a Power team in front of a raucous crowd. We expect a close one, but for the Power to negotiate a very tough win, which will see them advance to their first Grand Final since 2007.
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